Submitted by Eric Daniel
The first true firearm I ever fired was a Ruger 10/22 in the summer of 1976 (No, that's not me in the picture above.) The Ruger was a simple and straight forward design and shooting it was the coolest thing I'd ever done. Well, thirty four years later, having been bitten by the bug when I bought my M1 Garand, I'm now contemplating getting something in the .22 caliber range for my daughter to learn how to shoot on. Immediately my thoughts, once again, fell to the Ruger 10/22, and at around $350, it seemed to be a pretty good deal.
Well, rather than just go straight out and pick one up, I thought I'd do a little comparing. Specifically, I was interested in bolt action rifles, and how they would stack up against the Ruger.
Well, to my surprise, it would appear that .22LR bolt action rifles are actually rather expensive (relative to the 10/22.) The Ruger 77/22 bolt action rifle is nearly $800, twice the cost of the 10/22. Yes the 77/22 has a barrel 6" longer, but is that where the cost goes up? I don't know, but for a plinker, $750-$800 seems like a lot to pay. Moreover, the 77/22 does not come with iron sights; you have to add a scope, which, while in and of itself isn't that big a deal, I'd rather she learned the fundamentals of shooting with iron sights first, rather than learn to shoot and learn how to use a scope at the same time.
Winchester offers a BA rifle in .22LR, the Wildcat 22, and, at $300, it's significantly cheaper than the Ruger. But, like the Ruger 77/22, it to lacks iron sights, so I'd have to use a scope.
Savage Arms offers several candidates, most notably their 5-shot Stevens Cadet at $205 and the single shot Stevens 315 Youth at $211, and the Mark II Classic at $500. Again though, iron sights are only offered on the single shot Cadet, and I can't get a real good look at those to see how adjustable they are (there is no sight close up available.)
After all that, the old 10/22 may just be the thing I'm looking for after all.