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The Ruger 10/22 Takedown: The Perfect Survival Rifle?

The Ruger 10-22 Takedown: The Perfect Survival Rifle?

Image source: Ruger

We recently took a look at a few old-school “survival rifles” but found them lacking in some respects due to either reliability or accuracy. As times change and rifles improve, there is always a new contender for this role and we may have found it in this next rifle: the Ruger 10/22 Takedown.

It may not be as iconic as a Winchester lever-action or the new heir-apparent to the title of America’s rifle (the AR-15), but millions of these rifles are owned by millions of Americans and in many instances they were often a “first rifle” to introduce someone to shooting.

Like a Chevy small-block engine, they can be customized with match triggers, heavy barrels, thumbhole stocks or you can drop one into an after-market stock to make it look like a bull pup rifle or even a Thompson SMG.

However, at its heart this rifle was always compact, lightweight and most importantly, reliable. That’s all the qualities you would want in a survival rifle. Someone high up at Ruger recognized this and a few years ago the company began offering the venerable Ruger 10/22 in a takedown format, specifically for the modern prepper and survivalist.

Original versions of the rifle gave you two choices: stainless or blue. However, as the company listened to their customers, we have seen new versions emerge in various camouflage patterns as well as threaded barrels.

The threaded barrel is a key component for adding a silencer (also known as a sound suppressor), and this improvement made it perfect for what we look for in a survival rifle.

In case you are not familiar with the 10/22 platform, it is a semiautomatic rifle chambered in 22 LR that has similar lines visually with the M1 Carbine. Originally they shipped with an innovative and indestructible 10-round rotary magazine. The takedown versions we have seen come with a longer 25-round magazine.

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The receiver is drilled and tapped for a scope mount and the barrel has a rear sight mounted close to the chamber and a front sight by the muzzle. Ruger includes a scope mount and a carrying case in which you can store the rifle, broken down. The case is made well, aside from the single nylon strap, but we upgraded ours with dedicated pack straps for ease of backpack carry.

One of the first things we do is remove the barrel band. It really serves no purpose beyond looks and coming from a background in precision shooting. We do not like anything touching our barrel that might affect harmonics. Our other gripe is that the rifle has no sling swivels. We still regard the sling as the most important accessory for any rifle, not only as a means for carry, but as an aid in accuracy.

When it comes to accuracy we found the “fly in the ointment.” The scope mounts to the receiver and while the barrel is removed by pushing a button and twisting it out, every time you remove and reattach the barrel you will have to re-zero the rifle. The shift in point of impact may be minimal, but if you are using it to forage for wild game as it was intended, that will almost certainly cause you to miss a small target.

But the iron sights, being contained on the barrel, remain more consistent than any optic we have tried over the past few years.

Unlike the other survival rifles we reviewed, the Ruger 10-22 Takedown is available with a threaded barrel. A good 22 silencer really makes a difference with this rifle over everything else. We have had success running a Gemtech Outback II-D, Underground Tactical Little Puff, and a Q El Camino. However, the 16-inch barrel does add velocity to the rounds unless you use subsonic ammunition.

Some readers may be shaking their heads at the thought of using a 10/22 in a disaster or end-of-the-world scenario. Consider this: In a true disaster that causes people to bug out to the rural areas for an extended period of time, there will probably be no deer population left. Your AR, AK, FAL, SCAR, 30-30 or whatever else you thought would make you king of the mountain may be nearly useless on whatever is left in the form of squirrels, rabbits or chipmunks. Thus, the 10/22 may be the perfect fit.

Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts on the Ruger 10/22 in the section below:

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  1. Agree – a suppressed firearm if ‘Bad Times’ occur will be a major asset. People will need to gaining anyone elses’s attention when firing guns. A take-down .22 makes a whole lot of sense to me.

  2. Disagree. Have had nothing but problems with feeding the rounds. Constant jams. I live so far in the outback it’s not often I get in to a town that has a gunsmith, but I’ve tried everything I can think of and nothing has worked. If you buy one, cycle a full clip of rounds through it before you give them your money.

  3. I’ve got 2 of the Ruger 10/22 Takedowns, and also have a Ruger Charger 10/22 Takedown Pistol. If you follow the Ruger Manual on how to tighten the barrel fit ring the first time you install the barrel to the receiver, the point of impact does not shift on subsequent removal and reinstallation of the barrel. You will not have to re-zero your optic if you break it down. The design actually allows the fittings to compensate for wear, although I’ve never noticed any in mine. These guns are great fun and extremely compact.
    Your point on the reason for choosing the smaller caliber is valid, but for anyone looking for a packable survival firearm in something a little bigger should consider the Ruger SR556 Takedown. The barrel on this one removes, although it is a different configuration, and it also fits in a pack that comes with it. It is .223 Caliber, and Ruger sells a 300 Blackout barrel for it, also.
    One final option is a Kel-Tec Sub 2000. These are available in several pistol calibers. What is neat about these is they actually fold in half and will fit in a regular backpack.

  4. My first .22 was a Ruger 10/22. I bought it about 10 years ago because they were so popular I figured it must be a good gun. While I haven’t had any real problems with reliability the out of the box accuracy has been somewhat lacking. I was minute of squirrel out of the box at about 50 yards but I was expecting better. After reading online I found that that’s about what you can expect from the rifle. Putting a custom trigger in and a better scope and stock on helped tighten the groups but, I don’t think you should have to go through all that customization to make a rifle shoot correctly. My Grandpa’s old Sears single shot .22 with iron sights is more accurate. At this point I’ll probably keep the 10/22 but if you’re considering buying one just know what to expect.

  5. The Ruger 10/22 takedown is a nice gun. Price and function are good. I put a plinker scope on mine and shoot a quarter sized group at 50′. There two problems with this gun out of the box. 1 is the mag release is hard to use and needs an extended release added. 2 the bolt release needs to be modified to make it an auto bolt release. Can be done simply with a dremel. If I didn’t have a takedown I would buy one. It’s a great little gun thats a hell of a lot of fun to shoot.

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