Young Gun, Old Gun

Young Gun, Old Gun

The design of a firearm

is still based around a simple principle

By Dennis Adler

I am paraphrasing the legendary William B. Ruger, Sr., when I say that all gun designs serve the same purpose, to fire a projectile, but what the gun fires and how it fires it, will dictate the design of the gun. Case in point, John M. Browning designed .32 ACP and .380 ACP cartridges and he designed the guns to fire them in 1903 and 1908, respectively. Bill Ruger, Sr. was something of a modern day J.M. Browning and what I learned from my time around him in the 1990s, while I was writing a short biography of his life, visiting his factories, talking with his engineers and staff, and having quiet, introspective dinners with him discussing firearms history, was that great design, and the fundamental breakthroughs that come with them, become the paradigm for all that follows. I understood than as I do now, that with few exceptions, every single action revolver, regardless of manufacturer (including the c. 1953 Ruger Single Six and c. 1955 Ruger Blackhawk), is descended from Samuel Colt’s original revolver designs, even though Colt had died years before the Peacemaker was designed. Ruger’s point being that no matter how different, regardless of the ammunition it fires; however large or small the pistol may be, the fundamentals of its design began with Colt. Bill knew this when he designed the original “Old Model” Single Six .22 revolver, and all the Ruger-designed and built single actions that followed. Were it not for Sam Colt… read more

The 10/22 Air Rifle Kit Part 3

The 10/22 Air Rifle Kit Part 3

Pushing it to 25 yards

By Dennis Adler

Normally, 25 yards is not a great distance for high-power air rifles, but for one that is running on a pair of 12 gr. CO2 cartridges it could be a push. Not that a pellet can’t travel that far, it certainly can and much further, but not accurately. What we are after here is proof that the Umarex Ruger 10/22 with its paired CO2 cartridges and the power of precision targeting with the Mantis 3-9×32 AO Mil-Dot scope can send a pellet 25 yards downrange and hit the target with consistent accuracy. With a scoped .22 LR Ruger 10/22 this would be a given, but with a CO2 version it is not.

I normally do not shoot rifles, other than lever actions, so for the Ruger test I took what I had on hand and set up a makeshift benchrest, which allowed me to stabilize the gun and hold my POA with the Mantis scope.

Setting up

There are days I wish I had a 25 yard indoor range because today it is 55 degrees outside, not ideal for CO2 and it is mostly overcast. The good news is that it’s fairly clam with a slight crosswind. I have several ways to shoot from the bench on the outdoor range, the Millett rests, a Case Guard rest and sandbags. I’m taking all of them with me to see what works best. To get the most velocity I am going to use the Sig Sauer 5.25 gr. Match Ballistic alloy wadcutters. There are a lot of different pellet options in lead and alloy but I like Sig alloy and Meisterkugeln lead wadcutters for their consistency. I also like H&N Sport Match Green 5.25 gr. alloy wadcutters and RWS R10 Match 7.0 gr. lead wadcutters, along with a handful of other top brands, but for this gun, at 25 yards, I think I will get my best results with alloy wadcutters.

With the Ruger secure in the Case Guard and Millett rests combination I set the scope to 100 yards and magnification to 9X which gave me a full view of the target 25 yards downrange. The crosshairs were perfectly setting over the bullseye and my first shots with Sig Sauer 5.25 gr. Match Ballistic alloy wadcutters were just a little high but tightly grouped. I adjusted down and the next group was in the red.
To keep my accuracy as consistent as possible, rather than shooting with the double action trigger from the rest, I manually cocked the action for each shot with the charging handle.

The lightweight Sig Match Ballistic delivered a fairly consistent trajectory which I could watch through the scope from about a third of the way downrange until the point of impact. I didn’t take the chronograph with me but I would estimate the wadcutters were leaving the barrel at around 650 fps and they were slapping loudly into the target backboard. Shooting single action by cocking the trigger with the charging handle, it took a light press to send shots downrange and while I would have liked a tighter total spread I wasn’t unhappy with my targets, which averaged 1.75 inches for 10 shots. After sighting in the scope, which now had the objective set to 100 yards for best clarity, and the zoom all the way out to 9X so the target filled the scope and the crosshairs were right over the red bullseye, I shot the 1.75 inch group which had five hits in the red at 1.0625 inches.

My first test target (after sighting in) delivered a 1.75 inch group with five hits in the red at 1.0625 inches. Nothing remarkable but from 25 yards with a pellet rifle powered by CO2, I was happy to get consistent groups that tight.

My second target was shot as a slight crosswind came up and rounds began hitting left of POA but grouping tightly. In trying to correct I threw a couple of flyers, then the wind settled down and I put the last five shots in the red. I shot a total of 20 rounds (two magazines) giving me a total spread of 1.50 inches with five in the red at 1.44 inches. My best 5-shot group out of the 20 rounds fired, was in the tight pattern to the left of the bullseye surrounding the 10 ring at 9 o’clock and measuring 0.625 inches, roughly the circumference of a dime. Of course, that’s out of 20 shots. Still, at 25 yards I feel the Ruger 10/22 with Sig’s alloy pellets acquitted itself quite nicely.

