Yup, you read that correctly. After 56 years of continuous production, the world’s most popular semi-automatic .22 long rifle gun is now left-handed.
This is a truly lefthanded Ruger 10/22, produced by Ruger in their custom shop — and it is so choice. You can find third-party receivers with charging handles on the left, but they all eject spent cartridges to the right.
Right now, all you lefthanded shooters are warming up to write comments about how you’ve been using your 10/22 for decades with fine results. I know that’s a fact, and while you may not run out and buy this gun, there’s a certain crowd who are the perfect market for this rifle.
After all, this is Ruger’s Competition Rifle and whether you buy it left or right-handed it is a fine firearm and a precision shooter. Let me show you the gun, tell you what I like, and where I think it fits in your quiver.
First Left-Handed 10/22
You can read it over and over again on the forums: Left-handed shooters are content using their righthanded 10/22s. No one complains about ejected brass hitting them in the face — 10/22s do a good job of ejecting at 90°. They say the gun is light enough that holding it up while charging the action is no problem. The only gripe I’ve heard is that it would be nice if the safety worked the other direction.
This gun addresses all those (non) issues. I’ve shot hundreds of rounds without a single failure. The charging handle glides smoothly and snaps forward completely every time, seating each round soundly in the chamber. And the safety now slides the correct way for left-handed use, which is a pretty big deal for this gun’s intended use as a competition gun.
The magazine is the key to this gun, but also its least attractive feature. Because of the way a bullet is drawn out of the magazine and into the chamber, a right-handed mag won’t work in a left-handed 10/22 action. This is probably why it’s taken 56 years to make this gun.
These left-handed mags are perfect mirrors of the rotary magazines that have always been included with 10/22s. Slide the cartridge into the slot and the next round pushes the other down to the right. 10 rounds are stacked in there in a circle. Traditionally, 10/22 mags have had a red follower, but these left-handed mags have a green follower to help distinguish them.
The reason this is an unattractive situation is that your BX-25 and Butler Creek 25-round banana mags won’t work — right-handed mags won’t even seat. The gun ships with one 10-round mag and additional 1 and 3-packs are available.
I hope it won’t be long, though, before there are 25-round BX-25 mags available, though I doubt 100-round drums will ever be left-handed.
With the barrel just 16 1/8″ long, this gun is easy to handle in various situations. Competitions with barriers and tight environs will be easier to handle, and carrying it hunting is also a breeze.
The bull barrel is cold hammer-forged. Fluting both reduces weight and increases surface area to help dissipate heat faster. It’s threaded to 1/2″-28 and is ready for a suppressor. The muzzle brake covers the threads and reduces recoil. It’s all finished in satin black to reduce glare.
Although the rest of the gun is lefthanded, the barrel has 1:16″ right-handed rifling. It’s also secured both at the top and bottom to the action which makes it free-floating and increases accuracy.
Compared with your dad’s 10/22, this stock has little in common. It’s synthetic and it is solid. It’s much denser than the lightweight wood used on other rifles. It has no flex and has stood up well for me as I’ve rested it on rocks while hunting. It’s painted grey and textured with black speckles making it more grip-able. Unlike other 10/22s, this one has a second screw behind the trigger guard to hold the action in the stock.
The stock is also precision-cut to fit the action and there’s no play. The barrel floats over the forend. The forend swells to fill the hand and has a finger channel cut on both sides of the barrel. The grip is more vertical and pistol-like than other models. There are swivel sling studs fore and aft. The butt pad is more than soft enough to mitigate felt recoil.
A big addition is an adjustable comb that moves on two axes. This polymer cheek rest slides up and down and forward and back without tools. It has detents and tick marks so you can save your setting. It’s been nice shooting with my daughter with this gun and switching quickly between her setting and mine.
The length of pull is 13.5″ and the overall length of the gun is a hair under 36″.
BX-Trigger/Fire Control Group
Ruger’s BX-Trigger comes standard on the Competition Rifles. At $89.95, maybe it’d be a good upgrade for your 10/22.
