Firearms

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

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.

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.

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!

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.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (49)

  1. I have a 10/22 and I love it. It’s a great accurate rifle. What I hate about it is the BX25 magazine. I own four of them and have yet to fire a full 25 rounds without a failure to feed, failure to fire or a stove pipe on either all four magazines. I’ve tried every trick in the book and searched many videos on Youtube to get these magazines to work properly all without success. I’m going back to the 10 round magazines. Anyone interested in buying four BX25 magazines?

    1. I’ve tried several different brands of 25 round mags, and none of them funtion correctly for 25 rounds. I have a device that locks three original mags together, and it’s like changing a ten round mag three times, and it’s still pretty quick.

  2. Yes I have a Ruger 10/22 and have had for over 40 years.
    That said,,if Remington still made Nylon 66s[including their bolt and lever action versions],I’d go with them FIRST:better trigger,sights,tang safety,more accurate.The CHIEF attraction of the 10/22s is the number of ways to trick them out.The iron sights stink,ditto the crossbolt safety. and the totally useless smooth curved butt plate[the Mini-14s are equally cursed]

  3. In 1969, my Old Man, A Marine (RIP)put a Ruger 10/22 in my hands and I was taught to hit Soda Bottles at 25yards. The following year he moved me to 50 yards. I was 10 years old at the time. Then, naturally at age 12. I was hitting Targets at a 100 yards. I will be age 60 soon, and know that one of the most reliable Long Guns that I own is in fact my Ruger 10/22’s. Yes I own more than one. The key for me is to keep them clean and lubricated for years of plinking and small game target practice. Best past time ever. Back in 1973, I was able to take my Rugger 10/22 to my Shop Class at School, and refinish the wood stock. My Shop Teacher even helped me tear it down for prep work and final finishing. My how times have changed. Go Figure…eh.

    1. Times have indeed changed, for shooters in Washington more than in some others.Since the last voting debacle even 10/22s are assault rifles and subject to many regulations. We won’t be giving any to our kids or grand children until they are 27, for one. Sad “state” of affairs.

  4. I’ve had a Ruger 10/22 for many years and it has never given one bit of trouble except it is subject to lead and wax build up and jamming after a lot of rounds. I’m talking more than a couple of boxes. But that is more the cheap ammo I have used and not so much the rifle itself. Just keep it cleaned and then gun will work for a long long time.

  5. While there are many very good 22 rifles out there, the Ruger 10/22 is the best all around 22 available in my humble opinion…affordable, accurate, and dependable, it’s got it all.

  6. 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?)

  7. 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!”

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

    1. 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!!!!

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

    1. 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.

  25. I have one of the 22 mag versions and it shoots like a champ. I bought a regular wood stocked 10-22 in 22LR from a guy for $35 back in 1978. I ended up giving that one to my son about 10 years ago. I missed it so much that I bought a new one with the black synthetic stock a couple of years ago. I don’t lIke the synthetic stock as much as the wood, but that is just personal preference. It is still an excellent shooting rifle.

  26. Oh yes they can hit long range with a decent scope- put a Tasco on mine and hitting a 16×16 inch piece of steel at a little over 200 yds consistantly with 40 grain Winchester M-22. Of course you have to aim about a foot high at that distance. It is interesting in that it seems to take a minute or two after a shot to hear the steel take the hit. Such fun.

  27. In states like California that limit mag size It is legal to connect mags with a TriMag connector. 3 10 round mags gives 30 rounds of quick reloads. I got 2 plus the clear mags so I see what is in them. A little practice at home with them unloaded and it becomes fast and easy,

    Don’t forget the dust covers for the mags. A good investment . http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/product/84674?td_source=search

    TriMag- http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/product/2-TSOLTRIMAG?td_source=search

    The only problem is that CTD would not ship them to CA even though I can buy them legal at my LGS.

    1. 100% agree! The TriMag’s are great! I live in California and just bought 2 TriMag’s and intend to buy more. I also got the covers for the mags. That is a great investment. Oh, and the gun looks pretty sharp when loaded. 🙂

    2. Some after market mags my not work right with the TriMag. Some grinding and fitting needed. Stick with Ruger factory mags. Check out recoil buffers. http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/product/GNS-428-004?td_source=search They are a big improvement. Some guys use a nylon bolt shaft cut down.

      Don—-
      We should have 5 or 6 months of good range weather now that summer is over in CA. (sorry snow people). Range is empty mid week, not to full on weekends. Think I’ll make the run to Burro.

  28. I have a Ruger 10/22. Its from the early 80’s It still shoots like new, Over the years, I’ve had to replace several small parts that went missing. Even with them missing, It still worked. With the parts replaced, It can go though a 25 round mag, and never blink, It east pretty much anything I feed it. You can’t kill it. Definitely a go-to gun for small game hunting, Target practice, and in worst case situation , self-defense. 25 small rounds on tap, definitely beats nothing, .
    That’s not even counting, Their just plain FUN………..

  29. I have 4, two registered SBRs and 2 mannlichers. Things make tis rifle great- by far the best hi-cap magazines of any rimfire firearm, for 40 years at least. Real steel and hardwood construction; and a design that, while not mil-spec, is much closer than any of the other gussied-up look-alike rimfire “tactical” rifles out there. A .22 magnum version with hi-cap magazines is sorely needed; and why Ruger never made a 9mm version wit a quality hi-cap magazine I never understood. And, put one in the little wife’s hands and she will eat any intruder’s lunch.

  30. Jeeze- me and my brother each had one of these back when you could buy them for $60 or so at the local Western Auto. They were, and still are, the quintessential all-around .22 rifle. I really like the take-down model for its packability and neat design features. I can tell you that with a well-mounted good scope and rings, they are capable of some amazing groups. One time I had a Ruger 10-22 I already knew was accurate, but for some reason I “borrowed”an expensive 12X Leupold off a shot-out .220 Swift Model 700 my Dad had and mounted it on the Ruger. Holy mackinaw that thing was a tackdrivin’ bugger! You could virtually put a whole box of Super X’s in a dime-size hole at 50 yds from the bench. My brother promptly plucked his Weaver K4 off his Marlin 336 and proceeded to just tear the x-rings all to hell with his own 10-22. Those little Rugers were good enough to deserve good glass if you could afford it. Ours accounted for hundreds of head-shot fox squirrels, rabbits, and assorted other small game back in the 50’s.

  31. I know that long ago Ruger tried to make a .22 Magnum version of this gun, but it just never worked right. I have one in .22 LR, and I would LOVE to see a reliable model introduced in .22 Mag.

  32. I know that they make a 10/22 Bullpup version, that looks something like tge FNH PS90 Carbine. Does anyone KNOW it handles. Being Wheelchair Bound, Bullpups are easier to handle, at least for me that is…

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