Just when I felt I had things dialed in the wind came up, just a mild breeze crossing right to left and enough to push the lightweight pellets traveling 75 feet to the target a bit to the left. I adjusted POA right and sent the next two high. I finished out the 10 rounds with shots again going a little left, reloaded and put the next ten left and in the bullseye. For a total of 20 rounds from 25 yards my spread measured 1.50 inches. My best 5-shot group was left of the bullseye around 10 ring measuring 0.625 inches. If (I hate “ifs”) I had adjusted the windage to correct for the crosswind or even shifted my POA further right, that tight cluster would have been in the red. Still, I am not displeased with the Umarex Ruger 10/22’s ability to shoot accurately out to 25 yards with the Mantis 3-9×32 scope. It’s a darn good package that delivers plenty of potential for benchrest shooters.

The 10/22 Air Rifle Kit Part 2

The 10/22 Air Rifle Kit Part 2

Scoped and ready for the 10-meter range

By Dennis Adler

I shot the 10 meter indoor test off a benchrest. With the Mantis scope I was expecting very right groups and had the 10/22 settled into these very affordable Millett Benchmaster rests, which are great for .22s and air rifles like the Ruger 10/22.

Pellet rifles fall into a number of categories from Olympic competition to small game hunting and just plain old plinking and target shooting. The best pellet rifles are usually expensive (or comparatively expensive) precharged pneumatics (PCP), premium underlever spring air rifles, like the RWS Diana 460 Magnum, spring piston break barrels, like the Beeman R7 Elite Series, while at the lower end of the price spectrum are CO2 powered air rifles using an 88 gr. CO2 cartridge or dual 12 gr. CO2 cartridges. The Ruger 10/22 falls into the last category and with its sealed air chamber in the buttstock has enough power to send 4.5mm pellets downrange at velocities capable of being effective for small varmint hunting and practical target shooting, both of which are greatly enhanced with the use of a variable power scope like the Mantis. Pyramyd Air has picked a good match for the Ruger 10/22 in the Rifle Kit.

When the Ruger 10/22 came out in the 1960s, one of its selling features was the 10-shot rotary magazine.

Recapping the 10/22  

Using the same internal design as the Umarex Cowboy Lever Action model means you have two 12 gr. cartridges supplying CO2 to the rifle. Umarex recommends a drop of RWS Chamber Lube on the tip of each cartridge as it is inserted as well as the O-ring on the piercing screw, which I recommend with this rifle; a good seal is everything with this system. Once you turn down the piercing screw, the forward facing CO2 is pierced by a pin in the front of the chamber and the rear facing cartridge is pierced by the seating screw that shrouds the front of the second cartridge. When the seating screw is turned down until it stops, all of the air from both cartridges is released inside the chamber, which is sealed by the large green O-ring on the seating screw. This gives the gun a factory-rated velocity of up to 700 fps. When I did my initial test of the pre-production sample, the Ruger 10/22 was to be rated at 650 fps. So now with a production gun I am going to recap the CO2 loading and then run a chronograph test with the same Meisterkugeln 7.0 gr. lead wadcutters I used with the Umarex sample gun. I am also going to run a test with premium grade RWS R10 Match wadcutters and lightweight Sig Sauer Match Ballistic alloy wadcutters to see what the maximum velocity can average. This is probably where we will see the 700 fps speeds. With the sample gun, alloy wadcutters were clocking around 718 fps.

The 10-shot rotary clip fits into a 10/22-sized magazine so everything looks and feels pretty much the same. The design and operation of the rotary pellet magazine does, however, require a double action trigger to operate the firing system. You can use the charging handle to rotate the magazine and cock the action for each shot, then you can fire single action. The trigger is butter smooth with a 2.0 pound average pull and a mere 0.187 inches of take up.

The 10/22 is a very familiar style of small caliber carbine, as so many semi-auto rimfire and centerfire rifles have been based on William B. Ruger Sr.’s classic 10/22 design from the 1960s. At the heart of the gun is the rotary magazine, which was quite a big deal when it was introduced. It was featured in most of Ruger’s early magazine advertisements. The CO2 model uses on the general magazine design but adds the 10-round rotary pellet magazine at the front. It loads into the receiver the same way as the rimfire mag. The sights are the same, too, and with the rifled barrel, the sample gun had delivered fairly tight groups at 10 meters shooting from a benchrest. With Meisterkugeln, my best 5-shot group from 10 meters measured 0.437 inches in the 9, 10 and X rings with an average velocity of 630 fps. I had also shot the RWS R10 Match and scored a best five rounds at 0.53 inches in the 9, 10 and X rings, with four of five hits overlapping. My expectations for the 10/22 with the Mantis scope at 10 meters, then, are very high!

Loading CO2 is easier in the Ruger than the Cowboy Lever Action model which had (and may still have) a little harder lock to rotate. The Ruger takes a little finger pressure to push it in and rotate counter clockwise until it releases. Then pull the buttplate off the stock.
The buttplate holds the seating tool which fits into the long rear seating screw housing. The CO2 loads back to back. There is a piercing pin in the front of the inner chamber that handles the forward facing cartridge, while the rear facing CO2 is pierced by a pin in the seating screw.
Here you can see the piercing pin in the seating screw and also note the green O-ring, which seals the entire air chamber inside the stock. Umarex recommends a drop of RWS Chamber Lube on the tip of each CO2 and a drop on the green O-ring.
The buttplate is used to turn down the seating screw until it stops (you will also hear the CO2 being pierced) and then fits back into the stock. Turn the lock clockwise until it sits flush and the buttplate is secured. During the tests I had no issues with loading CO2.

