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Ruger 10/22 Takedown Review

by Craig Boddington   |  August 21st, 2012 37

Ruger-10-22-Takedown_001

The .22 Long Rifle is the world’s most popular caliber, with annual sales running into the billions of cartridges (yes, that’s billions with a “b”). It’s also the world’s most useful load for plinking, practice, formal—and informal—competition and small game. It’s mild of report, has no recoil and is amazingly accurate. It’s what most of us started with and, somehow, never tire of. Taking all this into consideration, it’s not surprising that there are lots of great .22 rifles out there.

Every major (and many minor) riflemaker—foreign and domestic—makes a .22. There are single-shots, bolt actions, lever actions, slide actions and semiautomatics. In a field like that it’s amazing that any one .22 rifle could lay claim to being the most popular. But there is—Bill Ruger’s 10/22. Introduced in 1964, this little autoloader has been produced in the millions and can properly lay claim to being America’s No. 1 .22. It’s a simple semiautomatic action, its legendary reliability aided by the rifle’s signature rotary magazine.

During 48 years of production there have been many variations, with the most familiar probably being the Carbine, originally stocked in wood and more recently in synthetic. The stainless steel, synthetic-stocked Carbine with 181/2-inch barrel is the basic configuration of Ruger’s newest variation, the 10/22 Takedown.

Reverse Engineering
Takedown rifles are sexy, compact and handy. Many of them—spanning all action types—have been so designed from the beginning. But the 10/22 was not. It’s one thing to engineer a takedown from the beginning, with one of the design goals being that it can be broken down and reassembled and continue to function flawlessly with no loss of accuracy or shift in zero. With repeating actions, designing a takedown is more difficult to engineer than a solid-frame model, but it certainly can be done.

I’m not an engineer, but I’m told—and it makes perfect sense—that it’s a bit trickier to take a rifle that was designed as a solid-frame gun and work backward, trying to figure out how to turn it into a takedown. From a marketing standpoint, whether tricky or not, this might be a bit of a gamble, especially with a model that’s been selling well for nearly a half-century.

So the 10/22 Takedown is a bit more than just another variation of an existing rifle. It’s a 10/22 sure enough, but it’s altogether different from (and yet much the same as) the millions of 10/22s that have preceded it. And, yes, Ruger’s engineering team pulled it off. From a distance it’s indistinguishable from the solid-frame version, but up close the slight fore-end gap is obvious.

Other obvious differences are a recessed lever in the bottom of the fore-end, just forward of the gap. Then there’s the knurled ring around the barrel, just ahead of the receiver. These are critical to the takedown function. In both assembly and disassembly the bolt must be pulled rearward and locked using the familiar lever in front of the triggerguard. Disassembly is then accomplished by pushing the recessed fore-end lever forward and turning the barrel assembly a quarter-turn counterclockwise (looking from muzzle to action). The barrel then slides out, and the rifle is now broken down into two components.

Since the rifle is shipped in two pieces, you’re going to put it together before you take it apart. The rear of the barrel has a short extension that is inserted into that knurled ring and mates against the action. The rear surface of the fore-end has a beveled locking lug. Assembly (again with the bolt open and locked to the rear) is accomplished by inserting the barrel extension into that knurled ring and turning the barrel assembly a quarter-turn clockwise. The fore-end lever operates the locking lug for disassembly, but for assembly the beveled surface allows it to push forward into the fore-end as you twist the barrel assembly into place, then spring back when it reaches its recess on the forward surface of the stock.

I’m pretty fumble-fingered, but even so, this is the simplest and most trouble-free takedown action I’ve ever messed with. (Just in case you’re like me, the instructions are on a sticker on the stock, which I’m going to leave in place until I’ve done it a few dozen times.)

