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Celebrate the 50th Birthday of the Ruger 10/22

How many of you have a 10/22 rifle?

Bill Ruger had a lot of great ideas over the course of his life, but in terms of popularity and just plain old simplistic genius, the 10/22 rifle ranks first.

These little guns lay around in sporting goods stores, pickup trucks and hall closets like cordwood. The 10/22 has become one of the most ubiquitous firearms in American history based on its low price, reliability and the good old fun of a .22 Long Rifle.

Sure, there have always been affordable .22’s on the market, but none of them ever caught on like the 10/22 did.

Just about every shooter has either owned one or been given one at some point in their shooting career, and there have been few complaints over the decades. With millions of 10/22 rifles in the used market, you may well wonder why anyone would bother to buy a new one.

For one thing, they just keep getting better. In addition to that, you should pick one up this year as a kind of birthday present to Ruger. 2014 is year the 10/22 turns 50.

To celebrate this milestone, Ruger is offering what is probably the widest array of 10/22 models in their history. Naturally, there are several models of the rifle with blued steel, various barrel lengths and wood stocks that are never referred to as beautiful, but do have a “good old days” charm that gets us all a little misty eyed.

Of course, you’ve probably already got one of those, so Ruger also offers stainless/synthetic models, stainless/laminate models, heavy barreled models and a selection of tactical models.ruger10.22.logo

If you’re really in the mood for something different, there are also a few takedown models for the backpacking or road trip crowd. All the 10/22’s for this production year come with a 50th anniversary crest emblazoned on the bolt of the rifle to remind you what a truly discriminating shopper you are, and maybe add a little collectors value down the road.

To me, the real improvement on this year’s 10/22’s is that they all come with extended magazine releases.

The weird little button for removing the clip from a traditional 10/22 worked great when I was a kid, but when my fingers got bigger I could barely work the thing. The new extended releases will make it easier for kids of all ages to enjoy the 10/22 again.

The MSRP for the base model 10/22 is still under $300, and even the most tricked out models only creep a little above $500, making them a very reasonable purchase that can put a lot of fun back into shooting.

RELATED: The .22 Hornet: What Your Grandpa Used, and You Should Use Too

Heck, it’s a 10/22 — you can’t have too many of them lying around.

If you get bored with it in a few years you can always give it to some youngster so they can think back on their old 10/22 and run out to buy the 75th anniversary model.

The circle of life is a beautiful thing.

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Celebrate the 50th Birthday of the Ruger 10/22