Ruger 22 Rifle Review: Does It Live Up to Its Name?

Most shooters start with a .22LR rifle.

It’s simply the ideal firearm to learn how to shoot before moving on to guns with a bigger caliber. The 22 rifle is light, easy to handle, and the ammo is cheap. The 22 rifle is probably one of the most practical rifles out there.

It’s superior to other rifles when it comes to cost and hunting prowess. Whether you’re hunting small game or using it as a survival tool, the .22 rifle really gives you the best bang for the buck.

However, not all 22 rifles are created equal.

With that said, we’re going to highlight the Ruger 22 Rifle. Among American shooters, it’s what everyone wants, everyone keeps, and everyone can afford.

But is it really good as they say? Let’s find out!

Ruger 22 Rifle General Information

Ruger 22 Rifle Model 1103

There are plenty of models for the Ruger 22. For this review, we’ll try to focus on most of them but will mostly talk about the Model No. 1103. Let’s first take a look at some of its key specs:

Stock:

Hardwood

Front Sight:

Gold Bead

Rear Sight:

Adjustable

Material:

Alloy Steel

Twist:

1:16" RH

Capacity:

10

Finish:

Satin Black

Weight:

5 lb.

Overall Length:

37"

Barrel Length:

18.50"

Grooves:

6

Suggested Retail:

$309.00

Key Features:

  • ​Patented, detachable 10-round rotary magazine features a unique rotor to separate cartridges and provide reliable feeding.
  • ​Legendary action, a tried and true Ruger design, ensures consistent, reliable performance.
  • ​Cold hammer-forged barrel is locked into the receiver by a unique, two-screw, V-block system.
  • ​Positive, push-button, cross-bolt manual safety.
  • ​Combination scope base adapter for both Weaver-style and .22 tip-off scope mounts included.
  • ​Easy-to-use extended magazine release provides smooth, no-fuss removal of flush-mounted magazine.
  • ​Heat-stabilized, glass-filled, polymer trigger housing assembly is precision made of high-tech material for improved manufacturing tolerances, impact and abrasion-resistance and an unmatched ability to withstand the elements.

First Impressions

The Ruger 22 is the chameleon of the firearm world. It can be anything from your young one’s first long gun or a varmint rifle, to a deadly but accurate firearm that can be used in survival situations.

One of the most distinctive features of the Ruger 22 is its magazine. The 10-round magazine is kind of odd, even in the world of rifles. The gun uses a notary mag which is only used by Tommy guns back in the day.

The Ruger 10/22 is available in a wide range of configurations. You can get them from walnut stocks (like the 1103) to synthetic stocks with matte black finishes. This option is great for everyone who wants a 22 but doesn’t want to settle with either the more classic or modern look.

The Model No. 1103 is a thing of beauty with a hardwood stock and the sleek Satin Black finish. I know that the Ruger 10/22 is a legendary rifle in terms of reliability, but you really get that sense once you hold the gun in your hands. Everything just feels so solid and the moving parts are just smooth.

You just get the feeling that this gun can do just about anything you want.

Reliability

The Ruger 22 is a rifle that just offers no surprises. As I’ve mentioned, it’s a gun that does the exact thing that you want it to do. The main advantage of this rifle is its sterling reputation for reliability, and that’s something I’ve experienced first-hand.

This is why the rifle has earned the distinction of being one of the best starter guns.

For a semi-auto rimfire, the Ruger 22 is a rifle that’s just trouble-free. You can fire 200+ rounds downrange before it requires any sort of maintenance. While it’s not that impressive by itself, it has no problem managing the excessive amounts of carbon that’s produced by the gun.

Even during heavy-use sessions, the gun gives the feeling that there’s more shooting to be done.

Accuracy

The reliability of the Ruger 22 definitely extends to its accuracy.

The model is designed for a serious tackdriving, so accuracy is key when it comes to this rifle. However, the accuracy will also depend on the quality of the ammunition, or if you had any aftermarket modifications to the rifle.

For testing, I’ve used a bulk .22 ammo and burned through it. With a stock barrel, the numbers are not exactly what I would describe as great but it’s still within the realm of my expectations. But then again, I was shooting bulk ammo and it’s practically a stock 10/22.

target

​Image Source: pixabay.com

Ammunition and Shooting

Pretty much all .22LR ammo is affordable, at least when compared to larger calibers. However, not all .22 ammo is created equal. There is some ammunition that are so cheap, but they’re cheaply made as well. At some point, you’ll find a cheap ammo that won’t even work in the gun.

Based on my experience, most semi-auto weapons can be rather picky when it comes to ammunition. The Ruger 10/22 rifle definitely fits the bill.

I mean, it’s not like you’re going to be limp-wristing but it’s really not that hard to stovepipe a round in the Ruger 22 with a cheaply made ammo. So my recommendation is that you should buy a small number of rounds from different brands. Then you can just test them one by one and see which one works best. Buy the best ammo in bulk.

