Hard on the heels of the Ruger Wrangler revolver, Ruger has introduced a more affordable version of the 10/22 self-loading rifle. The new rifle, SKU 31139, is intended to retail for less than $200. This is the same reliable 18.5-barrel 4.5-pound rifle as before, but without sights and a rather plain vanilla plastic stock. A sight rail is included.
The Ruger 10/22 falls into the sporting rifle, rather than target rifle, category. The rifle fires the affordable and useful .22 Long Rifle cartridge. For small game and informal target practice, as well as training, this is a popular rifle. It is also a popular rifle to upgrade with custom barrels and stocks.
This is a simple blowback action. Hammer and recoil spring pressure hold the bolt shut after firing until the bullet exits the barrel, releasing pressure and allowing the bolt to blow back, eject the spent cartridge, and strip a new round from the magazine. Each trigger press fires a single round. The action then resets the trigger.
The 10/22 is a rifle with a well-deserved reputation for reliability despite its affordable construction. The receiver and trigger guard are casting. A key feature of the rifle is the barrel. It is affixed to the receiver by a V block and two screws that lock the barrel into the receiver. This makes for easy barrel changing out to a bull barrel, threaded barrel, or target grade barrel.
The 10-shot magazine is encased in plastic. The steel magazine is a rotary-type, like the original Savage 99. This magazine is very reliable. Trouble with this type is practically unheard of. The original 10-round magazine may be replaced by 15- and 25-round X magazines. The only requirement for long term reliability is that the magazines be cleaned every 500 rounds or so.
The magazine is easily detached by means of a thumb latch. Late model 10/22 rifles feature an extended release that is very fast and easy to use. The rifle features a cross bolt safety and a lever to lock the bolt to the rear or release the bolt.
I have noted, in accuracy testing of many 10/22 rifles, that the Ruger has a tight chamber. It isn’t quite a Bentz chamber, which is a match grade chamber with less taper than a standard chamber. Just the same, a self-loading .22 benefits from a tighter chamber to reduce blowback and helps keep the chamber clean.
When you look at the design of the Ruger, with no locking lug, it is a wonder the rifle is so accurate. Yet, the action is full-length bedded in the stock. I would not kid you, the new 10/22 features what first appears as a cheap plastic stock, but the stock features light checkering in the right places, even on the butt bad. This works well in shooting drills. The stock allows an adult to properly handle the rifle, while teenagers are also able to handle the 10/22.
Since the rifle doesn’t have sights, I mounted a Burris Fast Fire red dot sight. I really like the Burris and the AF-type mount easily mounted on the Ruger’s top rail. This red dot is excellent for all around use. While it may be a bit expensive — costing about the same as the rifle to a little more — saving money on the rifle may mean you can spend more on optics.
There are inexpensive red dots and scopes that would also work fine with the Ruger. The Burris, however, has good features that make it a great choice. After mounting the Burris Fast Fire 3, I dryfired the rifle a few times before range work. The trigger breaks at 6 lbs, a bit heavier than I like, but smooth and crisp. I took along a good supply of the CCI Mini Mag and the new Federal Hunter Match ammunition as well as a stack of Ruger X magazines.
The Ruger 10/22 is famously reliable. I would have been surprised to find otherwise with the new version. While less costly than some, the action is the same as any Ruger 10/22. The Ruger was easily sighted in using the Fast Fires adjustments.
The rifle is fast, very fast on target. While I don’t recommend the .22 for personal defense, it has served, and a quality .22 self-loader isn’t the worst choice you could make.
I settled into a solid bench rest firing position and fired several five-shot groups at 25 yards. The CCI Mini Mag averaged 1.25 inches for three groups, the Federal Hunter Match load was more accurate with a group of 1.0-inch average. This was with the red dot dialed down to its lowest setting. These are excellent results. I find the Ruger 10/22 a great all-around rifle, and the new version gives shooters on a budget another option.
Do you own a Ruger 10/22? Which model is your favorite? What aftermarket accessories do you recommend? Share your answers in the comment section.
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