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Old February 22, 2011, 11:14 PM   #1
Join Date: February 22, 2011
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Another new member with lots of questions

Ok as the title states I am new to the world of firearms. I know that there are a lot of these threads but I want to ask just a few (well maybe a lot) of questions that are a little more specific.

Let me give you a quick introduction of myself:

I live in Houston, TX and have just turned 18 this year. I'm about 6ft, pretty fit, and weigh 210lbs. I have been kept away from firearms and was led to believe that guns do nothing more than kill innocent people. My first encounter with a firearm wasn't too pleasant and I could've actually killed myself or my brother if I didn't have common sense (I won't tell the whole story now). What really got me interested in shooting was when I asked to go to the range with my current girlfriends father. He was happy to bring me along and taught me all the basic saftey rules and guided me as I squeezed off those first few magical shots that got me hooked. So, wanting to learn more, I joined the site to learn from the older and much wiser folks!

The only information I have about firearms is through the web and I don't know how reliable or accurate some of the information is. From what i've seen from this site everyone here seems to know what they are talking about and have lots of experience to back it up. Heck, sometimes it seems like yall are speaking chinese with all the gun terminology thrown around that I don't understand one bit.

Now on to the questions:

I have been interested in buying my first rifle for shooting targets and learning how to keep and maintain my own firearm. Price is a big concern and I would like it as cheap as possible, preferably around $200. I have done a little research and narrowed it down to a few:The Marlin 795, Ruger 10/22, Savage 64 FXP, and CVA Elite (As it is called on Academy's website).

Browsing through a few sites (including this one) I noticed that a lot of people recommend the .22lr for beginners because it is easier to get used to flinching and recoil. Is everyone going to give me the same speech or have others started on different rounds and been just fine? I first shot a .223 (I don't know what rifle it was) and the recoil and noise surprised me a little at first, but I adjusted to it easily. I actually kinda liked the feel of the recoil after each shot for some reason, and am afraid I won't get that same feel with a .22lr.

The .22lr's I listed are all semi-auto but is this a smart choice or should I stick to a single shot rifle so I don't accidentally get into a habit of "pray and spray?" Are single shot rifles a lot more accurate/reliable and why?

Another question is about sights. On a lot of other sites people talk about getting really expensive scopes to put on their rifles and brag about being able to shoot dime sized groups at 100+ yards. Is getting a scope really necessary or do any of you prefer iron sights? I don't know the first thing about scopes and don't plan on getting one. Also, are the factory made sights good out of the box or do major adjustments need to be made before shots start getting on target?

What do you define as a "good shot" and is consistency of groups more important or being able to hit the bullseye?

Are rimfire and centerfire rounds really that different? I know the butt end of the cartridge is different but I am refering to accuracy/reliability.

Does the weight of the rifle make a huge difference in shooting or is it just the preference of the shooter?

What are the grooves in the barrel (I think it's called rifling?) and how does it affect accuracy? Are tighter or looser grooves prefered and why?

Does the length of the barrel have major affects on accuracy and is there a "common" length for a rifle barrel?

Does wood or synthetic stock make a difference in accuracy/reliability or is it just another preference?

I hope that these questions aren't too silly and I would appreciate any thoughtful responses
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Old February 23, 2011, 12:17 AM   #2
Pvt. Pyle
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Let me start out by telling you that I am no expert by any stretch. I still consider my self a beginner or novice. That being said about a year ago I bought a Remington 597 .22LR. It was a dn gun to shoot. I ended up trading it which after that I will most likely never get rid of another gun in my life unless my wife or kid needs surgery. Of the 22s you listed I would suggest the Ruger. Not because I am quickly beoming a Ruger guy, but after I bought the 597 and knowing what i know now I wish I would have bought the 10/22. Now that that's coveredlet me cover my thoughts on your other questions.

As far as beginners caliber goes a 22 is suggested so muchbecause of the cost. You don't have to drop 50 bucks on ammo for 100 shots like with my 357.

As for flinching you have to overcome that. Of course shooting something with no recoil will help you develop good practices, but if you worried about a 44 mag, your gonna be worried about it until youshoot it, feel it, and adjust to it. Flinching is you not the gun.

