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When SHTF, what gun will you have by your side? Maybe you’ve planned on buying a powerful shotgun or an easy-to-carry pistol. Maybe you haven’t planned on anything at all.
When it comes down to it, though, you will need a way to protect and feed your family when you have few other options. For this, we sing the praises of one gun in particular: the Ruger 10/22.
The light .22 caliber rifle might not be your idea of a formidable survival weapon, but hear us out–there are plenty of reasons why a Ruger 10/22 may just be a prepper’s best friend.
Chances are, if you’re a long-time shooter, you’re already familiar with the legendary 10/22 rifle. If you’re just getting into firearms, there are a few things you should know about this rifle.
The Ruger 10/22 rifle is a .22 caliber semiautomatic rimfire rifle, which was first introduced in 1964. Since then, more than 7 million 10/22s have been sold, which attests to just how popular this rifle is with experienced and brand-new shooters alike. Unlike many .22 caliber rifles, the 10/22 was designed with adults in mind, so it remains comfortable to shoot for a person of nearly any size.
For a rifle intended to go with you, it’s hard to beat the 10/22’s comparatively short length (37” total, from butt to muzzle) and its lightweight (5 lbs for the basic model). You can find 10/22 magazines that come in 10-, 15-, and 25-round capacities–so you can find a magazine that meets capacity laws, regardless of what your local laws allow.
Ruger has come out with 8 models and 14 variations of the original 10/22, including ones that are great for hunters, sport shooting, or home defense. There’s also a huge array of awesome upgrades for 10/22s, so you can customize your rifle to your exact preferences.
There are few things that are truly ideal for a survival situation, but we feel like the 10/22 might be about as close as it gets. Not only is it sized for easy carrying over long periods of time and incredibly modifiable, but the 10/22 also has a reputation for reliability you can count on.
Let’s take a closer look at the reasons the Ruger 10/22 should be a part of your SHTF kit.
Whether you’re a world-class marksman or a okay-class plinker, your accuracy will be limited by what your rifle can do. In a situation where every shot counts (such as when you need to feed your family with limited ammo or defend yourself), you want to rest assured knowing that your gun’s failings won’t cause you to miss shots.
The 10/22’s stock models are pretty accurate, especially for people who are casual shooters or are learning their way around a target. More advanced shooters can take advantage of the huge aftermarket parts variety to further tune and enhance their 10/22.
We’re confident you’ll be able to make sure your 10/22 is up to hit any target that you can.
While you may not be facing down zombies, reliability is still a critical part of choosing your survival rifle. After all, the last thing you need to hear when pulling the trigger on that perfect buck or threat to your safety is click.
A reliable rifle, like the 10/22, can stand up to a lot of abuse and keep on firing–an extraordinarily useful feature when your survival depends on your gun.
10/22s are known to fire 200+ rounds before needing maintenance, which means that you can worry less about jams and finding another bottle of solvent. While a rimfire rifle won’t generally beat out its centerfire counterpart, the 10/22 does offer best-in-class reliability.
As we mentioned before, there’s a lot of options to upgrade your 10/22, including triggers, barrels, stocks, and more. Best of all?
You don’t need to be a professional gunsmith to do it! The average shooter can break down and assemble a 10/22 with nothing more than a screwdriver, a hex key, and a few punches. You’ll also find tons of resources to help you understand how to install specific upgrades and what to look for when upgrading your gun.
Getting a great rifle doesn’t have to break the bank! While some models certainly can get more pricey, the basic models start at a little over $300. You can upgrade over time or start with a more expensive model, depending on your needs and your budget.
It’s also been said that 10/22s are the Toyotas of the rifle world–they tend to hold their value for many, many years. You can find used 10/22s in great condition, but don’t be surprised if the price is close to what you’d have paid for it new. Don’t worry, though. A 10/22 is well worth the cost.
If you’re looking for a popular caliber, it’s hard to go wrong with .22. These rounds are cheap to buy, lightweight to carry, and are found pretty easily all over the place. You’ll get a lot out of your ammunition when you’re shooting a rifle chambered in .22.
Additionally, .22 does have plenty of stopping power, especially in the hands of a good marksman, so you won’t need to worry too much about underpowered rounds.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to a gun in an emergency (though if you know of one, we want to hear about it in the comments!). You’ll often find yourself sacrificing some features in order to have a rifle that is good enough in most situations, rather than one that only shines in a particular one.
The Ruger 10/22 is no different.
For hunting varmints and small game, a .22 rimfire rifle is well suited to the task. As a bonus, it frees you up to save your bigger ammunition for more dangerous targets. Don’t think that your 10/22 won’t work for bigger game, though! Well-placed shots will take down bigger game easily, even with a small caliber round.
If you’re worried about pests of the two-legged variety, your 10/22 will probably be deterrent enough. No one’s arguing that a .22 rimfire is the rifle for self-defense, but most people will think twice about being shot, even with a small caliber round.
When you need a good all-around option for your emergency prepping, the 10/22 is it. You can even find the Takedown models, which break in half to fit in a pack. Regardless of what model you get, we’re pretty sure your 10/22 will hold you in good stead for most situations.
We think the 10/22 is pretty great right out of the box, but for a rifle capable of keeping up when things go sideways, there are a few upgrades you may want to consider. After all, when your life is on the line, you’ll be glad to have a rifle up to the job of protecting it.
Here are a few things we recommend changing out before you need them.
This can be a tricky upgrade, depending on where you live. In some states, like California, you’re limited in how many rounds your magazines can hold. In states where you aren’t as limited, it’s definitely a good investment to get some larger-capacity magazines, like these Butler Creek 25-round magazines with stainless steel feed lips.
The 10/22 comes with very simple iron sights, but for something a little easier to use, you may want to install an optic or an upgraded sight. You’ve got a number of options, depending on what you’re looking to use your rifle for.
If you’re planning to mostly hunt with your 10/22, a rimfire scope might be a welcome addition. You don’t need to get one with too much magnification since the 10/22’s effective range is only about 25-75 yards. A 2-7x scope should be more than adequate.
Want a sight that is flexible, fast, and simple to use? Red dots are it! Don’t forget though–these sights do require a power source for illumination. Common options are battery-powered and tritium, but you can also find solar-powered red dot sights.
An easy way to wring a little extra accuracy out of your 10/22 is with an upgraded trigger. The stock trigger that Ruger uses is okay for plinking, but an aftermarket trigger can reduce your pull weight and distance and break far more smoothly. This will make a big difference in the way your 10/22 fires and the accuracy you’ll see with it.
Planning on carrying your 10/22 with you? You’re going to want a sling. Having a way to wear your rifle not only frees up your hands, but can help you to move quickly and experience less fatigue. Both wood and polymer stocks can easily be drilled to mount sling swivels. You can choose from a few different types of slings, but one of the most popular is the two-point sling, which mounts to the front and rear of your stock.
The versatile, reliable Ruger 10/22 is well equipped to handle most survival situations admirably. You get a lot of bang for your buck, and you can feel confident that your well-cared-for 10/22 will retain its reliability and value for years to come.
We also love the 10/22 because of how easy it is to modify and how many upgrade options are available. It’s simple to customize your rifle to handle the unique situations you think you may face in a survival situation
For preppers young and old, large and small, inexperienced and expert, the Rugger 10/22 is your best friend.
Allison Goodwin is the Junior Editor of Pew Pew Tactical and resident apocalypse aficionado. She’s an apartment-dwelling prepper, ex-desert rat, and is constantly looking for a better way to organize her prepping supplies. Keep up with her and the rest of the Pew Pew Team on Youtube.