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.

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)

  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.

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