Ruger’s newest incarnation of its mega-popular 10/22 semiauto rimfire rifle is a little takedown sizzler that hits the scale at 4.5 pounds without a scope and comes with a rugged, zip-up nylon carrying case that holds the stock, receiver and barrel forend.
To call this new model “perfect for preppers” could be the understatement of the decade. It is built around what might be the most reliable and popular semiautomatic rimfire action on the planet, and it doesn’t cost a fortune at retail. It has a modular synthetic stock with interchangeable comb-and-butt sections.
It took all of a nanosecond for me to ask Ruger for a test model as soon as it was announced. Several days later, the test model showed up. It came complete with room for a scope and pockets for accessories, including spare magazines, cleaning gear and maybe a box or two of spare ammunition. For those who have the $200 NFA stamp to own a suppressor, there’s room for a can, too.
To sum it up, having the Ruger 10/22 Takedown Lite model in a car trunk, SUV or stashed behind the seat of a pickup just might leave you in pretty fair shape. Keep it cased up with your other bug-out gear, and it’s there when you need it. (Note: Due to tighter control regulations on NFA items, Gun World does not recommend leaving a suppressor in the bag while stored/stashed in your vehicle.)
While the .22 Long Rifle cartridge is hardly an elephant-stopper, in a serious emergency, it will definitely put the hurt on predators (with two or four legs), might be used in a pinch to put food on the table and make it possible for you to fight your way to something bigger.
The Takedown Lite has a threaded muzzle with a ½x28 thread pattern to accept a suppressor. It’s got a 16.1-inch alloy steel barrel with a lightweight aluminum sleeve that features perforations running back about 4.5 inches from the muzzle. The barrel is cut with six lands and grooves on a 1:16-inch right-hand twist.
The barrel length got the most out of every round I tested. With my chronograph set 20 inches ahead of the muzzle, I ran strings of six different popular loads. The American Eagle 38-grain hollowpoint averaged 1,225 fps for the hottest average, while Remington’s Subsonic 38-grain pills averaged 966.9 fps on the low end.
In between, the Remington Thunderbolt pushed a 40-grain lead roundnose bullet at an average of 1,202 fps, followed by the Winchester Power Point 40-grainer at 1,188 fps, Winchester T22 40-grain lead roundnose Target load at 1,151 fps and the Federal Gold Medal 40-grainer at 1,111 fps.
(Note from the editor: I fired the 10/22 Takedown Lite with a suppressor—a SilencerCo 22Sparrow. It shot just as reliably with a can as it did without. I fired CCI Suppressor 45-grain subsonic Hollow Point [970 fps], Gemtech 42-grain Subsonic [1,020 fps] and Remington Subsonic HP 38-grain [1,050 fps]. It not only ran reliably; the 10/22 action was also relatively quiet for a semiautomatic.)
Takedown is easy: Clear the rifle, lock the bolt to the rear, push the locking lever toward the muzzle, rotate the barrel counterclockwise, and pull the barrel out. To reassemble, just insert the barrel; then, turn it clockwise. An adjustment knob is rotated for a tight fight to return it to zero every time. Its overall length is 34.62 inches, according to Ruger literature.
“Ruger’s newest incarnation of its mega-popular 10/22 semiauto rimfire rifle is a little takedown sizzler … ”
What It’s Got
The stock is fitted with QD sling swivel studs and has interchangeable low- and high-profile comb sections. To swap out the stock pieces, simply unscrew the rear sling swivel stud, pop off one piece and pop on the other. It takes about a minute, provided you have a small tool, such as an Allen wrench.
Here’s an important note: The buttstock is hollow, so you can store additional survival gear inside—anything from a length of paracord to fishing line and hooks, a small knife or anything else you might want to stuff in there that will fit.
This little carbine is not equipped with metallic sights, so it begs for the use of a scope or some other optical sight. Ruger supplies a scope rail that accommodates Weaver-type rings.
Once a scope was installed, I tried it with both the low and high stock sections and found the high stock fit me better when using a scope.
If you have to bug out in a hurry, you’ll be taking only what you can grab. Best to grab the gear that will sustain you through an emergency. A good .22-caliber rifle could prove indispensible.
