Bill Ruger described it as "avoiding all the usual banalities", meaning that it was anything but typical.
It was innovative, using both new technologies in manufacturing and design while keeping a profile that was reminiscent of the past.
The Ruger 10/22 was born (practically speaking) in March of 1964, this year to celebrate its birthday I decided to devote all of my posts this month to the venerable Ruger 10/22.
We'll start with some facts about the rifle:
When the Outdoor Channel TV show Gun Stories aired a segment based on the 10/22, host Joe Mantegna asked several people about the 10/22. The most common response was: "Hey, I own one of those".
At the conclusion of the show, Mr. Mantegna's final words were: "I too, own one of those"
Serial #1, the very first Ruger 10/22 to roll off the assembly line
The aluminum trigger housing was switched to plastic in 2008, the change included an extended magazine release.
The Ruger 10/22 replaced the Remington Nylon 66 within the U.S. Military's "Commando" units
It is possible to build a 10/22 rifle without using one single Ruger part.
The Intratec Tec-22 uses the 10/22 magazine
Production of the 10/22 was moved from the Southport plant to the Newport, NH facility in 1970, beginning with serial number 110-25722
The trademarked name for the plywood used on the 10/22 laminated stocks is called "Stratabond".
The design of the 10 shot rotary magazine came from one of Bill Ruger's favorite rifles: the Savage model 99.
Since 2007 Ruger and Talo have been sponsoring the USA Olympic Shooting team by selling special edition 10/22 rifles and donating a portion of the proceeds
The standard 10/22 carbine weighs 5 1/4 lbs.
The first 200 10/22 rifles were sold to employees, friends of Bill Ruger and gun industry professionals.
The material for the plastic butt plate is called Celcon and is supplied by General Electric.
Harry Sefried, who assisted Bill Ruger in the design of the .44 Carbine, also assisted with the design of the 10/22
Ruger began advertising the 10/22 in June of 1964
In 1980 Ruger switched the stock material from walnut to birch (around the serial numbers 119-70067 to 121-50355). In 2008 the material was switched to maple, then to beech.
Buzzpro.com listed the 10/22 as the number one on their list of The Top Ten Guns Every American Should Own.
For the year 1976 Ruger added the line: "MADE IN THE 200th YEAR OF AMERICAN LIBERTY" to the barrel.
When introduced in 1964 the 10/22s MSRP was just $0.55 more than its closest competitor: the Marlin model 60. Today the 10/22s MSRP is $100 more than the Model 60.
The part number for the standard Ruger 10/22 carbine is 1103.
The stocks were originally produced by the S.E. Overton Company of South Haven, Michigan.
in 2004, for the rifle's 40th anniversary, Ruger introduced a clear/see-thru version of the BX 1 rotary magazine. The magazines are still made and continue to sell well.
In addition to the clear magazine the 40th Anniversary edition featured a large medallion inletted into the butt stock
A Ruger 10/22 uses eight springs (including the BX1 magazine)
in 2013 Guns & Ammo Magazine rated the 10/22 Take-down model as the best Rimfire Gun made
The Ruger American Rimfire bolt action rifle uses the BX Magazines from the 10/22
The trigger pull on an unmodified 10/22 is approximately 6 pounds.
In 1969 Ruger added a 3 digit prefix to the serial numbers, beginning with 110. In 2015 the prefix was changed to 4 digits.
The standard 10/22 model is 37" long
Between March 14th and March 21st 1987 John "Chief A.J." Huffer set the World Aerial Target Record by shooting 40,060 1 1/2" cubes. He used 18 different 10/22s and had not one single mis-fire.
The current MSRP for a Ruger 10/22 is $309
The maple wood stock on a current production standard 10/22 carbine weighs approximately 2 pounds.
Peterson's Hunting Magazine listed the 10/22 as one of the Five Best .22 Rifles Ever Made.
Ruger began producing synthetic stocks for the 10/22 in 1996, often called the "boat paddle" because of the void in the butt stock.
Some time around 1980 (about the same time the walnut was switched for birch) the metal butt plate was changed to plastic.
In 1986 Ruger introduced a stainless steel version of the 10/22 using a stainless barrel, bare aluminum receiver trigger housing and barrel band. The later versions have a painted silver coating on the receivers and silver cast plastic. The gun also came with a laminated stock, also a first for the 10/22.
Suppressed 10/22s are used by the Israeli IDF units for "less than lethal crowd control".
This year, Tactical Solutions will begin selling complete 10/22 Take-down rifles, without using any Ruger parts.