New velocity checks

With this new production gun in hand I loaded the two CO2 cartridges and ran my first velocity test with the Meisterkugeln. Average velocity for 10 shots with 7.0 gr. lead wadcutters was 644 fps with a high of 657 fps and a low of 635 fps. The R10 matched closely at an average of 642 fps and the alloy wadcutters broke the 700 fps line with an average of 708 fps, a high of 722 fps and a low of 699 fps.

I ended up setting the objective to 20 yards, which allowed me to get a sharp focus on the target. I also tried it at 10 yards and it worked as well, but I found 20 yards just a hair sharper for my eyes at that range. It is adjustable from 5 yards to 100 yards and beyond, which makes it a fine scope for a .22 LR as well.
The fast focus ring at the back of the eyepiece makes it easy to get crystal clarity and the power zoom wheel allows you pull in the target. I found the 6X magnification worked particularly well at 10 meters with the gun on a rest.

For today’s accuracy test, I will be sighting in the scope at 10 meters and shooting from a rest, as well as running a 10 meter test outdoors firing from the shoulder. With the scope mounted and the vertical and horizontal alignment of the crosshairs verified both from the shoulder and benchrest by lining them up on a target and making sure the rifle is perfectly vertical. I had to make one slight adjustment of the scope in the mounts, loosening the screws and rotating the scope about 3 degrees right, to get it perfectly centered. I was ready to sight the scope in for the bench test at 10 meters. I found the best combination was setting the objective to 20 yards, and for my preferences, the power zoom at the rear to 6 (it adjusts from 3X to 9X), and then adjusting the focus ring for my vision.  At 10 meters both the reticle and target were sharp. It took a total of 8 shots to get the scope zeroed in on the bullseye, shooting from the rest and cocking the action for each shot.

The windage and elevation adjustments have large knurled wheels, so they are very easy to click adjust. It took me eight shots to dial in the scope at 10 meters from the benchrest. This canceled out the gun’s tendency to hit left of POA with the open sights, since the rear sight has no windage adjustment, only elevation.

Downrange accuracy

Firing from the rest at 10 meters I put 10 shots into the bullseye and 10, all overlapping, with a total spread of 0.5 inches. That would put any five shots inside that spread at 0.25 inches. Scoped and rested, I think that is about as good as I can do. The proof will be in my 10 meter shots fired standing and firing from the shoulder.

Shooting off the benchrest from 10 meters all 10 rounds piled into the bullseye and 10 rings at just under the size of a dime. The entire test was shot with RWS Meisterkugeln Professional Line 7.0 gr. lead wadcutters.

That proved a bit more challenging with a slight crosswind and lacking the support of the benchrest. I took a long time to shoot my 10 rounds and again, rather than working the double action trigger, I used the charging handle to cock the action for each shot. The single action trigger pull on this gun was a very light 2.0 pounds, with just a fraction of an inch of take up.

Off the benchrest and in the field I manually cocked the action for each shot with the charging handle so the 10/22 would fire single action. For accuracy this is well worth it and it’s less effort than working the bolt on a bolt action rifle.
With the lightweight rifle and scope I was able to get some consistency from shot to shot, manually re-cocking the action and taking my time, about 45 seconds or so between shots. No competition, no timer, no pressure! This is supposed to be fun.

The design of the gun, as I see it, is such that for a blowback action to work and re-cock the action after each shot using the rotary (pellet) magazine, like the rimfire model, would require a more complex (i.e. more expensive) design, and maybe even cost some of the Ruger’s 650 fps average velocity in the bargain. For carefully aimed shots, working the charging handle to cock the action is no more laborious than shooting with a bolt action rifle. My best 10-round target had a spread of 1.1 inches with a best five shots at 0.5 inches, but all hitting left of center and clipping the 8 ring. Fired semi-auto with the double action trigger, which has a pretty heavy pull, accuracy is going to suffer without question, but for my money, shooting with the Mantis scope isn’t about speed, it is about accuracy and the Umarex Ruger 10/22 will give you that with or without optics.

After a few targets I finally got dialed in and managed to put five of my 10 shots into a small cluster a bit left of POA, plus one dead center in the bullseye and three stragglers, one really low, for a total spread of 1.0 inches measured from the low hit at 6 o’clock to the 9 o’clock hit in the 8 ring. My earlier targets were averaging 1.5 to 1.75 inches for 10 shots, so I figured this was a good time to quit. If you’re wondering about CO2, I was getting about 50 shots at average velocity before rounds started hitting low.

In Part 3, I will wrap things up (weather permitting) shooting from the bench at  25 yards to see just what this pellet rifle is really capable of.

The 10/22 Air Rifle Kit Part 1

The 10/22 Air Rifle Kit Part 1

Scoped and ready for the 10-meter range

By Dennis Adler

Sometimes there are real advantages to buying a kit when it has everything you need to upgrade an air rifle, including the air rifle itself. Since Umarex didn’t introduce the Ruger 10/22 with accessories, or even include a rail to mount a scope (like Ruger does with the 10/22 rimfire model), Pyramyd Air put the package together using a UTG low profile rail mount, UTG Accushot 1-inch scope rings with large easy to use hex thumb nuts, and a well made Mantis 3-9×32 AO Mil-Dot Scope.

