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10/22 handfun: Ruger 22 Charger Takedown.

THE FIRST QUESTION that came to mind when Guns & Ammo laid eyes on the new Ruger 22 Charger Takedown model was, Why? About three years ago, Ruger took a different spin on its classic .22LR, the 10/22, by introducing the Takedown model. The 10/22 Takedown allowed the user to separate the rifle into two pieces: the stock, inclusive of the receiver, and the barrel/forend. Unlocking the barrel simply requires pushing forward on the locking lever, located forward of the magazine well, and then the barrel and forend assembly can be easily twisted and detached from the receiver by rotating counterclockwise. This takedown feature made an already compact rifle even handier, as it can be broken down with the flip of a switch, cutting its length in half for easier transport and storage. But a takedown pistol?

Introduced in 2007, the 22 Charger was simply a 10/22 action given a 10-inch barrel and set in a laminate pistol-type wood stock in place of a rifle's traditional shoulder-fire stock. The blowback action is the same as found on the 10/22 rifle, which remains virtually unchanged since its introduction by Ruger in 1964.

In late 2014, Ruger introduced a Takedown model of the 22 Charger, which shares the same assembly/disassembly as its big brother but in an even more compact package.

The 22 Charger features a 1:16-inch RH twist, 10-inch, cold-hammer-forged barrel with a 1/2-inch-28 thread pattern compatible with today's .22LR and .223 sound suppressors and popular muzzle devices already available for AR-style rifles in the same calibers. From the factory, each 22 Charger is provided with a thread protector that easily screws on and off. G&A staff has had several examples of this semiauto pistol on hand for the last year, and each is capable of producing five-shot groups measuring a little more than 1 1/2 inches at 50 yards when using Winchester's Standard Velocity 40-grain ammunition. G&A editors also determined that the barrel locks up securely to the pistol's action, offering repeatable performance regardless of how many times it is assembled or disassembled. If, after assembling the Charger, you notice slight play in the barrel and action, simply use finger pressure to rotate the knurled adjustment knob located just forward of the action in a counterclockwise direction, which should retighten fitment.

The 22 Charger Takedown features an AR-style pistol grip that should be immediately recognizable to anyone with a little time behind the AR-15 platform. Aftermarket grips can be sought to replace it.

A Picatinny rail atop the 10/22 action comes factory installed and allows for the addition of any compatible red dot optics or telescopic scopes to increase the platform's shootability. After accuracy testing, we mounted Burris' new FastFire III red dot, which makes the 22 Charger quick and intuitive to plink with at the range. When shooting, having the ability to quickly configure the Charger with a wide range of optics expands its utility.

If you have a supply of rotary 10-round 10/22 magazines on hand, prepare to rejoice. Those, too, will fit the 22 Charger. So will Ruger's BX series of 15- and 25-rounders. The Charger ships with one BX-15 15-round magazine, which is the perfect height when using the supplied bipod from the bench or while shooting from the prone position.

As part of the kit that comes the 22 Charger's carrying case, the bipod is constructed of aluminum alloy and features independently adjustable legs that fold out of the way for ease of stowage. The bipod itself attaches to a sling swivel stud located on the stock's forend. It is easily removable.

The 22 Charger was quite the shooter with the three loads we had on hand. G&A's standard for testing rimfire rifle accuracy is 50 yards, and while the Charger isn't a rifle, it performed admirably at that distance and proved capable of placing five shots in 11/2-inch groups. (This is impressive considering a custom pistol often comes with a 2-inch guarantee at 50 yards with match ammunition.)

With the 22 Charger's 10-inch barrel and marketing as a pistol, we officially applied G&A's handgun testing protocol at 25 yards. Our best five-shot group came from Winchester 40-grain lead round-nose (LRN) Standard Velocity ammunition, resulting in a .76-inch cluster. The Federal 40-grain solid Auto Match and Remington 36-grain LRN hollow-point (HP) raced neck-and-neck in numbers, resulting in best five-shot groups of .85 inch and .87 inch, respectively. Remington's and Winchester's average of five five-shot groups were within 1/100 of an inch of one another, averaging just over an inch. Federal's load, which was specifically optimized for semiautomatic .22 firearms, averaged 1.53 inches.

Spending time with the 22 Charger Takedown proved to be a lot of fun and practical for new shooters at a bench. For a child's first exposure to the world of firearms, we'd be hard pressed to find a better option, and here's why. The 22 Charger is light in weight, easy to maneuver on a bench or field position, and offers hours of inexpensive practice if you're willing to part with a box or two from your stash of rimfire ammo. We have found that when teaching young children the art of marksmanship, head placement behind the stock is the most challenging part for them, often due to length of pull (LOP). With a red dot sight mounted on the Charger's rail, children can get close to the optic, practice trigger control, obtain a good sight picture and experience the excitement of hitting their intended target without frustration. In the process, they are familiarizing where their head should be positioned behind the optic, leading to an easier transition to a rifle. The Takedown model also adds a level of interest, as they can help assemble and disassemble it at the range. For us adults, the 22 Charger is a great way to pass an afternoon plinking or varmint hunting.

Ruger 22 Charger Takedown

Type:             Blowback operated, semiautomatic
Caliber:          .22 LR
Capacity:         15 rds.
Barrel:           10 in.
Overall Length:   19.25 in.
Weight:           3.2 lbs.
Finish:           Matte black
Stock:            Green Mountain laminate
Sights:           None
Trigger:          4.5 lbs. (tested)
Price:            $409

Manufacturer: Sturm, Ruger & Co.336-949-5200


LOAD                   VELOCITY   ES   SD   BEST    AVERAGE
                        (FPS)              GROUP     GROUP
                                           (IN.)     (IN.)

Federal Auto Match      1,165     35   14   0.87     1.53
40 gr. Solid

Remington Golden        1,163     82   34   0.85     1.19
Bullet 36 gr. LRNHP

Winchester Standard     1,193     55   22   0.76      1.1
Velocity 40 gr. LRN

* Capable of 1.62 in. at 50 yards.
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Title Annotation:PROOFHOUSE
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Date:Nov 1, 2015
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