Range Report: Ruger’s 10/22 — One of the Greatest All-Around Rifles

By Bob Campbell published on in Firearms, Range Reports

The Ruger 10/22 is the .22 everyone wants, everyone keeps, and everyone can afford! Along with the Colt 1911 handgun, the Remington 700, and Browning A5 shotgun, the Ruger 10/22 has become an icon among American shooters. I am not certain it is Ruger’s bestseller, but I would not be surprised if it is. The 10/22 is among the most affordable quality firearms in the world and it chambers the Little Big Man of cartridges, the .22 LR. This means the 10/22 is ideal for training, practice, plinking and small game hunting.

8 different models of Ruger 10/22 rifles in current production.

Over 20 versions of the Ruger 10/22 are in current production.

A trained individual, armed with a .22 caliber self-loader is far from helpless in a personal defense situation as well. There are plenty of good quality aftermarket parts to be added to the rifle to make it more interesting. While my three 10/22 rifles currently wear iron sights, the rifle is accurate enough to warrant a good quality riflescope. Ruger rings make scope mounting simple and sturdy.

The primary advantage of the Ruger, over any other rifle, is its sterling reputation for reliability. The rifle just seems to always work, given an occasional cleaning and lubrication of course. The Ruger may also be a first gun for a teenager or a go anywhere do anything .22 for any outdoorsmen. You just cannot outgrow the Ruger 10/22 unless you intended to invest heavily in a bench rest rifle—and then the 10/22 is a good chassis.

The Ruger 10/22 has many good features. Among these is an easy takedown. Originally designed for ease of assembly, the easily removed barrel allows the fitting of any number of custom options. When the Ruger was introduced, .22 LR magazines were either long tubes or box magazines that protruded from the stock.

However, Ruger’s 10-round rotary magazine, modeled after the Savage 99 .300 Savage, features a flush fit into the stock. These magazines never seem to give trouble, needing only an occasional cleaning. Ruger now offers an equally reliable 25-round magazine for heavy-duty plinking.

The only caution that applies to any quality .22 Long Rifle firearm is ammunition selection. The Ruger isn’t finicky; far from it, but there are times when ammo isn’t ‘in spec.’ This usually occurs with the cheapest stuff. Ammo made in the good old USA is the best choice. Also, Match Grade loads are sometimes designed for Match chambers. This means the brass is slightly longer than standard. You do not have to get a magnifying glass out and check your .22 LR ammo, but if you do, you may find it interesting.

Ruger 10/22 Sporter with American Walnut Stock.

Ruger 10/22 Sporter with American Walnut Stock.

Winchester Super-X and other Winchester loads offer an excellent balance of economy and performance. The High Speed hollow points are excellent for use on small game such as rabbit, squirrel and even larger game with good shot placement. The .22 is a bit light for use on marauding coyote though.

I have been taught that a humane kill matters even with predators. At moderate range, the .22 will do the business with a minimum of well-placed shots. As for personal defense, if the .22 rifle is your only firearm you are well armed. Results with the rifle are much better than the pistol, largely due to the ease of shot placement. A Ruger with a Lasermax sight and 25-round magazine is great home defender.

To my mind, the single greatest pursuit with the .22 rifle is plinking. Introducing a young shooter to the joys of marksmanship, and firing a quality firearm in a safe manner, simply is one of the most enjoyable things about shooting. Shooting the .22 LR challenges the shooter when combined with small targets, limited range, report and power, and allows marksmanship to proceed unfettered by the high cost of centerfire ammunition.

The Ruger’s sights are excellent examples of a combination of practicality and precision. As for accuracy, the standard model Ruger will usually put three rounds of Winchester Super X into 2 inches at 50 yards from a solid benchrest. Firing off hand accuracy is less as the human factor is present, but the Ruger 10/22 exhibits a high degree of practical accuracy. This is the rifle that everyone should have, and the rifle that most of us own. But you can always use another!

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Do you have one or more Ruger 10/22s? What configuration would you recommend to other readers? Share your best 10/22 story and recommendations in the comment section.

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Comments (49)

  • Spacegunner

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    I owned a Remington Nylon 66 since 1995 until I gave it to my older daughter. It outshot my one, shortly-owned Ruger 1022 (sold it to my best friend for $100 about 15 years ago, and never looked back), and most 1022’s that are shot by my buddies and fellow shooters.

    After shooting in my third consecutive Ruger/NSSF Rimfire Challenge this year, I doubt I will ever go back to the 1022. There were out-of-box, plain-Jane as well as >$1k custom jobs that had malfunction after malfunction on just about every stage; although, I think the overall Match Winner (a 17 year-old young LADY) did shoot a 1022.

    In the over 300 rounds of timed, rapid-fire shooting in the NSSF matches, my CMMG dedicated .22LR upper-receiver on a Rock River lower, Black Dog Machine magazines, and Magpul furniture, never had a malfunction.

    The set-up cost the same as a lower-end custom 1022, but is more reliable, many more times as accurate/precise (sub 0.5 MoA) with most cheap .22 LR ammo, and I can shoot it on any AR-15 lower, or switch it out to a .223 in seconds. Do that with a 1022!