If you think your a recoil junkie and you want to start on the cheap go buy a used mosin. Cleanit up. Shoot it. And clean it again. That will be a good gun to have some fun with. Actually on my list to buy next. As an AR and S&W 629 are still out of my price ange yet.

As far as semi or single shot go, spray and pray is in your head. Just slow down and shoot. Of course Im not saying never have fun and rap off a few rounds but if your practicing accuracy or sighting it in then slow down. Once its sighted in have at it.

Single shot is no more accurate then a semi. A semi is a single shot rifle. It just happens tohold more than one round.

For a plinking rifle you don't need an expensive scope. I bought a 30 dollar scope for my 22 and it worked fine. Of course you can use the iron sights but the distance of how faryou can shot depends on your eyesight. You don't need a scope right now if you don't want it. You can have plenty offun with open sights.

The iron sights should get you on paper with minor tweaks to get to pointof aim. Of course you may need to tweak depending on distances and if you add a scope.

A good shot is when you hit what you're aiming at. If you aim at that spot again and hit it, then that too is a good shot. If you have a tight group on your target then for those shots you were a good shooter.

The primers are different. I am not sure I can accurately explain the differences but one to the other is no more accurate. They are basically rimfire because a primer is damn near the size of the shell. The gun is always goi. To be me accurate than you, no matter what you're shooting.

The weight will absorb recoil out of the shot in a 22 and bigger rounds. It however mes no differennce one accuracy or ything like that. It makes your arm tiredfasterthough. And may become a PITA carrying it through the woods or anyplace you have to carry itfor a time.

Yes its called rifling. They effect accuracy. I couldn't exactly tell you about the turns and numbers and all that. But there is a middle ground that is ameffective. Too much or too little is bad. This is nothing really that will becme an issue for you yet, hasn't even showed its face for me yet.

The length also effects accuracy ecause its more time the bulet is getting spun. Again at this point not really a concern. Maybe when you are getting into somelonger shots at things other than deer but I have never really heard anyone pay much attention to barrel length other that with shotguns.

Wood compared to synthetic is what you want to look at while you own the gun.
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Old February 23, 2011, 08:49 AM   #3
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I think you have the right idea. A .22lr rifle is a great learning platform that well serve you your whole life.

Everyone well have their own opinion on what rifle is 'best'. I try not to use the term 'best' but use the term 'different'. My personal choice would be the Ruger 10/22 but their are many others that would do as well if not better. Pick the rifle "you" like, not what is the flavor of the month.

Welcome to the forum.
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Old February 23, 2011, 10:20 AM   #4
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I too feel that a .22 rimfire would be a good place for you to start. I'm not against starting with a semi-auto, however if I were starting you I'd look for a bolt action single shot or repeater. I feel that bolt actions rifles are just easier to teach on, followed by the break action, and lastly the semi-auto.

Some of the other stuff you are asking about really isn't that important when considering a .22 LR, just make sure to get one that feels like a rifle to you and not a childrens play toy. With your size that will be the most important thing, so be prepared to spend a little more if needed to get one that will fit you properly. Most .22 LR are marketed as youth rifles so they usually don't fit most adults well, I got rid of my 10/22 because I didn't want to invest in a new "adult" sized stock for it.

You want to shoot consistant groups first, then move your sights to bring the bullet impact to where you want. So shoot for groups first then move your sights. Once you have your cosistant groups and your sights properly adjusted then you will have accuracy.
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Old February 23, 2011, 10:40 AM   #5
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I'm another one for starting out with a .22 rimfire. They are fairly cheap to feed (read cheap bulk ammo). I was taught on an old glenfeild. That could be why i am partial to a marlin 60. Not to mention you can find good used marlin 60's in pawn shops for $60-$100 used and brand new for about $140. The stocks on the marlins are also longer than a ruger 10/22. Might be something to consider for a guy your size.

I say learn to use the iron sights first. It will make you a better rifleman in the long run. Then once you have the basic's down then get off into scopes and centerfire's. Also don't leave out the world of shotgun's either they are useful and a lot of fun.