One of the things I regret about the time I had a Ruger 10/22, back in the late 1960s, was not fitting it with a scope. Never being much of rifleman, (I have a few but they are western lever actions), and rather more of a shotgun and handgun guy, I’ve never had too many opportunities to shoot rifles with optics, except for a handful of modern guns I have tested for gun magazines over the years. To quote Quigley Down Under, only reversing Quigley’s use of a rifle, instead of a revolver, “I said I never had much use for one. Never said I didn’t know how to use it.” So with that in mind, I am going to make up for my misgivings from years past and run a test with the new Pyramyd Air 10/22 Air Rifle Kit and see what the Ruger can do with a proper scope. Granted, I have to settle for shooting 4.5mm lead pellets at around 650 fps, rather than my old 10/22 with .22 LR rounds traveling down range at a much greater, and louder velocity, but from my perspective writing about airguns, this is a brand new experience. I could have had a 10/22 with a scope anytime in the last 50 years, but never a pellet model!

With everything unboxed you have the 10/22 rifle, scope, rail mount with five screws (one extra in case one gets lost, a nice touch), and 1-inch scope mounts with a hex head wrench and a spare hex head screw. If you have mounted rails and scopes before this is everything you need, except a small blade screwdriver to tighten the screws for the rail. If this is your first time, I’m going to take you through the steps.

First test of the 10/22 CO2 model

I wrote my first series on the Umarex Ruger 10/22 this past July just as it was being introduced. After that first test I summarized the CO2 model as a very authentic gun compared to an original and current 10/22s with synthetic stocks. The internal CO2 system works the same as the Umarex Legends Cowboy Lever Action with the buttstock holding a pair of 12 gr. CO2 cartridges set back-to-back in a sealed air chamber.

Comparing the Umarex Ruger to the current black synthetic stock .22 LR Carbine model, the overall lengths are identical at 37 inches (the CO2 model is actually 37.1 inches), barrel lengths are 18.5 inches (external length), and weight with the synthetic stock is 5 pounds. The CO2 version tips the scale at 4.5 pounds.

As I mentioned, Ruger copied the rimfire 10/22’s receiver exactly and it has the four drilled and tapped holes for mounting a rail. As you can see, there are already screws in the top of the receiver, but you do not remove them. The holes are threaded for the rail mount screws to tighten down over the receiver screws.
Just set the rail over the holes, put the screws into the holes and tighten them down. You’re one third done. If you read my original review of the Umarex Ruger 10/22 you will recall that I compared it with a current 10/22 rimfire model and I used the rail that came with the Ruger to mount a red dot sight on the Umarex model.

The Ruger surpasses the Legends Cowboy Lever Action by having a rifled steel barrel and shooting pellets rather than BBs down a smoothbore. When I tested the 10/22 I used RWS Meisterkugeln 7.0 gr. Professional Line lead wadcutters, which clocked an average velocity for 10 rounds of 630 fps, with a high of 651 fps and a low of 618 fps. The majority of shots passed through the chronograph’s screens between 629 fps and 633 fps (six out of 10). The gun is rated at 700 fps but it doesn’t say with what pellets. Of course, that was a factory test gun made available to me before the production models went on sale, so this will be the first time I am testing an off-the-shelf 10/22 model.

This is not just for photos; it’s how I do things because I like to keep everything on a large flat surface since I have a tendency to drop small parts. The scope is sitting in the bottom half of the rings and the top halves are ready to set into place over the scope tube with the screws sitting in the holes.

The 4.5mm Ruger uses a 10-round magazine similar in shape to the famous 10/22 rotary magazine, and it fits into the receiver the same exact way, so when handling the CO2 model it is essentially a pellet-firing trainer for the .22 LR. Loading, sights, and the crossbolt safety in front of the triggerguard, are all identical, only the triggers are different in operation, a single action trigger re-cocked by the action on the .22 LR, vs. the air rifle’s DA/SA trigger. The CO2 action does not re-cock the trigger. Every shot is a double action pull unless you manually work the bolt and cock the action for each shot. That could have been better, but since the 10-shot rotary clip is like a cylinder in a revolver, only fitted into the 10/22 style magazine, it has to be rotated for each shot; the double action trigger on the rifle is working like the trigger on a double action revolver. And just like a wheelgun, if you cock the hammer, or with the 10/22, manually pull the bolt back, you cock the action and rotate the cylinder to the next round. It’s a little clumsy but it works well enough.

I tightened the set screws down part way and then finished by going from opposite corners, top left to bottom right and so on, checking to make sure the rings were evenly spaced on both halves as I tightened them the rest of the way. I also laid a ruler down to make sure the rings were on level with the centerline of the scope. The spacing was pretty much as it was shown in the photos on the Pyramyd Air website, with the rear ring having a little more space from the windage and elevation adjustments, than the front ring. This may not be the correct eye relief for everyone…
…in fact, I found that I needed less eye relief and had to loosen the screws on the rings and move the scope back about half an inch. Now the front ring has more space than the back, but the scope mounts are in the same place on the rail. I mention this because you could accomplish the same thing by moving the rings on the tube so they mount at the very front and rear of the rail, and then the scope might look more centered. I was more interested in getting the eye relief exactly where I wanted it.