The 10/22 trigger is an enclosed unit. The BX’s housing is glass-filled polymer which makes it both rigid and tough. The trigger is striated along the entire front face.
The trigger has a bit of take-up, then a little creep before breaking. Although the advertised weight is just 2.5-3 lbs, it’s doesn’t have the crisp feeling you’d expect from an upgraded trigger. That’s how it feels at the gun counter, but when you’re shooting it’s a good trigger, and I don’t think it’s the thing keeping me from shooting tighter groups with this gun.
The reset is distinct with a small ‘click’ sound. On average, the trigger-pull gauge reports 2lbs 7.5oz, just under the advertised 2.5 lbs mark. I found that the trigger varied less than one ounce between pulls.
Ruger has extended the magazine release. It’s a long lever that follows the contour at the front of the trigger guard. Just press it down with your trigger finger and the magazine falls free. It works well and intuitively and makes it much quicker to change mags — another competition-ready feature.
Curiously, the bolt lock button at the front of the trigger guard is the same old button. And it’s on the left side of the trigger guard, just like other right-handed models. But, I think this button actually works better in left-handed operation, so it works well here.
The safety is the standard cross-bolt button with red revealed when it’s in the fire position. But, it is left-handed, so you press to the right to fire.
As a right-handed shooter using this gun, I can see why this feature alone justifies the left-handed version. I hunt with the safety on, and it takes a little more concentration to switch the safety from the wrong side before firing. This is a valuable feature, making it “push-to-fire” for left-handed shooters.
You’ll note that the bolt lock does not release the bolt. More on that below.
Sights are not included with the Competition Rifle. Instead, it is optics ready with a Picatinny rail machined into the top of the receiver. What’s more, it’s canted with 30 MOA of compensation built-in. That means that is tilted upward and when you zero your optics you will be using the lower portion of their adjustment at close ranges which leaves more vertical adjustment to dial longer distances.
This is a boon for long-distance shooting. As soon as the 34mm rings are back in stock, I plan to mount Vortex’s new 5-25×56 Venom scope. It’s got parallax adjustment for working as close as 15 yards, so it’s great for .22 LR.
Direct blowback actions are common on .22 LR guns, but few 10/22’s have been refined to function as tightly and as smoothly as this one.
The receiver is machined 6061-T6511 aluminum and is heat-treated and hard-coat anodized. The steel bolt is also machined and heat treated then nitride finished for a smooth and tight action. When you work the charging handle you can feel that everything runs smoothly in its course.
A huge upgrade is applied to the charging handle compared to the standard 10/22, which has a trigger-like blade that seems to catch on everything and scrape things up. This one is round and smooth large.
Another upgrade is that the charging handles also acts to release the bolt. After loading a magazine, just pull back slightly on the charging handle and the bolt will snap back forward in the battery. There are many DIY videos about how to make this upgrade to your standard 10/22. But if using a Dremel tool on gun parts makes you leery, you’ll appreciate having it built-in here.
Another change that makes this a little better for competition is that you don’t have to remove the barrel to clean the bore with a rod. There’s a block at the back of the receiver which reveals a hole for a cleaning rod to run through. Of course, you still have to remove the stock to get to the bolt that reveals that hole.
I mounted an Optika6 1-6×24 FFP scope from Meopta. The huge optical bell makes this scope a pleasure to use, and since the rifle’s charging handle moves straight back it doesn’t interfere with the scope. Combined with the short barrel, hunting through the brush with this scope set at 1x power was really fun. It swings fast and acquires targets naturally. Matching the adjustable comb to my face made target acquisition much easier, too. I was able to achieve a consistent cheek weld which helped me shoot more consistently. Dialing it up to 6x made the 100-yard shots simple. This scope is bright and sharp.
At 50+ yards, I was able to achieve minute-of-pigeon-head accuracy and drop birds from the cliffside above my neighbor’s fields without damaging meat. Headshots on rock chucks dropped them where they lay at 100 yards. If you’re a pot hunter, this gun brings home the bacon every time. Of course, you could buy a lot of bacon for the price of this gun, but at least you won’t be shelling out too much cash for ammunition.
