Have you ever asked yourself the question – “If I only had 1 _ _ _ _ _ _ (fill in the blank) – what would it be?” It’s a good exercise. Doing this helps you to apply a hierarchy to your gear. Should you ever need to pick up and go quickly, already knowing what gear is on the top of your list can help facilitate the packing process and eliminate wasteful decision making time.
In this case, “If I only had 1 survival rifle, what would it be?” It’s true, the answer to this question does vary on the situation. However, in general, my # 1 Survival Rifle pick is the Ruger 10/22. The Ruger 10/22 has a long rich history and is a very popular .22 rifle. It is incredibly versatile and breaks down with only 1 set screw. This 1 screw is the only piece that holds the barrel & trigger assembly to the stock. Because of this very simple design (and it’s popularity), there are literally 100′s of aftermarket accessories available for the 10/22. Ultimately, below are my top 5 reasons why the 10/22 is my # 1 Survival Rifle Pick:
- Impressive assortment of aftermarket accessories & replacement parts readily available
- 1 Set Screw Breakdown – Making it very ‘packable’
- Time & Field Tested
- Uses .22 caliber ammunition: cheap, easy to store & very effective on 99% of wild game
- Performance: Very reliable & very accurate
The Ruger 10/22 is flat out just a fun gun to own – mainly because of the huge assortment of aftermarket accessories that you can buy for it. Just swapping out a few accessories on your Ruger 10/22 can make it feel like a Brand New gun. You can outfit a Ruger 10/22 to meet the demands of different environments as well as your own personal style.
Below are 3 ‘sets’ I occasionally use with my Ruger 10/22.
SET # 1: The Classic BushCraft Hunter (Creek’s Preferred Set)
This is pretty much what an ‘off-the-shelf’ Ruger 10/22 looks like with a wooden stock. No frills – just a classic rifle look. I’ve added a sling for extended carry but other than that it’s pretty basic. In my opinion there is no need for a scope on the 10/22. With practice I find the iron sights are so accurate I’ve never bothered to spend the $$$. Besides I like the classic look.
SET # 2: The Urban Commando
See what I mean by ‘the feeling that you have a NEW GUN’. It doesn’t even look the same. This black fiberglass urban style stock gives the Ruger 10-22 a completely different look and feel. These style stocks are durable and pretty much resistant to abuse of any kind whereas the original wood stocks can scratch and scuff pretty easy. This change-out takes about 30 seconds. These fiberglass stocks also do very well in wet conditions. There are literally 100′s of different stocks available for the 10/22. They range in price from under $100 to over $500.
Set # 3: Compact & Tactical
As you can see, this same 10/22 is now outfitted with a Tactical Folding Stock which makes it extremely compact and packable for tight situations. Besides different stock options, there are 100′s of other accessories you can buy to outfit your 10/22. You can see a few of these in the photo above. I’ve added a red dot scope and also some high cap magazines. I’ve even seen 50 round drum magazines designed for the 10/22. If you can imagine it, someone is probably selling it for the 10/22.
It’s hard to imagine that this gun is the same one as the one in the first photo. From a shooting performance perspective, they are all the same. However, it can be really fun to create these different styles based on your mood or environment.
Because I consider my 10/22 a true survival gun, I keep spare parts on hand. In the 10+ years (and 1000s of rounds later) I’ve owned my 10/22 I’ve never had to replace a working part but I keep them on hand just in case there comes a day when parts and pieces aren’t so readily available. This is good practice for any of your guns you think might be with you if times get tough.
What are your thoughts on the Ruger 10/22? Is it your favorite? If not, why? Or…what is?
By Creek Stewart
Creek Stewart is a Senior Instructor at the Willow Haven Outdoor School for Survival, Preparedness & Bushcraft. Creek’s passion is teaching, sharing, and preserving outdoor living and survival skills. Creek is also the author of the book Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit. For more information, visit Willowhaven Outdoor.
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