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Fifty Years of the Ruger 10/22

Fifty Years of the Ruger 10/22

If you don’t own a Ruger 10/22 in at least one of its many configurations, someone needs to check your pulse. By 2011, when Ruger finally rolled out a 25-round rotary magazine for the rifle, the company estimated more than six million 10/22s were in gun safes, rifle racks and the hands of shooters worldwide. It was introduced in 1964, so some quick math determines that’s 127,659 of the carbines selling every year, 10,638 a month and somewhere around 354 a day.

To celebrate the classic’s 50th birthday the company is holding an Anniversary Design Contest. If you have a 10/22 and haven’t at least thought about modifying it, you also need to check your pulse. Don’t get me wrong, the rimfire semi-automatic is great in its stock configuration, but it begs for a different stock, rails, scope, ghost rings or bipod. An entire cottage industry grew up around 10/22 aftermarket parts. Here’s a nice sample of what’s available right now from Cheaper than Dirt (Editors Note: Do not visit this page while at work. It will diminish productivity, generate verbal warnings, add trips to human resources, attract snickers from latte-sipping co-workers and soon you and your UPS delivery guy will be on a first-name basis, not that there’s anything wrong with that).

The contest is open now, but closes at noon (Eastern Time), Friday Oct. 18. To enter, submit a photo of your customized Ruger 10/22, along with a description and itemized parts list. The Grand Prize Winner will have his or her design used as the basis for a new, production 10/22. They will also receive one of the rifles, go to the Ruger plant in New Hampshire to watch the rifle being made and cement their relationship with UPS by receiving $5,000 worth of Ruger gear.

Nine other First Prize finishers will receive a Ruger firearm of their choice. Wait, there’s more. You can visit Ruger’s website from Oct. 21 to Nov. 1 to vote for your favorite design among the top-10 finishers. The lawyers, of course, have to eat, so here are the official rules.

It’s pretty awesome that Ruger is celebrating the birthday of the world’s most popular firearm by celebrating home-brewed modifications. Of course, how well you photograph the gun will have an impact. More on that in the next installment, but in the meantime, here’s a pretty cool target version and Thompson mod over which to drool.

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