Rugerís New .22 Rimfire SR-22 Rifle

 

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

September 21st, 2009

 

 

 

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The most popular .22 semi-automatic rifle in the World is the Ruger 10/22. It has been in constant production for over forty years now, and is more popular than ever, with several million of them in the possession of shooters. These days, the hottest-selling centerfire rifle in the US is the AR-15, in its many variations. Ruger now has their own AR rifle, the SR-556, just introduced a few months ago, and it has proven to be a very popular seller, with its high-quality features and unique gas piston design.

Now, Ruger has blended the style and handling of an AR with the proven reliability of the legendary 10/22 into the new SR-22 Rifle. Inside, the rifle is pure 10/22, but the exterior is a Nordic Components chassis, modified to meet Rugerís specifications. The result is an AR-looking, AR-feeling rifle that shoots like a 10/22, and uses standard 10/22 Ruger or aftermarket magazines. As mentioned, mechanically, the SR-22 Rifle is a 10/22, and can utilize 10/22 aftermarket barrels and trigger groups, if desired. The hand guard is a tubular aluminum unit, drilled for accessory rails, and any AR-15 style hand guard can be used. The buttstock is also an AR unit, adjustable for length at six positions over a three and one-quarter inch range, and again, any AR buttstock can be attached to the SR-22 rifle. The top of the chassis wears a Picatinny rail, and the rifle is shipped without sights. Additional sections of Picatinny rail can be purchased at ShopRuger.com, and aperture or open sights can be added, if desired. Most shooters will want some type of optical sight, and there are many good ones from which to choose on the market, from dot style electronics to traditional scopes. The SR-22 rifle is supplied with sling attachment points, and has a very comfortable AR-style pistol grip. Between the pistol grip and trigger guard is a filler built by Hogue. Being a 10/22 inside, the rifle has a crossbolt safety, and a manual bolt hold-open at the front of the trigger guard.

The SR-22 has a steel hammer-forged barrel that measures 16.12 inches in length and three-quarters of an inch in diameter. The barrel has a one-in-sixteen inch right-hand twist. Inside the tubular hand guard is a barrel support block, held in by the front sling swivel stud. The rifle can be fired with or without the block, so lightweight aftermarket barrels can be used, if desired. The barrel is attached to the receiver with a V-block, like on all 10/22 rifles, so any barrel that is made to fit a 10/22 will slide right in. The barrel is fitted with an AC-556 flash suppressor, as mentioned above, which has a standard 1/2x28 thread, allowing the attachment of sound suppressors or other devices to the muzzle, if desired.

The chassis fits around and fully encloses a 10/22 receiver, but adds only about one-quarter inch to the width of the rifle. The chassis width measures only one and one-half inches thick. The rifle weighs in at six and one-half pounds, with an overall length of between 32.75 and 36 inches. Rugerís website list the overall length as between 32.25 and 35.25 inches, but that discrepancy could be due to the attachment of the buttstock tube, allowing for a variance. Length of pull varies between 10.125 and 13.375 inches on the test rifle, allowing the SR-22 rifle to fit most any shooter well; because of this, the SR-22 would make for an excellent trainer for a young shooter, and could grow with the shooter. A rifle with a wooden buttstock just doesnít offer that kind of versatility.

The chassis of the SR-22 Rifle is made of aluminum, finished with a matte black military style exterior. It has top and bottom halves, and is easy to remove to get to the 10/22 receiver, if necessary. The pistol grip is attached in typical AR fashion with a bolt through the hollow bottom.

I fired the SR-22 Rifle for both reliability and accuracy using a wide variety of ammunition. The Ruger cycled every brand and type tried with excellent reliability. There was one failure-to-fire using Federal bulk hollow point ammunition, but it was no fault of the rifle. The cartridge rim received a solid strike from the firing pin, just like all the rest, but the cartridge did not fire. That happens sometimes with cheap .22 Long Rifle ammo, and again, it was not the rifleís fault. Every other cartridge fed into the SR-22 Rifle performed perfectly. The rifle performed as I would have expected any 10/22 rifle to perform; that is as reliable as any machine can be.

Right off the bat I could tell that this was going to be a very accurate rifle, so I treated it as a target rifle during testing, instead of a hunting rifle. I usually test hunting rifles with three or five shot groups, but the five shot groups proved that this rifle could perform, so I broke out the match ammo and fired ten shot groups at fifty yards.  Range conditions were pretty damp, with a light rain from time to time, and typical Tennessee Valley humidity when there was no rain. Temperatures were in the seventy-five to eighty degree range, with humidity above ninety percent throughout the range tests. I mounted a Leopold 8.5 to 25 power Mark 4 scope in an ArmaLite one-piece mount atop the Rugerís Picatinny rail, and left the scope setting at sixteen power throughout the range sessions. The SR-22 Rifle proved to be amazingly accurate, shooting ten-shot groups of around the half inch mark at fifty yards, under less than ideal conditions. Even the bulk Federal hollow point ammo from Wal-Mart grouped very well, but the PMC and Wolf match ammo turned in the best performance. This rifle has plenty of accuracy potential to make it not only a superb plinker, but a match-grade squirrel rifle as well.

I am glad to see what Ruger has done with the dandy little 10/22, turning it into a rifle that replicates the feel and shooting qualities of an AR, combined with the affordability of .22 LR ammo,  without losing any of the reliability or accuracy of the 10/22 design. This SR-22 Rifle is a great plinker, hunting rifle, or target gun, can serve as an excellent trainer for young shooters, and offers lots of shooting pleasure for very little money. The SR-22 rifle is AR on the outside, with the heart and soul of the 10/22.

Check out the full line of Ruger products here.

For the location of a Ruger dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.

To order the SR-22 Rifle online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.

Jeff Quinn

For a list of dealers where you can buy this gun, go to: To buy this gun online, go to:

 

A variety of rails are available from ShopRuger.com to allow the addition of sights and accessories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The only malfunction of any kind was due to a dud cartridge. This was no fault of the rifle, as the substantial firing pin impact shows.

 

 

 

 

50-yard groups.

 

 

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Click pictures for a larger version.

 

Ruger's new .22 Rimfire SR-22 rifle.

 

 

SR-22 Rifle (right) compared to a 10/22RB (left).

 

 

Birdcage flash suppressor.

 

 

AR grip with Hogue filler between grip and trigger guard.

 

 

 

 

Six-position telescoping AR buttstock.

 

 

Barrel support.

 

 

Extended magazine release is now standard on all 10/22 rifles.

 

 

Crossbolt safety.

 

 

The SR-22 rifle comes with a ten-shot rotary magazine, but can use any reliable aftermarket magazine, such as this Ramline fifty-shot mag.

 

 

Sling attachment points.

 

 

The SR-22 comes with a Ruger padlock and owner's manual.

 

 

Barrel attaches just like any 10/22, allowing the use of aftermarket barrels such as this Tactical Solutions lightweight bull barrel.