September 4, 2012

Ruger SR-22R No. 1226 22 LR

Gun Tests magazine recently looked at the Ruger SR-22R No. 1226 22 LR, $625. Here's what they had to say:

The Ruger SR-22 supplied rail support for mounting a scope or a set of clamp-on sights and was shipped with only a Picatinny rail atop the receiver. Before we could finish dialing up to order a set of AR-15 sights to be mounted on to the Ruger SR-22, we decided instead to use a set of Smith & Wesson-supplied sights and put them on the Ruger for recording shots of record from the 25-yard line and save $100. Just factor the lack of sights into your buying decision if you go with the Ruger.

We also mounted a scope and collected accuracy data from the 50-yard bench. For this test we fired only the ammunition that proved most accurate. Our test rounds were Federal Champion 40-grain solids and Federal’s 36-grain hollowpoint Value Pack ammunition. But it was our third choice that turned out to be the sole ammunition utilized for our 50-yard session. The 40-grain lead roundnose CCI Green Tag ammunition was judged superior.

For our 50-yard session we mounted a scope on the rifle. In the process we determined that one advantage to these guns was they afforded an inexpensive way to try out different accessories and master new techniques. We had with us some unusual devices, such as Insight’s MRDS mil-spec dot scope and Leupold’s Mark 4 3.5-10X40mm LR/T scope. The MRDS was an upgraded version of a recreational design that offered improved windage and elevation adjustments plus an on/off switch. We wanted to know how well it functioned. The Leupold scope was used in an earlier test (November 2008). The letters LR/T signify illuminated crosshairs plotted as a Tactical Milling Reticle. This means the hash marks seen on the crosshairs can be used as holdover points as they apply to different-caliber ammunition and bullet weights. In addition, the reticle can be used as a grid to mathematically compute changes in elevation settings. This is called ranging. For the limited purposes of our tests the two most important features were the overall layout of its unique reticle. Approximately the outer half length of each crosshair was wide and bold. The inner lines both up and down were fine crosshairs, but the point at which the they met was left empty. Near targets are to be taken with the eyes somewhat relaxed to allow for a manner of wide-angle focus placing the target inside the bracket of the dark crosshairs. To record our 50-yard accuracy data we narrowed our vision to the void at the center of the reticle. The opportunity to perfect techniques necessary for using either the MRDS or the Leupold LR/T scopes effectively, while shooting inexpensive rounds of 22 LR ammunition, was one of the reasons we would own a rimfire carbine like these.

Gun Tests February 2010

Adapting AR-15 ergonomics to the Ruger 10/22 action makes one of the best rifles ever made that much better.

Our targets for the long-range session were Caldwell’s 12-inch Sight-in Target with Orange Peel capability. This was a 1-foot square with four circles surrounding a diamond. We liked the Orange Peel feature because hits were highlighted with an orange ring, but the hits didn’t obliterate the original point of aim. Roger Eckstine handmade the 25-yard target, the Reckstine Sight-In Target, to help the shooters visually bracket the sight picture, placing the tip of the front sight upon the center ring. High-volume work was spent shooting at Caldwell’s Shooting Gallery—a great toy for high-capacity rimfire weapons. The $280 Shooting Gallery is a self-resetting, self-contained moving target system. It allowed us to "hull" without tiresome target changes.

Let’s find out how it gun performed.

Ruger SR-22R No. 1226 22 LR, $625

The Ruger SR-22 is offered in two models. The SR-22SC utilizes a fixed stock that produces an overall length of about 34.3 inches. Our model SR-22R had an adjustable stock, so length of pull varied from about 10.5 inches to 13.5 inches. With the stock fully to the rear, the SR-22 appeared to be longer than its maximum overall length of 36 inches. The 16.12-inch barrel was extended by an elongated birdcage-style flash hider. We think the aluminum handguard also contributed to enlarging its visual presence. The handguard was solidly fixed to the receiver. The barrel was connected to the action, and at rest it lay upon a polymer bed inside the handguard that acted as a keep for the forward sling stud. Floating inside the handguard, the barrel could be moved around by hand.

