How to Clean a Ruger 10/22: 9 Easy Steps

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By Bryan Lynch •  5 min read

The Ruger 10/22 has been around for half of a century and is probably one of the most popular rifles around. If you talk to any outdoorsman, hunter, or firearm enthusiast, it likely that most of them have this rifle. 

Its popularity is deeply rooted in several factors. The rifle and the ammunition are both highly affordable, it is accurate, durable, reliable, lightweight, and compact. I have often heard the 10/22 referred to as the “the best plinker” around. Taking it to the range and putting a few thousand rounds through it is an easy thing to do in an afternoon. 

After all that shooting it is important to take the time to clean the rifle properly and thoroughly. A clean rifle is prone to fewer malfunctions, is more accurate, will last to be passed down through generations, and just looks nice. 

What you Will Need 

How to clean a firearm and the products used can sometimes be a very personal choice but the following is a list of general tools you will need. 

Disassemble the Ruger 10/22 

The overall process for disassembly and cleaning was taken from the Ruger 10/22 owner’s manual. If you do not have a manual for this particular rifle, one can be viewed here.

Field strip the rifle by using the following steps.

Step 1

The first step in cleaning any firearm to ensure that it is not loaded. Point the 10/22 in a safe direction, open the bolt and make sure it is completely unloaded. 

Step 2

If the rifle has a barrel band, loosen the hardware and remove the band. 

Step 3

Using an Allen wrench, loosen the takedown screw. 

Step 4

Push the safety in so that there equal amounts of it sticking out on either side. If this step is not done then there is potential for the stock to be damaged when the barrel is removed. 

Step 5

Grasp onto the barrel and lift it upward and away from the stock of the rifle. Take care to not let the receiver cross pins fall out during this step. 

Step 6

At this point, push the safety to the on position. Now the trigger guard can be removed by pushing out the two receiver pins. Ruger recommends that the trigger guard assembly itself not be taken apart. 

Ruger also recommends that this be the stopping point of disassembly of the 10/22 for cleaning and inspection. However, this can be taken one step further by removing the bolt. 

Step 7

Turn the rifle upside.

Push out the bolt stop pin which is located at the rear of the receiver. 

Pull the bolt handle to the back of the receiver and when it is at the rear of the receiver use your other hand to lift the front of the bolt until it is not engaged with the bolt handle. 

The bolt handle assembly can be removed through the ejection port and the bolt can now be lifted out and away from the receiver. 

How To Clean the Ruger 10/22: Step By Step Process

Now that the rifle is broken down it can be cleaned by using the following steps. 

Step 1

Use a cleaning rod to run a solvent wet patch down the barrel several times.

Next, use a bristle brush dipped in solvent and run the cleaning rod the full length of the bore several times. 

Clean dry patches should now be used to run through the bore. After the patch has come out of the barrel, inspect it. If the patch comes out dirty, repeat the above steps until a patch comes out clean.

Step 2

Put some powder solvent on a brush or patch and clean any powder residue from all of the rifle’s components and mechanisms. 

Use a clean dry rag to remove all residue and solvent. Run a dry, clean patch through the barrel to dry the interior, and then repeat this process with a very lightly oiled patch.

All other metal surfaces can be wiped with a very lightly oiled patch. 

Be careful not to use too much oil as it can gum up in cold conditions and excess oil can attract dirt and debris.  

Here’s a short video on all the steps we discussed above:

Wrap Up 

As stated earlier, the Ruger 10/22 is an extremely reliable, and accurate rifle. But it will only stay that way if it is properly maintained and the best way to do that is to keep it clean.

Thanks for reading!

How do you like to clean a Ruger 10/22? Sound off in the comment selection below and let us know!

Bryan Lynch

Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. His goal was to spread positive information about this field. In 2019, Bryan authored the book Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide. His second book, Paracord Projects For Camping and Outdoor Survival, is scheduled to be released on March 2, 2021.