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)

  • Semachiah

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    I appreciate articles like this & the responses. I recently retired from military service & learned very little about guns while I was there. They simply handed me different rifles for different missions, had me get “BASICALLY” familiar with it & then sent me out. Now I have an interest in learning but not for all of the highly technical aspects an articles like this help.

    As for 22’s I always carried an AR7 as a “Survivor” weapon. How do these compare? Could I carry the Ruger as a “Survivor” or would it be to cumbersome while I was carrying something else as my primary means of assault? How does it compare when being taken down & in the broke down posture (ease of disassembly * assembly; carrying size; durability in regards to being assembled & broken down repeatedly, weight, yaddah, yaddah, yah?)

    Reply

  • Tim Barnett

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    I have a 10/22 ruger and like it very much. I mounted a BSA 3x9x40mm (22- sweet) scope on it, an it matches it’s name, “SWEET”! It didn’t come with sling or sling mounts, so I bought a set of Uncle Mike’s sling mounts. The rifle came with a U shaped metal piece. And, for fun, I tried to figure what it was for, but I had to read the instruction manual. I laughed when I found out! Enjoy your 10/22! I like Ruger, but I must say I had a failure with a Ruger 7mm mag.. It fired when a shell was bolted into the chamber. We called Ruger an they sent us a recall fix kit. It was my friend’s firearm an opening morning, first time elk season, I put him on a stand where I saw two elk fighting, during deer season. 25-30 seconds after I walked around the corner his gun fired. I knew it misfired again when he loaded a round. I went back an saw him hanging his head in disgust. When I walked up to him, his face lite into the biggest grin, he grabs me an swings me around like a rag doll. He points to a big six by six bull on the ground. “I can’t believe my best friend gave me his elk spot”, he says! He got a bull archery hunting with us too. “Now he thinks he’s an expert with 2 minutes of hunting time under his belt!” “That guy and his beginner’s luck!”

    Reply

  • MikeM

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    I have a 10/22 takedown and I love to shooting it. I have a Ruger LaserMax laser and a reflex sight on it. With the reflex sight it is very fast and accurate. I bought it for rim fire challenge competition. The takedown is easier to clean then the models with an attached barrel. The bag that comes with it has room for everything you may need for the range, including room for a pistol and ammo.

    Reply

  • Narly

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    I have two, and love them both. Both standard carbines w/birch stocks and both old. One scoped one iron sights. I decided one day to to make the stock a little nicer without spending any money on an aftermarket stock. Took a wood rasp file to to it and rounded all the sharp corners and the pistol grip like an old auto five, took some wood off the fore end (file only) slimmed it down in general and took some weight off too. Stained it and linseed oiled it. Now people say is that a 10/22? Man I want to do that to mine too! So customize it yourself and you will have a one of a kind that’s your special gun like mine. That was 1981. It will be with me till the end!

    Reply

  • shiloh

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    I have a 10/22 with the laser sights. I have to use a lser sight as the gun is too short and I can’t use the iron sights. Anyone know of a stock extension?

    Reply

  • Matisse Enzer

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    Among the many customizations available for the 10/22 is the ability to inexpensively add GI-style aperture and front sights (similar to those on an M-1 Garand) without gunsmithing.

    The brand I use is “Tech-SIGHTS,” made int the US.

    Depending on model they cost around $60 to $70 and are fully adjustable.

    Reply

  • Scott

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    Getting my 10/22 Takedown was an adventure. Cabelas had them on sale for Black Friday. I showed up at 1 in the morning and the line was around the store and half way out the parking lot. It didn’t seem that cold at the time but after a couple of hours of standing I was starting to worry about frost bit feet. I decided to stick it out but didn’t have much hope that there would be any left by the time i got in the store. An hour before opening they came around and handed out vouchers and I lucked out and got my rifle. I don’t think I would do that again but it was fun at the time. People had campfires going in the parking lot and it was a friendly crowd.

    Reply

  • Mike Koonce

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    The 10/22 is a very nice rifle. I own one. I like it. But I like my Marlin 795
    better. It’s cheaper, less picky about ammo, lighter, and just as accurate.
    If I have to choose between the 2, the Marlin is my hands-down choice.

    Reply

    • calif boy

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      aloha– to mike k.(10/26/15) forget the marlin 795 & get a mod 60 w/ constant ammo flow (no reloading your mags VS: tube fed shooting –better yet- shoot a 10/22 lr w/ a 10/or 25 mag (if your state allows) and you will definately notice the shooting comfort. with a change over to a bull barrel for a tack driver thrill. i have (3) that i have converted to .920 dia bull barrels and believe me, they are great at the 100/200 yrd steel targets and varmint kills.happy shooting!!!!

      Reply

  • Sniper1

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    I have an original 10/22. As accurate as the day is long. My favorite time was in the late ’70s. I was snowshoe hare hunting in Alaska and always came home with a mess of rabbit using one-shot and iron sights. Wouldn’t trade it for a million bucks. Also have a stainless tactical 10/22 with a scope which is an excellent one-shot varmint (possum, skunk, etc) gun. Also have a VLEH model.

    Reply

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