The kit and what’s in it

Like the .22 LR model, which has a lightweight alloy receiver, the CO2 model follows the exact same design including the four drilled and threaded holes to mount a scope base. The 10/22 rimfire models come with a Weaver-style scope adapter. Pyramyd Air offers a version of the 10/22 Air Rifle complete with a UTG Picatinny rail adapter, a Mantis 3-9×32 AO Mil-Dot scope and a set of scope rings for a discounted price of $199.95 (retail is $229.95). The Umarex Ruger 10/22 alone is $129.95 discounted ($149.95 retail), so for the $70 difference you are getting a good quality Mantis scope, which sells for $69.95 on its own, plus the mounting rail and scope mounts, a value of around $20, at no charge.

In Part 2 we will see what the $70 amounts to in enhancing the 10/22’s performance.

We go from open sights to a telescopic sight with magnification adjustments from 10 to 100 feet, that should keep pellets in very tight groups at 10 meters, and hopefully out to 25 yards.


Ruger 10/22 Air Rifle Part 4

Ruger 10/22 Air Rifle Part 4

As real as it gets with a CO2 Air Rifle

By Dennis Adler

Doubling up on 10/22s, the new Ruger CO2 model is an almost perfect match for the .22 rifle.

There are a number of excellent CO2 powered air rifles on the market today that duplicate AR-based .223 Remington (5.56x45mm NATO) centerfire platforms, as well as the Sig Sauer MPX and MCX pellet-firing models, and classic military models like the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine. The new Umarex Ruger 10/22 is the only one based on an original .22 LR design, essentially the next step up after a pellet rifle for learning gun handling skills and target shooting. The symbiotic relationship between the 10/22 in .22 LR and the 10/22 CO2 in 4.5mm (.177 caliber), is the closest of any contemporary air rifle to its cartridge-loading counterpart.

Body double, the CO2 model uses the same style and size magazine as the rimfire model. With the rotary pellet magazine (red part showing) inserted into the main magazine, it loads into the bottom of the 10/22’s receiver the same as the rimfire model…
…and the only difference with the .22 LR (pictured) is how the cartridges, vs. the 4.5mm pellets are loaded into the magazine. Familiarization with loading the air rifle magazine into the gun is a hand’s-on experience for the .22 LR.


Going from my office shooting range, where it is always a cool 72 degrees, to today’s 89 degree, 65 percent humidity, and 9 mph prevailing wind outdoor range, was quite a change. Heat aside, the wind blowing right to left across my downrange shots didn’t do anything for the CO2 model’s windage adjustments, and I had to make a more extreme POA correction, especially when doing the 25 yard test against the .22 LR Ruger. For the 10 meter test I shot the RWS R 10 Match lead wadcutters and my 5-shot group measured 0.75 inches. At 10 meters the .22 LR punched its five rounds into 0.56 inches in the A-Zone of the IPSC silhouette. I wasn’t trying to shoot anything but a close group but the five CCI Mini Mags made an almost perfect A right below the A in the A-Zone. So, for comparison, the CO2 model came within 0.19 inches of the .22 LR model.

The first thing when getting ready to shoot the 10/22, is to pull the bolt to the rear and chamber the first .22 LR round…
…the same action is done to fire the first round in the CO2 model (unless you want to fire the gun double action). You have the option of firing DA or pulling the bolt to the rear for every shot to fire SA, which significantly reduces the trigger pull from an average of 9 pounds, 10 ounces, to 3 pounds, 6.0 ounces.
The test gun came directly from Umarex and was a sample with no instruction book or box. What I determined (and it may be in the instruction book, I don’t know), is that you get a more accurate shot by seating the pellets into the rotary magazine (as shown with the lower five rounds) rather than just pushing them into the chamber flush with the rim. You can feel and hear each pellet click into the rotary magazine chambers using a seating tool. I tried shooting both ways. Some rotary magazines I have used won’t allow seating the pellet deeper (they even fall through), while others have a recommendation in the instruction book to do so. Some even come with a seating tool. Since this was a sample gun without an instruction book, I’m just making an observation and relating my results.

At 25 yards, I did not have great expectations that the CO2 model would come that close to the .22, especially with the wind kicking up to almost 10 mph. My .22 LR group, shot from a kneeling position, put all five rounds of CCI Mini Mags inside of 1.125 inches. For the long range CO2 test I switched to the lighter weight H&N Sport 5.25 alloy wadcutters. My CO2 was running low, the wind was too high and I pretty much threw my first five shot group away with all five hitting far left in the 7 and 8 rings and from the hits the pellets were tumbling. There were only two actual holes in the target and the other three rounds had torn rips into the paper. I measured the spread on this and it was 1.75 inches.

The 10/22 Compact used for the comparison has a shorter barrel, and thus a shorted sight radius. It also uses fiber optic sights, which I did not find to be a great advantage with this gun.
Only barrel length and sights have changed on the exterior and the 10/22 Air Rifle was actually easier to sight on target than the .22 LR model. The air rifle’s longer sight radius and original-style Ruger rear sight and gold (actually brass on the CO2 model) front bead are very quick to get on target.

With new CO2 and POA corrected to right of the bullseye between the 8 and 9 rings, and the wind down to a light breeze, the next five wadcutters hit solidly across the 10 ring spread from 8 o’clock to 4 o’clock. A couple tore the target rather than making a clean hole and the group accuracy was a hair greater at 1.875 inches center-to-center, but much closer to POA. I would dare say that fired from a benchrest with a fresh CO2 the Ruger could shoot tighter, especially with a scope. Still, the Ruger 10/22 Air Rifle came pretty close to the .22 LR at 25 yards.

