Going strong for over 50 years, Ruger’s 10/22 has been offered in myriad shapes and sizes, with over 6 million sold since its introduction back in 1964. I have owned at least a half-dozen 10/22s over the past three decades, including the Sporter, All-Weather Carbine, Target and Takedown models. But at Ruger, things continue to change and evolve for the better, so we’re going to take a closer look at the latest stable of offerings for this popular American icon.
The Ruger 10/22 lineup has gone through more additions and subtractions since its introduction than a CPA firm during tax season. Although most of these models have been chambered in .22 LR, the period from 1999 through 2006 saw the inclusion of a .22 WMR flavor, which has since been discontinued. The .22 WMR model featured a machined steel receiver that differed from its tamer .22 LR siblings, all of which have receivers made from cast aluminum alloy blocks.
For 2015, the Ruger 10/22 family tree includes 11 different models dispersed in a half-dozen sub-family branches, specifically: the Carbine (3 models); Target (2); Compact (1); Sporter (1); Tactical (2); and the Takedown (2).
Unbeknownst to a lot of Ruger 10/22 fans, including me for far too long, the factory-standard 10/22 models are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how many of these popular autoloaders are shipped from the factory every year—albeit somewhat in disguise. Ruger’s website includes a comprehensive and extensively detailed “Distributor Exclusives” link that must be seen to be appreciated.
My first clue that other-than-factory-standard 10/22s existed occurred during casual observation at the range and during various competitive matches over the years. When I asked the owners about where they purchased these “unusual” Ruger 10/22s, the typical response was that they were special distributor models, available only from “Store X,” “Chain Y” or “Distributor Z.” I just had to find out more.
Of the half-dozen Ruger 10/22 rifles that I have called my own since the mid-1980s, none of them has impressed me as much as my latest Ruger acquisition, the .22 LR 10/22 Takedown. This is the ultimate portable, end-of-days, all-weather, stainless steel survival rifle that can go with you just about anywhere in its neat, discreet backpack.
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Introduced back in March of 2012, the Takedown is the most interesting 10/22 to date due to its unique ability to divide itself in half at the push of a button and the twist of a wrist, creating a portable package that weighs less than 5 pounds. Apart, each subassembly (the forend/barrel and the receiver/stock) measures less than 20 inches in overall length, and easily slips into dedicated compartments in a functional and handsome ballistic nylon backpack, giving it the ultimate in go-anywhere portability.
This heavy-duty carry bag is rugged and will survive years of field use, offering a pair of additional external pockets and MOLLE webbing for magazine and ammo storage, with multiple attachment points for the padded strap and a topside handle, offering a variety of carry styles. You can even lay the bag down and use it as a makeshift rifle rest.
The “takedown” concept is even at the heart of the Ruger 22 Charger Takedown pistol, which is built on a 10/22 action in a dedicated pistol.
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The secret to making the 10/22 Take-down work is its unique barrel-to-receiver joint that is adjustable for a perfect fit via a knurled, rotating friction knob. The stock and forend subassemblies are easily separated by first pulling the bolt rearward, locking it in place, then pushing a recessed lever, rotating the two halves about 45 degrees and pulling them apart. Reassembly is accomplished by simply doing things in reverse, and it takes only a few seconds. The friction-fit lockup of the assembly joint is simple to adjust, but it should rarely need readjustment after the first assembly.
The lockup is secure, repeatable and simple—and simple is always good when it comes to auto-loading weapons. The 10/22 Takedown is a simple but robust design that works. It uses the standard Ruger 10-round rotary magazines but also works well with aftermarket products from Ramline, Butler Creek and others.
Out Of Sight
The Takedown offers a trio of sighting options depending on your mission. The basic iron sights are the classic 10/22 front bead and a folding rear notch that is adjustable for elevation and windage. The 15-inch sight radius has its limitations for smallish targets past 100 yards, but is serviceable out to 50 yards with repeatable accuracy. Ruger includes an aluminum Weaver rail that mounts to a quartet of tapped screw holes that are drilled into the upper receiver. This will accommodate a classic variable-power riflescope and Weaver mounts.
I procured a Midwest Industries high-rise Picatinny rail for my 10/22 Takedown that allows me to mount some of my favorite reflex sights, like the Trijicon RMR and the RX34. With these snapped onto the top Picatinny rail, the 10/22 Takedown is a total hoot to shoot—and it’s deadly accurate at 50 yards, with 10-shot groups printing consistently under 1.5 inches using standard CCI, Federal and Winchester bulk ammunition.
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I do not even remotely regret the purchase of my Ruger 10/22 Takedown. Its combination of reliability, accuracy and light weight, as well as the limitless amount of accessories available on the market, are emblematic of why the 10/22 design enjoys such enduring popularity. With well over 1,000 rounds downrange, my 10/22 Takedown is everything I expected it to be—an all-weather performer that will hit what I’m aiming at the first time and every time. I appreciate how it, like Ruger’s countless other 10/22 models, offers the flexibility of multiple sighting methods. The 10/22 Takedown’s portability score is off the charts, as is the reliability of Ruger’s proven 10/22 auto-loading operating system, so what’s not to like?
With an MSRP of $409 and a street price that’s typically less, the Ruger 10/22 Takedown could easily find a place in your collection, and I’ll bet that it won’t gather any dust in your gun safe. Then, if you want to add accessories and kits from there, who knows what sort of super-custom 10/22 you can create!
For more information, visit http://www.ruger.com.