    All in all, I would say that the Ruger 1022 is a good (mediocre, unless customized) .22 LR rifle. Its longevity certainly adds bonus points to its success.

    Reply

    • Spacegunner

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      I bought the Nylon 66 in 1975 (instead of 1995).

      Also, I can load a BDM 25-round magazine in less than 25 seconds. The 1022 magazines are difficult to load, and take much more time, and cause finger fatigue.

      Reply

    • Bob

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      I can agree on the excellent reliability of the Nylon 66, and rue the day it was supplanted by that pos Viper. However, my extensive experience has been completely different regarding 10/22 rifles v. .22 rimfire AR variants. Out of half a dozen 10/22s over the past 20 years, and countless thousands of rounds; completely stock internals and I don’t believe I have had a single malfunction. And almost all of that was with aftermarket hi-cap magazines. I have also shot the snot out of a couple of .22 AR variants, both a conversion kit setup and a factory dedicated upper, and they tend to get unreliably dirty after 300-400 rounds; and the mishmash of magazines with widely varying tolerances and designs doesn’t help.

      Reply

  • Walt Kuleck

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    My most thrilling 10-22 story is the opportunity I had to examine, handle and photograph both the 10/22 prototype and 10/22 Serial Number 1 (http://www.1911timewarp.com/Pics/10-22No1.jpg) in the Ruger archives. Ruger kindly allowed me to use #1 as the cover gun on The Ruger 10/22 Complete Owner’s and Assembly Guide. EXP 1 and 1 were just two of the prototypes and “experiments” I was able to explore at Ruger’s headquarters. While many of my couple of dozen 10/22s vie for being my “favorite,” holding Serial Number 1, if only for a short while, is my peak 10/22 experience.

    Reply

  • Sailorman

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    I own 3 plus a modified Charger. My favorite is a Takedown that has a Varnished Walnut Stock made from an older model I have. They all shoot great and are so easy to clean and work on. All have modified triggers and polished internals. I think I enjoy working on them as much as shooting them.

    Reply

  • JR

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    I brought a standard stainless 10/22 at WM in the 90’s. Great Rifle that would shoot .75in groups at 100 yards all day long.
    I made the mistake of trading it for what was advertised as the most accurate .22 ever to be mad. It was a Thomson Contender semi auto and true to their word it was accurate but wouldn’t cycle worth a darn. The Thompson’s quietly faded into the sunset.
    Great article. I’ve been looking at 10/22’s again and it seems there is one for every budget and style of shooting.

    Reply

  • Orlando La Rosa

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    I’ve had a 10/22 for about 20 years. I just love it. I got an after market barrel for it that is threaded for a suppressor or whatever you may want to put on the barrel. I E-Mailed Ruger a few years ago to ask if they had any plans to make a 10/22 Magnum take down and was told they had no plans to do so at that time. If they came out with a 10/22 Magnum take down, I would definitely buy one.

    Reply

  • RPK

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    I own a stainless steel Carbine, standard, take-down and an SR-22 model. All of them are keepers! I started out in 1976 with a Glenfield-Marline Model 60 and although it remains my nostalgic tie to the past, the Ruger 10/22 is a superb and reliable weapons platform with countless add-on options available.

    Reply

    • OLD AND GRUMPY

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      Have a Glenfield 60 pre numbers. Any idea where to get parts?

      Reply

  • Dave

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    I have the 10/22 Carbine. It is very accurate, even when firing as rapidly as you can pull the trigger. I put a scope on the rail provided with the rifle, have added a rubber butt extension to aid my long arms, a sling for easy carry, and now have 3 rotary magazines and the 25-round BX mag. This is a great rifle. Fun, accurate, and a true varmint rifle. Too bad it doesnt get much advertising other than word of mouth. But maybe that is all Ruger needs? This is a great rifle.

    Reply

  • Ed Gaulin

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    My first 22 was the great Marlin 39A Lever Action purchased in 1955. Yesterday I ordered a Ruger 10/22 Talo with a walnut Mannlicher stock. It’s a beauty and I can’t wait to put it through it’s paces.

    Reply

  • AixSponsa

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    20 yrs ago I bought 2 new in boxes. One from WM, one from gun store.
    3 yr ago bought a new one in the box.

    All three were crap and took them back in a week. The gun store tried with 3 kinds of their favorite ammo, and the guns were crap, needed smithing to function. Just what I want in a brand new gun, gunsmithing.

    The finest 22 I ever owned is the Norinco Browning takedown. Feeds everything, period, and hits 4×8 metal at 50 yds 100% of the time regardless of bulk Federal or Stingers.

    Reply

  • Rod

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    The Ruger 10/22 is the first firearm I ever purchased. I bought one brand new in 1966 for $56. I still have that same rifle today, and plan to pass it down to one of my grandkids.

    Reply

    • OLD AND GRUMPY

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      Get a new one and fire them side by side,a stress test. Bet the ’66 is still better.My father in laws ’71 was a desert rat gun. full of grit. I polished the insides with 600 wet dry paper and it shoots better than any new gun I ever owned. Would trust it in a fight if needed. No FTF FTE jams after 2000 rounds. My son has it now and will pass it on.

      Reply

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