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Exclusive: Take It Down!

Ruger’s New 10/22 Takedown Rifle

By Sam Fadala

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The actions on the standard Ruger 10/22 and the new Takedown are identical.

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Showing the forends of the standard Ruger 10/22, bottom, and new 10/22 Takedown.
Sam preferred the new stock — lighter in weight and slightly trimmer.

Fertile minds invented takedown rifles before store-bought sliced bread became popular. The idea from the beginning was making a long firearm short for compressed storage and easy transportation, be it by mule, choo-choo train or Model T. While true to the portability promise, these vintage rifles were not always faithful in returning to zero after takedown/put-back-together. Furthermore, some “shot loose.” I owned two that did: a Model 1894 26″ barrel Winchester employing interrupted threads and a Model 99 Savage screw-in with optional .410 shotgun barrel. Takedown rifles today retain the original intention — especially for air travel and (for me at least) backpack trips into the hinterlands, as well as by boat, plane or car.

The new Ruger 10/22 Takedown Model 11100 Autoloading Rifle will not “shoot lose.” And I verified it returns to zero flawlessly. No surprise. Sturm, Ruger & Company hopped the rails of a 21st century train called innovation with many unique handguns and rifles. The new Takedown breaks in half in the middle into two subassemblies fitting into a special carry case. It’s a 10/22 through and through though. I’ve always considered the 10/22 military-like, right down to the barrel band. Ruggedly reliable and field tough.

My own basic 10/22 — Model 1103 I believe — has a 13.5″ length of pull (LOP) from trigger to butt stock. Overall length (OL) is only 37″ with 18.5″ 1:16 RH twist barrel. Weight: five pounds. The new model carries identical dimensions in the same blowback design for the .22 Long Rifle cartridge, except that it is six ounces lighter and it has the updated extended magazine release.

Part of my take on the military aspect of the 10/22 is epitomized in the Takedown with its tough synthetic stock (my old model is wood). The stainless steel barrel is rust-resistant to manage adverse weather conditions. Likewise the brushed aluminum receiver. A clear matte finish adds to moisture resistance. Magazines further confirm my military assessment of the 10/22. The 10-shot magazine, which lent its name to the rifle itself, is rotary-reliable.”

While Von Mannlicher invented the rifle, it was Herr Schoenauer who came up with the rotary magazine, later adopted by Savage and later still by Ruger. Even more to the military pitch is Ruger’s BX-25 magazine with 25 rat-a-tat-tat never-miss-a-beat bullets zipping downrange. I’ve not always had sterling results with high-capacity .22 LR magazines. But the 30-degree angle cartridge presentation of theBX-25 proved foolproof.

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The 10/22 Takedown comes with informational decals on both sides of the buttstock.
This side explains takedown.

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The original 10-shot rotary magazine has always been praised for its reliability.
The new Ruger BX 25 proved just as reliable — 25 shots “fast as you can pull the trigger.”

The Kit

The padded case with shoulder carry strap is part of the story. It’s “ballistic nylon” backpack-style with internal sleeves for the subassemblies; action/stock breaks to 20″ at the square, the barrel section 18.”. There are two sleeves for barrels, one scope-wide, the other not. But the rifle comes with only one barrel. Hmm. Can we expect an auxiliary barrel, say in .17 HMR? Unless I am missing something, I don’t see why not, making the Takedown a multiple barrel rifle. On the outside, the case has MOLLE webbing for up to six BX-25 magazines. Large exterior pockets promise plenty of room for ammo and accouterments. Maybe even a few vittles and a drink for range day or a small game outing. I also stuffed four 10-shot magazines into the bottom pocket. So the case offers a backpack option, as well as poking the rifle’s subassemblies directly into a regular backpack.

Takedown design is genuinely friendly. Simple, direct and easy. Remove the magazine from the unloaded rifle. Lock the bolt back. Push the recessed release lever forward to unlock the barrel. Twist (rotate) the barrel counterclockwise; pull forward — done. To install the barrel assembly: again insure an unloaded rifle; lock the bolt back; insert barrel end; rotate clockwise. The barrel installs with an assuring click. Tighten the barrel by turning the knurled adjustment ring just snug. Force is neither required nor desired. Plus, this step is not every-time necessary after the initial adjustment. The rifle is ready to fire. A minor additional feature of this takedown rifle is access to breech-end cleaning; not that careful muzzle-end cleaning does harm.

I removed the scope from my standard Ruger 10/22 some time ago, not because of ineffectiveness, but because I want to keep my hand in the open iron sight game. However, the Takedown is scope-ready, tapped and drilled, base provided. The reliable Ruger 25-shot magazines affords plenty of shots between reloading, making it a plinker’s delight.

I have a special spot close to my Wyoming home where a drainage ditch creates tall banks that totally capture bullets. I can happily abuse a 50-count box of ammo for excellent practice in a short period of time. I found the open iron sights more than adequate on the Takedown for this game. The front sight with “gold bead” resides in a dovetail notch cut into an integral muzzle bolster (for lack of a better term), and serrated to thwart glare. The rear sight is a standard flat-top open folder with small U-notch plus white diamond guide point. It’s adjustable for windage and elevation. The front sight can be optically nestled into the U-notch or level with the flat top for two different aim points.

