U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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:
|Brand||Bullet||Best Group @ 50 yards|
|Remington Yellow Jacket||33 grain hollow-point||5.3 in.|
|Remington Thunderbolt||40 grain lead||4.4 in.|
|Federal Automatch||40 grain lead||3.1 in.|
|Federal Target||40 grain lead||1.0 in.|
|CCI Mini Mag||36 grain hollow-point||2.6 in.|
|Winchester Western||36 grain hollow-point||4.8 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.
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.
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. 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 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 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