Ruger 10/22 Review: Great for Beginners, Small Game, and Competition Shooting

The Ruger 10/22 is well known by gun enthusiasts as a limited recoil, easy to maintain, rifle for “every man.” But, we wanted to see if these claims are as true as they seem and if the Ruger 10/22 is a good choice for beginners. 

During our Ruger 10/22 review, we scoured the internet to find all the Ruger 10/22 models, prices, and accessories available, and we compiled it into this comprehensive guide. After much preparation, it’s time to dive in and finally make a choice on whether or not the Ruger 10/22 is the right rifle for you. 

Ruger 10/22 Review

Whether the Ruger 10/22 is your first or your last gun, there are some primary factors to consider before buying one. We’re breaking down all the most important details you’ll want to know. 

Accuracy

As with most rifles, the accuracy will vary from model to model and will also depend on what type of ammunition you use. The bull barrel models are more accurate than standard barrels, but this is something that will only be noticeable in shot groups of a hundredth of an inch or less. 

It comes with a light but crisp trigger, and it’s responsible for a lot of the Ruger 10/22 accuracy. The shorter the trigger, the less likely you are to throw a shot. It also lends itself to the fatigue aspect of firing a lot of rounds in a short amount of time. 

As for ammo, we’ve seen people use Federal Target ammo with a 1” grouping and then use Remington Yellow Jacket hollow point ammo and get a 5.8” grouping, so it really depends. The accuracy is nothing to call home about, and a lot of experts recommend using a simple sight or scope. Adding some optics to your .22 will give you a more accurate shot up to one hundred yards, and it will lend you the help you’ll need in competitions. 

Some of the newer Ruger 10/22 models have a tighter chamber, which reduces blowback and keeps the chamber cleaner. It doesn’t come with a locking lug either, and the action is full-length in the stock, so it definitely helps with accuracy. 

Reliability Standard 

The original design of the Ruger 10/22 wasn’t a quickfire, semi-automatic rifle. As a result, they required specific ammunition if you wanted to get the 10/22 reliability you need. Since then, they’ve made many improvements on the design and found a way to make it work in everyone’s favor. 

They rolled out their first semi-automatic rimfire rifle, and all the other gun manufacturers struggled to rival it as their quality seemed to continue to go downhill. Fast forward to today, the 10/22 handles all kinds of ammunition and offers great ejection, extraction, and feeding. It can also handle more powerful rounds and even subsonic rounds without any issues. 

Of course, everything is up for interpretation, and the type of ammunition you use will always impact your reliability. Using top brand ammunition like CCI, Winchester, Weaver, Remington and Federal Target will provide better reliability, but you’ll still experience jams every now and then. Make sure you keep the barrel clean and stay away from bottom shelf ammunition. 

Price Ranges 

The Ruger 10/22 price is what attracts new gun owners and enthusiasts. It’s an affordable rifle, but it also tends to run expensive as well, and we’ll explain this. There are many different upgrades and features you can add to a Ruger 10/22. It’s a highly customizable firearm, and as a result, those upgrades can quickly hike up the price tag to near $1,000 or more. 

If you decide to go with a standard base model, you can walk out with a rifle for less than $300. The two-piece Takedown is also affordable, with a price tag between $300-400. If you’re new to this rifle and you’re looking for something affordable, it’s important to understand that you don’t need all these upgrades. 

If you’re just trying to shoot for fun or you’re looking for something for self-defense, go with a base model, and don’t worry about all the fancy upgrades. Most people will never need them, and the base can do most of what any shooter will ever have to do anyway. 

Features

During our Ruger 10/22 review, we noticed a few interesting features that make this rifle stand out. It comes with a detachable box magazine where the outer casing is plastic, but the throat is a steel barrel. The gun has a spring-driven plastic rotor with light pressure that allows you to easily load the magazines in place. 

Disassembling a Ruger 10/22 is simple as well, and it makes it much more efficient when cleaning. The manufacturer recommends doing this every 500 rounds to get rid of the accumulated residue, which will help with performance and reliability. They also suggest that you don’t remove the rotor spring, which will complicate reassembly. 

Another nice feature is the safety latch that holds the bolt open. It’s on the trigger’s forepart, and you open it with your thumb by retracting the bolt and pressing the latch. It doesn’t release automatically, and this is a nice safety feature in the event that you drop or jar the gun, it won’t accidentally open. 

We think we’re all in agreement when we say that the best feature of the gun is the number of 10/22 Ruger accessories that you can add on. This rifle is one of the most customizable guns on the market, and there are so many things you can do to improve it even though it’s highly functional right out of the box. 

Performance

For being famously affordable, you would have semi-low expectations in terms of performance and handling, but that’s not the case with the Ruger 10/22. The rifle is fast, quick for target shooting, and great for playing around. We don’t really recommend it as a gun for self-defense. The Ruger serves its purpose better in competitions and recreation, but you could use it if needed. 

