Ruger is on a roll. Its products have always appealed to the masses; If they keep playing their cards right, they always will. Ruger has a diverse product line that continuously grows.
There’s something for every shooter, young and old, both techie and traditional. Historically, Ruger has steered clear of trends serving a more traditional market with wood-stocked bolt-guns, shotguns, .22LR rimfires, single-shots, as well as revolvers, semiautomatic rifles and pistols.
Then something happened. In the mid-2000s, the landscape was changing in the firearm industry, which could be partly attributed to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 or the sunset of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) on Sept. 13, 2004. The AR-15 platform as well as polymer-framed service pistols quickly gained momentum in sales, and these both were platforms that Ruger previously resisted in making. On Sept. 25, 2006, Ruger hired a new chief executive officer: Mike Fifer. Though Ruger was lagging, Fifer led Ruger in embracing the AR’s popularity and made engineering and manufacturing processes more efficient. In 2009, Ruger unveiled its first piston-driven model, the SR-556. With a shifted approach to product innovation while maintaining its well-established loyalists, Ruger looked towards adding a new generation to its existing list of customers.
When Ruger debuted its line of .22LR suppressors in 2015, they still managed to catch the industry flat footed. No one expected Ruger, with its outwardly traditional and cautious approach, to enter the sound suppressor business. But they did and, as a result, Ruger had mainstreamed suppressor acceptance with many firearm enthusiasts in a single product announcement. Almost in tandem, Ruger has been crushing the custom-rifle segment with its Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR), leading the affordable sporting rifle market with its American Rifle series and charging toward the polymer-framed, striker-fired category with its new American Pistol lineup. Ruger even branched out into the ammunition market by partnering with PolyCase to develop its own fluted-polymer ARX ammo. Guns & Ammo is proud to offer its readers another exclusive look at a progressive product, and possibly a glimpse into Ruger’s future.
Meet the 10/22 TD ISB. While G&A’s editors were recently filming several upcoming episodes of “Guns & Ammo TV” in Iowa, Ruger’s director of product management, Mark Gurney, was on-set to reveal the 10/22 TD Silent-SR Integrally Suppressed Barrel, or simply called “ISB.”
The ISB is not a new firearm but a new firearm accessory for the company’s wildly successful 10/22 Takedown models. If you weren’t paying attention while perusing a gun counter, it’s possible you’d overlook it — and that’s the point of us making a big deal of it here. The ISB is worth your attention.
Ruger’s 10/22 Similar to AR-15s and apple pie, Ruger’s semiautomatic 10/22 has become a staple of Americana since being introduced in 1964. Ruger has sold almost 8 million of them, in fact. Many Americans can claim that their first shots were fired through one of these rifles under the watchful eye of a parent or grandparent, which hooked them into shooting for life.
During the last 50 years, Ruger has introduced numerous variants and configurations of the 10/22, yet none have attracted the attention of today’s youth quite like the 10/22 Takedown (TD)models. Efficiency has been demanded across our lives, and more is expected from our ever-miniaturizing gadgets. Our firearms are not immune. Though they can be seperated in two major subassemblies, the 10/22 TD models have proven that they can deliver without forsaking the 10/22’s reputation for accuracy.
Inception of the ISB Ruger’s wheelhouse is .22LR, so rimfire suppressors is a logical development. In fact, Ruger produces more .22LR-chambered firearms than any other brand. Based on the success of its thread-on Silent-SR .22LR suppressor, the company began looking at aftermarket barrels to suppress its 10/22s. Once a market analysis was completed, Ruger determined that the market was severely underserved. It was time to fix that.
Ruger engineers were assigned the task of creating prototype ISB assemblies for the company’s popular 10/22 TD models and four options were initially developed. Two of
the four were almost exact replicas of their competitors’ products. During testing, Ruger found that after shooting approximately 1,000 rounds through them, the carbon and lead seized up the baffles to the point that they would not come apart without a concoction of dangerous chemicals.
