On the same day, I bought both a Remington 597 and a Ruger 10/22 Carbine in .22lr. After an afternoon at the range with 500 rounds of Winchester 555, here’s the assessment. Both guns were disassembled and cleaned before going to the range. Both guns were shot by my female companion and me. At the end of the day, we both concluded the 597 is the clear winner. Why? Let me walk through the differences. Stocks - The 597 has a larger stock and fits both her and me better. We’re tall at 5’10” and 6’1” respectfully. When we shoulder the 597, the sights naturally fall into perfect alignment. The 10/22 requires snuggling-up to get a good sight picture. The forestock on the 597 is wider and gives a better rest for adult hands. Iron Sights – Neither of my rifles came with a scope, so I have no opinion of the scope offered. For iron sights, the 597 is adjustable for both windage and elevation by using a screwdriver & 3/32 Allen. The 10/22 can be adjusted for elevation with a screwdriver, but windage takes a hammer. That’s right, a hammer – as stated in the Ruger manual. Magazines – the 10/22 is slightly easier to load (rounds 9 & 10 in the 597 take a bit more grunt to shove in). The magazine release on the 597 is far superior; the mags come out with authority while the gun is in any position and can be dropped with a flick of the mag-release above the trigger guard. The 10/22 mags drop only when holding the stock horizontal with the sights on top. In any other position the mags would not budge without a lot of coaxing. A stronger mag release spring may have helped, but wasn’t the case. Bolt hold-open – The 597 bolt stays open after the last round. Very easy to tell the clip & chamber are empty. To close the bolt – drop the mag and release the bolt. Want the bolt open? Insert an empty mag, pull the bolt back. The 10/22 bolt does not stay open after the last round. Also, the 10/22 bolt lock/release is not easy to operate, as it is between the trigger guard and the mag release. It’s difficult to get to and it operates with an odd rocking motion. We never could operate it smoothly or with one hand. The 597 lets you know immediately that the mag and chamber are empty by holding the bolt open. Not so with the 10/22 – you count your rounds, or pull the trigger until it dry-fires, or open the bolt & look. Accuracy – both guns are better than we are. But because of the stock and overall ergonomics, we produced better groups with the 597. Reliability – Through the first 18 clips the rifles were dead even with no problems. But when the guns started to get dirty, the 10/22 was having FTEs and/or FTLs in every clip. The 597 just kept shooting. Neither rifle had a FTF. Cleaning – Probably an edge to the 10/22, but not enough to deter a 597 purchase. I watched a couple of cleaning videos on YouTube and the 597 was a breeze. Remember – don’t cinch those guiderails too tight or you’ll force them out of alignment. I gave the 10/22 to a friend (who’s restocking it for his grand-kids) and bought another Remington 597 FLX Camo to replace it.
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