Review: Ruger 10/22 M1 Carbine

US M1 .30 Carbine rifle over a Ruger 10/22 M1 rifle

Among the most useful, reliable, and practically accurate .22 caliber rifles made is the Ruger 10/22. Introduced in 1964, the Ruger 10/22 has become the most popular .22 rimfire rifle in America.

My experience with the rifle goes back some 40 years. I have enjoyed excellent results with every Ruger .22 I have owned. I have never seen a malfunction with the rifle when the 10 22 is fed the proper high velocity .22 Long Rifle ammunition.

US M1 .30 Carbine rifle over a Ruger 10/22 M1 rifle
The Ruger .22, lower, mimics the look and outline of the US M1 Carbine, above.

Variations include rifles designed for long-range target work, hunting, and even tactical versions for personal defense. It is difficult to choose a favorite among the many variations, but a new version of the rifle has my attention. Ruger has introduced a version of the rifle that is similar in appearance to the M1 Carbine.

The M1 .30 Carbine was used in World II, Korea, and Vietnam and is a highly collectable firearm. Light, handy, and firing a mid range cartridge, the M1 carbine was the first low-maintenance military rifle and the first issued with non-corrosive ammunition. The Ruger 10/22 M1 version isn’t a reproduction as it is chambered in .22 Long Rifle, but it is fittingly called a tribute to the M1. For performance, appearance, and fun factor, the Ruger makes the grade. The look is classic but the performance is all 10/22.

Ruger 10/22 magazines side
Ruger magazines with steel inserts are famously reliable.

The heart of the rifle is the proven 10/22 action. This is the most proven .22 caliber self-loading rifle ever manufactured. The rifle will use any accessory designed for the Ruger 10/22 including the X series magazines. Previously, Ruger’s 10/22 featured the famously reliable 10-round rotary magazine. This design is among the standouts of all Ruger products for engineering success.

The magazine is trouble free and very reliable. The X series magazines, introduced a few years ago, give the rifle a 25-round capacity. Unlike the many aftermarket magazines offered for the Ruger 10/22, Ruger magazines are reliable, well made of good material, and rugged.

The Ruger 10/22 M1 is provided with a new version of the X magazine, the X 15, with a 15-round capacity. This mimics the original M1 .30 carbine’s 15-round box magazine. The action is the same as any other 10/22 with a cocking handle on the right side, push button safety in the trigger guard, and magazine release in front of the trigger guard.

Ruger 10/22 front blade sight with brush guards
The protected front sight is a good feature.

The Ruger 10/22 M1 features a protected front sight in keeping with the military appearance theme. A most interesting modification to the original Ruger 10/22 is the rear sight. The rear sight is an aperture type that while not identical to the M1 carbine is used in the same manner.

The rear sight should offer real speed and excellent practical accuracy. It is smaller than some apertures, which should complement the 10/22’s accuracy. The rifle also incorporates a Picatinny type rail on the receiver. This will allow easy mounting of optics. I see the rifle as well suited to an affordable Red Dot sight for fast work at moderate range.

I have seen both original and reproduction .30 carbines fitted with optics, and they are formidable rifles. After all, the original was used in the Pacific with a night vision scope! The wooden stock is what sets this rifle apart from every other Ruger 10/22. The stock features a forend that closely mimics the design of the M1 carbine. The outlines, dimensions and style of the stock are similar to the M1 carbine including a slot in the rear of the stock that allows the use of a sling in the original M1 carbine manner. Overall, the design and execution of the wooden stock and furniture leave nothing to be desired.

It may seem redundant to extensively test fire a new variant of the Ruger 10/22. After all, the rifle is proven in many years of hard use. But the handling and practical accuracy of the new version invited shooting.

Sight picture from the Ruger 10/22 Rifle
The rear sight proved very precise in accuracy testing.

The Ruger 10/22 in its many variations is among the fun guns of the last 50 years, and this rifle would prove no different. The original M1 carbine was among the fastest handling military rifles ever designed. The new Ruger mimics that speed in handling and makes for a valid choice as a go anywhere do anything .22 rifle.

Many recommend the .22 caliber rifle as a personal defense and survival type rifle. There is much merit in this recommendation. The rifle is light, ammunition weight a trifle, and accuracy is excellent. You can get a shooter up to speed on the .22 caliber rifle much faster than a centerfire rifle. But the .22 isn’t a center fire rifle and the power of the cartridge simply isn’t sufficient for personal defense or hunting medium-size game.

