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Best Ruger 10/22: Hunting, Plinking And Beyond

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Ruger 10/22 options are legion. We help you wade through your choices to pick the best option in the classic .22 LR in this guide.

What Are The Top Ruger 10/22 Models?:

The Ruger 10/22 and its many variants are some of the most prolific semi-automatic rimfire firearms in existence and are loved by novice and experienced shooters alike.

The name 10/22 refers to the practical aspects of the rifle, with the “10” referring to its standard magazine capacity and the “22” referring to its .22 LR chambering. Of course, higher capacity magazines are available today such as the BX-15 and BX-25, holding fifteen and twenty-five rounds respectively.

The rifle has also been offered in other chamberings in the past, but those models are now discontinued.

The 10/22 design has established itself as a reliable firearm, a particularly important trait for semi-automatic rimfire rifles as they can be picky when it comes to ammunition, often requiring high-velocity loads to ensure proper function.

Ruger has utilized the 10/22 as the basis for a myriad of rifle designs and it even appears in pistol form as the 22 Charger line of products. Essentially, regardless of your needs, there’s a Ruger 10/22 model out there for you.

A classic Ruger 10/22 Carbine with stainless steel finish and scope. Photo: Rock Island Auction.

Ruger 10/22 History And Popularity:

The classic Ruger 10/22 has been in production since 1964, and it quickly became a rimfire staple due to its reliable magazines and semi-automatic action. Other semi-automatic rimfire rifles existed before the 10/22, notably the Marlin Model 60, but without features like the ten-shot rotary magazine.

Over time, the Ruger 10/22 has evolved to fit the needs of shooters. Improvements such as the addition of an extended magazine release button and the drilling and tapping of receivers at the factory are notable changes that have become standard on most 10/22 models. To supplement the drilled and tapped receivers, most 10/22s today ship with an optic mount that accommodates both Weaver-style and .22 tip-off mounting solutions.

This rifle’s popularity has led to it becoming one of the most imitated and cloned designs on the market, and it is currently possible to piece one together without using any Ruger-made parts. The fact that the design is so prolific, both in factory and clone form, is a testament to the 10/22’s lasting popularity.

A custom Ruger 10/22 Carbine with Volquartsen upgrade parts. Photo: Rock Island Auction.

Ruger 10/22 Modularity:

It is no hyperbole to say that the 10/22 sits alongside the AR-15 and Glock when it comes to the sheer degree of modularity inherent to the design. Nearly every component of the 10/22 can be replaced with an aftermarket part. Triggers, stocks, barrels, receivers, you name it.

The simple barrel removal process accommodates a wide array of barrels on the aftermarket, including integrally suppressed and takedown versions. The inclusion of threaded barrels and drilled and tapped receivers allows for one to acquire a wide variety of muzzle devices and optic mounts as well.

The 10/22 has a considerable number of products that support the design, comprised of both factory and aftermarket options. Even rimfire giants such as Volquartsen and Kidd make a litany of parts for the 10/22 design, allowing users to incorporate high-performance parts into their Ruger rifles.

The 10/22 design can also be dressed up to mimic the appearance of other firearms, such as the M1 Carbine, HK G36 or FN P90. When it comes to customizing a 10/22, you can truly tinker to your heart’s desire.

The P90-style Ruger 10/22 conversion kit from High Tower Armory.

Ruger 10/22 Applications:

The 10/22 is very useful in a variety of different roles and applications. They are always excellent options for training due to their low recoil impulse, ability to be shot easily and affordable ammunition. The value of the 10/22 as a trainer applies to new and experienced shooters alike.

New shooters will be treated to a pleasant shooting experience that is not overwhelming and allows them to hone and practice their skills peacefully. Experienced shooters will be able to focus on their shooting fundamentals and maintain their basic skills while shooting on the cheap.

While not a true 1:1 trainer like the Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22, the tactical, pistol grip-equipped variants of the 10/22 can serve as a means for shooters to familiarize themselves with and practice with something analogous to a tactical carbine.

A Ruger 10/22 with aftermarket carbine stock Vs. a S&W M&P 15-22.

Naturally, the 10/22 is an amazing choice for plinking too. The availability and affordability of the ammunition cannot be understated and enables hours upon hours of enjoyment at the range.