Outdoors in high heat and humidity and a crosswind of up to 9 mph, I managed to punch my five target shots using RWS R 10 Match lead wadcutters into this fairly tight group dead center in the A-Zone of an IPSC silhouette target at 10 meters.
At 10 meters the .22 LR model did a little better, and no, I wasn’t trying to make an A in the A-Zone, that’s just the way it ended up.
Pushing back to 25 yards, the CO2 model did fairly well after changing the CO2, which had run out after my 10 meter target tests. I shot the .22 LR model first at the 25 yard target, and those hits are circled in red. My first CO2 test (large white circle at left) was a throw away as the air was running out, the wind kicking up, and I had switched to lighter weight H&N Sport Match Green alloy wadcutters. The pellets tumbled and tore rips in the target. After changing CO2 and waiting for the wind to calm, I shot another five rounds with corrected POA and put that group just slightly wider than the .22 rifle. For 25 yards (shooting from a kneeling position with my support arm resting on my knee), I felt the gun did a good job pushing pellets at roughly 700 fps into a target that was 75 feet downrange. Ideally, this is a 10-meter air rifle, but with a telescopic sight it could certainly match the .22 LR shot for shot.

Red Dot Optics

I mounted the Weaver rail from the .22 LR model on the air rifle and used my trusty old BSA red dot scope to shoot a final 10 meter test with the RWS R 10 Match lead wadcutters. The Match wadcutters connected four out of five with one above and a spread of 0.468 inches. No better than with the open sights overall, so the gun’s potential, at least for me, is sub-half inch groups at 10 meters with open sights from a rest, and just a hair wider from the shoulder with a red dot sight.

To up the 10/22 Air Rifle’s accuracy (I had thought), would be adding optics. My choice was a BSA RD 42 I had on hand. While it is easier to pinpoint the bullseye with the red dot, it made no significant improvement in overall accuracy. I suspect an actual telescopic sight like the one offered with the Ruger 10/22 Air Rifle Kit from Pyramyd Air will render a better result. That test will be forthcoming.
More to my surprise, adding a red dot scope to the 10/22 at 10 meters really didn’t improve accuracy, though I was shooting from the shoulder and not a benchrest as I had done in the open sight tests. Either way, at 10 meters the Ruger can punch dime-sized groups.

What I want to do in another article is test the 3-9x32AO scoped model from Pyramyd Air to see what the 10/22 does with that option. But still, anyway you look at it, the new Umarex Ruger 10/22 Air Rifle checks a lot of boxes for new shooters, and for nostalgic old shooters alike.

A word about safety

Blowback action airguns provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts and this is one reason why they have become so popular. Airguns in general all look like guns, blowback action models more so, and it is important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t tell an airgun from a cartridge gun. Never brandish an airgun in public. Always, and I can never stress this enough, always treat an airgun as you would a cartridge gun. The same manual of operation and safety should always apply.

Ruger 10/22 Air Rifle Part 3

Ruger 10/22 Air Rifle Part 3

The 10-meter tests and an edge

By Dennis Adler

The .22 LR 10/22 uses an alloy receiver as does the CO2 model and Umarex copied it in every fine detail, including the four drilled and threaded screw holes for mounting the Weaver rail that comes with the 10/22 rimfire model.

I know you’re all wondering what the “edge” is. It is what makes the Ruger 10/22 Air Rifle a bit more authentic. The .22 LR model uses a lightweight alloy receiver, just like the CO2 model, and this is very good news because Umarex followed the exact same receiver design including the four drilled and threaded holes to mount a scope base. The 10/22 rimfire models have a Weaver-style scope adapter, and Ruger also sells them as an accessory item, which means you can purchase one and use it on the CO2 model.

The first thing I did was to see if the rail and screws that come with the rimfire 10/22 fit the CO2 model. They do, and I’ll be adding optics to the 10/22 Air Rifle in Part 4.

Pyramyd Air also offers a version of the 10/22 Air Rifle with an adapter and scope included, or a separate low profile UTG scope mount that fits the 10/22 receiver. Since I have both the rimfire and CO2 models for this series of articles I’m going to use the scope mount that comes with the .22 LR model.

You can also purchase the 10/22 Air Rifle complete with rail and scope from Pyramyd Air.
If you have scopes or reflex sights already and want to use them on the 10/22 Air Rifle, Ruger sells the Weaver mount for around $20 or you can purchase a UTG rail mount (pictured) from Pyramyd Air.

Minor details

The bolt on the CO2 model serves a singular purpose and that is to rotate the magazine and cock the internal striker for shooting single action. It does not cycle during the ejection of a spent shell (not a blowback action), nor can it be locked open like the bolt on the .22 LR models. There is no need for it to do so since there are no spent shells to eject; score one point for the Umarex Legends Cowboy Lever Action! But here you have a very modern, comparatively speaking 1964 vs. 1894 design that is very much a 1:1 version of a .22 semi-auto rifle that has remained in production by its original manufacturer for 55 years, and is offered today in so many versions that if the Umarex-built Ruger 10/22 becomes as successful as its rimfire counterpart, other variations (stock designs, sights, etc.) would be a logical progression for the 10/22 Air Rifle. I’m getting way ahead of myself because the first example still has to prove itself just as the original Ruger 10/22 had to do in the 20th century. Longevity is success.

My velocity test for the RWS R 10 Match lead wadcutters at 21 feet clocked an average velocity of 632 fps and my 10 rounds grouped at 0.75 inches with a best 5-shots all overlapping at 0.437 inches. This was fired from the shoulder, not from a benchrest like the 10 meter tests.

