Ruger 10/22 Takedown – The Ultimate Survival Rifle?

Ruger 10/22 Takedown
Ruger 10/22 Takedown

U.S.A.-( In a previous article, we took a look at a pair of classic take-down 22 caliber rifles: the Henry AR-7 and the Marlin Papoose. In that work, I stressed the importance of a lightweight, packable rifle for emergency survival use and how the time-proven AR7 and Papoose came along to fit the need.

The elephant in the room was the Ruger 10/22 takedown, a rifle that has been out for several years and one that seems like a natural competitor to those other rifles. I dismissed the Ruger as a good rifle but one that is too heavy for the purpose of a pure survival option. However, many of my readers thought I was too quick to discount the Ruger Takedown. So I get to say, because of you, I got my hands on a Ruger 10/22 Takedown for a full review.

Ruger 10/22 Takedown

Ruger 10/22 Takedown
Ruger 10/22 Takedown & Henry AR-7

I have been around 22 caliber autoloading rifles from Savages to Mossberg in my earlier years to Marlin's and Henry's most recently. The first gun ever gifted to me happened to be a then-exclusive Ruger 10/22 with a composite stock and stainless steel furniture. Thanks mom! The standard takedown model is essentially the same gun I once owned, but it breaks in half and comes in a nifty black nylon case. I was quite amused to open the pack and snap the gun together.

The Ruger 10/22 Takedown in its nylon case. There are plenty of pockets for extra goodies.
The Ruger 10/22 Takedown in its nylon case. There are plenty of pockets for extra goodies.

The gun breaks apart by  pulling back a recessed lever forward of the magazine well. Retract the charging handle a touch and twist the gun together. Do the same in the opposite direction to break the gun back down. One swift motion.

The recessed takedown lever is pulled back, allowing both halves of the gun to fit together. When taking the gun apart, you may have to retract the charging handle a touch.
The recessed takedown lever is pulled back, allowing both halves of the gun to fit together. When taking the gun apart, you may have to retract the charging handle a touch.

Other than this neat takedown feature, we are working with a standard Ruger 10/22–one of the most popular rifles made, with an aftermarket to suit any taste. It uses an eighteen and a half inch tapered barrel that wears the standard notch and post iron sights.

If the irons are not up to taste, the rifle comes tapped and drilled for the included Weaver scope base.
If the irons are not up to taste, the rifle comes tapped and drilled for the included Weaver scope base.

The stock is a standard, black composite, type with brisk checkering appointments at the pistol grip and the fore end. Like any other 10/22, it features a cross bolt safety and a paddle style magazine release. Speaking of magazines, the rifle comes with a single-ten round factory magazine but I made plenty of use of BX 25 magazines too.

The sights consist of a front beaded post and a rear v-notch.
The sights consist of a front beaded post and a rear v-notch.

Ruger 10/22 Takedown Accuracy

Like the other takedown rifles in my inventory, the Ruger 10/22 Takedown is a pretty straightforward animal on the range. While I was not going to throw the rifle into a stagnant pond to see if it floats, I wanted to verify reliability, accuracy, and general handling to see if the 5 lb. 2 oz. weight is justified in what I believe would be the main reason people would buy it–as a survival or pack gun.

After a quick range cleaning, I assembled the rifle and started shooting from a rest at distances of 25, 50, and 100 yards. The ammunition I chose are as follows:

BrandBulletBest Group @ 50 yards
Remington Yellow Jacket 33 grain hollow-point 5.3 in.
Remington Thunderbolt 40 grain lead4.4 in.
Federal Automatch40 grain lead3.1 in.
Federal Target40 grain lead1.0 in.
CCI Mini Mag36 grain hollow-point2.6 in.
Winchester Western 36 grain hollow-point4.8 in.

My first targets at fifty yards were somewhat disappointing as I had trouble seeing the relatively fine front sight on a small six-inch target. All loads shot a few inches above the point of aim, with the exception of the standard velocity Federal Target loads, which coincidentally grouped the best for me. I could consistently put five rounds within 1-1.5 inches at that distance.

