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Light done right: Ruger takes the 10/22 to the next level with the Takedown Lite.

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The Ruger 10/22 has been in continuous production since it was introduced in 1964, and the proceeds of those sales have put many the child of a Ruger employee through college. Plenty of .22 rifles have come and gone in the past 50 years, but the 10/22 became the standard in large part simply because it is a simple, reliable semiauto .22 rifle.

Over the years Ruger has made many versions of the 10/22, and in 2012 it came out with the popular and ingenious 10/22 Takedown model, which features a quick-detach barrel. Ruger now has a new version of this rifle, the 10/22 Takedown Lite, which offers many of the most popular features of its .22s and a few that are totally new.

For those who might be unfamiliar with the 10/22, it is a semiauto rifle chambered in .22 Long Rifle, fed by 10-round rotary magazines. Rimfire rifles aren't as reliable as center-fire rifles for a number of reasons (not the least of which is their tiny cartridges), but the 10/22 over the past 50 years has demonstrated it is as reliable a semiauto .22 platform as you can find.

The barrel on this rifle is 16.1 inches long and threaded at the muzzle to take advantage of the surge in popularity of suppressors. It comes with a cap to protect the threads. The threads are common 1/2x28, so the rifle will actually accept any standard AR-15 muzzle device as well if you want to add a flash hider or compensator. Admittedly, there isn't much flash or recoil to tame in a .22 rifle, but looking cool is always in style--especially if you're hunting for a rifle to bring along when you take your kids to the range. On that note, while the standard version of this rifle is all black, there are three distributor exclusives currently listed on the Ruger website that have receivers and barrel sleeves in a matching color (red, green or blue).

What looks like a beefy ventilated barrel on the 10/22 Takedown Lite is actually an aluminum sleeve over the much thinner barrel, which is tensioned in place. The sleeve starts about 3.5 inches forward of the barrel nut. The result is an accurate rifle that has the look of one with a bull barrel but weighs only 4.5 pounds. It's called "Lite" for a reason. For comparison, the original wood-stocked 10/22 weighs five pounds.

Ruger first did the "Lite" treatment to its 22/45 pistols several years ago, and I liked it so much I bought one. At the time I remarked that the ventilated sleeve reminded me a little of the handguard on a Sterling submachine gun, and this resemblance is even more pronounced on the 10/22 rifle.

If you've never had the opportunity to get hands on a 10/22 Takedown, its detachable barrel is one of those "looks simple but really isn't" engineering challenges Ruger overcame. To remove the barrel all you have to do is lock back the bolt, depress a recessed lever on the underside of the fore-end and twist. The two halves of the rifle will come apart.

To reassemble, insert the barrel into the receiver (make sure the bolt is locked back) and lock it into place by rotating the barrel/fore-end unit about 45 degrees. Lockup is amazingly tight and consistent. The polymer buttstock stock and fore-end on this rifle feel solid in the hands.

Why would you want a .22 rifle that comes apart in the middle? Well, beyond the obvious cool factor, when disassembled and placed in its accompanying case the 10/22 Takedown Lite is small and light for transport, whether in the back of a vehicle or a backpack. A 10/22 isn't that big to begin with, but broken in half you'd be surprised just how compact and convenient it is.

The 10/22 has a simple crossbolt safety, and this Takedown Lite version features a slightly extended magazine release lever. Push it forward and the magazine will drop into your hand. I wish Ruger had redesigned its tiny, old-fashioned and occasionally argumentative bolt catch for this new modern version of the venerable rifle, but such is not the case.

Ruger 10/22s have single-stage triggers that are generally crisp and workmanlike. The trigger pull on my sample Takedown Lite was no different; it broke at 5.5 pounds. The 10/22 has been around for so long there are a number of companies making aftermarket accessories for the rifle, including match triggers, so if you eventually want to customize your rifle there are plenty of places to spend your money. Heck, Ruger itself sells its drop-in BX-Trigger for the 10/22 that provides a 2.5- to three-pound trigger pull and costs $90.

Another notable feature on this version of the 10/22 is the Ruger Modular Stock System, which made its debut in Ruger's American Rimfire rifle. Unscrew the sling swivel stud on the underside of the buttstock and the butt and comb of the stock slide right off in one L-shaped piece. The stock comes equipped with the standard length of pull module with a low comb. A second stock module with a standard length of pull and a high comb ships with the rifle, and it would be useful when using certain optics. The modular stock adds a little weight to the rifle, but with the lighter barrel profile of the Lite, the end result is a rifle that still weighs a tenth of a pound less than the standard 10/22 Takedown.

At ShopRuger.com you'll find additional stock module options, including short length of pull versions with and without high combs. Individual stock modules are $20, and Ruger sells combo packs as well.

Before I'd ever pulled the trigger on the rifle I had one complaint. The provided receiver rail section for mounting an optic is an old-school piece instead of a modern Picatinny rail. According to Ruger, it is a "combination scope base adapter for both Weaver-style and .22 tipoff scope mounts." Sorry, but somebody is still living in the 1950s.