So welcome to the shooting sports. Be safe and have all the fun you want. And pick whatever you want. It's your money and your hobby.
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Old February 23, 2011, 11:48 AM   #6
Willie Lowman
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What do you define as a "good shot" and is consistency of groups more important or being able to hit the bullseye?
A good shot is hitting your intended target. Good shooting is hitting your intended target consistently.

This applies to shooting paper, pop cans, plates, and pins.

It's good to shoot a nice tight group. It's better to put that nice tight group in the bullseye.
"9mm has a very long history of being a pointy little bullet moving quickly" --Sevens
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Old February 23, 2011, 06:20 PM   #7
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Lots of good questions.
With $200 to spend, you will have to consider both the cost of the gun and ammo.
Military surplus bolt action rifles are about as cheap to buy as a .22, but the ammo costs are way more.
As is the number of times you will want to pull the trigger in one session at the range.
So, it all depends on how much and how often you will want to shoot it.
The skills that you want to develop can be accomplished with just about anything, so pick one you will use enough to get good with.

Your question about rifling:
The rifling gives the bullet its spin and accuracy.
The twist rate, measured in turns per inch, is matched to the choice of bullet.
It's not really important to consider for .22 rimfire, but is very important for calibers that are offered in different lengths and weight bullets.
The rifling also must match the diameter of the bullet, neither too tight or too loose.

Barrel length will affect velocity somewhat.
Generally speaking, the longer the bullet is traveling down the barrel and gaining rpm, the more velocity it will have.
But there may or may not be an accompanying increase in accuracy with higher velocity.
Accuracy is determined by the quality of the gun, of the barrel, trigger and most everything else, by the proper choice of bullet and ammo for the caliber choice, and, of course, the guy behind it.

Scopes add an area of complication that can confuse and interfere with learning to shoot.
You might want to put that off for later.
Decent iron sights will do the job, especially at the distances most people practice and shoot at.

As for the material of the stock, it's just a matter of preference, mostly.
Wood is pretty, but can change shape with the weather.
Synthetics are lighter and the balance of the rifle will be different than with the heavier wood stocks.

As you see, it's a very large subject, so keep the questions coming.
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Old February 23, 2011, 07:55 PM   #8
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I would suggest a good used Ruger 77/22 or other similar bolt action rifle. They are still fun shoot and they slow you down a bit. Not that ammo is all that expensive, we have it on sale around us for less than $20.00 for 500+ rounds.
I also think the Iron sights are the way to go until you figure out more about what you want. Generally speaking a bolt action is going to be more accurate than a semi auto but I don't think it is going to make a big difference in the 22 caliber range. Good luck and enjoy your new hobby.
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Old February 23, 2011, 08:16 PM   #9
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I'd suggest the Ruger 10/22, first of all I've never seen one worn out (mine is 40 years old). Secondly, every single part in a 10/22 can be upgraded if you like later on down the line. You can start out with a standard sporter rifle and trick it out completely on your own and end up with a heavy barreled target rifle. Check out MidwayUSA's website and search parts by make and model to see the shear number of available aftermarket parts for the 10/22. If you're a tinkerer, this is your rifle. You will probably want to upgrade the factory sights on this rifle right off the bat if you plan on doing any serious target work.

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Old February 23, 2011, 08:21 PM   #10
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Good advice. I don't think I have ever seen one worn out. Lots of aftermarket stuff to dress it up and give better trigger pull.

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Old February 23, 2011, 08:22 PM   #11
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I also throw my hat in for the .22lr for someone who is first learning to shoot.

You really can't go wrong with a Marlin or Savage. Both have been making rifles (specifically rimfire rifles) for a very long time.

