Some advice on buying a Ruger 10/22 sent in by a “humble reader” who prefers to go nameless.
Either go with a 18″ barrel or (if you can find them) a 20″ or 22″ barrel. The latter is for increased sight radius as past 16 inches of barrel a .22LR will usually start to slow down a bit (but not too much). I would suggest putting out the extra cash for stainless. It’s strictly anecdotal but I’ve always found them easier to clean than carbon steel barrels. A standard barrel or bull barrel is a question for you to decide. My advice is go with the standard for now. They’re cheaper & lighter & will do fine while you learn to really shoot the thing. After you have some experience you can figure out if you need to upgrade your barrel or not.
Some models have a longer than standard stock so if that may be an issue for you double check it against a standard length stock (as found on their plain model 10/22) before you buy. A note though – After market stocks are readily available. So if you otherwise love the rifle you’re looking at, but might want a different stock – just figure if it’s worth the $100-$150 or so for the after market stock as opposed to continuing your search. If price ain’t no thang, then grab it & start looking at your options.
Laminates are great. Mainly because they resist the effects of humidity. They don’t swell or shrink like walnut does, so they offer a more stable platform for the rifle. But they are a bit pricier than the walnut versions. Synthetic stocks are even better than laminate at stability, but I never liked the look or feel of them. You might find a used (maybe even new) 10/22 with a synth stock for a great deal. Boyds makes 2 decent stocks for the 10/22 (the Blaster & SS Evolution). Boyds’ website is new & mighty messed up, so just look at the pics & call them before making an order. But $100 to $150 or so will get you those two stocks, & a host of companies make stocks for the 10/22 in the same price range or a hair more, so your options are only limited by your desire & budget. (Here’s MidwayUSA’s 10/22 Stocks page, for example) & remember – .920 barrel channels in stocks are for bull barrels, not standard taper barrels.
The stock triggers on 10/22′s aren’t great, but depending on how nice you want it you can change that. Replacement parts abound & for around $100 or so (or more, depending upon your desires) you can change out the trigger completely if you wish. SayUncle will give good advice on this, as I never bothered with trigger work on mine. Or you could just buy a ready-to-drop-in part – I’ve had my eye on this one for a while, for example.
Sights – you’ll either have a blade & leaf rear sight with a front bead (V-notch), or no iron sights at all. All 10/22′s come drilled & tapped for a scope (or more accurately have a scope mount included that you install yourself). This I am a bit of a bore about – invest in an aperture sight. Once you learn how to use them properly you’ll be almost as accurate as with a scope. By all means, get & use a scope, but learn to use an aperture. Why? Well, because they’re very accurate (especially compared to other iron sighting systems), dependable (they rarely break), commonplace on military & competition rifles, & they’re a great back up for those rare but not unheard of times when your scope cannot or will not work.
MidwayUSA has a Williams receiver sight for the 10/22 running at $59. (I prefer Lynman myself but they stopped making their 10/22 model). It’ll run another $40 or so to have a gunsmith install it (assuming $20 per hole to drill & tap the two holes needed) but it will be worth it if &/or when you need a really accurate iron sight.
Sling – make sure you get a model with sling swivels, or look into having them installed (if you don’t wish to do it yourself – but it’s not that tricky). A sling isn’t for carrying the rifle – though it can be used for that. A sling is the greatest aid to accuracy you’ll ever use after the sights & the trigger.
Good stuff. Thanks anonymous dude!
I got this advice after I bought my 10/22, but it matches that advice to a T. It’s the “Wal-mart special” with 22 inch standard profile stainless steel barrel and sling swivels. I’ve got a Tech-Sight aperture sight on the way.