Open sight accuracy

First, I have to correct myself because the rear sight is elevation adjustable, not windage adjustable, so the gun’s tendency to hit just left of POA is going to require an aiming adjustment. Not a big deal if you live with fixed sights on most of your guns. As to elevation, I found the gun was shooting a little high during the rudimentary target shooting test that was done in concert with the initial velocity tests.

For this test I am going to confine the 10/22 to three different types of 4.5mm pellets, the previous Meisterkugeln 7.0 gr. lead wadcutters, the H&N Sport Match Green 5.25 gr. alloy wadcutters, and I’m adding competition grade RWS R 10 Match 7.0 grain Premium Line lead wadcutters. Since this is strictly for accuracy at 10 meters, I’m also shooting from a benchrest and firing single action. In Part 4, when I put the CO2 model up against the .22 LR, I’ll be shooting from the shoulder at both 10 meters and 25 yards at an IPSC competition silhouette target, and firing the Ruger 10/22 Air Rifle double action in order to keep pace with the semi-auto .22 LR.

From the benchrest at 10 meters, I put five rounds into a tight, dime-sized group with four overlapping and one just off to the right. POA was the bottom of the 8 ring for elevation and windage was corrected by aiming between the 7 and 8 rings. Still hit a little left, but adding optics will make this a moot point.

I took 10 shots to chronograph the RWS R 10 Match which delivered an average velocity of 632 fps. At this point I have fired 35 shots from the original CO2 cartridges and velocity is still right on point (with the Meisterkugeln 7.0 gr. lead wadcutters). The 21 foot chronograph test target registered 10 shots with a spread of 0.75 inches and a best 5-shot group, all overlapping, at 0.437 inches, equal to the best groups fired with Meisterkugeln and H&N Sport.

Stepping back to 10 meters and shooting from the benchrest, tests were shot in 5-round strings and the RWS R 10 Match put all five into 0.53 inches in the 9, 10 and X rings with four of five overlapping.

With my twin CO2 cartridges running out, my 10 meter test with the Meisterkugeln opened up just a bit and my POA had to be adjusted slightly. It still printed a pretty decent 5-shot group.

A day passed between shooting tests and the original CO2 has been sitting in the gun overnight. Before I shot the Meisterkugeln lead wadcutters, I ran a quick chronograph check to see how well the CO2 level had been maintained. Velocity with the 7.0 gr. lead wadcutters dropped to 520 fps, still good, but down more than 100 fps from the previous day. I decided to shoot the 10 meter test with the Meisterkugeln at 500 fps and see if this changed accuracy. The first five rounds were not as tight as I had hoped and after that, velocity audibly began to drop. A quick chronograph test showed velocity dipping into the high 400 fps range and I decided to call the count at 50 rounds (including trigger pull tests, which averaged 3 pounds 6.0 ounces single action, and 9 pounds, 10 ounces double action). I did manage to drop five Meisterkugeln into the 9, 10 and bullseye with a spread of 0.81 inches. To determine if the lower velocity had an affect on accuracy, after loading new CO2 (and it was definitely exhausted with only a slight hiss when I removed the seating screw), I ran the Meisterkugeln again with velocity around 630 fps. My best 5-shot group from 10 meters measured 0.437 inches in the 9, 10 and X rings; so the answer there is a definite yes. Expect 50 to 60 accurate shots at optimum velocity from the paired CO2 cartridges.

Did fresh CO2 make a difference in accuracy with the Meisterkugeln? You bet. POA adjustments were still putting shots a little left but as tight as before with this 5-shot group measuring 0.437 inches.

To wrap up today’s 10-meter accuracy tests I shot the H&N Sport Match Green 5.25 gr. alloy wadcutters, which were traveling downrange at 700 plus fps. Even correcting for windage, as I had done with the lead wadcutters, the higher velocity H&N hit left of center but elevation was close to POA, and my best 5-rounds clustered into 0.56 inches, all overlapping from edge-to-edge just left in the 7, 8 and 9 rings.

The lighter weight H&N Sport alloy wadcutters were screaming downrange in the 700 fps range and again hitting left, even with POA corrections used for the lead wadcutters. Despite the hits being off center, the 5-shot group, all strung together, measured a mere 0.56 inches.

The Ruger definitely has what it takes to put shots on the target from a bench rest at 10 meters, but the gun is capable of much greater distances with the velocity generated by the dual CO2 cartridges. We will wrap up next week with 10 meter and 25 yard comparison tests with the .22 LR model, as well as adding optics to dial in the 10/22 Air Rifle for even tighter groups.

A word about safety

Blowback action airguns provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts and this is one reason why they have become so popular. Airguns in general all look like guns, blowback action models more so, and it is important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t tell an airgun from a cartridge gun. Never brandish an airgun in public. Always, and I can never stress this enough, always treat an airgun as you would a cartridge gun. The same manual of operation and safety should always apply.

Ruger 10/22 Air Rifle Part 2

Ruger 10/22 Air Rifle Part 2

Measurements and velocity

By Dennis Adler

Overlooking the shorter barrel on the latest Ruger 10/22 Compact, the classic lines of the 1960’s Ruger design still come through even with modern black synthetic stocks. The new CO2 model not only captures the look but the fundamental handling, as well, making this an ideal first gun for anyone working their way up to a rimfire semi-auto rifle. The 10/22 has been that gun for over half a century.