The BX Magazine for the 10/22 Magnum holds 9 rounds instead of the usual 10, technically making it a "9/22".
The USFA Zip Gun uses the 10/22s BX magazine.
The original rotor/follower in the BX1 magazine was black, it was switched to red in the 1970s.
Ruger introduced a "Sporter" model in 1966. It featured a Monte Carlo style walnut stock with finger grooves and no barrel band.
The barrel length on a standard 10/22 model is 18.5" long.
The body of the prototype BX magazine was made of aluminum
In 1984 Arcadia Machine and Tool (AMT) began producing a stainless steel copy of the 10/22 calling it the 25/22 Lightning.
Production ended after Ruger filed a patent infringement lawsuit. The folding composite stock and 25 round magazine for the Lightning were supplied by Butler Creek.
Ruger introduced a 10/17 rifle in 2004. It was chambered in the .17 HMR cartridge and built on the 10/22 Magnum receiver. It was listed in the catalog for two years, but apparently never sold due to issues with the pressures developed by the cartridge.
In 2005 Ruger introduced a 10/22 compact carbine model, the gun featured a 16.12" barrel, reduced length of pull and an overall length of 33.5". The reduction in length also shaved 1/2lb off the weight of the rifle.
In 1967 Ruger produced a special 10/22 model to celebrate the Canadian Centennial. The guns featured a Sporter stock with a medallion in the stock and engraving on top of the receiver.
The length of pull on a standard 10/22 carbine is 13.5 inches.
On March 24, 1964, Ruger sent pictures of the 10/22 from its upcoming catalog to gun writers, announcing the new .22 rifle.
In 2013 Ruger held a contest, allowing one fan to design the 50th Anniversary model. The winning entry below was awarded to a Project Appleseed Instructor from Michigan.
In 1971 Ruger began making the 10/22 stocks in house.
The 10/22 receivers were anodized until 1976 when a Teflon coating began to be used, which was later changed to a powder coating.
Bart Skelton (son of gun writer Skeeter Skelton) received a special engraved 10/22 Sporter Model in 1971 (serial # 111-08857) as a gift from Ruger Executive Steve Vogel.
The gun is now owned by a private collector.
More than 7 million Ruger 10/22s have been produced
The rifling on a standard 10/22 is 1 turn in 16 inches, right hand twist.
In 2007 Ruger introduced a pistol version of the 10/22 called the Charger. It left the catalog in 2013 but was re-introduced in 2014.
in 2011 Ruger introduced the BX25 magazine holding 25 rounds of .22 LR, in 2014 Ruger made a 15 round version (BX15) for use in the re-introduced Charger.
The 10/22 (and the .44 Carbine) were inspired by the M1 Carbine.
In 1990 exhibition shooter Chief A.J. commissioned a special run of 10/22s to honor Marine Sniper Gunny Carlos "White Feather" Hathcock.
A current production, standard model 10/22 has 9 bolts but only two nuts.
If you took all the barrels Ruger has made over the last 50 years for the 10/22 and laid them end to end, they would cover the 2,000+ miles of road between Chicago and Los Angeles.
On May 2nd, 2014 Ruger sued Filipino arms maker Armscor to stop the production of an identical (and much cheaper) copy of the 10/22. Armscor called it the M22.
On January 4th, 1978, in response to a personal injury lawsuit, Ruger began adding the warning regarding reading the instruction manual to their barrels.
Lyman provided the 10/22s rear sights until 1975
Ruger produced its five millionth 10/22 in 2005 (serial number 257-94170). It was donated to the 4-H Shooting Program.
The gun was auctioned off in 2008, but not before some upgrades were performed, see below
in 2008 Ruger created the Rimfire Challenge shooting event, which used 10/22 rifles. The event was turned over to the National Shooting Sports Foundation in 2014.
The original MSRP on the 10/22 was $54.50, which was $0.45 less than the Remington Nylon 66.
A .22 Magnum version of the 10/22 was manufactured from 1998 to 2006.
Olympic Arms once produced a stainless steel copy of the 10/22. Ruger's lawyers put an end to production
Most of the part numbers assigned to 10/22 parts begin with the letter "B". One of the only parts that doesn't start with a B is the trigger pivot pin, this is because it was borrowed from Rugers double action revolver line and rather than have two part numbers for the same pin, the part retained its revolver part number.
The receiver on the 10/22 Magnum model is made of steel instead of aluminum. It also had cast in scope mounts like the Model 77 & Mini 14 rifles.
in 2014 Ruger introduced a factory tuned BX trigger as an aftermarket upgrade.
