Lightweight and straightforward, the single-shot Crackshot from Traditions Firearms puts the fun in plinking and small-game hunting.

by Rob Reaser

As dedicated shooters and hunters, there’s no question that we fully enjoy the latest in firearm technology, precision, and, of course, sending rounds downrange in high-volume. Yet whenever we insert a firearm with a more “back to basics” design into our routine, we can’t help but smile. Whether it is nostalgia, the slower and more deliberate approach to shooting, or the added marksmanship challenge they bring, simplified firearms with single-shot actions always prove satisfying.

In the rimfire rifle world, few firearms exude the fundamentalist spirit like the Crackshot series by Traditions Firearms.

Traditions introduced the Crackshot series five years ago, releasing .22LR- and .17 HMR-chambered rifles in several finish configurations.

At first glance, the Crackshot looks like a novelty or youth training rifle. Spend a bit of time on the range or in the field with one and that opinion quickly changes. At just over four pounds and with a somewhat diminutive 16.5-inch barrel, the Crackshot is one of the lightest, most compact, and easily transportable rimfire rifles on the market today.

Yes, the Crackshot is an ideal rifle for both adult and youth firearm training, but it also has a place in the experienced hunter’s and shooter’s arsenal. As a scabbard gun for toting along on Back 40 cruises in a UTV, an easy-to-transport truck gun on the farm, or as a lightweight “woods walk” rifle that you can sling across your back, the Crackshot is the perfect go-anywhere firearm.

Traditions has dispensed with the multi-camo options on the Crackshot, offering, instead, black polymer furniture with blued metal finish on all models. These include a .22LR and a .17 HMR without factory optics, a .22LR with a 4×32 scope, and a youth model (13.5-inch length-of-pull) with the 4×32 scope. Sling swivel studs come installed from the factory. The buttstock is ergonomically contoured to provide a comfortable cheek weld and grip. Checkering along the grip and wrist combine with a beveled fore grip to deliver solid retention and good muzzle control.

Single-shot simplicity. Loading the Crackshot requires pulling back on the barrel catch lever positioned in front of the trigger guard, allowing the barrel to rotate forward and exposing the breech.

Opening the breech reveals the extractor. A cartridge is inserted into the chamber until the cartridge rim engages the extractor support radius. Once loaded, pivot the barrel back to close the action. An audible “click” confirms the action is closed and in battery. After firing a round, depress the barrel catch lever and the cartridge case may eject without intervention, or you may be required to pull it out of the chamber. We had varied results, depending on the ammo used.

The Crackshot is based on a conventional hammer-fired action. To allow manipulation of the hammer when a scope is used, a serrated thumb extension is included.

Two safety systems are employed. First is an internal hammer block, which prevents the firing pin from striking the cartridge unless the trigger is pulled. Second is a manual trigger block safety. Cocking and decocking requires the manual safety to be engaged.

Crackshot rifles with scopes utilize Tradition’s 4×32 fixed optic. It is well-suited for the typical shooting ranges this rifle will engage. The crosshairs are a tad on the thick side for really fine aiming beyond 50 yards—for example, shooting squirrels in the eyeball at such distances. For typical .22LR engagement distances when plinking or hunting, we found this scope to work well.

Although the light weight and short overall length of the Crackshot requires a steady hand for precision shooting, the rifle is excitingly accurate. Small game, tin cans, and steel silhouettes should be concerned. We had our best five-shot groupings with CCI’s Mini-Mag .22LR copper-plated hollow points in 36 grain.

To see the full line of Crackshot rifles from Traditions firearms, go here…

Shoot On Editor-in-Chief Rob Reaser is a lifelong outdoorsman, former magazine editor, columnist, and contributing editor to numerous national publications in the automotive and outdoor segments. He has also authored and co-authored several DIY gun building books. His shooting and hunting passions cover everything from traditional archery and big-game bowhunting to the latest in handguns, rifles, and reloading. Rob has a troublesome habit of pulling guns and things apart to see how they work; occasionally, he manages to get them back together...

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