When it comes to hunting, the 10/22 is also an excellent choice for dispatching small game. In the field, the lightweight nature of the 10/22 and its ammunition becomes especially appreciable. Furthermore, many 10/22 configurations such as takedown and compact models lend themselves well to survival and trekking roles.

While rimfire firearms are generally not recommended for self-defense, the 10/22 can fill this role in a pinch if necessary. Having a gun is better than not having one after all. There are many reasons why something like a .22 LR firearm is less than ideal for self-defense, so one should not consider the 10/22 as a primary means of protection.

Essentially, the Ruger 10/22 and its many variants are incredibly versatile and can be utilized in a variety of roles and activities. It is quite probable that Ruger already offers a 10/22 that fits your desired needs, but if not, the rifle’s modularity will ensure that you can make one that checks all of your boxes.

Our 10/22 Selection Process

Frankly, when it comes to factory Ruger 10/22 rifles, it’s hard to go wrong. As far as picking out the right model for yourself goes, it boils down to the specific features of each rather than any inherent difference in quality. With that in mind, we combed over Ruger’s entire catalog and from our first-hand experience found that these models of 10/22 rifles and pistols had the most to offer the average shooter.

Specs Comparision Of The Best Ruger 10/22 Models

ModelStockFront SightRear SightBarrel MaterialTwist RateCapacityBarrel FinishWeightOverall LengthBarrel LengthGrovesMSRP
Ruger 10/22 CompactBlack SyntheticFiber OpticAdjustable Fiber OpticMaterial: Alloy Steel1:16 inch, RH10Blued4.4 pounds34 inches16.12 inches6$380
Ruger 10/22 CarbineHardwoodGold BeadAdjustableAlloy Steel1:16 inch, RH10Satin Black5 pounds37 inches18.5 inches6$390
Ruger 10/22 TakedownStealth Gray Magul X-22 BackpackerFiber OpticAdjustable Fiber OpticStainless Steel1:16 inch, RH10Satin Stainless4.2 pound35 inches16.4 inches6$670
Ruger 22 Charger LitePicatinny Rail Brace MountNonePicatinny RailAlloy Steel1:16 inch, RH15Matte Black3.56 pounds19 inches10 inches6$740
Ruger 10/22 TargetBlack Laminate with ThumbholeNonePicatinny RailAlloy Steel, Aluminum Alloy Barrel Sleeve1:16 inch, RH10Satin Blue5 pounds53.25 inches16.13 inches6$800

Best Ruger 10/22 Models:

Ruger 10/22 Compact (Model 31114):


  • Compact and nimble
  • Fiber optic sights
  • Adjustable stock


  • Stock looks and feels plasticky
  • LOP and comb height are not independently adjustable

The compact nature of this model comes from its 16.12-inch barrel (shorter than the standard 18.5-inch barrel) and the inclusion of the Ruger Modular Stock System. The length of pull and cheek weld can be adjusted with the use of various modules.

This modularity allows the rifle to accommodate a wider variety of shooters. Another departure from traditional 10/22s is the sights, as the 10/22 Compact ships with a set of fiber optic sights for quicker target acquisition. The shorter barrel and use of plastic furniture allow the Compact model to be less expensive than the standard 10/22 too, making it a great value option whether you appreciate the extra compactness or not.

Ruger 10/22 Compact Specs
Stock: Black Synthetic
Front Sight: Fiber Optic
Rear Sight: Adjustable Fiber Optic
Barrel Material: Alloy Steel
Twist Rate: 1:16 inch, RH
Capacity: 10
Barrel Finish: Blued
Weight: 4.4 pounds
Overall Length: 34 inches
Barrel Length: 16.12 inches
Groves: 6
MSRP: $380

Ruger 10/22 Carbine (Model 1103):


  • Classic 10/22 look
  • Will take a lick'n


  • Heavy for a plinker
  • No stock texturing

If you’re looking for a classic-style 10/22 that provides the closest look to the original model, this is certainly it. This is a no-frills rimfire rifle that comes with everything you need and nothing you don’t.

The rifle is equipped with a simple yet effective sight setup that features a gold bead on the front sight post. If you wish to put a scope on the rifle, this can be easily done as well using the included scope base. This may be the most basic 10/22 model, but I think that it’s also the most timeless.