There is just one more essential step, and it’s the secret to both the simplicity of the design and smooth functioning of the rifle. The first time the rifle is assembled, you must tighten the knurled ring, which is actually the barrel/receiver joint. Looking from muzzle to action, clockwise tightens it and counterclockwise loosens it. Finger tight is good enough, but get it nice and snug. This mates the barrel extension to the bolt face. Once this is done, no further adjustment is needed for removal or installation of the barrel assembly, but it’s probably a good idea to check it for a snug fit. Over time (and thousands of rounds), a bit of adjustment may be needed.

The Complete Package
The 10/22 Takedown comes in a Ruger-logo black nylon backpack-style carrying case. Unzipped, it has an inside main pouch for the receiver and two smaller pouches for the barrel and a scope. There’s also a generous outside pouch for ammo, earplugs and whatever. I like the setup. A takedown model needs a carrying case, and this one fits everything you need.

The rifle has Ruger’s standard flip-up rear sight and barrelband front sight. Also supplied is a rail mount for Weaver-style rings. Now, here’s a dilemma. I like full-size scopes on good .22s, so an obvious answer is detachable rings. There are some good ones today, and I trust them, but I’m not really crazy about constantly attaching and detaching a scope, and it kind of defeats the purpose if you have to check zero every time you put the rifle together.

So I dug around a bit and tried a 1-4X Nikon African. This scope was designed for dangerous-game rifles, and while I wasn’t concerned about man-eating squirrels, I figured 4X was all the magnification I needed and a rugged scope made sense for a .22 intended for rough use. Most important, I had an idea that the main pouch in the carrying case might be roomy enough for the receiver with attached scope, provided the scope was fairly short. I was right; it fit like a glove. (Now I have to figure out what else will fit in that second long pouch.)

Accuracy, Reliability
I didn’t expect any functioning problems, and there weren’t any. The rifle feeds like, well, like a 10/22. I put several hundred rounds of 36-grain Winchester Long Rifles through it without a single malfunction. The rifle just plain works, no different than the millions of other 10/22s. There’s no reason why it won’t work equally well with the several aftermarket large-capacity magazines as well as the standard Ruger rotary magazine.

It took me a few rounds to get the scope on paper and properly zeroed.

Once this was accomplished, I got down to the business of tightening the zero and shooting some groups. My only complaint about the 10/22 in general (and this is hardly new) is that the trigger is a bit mushy. As much as I hate to admit it, I haven’t owned a 10/22 for years. Dad had mine—he loved it, too. But he loaned it to somebody who was teaching his youngsters to shoot, and after Dad died I never tracked it down. So I needed some time to get reacquainted with this old friend, and once that happened, the groups tightened right down.

With inexpensive bulk ammo, the rifle grouped inside of an inch at 50 yards when I did my part, which is plenty of accuracy for all the uses I might have for an all-purpose .22 like this one. More important, zero did not shift after assembly and disassembly. So the objective of the takedown is fully accomplished. You can pack it, stow it or carry it to wherever you’re going and be confident it’ll shoot where you point it.

What I didn’t yet know is just how accurate it really is. I needed to experiment with some different loads, just like with any rifle. However, groups were tight enough that I needed to go a step further and see what it would do with match ammunition. I was not surprised that it maintained zero. Lockup is mechanically consistent and sturdy enough that this should be the case, but I was pleasantly surprised at how tight its better groups were. I’m pretty sure it will do even better when fed ammo designed for utmost accuracy.

In between shooting groups, and in the interest of running a whole bunch of rounds through the rifle, my wife, Donna, and I traded off plinking at some reactive steel targets. This, ultimately, is some of the greatest fun you can have with a .22. There’s no pain, little cost, and off sticks or offhand it’s some of the best practice you can get. One of our targets has miniature metallic silhouettes—ram, pig, turkey, chicken—that swing when hit. We kept them swinging with monotonous regularity through magazine after magazine, and the 10/22 Takedown kept ticking without a hiccup.