The .22 has been used in personal defense and has served well on occasion. The accuracy of the rifle and cartridge combination lends itself well to fast hits to the arterial region. But light cover or heavy clothing will defeat the .22.

The rifle is a great small game getter. Rabbit, squirrel and other animals to perhaps the 35-pound class may be taken cleanly with the .22 Long Rifle and a well-designed load such as the Fiocchi CPHP (Copper plated hollow point) or Winchester Super X. A good shot with a steady hand might find the piece effective against predators such as coyote, varmints, and ground hogs.

When the overall performance of the rifle and cartridge are considered, the Ruger 10/22 and .22 Long Rifle cartridge combination is among the most attractive, ounce for ounce, of all modern firearms. This Ruger gave excellent results. At 25 yards, groups were centered into an inch. The average 10/22 is good for 2 inches at 50 yards. The 10/22 M1 is a winner.

Ruger 10/22 M1 Carbine
Barrel length 18.5 in.
Barrel Twist 1 in 16 inches
Magazine Capacity 10/15/25
Overall length 36 inches
Weight 5.2 pounds

Celebrate October 22—10/22 day—with your Ruger 10/22 story. Even if it’s not October 22nd, do you really need a reason to brag about your 10/22? Share your story in the comment section.

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Comments (37)

  1. So I was thinking of using this for a base and throw a skeleton stock and red dot. Any thoughts suggestions advice?

  2. Great idea, but that funky rail/peep sight combo part looks like the crappy unit Ruger was pushing on some of their low budget “special edition” 10/22s a couple of years ago. Cheap and crudely built, nowhere near functional. And, unlike the author, I think a 10/22 with a 25 rd magazine is a fabulous self defense combo; better than a handgun for 99% of people in a high stress situation.

  3. Check out the Iver Johnson EM1Carbine .22 LR & .22 WMR.
    I still have mine but I’m 75 now. No it’s not for sale.
    Yes Shame on Ruger.

  4. As I QUICKLY went to look at the 10/22 M1 Carbine I was just as QUICKLY disappointed. I know Ruger can do better, something happened in the design or marketing Department and it wasn’t good. Looks more like something JC Higgins would market. OH… it off with a rotary magazine to boot! Well you can set it right next to the Nylon 66

  5. Well, I guess that the writer was lucky because I had exactly the opposite experience with my 10-22. I purchased it used from a co-worker. Mine had a Leopold 4x telescopic sight affixed to it. Since it shot lousy even with the scope, i took the wooden stock off and replaced it witn a plastic one, bought a bunch of 50 rd mags and a steel lined nylon barrel to make it lighter. Then I had the chance to purchase a Henry AR-7 With a piece of hardened steel with a small hole drilled therein for a peep sight. That gun was more accurate than Ruger’s so i sold the 10-22 with all of the paraphenalia that I’d bought for it for $100 ‘just to get shut of it’!

  6. I have to agree with you that the curved magazine and top rail really don’t belong on it. I know, I know…that top Picatinny rail is a concession to those who MUST have some form of optical sight mounted on every firearm they own. For me, I don’t really see a need for optics mounted atop a .22, The .22 is all about inexpensive plinking (or very small game hunting) just for fun, as well as sharpening up our shooting skills which I believe starts with becoming proficient using iron sights.

  7. I have always been a huge fan of the rear peep sight. I’ve always found it to be much easier for me to get a proper sight picture using one than with a standard open rear sight. One other thing I’d love to see is the availability of a hooded front sight. I got hooked on the rear peep/front hooded sight combination many,. many years ago at Boy Scout camp.

    1. I totally agree with you there. The first rifle I ever learned to shoot when I was about 5 years old was my grandfather’s bolt action Remington .22 with Williams competition peep sights. I still haven’t found a better sight since. While they’re not the best choice for fast target acquisition, nothing beats a good peep sight for punching holes in paper or squirrels.

  8. Am I the only one that doesn’t think that this new rifle really looks anything like an M1, except for the fact that it has a wood stock only vaguely reminiscent of an actual M1? For me, the curved mag and the rail on top really ruin the look completely, among the other inconsistencies in detail when compared to the real deal. For me, it’s like they changed the stock, sights, added a rail where it didn’t belong, charged a premium, and called it a day and an M1 copy. Don’t get me wrong; I still really like the Ruger 10/22, but this doesn’t nearly mimic the M1 Carbine nearly as well, as say my GSG mimics the STG44 in .22lr.

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