Most of your questions have already been answered but;

As far as Bolt Actions vs Semi's go. I disagree on the fact that both have the same accuracy. Bolt actions, by design, are more accurate than semi's due to the fact that the semi needs a little bit of play in the bolt to operate.
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Old February 23, 2011, 09:08 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone for your input it really has helped. Some of the questions I was just curious about but I thank everyone for answering them anyways

I have heard that the Ruger 10/22 is a good choice but in order for it to be a good gun you need to invest some money into it in order to get "better" stuff (such as sights or stocks). I was looking for a gun that would be good out of the box and I don't want to tinker or change anything. Honestly I wouldn't know how to change up the gun even if I wanted to. So far it's just so hard to decide exactly what I want. I guess I'll just have to handle a few of them as taylorce1 said

So it seems like the .22lr is the way to go (as I expected). I guess I just needed a little more input before deciding
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Old February 23, 2011, 09:17 PM   #13
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No, actually the 10/22 is fine just as it comes. If you want some "up-grades" that's ok too, but don't fall for the marketing that says you NEED them!
You really don't.
If you have 20-20 vision you need nothing more then what it comes out of the box with.
If you want any up-grade, to start with, go with a scope or a williams peep sight. With the peep you'll also need to replace the front sight with one a bit taller.
Have a good gunsmith do a trigger job on it for you. (that only costs about $35 in most locations)
I have been a gunsmith since 1969, and I have to say the Ruger 10/22 is without a doubt the best 22 auto rifle for the money that the world has yet seen.
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Old February 23, 2011, 09:34 PM   #14
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Clearly a .22 is called for.

Try going to an actual brick and mortar gun shop. Preferably middle of the week/ middle of the day when there aren't many distractions. Most .22's won't fit you, so you will need to try some out. Also a good time to start a relationship with a gunshop.

A reloading manual, even if you don't reload, will teach you a lot.
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Old February 23, 2011, 10:00 PM   #15
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Welcome to the hobby! I agree with the opinion about the 10/22 being the semi-auto of choice for most people, heck I bought my first one when I was 16 and I still have it! Having said that, a bolt action is not a bad way to go, several good quality examples from Marlin and Savage are in your price range and usually very accurate right out of the box. ( some standard 10/22's I've owned have been lacking in that department) Also, to keep it fun at the range, in addition to paper targets try some reactionary targets like EMPTY shotgun shell hulls, small blocks of wood, pinecones, etc. It's kind of fun to keep something bouncing around the ground or knock over a row one at a time to keep the shooting interesting between going for tiny groups on a piece of paper.
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Old February 23, 2011, 10:58 PM   #16
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+50 on the 10/22

No but seriously, the 10/22 is the best to get as a new shooter. You can pick one up really cheap and you can learn the basics from it. I have a couple of guns but have realized that I need to get back to the basics myself. I bought a rifle for hunting (I have never been hunting before) and then realized that I jumped the gun on that because I need to learn the basics of good shooting. My Dad took me out a bit shooting but it was never so much practice as just putting lead downrange. Definitely get the 10/22 and practice practice practice before you even think about putting a scope or anything else on it. One of the most prolific snipers I know of used the old iron sights. If they were good enough for him they are definitely good enough for me.
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Old February 23, 2011, 11:37 PM   #17
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10/22s are pretty hard to mess up. I've got 4 and all were bought used. You might want to look at used 10/22s, especially ones with the aluminum trigger housing. With a couple Ruger factory magazines and a brick of ammo, you can shoot for several hours for cheap.
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Old February 24, 2011, 12:06 PM   #18
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No Questions are silly Questions....

Lets start at the beginning, you have alot of questions, which is great. These are all, MY opinion only and worth exactly what you paid for them. But I have a load of personal experience which is where I draw my opinions from....

#1) Since price is a big concern, and you want to keep it under 200 dollars, a .22 is the best answer. and a 10/22 is the best of the breed. These have been around a long time, are upgradable if that becomes a want, and its cheap to shoot..with expense being a concern, even the cheapest centerfire cartridges are going to be triple the price of .22.

#2) Yes, You COULD start out on a larger caliber, and may do just fine. but a .22 is a great way to learn the responsabilities of firearm ownership and practice the fundamentals. The .22 will not give you the recoil rush (which I love too) but you can move up to that later, maybe with a 300 dollar SKS in 7.62x39. A good intermediate round that will give you that recoil impulse you are looking for and cheap to shoot as well.