Moving into twenty-five yards–something like going in the wrong direction– I tried again. The group sizes were smaller with the Winchester Westerns turning in a 2-inch group at worse. The Federal Target rounds were hitting within a half-inch. I started having trouble with the Remington Yellow Jackets, whose flat conical profile continually got caught on the feed ramp.

Two Remington Yellow Jackets I pulled from the feed ramp of the Ruger next to a Winchester round for comparison.
Two Remington Yellow Jackets I pulled from the feed ramp of the Ruger next to a Winchester round for comparison.

When I wasn't shooting paper, I was dusting clays and hitting my eight-inch steel plate out to one hundred yards. I could peg the plate consistently, shooting offhand. But turning in a group with the iron sights at one hundred yards was nearly impossible with my eyes and these iron sights. For best luck, I used the Target loads. At best, I could put four out of five into a six-inch bullseye.

Accuracy, with these iron sights and my eyes, was very good for my purposes. Though I am aware I could shoot further and more precisely with an optic, the stock irons are nothing to sneeze at, even if I had trouble seeing that fine front sight at times. 22 rifles are their own animals and they tend to group well with some ammunition over others, so your results may–and probably will–vary.

A five shot group posted at fifty yards using Federal Target 40 grain standard velocity loads.
A five shot group posted at fifty yards using Federal Target 40 grain standard velocity loads.


Reliability is a category in which 22 rifles tend to fall short in because of the dirtiness of the ammunition and the sensitive rimfire ignition. You are going to get a stoppage every now and then, especially as the gun gets dirty or with inexpensive ammunition. Some of my ammo selection is built around the cheap stuff for this reason. CCI ammunition is incredibly reliable and it ran in my rifle at one-hundred percent, but for general use and a day of plinking, I doubt I will use it. Famously inconsistent Remington Thunderbolts ran flawlessly too. The Ruger ate the Federal Target loads too.

There were about a dozen stoppages in my six hundred round test, two from those Remington Yellow Jackets with the rest being failures to fully eject using the Winchester Western and Federal Automatch rounds. There were no failures to fire at all.  It didn't happen often and most of them occurred toward the end of my test, bearing in mind that I did no cleaning in between range sessions. Getting up to six hundred rounds is fairly high to go through without having problems that require cleaning.


Despite being somewhat disagreeable with the sights, I found the 10/22 to be ergonomic for the most part.
Despite being somewhat disagreeable with the sights, I found the 10/22 to be ergonomic for the most part.

Despite being somewhat disagreeable with the sights, I found the 10/22 to be ergonomic for the most part. The rifle fits an adult, but is not so ungainly and heavy that a smaller statured shooter couldn't shoulder it. Speaking of shouldering and handling, the checkered plastic buttplate and the checkering on the stock kept the gun in my shoulder and in my hands very well. That isn't of consequence on the square range, but most of my shooting was done in a flooded, muddy environment. The safety and magazine release are right where they should be and it was fun and easy to slip that twenty-five round mag in, though not as easy with the flush-fitting ten-shot magazine.

My only real aesthetic qualm is the polymer barrel band, standard on all 10/22s.  It lacks the same color and texture of the stock and stands out somewhat. I would prefer that piece be made of stainless steel to match the barrel, but if that is all I can nitpick, then as a whole the gun is doing well.

The Takedown doesn't have the standard smooth buttplate, but a checkered version that works well to keep the gun in the shoulder.
The Takedown doesn't have the standard smooth buttplate, but a checkered version that works well to keep the gun in the shoulder.

The Bottom Line – Ruger 10/22 Takedown

I fully expected a quality 22 rifle when I turned to the Ruger 10/22. My run with this one was not perfect–nothing ever is, especially with 22 rifles. But I did come away with yet another takedown rifle I am unwilling to part with. The Ruger is accurate, fairly reliable, and steady to hold and shoulder with the appropriate features where they need to be. So was I unfair to leave it out of the running when pitting the better known Marlin Papoose and Henry AR7 against one another? Maybe so.