Gun Tests February 2010

The SR-22 may be "just" a 10/22 dressed up as an AR-15, but mixing the attributes of the two is a pretty good idea, in our view. The adjustable stock alone was a big improvement, and the handguard offered a superb feel. The SR-22 was as heavy as many centerfire AR-15s, and it looked and felt more like a real match rifle than a carbine. Placing a 30mm Leupold Mark 4 3.5-10X40mm LR/T Tactical Scope felt completely natural on the SR-22, our testers said, and a riser gave shooters a heads-up feel.

The receiver was flat on each side, and the upper section was milled to include a Picatinny rail that was perched approximately 1.5 inches above the bore. The handguard was ventilated with wide circles located at points 2, 4, 8, and 10 o’clock. The handguard was drilled and tapped to accommodate additional rails at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. The parts necessary to take advantage of the drilled and tapped handguard were found on We entered the sidebar "Departments," clicked on "Tactical," and then on "Accessories." The $40 top rail extends the flat top to the forward tip of the handguard. There was also a $20 short top rail that applied 3 inches of Picatinny rail to the forward edge of the handguard. This is the part we chose for attaching the front sight assembly. We would prefer that Ruger ship the SR-22 models with the short top rail in place. It would add little to cost and at least provide a mechanism for mounting a front sight. Short side and bottom rails ($15) were also available.

The buttstock on the SR-22 was the standard polymer six-position adjustable design. The grip, however, was a Hogue rubber pistol grip, which we liked. The trigger guard was polymer, and it was not hinged at the bottom. The lower strap of the trigger guard on a true AR is designed to swing away to make more room for a gloved trigger finger.

Gun Tests February 2010

The long top rail fit securely to the SR-22 handguard. The selection of rails listed on makes the SR-22 more versatile.

Perhaps the SR-22 appears to be longer than it actually is because missing was the vertical line of the AR-style magazine. This was because the SR-22 fed from Ruger’s 10-round rotary magazine. In fact, this is where all illusion comes to an end. The truth is that the Ruger SR-22 is actually a Ruger 10/22. If your purpose for buying an SR-22 is to train for shooting an AR-15, then there are limitations to the SR-22. The magazine release was an extended vertical lever, not a pushbutton on the right-hand side of the receiver. The safety was a crossbolt design operated from the upper rear corner of the trigger guard, instead of a switch operated with the right-hand thumb.

The SR-22 may not offer the opportunity to train for AR-15 operational features, but it does have other characteristics of considerable value. The SR-22 weighed in almost 2 pounds heavier than our other test carbines. That’s just ounces less than the 223 Remington patrol carbines we tested in the October 2007 issue of Gun Tests. Could one argue that a lighter replica offers more realism because felt recoil would be greater? No, 22 LR ammunition simply does not present enough blast to make recoil control an issue. Perhaps the strongest attribute of the SR-22 as a training weapon is the fact that its weight offers the student the actual feeling of handling a full-size weapon.

The 10/22 platform is a proven design capable of high performance with relatively little maintenance. But disassembly of the SR-22 was much more complicated than an AR-15. Takedown for basic maintenance required removing the handguard and a takedown screw found on the bottom side of the receiver forward of the magazine well. Some details of the process were exacting. To lift the barrel-receiver assembly from the stock, the shooter must move the safety to the middle position. Also, the receiver cross pins and bolt-stop pins must be held in place. Removing the bolt required drifting the bolt stop pin loose, and according to the manual, some deft handling is required to free it from the receiver.

Gun Tests February 2010

Top rails were elevated, but the short side rails seated flush, ideal for mounting lights or lasers. With the short top rail in place, we were able to clamp on any number of sights.

