April 25, 2016
By David Fortier
In decades gone by, they used to say there were only two types of riflemen: those who owned Marlin Model 60s and those who fancied Ruger's 10/22. Both of these designs have proven hugely popular, with more than 11 million Model 60s and 5 million 10/22s being sold. Many a young shooter has cut his teeth on one or the other.
My first semi-automatic rifle was a Marlin Model 60 and I own a few today, including a Papoose. So I am an unabashed Model 60 fan. That said, there is no doubt which rifle series has greater aftermarket support. When it comes to accessories, Ruger's 10/22 rules the roost.
With that in mind I recently purchased my first Ruger 10/22, and I made it one of the newer Ruger 10/22 Takedown models. First introduced in 1964, the 10/22 was designed with adult shooters in mind. This aided its popularity and success, leading to it being offered in a variety of models.
However it wasn't until 2012 that the Ruger 10/22 Takedown model was introduced. As its name suggests, this model differs from the original by incorporating an easily removed barrel assembly.
How easily removed? Just push and twist, and the barrel assembly pops right off. Doing so dramatically reduces the overall length for easy storage. This in turn has led to the Ruger 10/22 Takedown becoming popular with many who appreciate its ability to be split in half and stored neatly away until needed.
Take-down rifles and shotguns have always had a certain mystique and appeal to them. Being able to neatly split a firearm in half for storing or transporting just seems to be a useful feature. Having the ability to be taken-down quickly and easily with no tools required undoubtedly added to the popularity of certain famous designs, such as Winchester's Model 1897 and 1912 pump-action shotguns. Steven's Model 520 shotgun is another example, although not as well known.
Designing and manufacturing a takedown rifle like the Ruger 10/22 Takedown is quite a bit more difficult. It's one thing to pop a shotgun apart and have it pattern consistently at 40 yards and another to pop a barrel out of a rifle and have a repeatable point of impact at 300 yards. For certain scenarios though, such a rifle could be very handy to have.
Hollywood has long had a love affair with the concept of a rifle like the Ruger 10/22 Takdown which could be easily broken down into major components, allowing it to be stored in a compact case. Then, when required the case could be opened and the rifle easily reassembled in a matter of seconds. Perhaps the iconic image of this is the Japanese Arisaka Type 99 Type 2 Paratrooper's rifle featured in the 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate.
Even though incorrectly referred to as a "two-piece Soviet Army sniper rifle," the Arisaka added a bit of edge to this already cutting film. Unfortunately such roles typically portrayed takedown rifles as being intended only for nefarious purposes on the big screen.
Takedown rifles like the Ruger 10/22 Takedown can be very useful for other more mundane tasks. A takedown rifle is simply a piece that disassembles to allow it to be stored in less space. If space is limited in an SUV, ATV or backpack crowded with other gear, then such a piece might be a lifesaver.
As they require less space than a traditional rifle, takedown rifles have long been popular as survival guns neatly stored away until required. Perhaps the best-known of these is the 1950s vintage AR-7 designed by Eugene Stoner. A compact semi-automatic .22 Long Rifle, it comes apart easily, allowing it to be stowed in the hollow buttstock.
A bit more traditional is Marlin's Model 70PSS Papoose .22 LR. This features Marlin's classic Model 60 semi-automatic action with an easily removed barrel. Feeding from a detachable box magazine, the Model 70PSS Papoose has a cult following among shooters with a need for such a firearm.
Why my interest in something chambered in .22 Long Rifle with this caliber still so hard to find? Good question. The diminutive .22 Long Rifle is a fantastic hold-over from the 19th Century. It's small, light, fairly quiet, capable of startling accuracy and very effective if properly placed.
It's a wise choice to have some form of .22 LR in your tool box. Hunting rifles in this caliber tend to be light, easy to carry and economical. Plus they excel at marksmanship training, recreational shooting and harvesting small game.
While not ideal, the .22 Long Rifle is also fully capable of dispatching larger game if wielded with skill and care. The amount of deer poached with the lowly rimfire would shock many. Even one as unskilled as Christopher McCandless was able to harvest a moose with a Remington .22 Long Rifle during his ill-fated Thoreauvian period of solitary contemplation in Alaska. The little rimfire has long been the go-to cartridge for putting meat on the table.
In years past .22 Long Rifle ammunition was widely available in grades running from economical bulk pack all the way up to loads suitable for international competition. Better still, much of it was priced economically. All of that changed with the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the following panic buying of firearms and ammunition.
The one caliber many shooters and hunters never dreamed would disappear was .22 Long Rifle. But it did. After the shelves were stripped bare, and remained that way, prices went through the roof. 550-round bulk packs which once sold for $20 suddenly sold for $100, if you could find them.
Even a few years years afterward, prices remain inflated to the point many shooters have simply stopped shooting their rimfires. This is certainly something to be aware of if you're in the market for a .22.
Perhaps this isn't your first rodeo, though, and you were socking .22 Long Rifle away long before Sandy Hook, just in case. I know many of you were.