The Ruger definitely has some advantages while others have advantages of their own. I won't turn this into a comparison, but the Ruger is markedly heavier than those other options. The Ruger comes in at 5 lbs. 2 ounces with a fully loaded twenty-five round magazine, about twice as heavy as her competitors and about on par with an ordinary 22 rifle. There are aftermarket options you can buy to shrink it down further and I see the need, but I don't see that need for me.

The Marlin Papoose and Henry AR7 are excellent survival rifles and I highly recommend them, but they may not be the easiest guns to use when survival is not at stake. For a relaxing day popping cans or wandering the brush for rabbit, the Ruger might be the better option. As I set off for home with too many rifles to clean, I started to think of the Ruger 10/22 takedown in greater applications other than survival. It really is a general purpose hunting or fun gun that you can break down for ease of transport and survival applications. One gun to do it all, so to speak.

Usually, the idea of a universal gun means a gun that does nothing extremely well, but for the extra two and a half pounds the Ruger 10/22 Takedown makes for an excellent jack of all trades.

About Terril Hebert:Terril Hebert

Terril Hebert is a firearm writer native to south Louisiana. Under his motto-Guns, Never Politics-he tackles firearm and reloading topics both in print and on his Mark3smle YouTube channel, where he got his start. Terril has a soft spot for ballistics testing, pocket pistols, and French rifles. When he is not burning ammo, he is indulging his unhealthy wildlife photography obsession or working on his latest novel. Scourge of God, published in 2017. See more from Terril on youtube under Mark3smle

  • 32 thoughts on “Ruger 10/22 Takedown – The Ultimate Survival Rifle?

    1. I built a backpacker from a walmart special that looked like the one in the article. The ss 18 inch barrel on mine would lead so bad that after 200rds you’d be squirting lead blobs.I chucked that barrel and got a threaded 16 inch from gb and added a match trigger.after 200rds it’s still clean in the bore and just slightly foul in the chamber.after 300rds I get a fte once in my opinion I got the best and I’ve owned 2 m70p and a charter ar7.

    2. Oh, and one more IMPORTANT thought.. play around with the tension adjustment for the barrel and test on bags. Mine DID have a sweet spot (honestly tighter set than I would have thought) and it really reeled those groups in)

    3. Honestly when I first purchased my takedown I liked it, but never quite found that “love.” One thing changed that. I put Nodak Spud aperture sights in it, along with a tee tiny “ball on a stick” front sight post. Set it up for center hold on Eley subsonic HP. My groups tightened up -considerably- and the sight picture is now “fast.” I spent a few hours with my 3/4 buffer and dremel (polish only,) some 1000/2000 grit diamond files, and a few swabs of Dykem slicking/matching everything up and completing the factory fit and finish job. I also ended up giving away/trading all of my BX25s for standard 10 rounders. I miss the capacity.. but it carries much better on a 2pt sling and they are as reliable as spring rain. I will -never- sell this gun. I switch between the TD and my CZ scorpion for farm carry depending on how many coyotes are currently in the area, and if the sun is down (only .22 after dark for legal reasons) There is also NOTHING like loading up CCI standard velocity and popping icicles in the winter at about 140 yards on a cliff at my property. The delay of the sounds.. the ice cracking and crumbling.. the “.22 swoosh” and echo of the shot in the cold air… almost like slow motion reactive targets.
      Only purchased mods are the NDS sights (worth every hard earned penny. Gun flew off a 4 wheeler once. Hit so hard it bent the wing on the front sight. HELD ITS ZERO.) Oh, and about 6 colors of Krylon. I may play around with recoil springs just to get CCI quiet to operate 100% as with my polish job, im close. What you lose in weight, you gain in form factor being more of a carbine feel. I pick it up and it feels like a micro M1a or a mini M1 Carbine. If you are on the fence, get a used one so you have extra cash for either NDS sights or tech sights. If you go optic, get a light RDS. The POINT of the rifle is tiny, comfortable, and light. If i can pop eggs at 50 with irons (and my eyesight sucks) ya don’t need a scope. Save that for your tack driving bolt guns.