The third option was to use a sealed baffle stack based on their Silent-SR .22 suppressor, so they designed a similar round baffle stack within an outer tube sleeve. This option created complications, additional components and a suppressor with a length (and cost) beyond Ruger’s own specified goals.
The fourth option became the ISB that’s now available. The baffle and sleeve design are figure-8 shaped, which explains why the ISB’s appearance is reminiscent of an over/under shotgun. Interestingly, this is one of the most recognizable shapes within the firearm market. But the aesthetics didn’t start that way. Ruger settled on this shape scientifically, using computational fluid dynamics. The figure-8 design proved to be the most efficient means of meeting internal design parameters. These parameters stated that the top contour of the ISB could be no larger than a typical bull barrel. The figure-8 shape, which is essentially two stacked barrels, allowed Ruger to reclaim volume beneath the bore. Therefore, engineers were able to shrink the package, while obtaining maximum suppression simultaneously.
The number of baffles in the stack, six in the case of the ISB, was decided through experimentation. Seven baffles did not provide positive effects. The sealed baffle stack is just like the one found in the Silent-SR, so the lessons learned from that project carried over into the ISB. Unlike the Silent-SR, which utilizes removable endcaps, one of the challenges was determining how the baffle stack would be removed for cleaning. The simple solution was to use a screw to create a captive assembly, and that’s what they did.
There is an extra level of maintenance with any .22LR suppressor due to the carbon and lead buildup that the round leaves behind. Thankfully, through smart engineering, Ruger made disassembly, cleaning and reassembly a simple affair.
Disassembly For obvious reasons, we start with an unloaded gun. Lock the bolt to the rear, remove the barrel from the receiver by pressing the locking plunger, twist the barrel assembly to the left and separate the two.
Now you have a smaller package to work with. Utilize the 5/32 Allen wrench included with the ISB and stand the suppressor on end, muzzle up. Unthread the screw until it moves a quarter-inch upward and spins in place. Now you can grasp the head of the screw with your fingers. Once loosened, the screw is captured, allowing you to remove the entire baffle stack up and out of the barrel sleeve. At this point, only the baffle stack requires cleaning, not the sleeve. Unwind the screw through the spacer and pull the screw free. Now separate all the baffles in the stack. This can be done by prying the baffles apart with your hands. If the ISB has been used heavily for several thousand rounds, the baffle stack may become slightly fused. If this is the case, use a rubber mallet to tap the baffles apart, which will help break up any carbon residue.
Once the baffles, endcap and screw are separated, Ruger recommends three methods to cleaning these parts. First, you can use a screwdriver and a little elbow grease to scrape the carbon off. Second, you could use a sonic cleaner and the appropriate solvents or, thirdly, you could scrub with carbon solvents and a wire brush.
As a side note, G&A spoke with product designThe engineer Jonathan Barrett who told us that during endurance testing, the ISB fired 10,000 rounds of standard velocity (SV) ammunition through a single sample before it was cleaned. Barrett recalls easily removing the sealed baffle stack without tools. Ruger doesn’t recommend users wait that long to clean it given that the suppressor will become slightly less efficient at dampening sound volume due to the carbon and lead fouling after about 4,000 rounds.
To reassemble, stack the baffles upward on a flat surface, beginning with the endcap. (The baffles in the stack can only be assembled one way and are directional, so there is no way to reassemble the them incorrectly.) Stack the six baffles on the endcap and place the spacer — the cap — on top. Pick up the loose stack and insert the screw through the front, and thread it through the spacer. Grasping the screw by the head, you have a captured baffle stack that can be inserted through the front of the barrel sleeve. Once reinserted, you have to use the 5/32 Allen wrench to tighten it. It’s that simple.
