This numerically-named lever motion refers on to the 12 months it was launched – 1996. Although produced for some 13 years, Ruger’s rimfire levers stay overshadowed. The Ninety-Sixes had been chambered not just for .22 LR but in addition .22 WMR and .17 HMR. The designation modified barely, with the 96/22 and 96/22M referring to the primary two, and the 96/17 for the latter. Collectors may also notice the centerfire 96/44.
The rimfires of our focus put on an 18.5-inch barrel topped with iron sights. The design feeds from Ruger’s recognizable rotary journal platform. The inventory, with strains much like the famed 10/22 semi-automatics, is constructed of hardwood with a semi-pistol grip design. There’s even the anticipated entrance barrel band. Whereas the 96/44 was arrange for Ruger’s proprietary rings, the rimfire 96s settle for commonplace gear. The weapons are light-weight and wieldy, with the general measurement of 37.25 inches in size and the naked gun weighing 5.25 kilos.
After we noticed a Ruger Ninety-Six seem on the Guns.com Vault, we merely needed to have a more in-depth look. It’s chambered for .22 Lengthy Rifle. The rotary journal is identical as these from our 10/22 platform semi-autos. Lever apart, the gun “appears to be like” like a Ruger, with strains and end much like 10/22 rifles of the identical period. There’s a crossbolt security, silver-plated set off, and fundamental plastic butt plate. There’s even a cocking indicator positioned on the tang.
This specific specimen seems to have been stripped of its authentic end at a while, nevertheless it stays a beautiful piece. The iron sights are once more much like the ten/22 with a brass-beaded blade entrance and folding rear. Although it got here topped with a variable-power riflescope, we’d be simply as happy with the standard irons. In accordance with our analysis, our check gun dates to a first-year 1996-production run, making it particularly attention-grabbing with such early fashions typically holding larger collector curiosity.
Although these weapons have been marketed and talked about as having a “short-throw” motion, the gap of the lever motion is significantly larger when in comparison with lever-driven rimfires just like the Browning BL-22 and Marlin Levermatics. Regardless, the Ninety-Six is a user-friendly, acquainted platform from an organization identified for high quality.
The set off pull on our check gun has some creep and breaks between 5.75 and 6.25 kilos. Whereas that wouldn’t be nice for a goal gun, it’s definitely serviceable on a standard-style rimfire plinker and occasional hunter. Be aware that, although these weapons outwardly resemble the ten/22, the vast majority of components will not be interchangeable. Meaning upgraded drop-in triggers will not be a chance right here. Nonetheless, haven’t any concern, for it’s straightforward sufficient to shoot this one as-is.
Talking of 10/22 equipment, the traditional Ruger-style 10-round rotary journal finds its approach to the 96 collection. There’s some debate over whether or not the magazines are interchangeable, however components manuals do checklist three separate journal fashions for the ten/22, 96/22, and bolt motion 77/22. Nonetheless, the flush-mount, rotary mags are one more acquainted and confirmed piece of the pie.
The Ninety-Six collection, like most firearms strains, have highs and lows. However they nonetheless discover their approach to the want lists of many collectors and shooters. On the finish of the day, the cool issue of getting a Ruger-built lever motion is actual. Based mostly solely on a comparatively brief manufacturing run, demand will all the time stay excessive for the Ruger 96s.
Whereas we dig the .22 LR, there are different, much more uncommon, fascinating, and collectible variants on our Ruger want checklist. That included not solely the 96/17 but in addition, maybe, probably the most extremely sought Mannequin 96/44 chambered in .44 Remington Magnum.
Whereas Ruger now not produces the Ninety-Six – or any devoted lever weapons – they’re now not utterly out of that market. In truth, Sturm, Ruger & Co. stays newsworthy of late for what the corporate has performed with buying, upgrading, and re-launching the Marlin brand of great lever-action rifles.
On the time of this writing, the rejuvenated Marlin lineup contains solely centerfire large bores, nevertheless it’s nearly sure that rimfires gained’t be too far behind. Whereas a lot focus falls on the brand new Ruger-Marlins, we all the time recognize the chance to look again at Ruger’s personal early foray into the lever-driven style with the Ninety-Six.