Sure, there will be naysayers given the title alone. Though I’d hesitate to pack “only” a 22LR caliber rifle when a larger caliber may surely be needed at some point for say, bears and meandering hoardes, this is one gun I want in my pack. Here are six reasons why the new, modular, threaded, Ruger Charger Takedown is the ultimate survival pack-gun.
1. Proven reliability of the action
10/22. Not much more needs to be said. It has been one of the most reliable and relied-upon guns of all time. The ease of maintenance and repair is tantamount for survival weapons. Teardown and cleaning any 10/22 is a snap without tools and the Takedown is no exception. There are not many parts floating around in that receiver, and should anything break, parts should be relatively easy to find or even easier to carry in spare. The laminate stock is heavy duty, if not beautiful. Ruger has also just released a polymer option. The Charger Takedown gets my vote here for a number of reasons to be mentioned below, but substitute any of the 10/22 models without fault.
Perhaps the neatest thing about the new Ruger Charger Takedown is the transformer-like ability. This gun is a chameleon. Break it in half, change the trigger group to the new BX, add any bipod or GripPod, mount a light, change the AR pistol grip to your favorite, thread a silencer or muzzle brake, place iron sights, red dots, or most anything you can dream. Heck, who says you can’t get a SBR permit and drop it into a shoulder stock. You can tailor this gun to your own demands.
3. Packable size gun and ammo
Weighing just over three pounds and measuring just 18” long assembled and when broken down, both halves are no more than 10” long, the Ruger Charger Takedown is the ultimate in portability. And like the small-caliber guns, such is the ammo. I’d rather carry 1,000 rounds of .22LR than 1,000 rounds of .223 or 44 Mag. With a gun like the Charger, you can throw 500 rounds, several mags and the gun in your pack, still have room to take a secondary long gun or sidearm with 50-100 rounds and have the best of both worlds.
To those who argue against a rimfire that cannot be reasonably reloaded, I don’t think many people will be reloading on the survival lam with only a backpack and bigger concerns. Others will argue the Ruger Charger is strictly a bench gun—too big to carry and use and not accurate sans bench. I call foul. I’ve taken the Charger out squirrel hunting and leaned against trees or shot from sitting; I’ve shot varmints out the window or even on impromptu shooting sticks. The gun is as capable as you decide to make it.
4. Accuracy and follow up shots
Ruger 10/22 barreled actions are more accurate than most shooters. Taking a solid rest always helps, but any practiced shooter can shoot the Charger Takedown off hand well enough to harvest small game. Though I do not recommend semi-automatic actions in most survival situations given the higher risk of malfunction and increased difficulty of repair, the 10/22 action is an exception to the rule. Taking down some small game? Or last-resort defense? Enter the big plus: rapid follow up shots. The Charger comes standard with a 15-round BX mag. The Ruger BX25 is even sweeter, though standard 10-rounders work just fine as well and are even easier to pack.
5. Threaded, suppressor ready
There’s plenty of debate here. In a survival situation, will you really care how much noise you make? On the other hand, in a survival situation, wouldn’t you prefer to remain the gray man, silent and unnoticed? Whether or not you want it now, it sure is nice to have the option of mounting sound suppressing devices, though all legalities still apply. Even if silencers are not your thing, the threaded barrel of the Ruger Charger allows for muzzle brakes as well.
Though it retails for $409, the new Ruger Charger Takedown can be found at numerous online retailers around $300. While it may be difficult to find 22LR ammo at old-fashioned prices anymore, the ammo can be had. Even if you have to pay $35-40 for a brick of 500 rounds, survivors can have the gun, ammo, and a couple mags for close to $400. How many of us don’t already have .22 ammo and 10/22 mags to boot?
Conclusion: Pack it up
No, I don’t believe a .22 rimfire is adequate protection in every circumstance. I’d like to have a longer-range, higher-powered rifle backup or a backup sidearm for self-defense. However, if you’re looking for something relatively light, packable, of a caliber that allows for large amounts of ammo, is accurate and reliable, the Ruger Charger Takedown is in the mix of any survival conversation. No matter the gun you choose, the best choice is preparation.