When you use the word “best,” it is a good idea to qualify the criteria for determining what “the best” really is.
Often this is just a subjective opinion of the writer— and to some extent, that will be true here.
I will attempt to buttress my determination with some solid facts, which will help my argument and likely fuel your critique.
1. Ruger 10/22
If there is a more ubiquitous rifle that was never issued to soldiers, I don’t know what it is. Almost every shooter has put rounds down range with some variant of the 10/22.
I own a heavy-barrel variant that is great for inexpensive “precision” practice or hunting small game. It’s one of the most well-known Ruger guns out there.
It’s also a wonderful platform for teaching new shooters to run a semi-automatic rifle and how to manage a scope without any worry about recoil or expense.
For the last 55 years, receiving a 10/22 as a first rifle has been a right of passage for gunnie kids.
The classic carbine model is FUDD-friendly, wood and steel with low-capacity (10-round) magazines.
Ruger also has at least 11 other variants to choose from—including takedown, heavy barrel and super light options.
There are also dozens of companies like Tandemkross, Archangel and Volquartsen who sell aftermarket components. With these companies, you can rebuild your 10/22 as mildly or wildly as you want.
2. Ruger M77 Bolt-Action
My father hunts deer with his .270 Winchester variant every year. In the offseason, we attempt to get multiple hits on a single golf ball. More often than not, we succeed.
The modified Mauser action has stood the test of time for over 50 years and in its latest variants, is still going strong.
3. Ruger Standard Model
This pistol is more commonly known by its variant name. I own a Ruger Mark III and everyone would call it that.
The original was “The Standard” and each major revision has been called Mark II, Mark III, etc. (The current generation is the Mark IV.)
The worst feature of the previous models has been fixed with the Mark IV variant: takedown and reassembly.
Many a grown man has spent his monthly budget of curse words in his first attempt to clean and reassemble the previous variants of this pistol.
Other than that small inconvenience, this gun has proven itself to be equally loved as its 10/22 brother. One of the best Ruger guns, for sure.
Many of the same companies that offer aftermarket parts for the rifle also offer customization for the Ruger Mark series of pistols (like magazines).
(Volquartsen has an upgrade for every single part except the receiver.)
4. Ruger Redhawk
This revolver was the evolution from the Security Six line. When those guns were found to be wearing out from steady diets of .357 Magnum, Ruger decided to build a beefed-up alternative.
The initial choice was the Ruger Redhawk. This was designed by Harry Sefried and it was made to handle the .44 Magnum.
The assumption being that if it could handle that, it could handle anything. At the time, that was a valid statement.
The Redhawk is on the list, not so much for its own merit. Rather, it is the stepping stone to the GP100, SP101 and the Ruger Super Redhawk lines.
Each of these revolvers draws heavily on the modifications and improvements first utilized in the Redhawk line.
5. Ruger No. 1
This single-shot rifle is derided in the current world of 30-round magazines. For many of the calibers people own this rifle in, that is not a consideration.
I would not want to carry a gun with 30 rounds of .416 Rigby, .458 Winchester Magnum or .400/.450 Nitro Express.
Not to mention, unless you are hunting dinosaur, a decent hit with any of the above should be more than enough.
The Ruger #1 is made in smaller calibers like .204 Ruger or .22 Hornet and is a very accurate rifle in these calibers. The true utility of the strength of this action is in the much stouter chamberings.
The internal falling block action is so strong, Lenard Brownell claimed, “In strength testing, I never did manage to blow one apart.”
Many a professional hunter has been quite happy about that when lighting off a .458 Lott into the face of a wounded elephant, rhino or cape buffalo.
What do you think? Are there any Ruger guns you felt were left off this list? Let us know in the comments below!