Ruger 10/22 Air Rifle by UmArex

A best seller now runs on air!

The licensed Umarex version of the Ruger 10/22 packs gunpowder feel into an indoor-safe rifle.

It’s hard to argue with overwhelming numbers — the Ruger 10/22 rimfire ranks as one of the most popular rifles of all time. How pervasive is this plinker? Since 1964 the company has produced over 6 million of 10/22 rifles in one form or another. In these days of trillion-dollar government expenditures, 6 million may not sound like much but consider only about 7.5 million Ford Explorers have been produced since their introduction in 1990. In the gun universe, the 10/22 holds its own when you consider the Remington 870 has crossed the 11 million milestone while the Mossberg 500 family is right behind with 10 million and the ubiquitous GLOCK 17 numbers in the 10 million range.

The Ruger 10/22 is popular for lots of reasons. It’s small, light and affordable, shoots inexpensive ammo, is plenty accurate and reliable to boot. What’s not to love? In fact, the only place where the 10/22 is not so popular is the backyard of those of us who live under the iron-fisted oppression of a neighborhood association. Those folks couldn’t find fun in a shooting gallery full of canned shaving cream.

Enter Umarex and Ruger. The two companies have been working together for years to produce a variety of airguns and now they’ve released the Mac Daddy of backyard-safe fun — a 10/22 Carbine powered by CO2. Hold the thought for a hot second. CO2 isn’t the norm for air-powered rifles, at least not in its 12-gram available-at-Wal-Mart form factor because one small canister struggles to find the fortitude to drive a serious air rifle. Accordingly, many air rifles use larger, more expensive, and harder to find 90-gram CO2 canisters. Others are PCP (pre-charged pneumatics) carrying an expensive and complex permanent on-board air reservoir.

The two 12-gram CO2 cartridges sit in the buttstock and power up using the integral wrench.

Fans of the 10/22 know exactly where the magazine goes and the
Umarex 10/22 air rifle utilizes the same layout.

Twin Engine

This handy rifle uses two of those “regular” CO2 cartridges, butt-to-butt to provide the oomph for a respectable number of shots at over 600 feet-per-second. To install, just remove the butt pad, use the included (and handily mounted) wrench to tighten new canisters into place and break the seals.

When you open up the Umarex Ruger 10/22, you’ll feel right at home with the brass bead front sight and the flip-up leaf rear sight mounted just forward of the receiver. If you want to add optics to your air carbine, it’s easy — the Umarex Ruger 10/22 receiver is already tapped. Holes and threads are compatible with the rimfire model so you can pick up a rail at the Ruger store or use a compatible aftermarket version. Check before buying other gear because there are obvious architectural differences between the two rifles, at least on the inside.

Loading the Umarex Ruger 10/22 will be a familiar operation. A 10-pellet rotary magazine, nearly identical to the real one, installs and drops from its housing forward of the trigger guard. One notable difference is the air 10/22 uses a disc magazine inside of a magazine to hold the pellets in position. It’s a bit like pellet-powered Inception — a magazine within a magazine.

Once you’re ready to fire, you’ll find another slight operational difference. The air Ruger can be fired single-action with a 3-lb. trigger weight but you must retract the bolt before each shot. Note you don’t have to operate this bolt, however. A heavier press on the trigger will rotate the next pellet into place and fire the shot, like the operation of a double-action revolver.

The rifle uses a magazine-within-a-magazine design, putting pellets in a close
approximation of a regular 10/22 mag.

Tom’s best groups at his top-secret indoor range (shhh, don’t tell his wife) were under a half inch.

6 lbs. Of Fun

As for shooting this carbine, what’s not to love? It offers all the easy handling of the rimfire model but in a garage-, basement- and backyard-friendly ballistics package. Considering .177 caliber pellets weigh between five and eight grains, with this rifle we’ll get velocities in the 600 feet-per-second range, give or take depending on the pellet weight. We’re talking about 6 lbs., again give or take, of kinetic energy at the muzzle. Keep in mind the .22 rimfire version of this rifle will crank out somewhere in the neighborhood of 120-foot-pounds. While all safety rules and procedures still apply, shooting with just 5 percent of the energy and much less projectile weight dramatically reduces the safe range requirements.

I did a little indoor accuracy testing with a variety of pellet types on my 10-meter indoor range facility — from the sitting room, through a bedroom, and into a target backstop in the master bath. It’s a great setup and doesn’t cost nearly as much to install as you might think, at least until my wife figures out what I’m doing. Anyway, my five-shot groups all printed well under an inch with the winners, RWS Superdome 8.3 grain and Daisy Precision Max 7.8 grain, with groups coming in at 0.450″ and 0.483″.

Just as a rimfire Ruger 10/22 is a must-have for any shooter, not just kids, the Umarex Ruger 10/22 is one to add to your collection. You can feed it with consumables from your local stores and shoot it safely just about anywhere. I’m guessing Umarex wouldn’t mind if this one matched the rimfire 10/22’s footprint over the years.

Read More Air Power Articles

Purchase A PDF Download Of The GUNS Magazine November 2019 Issue Now!