Do not trust the stock Ruger scope mounts. They aren’t very good. I buy the Weaver scope rail and mounts and install them on the pre-tapped receiver. The Ruger scope mounts just won’t stay put under fire… they work themselves loose all the time unless you use lock-tite (blue, not red!) and even then I don’t care for them. Do yourself a favor and invest in the Weaver rail and the medium height mounts. They work great.
Don’t go overboard on a scope. The gun has a maximum “flat” range of just about 125 yards. You don’t need a great scope at that range. A nice Bushnell or Simmons is all you need. Don’t listen to those who would urge you to spend many times more than the rifle is worth on a scope. The beauty of the Ruger 10/22 is many customizations can be done inexpensively and will provide you with a rifle that is fun and inexpensive to shoot while being accurate and effective.
Do buy a new stock to replace the stock wooden furniture. Hogue makes a great soft-rubber over-molded stock that makes the gun seem to nestle into your hands. The removal of the old stock and installation of the new one takes a couple of minutes. This simple and inexpensive modification will make you think you have a new gun on your hands.
When cleaning the gun use a non-marring (coated) cleaning rod. Don’t use an uncoated steel rod. If you screw up the muzzle crown you will hate yourself as the gun will never be accurate again unless you have the barrel re-crowned by a gunsmith. This is not a bad idea regardless of whether the barrel is damaged or not, since crowning will tend to protect the muzzle from damage.
Avoid lead bullets as the gun is inherently difficult to clean efficiently. Lead bullets are seductively inexpensive, but don’t fall for it. You can buy copper or brass washed bullets almost as cheaply and they will save much scrubbing of the bore to get the lead out of the rifling. My recommended ammo is CCI Mini-Max. Don’t use Stinger ammunition in the target model 10/22 as Ruger warns against it due to possible malfunction and damage to the gun.
Avoid over-lubrication. Use grease on the chamber rails. Oil will “gum up the works” as .22 ammunition is dirty stuff, and oil traps the gunk and makes cleaning difficult. And don’t believe those that say “it never needs cleaning” or “clean it once a year”. Baloney. Treat it like any other fine gun. I clean mine every time I use it and it has never failed me.
Buy extra magazines. You can never have too many magazines and they only cost about $10..
Lastly, don’t underestimate or overestimate the gun. It is a fine rifle, capable of precision shooting out of the box. You can customize to your hearts content, and the improvement in performance will be incremental. Don’t get me wrong, customizing these rifles is fun and worth doing, but it is only a .22 so don’t get the idea that you are going to take wild boar at 600 yards if you install a new barrel, tripod, stock, scope, trigger job and hammer…etc., etc. The .22 cartridge is only capable of so much. Stay within it’s performance envelope and the Ruger 10/22 will give you tons of enjoyment. It is the ultimate kid’s rifle… for kids of all ages.