Ruger has just introduced its 10/22 Takedown, which breaks down into two sections that fit perfectly in a supplied ballistic nylon backpack-style case. With the 10/22 in production now for decades, it was a natural choice to not only improve this design but also add yet another variation to the line.
I contacted Ruger to see exactly what went into the design and final production of this 10/22 Takedown. Ruger's Mark Gurney told me Todd Wilkinson, the company's chief engineer for rifles, was the driving force behind this project. Mark went on to tell me that the primary concern with any takedown rifle was the sighting system and its ability to return to zero time after time. He said he and Wilkinson were confident that most any system could be made to return to zero when using barrel-mounted iron sights, much like on the present Model 10/22, but they were unsure about how a receiver-mounted sight system would work.
Wilkinson designed a new lockup system that is "rock solid," according to Gurney, and came up with an adjustment knob (more on this in a second) that's engineered for both engineering tolerances and eventual wear.
How does it work? After unpacking the receiver and barrel components, lock the bolt open, remove the magazine and check for live ammunition. Loosen the aforementioned adjustment knob by turning it to the right (clockwise as viewed from the bolt face) as far as possible.
Insert the barrel assembly by first turning it to the right to about 45 degrees with a moderate amount of inward pressure after insertion. Now rotate it to the left (clockwise) until it locks in place. Finally, tighten the adjustment knob by turning it counterclockwise as far as possible with finger pressure.
To remove the barrel, first lock the bolt back and ensure the gun is unloaded. Then push the locking lever forward (under the fore-end) to unlock the barrel while turning it in a counterclockwise direction, pulling it out and away from the receiver.
Other than the takedown feature, the new 10/22 remains the same in other respects. The cross-bolt safety is located forward of the trigger guard and is set up for right-handed shooters. The bolt lock is located under the gun forward of the safety. Trigger pull broke at six pounds with a bit of slack before the sear let go.
The synthetic stock features nicely executed checkering patterns on the fore-end and pistol grip. It has a curved, checkered buttplate that does not slip on your shoulder. However, it lacks sling swivel studs, which would be a help for carrying in the field.
The furnished 10-round rotary magazine fits neatly into a recess forward of the trigger assembly and drops by pusing forward on the magazine release.
For my tests, I used the supplied Ruger base and attached a Leupold Air Rifle 3-9x33 scope that features objective lens parallax adjustment down to 15 yards, which is a great aid for small game hunting and plinking with a rimfire.
Naturally, the proof of any takedown rifle is its ability to shoot consistent groups no matter how many times the barrel is taken off and replaced. After firing the standard accuracy protocol, I shot 10 rounds with CCI Mini Mags — removing and replacing the barrel after each shot. I followed Gurney's advice and dry-cycled the bolt a couple times after assembly, a procedure that helps seat the barrel. The group was impressive, with 10 shots going into a group that measured 0.75 inch at 50 yards.
Then I took the Remington Standard Target load and this time fired five shots with the barrel removed after each shot. The result was a half-inch group at 50 yards, and I found that the gun actually shot better the more I attached and detached the barrel, which speaks well for the lockup system.
Ruger engineers have certainly done their homework in coming up with a viable takedown rifle that will be dependable in the field in every way. With a price point under $400 and accuracy to boot, I can't see any reason not to add this gun to your small game hunting battery or as a camp/truck or survival gun.