By Bob Campbell,
Among the most useful, reliable and practically accurate .22 caliber rifles made is the Ruger 10/22. Introduced in 1964, the Ruger 10/22 has become the most popular .22 rimfire rifle in America. My experience with the rifle goes back some forty years. I have enjoyed excellent results with every Ruger .22 I have owned. I have never seen a malfunction with the rifle when the 10/22 is fed the proper High Velocity .22 Long Rifle ammunition. Varia-tions include rifles designed for long range target work, for hunt-ing, and even tactical versions for personal defense. It is difficult to choose a favorite among the many variations, but a new version of the rifle has my attention.
Ruger has introduced a version of the rifle that is similar in appearance to the M1 Carbine. The M1 .30 Carbine was used in World II, Korea, and Vietnam and is a highly collectable firearm. Light, handy, and firing a mid-range cartridge, the M1 carbine was the first low maintenance military rifle and the first issued with non-corrosive ammunition.
The Ruger 10/22 M1 version isn’t a reproduction as it is chambered in .22 Long Rifle, but it is fittingly called a tribute to the M1. For performance, appearance, and fun factor the Ruger makes the grade. The look is classic but the performance is all 10/22.
The heart of the rifle is the proven 10/22 action. This is the most proven .22 caliber self-loading rifle ever manufactured. The rifle will use any accessory designed for the Ruger 10/22 including the X series magazines. Previously, Ruger’s 10/22 featured the famously reliable 10-round rotary magazine. This design is among the stand-outs of all Ruger products for engineering success. This magazine is trouble free and very reliable. The X25 series magazines introduced a few years ago give the rifle a 25-round capacity. Unlike the many aftermarket magazines offered for the Ruger 10/22, Ruger magazines are reliable, well made of good material, and rugged. The M1 version is provided with a new version of the X magazine, the X 15, with a 15-round capacity. This mimics the original M1 .30 car-bine’s 15-round box. The action is the same as any other 10/22 with a cocking handle on the right side, push button safety in the trigger guard, and magazine release in front of the trigger guard.
The Ruger 10/22 M1 features a protected front sight in keeping with the military appearance theme. A most interesting modification to the original Ruger 10/22 is the rear sight. The rear sight is an aperture type that while not identical to the M1 carbine is used in the same manner. This rear sight should offer real speed and excel-lent practical accuracy. It is smaller than some apertures which should complement the 10/22’s accuracy. The rifle also incorporates a Pica tinny-type rail on the receiver. This will allow easy mounting of optics. I see the rifle as well suited to an affordable Red Dot sight for fast work at moderate range.
I have seen both original and reproduction .30 carbines fitted with optics and they are formidable rifles. After all the original was used in the Pacific with a night vision scope! The wooden stock is what sets this rifle apart from every other Ruger 10/22. The stock features a forend that closely mimics the design of the M1 carbine. The outlines, dimensions and style of the stock are similar to the M1 carbine, including a slot in the rear of the stock that allows the use of a sling in the original M1 carbine manner. Overall the design and execution of the wooden stock and furniture leave nothing to be desired.
It may seem redundant to extensively test fire a new variant of the Ruger 10/22; after all, the rifle is proven in many years of hard use. But the handling and practical ac-curacy of the new version invited shooting. The Ruger 10/22 in its many variations is among the fun guns of the last fifty years and this rifle would prove no different. The original M1 carbine was among the fastest handling military rifles every designed. The new Ruger duplicates that speed in handling and makes for a valid choice as a go anywhere-do anything .22 rifle. Many recommended the .22 caliber rifle as a personal defense survival type rifle. There is much merit in this recommendation.
The rifle is light, ammunition weight a trifle, and accuracy is excellent. You can get a shooter up to speed on the .22 caliber rifle much faster than a center-fire rifle. But the .22 isn’t a center fire rifle and the power of the cartridge simply isn’t sufficient for personal defense and hunting medium size game. Just the same, the .22 has been used in personal defense and has served well on occasion. Shoot straight and practice firing repeat shots. The accuracy of the rifle and cartridge combination lends itself well to fast hits to the arterial region. But light cover or heavy clothing will defeat the .22. The rifle is a great small game get-ter. Rabbit, squirrel and other animals to perhaps the 25 pound class may be taken cleanly with the .22 Long Rifle and a well-designed load such as the Fiocchi CPHP (Copper plated hollow point). A good shot with a steady hand might find the piece effective against predators such as coyote, varmints and ground hogs. When the overall performance of the rifle and cartridge are considered, the Ruger 10/22 and .22 Long Rifle cartridge combination is among the most attractive, ounce for ounce, of all modern firearms. This Ruger gave excellent results. At 25 yards groups were centered into an inch. The average 10/22 is good for two inches at 50 yards. The 10/22 M1 is a winner.