Buying My First Rifle? New to Firearms


March 18, 2008, 12:53 PM
I know this is about as basic as it gets, and in my defense I just spend 20 minutes searching on the site for my answer. I have shot a few rifles before, but aside from that my knowledge is very basic. Heck, 3 months ago I didn't even know what .22lr meant

I'm planning on buying my first rifle. I've decided to start small just like most people do. I plan on buying a Ruger 10/22 since I've heard very few negative responses about them.

I've been cruising the local pawn shops and have found a few that caught my eye.

I do have a few questions:

1.)What should I look for in a used rifle? I've read that .22lr rifles take much less abuse from the bullet compared to rifles with higher calibers(please correct me if I'm wrong), however I don't want my first rifle to be crap.

2.) I've read that most guns hold their value well, but how much should I pay for a good used Ruger 10/22? The local Wal-Mart has them for $193 brand new.

I realize that these are probably laughable questions, but no one in my family has ever owned guns. I was actually introduced to hunting through my girlfriend and since then I've been hooked. I just hate buying something on impulse and I'd like to know everything I can before I buy.

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March 18, 2008, 01:06 PM
Welcome to THR!
It's not easy to shoot out a 22 so I wouldn't be too concerned about buying a used one as long as it doesn't have any major pitting or rust. However considering what they cost new I couldn't see paying more than about $130. Also be aware that there could potentially be little problems or quirks with a used one and being new to guns you'd probably want a gunsmith to fix them until you are more confident about tearing into one yourself, which will add to the cost. You may want to shop around, $193 sounds a bit on the high side. Around here they go for $180-$190 normally and $160 on sale.

March 18, 2008, 01:15 PM
Welcome to the shooting sports.

Good choice with the 10/22. Shop around and get a good price on a new one. It is a rifle you will own forever and you will find yourself shooting it a lot.

March 18, 2008, 01:17 PM
First: No, those are not laughable questions. There's nothing wrong with being new...

so on to the questions:

1) A gun is, after all, a machine. And just like any other machine, signs of neglect show up as rust, scrapes, dings and the like. Be on the lookout for shine. A general nice gloss is a good thing, but if there is a small part, or long streak where metal has more shine than the metal around it, then something has probably been rubbing, and without the proper lubrication. Inspect as much of the action and working parts as you can, and use basic guidelines (no rust, no dents, no rub marks, etc, as I mentioned.)

2) there ARE some 10/22's with interesting pedigree that make them valuable to collectors... But for what you want, you don't care about them. As you mentioned, use the price of a new gun to judge the value of a used gun. If the best deal you find is for $165 when a new one is $195... just get the new one and avoid the worries. If you find a nice one for $125, all the better.
- Obviously, be wary if you see one for $75... you do, in general, get what you pay for.

One last thing about the 10/22 specifically...
There is an overwhelming amount of aftermarket parts for that rifle. Check them out and see what you might want; it might affect your purchase... For example, if you see a nice aftermarket stock you know you will be installing on your new rifle, you may want to consider that cheap $75 rifle that is cheap beacue the stock is all scraped up - You'll be throwing it away anyway. If the issues of one rilfe are all in parts that you will be replacing, then you get to save money. - Just a thought...

March 18, 2008, 01:28 PM
Excellent guys. I appreciate the responses. I wasn't sure how much to expect to pay for a used one as a few of the local pawn shops were selling USED ones for more than new!

It does make more sense to buy a new one when the used ones aren't much cheaper. I do want to add that I do have plans to add a GM bull barrel among other smallish upgrades, but for the most part the gun will remain in it's "out of the box" state.

I think I will continue to keep looking. $175 is about the cheapest I've seen for a used one which certainly doesn't justify going used.

Another quick question: My roommate has told me that Walmart's rifles are refurbished. I've searched around and haven't heard of such a thing. He isn't the most reliable source so I figured someone on here may have a more accurate answer.

Thanks again,

Flintlock Tom
March 18, 2008, 01:41 PM
Welcome to the forum, Mark. One of my first rifles was also a Ruger 10/22, good choice.
The first thing I did was put on a bull barrel and a new stock. Keep in mind the bull barrel will not fit in the factory stock, so plan on replacing that as well.
I also had a trigger job done to lighten the pull, added an extended magazine release to make mag changes easier, and added a part that makes the bolt stay back after the last round. The hold-back feature may be standard on the newer models now.
Your next gun will have to be an M1 Carbine, looks a lot like the 10/22 but a step up in caliber.

Good luck and stay safe.

March 18, 2008, 01:52 PM
Keep in mind the bull barrel will not fit in the factory stock, so plan on replacing that as well.

That is good to know. I do have plans of upgrading the stock. I've been told it's as simple as using an allen wrench and some hex keys, but that may have been an understatement.

I've been looking for a nice aftermarket stock. The thumb grip stocks are out since I shoot left handed and I have yet to see a left handed version.

This gun will end up being a plinking gun. As deer season grows nearer I will invest in a .308 or similar larger caliber rifle, but I want to find something like the 10/22 to enjoy and to further familiarize myself with learning the upkeep of a firearm.

