Ruger 10/22 Review: A Perfect Rifle For Beginners & Experts

The Ruger 10/22 is one of the most prolific rifles in the United States (outside of the M1 Garand), entering the market in 1964. The Ruger 10/22 is a semi-automatic, rimfire rifle they chambered in the 22 long rifle cartridge. Since it’s inception, the Ruger 10/22 has become the go-to rifle for beginners and experienced shooters.

The Ruger 10/22 has 14 different variations that span a wide variety of accessories and configurations. This includes models they chambered in 17 HMR, 22 WMR, and most commonly the 22LR. The 22LR variant is the only model still in production as of 2016.

Ruger built the Ruger 10/22 in many versions, including the traditional rifle variant and a pistol variant. Also, there is an integrally suppressed version and a takedown model. There are variants of the 10/22 platform to anything you may need from a rimfire rifle.

Things To Know About the Ruger 10/22

The Ruger 10/22 is a semi-automatic rifle, meaning you fire one shot per pull of the trigger. The weapon feeds from a unique rotary-style box magazine. And the magazine ranges from 10 to 25 rounds. This rotary magazine allows for a high capacity with a reliable feed system. However, the rimmed design of the Ruger 10/22 doesn’t lend itself well for magazines.

In fact, for some time, single stack magazines were the only magazines that reliably ran in rifles and handguns. But, the Ruger 10/22 rotary magazine proved to be reliable, easy to load and can remain loaded indefinitely. The layout of the Ruger 10/22 is traditional. Also, a variety of different barrel lengths are available.

Overall, the weapon tends to be extremely lightweight and has a short length of pull. The charging handle is on the right side of the weapon. And the rifle uses a unique magazine release. Also, the ergonomics of the rifle are easy to understand and use. They lend themselves well to shooters of all sizes, including young shooters. The Ruger 10/22 includes simple open sights. Lastly, they also designed the 10/22 to make it easy to attach an optic, too.

Why Ruger 10/22 is Perfect for Beginners

The Ruger 10/22 is one of the best beginner’s rifles out there. Because they mass-produce it, the Ruger 10/22 rifle is widely available, too. Also, it’s an affordable rifle with new models running at approximately $200. And the Ruger 10/22 design is perfect for beginners. The mass popularity makes it easy and affordable to find accessories like magazines, scopes, and slings.

The Ruger 10/22 features a rimfire 22 cartridge. The 22 LR round is affordable with the ability to purchase a brick of 500 rounds for less than $30 on average. This allows a beginner to purchase a substantial amount of ammunition without breaking the bank.

Also, the 22 LR ammunition is notoriously anemic when it comes to recoil. They designed the 22 LR largely for target shooting and hunting game like squirrels and rabbits. The recoil of the round is low, so the smallest of shooters can utilize it without flinching or fearing recoil. The Ruger 10/22 is easy to control because it has absolutely zero muzzle rise.

And when you fire 25 round mag dumps as fast as possible, you can still stay on target. So, even beginners will shoot better from the start. The Ruger’s semi-automatic action makes it possible to just dump lead into a target safely. Just dumping lead isn’t good for anything other than making noise, but it is undeniably fun.

When beginners catch onto the fun aspect of firearms, they’ll want to shoot more. And more practice helps them develop their skill-based shooting skills. The Ruger 10/22 is lightweight, which makes it easier for shooters of smaller stature to control the rifle accurately and confidently. The 10/22 rifle is the perfect size for shooters both big and small.  Ruger makes  some great beginner handguns too, like the Ruger SR 22.

The Wild Price Ranges

The Ruger 10/22 is one of the most affordable rimfire rifles, as well as one of the most expensive rimfire rifles at the same time. Because of the difference in variations, the price is quite variable. For example, an integrally suppressed model with a match grade barrel, which is also a takedown rifle can cost upwards of $1,000. But a base model can cost around $250.

Also, the takedown variant, which breaks into two pieces for easy carry, is also around $250. Custom-built sports models for precision shooting can the most expensive Ruger 10/22s of all. However, the base model Ruger 10/22 can do about 98 percent of what any shooter will ever need a 22 to do. And the base model, carbine and some takedown models are quite affordable and easy to find.

Reliability Standards

When they originally designed rimfire rounds, it was a time when the revolver and manual action rifle ruled the day. So, they didn’t build them as rapid-firing, semi-automatic weapons. This often leads to unreliable semi-automatic 22s without certain ammunition. This issue was especially true in 1964 when they presented the Ruger 10/22.

However, since then 22 LR rifles have noticeably become much, much better. The reason they’ve had to become to better is that the Ruger 10/22 found a method to make it work. Ruger implemented one of the first reliable semi-automatic rimfire rifles, so everyone else had to struggle to compete. In the time of mass production when the big gun companies were slipping in quality, the Ruger has remained the go-to rifle.

The 10/22 can handle any standard ammunition and is outstanding in accuracy, ejection, extraction, and feeding from magazines. The Ruger rifle can also handle more power than average rounds like the CCI mini mags and Federal automatch rounds. The Ruger can even digest subsonic ammunition and cycle without issue.

The only ammo that doesn’t function reliably with the Ruger is the oddball 22 LR rounds that don’t hold powder. However, these types of rounds are boutique and not useful. One of the keys to the 10/22’s reliability is the rotary magazine system. The rotary magazine is bulky but functions well. It’s one of the few systems that can hold more than 10 rounds and reliably function.

Rifle Accuracy

The Ruger 10/22’s accuracy varies widely between the different models of the 10/22. The Bull barrel that’s match-grade is more accurate than the standard barrel. However, this is only critical for people who measure shot groups in a hundredth of an inch. The standard barrel profile is accurate enough for most new shooters. This is especially true for new shooters.

The rifle features a crisp trigger that’s comfortable, yet light and short. This trigger of the 10/22 lends itself well to accuracy. The shorter a trigger pull is, the less of a chance you have of throwing a shot. The light nature of the trigger makes it comfortable to shoot repeatedly for long periods of time while maintaining accuracy.

The simple sights are effective for shooting small targets at under 50 yards. It’s easy enough to pick off soda cans at 50 yards in the prone position. Out to 25 yards it in a standing position it is easy to keep a tin can dancing as you rapidly fire at it.

Tossing an optic on your rifle will leave you with an accurate rifle out to a hundred yards. The Ruger 10/22 is well suited for informal competitions, but you can tune it to be a competitive precision rifle.

Aftermarket Accessories

The Ruger 10/22 has a massive accessory market. With all the available accessories, you can fundamentally change your rifle. In fact, you can customize the Ruger 10/22 so extensively, all you may have left is the original receiver. You can swap stocks, barrels, scopes and much more.

Some owners have transformed their rifles into the exact models they wanted. You can even take the stock standard configuration Ruger rifle and turn it into a bullpup configuration just by swapping stocks.

The Ruger 10/22: Parting Shots

Many people consider the Ruger 10/22 as the American rimfire rifle. It is an icon that families pass from one generation to the next. New shooters looking for their first rifle will be well served by the Ruger 10/22.

Even after a beginner shooter becomes experienced, the Ruger 10/22 will serve them well as a rimfire rifle. Lastly, be sure to follow the basic gun safety rules closely, so you’ll enjoy your rifle with care.


Levi Frenchak has years of firearms experience between sporting and responsible concealed carry applications. Levi is a member of multiple pro-second amendment organizations including USCCA, NRA, and just as importantly, his local range. Levi is continuing a legacy of support for our rights by working with his family to increase firearms education and awareness as the lead editor of GunBacker.

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