Performance Ruger engineers, lead by Barrett, took 10 endurance samples and fired several hundred rounds through each. Immediately following, each unit was decibel (dB) tested. The average of all 10 assemblies was 113.3 dB using standard velocity ammunition. The quietest individual shot was 109 dB, while the highest was 115 dB. To put that into perspective, a 3 dB increase is barely recognizable to the most in-tune ear. A 5 dB increase is recognizable to most ears, however, variants in ammunition from shot to shot can also produce this increase. The takeaway is that the ISB is pellet-gun quiet.
Ruger states that ammunition traveling 1,000 feet per second (fps) or faster will cycle a 10/22. Being that’s the case, it will cycle the ISB as well. G&A tested a variety of loads through the ISB and discovered it produced similar accuracy results we’ve experienced when shooting an off-the-shelf 10/22. The best five-shot group of the day measured .32-inch at 50 yards. The load was Eley’s Contact 42-grain hollowpoints (HP).
The Fine Print At present, Ruger’s new ISB is available as a standalone suppressed barrel assembly. Just like every suppressor, it is currently subject to National Firearms Act (NFA) regulations. But don’t let that slow you down or intimidate you for purchasing one for your 10/22 TD. The hardest part of the process is patiently waiting for your Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) forms to be approved, otherwise the process is simple. Here is a quick explanation: the NFA regulates the ownership and transfer of select-fire and automatic firearms, short-barreled rifles and shotguns, as well as suppressors. In order to sell or transfer NFA items, an existing Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder (i.e., your gun store) needs a Special Occupational Tax (SOT), which many have already. SOTs are required to sell or transfer NFA-listed items. If your dealer has suppressors in stock or offers to order one for you, they already have an SOT. That means that if you see they have an ISB in stock, they’ll be able to sell and transfer it to you using an ATF Form 4. The Form 4 requires a $200 tax to be paid for the transfer, made payable to the ATF. Your retailer can assist you in completing this form and the necessary support documents either electronically or by paper. Then the wait begins.
At the time of this writing, wait times are around eight to nine months for a transfer. (Wait times fluctuate.) I’ve seen forms approved in as little as 30 days, especially if you’ve gone through the process before.
Why an ISB? The beauty of Ruger’s ISB is that if you already own a 10/22 TD, simply head to the range and enjoy it. When the ATF approves your form, swing by the gun store, fill out a Form 4473 and take possession of your new ISB. To install it only requires about five seconds to depress the barrel locking lever and twist with the bolt slightly back to remove your traditional barrel/forend assembly. The task can be accomplished faster depending on your level of excitement. Then insert the new ISB into the receiver. You now have an integrally suppressed 10/22.
When the ISB is attached to the receiver, the barrel has an overall length of 16.18 inches, which is almost 2½ inches shorter than the base model’s barrel assembly. The ISB makes for an even handier package. The actual rifled barrel of the ISB extends only 10.6 inches in length, while the remaining 5.4 inches houses the six-piece, removable baffle stack. Because the sleeve housing the baffle stack is integral to the barrel, the unit is not accountable to the additional taxes that go along with owning a short-barreled rifle (SBR). Smart thinking, Ruger.
You might be thinking, if a standard 10/22 has an 18½-inch barrel, and the new ISB has a 10.6-inch barrel, there’s a 7.9-inch difference in length. Is the ISB less accurate? No, not according to our tests. In fact, there is only a 70-ish feet per second (fps) reduction in velocity when changing from a standard unsuppressed barrel to the ISB. There is almost no change in group sizes or shift in point of impact (POI).
Shhh! The ISB is as close to Hollywood-quiet as we can get and makes for a very enjoyable shooting experience. The ISB is also economical, especially when considering that the cost and availability of .22LR ammunition is normalizing. We can shoot all the .22LR ammunition through the ISB, even by the brick. And you don’t have to change the way you shoot; the ISB will last as long as a traditional 10/22, which is seemingly forever.
We all hope that the Hearing Protection Act (HPA) passes, but you don’t need to wait until it does to purchase an ISB for your 10/22 TD. This is an exciting time, and to have an industry giant like Ruger supporting suppressor use and ownership is great. The ISB is proof that a prosperous future is in store for all of us.