With how the gun shoots, you’ll be needing a lot of .22LR ammo. You have a gun that is fairly lightweight and feels great to shoot, so you’ll be shooting a lot of it. I’ve found myself blowing through a box of ammo in no time.

Customization

The Ruger 10/22 is the Ford Mustang when it comes to customization options.

The Ruger 22 is right up there with M-16/AR-15 and the venerable model 1911 when it comes to customization. In fact, with the right aftermarket parts, you can build a 10/22 from scratch. From custom stocks, options, and a myriad of accessories, the Ruger 22 rifle is one of the most accessorized rifles available in the market. Most heavily customized 10/22 rifles bear a little resemblance to the stock model.

So it’s not just a reliable firearm, it’s very versatile as well. With the millions of accessories, add-ons, and mods out there, you can do just about anything you want from this rifle.

Want to make it look like an AR-15? You can get yourself an Archangel stock and swap it off with the original. Want to make it look like a desert warrior? Swap out the original stock with something like a Tapco adjustable stock.

With the right aftermarket parts, you can make the Ruger 22 the best gun you’ll ever own.

​​Pricing

The Ruger 10/22 Rifle is available from $214 to $300 which is fairly standard for semi-auto rimfire.

Considering just how reliable and versatile this firearm is, I’d say you are getting the best bang for your buck with the Ruger 22. Plus, the ammo is quite affordable as well, so you can shoot all you want and not feel like you’re being fleeced. And yes, you’ll be shooting a lot since the gun just feels so nice to shoot. The lightweight profile of this long gun will enable you to shoot longer as well.

It’s also a very versatile gun that lends itself well to a gazillion of customization possibilities. It’s an amazing gun for beginners but it’s a great platform for people who have been shooting for a while as well.

Pros And Cons

So what are things that we liked and didn’t like about the Ruger 22?

PROS

  • Top-notch reliability
  • Amazing customizability
  • Good price
  • Cheap ammunition
  • Great fun to shoot
  • Good starter rifle

CONS

  • Requires ammo testing
  • No consistency in loading

User Reviews And Feedback

rifle

Image Source: www.flickr.com

So what do other people think about the Ruger 22? Well, it has earned the reputation of being legendary and many people think that it has lived up to its name.

One of the main things that people like about this gun is its reliability. While it’s a popular starting gun for youths and beginners, many advanced users use the rifle as their main hunting weapon. From plinking to routinely taking down a big game, the rifle is a reliable weapon in the right hands.

Many people also enjoyed the fact that it’s such a joy to shoot. Since it’s a very popular gun, there’s a huge aftermarket to this gun. Thus, many people opt for this gun for its customization capabilities. Many reviews also stated that this gun provides a great value for the money.

Here are some examples of the positive reviews:

“​I've had this rifle for at least several months now and I am very pleased with this purchase. The front sights are very precise and ideal for long range targets. Have not used a scope yet but I'd imagine it would take any scope and a very far target at ease.”


- ras25arm

“​​I’ve only had the chance to take it out once but worked flawlessly no jams. My only complaint is the iron sights. The front sight is a gold bead that was hard to pick up in the sight window. Considering putting a tru-glo beads on instead. Otherwise, it seems to be a very reliable gun.”


- deerhunthud

​On the flip side, there are also a couple of negative reviews about the Ruger 22. Perhaps the most common complaint about the gun is the notary magazines. Some people just outright don’t like the mag and some are saying that it’s not consistent when it comes to loading and unloading.

There are also a couple of users who are not thrilled with the trigger and had to get an aftermarket replacement, otherwise the gun is not usable.

Here are some of the negative reviews we’ve found:

“​My brother has one that is about ten years older and it is of superior quality. His bolt is a much better finish and trigger housing made of aluminum not plastic. Trigger is very bad and an aftermarket hammer or polishing of factory components is a must. Polishing of all friction points is a must in my opinion. Factory mags work flawless, butler creek ones are hit and miss.”


- Saskboy

“​​​Conceptionally this is a good idea. Practically it does not function well. The bolt release is a disaster and does not work in the rifle as purchased with the stock trigger group. I installed a Volquartsen trigger group and it works fine.”


- 25characters

​​What We Think

The Ruger 22 rifle is an all-around great choice.

For me, the greatest use of the rifle is for plinking. The rifle excels as a tool to introduce youth shooters to the joys of marksmanship, and firing a reliable and quality firearm in the safest manner.

If you love customizing guns, you’ll downright fall in love with this gun. With the right aftermarket parts, it’s not hard to turn your gun into its best form possible. It’s a good thing that parts are also cheap and plentiful.

This gun is just hard to beat.

Our Rating: 10/10

Captain Hunter
 

Captain Hunter provides guides on how to hunt effectively, answer reader questions, and reviews of the latest hunting gear. We specialize in providing expert information that does exactly what it claims. Our dedicated staff members are each seasoned professionals with a passion for hunting built upon years of in the field experience.

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