Tricky Trio of 22 Autoloaders: Marlin Tops Remington, Ruger
Marlinís Model 60 pleases us, and Remingtonís 597 SS was right up there. But Rugerís laser-sighted 10/22 left us clutching our wallet and wondering if its technology was worth it.
The 22 autoloading rifle is an American icon. Many a youngster had one for his first rifle, and while they may not be ideal for that service, they are unquestionably handy rifles for any serious outdoorsman. They can also be excellent training pieces for just about anyone interested in serious shooting.
We found three semiautomatic 22 LR rifles at the local gun shop. They were the Marlin Model 60 with tubular magazine and hardwood stock ($179), the Remington 597 SS with stainless barrel and synthetic stock ($283), and a Ruger-made 10/22 Model 1163 LZ distributorís special, available through your dealer, with camo stock and laser sight ($526). The tricky laser got our attention. We couldnít resist a good hard look at what it had to offer, other than a scary price tag.
Although two of the guns would accept tip-off scope rings and two were drilled for traditional scope bases (the Remington had both), we chose to shoot Ďem with the iron sights provided. One of our reasons was to help us assess the laser sight on the Ruger. Would it prove to be useful in dim light, or against a questionable background where iron sights or even a scope would be hard to use? We intended to find out if that was a useful addition to the rifle, or just another sales gimmick.
We tested with three types of ammunition: Winchester Super-X Power Point HP, Aguila Supermaximum Hyper Velocity (yes, thatís really the name) solid point (flat nose), and CCI Mini Mag round-nose ammunition. Here is what we found.