Look, it’s my job to write about guns, so it’s kind of a normal thing for manufacturers to send me guns to play with. No, we don’t usually get to keep them. In most cases, however, we do have the opportunity to purchase them at a reasonable price. But how many guns does one really need? Perhaps more to the point in this day and age, how many gun safes can you afford, and how many do you have room for? We’re full up, so test guns go back to their manufacturers. This one is an exception. As I said, it’s been a long time since I’ve had a 10/22, so I’m buying this one. Honestly, I’ve been meaning to get another one for quite some time, so the takedown feature of this model gives me all the excuse I need. And at a suggested retail of $389, I don’t think I’ll get hurt.

Ruger-10-22-Takedown_002

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  • Wolvie

    Damn you, Ruger!!

    Why are you doing this? There was no good reason for me to consider buying a third 10/22. I was quite happy and content and all was right in the world.

    Then you came up with this rifle and I thought, "Ohh! Shiny! Must get one!"

    So I convinced myself that it would be a waste of money and I didn't need a 3rd one and…well…it's a break-down and it probably sucks. Yeah, I was real good at convicting myself. I even treated myself to a nice cup of coffee and was feeling pretty smug about my debating skills.

    Then I shot one last week…

    Damn you, Ruger! Why are you costing me money?!

    • https://www.facebook.com/markej Mark E. Johnson

      My sentiments exactly!!! Went through the SAME situation, except I didn't have to shoot it, only hold it in my hands. This is my 3rd also and I will KEEP all 3. My first is the International model that Walmart sold some years ago (Mannlicher stock). 2nd is my custom platform, my favorite rifle that I've spent WAY too much money on. And now this one. Keeps me off the streets, though. ;)

    • jim brown

      What kind of man only owns two .22's?

      I thought all of us owned at least a dozen

  • S-W-S

    Can't wait to see it in eighteen-gazillion tv shows as a "sniper rifle" for the bad guys… :D

  • Richard

    The 10/22 is THE reference in the world of .22 semis, nuf said.

  • Dave

    In the 19th century they managed to make take-down rifles and shotguns so finely fitted that you had to look hard for the joint. You're telling me that in the 21st centry, Ruger can't make one without leaving that ugly gap?

    • Wolvie

      I don't have a problem with the gap, since the design and lockup makes the gun feel like a totally solid rifle.

      As far as the 19th century remark…well, how many of them are still around and in production today? Perhaps the fact they were weaker, had problems returning to zero, required proprietary parts, were a lot more expensive and never performed like their fixed model counterparts has something to do with it. All of these points were addressed by this design and you have a rifle that is almost indistinguishable from the fixed models in balance and performance.

  • Jimbob

    I bought two of them (grandsons and all that!) Very happy with them, nasty triggers and all. Actually feel better (trimmer and better balanced) than the original. As in the article, a scope is nice, but seems to defeat the concept. Mounted Williams GRS receiver sights and they work well (with a higher front sight.) Good job, Ruger!

    • Wolvie

      JimBob,

      I'm buying at least one more for the exact same reason.

      …Well, almost the exact same reason…substitute Nephews for Grandsons in my case!

      …OK I have to come totally clean…yeah the kids can use them, but I really, REALLY like the rifle!

    • https://www.facebook.com/markej Mark E. Johnson

      Thinking about buying one for my unborn grandson. ;)

  • https://www.facebook.com/markej Mark E. Johnson

    Everything said here is absolutely true. I truly love mine and show it off at every chance. Its balance, aim, true to zero and ease of use are so comfortable you just have to shoot it regularly.

    One thing about that extra tube pocket–perhaps collapsible shootingsticks? Also, I found that my Ruger SR22P in its nylon pocket fits beautifully in the outside upper pocket. The lower pockets, OF COURSE are for BX25 mags.

    • Wolvie

      Yeah, that "2nd sleeve" had me wondering as well…

      But given it was designed as a rifle and range bag, I'm guessing that shooting sticks, spotting scope, a roll of targets, detachable scope (on quick release mounts), etc.

      Funny how my initial thought was, "Hey, what's that for? I have too many pockets!". Never thought I'd be concerned about getting too many large pockets in a rifle/gear bag!

