The Smith & Wesson M&P 15/22 and Ruger 10/22 Carbine are excellent rifles for improving your gun-handling skills. Here’s why…
Before you start loading, it is imperative to makes sure all of your ducks are in a row (and I don’t mean targets!) Procedures before bullets…always!
There are specific rules and vital precautions you must follow in order to make your shooting experience a safe and productive one. Hence, before you even think of shooting, make sure you understand the four basic rules of gun safety:
- All guns are always loaded.
- Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
- Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
Note: These rules were introduced by Colonel John Dean “Jeff” Cooper and are explained in the imbedded video.
It is also important to have the proper equipment on-hand. In addition to your rifle, you will also need to have the following:
- Proper Ammunition
- Safety glasses/ eye protection
- Ear plugs/ ear protection (especially for higher-caliber weapons)
- Gun-cleaning kit
- A safe & legal shooting area
Finally, make sure you know exactly what the gun-handling and hunting laws are in your neck of the woods. In most areas, you must obtain a firearms license in order to be in possession of a gun (let alone to shoot it.) Also, your gun may need to be registered within a certain deadline after purchase.
Be sure to check with your local police department to find out what the firearm regulations and gun registration procedures are. You may also inquire about what gun-safety and gun-certification courses are being offered in your area.
As a novice shooter, I was happy to find that these two rifles were extremely easy to load, easy to shoot, and easy to clean. While both of the guns shown have been outfitted with after-market accessories, I must admit they both worked perfectly fine right after purchase. Each rifle came with an owner’s manual and 10-round magazine.
I found the Ruger rifle to be a tad lighter than the Smith & Wesson, yet both rifles were lightweight, easy-to-maneuver weapons. Besides the fact that the Ruger’s original polymer butt stock was a bit uncomfortable, it looks clean, shoots well, and is easy to disassemble. While the S&W rifle AR platform takes longer to clean (as it can be broken into parts), it does have a more rugged look and needed very little adjustment from the original factory setting.
Gun Stats (as pictured):
Ruger 10/22 Carbine
- Tapco T6 Flat Dark Earth 6-Position Stock
- Ruger High Capacity 10-round & 25-round magazines
- Center point 4×32 Scope
Smith & Wesson M&P 15/22
- Smith & Wesson Factory Stock “Real Tree”
- Smith & Wesson High Capacity 10-round & 25-round magazines
- Bushnell Trophy 3-9×40 Scope “Bone Collector Edition”
The Smith & Wesson M&P 15/22 definitely looks much beefier than the Ruger 10/22 Carbine, however, both rifles performed well on the shooting range. After blasting over 1,000 rounds each, both guns had very little issues.
The rare cases of failure-to-feed problems were caused mainly by the cheap-o, poor quality bullets I used. And, even then, feed problems occurred only once or twice. For this reason, I highly recommend purchasing the copper-plated hollow point rimfire cartridges instead of their tin “lead-head” counterparts. Once I switched to the copper-plated bullets, I was able to enjoy shot after shot problem-free.
As for the magazines themselves, the Smith & Wesson clip was much easier to load. This isn’t to say that the Ruger magazine was difficult to maneuver, it just doesn’t allow you to load as quickly and accurately. I also prefer the Smith & Wesson magazine because you get to see each and every bullet after loading. Yet, if seeing the cartridges is an issue, you could always purchase an after-market transparent magazine for the Ruger.
Both of these gun models are semi-automatic; they fire a single bullet each time the trigger is pulled, eject the spent cartridge, and automatically chamber the next round. This makes shooting through the 10-round cartridge a breeze. Thus, I highly recommend investing in a larger magazine. The small caliber of bullet also makes the .22 recoil almost non-existent. Essentially, this makes the pictured S&W and Ruger models wonderful choices for instructing novice shooters.
As far as comfort whilst shooting, I definitely appreciated that the Smith & Wesson stock came with an adjustable slide. The Ruger’s stock, however, was a bit bulky and uncomfortable to sight. Thus, while the S&W needed very few add-ons to meet my preferences, I changed the Ruger’s stock quite drastically. Regardless of the after-market changes made, both guns loaded, fired, and disassembled fairly easily.
The Smith & Wesson M&P 15/22 and Ruger 10/22 Carbine rifles were both very accurate when put to the test. In addition to cans, bottles, and old poker chips, my husband and I shot at some “splattering” paper targets.
I shot the target shown (left) at a distance of about 60 yards with both rifles (10 rounds each.) As you can see, the hits are grouped quite nicely despite the switch in guns. These shots were also taken using the Winchester copper-plated hollow point rimfire cartridges. I noticed that using the tin “lead-head” bullets not only negatively-affected the gun’s feed performance, it also negatively-affected my accuracy.
Because of the minimal recoil, the .22 rifle is a perfect pick for practicing aiming techniques and increasing accuracy. In addition to scopes and sights, these guns can also be modified to allow for tactical accessories (i.e., flashlights, grips, lasers, etc.)
Ruger 10/22 Carbine
- Rifle: $225 – 250 USD
- Tapco T6 Flat Dark Earth Stock: $110 USD
- Ruger High Capacity 25-round Magazine: $25 – 30 USD
- Center Point 4×32 Scope: $40 USD
Smith & Wesson M&P 15/22
- Rifle: $450 – 500 USD
- Smith & Wesson High Capacity 25-round Magazine: $15 USD
- Bushnell Trophy 3-9×40 Scope “Bone Collector Edition”: $139 USD
Winchester Copper-plated Hollow Point Rimfire Cartridges
- Box of 555 Rounds: $20 – 25 USD
- Box of 100 Rounds: $7 – 9 USD
*Note: Price of cartridges depend on your location.