SR-22 side-effect

As I noted a couple days ago, Ruger just introduced a new rifle, the SR-22.

The SR-22 is simple. It’s essentially a Ruger 10/22 with the wood stock removed and black plastic stuff attached to it.

Pictures would help.

The rifle pictured above is your classic Ruger 10/22 semi-automatic rifle. Chambered in .22 LR. Note the beautiful hardwood stock.

The rifle pictured above is your new Ruger SR-22 semi-automatic rifle. Chambered in .22 LR. Note the black plastic.

Let’s look at the text of the 1994 US Federal Assault Weapons ban. According to that, what makes something an “assault weapon”?

  • The action is semi-automatic. So, a 100+ year old technology, using physics to increase efficiency.
  • Must be able to accept detachable magazines.
  • Must have two or more of the following:
    • Folding or telescoping stock
    • Pistol grip
    • Bayonet mount
    • Flash suppressor (or threaded barrel designed to accomodate one)
    • Grenade launcher

Let’s look at the Ruger rifle here:

  • Semi-automatic. Check.
  • Accept detachable magazines. Check.
  • Has telescoping stock. Sorta-check.
  • Has pistol grip. Sorta-check.

Why sorta-check? Well, which rifle am I talking about? The 10/22 or the SR-22? The 10-22 — by definition — is not an assault weapon. The SR-22 — by definition — is an assault weapon.

Go back and refer to the pictures again. What’s different? Furniture. The 10/22 has wood in a “traditional” stock, the SR-22 has black plastic in a “modern” or “military” looking stock (let’s ignore how military stocks once looked rather “traditional”). That change in cosmetics scares some people. But the reality is:

The guns are the same.

In all ways that truly matter, the guns are the same. They use the same cartridge (bullet). They have the same action. Same triggers. Same mechanical safeties. Same barrel. Same just about everything that matters. The only thing that’s different is the ergonomic features: plastic can be fashioned to be lighter than wood, pistol grips put your wrists at more natural positions (darn that carpel tunnel syndrome), telescoping stocks help adjust the rifle to better fit people of different statures and arm lengths.

So really, the notion of “assault weapons” is really little more than ignorance. Banning something based upon how it looks… you know, like the color of your skin.

I’ve written about this before, in fact using the Ruger 10/22 as example. The twist here? I wonder if the SR-22 could become a political symbol. I’m sure Ruger’s primary motive was jumping on the “ammo’s expensive, .22 LR is relatively cheap, let’s make AR-style rifles in .22 LR so people can inexpensively practice” bandwagon. But given Ruger’s rocky political past and how they’ve been working to change that (e.g. the SR-556, and how it ships with 30-round magazines), you can’t help but wonder if the SR-22 could become a political symbol should unwise politicians attempt another round of anti-gun legislation.

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7 thoughts on “SR-22 side-effect”

  1. I, of course, have no way of knowing whether or not Ruger did the things they did for political reasons, but it sure as hell throws us a bone. As you illustrated, those are the exact same firearms, the only differences are the furniture. If there would be anything that adequately demonstrated how idiotic another “assault weapon” ban would be, these two models of the same firearm would be it, in a perfect little nutshell.

    Of course, things like this could also be used by the anti-rights advocates to simply ban all semi-automatic firearms, like they have wanted to many times before, so we shall see…

    1. That’s exactly my point. It’s hard to figure Ruger out (apart from wanting to make money, like any business), but it’s evident they’re trying to shed the political problems of their past. Are they explicitly trying to make a political statement here? I don’t know, but it sure provides a perfect illustration of things from a publicly traded company.

      Your latter thought occurred to me as well… well if they are the same, then we need to ban the wooden one too!

      As Spongebob would say… “Well good luck with that.”

  2. Um…I don’t really understand your rant about this being an assault rifle. According to Penal Code section 12276.1 it states as follows:
    12276.1 (a) Notwithstanding Penal Code section 12276, “assault weapon” shall also mean the following:
    Rifles
    (1) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of
    the following:
    (A) A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon.
    (B) A thumbhole stock.
    (C) A folding or telescoping stock.
    (D) A grenade launcher or flare launcher.
    (E) A flash suppressor.
    (F) A forward pistol grip.
    (2) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10
    rounds.
    (3) A semiautomatic, centerfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 30 inches.

    Note the fact that is says Centerfire over and over. This is why all of the new manufacturers are creating so many 22s with AR type tactical configurations. It is totally legal.

    1. First, I thank you for the centerfire clarification.

      Second, I’m not saying it’s an assault rifle. Go back and re-read the article and understand the point of it.

      I’m saying that there are people that would consider this an “assault weapon”, because of how it looks.

      Consider the rest of the law. To have a pistol grip or a thumbhole stock or a telescoping stock or a forward pistol grip… these things make something an assault rifle. People that don’t know what a barrel shroud is (you know “the shoulder thing that goes up”), can you expect them to know what a rimfire cartridge is vs. a centerfire cartridge? No… to them it’s all “bullets”. To them 100 rounds of ammo is an arsenal, so who knows what buying a 550 round brick of Federal .22 LR means to them.

      So fine. Let’s ignore the Ruger SR-22 (because this isn’t about rimfire vs. centerfire; it’s about bans based upon looks and ignorance). Let’s look at a centerfire rifle. I wrote about this before:

      http://hsoiblog.wordpress.com/2009/05/24/why-does-anyone-need-one-of-those/

      My nephew has a break-action single-shot rifle chambered in .223. It’s wood stock, all “traditional” looking. But if we just slap some black plastic on it, now it’s an assault rifle. All the parts that matter (e.g. the action, chambering, etc.) are exactly the same. But because of the scary black plastic furniture now suddenly it’s evil and must be banned. Ignorance.

      I also believe the main reason for all the .22 AR’s is simple: economics. People want to shoot AR’s but it’s rather expensive, but .22 isn’t. Shoot it in .22 to get practice and have fun, and it doesn’t cost you a small fortune to do so.

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