Field & Stream Magazine listed the 10/22 at number 8 on its list of the 50 Best Guns Ever Made.
Counting all bolts, pins and screws, the current version of the standard 10/22 carbine (including the BX1 magazine) has 63 individual parts.
The .22 Magnum version of the 10/22 uses the same magazine as the Ruger 77/22 Magnum bolt action rifle.
The 10/22 served with American Soldiers in Vietnam.
in 2012 Ruger introduced a take-down version
The 10/22 often called the "FBI model" (due to an FBI serial number prefix) was not ordered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but rather the distributor Fabor Brothers Inc., there were 1500 made in 1988.
The sight radius on a standard model 10/22 is 15 inches.
In addition to the standard 10 round BX-1 magazine Ruger offers the BX magazine in 5 and 1 round capacities.
Some time around 2008, Ruger changed the finish on the receivers to a rough matte finish, it has since been changed back to a smooth, satin finish.
The Ruger 10/22 is not the best selling .22 semi-auto rifle of all time, that distinction belongs to the Marlin model 60.
The longest barrel ever offered on the 10/22 is 22 inches long.
The Ruger 10/22 with serial number 1, 2 & 3 reside at Ruger's Southport facility, serial number 4 was purchased by an employee at Ruger (who also purchased every serial number 4 gun Ruger made until he left the company). The rifle is now in the hands of a private collector. The .44 Deerstalker serial #4 is is also in the hands of the same collector.
There is a very similar story to the 10/22 & .44 Deerstalker that bear serial number 54
Magnum Research currently produces an apparent copy of the 10/22
16 year old Kolby Pavlock of Idaho won the 2015 NSSF Rimfire World Championship using a 10/22 rifle.
in 2016 Ruger will begin offering an M1 Carbine tribute model (model # 21138)
The .22 Magnum 10/22 weighs 1.5 lbs heavier than the standard 10/22.
The 10/22s 1964 introductory price of $54.50 equates to $417.17 in 2016 dollars, yet the MSRP in 2016 is $309.00. The 10/22 is actually more affordable today than it was in 1964!
The 10/22 is the most successful firearm ever produced by Strum, Ruger & Co.
Ruger 10/22 Time Line:
1964: March, gun writers are sent catalog proofs of the new 10/22, in June, Ruger begins print advertising the new rifle
1966: Sporter Finger Groove and International models introduced
1967: Canadian Centennial model produced
1969: 3-digit prefix added to the serial number, International model was discontinued
1970: Production of the 10/22 moves to Newport, NH
1971: Ruger begins producing the 10/22 stocks in house, Finger Groove Sporter replaced by Deluxe Sporter model
1976: The U.S. Bi-Centennial is recognized with special roll stamps, the receivers get a teflon coating in lieu of anodizing
1978: The warning label is added to the barrel
1980: The stock material is switched from walnut to birch, butt plate now made of plastic
1984: AMT begins selling a copy of the 10/22 called the Lightning
1986: The stainless steel 10/22 with laminated stocks is introduced
1987: Chief AJ sets world record with the 10/22
1988: Intratec introduces the TEC-22 pistol which uses 10/22 magazines
1996: Synthetic stock model introduced
1998: 10/22 Magnum model introduced
2004: The 10/22 40th Anniversary model is produced, the 10/17 model listed in catalogs
2005: the 10/22 Compact model is introduced
2006: 10/22 Magnum discontinued
2007: Charger 10/22 pistol is introduced, Ruger begins sponsoring the USA Shooting Team
2008: Five Millionth 10/22 manufactured, Trigger housings switched to plastic, extended mag release added, stock material switched to maple, Ruger Rimfire Challenge is started, finish on the receivers changed to a rough texture.
2009: Field & Stream lists the 10/22 as one of the 50 Best Guns Ever Made
2011: BX-25 Magazine introduced
2012: August, Ruger 10/22 profiled on Midway USA's Gun Stories TV Show, The 10/22 Take-Down model in introduced.
2013: Contest held for 50th Anniversary design, Charger pistol dropped from catalog
2014: Charger pistol is re-introduced, Ruger sues Armscor, BX Trigger is introduced.
2015: 50th Anniversary model introduced, 4 digit prefix added to serial number
2016: M1 Carbine Tribute model introduced
and finally a cut away version of the 10/22
The Firearm Blog
Field & Stream
Wilson, R.L. (2007). Ruger & His Guns. New York, NY.: Chartwell Books.
Lee, Jerry (2014). Standard Catalog of Ruger Firearms. Krause Publications