Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 16: Ruger 10/22

The Ruger 10/22 is one of the most popular rimfire rifles ever manufactured. Originally released in 1964, the 10/22 is traditionally chambered in .22 Long Rifle, yet limited variants were produced in .22 WMR and .17 HMR. One advantage to the 10/22 over other popular .22LR rifles such as the Marlin Model 60 is it’s 10-round rotary magazine, which is much faster and more practical than a front-fed tubular magazine. I recently decided that I needed one for small game hunting and target shooting.

My Model

There are countless subtypes of the 10/22 available from the factory, but I opted for the Sporter (Deluxe Sporter according to Cabela’s) edition, primarily for the high-quality checkered American Walnut stock. When I picked it off the shelf, I was immediately impressed by the quality of the flip-up rear sight and the crisp trigger.

The first day at the range, I shot 675 rounds out of the stock rifle with bulk ammunition without a single hiccup. It was a dream to shoot, and extremely easy to disassemble and clean back at home. It’s no Glock, but cleaning and maintenance on this rifle is just about as simple as it gets. Just one screw to remove the stock, and 2 pins to remove the trigger assembly, and one pin to remove the bolt.


One of the reasons for the huge popularity of the Ruger 10/22 is its customizability and the availability of aftermarket accessories. You turn any run-of-the-mill 10/22 into a specialized hunting rifle, a compact survival tool, a tactical military-style practice gun, or an expensive flashy competition rifle. Most of the 10/22’s out there probably remain in the category of your standard stock weekend plinker, but the potential is there if you want to take advantage of it.

I opted to spend a few bucks optimizing my rifle for hunting small game, since I tend to focus on hunting-style customizations on my long guns. My main addition was a Vortex Crossfire 4x32 scope with Leupold scope rings. The 4x fixed magnification 32mm scope is one of the most popular general-purpose hunting optics ever made, and on a rimfire allows generous accuracy from 25-100 yards and beyond. That’s more than enough for targeting treed squirrels, so I’m happy.

The 10/22 Deluxe Sporter comes with 1” sling swivels, but the availability of slings in this width is lacking. I replaced these swivels with 1.25” quick-detachable swivels and swivel bases from Uncle Mike’s, so I could pair it with a thicker Wilderness sling. If you’re trying to figure out what parts you need to make the same replacement, both swivel taps in the Sporter stock accept ½” wood screws.

All 10/22’s come with one 10-round rotary magazine. Before experiencing this style of magazine I’ll admit I was skeptical about it, but they are incredibly reliable and compact. I’ve shot over 700 rounds through one of my rotary magazines without a single failure whatsoever, without cleaning it at all. I’m impressed considering how dirty rimfire cartridges can get after high-volume shooting.

I purchased a 25-round steel extended magazine by, but I can’t comment on this yet. These magazines are adjustable by 4 different screws, and so far I haven’t found a configuration that feeds or ejects reliably. I hope I can tune this magazine properly, since a high-capacity .22 could prove quite useful during a zombie apocalypse. I'll update everyone later on whether this mag is functional or a piece of junk, I just haven't figured it out yet.

Overall Impressions

The Ruger 10/22 has quickly become one of my favorite guns that I’ve ever shot. It’s accurate at close to medium ranges, useful for hunting and survival applications, and is American-made. It’s light weight in relation to other hunting rifles helps in making it highly portable, but its low mass makes off-hand shooting a bit of a challenge, so a shooting rest or proper shooting position is preferable for ethical kills. The price of .22LR ammunition easily allows high-volume shooting on any budget, and this is the kind of gun you can shoot all day for the price of going out to a movie. A .22 will eventually pay for itself in ammo savings along, but it’s also a blast to shoot.

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