#3) No, a scope is NOT necessary, and again, I wouldnt suggest one until later, learn to shoot with Iron sights. Its like learning to drive with a manual instead of an automatic. Shooting with iron sights is plenty accurate and again will teach you the basics of sight alignment, position and breath control. Later you can add a scope if you wish but it does not have to be an Uber-Expensive one. And just as an aside..Many of the Dime Size Groups at 100 yards you read about on the internet are pure bunk. Those are not easy groups to make and it doesnt matter what kind of rifle or scope you have, most shooters will never make a group that small....

#4) A good shot...if I were to define it, would be "Hitting your intended target" or more precisely "When all of the variables in a particular situation have been correctly interpreted by the shooter, resulting in the precise placement of his projectile exactly where it was intended to go"..

and the second part of that question...YES, consistency is FAR more important than getting one in the bull, thats why sights are adjustable. One lucky shot in the bull out of ten indicates the shooter is NOT doing what he should be in controlling the sight picture. Where as, all ten shots in a tight group six inches to the left means, you are doing everything perfectly and only need a slight change in your sights to be hitting the bullseye every time. I will take three shots touching eachother in the 5 ring any day over 1 shot in the 7th 9th and 10 rings...make sense?

Ok Next #5) The main difference between centerfire and rimfire is mechanical, in terms of reliablity and accuracy, its a little tricky. the main rimfire cartridge we see today is .22, so we will leave the others out and talk about that one. .22s can be extremely accurate out to the range of their limitations. the main problem with their accuracy is their power. Underpowered they are more subjected to wind and bullet drop than more powerful centerfire cartridges. But under 100 yards, they are extremely accurate.

Rimfires tend to be not as reliable as centerfire, simply because of manufacturing process, .22 rimfire is produced in bulk and quality control is not as stringent, you will get more misfires by far in .22 than centerfire rifles. thogh misfires will still be a pretty uncommon occurance. .22 is also a dirty little round and will gunk up your action over time, but, you want a gun to teach you about shooting, so a .22 will be great in teaching you to CLEAN OFTEN.

#6) Weight is MOSTLY a preference, more robust heavy rifles are a bit more accurate, in general, because they cut down on vibration during firing. But this is something most shooters will never have to worry about and you shouldnt be worried about it yet either. But the great thing is, with a 10/22, if you decide you want some serious target grade accuracy there are alot of aftermarket Bull barrels (heavy) available for it and it can be changed at home...

#7) yes the grooves are Riflings, these impart a spin on the bullet and stabilize it during flight, like when a quarterback throws a football. This keeps the bullet from tumbling and makes it more accurate. The amount of spin put on a bullet depends largely on its weight, but manufacturers rifle the barrels for the optimum for that caliber and velocity.

#8) length of barrel has effect on accuracy and velocity, to a minor degree, atgain something most people shouldnt need to worry about. the Common barrel length depends on the type of rifle but is generally between 16 inches and 24 inches...

#9) wood and synthetic is almost purely a matter of preference and will have no meaninful bearing on the practical shooting ability of the rifle...

Have fun and I hope this helps, welcome to the board and if you have any more questions , let us know....
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Old February 24, 2011, 12:25 PM   #19
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I'll throw another opinion out for you. I think the 10-22 is a great rifle, but a pain in the butt to clean. The action must be taken out of the stock and stripped for cleaning every, say 400 rounds and it's not especially easy to put the bolt back in.

If you don't have much gun experience, I recommend a bolt-action rifle with a tubular magazine and a low-powered scope. Marlin makes several very good ones. Bolt actions, levers, and pumps stay cleaner than semi-autos and will keep you making accurate shots instead of spraying. They will be at least as accurate as a factory 10-22 and you'll be much happier for a long time with them.

One of the nicest .22 rifles I've ever used was a Remington 512, but they're not made anymore. A good used one will cost about $200, and is well worth it. They just shoot so nicely and balance so well, you'd love one. One of my favorite older .22s is a Winchester 69A, a detachable magazine model, but from the same, high-quality era.

