Considering a WTSHTF .22 rifle for small game. I have seen that the Ruger 10/22 is a popular choice, but are there better ones out now for reliability, ease of cleaning, accuracy, capacity, affordability, etc.
Why did you purchase the one you chose?
We had an old Marlin 60 back in the day that I loved, but it is long gone.
Marlin 60 and Ruger 10/22 are good choices. There’s way more aftermarket for the 10/22 if you wanna upgrade anything. If you were hunting small game without hearing protection, there would be slightly less noise to the shooter if you choose something besides a semiautomatic action.
I guess they stopped making the Marlin 60, can only find used. Ours used to be the 22" barrel not the subsequent 19". 16 micro grooves for rifling instead of the typical 4 made it pretty accurate, 18 rounds instead of the "newer " 15rnds. And easy to clean, although you needed a screwdriver to disassemble.
I love my AR15 chambered in 22lr (I went with the M&P model, but there are numerous other choices). Highly configurable at reasonable prices and you are developing the same skill set to compliment your “full size” AR-15. High velocity solid and hollow point ammo is readily available, so it makes for a decent small game/varmint rifle. They are easy to clean and rugged. I big plus: you can detach the upper from the butt stock and carry it in a relatively small case. Ruger and Henry are also great options.
Since you don’t have a pile of long guns, have you considered the Thompson Center G2 Contender? You could start with a 22 barrel and switch to a 30-30 barrel for deer hunting for example. There’s several companies making aftermarket barrels of various calibers. 38 special/ 357 magnum would be pretty practical too.
Tons of options for Ruger 10/22 or Marlin 60 available today. I own both. They’re wildly different, but both fun, cheap, and reliable (why I bought them). Also, many ways to augment them to make them your own, if you are into that sort of thing.
I also own some .22W, which costs more, has a louder bang, and are a hoot.
I am finishing up a Marlin Model 60 build. It all started from a Marlin Model 60 that was rusted and broken and after finishing up a new stock for it I found that the barrel was bent so I ordered a new barrel and then I found the bolt housing was busted up too, so I am replacing that too. So, over all I will have a new rebuilt rifle. ZI have a Henrys 22 lever action too. I got it because who would not want a lever action 22?