Before getting too far into the weeds, let’s talk about the Takedown Lite’s pedigree. This is a Ruger 10/22 with an action that has been proven over decades of service. It’s got the newer polymer trigger housing assembly, improved magazine release lever and the inherent capability of being what my pals call a “lead hose.” Once you start shooting a 10/22, no matter its configuration, you can burn through 100 rounds of rimfires before you know it.
Let’s face it: The Ruger 10/22 was a stroke of genius when it was introduced back in 1964, and it has only improved with age. It is probably the most modified, tricked-out, self-loading rimfire platform in history. More than 5 million of these rifles have been produced. I have personally seen dozens of different presentations—some with wood stocks like my personally owned model, others with wildly designed and colored synthetic stocks, and others with aftermarket folding stocks. Ruger even built a handgun around the action, and I have an accessory folding stock for my gun.
I have never heard of one breaking and honestly cannot recall one of them malfunctioning with quality ammunition. I have field-tested maybe a half-dozen different versions. I’ve had my rifle in all kinds of conditions, from summer heat and dust to midwinter rain and snow. The Takedown Lite is a superb shooting platform, and in all of that experience, not one of them skipped a beat.
Some years ago, I did a story for Gun World on plinking and another on rimfire ammunition comparison. My rifle, with a Bushnell scope on top, was the cornerstone of both stories. It is capable of shooting the heads off wood kitchen matches at 25 yards when shot from a sandbag rest. The Takedown Lite is its dependable sibling.
For fall hikers and backpackers who might want to collect a little fresh game along the backcountry trails, I have yet to see a blue grouse (a.k.a. “fool hen”), snowshoe hare or cottontail rabbit that couldn’t be taken with a well-placed shot to the head. This new Ruger can do that with ease.
The Takedown Lite comes with Ruger’s reliable 10-round rotary magazine. It also accepts Ruger’s 25-round BX-25 magazine. Someone spending a few days in the Western high country in September or early October (when fool hens are available) could fill a side pocket of a backpack with loaded magazines and make their way rather well.
I have a pretty good supply of .22 Long Rifle ammunition of various brands and velocities. I was able to run the rifle with all of them, and cleanup is a snap with a good aerosol to flush out the action.
Cut to the Chase
After all is said and done, what ultimately counts is whether you can hit what you’re shooting at. When it comes to accuracy, the Takedown Lite at 25 yards is a tack-driver once it’s sighted in. But you will want to sample different rounds to find the most accurate, as I discovered with the test gun. I managed to put together five-shot groups off a sandbag rest that could be covered by a 25-cent piece using one load—the Winchester Power Point 40-grain hollowpoint, which my sample gun really liked.
In (surprising) contrast, the Winchester T22 target load was disappointing. Now, to demonstrate that this round works superbly in other rifles, I ran 10 rounds of T22 through my personal 10/22, and it put six rounds through one jagged hole. Go figure.
For this evaluation, I topped the Ruger with one of my favorite scopes, a Bushnell Banner 1.75-4x32mm. I’ve had this scope on several test guns, and it has never let me down.
If, as Colonel Townsend Whelen famously said, “Only accurate rifles are interesting,” the Ruger Takedown Lite 10/22 is simply intriguing. At 50 yards, the rifle was still essentially dead-on, especially with the Power Point.
Translation: There is not a rabbit, hare, raccoon, squirrel, woodchuck or blue grouse that is safe from this thing in the hands of a steady shooter. Covert operators have also used the .22 LR round over the years. With a suppressor out front, the Takedown Lite could double as a quiet, defensive firearm.
As Ruger continues to tinker with the 10/22, offering one variation after another, the Takedown Lite fills an important niche. While a .22-caliber rifle is hardly the be-all and end-all, for surviving a catastrophe, this newest entry puts its owner well ahead of those who are unprepared.
Model: 10/22 Takedown Lite
Manufacturer: Sturm, Ruger & Co.
Caliber: .22 Long Rifle
Capacity: 10 rounds
Barrel: Alloy steel barrel tensioned in aluminum sleeve
Barrel length: 16.1 inches
Stock: Black synthetic/modular
Weight: 4.5 pounds
Overall length: 34.62 inches
Note: Groups were measured at 25 yards. The velocities were recorded over a chronograph set 20 inches ahead of the muzzle.
Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the October 2016 print issue of Gun World.