Okay, this is from a guy who has literally "written the book" on Ruger 10-22 accurizing, so I have nothing but respect for them, but think there are better rifles for folks who don't have much experience taking care of guns.
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Old February 24, 2011, 01:02 PM   #20
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Picher, Great points on cleaning and maintenance, I hadnt really took that into consideration.
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Old February 24, 2011, 10:19 PM   #21
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Ruger 10/22 No more to be said.

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Old February 26, 2011, 01:46 AM   #22
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Ok so from what i'm hearing the ruger 10/22 is the way to go. I was actually leaning towards the marlin 795 for its better cost but I might be changing my mind now.

Another question has to do with the actual purchase of the firearm. Browsing through websites I have noticed that some places sell the exact same firearm for more compared to others. For example, Bass Pro Shops usually sell guns for more than Academy. Is this price difference due to better quality at one place rather than the other (using the previous example is a gun sold at Bass Pro in better condition than one sold at Academy)?

Picher brought up the issue of cleaning which brought me to ask everyone just a few more questions. I have watched a few videos on youtube about cleaning. Yes I know that they are not experts hence why I am asking everyone on this site. Is it really necessary to disassemble the entire gun after each trip to the range or is it more about how many shots were fired that day? In other words can I just clean the barrel until the gun becomes "too dirty" thus requiring me to take apart and clean the whole thing?

I also want to thank everyone once again for each of your imput as well as answering my questions. Each of your opinions will help me ultimately decide my purchase.
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Old February 26, 2011, 04:33 PM   #23
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How often and how much cleaning your rifle will need depends on how often it's used, the caliber, the weather, the humidity, especially, the type of powder in the cartridge and how fussy you are.
For .22s, although the powder that most ammo makers use is kind of dirty, there isn't much of it in the cartridges.
But if you shoot hundreds of rounds at a setting, the gun will get plenty dirty.
On the other hand the action is far enough from the barrel that it will escape much of it, due to the relatively low power.
Generally, clean the barrel and chamber when it needs it, either because it's obviously dirty looking or malfunction in some way.
Like difficulty in cartridge feeding, extraction or loss of accuracy.
Clean the action when the trigger gets gritty.
Or, if you're like me, thoroughly clean it every time, just 'cause ya' can't stand having a less than spotless shootin' iron.
Just be careful how you do it.
Lots of the parts, these days, are plastic and will be damaged by some solvents.
Clean the barrel from the chamber, not the muzzle, if possible, so as to not damage the crown of the barrel, very important for accuracy.
And don't get high from the solvents.
It will make you silly.
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Old February 26, 2011, 04:47 PM   #24
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Welcome to the world of firearms!

Glad to hear you're becoming a firearm owner and thanks for being a thoughtful one at that (many just buy the first thing that looks cool; looks can be deceiving).

I have to second Marlin Model 60 .22lr. I started with one used from a friend and have three now in different configurations (blued/wood, blued/synthetic, and stainless/wood). Love 'em all, and they shoot more reliably and with less fuss than a Ruger 10/22. I've had a 10/22 before, but I sold it a long time ago because it was a jam-o-matic.

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. -T.W.
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Old February 27, 2011, 08:50 AM   #25
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As for the difference in price between retailers, I'd say it's based on profit margin and overhead. The bigger stores have more overhead so they have to charge more to make a profit on the same gun that mom & pop will have to order for you since their stock is limited. Personally I'd buy from the mom & pop gun shop even if it means I have to wait a week to get the gun. These shops are a dying breed and are steadily being put out of business by the larger stores (i.e. Gander Mtn.) in my area. I get a better price this way and I'm supporting a local small business.

Cleaning: I clean the barrel on my 10/22 every time I shoot it, I generally shoot 100-300 rounds per outing. Detail cleaning I usually do every 2-3 trips to the range. I will agree that detail cleaning a 10/22 can be a bit daunting if you're not used to it but once you know what you're doing you may not mind much. I take mine out to the shop, turn on some music and start the disassembly. I find since I'm out in the shop, no one bothers me and I find scrubbing the whole thing down almost theraputic (yes I know there's something wrong with me). I also really like the smell of Hoppe's #9 solvent so it's a win win for me. Here's a video for disassembly of the 10/22 and one for cleaning the 10/22
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