The Best-Looking Production 10/22 Ever

No one has ever accused the basic Ruger 10/22 of being a good-looking rifle. Sure, it's reliable, economical, tough, versatile and trim—but good looking?

Not in my opinion or that of anyone else I know. However, I am going to suggest the "good looking" moniker now applies to a limited edition 10/22 that's available at your local Cabela's.

The humble Ruger 10/22 is unarguably one of the greatest rimfire rifles of all times and it's now a full 50 years old, with demand still so high the factory can barely keep the supply lines full. Ruger is doing a number of things to celebrate that anniversary and, in conjunction with Cabela's, they have created a 50th anniversary version of this classic rifle.

I first became aware of the limited edition when I saw it in a Cabela's sale flyer at $50 off regular price. I read the specs, found a nice color photo online and then beat it down to my local store to grab one before they disappeared.

Note that this rifle shouldn't be confused with Ruger's 50th Anniversary Contest Rifle, which is a completely different project and a rifle that goes entirely in another cosmetic direction—a direction that maintains the rifle's reputation for looks, which are only functional at best.

The Sexy Stats
The rifle Cabela's has contracted with Ruger to build has two features that stand out to me: a 20-inch sporting-weight barrel with no iron sights, and a nicely shaped French walnut stock with no barrel band.

The action is a classic 10/22 with an extended magazine release and a basic Ruger trigger mechanism, which of course has that lawyer-approved pull-weight common to all Ruger 10/22s. Fortunately, that's a fairly easy fix and a few hours work and some parts replacement, had the trigger in much better shooting form.

I happened to have a Leupold 2-7X rimfire scope sitting unused in my optics drawer, and it was quickly installed using the rail supplied with the gun. This little scope suits this rifle perfectly and looks great riding on top. However, while a good-looking rifle is nice, a good shooting rifle is better, and this gun seems to have both attributes.

I'm not quite finished testing and tweaking the rifle, but so far CCI's Blazer .22 LR ammo shoots best in it, with that "best" equating to 1.75-inch 10-shot groups at 100 yards. If I limit myself to 5-shot groups, I've been able to regularly produce 1.5-inch groups at the same distance. That's great accuracy for a lightweight—5.5 pounds—semi-auto rifle.

I need to add that the rifle didn't shoot this well out of the box. In fact, my first groups with it measured in the 6-inch range. But a few easy tweaks turned it into a real shooter.

Watch for my next post, where I'll talk about the little things I did to make this handsome rifle shoot its best.

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