      Long post, but I got mine not long after its market release. I went from “meh” to truly passionate. As a fun shooter, a farmer, and a hunter – I approve.

    4. I thought I was the last gun owner in the US without a 10/22. Was prepared to buy a Takedown, until I found used 10/22 with the ATI folding stock for $250. Would still like to have a Takedown backpacker, but this one folds down to 24″. $100 less and good enough.

    5. Hmmmm,… The perfect survival gun???????

      It would be under 5 lbs. and would break down to carry in a backpack.
      It would be easly able to take down a medium size black bear at 400 yards with one shot, yet not destroy
      small game like rabbets by blowing them apart,
      It would consistantly produce three inch groups at 200 yards.
      It would be able to take magizines holding fron 10 to 50 rounds.
      It would be easily concealable in a waist holster under everyday clothing.
      It would be able to easily take down flying birds on the wing.
      It would easily be fitted with a suppressor.
      So,… That would be the perfict survival gun
      If you ever find such a gun, please let me know. Been looking for 30 years!

    6. I am the oddity here – no 10/22 though it is on the bucket list but I DO have an AR7. Two of them. Both are incredible shooters that surprised the heck out of me but from comments it seems like I am the oddity not the norm! It is small, easy to assembly, at 25 yards kept the shots inside a ragged hole and at 50 kept up to my shooting with great groups. Keep them in the cars so my kids can grab them if there is a problem but keep it unassembled until they need it! Shooting the 10/22 was more comfortable and there are a lot of things you can hang from it but it seems bigger to stow.

    7. My input is quite simple.
      Buy the standard Ruger 10/22, add nothing. Use it for what it is without fantasizing about some military piece, buy quality ammo in 40 grain solid then go have loads of enjoyment using the little carbine for what it is. Never look back.
      When you are ready for the bigger boomers, go get one of those.
      Bless America

    8. Although that Ruger you tested is a takedown model, it is not the Survival version. You should have tested the Ruger 10/22 Takedown Backpacker model. That is the true Survival Model as it has features the model you tested does not have.

    9. I have a 10/22 with the full length mechiler stock I know I didn’t spell it right but you get the jest it’s been a great 22 the only one I have that I like better is my Marlin 39a you just can’t beat a lever action for plinking

    10. Back in 1969, My Dear Old Man (RIP) introduced myself, my two brothers to the disciplines associated with safe firearm handling. This was handed to us in the form of a Ruger 10/22 Carbine with a wood stock, all administered to us young-ins under the watchful eye of a former Marine/Basketball Coach/Biology Teacher. This is where proper trigger restraint, muzzle control, cleaning and maintenance was first injected into our frontal cortex. This process of safe firearm handling has become part of our DNA. Super zoom 50 year later. Multiple 10/22 Rugers in the Family. Take downs, Target Lites and yes, the old and reliable 10/22 Carbine from 1969. Add in a Ruger BX Trigger, a Polymer Bolt Stop, a Williams Neon sight set, a Leather Sling, a Primary Arms 22LR scope, and there you have it. Hours and Hours of Target Practice and many summers of of 22LR plinking fun. If you do not have a Ruger 10/22, may I suggest you may want to get one, before Lindsay Graham pulls a John McCain on the former U.S. of A.

    11. If I was desperate for a takedown because the SHHTF I would go for the Ruger PC 9MM. Not only does it take the Glock 17 mag it breaks down nicely. It also has better sights than the 10/22. I bit heavier but not that much. That longer barrel gives it a decent reach over a pistol. That is worth while. I have one and love it.

      1. As soon as they make a Magpul stock for it that is as nice as the x22 I will buy one. I agree with you as well with regards to you synopsis. 9mm over 22 though 100s of 22 will fit where a single box of 50 9mm would.

        1. I have an original PC-9 , scoped, and a takedown 10/22 with a hunter x/22 stock, also scoped. Both have their place and I enjoy shooting them both. The PC-9 gives exceptionally tight groups at 100 yds with almost any brand round and will take the mags from my P-95 and the 30 rnd extended mags that are as rare as hen’s teeth. Very versatile in my opinion. But a far as “bug outs” go, its a lot faster to grab the 10/22 in the backpack.
          We also have an OLD bolt action Winchester model 67 , nice and light- my son is a dead shot with that one through open sights.

