Keeping the Ruger 10/22 Good Times Rolling

After much anticipation, I headed up to the hills of Sultan Washington back in 1981 with my Dad to shoot a gun for the first time. I was a bit nervous, and very excited. It was a misty morning, and I recall taking the 1966 Ruger 10/22 out of its towell and rubber band “case” with much respect.

The author's 1966 Ruger 10/22 - Image Copyright 2012

I recall setting up an empty cardboard orange juice carton, loading up the magazine with cartridges that were impressive looking to me at the time, and then preparing to take the first shot. I pulled the trigger, and the gun went “pop”. I can still smell the burned propellant and misty forest scent. The excitement from this trip took a lot of time to “wear off”, and this rifle has provided much entertainment and fun since then.

Unfortunately, .22 long rifle firearms can also be very picky and problematic. I can remember many frustrating moments with the aftermarket 25 round magazine that I purchased in the 1980’s. Sure it was fun to fire off a bunch of rounds in succession, but the frequent feed problems took away from the fun.

So what can you do to have more fun than headaches with your .22 long rifle firearm? Here’s a few things:

  1. If your firearm is not functioning well, perform a detail strip, cleaning, and lubrication job. With such a light recoil, .22 long rifle firearms are more sensitive to changes in action friction
  2. Use OEM magazines. After all of the trouble that I’ve had with non-OEM or specialty magazines, I’ve settled on factory Ruger 10 round magazines, they just work!
  3. Experiment with different types of ammunition – some will likely work much better (feed, etc) than others. Try different brands and different bullet weights/profiles

Remington .22 long rifle "Golden" ammunition - a favorite and reliable feeder in my 10/22

So, clean up your gun, get some good ammunition, and let the good times roll! Do you have tips that you’d like to share? Please drop a comment!


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3 Responses to Keeping the Ruger 10/22 Good Times Rolling

  1. This was my first gun in 1975. I still use it today – albeit with a new stock and Volquartsen trigger group. Wonderful little rifle. Have to echo your comments on OEM magazines – far superior to the replacements.

  2. Dale Swanson says:

    The more one shoots, the more fun it is and the better our skills, assuming we work at them.

    Unfortunately the more we shoot the more we need to clean our guns to protect them and keep their accuracy. As a Marine (now retired) I’m a little more fussy about cleaning than most and quickly learned to find inexpensive ways to make the task easier. Here are a couple of examples of things I found, built or developed to make the task easier and faster:

    1. While looking at pictures of bluing tanks the light bulb came on. I contacted a friend who is an A/C & heating contractor and as these folks are expereinced sheet metal workers for ducts and the drip pans, I asked him to make me a water tight box, 36″ long X 12″ wide X 6″ high, with a lid. I fill it with my choice of cleaning solvent and soak barrels/actions and large parts as long as necessary. The lid helps keep the dust and dirt out and the smell in. ( I have a workshop away from the house so I use PD 680 dry cleaning solvent, what the military aviation ordnance guys use when I can get it and kerosine when I can’t. Aside from being careful about the fire hazard of kerosine which isn’t that bad, it has a high flash point, kerosine cleans well, lubricates and prevents rust. And it’s cheap.

    2. I picked up a small automotive parts cleaner from a local store for cleaning small parts. Again, fill it with your choice of cleaning solvent and let it soak as long as necessary. They have a small pump and filter with a flexible goose neck nozzle that is perfect for rinsing while brushing, etc. And again, you can close the lid to keep the fluid clean, limit smell and prevent hazards.

    3. A dedicated cleaning/maintenance bench if possible with a automotive fender protector or other liquid barrier as a cover is a huge help. I use fishing rod hangers for all my cleaning rods, parts bin racks hung on the wall to store all the brushes, mops, jags, etc. and label the drawers.

    4. A paper towel rack mounted on the wall near the bench so one can just grab them.

    5. If in a garage or basement with a water source, an inexpensive deep sink is a huge time saver and you can wash up when done.

    6. Again, if possible, a small air compressor to blow out an dry parts or debris is helpful.

    7. A small shop vac, wall mounted or portable near by for cleaning up dropped patches, spilled case cleaning media, etc.

    8. A wide selection of shotgun mops and brushes for parts of the gun that don’t take bore brushes, like the receiver on a Ruger Mk I, II, III, 22/45, etc. or upper receiver of an AR style gun.

    9. A box of vinyl or other disposable gloves, cheap at home stores. Just watch for some solvents that will break them down quickly. Other consumables that will help that you can buy cheaply in bulk so that they are always handy.

    10. Empty water bottles with caps to catch patches. A pair of tin snips or other cutting device can split the mouth to fit over the muzzle and if needed a plastic self locking tie (again, cheap in bulk) to hold it on.

    11. Used empty plastic containers like 2/3 lb coffee bottles/cans for holding misc stuff that can be labled and stored with the lids on. The blue Maxwell coffee containers with snap on lids work well and are cheaper than commercial storage bins.

    12. If you can sew or know anyone who can, buy vinylized fabric from fabric supply stores and make covers for anything that needs them. My wife made covers for all my reloading presses, cleaning tanks and everything I want to keep dust out of or just cover up for any reason.

    Most of all, just think of anything you can tailor to your individual situation to make cleaning and maintaining your guns easier, quicker and more convenient and you will find you will shoot more and enjoy them more. I usually wet patch the bore and leave it overnight, dry patch a couple times and wet patch again the next day and a third before doing a thorough cleaning if not shooting again in a few days. That allows the solvent to have time to loosen up everything beforehand and requires less bushing and scrubbing. If shooting several times a week or more than one day close together, just use a bore snake or clean just enough to prevent excess lead, copper or powder fouling from ruining accuracy and creating stoppages and save the big cleaning for when you are done and use the three day soak and final clean. Saves a ton of work.

  3. Roger M. says:

    I have two 10/22s. Both were bouht when Ruger first cam out with them. I used one and my dad the other. My sons now shoot my dads. A conservative estimate is that each gun has over 200,00 rounds through them. I have replaced the triggers in each gun with Clark triggers, not because Ruger’s failed, but because the Clark triggers have a much smother and lighter pull. I have only used factory clips. I wore the springs out on several of them. I now have ten clips for each gun. I clean the guns about every three months. I have never had a jam using copper plated round nose bullets. Some of the lead bullets occasionally jam. The only turncated bullets I have used are CCI Stingers. I have not had a problem with them, but I do not shoot as many of them, as they cost so much more.

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