At the range we discovered that the SR-22 cycled quickly and soaked up recoil. No feeding problems were encountered, and with open sights installed we were able to land sub-1-inch groups from the 25-yard line with each choice of ammunition. Federal’s Value Pack ammunition delivered groups ranging from 0.8 inch on the Reckstine Sight-In Target to five shots measuring 1.2 inches across. Federal Champion ammunition delivered a spread of 0.6 inch to 1.1 inches. The CCI Green Tag rounds varied less, with the largest group measuring 0.9 inch across and a best single group of 0.6 inch in width. With the Leupold scope in place, we nearly duplicated these results. The SR-22 posted Green Tag rounds in groups of 0.8 inch to 1.1 inches across.

Our Team Said: It is not hard to find loyal advocates of both the Ruger 10/22 and the AR-15 designs. Putting the two systems together is bound to be a success. If you ever wanted to customize the stock of a 10/22, the adjustability offered by the SR-22 should satisfy your needs as well as other members of the family at the same time. The SR-22 may not be an ideal AR training rifle but it stands on its own as a dedicated sporting rifle.

Comments (16)

Congrats canovack, I have one and it sure is sweet, only problem is monting an easy on and off scope on it so that the scope isn't to high on it. I got my su16ca after my little brother got his and he got his after I got my su16b, now the B belongs to the better half and is she happy and so am I.
God Bless America and Our Troops Past Present and Future.
Keeping to My Oath Locked Loaded and Keeping My Powder Dry.
Get the US Out of the UN and the UN Out of the US

Posted by: bear1 | September 8, 2012 4:36 PM    Report this comment

Well, I went to the gun show, but I didn't get a .22LR. I'd been looking for a Kel-Tec SU16CA for some time, now, and one of my favorite dealers had one, so it was no contest. I promptly wrote a check for it, and I now have something that rounds out my collection of ARs and their variants. With a 16" threaded barrel, a forend that folds out for a bipod, and a butt stock that holds two ten round magazines, it is a neat, handy little piece to carry around in the car in a case with several 30 round magazines.

Posted by: canovack | September 8, 2012 3:47 PM    Report this comment

I have several 10-22's and I have one that I tached out with a folding stock and rails and a nice 3-9X40 bushnel scope can't wait to get it out on the range even though it is a bit heavier than the other 10-22's I have. also put light and lazer on on it just for the fun of gettin the gritters at night time.
God Bless America and Our Troops Past Present and Future.
Keeping to My Oath Locked Loaded and Keeping My Powder Dry.
Get the US Out of the UN and the UN Out of the US.

Posted by: bear1 | September 8, 2012 1:14 PM    Report this comment

Well, we'll see what shows up at the show..... As regards your 91/30, I put a Monte Carlo on my Polish M44, and it is a sweet little knock about piece. I have seen and handled a lot of 91/30s and M44s, and IMHO the Polish pieces are probably the best of the lot. I am told, that when the Soviets discovered how well built the Polish weapons were as compared to their own, they confiscated all of the Polish pieces and stored them in warehouses, so their own weapons wouldn't show the inferior features when compared to the Polish weapons. At any rate, I have a couple of Polish M44s, a Russian M44, and a Russian 91/51, and the Polish pieces are visibly better finished and bored. The Polish sights are also more substantial and robust than the those of the other pieces.

Posted by: canovack | September 7, 2012 8:15 PM    Report this comment

I get one right every so often, canovack. I find the 22LR and excellent round to practice with because it is so darn inexpensive. I barely notice the differences of the two weapons but because of the cost of 22s I can get lots of trigger time. I also have a Henry lever .22LR, scoped, so I can practice my lever muscle memory. If TSHTF I can transition to open sight Winchester 30-30 or my Marlin scoped 30-30. Same concept, in both cases.
I like that Monte Carlo style stock. I have a Mosin 98/30 that I can't make up my mind about modifying from its original furniture. I love the gun, so I just might buy a second and Monte Carlo one and leave the other "original". Good luck at the gun show tomorrow. You can't go wrong with a good 22, I highly recommend the SR-22 if you have the option.

