By: Robert Dunn* I wrote this article for AGI/GCA over a decade ago. The rifle pictured in this article is just about the same as it was back then, though it now has a different barrel band that has a tactical light attached to it and TRUGLO front and rear sights. It is my “Raccoon gun”! Since writing this article, I have produced a couple of 10/22 courses for AGI (Disassembly/Reassembly of the Ruger 10/22 Rifle with Ken Brooks and Building the Custom Ruger 10/22 with Jack Landis). I have built several configurations of this model during the same time period. My heart still races when I have to deal with the safety, my Nemesis!
One day it occurred to me, “There isn’t a Ruger 10/22 in my collection…why?” I guess it is because I have shot so many of them over the years that it seemed as if I already owned one. This tends to happen with the most-owned little rifle in America. As a firearms enthusiast, I had to do something about my lack of a Ruger. There are many reasons for the 10/22’s popularity. For starters, it is a good beginner’s rifle, as it is incredibly accurate and the felt recoil is like a “love tap.” The .22 caliber long rifle rimfire cartridge is one of the cheapest priced calibers of ammunition to buy. This makes this rifle a great gun for plinking. The 10/22 is a fine choice for hunting small animals or varminting as well. The Ruger 10/22 is a good-looking rifle with stock options in walnut or black synthetic. The stainless steel barrels come blued or with a stainless finish. I am glad that I waited to purchase my Ruger, as I bought one with the black synthetic stock with a blued barrel. The rifle has an aggressive tactical look to it. Many times at the range people have asked me what type of gun I was shooting and they were surprised that it was “just a .22.” To me, the .22 LR rimfire cartridge has plenty of firepower. It would just absolutely ruin a robber’s game plan. If an intruder broke into my home and was wearing body armor or was drug-crazed, I could easily switch to beating him senseless with this sturdy little firearm. There are so many aftermarket products for the rifle; it is astounding. Many companies have become successful just producing inventions for your Ruger. One such kit allows you to build a dual barreled Gatlin type firearm built with two 10/22s! Depending on which state you live in, you can buy high capacity magazines for some real fun! There are still plenty of aftermarket magazines for us poor folks that must break up our fun into ten round intervals. This rifle is very easy to field strip. Even a complete disassembly is not bad at all after watching the Master (Mr. Dunlap) making it look so easy on the AGI Armorer’s Course for the 10/22. I used to throw the trigger group into a bag and bring it to work. I would practice taking it apart and putting it back together again on my lunch break. Talk about obsessed. On a typical day, I would clean bucketloads of brass, load about 4 thousand rounds of various calibers of ammo and then take apart guns on my lunch break…Go figure? The only thing that I didn’t take apart for a long time was the safety. I had learned that there are a couple things to be aware of when tangling with these little parts. I knew that I didn’t want to rotate the safety too far before pushing it out of the gun or everyone within a half block radius of where I live would know that I broke or lost a part again (think Tarzan of the Jungle – screaming at the top of my lungs)! I have been fortunate enough not to have made that mistake but when Bob Dunlap says that there is really no need to take something apart, be aware that you will deal with a rascal if you choose to take it apart. If I hadn’t seen this procedure done with my own eyes, I would swear you would need to spend some money at Brownells to get the firearm to work again! I know that sometimes in Gunsmithing that you can do something a hundred times with no difficulty but that some days, you would rather walk on fire than fool with tiny parts. I was like an embarrassed and frustrated actor trying to tape a commercial spot and having the director yell, “Cut…Take 74…Rolling and action!” (been there, done that, got the T-shirt – ed.)Yep, by the time I started counting how many tries it was taking me, 74 wonderful attempts and then…like it was the easiest thing to do in the world, the plunger and spring effortlessly pushed down and in slid the safety. By this time I had moved operations down onto the smooth and well-lit kitchen floor, where nothing could hide! I looked like someone had sprayed me down with a garden hose I was sweating so much. My wife had come in twice and begged me to “Just put the gun down and step away.” Of course, I was going to get it back together and functioning safely in the weapon or I would never eat or sleep again. Yes, I was stupid enough to take it apart again later that week and it wasn’t so bad after bending and filing a dental tool into a custom shape to aid in the job.
The Ruger 10/22 can be customized for accuracy and a scope is easily mounted. If the name Volquartsen rings a bell, then you know what I’m talking about. You can make this rifle look like it was going on a hunt through the woods or a Black Ops invasion of a rogue foreign power. A silencer on this rifle is almost comical as it sounds like a small toy. There will always be parts for this gun, as almost all firearms enthusiasts have one in their gun safe, closet or truck. Some folks have one in all three places!