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There aren’t many guns that can claim to have achieved “legendary” status – it takes a special, once-in-a-generation kind of firearm to hold that distinction – and the Ruger 10/22 undoubtedly makes the cut. Since its introduction in 1964, the 10/22 has been the class of the rimfire rifle division, and remains one of the most popular .22 rifles to this day. Ruger has introduced an increasing number of variants of the 10/22 over the years but the secret behind the success of the firearm, which lies in every edition of the 10/22 ever produced, is in its accuracy and reliability. A world-class rifle, the Ruger 10/22 has been servicing shooters the world over for years. All of this will be discussed and more in our Ruger 10/22 Review!
Ruger Firearms – Background and History
Founded by William B. Ruger and Alexander McCormick Sturm in 1949, Ruger (or the Sturm, Ruger & Company organization) started out as a small gun servicing company working out of a rented machine shop in Connecticut in 1949. Having found moderate success replicating and improving on Japanese WWII pistol formulas, Ruger “took off” when it introduced its rifle series, and in particular its famous 10/22 rifle. Featuring an appealing combination of low cost and high quality, the 10/22 was first introduced in 1964 as an accompanying rim fire rifle to what was then the primary offering of the company, the Ruger .44 magnum carbine. As it turned out, the 10/22 outclassed other rifles in its category so substantially that it became immensely popular, and held the status of Ruger’s flagship product shortly after its introduction.
Ruger 10/22 Tech Spec
Type – Rimfire Rifle
Action – Semi-Automatic
Barrel Length – 18-1/2”
Weight – 5.0 Pounds
Sights – Gold Bead Front/Adj. Rear
Finish – Stock
Finish – Barrel and Receiver
Safety – 2-Position Thumb
Ruger 10/22 Rifle – Build and Operation
The action on the 10/22 is of the blowback design, meaning that the bolt is held closed by a closing spring, as well as the hammer pressure against the back of the bolt. The basic design of the gun implements Ruger’s patented integrated modular sub-assembly design, which means that the gun is a breeze to customize, disassemble, and reassemble. The trigger housing of the gun contains the entire firing mechanism – a firing mechanism which features a short-throw swinging hammer for rapid lock time. Overall the gun features a reliable and sturdy build which, again, is one of the main draws of the weapon. Ruger was truly ahead of its time in terms of making high quality weapons that stood the test of time – the 1960’s was not exactly a golden age in terms of gun manufacturing. Rather, the industry was replete with inferior products flooding the market. The 10/22 grabbed an advantage in this area and has not relinquished it to this day, continuing to improve on the 10/22 formula to meet new modern standards.
One of the most celebrated aspects of the 10/22 is that of the magazine mechanism and afforded options. Everyone likes customization options, and there is no shortage of them when it comes to 10/22 mags. The gun ships with a standard, block, 10-round rotary magazine, but Ruger has also manufactured a number of alternate magazines. This includes the clear, polycarbonate 40th edition 10-round magazine that was released in 2004 and met with praise, as well as a five-round rotary magazine for states which restrict magazine size.
The magazine being in rotary form means that the cartridges are not stored in the traditional stacked manner, which is part of what makes the mechanics of the magazine well so efficient. This allows the mag to fit into the rifle without sticking out at the stock in an unaesthetic and potentially problematic way, like is seen so often with different rifles. The popularity of the 10/22 has led to a large number of third-party magazine options for 10/22 owners, but it should be noted that not all 10/22 magazines are compatible with all 10/22 guns. Be careful before trying new ammunition – make sure your mag manufacturer is reputable and that it is in fact designed to work with your version of the 10/22.
Ruger has taken the ‘safety first’ mantra quite seriously with the 10/22 rifle. Using a cross-button safety which is located in the forward portion of the trigger, the safety of the gun can be operated only when the hammer is cocked. When the safety fully protrudes from the bolt handle side of the gun, it is on and working, as the sear is blocked and the gun cannot be fire by pulling the trigger. Always remember to keep the safety on at all times, except when actually firing the gun. The safety feature on the 10/22 is efficient, effective, and famously reliable.
Recoil and Accuracy
The barrel of the 10/22 is chambered tightly in order to reduce kick, as well as blowback of different particles in the event of cartridge extraction, such as powder gases and burning powder grains. The barrel and action assembly is secured in the stock by a barrel band and a screw entering the bottom of the receiver, which is embedded full length in the stock. There is no recoil lug in the weapon, but the tigger guard tang has a firm bearing against the stock. Basically, what this all means is, the gun features remarkably manageable kick and recoil given the fire power that it possesses – and this is made possible via the world-class manufacturing employed by Ruger in the 10/22. A number of extensive ‘test runs’ have demonstrated the impressive accuracy of the 10/22 over the years, including a 1200-round firing test in which six different makes and fifteen different brands of ammunition were used. The gun did not malfunction in any capacity, and performed exceptionally well despite no prior cleaning or lubrication.
The popularity and the impressive lifespan of the 10/22 has led to an inevitably large number of versions and variations produced by Ruger. Some of the more prominent and notable ones are as follows:
–10/22 Takedown: The Takedown disassembles into barrel and action/buttstock components simply and easily. Shipped in a backpack style case, the Takedown features a brushed aluminum receiver that resembles a stainless steel finish, and also includes an 18.5-inch barrel with a black synthetic stock.
–10/22 Compact, 10/22 Sporter, 10/22 Tactical: The Compact uses a shorter, 16.12-inch barrel, the Sporter an 18.88-inch barrel and checkered walnut stick with sling swivels, and the Tactical a 16.12-inch barrel with a flash suppressor.
–SR-22 Rifle: Released by Ruger in 2009, the SR-22 is a 10/22 receiver embedded in a chassis that copies dimensions of the popular AR-15 rifle (aka M16 rifle). Using standard 10/22 rotary magazines, the SR-22 has been a very popular and successful model, combining the best in two popular guns.
–22 Charger Pistol: A pistol that uses the 10/22 action, the 22 Charger was released in 2007.
–50th Anniversary, Collector’s Series: Ruger’s 50th anniversary 10/22 model featured some new features and aesthetic changes, while the Collector’s Series rifle used a black alloy receiver that had “1964-2014” etched on the gun, as well as a 25-round magazine.
The Ruger 10/22 is one of those classic, well-known and reliable firearms that just screams ‘badass’. It’s a testament to the incredible design and build quality utilized by Ruger that the weapon remains immensely popular to this day, in standard form as well as in a number of different iterations. Ruger has maintained its lead in the front of the pack of rimfire rifles, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to be knocked from their perch any time soon.
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