      • http://www.facebook.com/liberty.kananen Liberty Kananen

        I've heard that ruger will be making interchangeable barrels for this little baby, and that the sleeve will fit the new barrels. Don't take my word for it – but that's just the rumor (I work at a gun counter). :P

        • http://twitter.com/TarnyNarks @TarnyNarks

          That's what I had been wondering about. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the rumor turned out to be true.

  • old vet

    Read about it saw the pictures and all, voices started in my head saying "Gotta git one, gotta git one", hurried to the next gun show, alas, they had sold them all. Gotta get one though.

  • John

    I can not agree enough. The ruger 10/22 is a great rifle and now it is even better. Ruger has done a nice job of making this a nice little compact package This was a well written article with a few helpful tips. I am going to try the 1-4 scope setup, but I was wondering if anyone could tell the make and height of the 30mm scope rings the author used. Kind of sick and tired of buying hit and miss scope rings to put in my collection. G&A doesn't seem to have a place to email the article author. This is a great magazine and keep up the good work.

    • https://www.facebook.com/markej Mark E. Johnson

      John,
      In case you didn't know, Craig is a BIG name at G&A, hosts their TV program and writes regularly. I do believe any comment you make here will make it to his desk. ;)

      His style on G&A TV is straightforward and makes you want to watch even more. I watched regularly when I was with DirecTV, but with UVerse don't get the channel. So sad to miss it!

  • strider98

    I've heard a rumor that there might be another foreend/barrel that you can buy for it in .17 Mach 2. Anybody else hear this?

    • Wolvie

      Haven't heard that yet…

      But if they make it…the line forms behind me!

  • Bob Halliday

    just seen one for the 1st time today.yeh im behind in the times.Buying mine right now.

  • Jonathan

    Craig, I'm picking mine up tomorrow, and like the scope you mentioned. What rings would be appropriate to use for this setup?

    • Bob Halliday

      Hi jonathan.tell me if you have the prblem with your 10/22 jamming up often.mine seems to jam a lot unless your really taking your time..

      • https://www.facebook.com/markej Mark E. Johnson

        Wow, a 10/22 that jams a lot? I assume you've cleaned out the packing gel and given it a proper loving oil/lube at all the critical points, so don't believe that's an issue. All the 10/22's I've seen are wonderful and responsive, so I'm surprised that yours is jamming. What sort of problem are you experiencing? FTF, FTE, not joining well at the TakeDown joint? I hate it when a gun won't do what you ask it to. I would say maybe junk ammo, but my guns eat that stuff up, even range trash. Let me know. FYI, there are loads of YouTube memes that will help if you need, too. If nothing else, you might even talk to Ruger.

      • old vet

        Bob, I've found 99% of problems with a 10/22 are mag. related. Is yours new or older? Also use no grease in action, only a light gun oil and not a lot of that. The only other culprit is the extractor and it's a cheap easy fix. I actually had a faulty Federal round blow the extractor out of my rifle and didn't find out because it still worked 99% of the time without it, blowback was kicking the shell out. Good Luck

      • Bo from Rozzie

        Bob The only mags that will work in the take-down are the BX-25 and the standard 10 shot rotary mag. Butler Creek and similar mags will not work in this rifle. They will work however in the older model Rugers .

  • Amy

    I just bought the Takedown and love it, although I haven't had a chance to shoot it yet. Not everyone has a $250 scope laying around to put on a 10/22. What is a good alternative that is less expensive?

    • Hale Vista

      Amy…where did you buy the 10/22 Takedown? Please email me at hale.vista@gmail.com

      Thanks,
      Hale Vista

  • kgeorge

    I own many scopes and a great bargain is the Redfield revolution 2×7 for $180 online.
    Great quality for the price and much better made than the ones for around $100-130

    • kgeorge

      You can also go with the Redfield Revenge 2×7 for 139 but the revolution is a better scope for the $40

  • Martin Kamm

    Here’s a helpful hint for 10/22 td owners. A paintball pod, available wherever paintball supplies are sold, can hold a bit over 500 rds of 22lr and will fit into the larger of the barrel sleeves in the pack.

