“When You and I were Young Maggie” is a nostalgic turn of the 19th century song. The past, your youth usually invokes good memories of a simpler time. Whenever I go through my gun vault I always notice my Ruger 10/22 22LR semi auto carbine which is one of the few firearms I have from my youth.
The first bit of shooting that I remember was like most Canadian kids with a Cooey 22 rifle. My first post BB gun target practice was with a Cooey Model 60 bolt action repeater shooting Whiz Bang 22 longs acquired by my Granddad McCallum from the General Store. The next exciting 22 was my brother’s Mossberg 352K 22LR semi auto 7 shot clip, walnut stock with fold down plastic forearm. This was a Christmas gift and I think I was as excited as my brother. My brother went off to university and his Mossberg stayed home. So I would sneak it out and I thought I had an assault rifle with the stock folded down. I would empty clip after clip in rapid fire at cans, posts etc.
Then when I was about 16 I acquired a new Ruger 10/22 22 carbine which had only been born 6 years, before entering the market in late 1964. It was a walnut “carbine” stocked 22LR rifle with its revolutionary 10 shot rotary clip. The barrel had fold down rear sight and std. blade front sight and measured 18 ½”. My gun is basically the current Ruger Model 10/22 RB but has a walnut stock instead of a hard wood beech stock. I soon put a Bushnell 4x custom 7/8” dovetail scope with mount which fits into the base plate on the 10/22 receiver. This scope I never replaced. It was made in Japan and has good optics and is the right size for the gun.
My 10/22 still has the original clip. This pet has taken squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs, countless starlings, crows, etc. but by far has killed a lot more bottles, cans and paper targets. I have shot over 25,000 rounds thru my 10/22 and I can’t really remember it ever jamming. Most of the ammunition was C.I.L. Imperial 22LR solids or “mushroom” which in the 60’s and 70’s was as good as you could get and I also could trade my chore money for ammo in the general store. Millions of Ruger 10/22’s have been made since mine. Literally hundreds of variation from walnut stock sporters, synthetic stocked camouflage, Takedown, Ltd. Editions and now a Ruger with a built in suppressor (not in Canada, pity). Still I wouldn’t trade my original Ruger 10/22 for any of the above. The Ruger 10/22 RB now tips the cash register at just over $350.00 with our underpriced Canadian dollar. I still think the 10/22 is your best choice for a 22 semi auto and yes you can buy black gun versions or transform the standard model with an ATI stock. Also, anyone who’s bothered to read any of my written mental wanderings knows I still think either in pistol or rifle the lowly 22LR is still the most fun for your shooting dollars.
I’m feeling kind of nostalgic right now. I think I’ll grab my old Ruger 10/22 and some C.I.L. Imperial 22LR Mushroom (might be hard to find) and sneak up on some tin cans.