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 www.yankeehillmachine.com 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 Federals 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 Insights MRDS mil-spec dot scope and Leupolds 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.
Our targets for the long-range session were Caldwells 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 didnt 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 Caldwells Shooting Gallerya 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.
Lets 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.
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 oclock. The handguard was drilled and tapped to accommodate additional rails at 12, 3, 6, and 9 oclock. The parts necessary to take advantage of the drilled and tapped handguard were found on www.shopruger.com. 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.
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 Rugers 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. Thats 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.
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. Federals 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.