My father and I purchased my first new rimfire rifle, a stainless-steel Ruger 10/22 in a birch stock, in the summer of 1993. We paid around $200 for it and I spent many days at the range shooting it. In the years that have passed, Ruger has offered a wide variety of 10/22s with a variety of features; heavy barrels, special furniture, and a take-down model. Like most things in life, the price on the basic 10/22 has increased as well. Ruger introduced a new model of 10/22, the Optic Ready Carbine (31139 grey, 31145 black) that has lowered the street price to just over $200 (back to 1993 pricing)!
The new Ruger 10/22 is built to meet a price point. To accomplish this Ruger has removed the iron sights and barrel band traditionally found on a 10/22 and installed the barreled action in a plastic stock.
The 18.5″ hammer-forged 1:16″ RH twist barrel has a fairly light taper. Ruger provides a weaver style rail attached to the receiver from the factory.
Ruger now also provides an extended magazine release from the factory, a nice touch that saves the cost of a common aftermarket upgrade. A standard 10-round rotary magazine is included with the rifle. The trigger is a bit rough and has an average pull of 6 pounds 6 ounces. While it isn’t a trigger you’d want on a match rifle, it is safe and functional for an entry level rifle.
For testing and evaluation purposes I mounted a TRACT TORIC 3-15 scope on the rifle with Warne mounts. I headed to the range with a box of CCI and Aguila standard velocity, lead, non-plated ammunition. I figured most shooters looking for a rifle at this price point wouldn’t be shooting match grade ammunition, so I tested it with this standard fare. It is important to note that in rimfire rifles, ammunition quality will have a great effect on accuracy, use of premium ammunition will often yield greater accuracy.
I shot the rifle from a bench, off of a bag. I usually shoot from a bipod, but this rifle, much like the 10/22 I bought years ago, did not have a QD stud in the stock from the factory. Mounting a bipod will require the addition of a stud or Picatinny rail.
After I zeroed the rifle, I fired a series of 5-shot groups at 50 yards. The target and data are shown below.
For the CCI ammunition, groups sizes ranged from .451″ to 2.568″ with an average group size of 1.294″. For Aguila Ammunition, group sizes ranged from .730″ to 1.880″ with an average group size of 1.231″. Average group size for both kinds of ammunition was 1.259″ (out of 18 groups). Not too bad for an entry level 22 with inexpensive ammunition.
I fired 100 rounds during testing. All 100 rounds cycled flawlessly; there were no feeding, extraction or ejection problems. Ruger has clearly figured the 10/22 out over the years of production.
What do I think of the Ruger 10/22 Optics Ready Carbine 31139, 31145?
- Nice performance for an entry level gun. These rifles have a street price around $200. That is about what I paid for my stainless 10/22 back in 1993. Sure, this is regular steel without sights and a synthetic stock, but it sure matches the times.
- Reliable. You’d be shocked how often I encounter new firearms that don’t cycle well, this rifle did.
- Easily upgradeable. The 10/22 is the AR15 rifle or 1911 pistol of the rimfire rifle world. You can find parts for it from most resellers and your ability to customize this rimfire is unrivaled by any other rimfire in the world (my company, 782 Custom Gunworks, actually manufactures four different Picatinny rails for them).
- Fun gun! 22s, in general and the 10/22 in particular, are a blast to shoot!