|The second of Ruger’s semiautomatic firearms designs to reach the market was the first Ruger rifle, the .44 Carbine. It was a .44 Magnum hunting tool announced in 1959 and was popularly known as the Deerstalker. This gun endured in the product line until 1985 and was the design foundation for the rimfire 10/22 autoloading rifle series that was introduced in 1964. Like the Ruger .22 pistols, the 10/22 was immediately popular from the moment of its introduction and has become one of the most successful recreational shooting sports products in firearms history. One sure way to tell that a firearm design has reached “classic” status is when the marketplace starts overflowing with accessories and other manufacturers imitations, and by that standard Ruger’s .22 LR semiauto has been a classic for a good long while. The world is presently packed with variations on the 10/22 theme, including a huge list of different wood, laminated, and synthetic aftermarket stock designs plus magazines, barrels, sights, and other accessories as well as “total custom rifle” packages from some of the nation’s best-known and highly regarded gunsmiths and manufacturing firms—Clark Custom, MRI, Turner Custom, Choat, RAM-LINE, Butler Creek, and Hogue to name just a few. From backyard plinking to the Champion’s Circle at the NSSF Sportsmen’s Team Challenge and the Rimfire Action Event at The Masters (which Ruger founded and sponsored), the Ruger 10/22 rifle, in one form or another, is simply everywhere.
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As with the Ruger .22 pistol, the basic features of Ruger 10/22 rifle are so well and widely known that little description is called for. The autoloader mechanism operates as a straight blowback (as do nearly all .22 semiautomatics from all makers, rifle and pistol alike), and the design employs Ruger’s trademark integrated modular subassembly features throughout. The trigger housing contains the entire firing mechanism and features a short-throw, high-speed swinging hammer for rapid locktime. The one-piece .22 LR receiver is milled from a solid block of cast aluminum and is drilled and tapped for a tip-off scope mount adapter supplied with the gun. The barrel-mounted open sights feature a fold-down adjustable rear leaf (slide/screw adjustable for elevation, drift adjustable for windage) and a gold bead front blade. The safety is a sliding crossbolt in the front of the trigger guard (easy to use for right- and left-handers alike). A manual latch just in front of the trigger guard can be used to manually lock open the bolt. The compact rotary 10-shot magazine was developed and introduced with the original gun and has since become basic to many other rimfire and centerfire Ruger rifles as well.
The 2000 Ruger catalog contains 10 different 10/22 model variations (prices range from $235 to $445), including the 10/22 .22 Magnum introduced in 1999. The .22 LR versions include the Standard configuration in blue or stainless with barrel band and one-piece smooth hardwood stock; the All-weather models in blue or stainless with barrel band and black synthetic stock; the International Carbine models in blue or stainless with full-length Mannlicher-type checkered hardwood stock; the Deluxe Sporter version in blue only with checkered walnut stock and no barrel band; and the Target Models in blue or stainless with hammer-forged, spiral-finish bull barrels; laminated, target-style uncheckered stocks; and no open sights. All except the 20-inch Target Models feature 18 1/2-inch barrels. Add the .22 Magnum model and there’s a 10/22 for just about any purpose imaginable.
A longtime fan of the 10/22 .22 LR guns, I recently had the opportunity to review one of the first .22 Magnum versions to leave the factory. Although it was externally virtually identical to the .22 LR models, Ruger has made a strong point that the .22 WMR version represents the most extensive modifications to the 10/22 series since its introduction—primarily in the engineering areas ofthe steel receiver and the “heavy metal alloy” (HMA) bolt design, which allows the higher pressure magnum cartridge to operate within a blowback mechanism of the same essential dimension as the .22 LR. At 50 yards the review sample averaged under an inch combined for 11 different loads fired and only 0.63 for the load it liked best. This from an autoloader! In my trade literally scores of fine firearms pass through my hands for evaluation every year. I covet many but can afford to buy very few. I bought this one.
Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. Lacey Place, Southport, CT 06890, Telephone: 203-259-7843, Fax: 203-256-3367
6 grooves, R.H. twist; 1 turn in 406 mm
Front Sight: Blade; Rear Sight: Adjustable.