As for handling, the lightweight nature of the rifle and the textured buttplate is what enhances the performance and makes it easier to fire. The whole gun is compact and well designed, so it’s easy to carry around, which ultimately lends itself to improved performance. 

The main factor is that you need to follow a regular maintenance schedule and make sure you stay on top of it, and you’ll never have to worry about performance. 

Length and Weight 

As you can likely tell, one of the biggest selling points is the short Ruger 10/22 length. You can break this rifle down into smaller pieces as well, which makes it easier for transportation. 

The Takedown’s overall length is 36.75” when fully assembled, and the barrel length is 16.40”. As for weight, it can run a little heavier than desired at approximately five pounds, which doesn’t make it the lightest rifle on the market, but it’s certainly not the heaviest. If you’re firing this in a competition or looking for a portable plinker, you might want to look for something else. 

That said, the great handling of the Ruger 10/22 also makes the rifle feel and appear lighter and smaller than it is. It’s an ergonomic firearm that is simple to understand and great for shooters of all sizes. We even recommend the Ruger 10/22 for inexperienced youth shooters because of its limited recoil, compact design, and easy to understand magazine design. 

Magazine and Reloading 

Your Ruger 10/22 likely comes with a standard 10 round rotary magazine, but there are a million Ruger 10/22 aftermarket magazines that you can install on it as well. 

Some magazines are known for being unreliable, but we didn’t experience that in our research, and the magazine drops easily and installs even easier. Many firearm enthusiasts also enjoy the paddle-style release, which makes reloading simple for shooters of all skill levels. 

The base of the magazine release sits flush with the trigger guard, and while this feature doesn’t impact the firing capabilities of the rifle, it helps with the overall appearance. It makes the gun look nice with clean lines and a sharp appearance. 

Overall, we think the Ruger 10/22 is one of the simplest rifles on the market to load and reload, which makes it a great rifle for beginner shooters, and it also helps with competitions and plinking. 

Recoil Management

Most .22’s have very little (if any) recoil, and that’s the case with the Takedown or Carbine as well. It’s a huge benefit of this lower caliber rifle, and even if you’re experiencing a little recoil, it’s so nicely absorbed by the buttstock, which makes the rifle even easier to fire and handle. 

As a result, this feature continues to make the 10/22 a great gun for beginners and smaller shooters who might not have as much experience. This is why it’s such a highly recommended rifle for varmint. 

You don’t have to flinch or worry about recoil because it’s easy to control and will certainly help when trying to hit smaller targets like rabbits and squirrels. 

Upgrades 

If there’s one thing we know about the Ruger 10/22, it’s that there are a million aftermarket parts, accessories and optional upgrades that make customizing your rifle fun and effective. You can change out scopes, barrels, synthetic stocks, triggers, and more. 

In the event that you’re not too thrilled with the accuracy of your Ruger, consider looking into optics like scopes, front sights, rear sights, and red dot sights for your 22 long rifle. There are a bunch available all over, and we even wrote a full review on the best red dot sights and best scopes for Ruger 10/22 rifles. 

One of our favorite things to swap out on the Ruger 10/22 is the stock. You can go with a beautiful wooden or carbon fiber stock to give your rifle the appearance you want for competitions or just for showing off to your friends. 

Many experts recommend swapping out the trigger because it’s an affordable upgrade, and it will improve the firing capabilities of the rifle by a long shot. You need a more sensitive trigger pull for competitions, and replacing the standard option will help a lot. Regardless of what you want to do, there’s an upgrade for it. 

Why is the Ruger 10/22 the Best Rifle for Beginners? 

The Ruger 10/22 is a great beginner rifle because it’s affordable, easy to load, simple to breakdown, and it has almost no recoil. There are few rifles out there that you can walk away with brand new for around $300. It’s also very popular, which makes it easy to find upgrades like scopes and triggers. 

Best of all, the ammunition is affordable too. You can get 500 rounds for $30-40, depending on how premium you want to go. It allows you to play around, fire a lot of rounds, and not have to worry about breaking the bank.

The number one reason we recommend the Ruger 10/22 for beginners is because of the recoil. Most .22’s don’t have a lot of recoil, but the Ruger takes it to another level. It’s great for both older individuals and younger generations. You don’t have to flinch or worry about recoil, and what little you experience is absorbed in the butt anyway. 

Final Thoughts 

We’ve reached the end of our Ruger 10/22 review, and we want to highlight a few main points from this article. 

First, the Ruger 10/22 is highly customizable, and that’s one of the most essential features. Second, it’s one of the most affordable rifles of this caliber, and it makes it more desirable for beginners or those who might want a rifle but are on a strict budget. 

Lastly, the recoil is what drives us home. There’s no recoil, it’s easy to fire, simple to reload, you can’t go wrong with a Ruger 10/22 if you’re looking for a compact rifle that’s easy to use and simple to maintain.