The Ruger 10/22 is the most popular semi-automatic rimfire rifle in America. Introduced in 1964, the 10/22 took the shooting world by storm and has remained a favorite among gun owners ever since.
How did this handy rifle become such a big hit more than 50 years ago?
The Ruger 10/22 is a lightweight rimfire rifle operated by simple blowback and fed from a 10-round rotary magazine. It’s 5 lb. weight complements its compact form — 37” with an 18.5” barrel — and handy design. However, the weight varies considerably, from one variant to another.
The features of the rifle include:
In a blowback-operated firearm, the mass of the bolt is sufficient to keep the breech closed at the moment of firing until the pressure in the chamber drops to a safe level. The tension of the return spring, which resists linear compression, and the hammer spring, also introduce forces that the fired cartridge must overpower.
In addition to its simplicity for low-powered ammunition, the 10/22 has a relatively slow cyclic rate, so the magazine has ample time to raise cartridges to be stripped by the bolt.
The 10/22 rifle has a cross-bolt safety catch in front of the trigger guard. A cross-bolt safety is a button you press from right to left to block the trigger. The charging handle is attached directly to the bolt and reciprocates as the weapon fires.
The standard Ruger 10/22 rifle has a front bead sight and a folding leaf rear sight. You can adjust the rear sight for elevation by using a flat-head screwdriver. For windage adjustment, you’ll need to use a brass rod or punch to drift the sight base in the direction you want to change the point of impact.
Ruger suggests using a pencil to mark an index line on the sight base during this process.
One of the most innovative design features regarding the 10/22 is its magazine. In the 1960s, most .22-caliber rimfire rifles were fed from tubular or detachable box magazines. Tubular magazines required additional parts and complexity — the cartridge lifter mechanism — and single-column box magazines could cause the rimmed cartridges to interlock, causing failures to feed.
The standard 10/22 magazine uses a rotary gear-like system in which each cartridge is stored and fed separately from the others, ensuring consistent feeding at all times.
Ruger 10/22 Takedown Tactical
While there are several 10/22 variants on the market, one of the most useful to the outdoorsman is the Ruger 10/22 Takedown and, more specifically, the lightweight 4.3 lb. Tactical subtype.
Featuring a black synthetic stock with non-slip texturing on the fore-end and grip, the Takedown Tactical is an exceptionally ergonomic weapon suitable for all-weather use. The muzzle is threaded and equipped with a Ruger-brand flash suppressor.
You can also attach a sound suppressor to the threaded muzzle for a quiet varmint rifle or plinking piece.
Ruger 10/22 Upgrades
When a firearm attains a certain level of popularity, the demand for customization options tends to encourage a corresponding aftermarket supply. Those interested in improved accuracy, capacity, ergonomics, or controllability have a variety of Ruger 10/22 mods to choose from.
The standard 10/22 stock is one piece made from hardwood. You can, however, find synthetic stocks that are either fixed or adjustable, depending on your preferences. These stocks allow you to adjust the length of pull and are impervious to moisture.
The .22 Long Rifle cartridge doesn’t produce much recoil, but if you shoot competitively and want every advantage you can obtain, a muzzle brake can eliminate what little muzzle climb does exist.
If you find the standard 10/22 sights inadequate for your purposes, you have a few options. The first is to replace the existing iron sights. Instead of open sights, you can install a rear aperture sight, which attaches to the rear of the receiver. Aperture sights are more precise than open sights, and this also extends the sight radius.
Depending on the 10/22 variant that you own, the receiver may have an optics-compatible Weaver-type rail. This allows you to attach a telescopic sight or other optics for improved target acquisition or long-distance precision shooting.
While the original 10/22 magazine is known for its reliability, it’s also limited to 10 rounds of ammunition. If you’d like to upgrade, several companies manufacture 25-round high-capacity magazines. However, the rimmed cartridges cause a pronounced curve to the magazine body at these capacities.
If you’re interested in a trigger upgrade, you can buy one directly from Ruger — the BX Trigger. The BX Trigger is a self-contained module that you can install for a light 2.5-3.0 lb. crisp trigger break into your off-the-shelf rifle. The reset is positive, and there’s minimal overtravel, ensuring maximum trigger control for precision shooting.
Extended or ambidextrous charging handle
If you need a charging handle, you can retract rapidly; several companies manufacture upgrades in which the handle protrudes more prominently from the side of the weapon. Alternatively, you can install a left-handed charging handle for increased access if you're a southpaw.
Oversized takedown knob
For simplifying the disassembly process, you can replace the OEM takedown screw with a knurled knob. Now, you can loosen the takedown screw with your fingers when a flat-head screwdriver is unavailable. As a bonus, if it’s stainless steel or titanium, it won’t corrode.
Extended magazine catch
The standard magazine catch for the 10/22 has a compact form factor but isn’t designed for speed. An extended magazine catch can be a beneficial upgrade if you need to reload more quickly during competitive matches.
Buy the Right Accessories for Your 10/22 — Including Shooting Targets
At We The People Holsters, we appreciate the utility and history of the Ruger 10/22. In its standard configuration, it’s a reliable, accurate, and excellent rifle for fun or practical use.
You can, however, also upgrade this weapon to increase its general utility. We offer several free targets that you can download as PDF files and print. When you’re testing your new 10/22 rifle or sighting in the new riflescope you’ve attached, you need shooting targets.