Once in a while, the 18-year-old kid in me still gets excited. Such was the case recently when I was able to take my stock Ruger 10/22 .22 Long Rifle semi-automatic and transform it. While the 18-year-old me would have definitely been beside himself, I have to admit that the 50-something-year-old me is probably just as jazzed.
During the paragraphs that follow, I will relate the origination of my four-decade love affair with the Ruger 10/22 rifle. Also, we will take a look at some fantastic accessories from Samson Manufacturing that can take a good rifle and make it even better.
My First Gun – The Ruger 10/22.
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When I was 15-years-old, actually just shy of 16, my family relocated from Detroit, Michigan to rural Holmes County, Ohio. My mother had been born in Ohio, but spent most of her adult life in Michigan. By the early 1980’s, Detroit had begun to transition from a tolerable big city to a crime-infested city run by crooked Democrat politicians. My parents realized that continuing to raise my siblings and I in Detroit was a bad idea. I feel blessed to have been a city mouse transplanted to the land of country mice.
We moved onto a small farm and I began to learn what genuine rural farm life was all about. My parents purchased a single-shot 20 gauge shotgun to keep on the farm. I hunted rabbits, squirrels, and killed the occasional groundhog with the gun. However, it was not truly “my gun”.
As soon as I had a driver’s license and my own car, I would drive to The Gun Shop in Wooster, Ohio and browse the shelves. I was too young to buy guns or ammo, but I would ask questions and stand around listening to all the gun shop regulars talk. This is where I started my journey towards becoming a Student of the Gun.
Acquiring My First Firearm.
A few months before my 18th birthday, I had my eye on a new Ruger 10/22 rifle that the gun shop had on display. If memory serves, the price tag was right around $120 or so. I started putting money aside and every couple of weeks I would check to see if it was still there.
The day of my birthday was a school day. I agonized all day long waiting for school to end. Thirty minutes after the last bell rang, my best friend and I were standing in the gun shop. I proudly passed over my Driver’s License to Nick, the gun shop owner, and he walked me through me first Form 4473.
I walked out of the gun shop with a brand new Ruger 10/22 rifle, an extra 25-round magazine and two 100-round boxes of CCI Mini-Mag .22LR ammo. By the time the sun set that day, all 200 rounds had been turned into empty brass. My love affair with the 10/22 began at that moment.
Life as a Gun Guy – Ruger 10/22 as a Gateway Drug.
Like most real gun guys, a .22 LR rifle was my gateway drug. I had joined the Marine Corps and my tastes soon turned to larger caliber rifles and handguns. However, the 10/22 still had a special place in my heart.
When I started writing for the outdoor and shooting sports press in 1993, my time was consumed reviewing all manner of rifles, shotguns, and pistols. To be honest, I rarely took the time to shoot a .22 much, unless I had an assignment to review one. That’s just how life is.
Naturally, when my first son was old enough to accompany me to the range, I started him out with a single-shot, bolt-action .22. Some time during my early 20’s, I needed money, like most young men do, and I sold my first Ruger 10/22. It hurt my heart, but I promised myself I’d buy another one some day.
It took awhile for that day to come, but I did purchase another 10/22, and then a second, and later a third when Ruger released the 10/22 Takedown version. My old favorite was back in my hands.
Samson Manufacturing and my Ruger 10/22.
Recently, I was in my shop looking at the factory stock Ruger 10/22. I had to admit that since my kids were all grown I had not taken much time to just go out and enjoy shooting a .22. Then I remembered seeing a very interesting new stock that Samson Manufacturing introduced at SHOT Show in 2020.
Going “retro”, Samson teased the shooting sports world with two new side folding stocks; the A-TM designed for the Ruger Mini-14 and the B-TM designed for a Ruger 10/22. Old guys like me remember very well the side folding Mini-14 rifle that the “A-Team” used on television from 1983 to 1986.
I didn’t have a Mini-14, but I had a 10/22. Perusing the Samson website, I found that they not only had the B-TM stocks available, but a few other accessories to trick out my old Ruger. I ordered the B-TM side-folding stock, a flash hider, and a set of adjustable front and rear sights.
My New Samsonized Ruger.
My stock rifle soon had a new stock, sights, and flash hider. Yes, I know that you don’t need a flash hider for a .22 LR, but it completes the package. Swapping stock on a Ruger 10/22 only requires the removal of one base screw and the barrel band. I replaced the stock barrel band with a very nice version from Samson.
The windage adjustable rear sight mounted to the pre-tapped holes atop the Ruger receiver. I had to tap out the factory front sight, but I followed the directions from Samson and it was not that difficult. With the factory front sight out, the new elevation adjustable front sight installed in minutes. The flash hider slips on over the muzzle and is secured with a single set screw.
Out at the range, it took me only about five rounds to dial in the front and rear sights at 25 yards. Even if you don’t want a new stock, the B-TM sight package allows you to fine tune your sight picture and it is a superior set-up to the basic 10/22 sights. The rear sight also has a Picatinny rail should you feel the need to drop a red dot onto your gun.
Before I sat down to write this review, I put about 200 rounds of .22 LR through the “Samsonized” Ruger 10/22. It was great fun and I was able to rekindle that feeling that I had all those years ago on my 18th birthday.
Professor Paul Markel
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Sweet setup and overview! What kind of cowitness or what is the height over bore with the Samson iron sights? And do you feel the aperture is on the smaller side or is it adequate for low light/close distance?