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Most optics these days have bases/ mounts designed to fit Picatinny rails, and a lot of people are going to want to mount a red dot on this rifle as opposed to a .22-specific scope. And just about every red dot mount on the market is designed to fit Picatinny rails. Many companies make Picatinny rails to fit the 10/22 and its receiver holes/screws, but in my opinion, Ruger should be supplying one of them from the factory.

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From the tactical/practical look of the rifle and case, I was expecting the 10/22 Takedown Lite to be supplied with one of Ruger's 25-round BX-25 magazines for the 10/22. Instead, all you get is one standard 10-round magazine. The 10-rounder sits flush with the receiver, keeps the rifle's lines clean and has a well-earned reputation for reliability, but more rounds are always better, especially when at the range with your kids. That said, Ruger will be happy to sell you as many BX-25s as you want for $34 apiece.

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The supplied soft case for the Takedown Lite is really nice. Measuring 24x10 inches, it's small enough that it doesn't look like a rifle case. There are polymer D-rings at the end of the case so it can be carried over the shoulder with the included strap.

There is a 2x2-inch hook-and-loop patch on the outside of the case, and Ruger has affixed one of its patches to it.

If you want to go "covert," you can peel off the patch. One whole side of the interior of the zippered case is covered with hook-and-loop material to accommodate straps to secure the rifle. The layout of the case is completely customizable.

Opposite the hook-and-loop wall are two padded liners that flip out of the way to reveal three zippered pockets. As delivered, the contents of the pockets included the case's shoulder sling, a cable lock, receiver rail section and the owner's manual, and the pockets are plenty big enough for boxes of ammo.

For testing the rifle I installed an Ultradot Pan-A-V red dot. The Pan-A-V is not a tall red dot, but even with its low mount I had to pull my cheek off the standard stock, so I installed the high comb module. The rifle never jammed during the entire round of testing, which was refreshing. I found the Ruger would do two- to three-inch groups at 50 yards depending on the ammo, which is more than acceptable.

On a standard 10/22 Takedown, both front and rear sights are on the barrel, so removing and replacing the barrel will not affect the zero when using irons. The 10/22 Takedown Lite has just the receiver rail, so I was curious how much zero shift I would see removing and replacing the barrel.

I fired five shots at 25 yards off sandbags, circled the group on the target, removed and immediately replaced the barrel, then fired five more shots of the same ammunition. I did this at least a dozen times and observed an impact shift every time I removed and replaced the barrel. The impact shift on my rifle seemed to be consistently horizontal and varied between a 0.25 inch (which is almost within margin of error) and an 1.5 inches, averaging just under an inch.

I checked the adjustment knob on the receiver, which can tighten the lockup to the barrel, and it was appropriately finger tight per the owner's manual. I reached out to Mark Gurney, the director of product management at Ruger, to see what kind of point of impact shift company testers saw with their test rifles and to learn if he had any suggestions.

"We have never observed any shift in point of impact," Gurney said. "As long as the barrel connection is snug--not supertight, but snug--and the bolt is manually cycled a few times before shooting, I'd put a Takedown--barrel removed and replaced with each shot--up against any 10/22."

I hadn't cycled the bolt after removing and replacing the barrel. If that didn't work, he also suggested tightening up the barrel lockup with the adjustment knob one click at a time.

After tightening up the knob four clicks and making sure to cycle the bolt a few times whenever replacing the barrel, I found that there was no longer any discernible point of impact shift with my rifle. Whatever zero shift there might have been was within the margin of error of man and machine--which, honestly, was not what I was expecting. The barrel was noticeably tighter, but I could still remove it by hand without issue.

This is a cool-looking rifle with all sorts of useful features and is a lot of fun to shoot. Ruger seems to have maximized the potential of the legendary 10/22. All of the extras add to the cost, of course, but you get what you pay for.
ACCURACY RESULTS

RUGER 10/22 TAKEDOWN LITE

                         Bullet    Muzzle                Avg.
                         Weight   Velocity   Standard    Group
.22 Long Rifles          (gr.)     (fps)     Deviation   (in.)

AMERICAN EAGLE RNL         40      1,176        22        2.2
WOLF RNL                   40      1,047        17        2.3
CCI MINI-MAG               40      1,225        13        2.4
WINCHESTER WILDCAT         40      1,238        22        3.1
FEDERAL COPPER PLATED      40      1,217        18        4.1

NOTES: Accuracy results are averages of four five-shot
groups at 50 yards from a sandbag rest. Velocities are
averages of 10 shots measured with an Oehler Model 35P
chronograph set 12 feet from the muzzle. Abbreviation:
RNL, roundnose lead

SPECIFICATIONS

RUGER 10/22 TAKEDOWN LITE

TYPE              semiauto rimfire
CALIBER           .22 Long Rifle
CAPACITY          10-round magazine
BARREL            16.1 in., 1/2x28 threads; thread protector included
OVERALL LENGTH    34.62 in.
WEIGHT            4.5 lb.
STOCK             synthetic with replaceable buttstock inserts
TRIGGER           5.5 lb. pull (as measured)
SIGHTS            none; optics rail provided
PRICE             $659
MANUFACTURER      Ruger, ruger.com
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Article Details
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Author:Tarr, James
Publication:Petersen's Rifle Shooter
Article Type:Product/service evaluation
Date:Nov 1, 2016
Words:2025
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