Ruger 10/22 Carbine Specs
Stock: Hardwood
Front Sight: Gold Bead
Rear Sight: Adjustable
Barrel Material: Alloy Steel
Twist Rate: 1:16 inch, RH
Capacity: 10
Barrel Finish: Satin Black
Weight: 5 pounds
Overall Length: 37 inches
Barrel Length: 18.5 inches
Groves: 6
MSRP: $390

Ruger 10/22 Takedown (Model 31152):


  • Feather light
  • Simple takedown
  • Perfect as a backpack gun


  • Takedowns are a little less accurate

This takedown variant of the 10/22 features Magpul’s X-22 Backpacker stock. As its name suggests, the X-22 stock was designed with backpacking in mind. The stock has a provision for storing three BX-1 magazines, and a storage compartment is also present in the grip that can accommodate things such as batteries, a bore snake or tools.

The use of stainless steel in the barrel and receiver also protects the rifle from the elements, making it a hardy companion in the field. The threaded barrel makes it easy for one to equip this carbine with a suppressor too, a great extra option for hunters. The set of fiber optic sights is a welcome inclusion as well.

This model would make an excellent choice for a survival rifle as it is lightweight and compact both when deployed and stowed. Whether it’s for the field or simply a more compact storage solution when packing for a range trip, the 10/22 Takedown in Magpul’s X-22 stock fits the bill.

Ruger 10/22 Takedown Specs
Stock: Stealth Gray Magul X-22 Backpacker
Front Sight: Fiber Optic
Rear Sight: Adjustable Fiber Optic
Barrel Material: Stainless Steel
Twist Rate: 1:16 inch, RH
Capacity: 10
Barrel Finish: Satin Stainless
Weight: 4.2 pounds
Overall Length: 35 inches
Barrel Length: 16.4 inches
Groves: 6
MSRP: $670

Ruger 22 Charger Lite (Model 4935):


  • More fun than you deserve to have
  • AR compatible grips
  • Lights out with a brace


  • Does not ship with a brace

The 22 Charger Lite from Ruger takes the standard 22 Charger design and makes it more portable. Its 10-inch, cold hammer-forged barrel can be easily removed, and it’s tensioned in an aluminum alloy barrel sleeve that has been ported to further cut down on weight. The muzzle is threaded 1/2×28 and a Picatinny-style rail at the rear of the 22 Charger Lite allows one to install a stabilizing brace. The 22 Charger Lite shines as a truly compact and stowable solution as it benefits from both its inherently small package and the ability to be broken down even further.

Ruger 22 Charger Lite Specs
Stock: Picatinny Rail Brace Mount
Front Sight: None
Rear Sight: Picatinny Rail
Barrel Material: Alloy Steel
Twist Rate: 1:16 inch, RH
Capacity: 15
Barrel Finish: Matte Black
Weight: 3.56 pounds
Overall Length: 19 inches
Barrel Length: 10 inches
Groves: 6
MSRP: $740

Ruger 10/22 Target (Model 21186):


  • Perhaps the most accurate 10/22 model
  • Ergonomics are extremely comfortable
  • Upgraded BX-Trigger


  • Heavy
  • Expensive

This 10/22 variant is optimized for target shooting. The black laminate wood stock features a thumbhole design that lends itself well to improving the rifle’s ergonomics. Ruger also includes their BX-Trigger in their 10/22 Target rifle, an improvement over the base model. The BX-Trigger breaks at 2.5 to 3 pounds, features a crisp reset and reduces overtravel significantly.

The 10/22 Target is a great choice for those who wish to squeeze as much accuracy out of their rig as possible. Essentially, this rifle will make for a precision-oriented rimfire rig that will allow you to shoot on the cheap. Throw a scope on this rifle and enjoy.

Ruger 10/22 Target Specs
Stock: Black Laminate with Thumbhole
Front Sight: None
Rear Sight: None
Barrel Material: Alloy Steel, Aluminum Alloy Barrel Sleeve
Twist Rate: 1:16 inch, RH
Capacity: 10
Barrel Finish: Satin Blue
Weight: 5 pounds
Overall Length: 53.25 inches
Barrel Length: 16.13 inches
Length of Pull: N/A
Groves: 6
MSRP: $800

More On The Ruger 10/22:

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