  • martiniolives2

    Won’t read because of the Palin ad. She’s an embarrassment, regardless of which side of the gun debate you’re on.

    • 9911kelly

      That’s dumb. You won’t read up on a gun just because of a person you don’t like? So much for gun owners staying informed. And the ad isn’t even there now. By the way, most of her reputation, if not all of it, is undeserved. Liberals tried to make her look dumb. (For instance, she did NOT say she could see Russia from her house.) And with you, they succeeded. WHY would you let Liberals succeed? Grow up and quit making a big deal over stupid stuff.

    • Prelusive007

      “martin”, you are just one “a” away from being a martian. Being a gun owner/aficionado you could move just slightly to the Right and become immensely more respectable. Your choice. Martian on the Left or Martin on the Right.

      Kidding aside; when you became a left wing nut job, you should not have believed them when they told you that you have to leave your brain at the door-step. You can still think for yourself young man. (You may be 59 but you’re still a ‘younger’ man to me)

      I admit I’m a Constitutional Conservative 100%. I’m also a veteran and if you’ve ever served in a hostile fire situation, you know what I mean. Now I can find all kinds of fault with a number of people. I don’t like that Mitt Romney is not a Christian. I don’t particularly like Mrs. Palin’s voice, for that matter! But there are two prime examples of fine people the left wing could not defeat without trashing them.

      Think for yourself “Martin”. The country is in waaaay more trouble than most people believe because they don’t WANT to believe it could happen. Wives are saying to their spouse things like, “do we realllllly have to watch that news?” and “Why do you care so much about this stuff? Don’t have a heart attack over the ‘news’; enjoy your life!” That’s what’s happening “Martin”. People on both sides of the aisle are in denial. Even many on the RIGHT don’t WANT to believe what they know in their heart. Barack Obama is undermining our country in such a clever way, most can’t see it or won’t look.

      Don’t be like that. Now you owe Mrs. Palin an apology. Seriously. I expect you to man up and post “I’m sorry” to her. Then you can call me whatever you want. I can handle it. Have a nice day.. . . . while you still can.

      • Peter Pocket

        Remember how they all laughed at Sarah when she said ObamaCare would have “Death Panels?” A 9-year old girl, in need of a heart transplant, died because HHS refused to approve her transplant because the donor was an adult.

        Bingo!

        Remember in 2008, when she predicted that, “Russia would invade Ukraine?

        Right, again!

        Liberals hate her for being a self-sufficient and successful woman and a conservative. When Sarah speaks, Liberals tremble.

        Sarah is infinitely smarter, tougher, more talented, more knowledgeable, worked full-time as Governor, wasn’t AWOL like Obama, and still has more executive experience.

        She loves America, the Constitution, her God, and her Guns. She knows the dangers of radical Islam, and radical Liberalism. She is not afraid to speak her mind and stand up to anyone.

        She has bigger balls than our Neutered Poodle of a President who cannot make up his mind without Valerie Jarrett doing it for him.

        When Palin goes outside, she gets “cocked & locked!”

        When Obama goes outside, he’s gets “clocked and half-cocked”

        • Wiseguy2014

          You forget that private insurance companies kill thousands of people. The success of Obamacare is obvious. Obama does excellent job on economy and as far as foreign policy – it is hard to clean up after Bush. Besides, killing of Bin Laden and the drones speak for themselves. As far as Ms Palin, she quit her governorship to become a TV personality. She is a joke.

    • Rotaryknight

      Ignore the idiots

    • wayno12

      This is one of those libs that is a ‘pretend’ conservative. there are coaching courses these people take. they are told to go to various blogs and pretend they are NOT libs – not that it’s NOT tough to see through.
      He/she/it is just trying to get attention. ignore it and any other like it.

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