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As a reader service, Sam noted the Echo-Sigma survival bag, which he suggests is wise to carry any time going into an out-of-the-way location, as well as left in base camp or vehicle for a return to “needful things.” The Ruger Takedown is a good match with the pack.

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The Echo-Sigma is stuffed full of high quality gear to keep you alive if the chips are down.

Mechanics

First I tested trigger pull on my standard 10/22. Why? Because whatever it was, and I had not bothered to check it before, I never had a problem hitting intended targets from pine cones, cottontails, and mountain grouse, to hundred yards-plus inanimate opportunities. The “old” 10/22 trigger was creep-free, breaking at 4.25-pounds. The Takedown trigger was equally creep-free, but touched off at 5.75-pounds. We all love good crisp triggers that break like a thin glass rod. But while the Ruger 10/22 trigger does not do that, both the old and new rifles, due to imperceptible creep, serve well for these rifles’ intended purposes.

I depended upon another’s expert report concerning accuracy because my goal with the Takedown identically matched my employment of my original 10/22, which is not formal target shooting. And since neither rifle was scoped, it seemed somewhat pointless to “prove” bullet clustering. The report I got praised a scoped Takedown with groups as small as a half-inch at 50 yards. Ammunition was not noted. Perhaps match quality — perhaps not. In spite of millions of .22 LR rounds spewing from the factory like a hornet nest whacked with a stick, the everyday product is purely excellent. If the Ruger 10/22 were anything less than sufficiently accurate to please shooters, it would have faded away like the morning mist on a swamp. Instead, numbers sold, while never specifically revealed by the company, are noted as “remarkable” in quantity over the past almost half-century. Think in six zeroes.

The FFL holder who transferred the rifle for me, a gunsmith, sprinkled a few negative remarks among many glowing accolades he had concerning the Ruger 10/22 Takedown. He felt the carry case might be sturdier. I don’t see it. The case seems pretty tough to me. He also did not care for the “plastic stock.” Compared to the “feel” of my old 10/22, again I have to disagree. The stock, which has the rifle curve as opposed to the flat shotgun style butt, just like my original, suited me just fine. As this is written, I know of no after-market stock that will fit the Takedown, but you can bet your Aunt Clara’s paisley shawl this will soon change.

Dwayne also questioned possible accuracy problems due to forend “weighing down” the barrel, plus the barrel band. Accuracy was no problem for me or the chap who tested with a scoped rifle. I consider the rifle’s purpose plinking, practice, informal target shooting, small game/mountain birds (rifle legal where I hunt). Finally, he found the gap between the two subassemblies cosmetically flawed. Well, the Takedown is not a showpiece and its superior function overshadows the gap (for me). But it is there.

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Overview of the old and the new — the original 10/22 and the new Ruger 10/22 Takedown.
The new model is silver in appearance with improved all-weather status.

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The “ballistic” nylon bag that houses the Ruger 10/22 Takedown has a strong
zipper along with multiple pockets and three sleeves; one sleeve for buttstock/receiver and two for rifle barrels.

Survival Trek

One evening recently a Northern Wyoming rancher friend and I lay on his living room floor on either side of a topographical map studying a lonesome piece of real estate. “You can start from the ranch house,” he said, “drive up the road for about four miles.

You’ll hit a trail. You can’t miss it. It’s the only trail leaving off from the road. It runs over 40 miles. You can’t see all of the trail on this map, and parts of it may be overgrown, but mainly it follows the creek. Take fishing tackle. There’s some nice trout in that water. You’ll run into a homestead abandoned over a hundred years ago. A real interesting place, but bring a facemask. You don’t want to breathe in there. Hantavirus, you know.” I knew. “But the inside looks like the folks moved out only yesterday. We never disturbed anything and just left it that way. You can’t starve. Along with fish, there are cottontails along the way and higher up blue grouse and partridge.” I see myself hiking on the trail for a distance with .22 pistol for edibles; but unlimbering the Takedown when I want a rifle.

I smiled. A lone survival-exploration trek. Maybe for a week. I’d drive up the road to the trail; leave the truck with something important in it — the Emergency Get-Home-Bag (GHB) from Echo-Sigma. I found it on line and it’s going to be a regular feature any time the destination takes a turn for way-out-back. It contains essentials to meet a variety of situations. I note it here as a service to readers who decide to explore places less traveled, also kept handy for any emergency home or away. The self-contained pack is replete with needful things from food and water to camp matches and a compact but excellent first aid kit. Also a multi-tool and waterproof LED flashlight (150 lumen bright). The kit is an insurance policy. Returning to base camp or vehicle, it’s nice to find: tweezers to coax that cactus needle from your hide; sting relief swabs; a little ready food; a repair kit, span of duct tape — the GHB outfit has all this and much, much more.

As this is written, suggested retail for the new Ruger 10/22 Takedown is $389.00. Since the life expectancy of the rifle is, oh, perhaps a millennium, that’s a bargain, especially when it takes $120 today to fill the tank of my F350 Ford one time with diesel fuel, the gunk that is third from the bottom of the cracking plant separator after asphalt and kerosene. Go figure.

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The rear sight on the new Ruger 10/22 Takedown is identical to the sight on
Sam’s original model (sight is described in text).

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The takedown feature of the new 10/22 allows cleaning of the barrel from the breech end.

For more info: www.americanhandgunner.com/product-index and click on the company name.

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