March 18, 2008, 02:26 PM
Thanks for putting this in the right section. I just assumed since it was such a general question it should go in the general discussion. My apologies.

March 18, 2008, 02:30 PM
Ruger 10/22 :barf:

spend less money and get a better shooting Marlin 60

why put your money into the hands of the company who's founder was the chief architect of the AWB?

March 18, 2008, 02:37 PM
Ruger 10/22

spend less money and get a better shooting Marlin 60

why put your money into the hands of the company who's founder was the chief architect of the AWB?

Oh good, let's just politicize a thread from a person trying to get into the sport, great plan!

On the Wallmart thing they are not refurbished, they are totally new.

March 18, 2008, 02:40 PM
I agree with the other enthusiastic responses concerning your choice for a Ruger 10/22.

A couple of things to consider:

1. If you buy the basic model and find yourself enjoying it, you will almost definitely want a trigger job done soon. The basic 10/22 rifles usually come with a lawsuit proof trigger. And I do mean lawsuit proof with a heavy pull. As you are new, you may not realize the significance of this. Accurate shooting requires a clean and crisp trigger pull - around 4 pounds is good.

2. Ruger has a nicer version called a 10/22T. The "T" stands for target. It comes with some of the more common upgrades that people like to do such as a heavy barrel, and batter stock, and good trigger.

I started with a basic 10/22 about 27 years ago and still have it. I've never cleaned the barrel and it has never jammed. It still shoots fine.

I bought one of the 10/22T models when they first came out about 11 - 12 years ago and love it. It will set you back around $300.

Good luck with your purchase and enjoy your plinking!


March 18, 2008, 02:55 PM
Thank you Wilson3 and 41magsnub

As far as working on the gun itself goes, how steep is the learning curve for tearing one apart. I used to play competitive paintball (I realize much different, but there are many similar aspects of how the gun functions) and I did all the work on my gun and I have advanced automotive skills so I am not at all uncomfortable with modifying pretty much anything. However, a rifle can be a much more dangerous matter than a paintball gun so I don't want to jeopardize safety, especially with working on my first gun.

I am pretty set on the GM bull barrel and I was recommended in a PM that Raptor makes some nice laminated left handed stocks.

Essex County
March 18, 2008, 03:01 PM
Essex favors a good .22 bolt gun. Probably most would disagree.....Essex

Flintlock Tom
March 18, 2008, 03:03 PM
If you have any mechanical aptitude at all, and it sounds like you do, the 10/22 comes apart very easily.

March 18, 2008, 03:04 PM
Essex favors a good .22 bolt gun. Probably most would disagree.....Essex

I would not argue against that either. My philosophy is that giving a kid a 10/22 to shoot as their first gun can be a mistake since the tendency is to shoot a lot rather than accurately so a bolt gun is a good idea. For an adult they should have the interest in learning to shoot accurately to settle down and learn to do it right rather than just pouring lead downrange.

Flintlock Tom
March 18, 2008, 03:05 PM
I agree whole heartedly, for precision work there's nothing like a bolt action gun. However for chasing tin cans around a field, a semi-auto is a hoot.

March 18, 2008, 03:05 PM
Yep, a 10/22 is easy to disassemble once you figure it out once. I also do not predict any difficulty, I mean if I can do it anybody can.

March 18, 2008, 03:08 PM
check out lots of good info,and there is a whole section on left handed firearms and accessories, Including the Raptor stock.

March 18, 2008, 03:12 PM
where are you from randomhero? have you tried a wtb add here in rifles/shotguns listings. you may have a fellow thr'er that would love to help somebody like yourself and part with one of their 10/22s.

March 18, 2008, 03:22 PM
You can find a ton of good advice and information about the 10/22 over at Look in the Tips and Tricks forum for detailed instructions about how to install a replacement hammer, which is the easiest way to improve the trigger pull.

Beware though. It's easy to get carried away.

My first three:

And my latest one:

No, I don't have a problem. I can quit any time I want. ;)

March 18, 2008, 03:23 PM
I'm actually from Austin,TX but I go to school up in Oklahoma.

I think I will post up a wanted thread. I think I need to do a little research on how the online buying process works for guns first though. I do plenty of online buying/selling so I'm sure it's not too much different.

March 18, 2008, 03:27 PM
Well you won't be able to get the gun shipped to your house it will need to go to FFL, but try to arrange face to face deal in Austin. It is perfectly legal and will generally save you some money. I would probably give you good deal on mine if you were in Dallas area.

March 18, 2008, 03:31 PM
While I haven't done much research, I did read that firearms cannot be shipped to someone without a FFL. I have no problem with that. I was more worried about the shipping process to the FFL holder.

I was hoping to find a good FTF deal around the Lawton Oklahoma area being that it is a big military town, but I guess everyone is holding onto their 10/22s. I'm in no rush though so I may just peck around here and keep cruising the local pawn shops for a good deal.

March 18, 2008, 04:03 PM
When you get ready to upgrade some of the acessories you want, be sure to check out E. Arthur Brown company at:

They have left handed thumbhole stocks available as well as lots of other fun things for your 10/22 and many other rifle accsessories. Your choice of 10/22 is a good one.

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