The Ruger 10/22 is an iconic design that has been copied by others and inspired similar designs, (even in CO2 by Crosman) but as executed by Umarex, it is almost a 1:1 version of the modern Carbine with black synthetic stock. And I have to thank Ruger and Umarex for bringing the 10/22 back into my life because it really is a touchstone to my past, as I am sure it is to many of you who may have had, or still own, a Ruger 10/22. As a CO2 model it sizes up as a very authentic gun and with the internal buttstock CO2 loading design, taken from the Umarex Legends Cowboy Lever Action, the 10/22’s exterior lines are superbly duplicated. In fact, measuring the CO2 model against the current black synthetic stock Carbine model, the overall lengths are identical at 37 inches (the CO2 model is 37.1 inches), barrel lengths are 18.5 inches (external length), and weight with the synthetic stock is 5 pounds. The CO2 version tips the scale at 4.5 pounds, a difference you can feel when you pick up the air rifle and compare it to the .22 LR model. The Compact .22 caliber model Ruger sent is 2-inches shorter in overall length with the 16.12 inch barrel. There are a few other minor differences between the Compact and the Carbine including sights, but the standard Carbine in .22 LR has the same folding, windage adjustable rear and bead front sight as the 10/22 Air Rifle (in the comparison photo).

Comparing the current Ruger 10/22 Carbine with black synthetic stock to the new 10/22 CO2 Carbine is pretty easy. They look the same, have the same measurements, and handle identically. There is an 8-ounce difference in weight with the 10/22 Air Rifle weighing in at 4.5 pounds and the .22 LR at 5 pounds even (with the same stock).


Loading CO2 into the 10/22 is identical to the Cowboy Lever Action model, which means you have two 12 gr. cartridges loading back-to-back into a sealed air chamber within the stock. Once you turn down the piercing screw the forward facing CO2 is pierced by a pin in the front of the chamber and the rear facing cartridge is pierced by the long seating screw that is turned down with the hex head tool built into the removable buttplate. With twin 12 gr. cartridges, the gun is rated at a factory spec velocity of up to 650 fps.

Receiver designs are the same and both use a Ruger 10-shot rotary magazine, the CO2 model with a 10-round rotary magazine insert that is removable for quick reloading. The same design magazine release is used, as well as crossbolt trigger safety. The main difference is the DA/SA trigger system on the CO2 model. To fire SA you pull the bolt to the rear for each round to cock the trigger and rotate the magazine.
Loaded magazines are easy to insert and remove from both the .22 and the CO2 models.

The .22 LR and 4.5mm 10-round magazines share similar shapes and fit into the respective receivers the same exact way, so when handling the CO2 model it is essentially a pellet-firing trainer for the .22 LR. Loading, sights, and the crossbolt safety in front of the triggerguard, are all identical, only the triggers are different in operation, SAO vs. DA/SA for the Air Rifle. From a youth shooting perspective, beginning with the 10/22 Air Rifle, and progressing to the rimfire model, is the most logical training system there is for beginning shooters, especially if they are interested in target shooting, but more about that in Part 3.

The Ruger 10/22 uses the same design CO2 system as the Umarex Legends Cowboy Lever Action, although I found the buttplate release design on the Ruger far easier to use with only finger pressure to press it in and rotate to remove.
The hex head tool is built into the buttplate and easily turns down the long seating screw to simultaneously pierce both CO2 cartridges. Again, I found this easier to do with the Ruger than with the first examples of the Cowboy Lever Action.

Umarex supplied their High Grade CO2 with the test gun as well as RWS Meisterkugeln 7.0 gr. Professional Line lead wadcutters. The Meisterkugeln clocked an average velocity for 10 rounds of 630 fps, with a high of 651 fps and a low of 618 fps. The majority of shots passed through the chronograph’s screens between 629 fps and 633 fps (six out of 10). To find the high end of the 10/22’s velocity, I switched to lightweight H&N Sport Match Green alloy wadcutters, which added another 50 plus fps to average velocity. Every shot was over 700 fps, with an average of 710 fps and a high of 718 fps.

The chronograph test target was used for both Meisterkugeln and H&N Sport velocity tests, and shows all 20 rounds in tight patterns, with at least five rounds inside of 0.437 inches at 21 feet fired from the shoulder. The rear sight windage was left as it came from the factory and the gun was hitting a little left. I’ll make adjustments for the accuracy tests in Parts 3 and 4.

Since chronograph tests are shot at 21 feet, accuracy with a rifle shooting through the chronograph is going to be pretty tight and for 20 total shots (10 Meisterkugeln, 10 H&N Sport) the spread on a 10-meter pistol target measured 1.12 inches with multiple overlapping hits and a best group of at least 5-rounds measuring 0.437 inches. All remaining tests will be shot at 10 meters, plus a special test in Part 4 against the .22 LR model at 25 yards.

Editor’s Note:

Due to the late Thursday evening publication of Part 2, Part 3 will be published on Sunday, instead of Saturday.

A word about safety

Blowback action airguns provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts and this is one reason why they have become so popular. Airguns in general all look like guns, blowback action models more so, and it is important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t tell an airgun from a cartridge gun. Never brandish an airgun in public. Always, and I can never stress this enough, always treat an airgun as you would a cartridge gun. The same manual of operation and safety should always apply.