Posted by: ajwrangler | September 7, 2012 6:57 PM    Report this comment

'Sounds like you did some pretty good figuring, ajwrangler. I have a Mini-30, but I restocked it with a more traditional composite Monte Carlo stock. I'd guess I went that route because of my love for the old M-1/M-14 shaped receiver, bolt, and operating rod. I have a few ARs, SIGs, and a SOCOM-16, but I don't yet have a .22 LR version of any of them. I figure that I'll have to change that soon. I have a gun show tomorrow, right here in town where I live, so I may get the chance sooner than later.

Posted by: canovack | September 7, 2012 5:38 PM    Report this comment

canovack, I installed the Ruger branded ATI gear on my Mini-14. It now looks just like the SR556, but with the Mini-14 platform. I love that gun. A bit heavier than my AR, but what a shooter. The only difference between the 14 and the 22 is the safety. While the 14 has the trigger guard "rocker" the 22 has the push button. Other than that, they are pretty much identical. I am in the process of getting a Picatinny rail for the 14 so I can install the EOTech 516 I purchased for it. With that, I will use basically the same sighting systems on both weapons as well, i.e. both eyes open during target acquisition.

Posted by: ajwrangler | September 7, 2012 4:26 PM    Report this comment

It makes sense, ajwrangler. Depending on the stock you have on your Mini-14, a 10/22 could be a cheap training device as well.

Posted by: canovack | September 7, 2012 4:06 PM    Report this comment

Since I have a Mini-14 and an AR-15, I find the SR-22 helps train for less with the Mini-14/SR-22 platform. I am considering getting an AR-12/22 so I can practice the AR platform as well, on the cheap.

Posted by: ajwrangler | September 7, 2012 1:15 PM    Report this comment

I prefer the S&W .22 AR

Posted by: DougE | September 7, 2012 12:04 PM    Report this comment

I am looking forward to firing this new weapon. I have several rifles but no .22.

Posted by: Clayton j B | September 6, 2012 10:13 PM    Report this comment

I am looking forward to firing this new weapon. I have several rifles but no .22.

Posted by: Clayton j B | September 6, 2012 10:13 PM    Report this comment

I have had this gun for quite a while and have no complaints . At a 100 yards it is very accurate and at 200yds still on the money.

Posted by: Thomas C | September 6, 2012 2:44 PM    Report this comment

I purchased an SR-22 that was destined for CA so it has a fixed stock, but fortunately, it is my preferred length and sits well when in firing position. I put s Sun Optics Red/Green dot scope on it and this thing is more fun than a barrel of monkeys. Three shots had the sight on target and at 100 yards I can easily kill the zombie rodent multiple times. I was fortunate to save a couple of hundred off the MSRP, because the FFL I purchased it from just didn't want it any more. It was a win/win. Love the gun!

Posted by: ajwrangler | September 6, 2012 12:25 PM    Report this comment

As bit 10/22 advocate I love this rife. However, for the $ you can build your own for quite a bit less and really have some fun. If you're not into that, this is a great rifle out of the box. Recently turned my 33 year old 10/22 into a tactical rifle complete with trigger, stock, barrel & comp for about $200. Ruger is an American icon company I'll proudly support for long as I'm shooting. Don't think you can go wrong with the SR-22 but you do have lots of options!

Posted by: Monty B | September 6, 2012 11:31 AM    Report this comment

With the plethora of so-called modern sporting rifles (MSR) being offered it is interesting that we are also seeing a trend toward offering several models of MSR in .22 LR. Perhaps it has something to do with the idea that while we can purchase .22 LR uppers to convert our center-fire caliber pieces into economical practice pieces, in many cases the upper conversion units are as pricey as an entirely new .22 LR MSR. And, with a dedicated .22 LR MSR, there is no need to swap out the uppers when going from rimfire to center-fire and back. As far as I can see, for my own needs and in my own collection, I'd much rather have two MSR instead of one plus a conversion unit.

Posted by: canovack | September 5, 2012 8:41 PM    Report this comment

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