Or perhaps you are willing to pay the fiddler while expecting prices to eventually return to normal. If such is the case a takedown rifle in .22 Long Rifle could be a valuable tool. So let's take a look at the Ruger 10/22 Takedown I purchased, which has a black synthetic stock and a 16.6 inch barrel.
The barrel features a threaded muzzle and comes fitted with a flash suppressor. While this might seem a bit too edgy and out of place, it does make sense. It can be easily removed and a lawfully owned sound suppressor can be threaded on in its place. Sound suppressors are exploding in popularity. This, in turn, has led to increased demand for firearms that can mount them straight out of the box. Much to their credit, Ruger has responded by offering what many shooters are asking for.
At the muzzle of the Ruger 10/22 Takedown is a gold bead front sight. Mounted to the barrel is a simple U-notch rear sight. Size-wise it's 36.7 inches long and weighs in at just 4.6 pounds. So even assembled, it's fairly compact and is easy to carry. My rifle is marked '50 Years 1964â€“2014' on the receiver and had a specially marked bolt.
The controls on the Ruger 10/22 Takedown are pretty straightforward. It has a basic but easy to operate crossbolt safety in front of the trigger guard. A quick push and you can go from Safe to Fire, if you're right-handed. The design also incorporates an ambidextrous paddle-style magazine release. The bolt handle is mounted on the right side and the design also features a bolt release.
I will say the Ruger 10/22 Takedown model looks a bit strange due to the noticeable gap between the stock and the fore-end. You can't quite throw a cat through it, but it does detract from the rifle's aesthetics. That said, it does feel good in the hands and shoulders nicely. Handling wise it, well, feels like a traditional 10/22. This is in stark contrast to Marlin's Papoose, which lacks a fore-end.
Now, what makes the Ruger 10/22 Takedown stand out from the 10/22 crowd is its ability to split into two halves. To accomplish this make sure the rifle is empty. Next slightly retract the bolt and push forward on the barrel release lever located underneath the fore-end while twisting the barrel assembly clockwise.
Once it's unlocked, the barrel can be pulled straight out of the receiver. After you've done it once, you'll have no problem doing it again. The procedure is very simple, straightforward and quick to accomplish.
Better still, reinstalling the barrel takes even less time. You simply insert it into the action and twist until it locks.
The Ruger 10/22 Takedown comes with a relatively small pack for storing and discreetly transporting the rifle. With the rifle strapped into place, it retains enough room for additional items and important gear to be carried inside it. Also thoughtfully included with the rifle is a scope rail. This bolts to the top of the receiver. Not only does it install easily but it facilitates the use of standard Weaver or 1913 rings. The downside to using the scope base is that it blocks access to the iron sights.
To see how the Ruger 10/22 Takedown performed, I first mounted an older Nikon 1.5-6X scope. Next I rummaged about in my gun room and came up with four .22 Long Rifle loads for testing. These consisted of Wolf Performance Ammunition's 40-grain Match Gold target load, Remington's 36-grain RNL Golden Bullet bulk pack, Federal's 36-grain HP Value Pack and Aguila's SE Subsonic 40-grain load. Four five-shot groups were fired from a rest with each load at 25 yards.
Accuracy was quite acceptable for a small game gun and plinker. As I expected, Wolf's Match Gold load provided the tightest groups. The best five-shot group measured .5 inches, while the average for four five-shot groups was .7" atÂ 1025 fps. Remington's 36-grain RNL Golden Bullet load also shot very well, posting a best of .7" and averaging .9 inches at 1211 fps. I found the Ruger 10/22 Takedown very comfortable to shoot and the stock trigger was quite acceptable for its intended task. Cartridges loaded easily into the Ruger 10/22 Takedown's squat rotary magazines. Magazine's locked securely in place with an assuring click and cartridges fed smoothly.
I will say though, that I did note the point of impact shifted slightly if pressure was placed on the fore-end. While small, the shift was noticeable. Keep in mind though, I was using an optic mounted to the receiver. You shouldn't see any shift in impact if using the barrel mounted iron sights.
I fired a five-shot group using Wolf's Match Gold load while removing and reinstalling the barrel between shots. This opened things up to 1.3 inches.
The Ruger 10/22 Takedown chugged along like a champ through testing. Reliability was 100 percent with every load except Aguila's Super SE Extra 40-grain subsonic load. This load didn't quite have enough oomph to provide reliable operation. The other three loads ran flawlessly though and I put more than 1,000 rounds through the Ruger 10/22 Takedown without issue.
Since its introduction, the Ruger 10/22 Takedown has become very popular. A number of my friends swear by them. Depending upon what you will use it for, the takedown feature can prove very handy and useful. The mechanism is well thought out and simple to operate.
Handy, reliable, fun to shoot and acceptably accurate it's easy to see why the Ruger 10/22 Takedown has become so popular. Suggested retail of this model is $459.