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Hey Baby I don’t know how to fix them, I just drive them! Gear Review: Remington 597 vs. Ruger 10/22

Posted by Knitebane

I own two Ruger 10/22 rifles. One is a stainless model with a black plastic stock. The other is a more traditional blued model with a wooden stock. The stainless model was bought because way back when we didn't have a semi-auto rifle for plinking and thought we needed one. It mostly sat in the closet as we lived in an apartment and had few chances to shoot.

The second one I got when I bought a bunch of guns off of a guy that was sending his daughter to college. He needed the money and his wife said the guns had to go. I told him that they'd get a good home. He named his price, I said okay and I went home with several guns including two .22LR rifles. One was the blue 10/22.

Most of my history with .22LR rifles has been with bolt action guns. My grandfather taught me to shoot a Remington Model 34. Running one of those is pretty simple. You put rounds in the tube, crank the bolt and pull the trigger. It goes *BANG* until you run out of rounds. Lather, rinse, repeat. Once every six months or so you spray down the round carrier with Rem Oil.

So when I got the stainless Ruger 10/22 I expected the same kind of experience. Put 10 rounds in the rotary magazine, cycle the bolt and pull the trigger. It goes *BANG* until, well, sometimes until the magazine is empty. Sometimes until it double feeds. Sometimes until it fails to extract. Sometimes until it fails to eject.

So I researched the problem.

"All you need is a Volquartsen extractor!" says one Internet guru.
"Don't stop there!" says another, "Get a target hammer, disconnector and sear too!"
"Be sure to add a firing pin and spring," opines another, "you wouldn't want to continue having issues, you know."
"Oh and an adjustable trigger too!" adds a friendly poster.
"And an automatic bolt release! That will fix that pesky issue of not being able to close the &%$^*#&$&^ bolt when you want to just shoot your $*%^&$**&$ rifle."

I'd already added a Weaver rail and a red dot along with an extended magazine release to replace that stupid little recessed button thingy. I need more stuff to make the gun reliable? When the hell did people start selling guns that require you double the amount of money you have in the gun before it will simply shoot? This isn't some $3000 race gun, it's a flippin' .22LR!

So I put it in the closet and leave it there. It's not really worth the effort.

When I got the aforementioned great deal on the bunch of guns I was happy that I had another Ruger 10/22. I figured maybe someone was pulling my leg and THIS rifle would at least just shoot a few magazines without a problem.


Same problems, same suggestions to fix it.

So in the closet it goes too. At this point I'm thoroughly jaded on semi-auto .22s.

Eventually we moved and start regularly going to a local range. The range most convenient to us is pistol calibers only and mostly we just shoot our carry pieces. Eventually, though, another attendee announces that he's going to be running a .22LR steel target competition and would we like to compete?

Well yeah! Only, we don't have a .22LR pistol. So the research starts. Not wanting to spend a lot of money on something that we may not like (did I mention I was jaded on semi-auto .22LRs? I did? Ok, just checking.) we pass over the Ruger Mark IIs and IIIs, the Browning Buckmarks, the Walthers and the High Standards. We finally settle on a Beretta NEOS, a new (at the time) polymer framed .22LR pistol that runs about half the price of the other .22LR pistols.

It's cheap, it's plastic and it eats up rounds and comes back for more. When it starts to malf you just clean it and it picks right back up. So we shoot a season of the steel match and notice that our .22LR cheap plastic toy runs as well as the high-end custom Rugers and *LOTS* better than the out-of-the-box Rugers. The only people that have better guns are a couple of guys with the 1911 .22LR conversions and one guy with a Browning Buckmark. (We own a Buckmark now too.)

So we ask the guy that runs the event why his Ruger is so reliable. "Well," he says, "All I did was replace the trigger and sear and hammer and extractor and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah."

What the hell? Why doesn't Ruger just sell a bare receiver and let Volquartsen provide shooters with parts that actually work? Why can't RUGER sell a gun that actually works? They make fantastic revolvers, what the hell is wrong with the parts in the semi-auto rifles and pistols?

What's that you say? A lot of the serious 10/22 shooters DRILL A HOLE IN THE END OF THE RECEIVER JUST SO THEY CAN CLEAN THE GUN?


But now I know it's not a .22LR semi-auto issue. It's just a Ruger issue. And my mind strays back to that OTHER semi-auto rifle I bought when I got the second 10/22. The one I tossed in the closet because, hey, it's just another generic semi-auto .22LR and we just know those things can't be reliable, right?

So I pull out the Remington 597 that I had abandoned to the closet grues. I clean the dust out of it and take it to the range.

300 rounds and zero failures later and I'm kicking myself for getting sucked into the 10/22 hype. But after about 6 months of shooting it I start having problems with it. It starts not wanting to feed properly. So I do some research.

"Yeah, it will do that eventually. Just spray a little Rem Oil inside the receiver." they say.

I do it. And it works.

When the opportunity to attend an Appleseed shoot comes up, we buy the Mrs. her own Remington 597. It runs the same. A little lube and occasionally clean the magazines. I'm old and blind so I put a scope on mine using the built-in 3/8" rails on the top of the receiver. She gets Tech Sights. We both get GI slings to attach to the provided sling swivel studs.

It was recommended to me that if I don't know how many rounds have been through the gun I should replace the extractor. So I do. And instead of the stock Remington part for $4.49 I get a Volquartsen extractor for almost $20. How WILL I survive the financial stress?

At the shoot, we run through around 700 rounds and we found that only one thing causes a Remington 597 to not go *BANG*: When it runs out of rounds.

Well, I did have one dud round. Pulled the trigger and *click*. Waited for a bit and cranked the bolt. Yeah, it's got a divot from the hammer but it didn't go off. But other than that it just runs.

I'm keeping the Rugers, though. Some day I may need to teach someone how to clear malfunctions.