This won't be a popular answer - but it's honest: I had a 96/22 and didn't like it. It shot nice tight groups and performed flawlessly. My complaint about it was the same as with the 10/22: to accomodate the (yes - excellent magazine) the trade off is the (IMO) clunky, unnecessarily oversized stock - and the lever throw was a teensy bit longer than I like. For a lever action, it was "just all wrong" for me. I like flat, easy packing 22 rifles and have several.
That said, I would like to snag a Ruger 96/22 magnum. I'd rather have a lever than a bolt action and then at least I'd have a lever action to match my 10/22 Magnum rifle.
But I gotta admit the 96/22 was indeed a performer.
The 96/22 is a great rifle. But, it's really a lever action 10/22. It's fat. That's what its detractors would say. But it's no fatter than a 10/22. The only things it did well, was operate perfectly, and shoot accurately. That was not enough.
But, at a higher cost than the 10/22, it could not compete with the 10/22, and folks didn't buy enough of them. And, when I grew up, there was a natural progression where a kids first gun was a single shot, graduating to a bolt, pump, or lever action. Dads now buy their kids a semi auto, as a first gun.
The 96/22 Magnum survived longer than the LR, only because the 10/22 Magnum failed. Some folks wanted a .22 Magnum, made by Ruger, but didn't want to spring for the much more expensive 77/22M.
The 96/22 Magnum is a simple gun that also operates as perfectly as the 96/22LR, and is a superb shooter. That's not enough. Gun buyers are a fickle bunch.
I had one but like a few others, did not like the throw of the lever, I love levers so that was not it, I just never warmed up to it and sold it a few years later. I now have a Winchester 9422 and love it.
hey guys, there's a 96/22 mag. on G.B. auction # is 175412370. been on there for several weeks, don't know why someone hasn't jumped on it. starting bid is $399.95. by the way, the Mod.96 was also made in .44mag.