Takedown firearms, which can be disassembled for compact transport, are booming in popularity. Why? Who wouldn’t want long gun-scale effectiveness in a package that fits discreetly into a day pack or business case, or even under the truck seat? For hunting, varmint control and protection, these budget-friendly shooters are a great option.
Though takedown guns are available in high-power models, the focus for this article is lightweight models, usually in rimfire chambering with a couple of shot shell models thrown in. All are easy on the wallet. Within those parameters, here are five favorites
1. Ruger 10/22 Takedown
Sturm, Ruger, & Co. has a wise approach to business. Rather than peddle new guns that no one’s asked for year after year, they crank out new versions of proven ones. It’s a winning strategy that benefits the consumer. The internals of the 10/22, a 10-round semi-auto in 22 LR, are the same as ever. The takedown model comes with a handsome pack, a choice of finishes including but not limited to camo, TALO brights and tactical. Some even have a threaded barrel covered by a handsome flash hider. This little rifle delivers camp and prep-friendly convenience. Assembled, lengths vary by package, in the area of 35 inches. Weight is less than five pounds, unadorned by optics. New prices range from $250 to $550, depending on features.
2. Savage Model 42 Takedown
The Model 42, a longtime hit among small-game hunters, has been updated into a series of takedown models — regular and compact/youth. In any version, its over-and-under barrels offer the choice of firing 22LR or 22 Winchester Magnum on top, and .410 on the bottom. Its single action-only operation requires cocking the hammer, an element of safety for those who like to carry “hot,” as well as lending a traditional look to the profile. Another lever allows the user to choose which barrel fires.
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A black synthetic stock features austere environment-friendly sculpting for easier grip and carry. The 42 Takedown is available in regular and compact models. Overall length of the compact version is 34.75 inches. An Uncle Mike’s carry pack is included. Although MSRP is $500, the Model 42 can be found new starting in the mid-$200s.
3. Chiappa Double Badger Takedown
With shoes and mopeds, consumers count on Italian design to be unique, with great quality. The same goes for guns. The first foreign entry on this list is Chiappa’s Double Badger. Unlike others featured here, it folds in half, rather than completely separating receiver from barrel. It is therefore a little harder to pack, as the V-shaped folded firearm takes up more space than the others. However, traditionalists will appreciate the classic look and feel of its lever-action operation and checkered walnut stock. Subtle but important modern touches include fiber optic sights. Like the Savage 42, it comes with 22LR/WMR and .410 or 20-gauge chambering. Chiappa sells a range of chokes to customize the shot pattern, too. A dedicated backpack is sold separately, which is a bit of a disappointment considering most others include the pack. Retail pricing for the Double Badger typically hovers in the mid-$300s, although feature-dependent pricing can push actuals $100 higher or lower.
4. Ruger 22 Charger Takedown
The second Ruger entry on this list is a short so-called pistol (okay, legally called a pistol) chambered in 22LR. The Charger has modern features like a Picatinny rail for mounting your favorite optic, and can easily be fitted with a bipod for stability, which is a helpful feature on this stock-less platform. It comes with colorful wood or synthetic furniture. The Charger’s 10-inch barrel breaks away from the lightweight receiver that features a pistol grip, making it a very compact package. Fully assembled, it’s only 19.25 inches long. Weighing in at 3.5 pounds, it’s also the lightest choice here, sans optic, which is necessary since it comes without front or rear iron sights. The Charger does have a threaded barrel, making it ideal for urban varmint sniping where legal. Unlike the 10/22, the standard magazine of this semi-auto holds 15 rounds. Ruger sells it with a hard plastic case. Although some accoutrements and effort are required to fire accurately, this is by far the most packable choice here. Some will take a shine to its non-traditional profile and will be happy to pick up a Charger/bipod set for under $400.
5. Browning SA-22
Stepping well into the zone of legacy, Browning offers several grades of its long-standing takedown model. For purposes of this article, we’ll discuss the plain and most practical Grade 1 SA (semi-auto) 22. The company makes a range of finishes, as well as centerfire models on the takedown platform. With a classic black walnut stock and 19-inch blued barrel, the SA-22 has a tubular, 10-round, bottom-loading magazine and crossbolt safety. It comes drilled and tapped for scope installation, or use the brass bead front sight and rear blade. At 37 inches with the 19 3/8-inch barrel attached, it’s the longest rifle on this list, but misses being the heaviest at just 5 pounds, 3 ounces. No bag is included. Expect to pay close to $500 for this classic. Also, expect it to hold its value for resale better than others presented here.
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