At the range, I shot several types of ammunition and achieved similar results to other reviewers I’ve seen. In my testing, CCI Mini-Mag proved to be the best by a long shot — and it made the 100-yard kill shots, too. I could make most of the holes touch at 50 yards each time and the groups didn’t expand too much at 75 yards. I’m excited to see how well I can do at 200+ yards with the other scope.
Dropping the magazines with the extended-release is terrific. Using the charging handle to release the bolt without also pressing another button and patting my head at the same time is also great. The short barrel swings quickly and intuitively gets on target. The trigger is light, and though it’s not super crisp it still shoots very well. The textured stock is easy to hold and the adjustable comb works well to fit most shooters. The heavy barrel seemed to keep me on target mag after mag and the brake makes the small recoil almost non-existent.
I really enjoy using this gun, and I’m a right-handed shooter. My kids are both left-handed, so they are appreciating having the controls in the right places — especially the safety button.
This is a fine-shooting gun that performs well and is fun to use. But it’s all the little changes that make it better for left-handed shooters.
And that’s the crux: If you shoot competitions, then having the left-handed version of this gun will probably make you faster and possibly more accurate.
But it also has a place for those who shoot a lot and even hunters. It’s likely heavier than your other 10/22, but it’s so accurate that you’ll carry fewer rounds into the woods and maybe that’ll help. Sometimes, even though it’s costly, it’s just nice to have a gun that is amongst the best in its class.
And if you’re a left-handed shooter, then this is the only option that combines all the controls we righties have been enjoying for 56 years.
What Could Be Better?
There are a couple of things I wish were different. First of all, on a gun that’s listed at $899, I think the finish on the cheek rest could be better. It’s comfortable to use, but the edges are a little sharp and show marks from the molds. Otherwise, the fit and finish of the metals and stock are all excellent.
Next, as long as they were upgrading everything, I wish they’d changed the shape of the bolt lock button in front of the trigger guard. It’s narrow and stiff and I think there’s room for improvement. And my last complaint is related to that. I wish it held open after the last round is fired.
Overall, these are very small complaints. This gun is a blast to use and it puts the bullets where you expect them to go, and it does it with a little touch of luxury exhibited in the precision action and fine stock.
It’s Still the Only Left-Handed 10/22
The Ruger 10/22 Competition Rifle is also available for righties, and Jordan Michaels compared buying the Competition Rifle to building your own with parts of similar quality in this article. He found that the costs were similar and that the street price of the Ruger build might be a little lower.
But in the end, this is still the only 10/22 option that gives lefties the controls that right-handed users have always had. You can buy charging handles that work on the left, but you can’t get the left-sided safety and other features.
This gun shoots more consistently than I do and is a huge upgrade to an off-shelf semi-auto .22 LR. Its compact size helps you acquire targets quickly, and its trigger is responsive. If you are looking for a semi-auto .22 that shoots well and has the feel of quality, this may be the gun for you. If you are a left-handed competition shooter who needs a little advantage, this is a no-brainer.
The Ruger 10/22 Competition Rifle Left-Handed Model starts at $899 and is available starting August 13th, 2021 which is International Lefthanders Day. It ships with the gun, one left-handed magazine, a hard case, a Ruger Custom Shop certificate of authenticity, challenge coin, cleaning cloth, and a decal.
- 10/22 Competition Rifle Left-Handed Model
- .22 Long Rifle
- 36″ long overall
- 13.5″ Length of pull
- 16.12″ barrel
- 6 Barrel grooves
- 1:16″ righthand twist
- Fluted barrel
- 1/2″-28 Threaded barrel
- Cold hammer-forged, free-floating barrel with satin finish
- Hard-coat anodized 6061-T6511 aluminum receiver
- Heat-treated steel bolt with nitride finish
- Optics-ready integrated 30 MOA Picatinny rail
- Synthetic textured stock
- BX-Trigger, 2.5-3 lbs
- 6 lbs overall weight
- Muzzle brake included
- Cross-bolt safety
- 10-round magazine (right-handed magazines won’t work)
- Over-sized charging handle