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Three Tips To Keep Your Ruger 10/22 Running Like A Top

My Ruger 10/22 Compact has helped make some great memories.

Three tips for keeping your Ruger 10/22 running like a top

This is a follow-up to the feature on Ruger 10/22 rifles from earlier this week. As a proud user of two of these rifles, and friend of many others who use them also, I’ve come to learn a couple tricks to keep them running well, especially during extended use or in rough weather.

  1. Ammunition makes a difference

.22 ammunition is known for running a bit dirty, creating more gunk in the action than centerfire ammunition types, as a rule. This problem can be multiplied when using a suppressor, which can also increase fouling in the barrel.

Three 10/22s, three different Ruger mags. Photy by Team Hb

I’ve run many brands of ammunition through my 10/22s. Ammo that has an exposed lead bullet is usually less expensive, but fouling is accelerated. Many brands that work perfectly well for just a bit of shooting in a repeating rifle, or for extended use in a single-shot rifle, begin to have failures to eject when the 10/22 action has become dirty and hot.

There’s one brand of ammunition that my friends and have had great success with in our little Rugers. It’s CCI’s 22 Mini-Mag load. At around 18 cents per round, it’s not the cheapest 22 ammo, but not the most expensive either.

  1. Magazines make a difference

For the longest time, the only factory magazine for the 10/22 was the standard 10-round rotary mag. It’s a brilliant, functional design, but sometimes it’s nice to have more than ten rounds. Some years ago, Butler Creek company stepped up to the plate with 15- and 25-round, banana shaped mags. They’re easy to seat and release, but operation can be sporadic. In my experience, at least one and maybe more than one failure to feed will occur for every 25-round magazine full. It’s great for malfunction clearance practice, but a little frustrating for timed events or hunting.

The 10-round rotary mag inserted. Photo by Team HB

While writing this article, I found other non-factory mags by companies like Champion and ProMag, and cannot comment on those as I’ve never used them.

At last, Ruger started making its own extended magazines. They look just like the Butler Creek ones, but these really work. Extended mags are a nice add-on to your rifle purchase; expect to spend anywhere from $15 for an inexpensive knock-off to $50 for Ruger branded mags.

  1. Keep action cleaner and lube handy

If dusty conditions, lots of shooting, or both occur, carbon and gun oil will make a gooey mess inside your 10/22’s action. The bolt won’t travel as fast as it’s designed to when grime builds up, and that causes failures in the feeding/extraction process. Taking a 10/22 apart for cleaning isn’t that hard, but it’s also not a field-friendly exercise. What to do?

Rem Action Cleaner can clear a gummed up 10/22 fast. Photo by LA police gear.

Enter Rem Action Cleaner by Remington. This inexpensive aerosol product comes with a “straw” for the nozzle so you don’t get cleaner all over your stock and yourself. With the magazine out and chamber clear, give the action a couple shots of this fast-acting spray solvent. It’s good to be ready with a rag or paper towel, as black liquid will drip out, proving the product is doing its job. Once clean, give the bolt a little help from a good lubricant like Frog Lube, which is non-toxic and smells great to boot. Voila, your rifle is back in action and ready for more.

Love for the 10/22

Loading my 10/22 target model. Photo by Team HB

Gun publications often refer to standout firearms as “venerable,” a word usually reserved for models that aren’t in production anymore. Buying a 10/22 gives you the chance to own a venerable gun with features that are as modern—or not—as you desire. They’re a great rifle for a small price in comparison to other legendary platforms. Treat yours well, and it will last for generations.