When I think of what is a rifleman, I think of someone who is well versed in the shooting fundamentals, knows what they and their rifle are capable of… and can hit whatever they are shooting within their rifles range. A well versed rifleman knows the fundamentals are key. One of the best ways to practice the fundamentals and get real results are to go shooting, or dry fire with a laser training system of some sort; both of which can be expensive. Dry firing alone is a great tool, but the only results you get are the ones you think you get, there is no proof of how good or bad you actually did. Actually shooting can get expensive real quick as shooting 100 rounds of 223 can cost around 30$. That’s about 30 minutes of shooting or an hour depending on how fast you go through your training workout. Enter the rifleman’s best friend. It’s a completely different rifle than the one you already shoot, but is extremely cheap and EXTREMELY fun to shoot. You can shoot it all day for around 30$. There is no recoil and you can teach kids and new shooters how to shoot as well.
The Ruger 10/22.
Why the Ruger 10/22?
Cheap, reliable, lightweight, and low recoil. If you don’t have one already, it’s time to get one. It’s a great tool to practice the fundamentals. Think about it. The biggest excuses we all have for not shooting are not having enough time, and not having enough money for ammo. This almost eliminates the cost portion of that argument. Now for 30$ you can practice the fundamentals with around 500 shots. You can do transitions, follow up shots, Mozambique drills, and a lot of high round count drills for cheap. You can also focus on the shooting fundamentals and master shooting from standing, kneeling, sitting and prone. Practice shooting within 100 yards and make everything inside of 100 yards impossible to miss. (ed: practice with 25 meter reduced silhouettes will rapidly build skills as well, just ask the Appleseed shooters!)
A great thing about owning a 10/22 is the aftermarket for it. Behind a AR15 or a Glock, I don’t think there is a bigger aftermarket for a weapons platform. Anything from custom barrels, triggers, to custom stocks and even a take down version make the 10/22 highly desirable. You can take your basic 10/22 and turn it into a highly accurate, fast shooting, squirrel killer.
Shooting competitions become affordable!
One of the best ways in my opinion for us to put our skills to the test is to get into shooting competitions. The stress is higher than shooting on your own, and you get to see how you stack up against other people. Getting into speed steel with a 10/22 is almost too good to be true as once you have the rifle, the cost of a speed steel challenge where I live is 20$ or less depending on the range. 30$ of ammo can get you 2 or 3 competitions, at that price there is no reason not to test yourself. If you want to read an awesome adjunct article on shooting and training with the 22LR click here. 1/2 scale targets matching the drop and wind age of a .308? Where do I sign?
Did I Mention Cheap?
The thing that makes the 10/22 the best training tool is how cheap it is to shoot. You can absolutely get a days worth of ammo for 30$ and go through all of the transition drills you want. All the drills your heart can handle, and as much of the fundamentals as you want. The aftermarket for it can also be inexpensive as well. Other than the stocks/chasis’ you can buy a plethora of accessories for under 50$ a piece and even some critical/practical ones for less than 30$.
When I was working on target transitions with my AR, it got really expensive to shoot my AR that fast. I decided to throw a red dot on my 22 and without worrying about how much ammo I was shooting, I was blasting steel targets and having a great time. I went from missing one or two times in 10 rounds at a good speed to not missing my two different size (12” and 8”) targets at 12 and 20 yards. I am now using my 10/22 to work on different shooting positions and improving my fundamentals on the cheap.
All too often we overlook the 10/22 as a rifle for our kids to shoot and learn on. After we move up to an AR or an AK, we seem to forget the kind of fun we can have with a 22. We can shoot all day long, not have a sore shoulder, not have an empty wallet, and walk away a better shooter than just dry firing or spending 450$ on a class to spend another 300$ in ammo. Stop overlooking 22’s and start plinking away at targets while practicing the fundamentals.