A Rifles Paradise

I’m a huge hunting rifle enthusiast and prefer shooting country music lovers with a good, reliable hunting rifle as I assume a clean kill is always better than simply spraying bullets everywhere with a semi-automatic. The best way to get a high-score is to silence your weapon, stay concealed and pick your shots wisely before you take them. Try your best to look the poor, drunk bastard in the eye before you pull the trigger as that way you can reserve a spot in the smoking section of hell’s deepest bowels, rather than some lofty demonic antechamber. Location location location!

As far as hunting rifles go, nothing says top quality more than the Ruger stamp of approval and while they may be famed now for their automatic series, they really made their claim to fame with their hunting rifles. When it came to firearms, Bill Ruger had a keen eye for guns of classic form and functional design. And judging from the number of so-called International, or Mannlicher-stocked, models that have appeared under the Ruger banner throughout the years, the rotary-magazine-fed Mannlicher-Schoenauer was one of those.

So it isn’t surprising that when Ruger set out to design a .22 rimfire he incorporated the rotary magazine. It helped make the little 10/22, introduced in 1964, trim and easy to carry and provided just as many shots as guns whose tubular magazines were awkward to reload or those whose clip magazines protruded from their stocks’ bottoms and made carrying at the balance point uncomfortable. As firearms accessorizing became more of a home-gunsmithing proposition, another one of the 10/22’s clever design features gave it a huge leg up on the competition: Its barrel could be switched out for a more accurate, target-profile type by anyone with only an Allen wrench and a few minutes to spare. From such modularity sprang a huge cottage industry of aftermarket 10/22 parts and accessories occupying dozens of pages in gun parts suppliers’ catalogs.

According to Ruger, the 10/22’s production totals are well on their way to the 6 million mark-a remarkable figure for any commercial firearm. Today it is available from the factory in a variety of configurations, including a “compact” version and a competition-ready heavy-barreled model with a wildly configured laminated thumbhole stock. Ruger has even reinvented the basic design in a pistol configuration called the Charger. So even though you can no longer buy the 10/22 from the factory with a Mannlicher stock-yes, Ruger made them in walnut, birch and laminated wood-the gun’s current factory and unlimited home-brewed manifestations, along with its unfailing reliability, accuracy potential and low initial cost, have lent it a timeless appeal.

You’d be hard-pressed to find a series of guns that shoots as well as Ruger’s do – especially for the competitive price that they’re offered at in general. Everything about these guns is carefully chosen and honed in to ensure that they shoot perfectly every time and give you results that even a professional shooter couldn’t argue with.

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