    12. 10/22 all the way, the only plastic is in the stock/mag, no plastic or aluminum in the pivot or assembly wear areas, and the Ruger is infinitely adjustable for steel assembly area wear of what will be a lifetime of use. . The 10/22 is EASY to assemble too, MUCH easier than the plastic sighted, extremely cheaply made AR7. Very few IF any jamb/ftf/fte issues. I also have a matching silver scope for the 10/22 Takedown in the pouch, point of aim/impact doesn’t change through removal and replacement cycles. I had and AR7, key word there being HAD…. Hands down, 10/22 !

    13. Teaching the grandkids the fundamentals of shooting, cleaning, gun safety and survival techniques, (squirrel and rabbit hunting), the 10/22 was the perfect match, using the 10rd mag.

      Reasonable pricing and the 10/22 is popular enough that manufacturers have developed some easily adaptable accessories, mag release, ambidextrous charging handle w/rail, etc. Check out Tandemkross.

      Having the Marlin Papoose and the Henry, both fine weapons, I went with the 10/22 due to popularity, accessory availability and most importantly standard magazines holding 10 up to 25.

      To think, my 22 (as given to me by my Dad when I was 7) (yep passed on the tradition to sons and grandkids) was an Ethica Single Shot Lever Action. Moral of that story if you missed, you didn’t eat.

      1. @John, I think that you have it right. Teaching skills is more important than having stuff. For example: lots of rich people leave trust funds for their children, but do not invest in teaching the children skills. That is a recipe for failure.
        Oh, you may want to teach the youngsters working as a team, patrolling, and area defense, too.

          1. Both of you are right on the mark. I’ve had a 10/22 for decades and for all the reasons you’ve sited plus the fun factor of squirrel and rabbit hunting. :). Mine isn’t the takedown model and I wouldn’t mind adding one to my collection.

            1. You should pick one up, you won’t be sorry. I picked up two with muzzle break, removed and slapped on a suppressor. (I have a class 1 and 3 license, so fun trying out the different variables).

    14. With the Magpul backpacker stock the 10/22 beats the stuffing out of the competition. It’s lightweight, it packs up like the ar-7 and has a real barrel like the papoose. It holds zero unlike the other two because of the takedown mechanism and the barrel mounted sights. It’s faster to deploy than either and is way more comfortable. It’s really very reliable, stoppages are infrequent. I’ve shot about nine thousand rounds through it in the last year and it still walks tall. It like all firearms does have ammo it prefers, but since bulk stuff works and good stuff works, who cares? Aftermarket support is pretty good, and working on it is straightforward too.
      It isn’t perfect. Putting a scope on it as well as expecting repeatable zero is laughable and while it’s accurate, my old cooey 60 will shoot circles round it all day long (with a sight elevator made of scrap metal and the darkest sights on Earth). The bolt release also benefits from an aftermarket auto-bolt release letting you pull back on the charging handle to release the bolt. A replacement polymer bolt stop pin is also a good idea, since if you shoot it a lot with the steel one, you’ll damage the receiver. The polymer pin also helps soften recoil. The trigger is fine, but if you want to really sharpshoot than an aftermarket one may be in order unless you’re confident enough to do a trigger job yourself.
      Basically it’s the best all around rifle there is, but like anything it does have limitations.

    15. If I was to use a 22 for survival I would go for a Ruger Charger non takedown with a folding pistol brace. That way it can still fit in a back pack and not have to be assembled. It has a threaded barrel for a can. The Charger I have has the Copper Customs buffer tube adapter, a KaK shockwave blade with a cheap UTG folder, Trueshot Technologies sights, and a Bushnell TRS 25 red dot.

        1. I did all the MCARBO bits.
          I would do the recoil buffer and the tube cover.
          The stock sight is very low. Basically cram your face right on the tube.
          I’d also open the peep site just a little. Aiming is a bit slow with such a small sight.

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