Gun Review: Ruger Charger Takedown pistol (VIDEO)

Do you like the idea of a long 22LR pistol built on the venerable Ruger 10/22 action, a threaded barrel, a high capacity magazine, and a bipod all stashed inside a covert suitcase?  Then feast your eyes on the new and improved Ruger Charger Takedown.

Ruger Charger Takedown

Ruger Charger Takedown in .22 LR with a BX-15 magazine. (Photo: Kristen Alberts)

Ruger Charger takedown barrel muzzle thread

The Ruger Charger Takedown sports a 10-inch barrel with 1/2×28 tpi muzzle threads and a thread protector. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

The new line of Ruger Chargers are available in both Standard and Takedown models.  The Standard wears a brown laminate stock with a black A2 pistol grip.  In contrast, the Takedown sports “green mountain laminate” furniture with the same AR-15 pistol grip.

The Charger’s 10-inch barrel is finished with 1/2×28 tpi muzzle threads and includes a thread protector.  A twist rate of 1 in 16-inch takes care of business in the cold hammer forged barrel.  The gun is built of alloy steel and wears a matte black finish.  Both Standard and Takedown models include the upgraded 15-round BX magazine. Both weigh in around three-and-a-quarter pounds, sans bipod.

The Takedown ships in a handled hard case, while the Standard model comes packed in a zippered soft case. My test gun for this review is the Takedown, so that will be our focus from here on out.

Old vs New

picatinny rail Ruger charger takedown

A picatinny rail allows for a number of optics options on the Ruger Charger Takedown. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

The “original” Charger pistol was first introduced in 2007 and became a fast-favorite of plinkers and bench shooters alike.  However, due to limited sales, it was quickly discontinued.  Fast forward to today’s re-engineered—and greatly improved—Charger, and you have a pistol not only for plinking and bench shooting, but for varmint hunters and survivalists as well.

The new duo of 2015 Charger models feature improved ergonomics, with a slimmer, lighter, and a more user-friendly stock configuration.

takedown barrel Ruger Charger

I thought that the takedown feature may have a deleterious effect on accuracy, but this did not seem to be the case with this Ruger Charger. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Other features, like the factory picatinny rail, 15-round BX magazine, extended magazine release, and threaded barrel vault the new ahead of the old at a very comparable price point.  The 2015 Ruger Charger standard model retails for $309, while the Charger Takedown lists at $409.  Real world costs are closer to $270 and $335 respectively.

After mounting up a Bushnell red dot optic, we hit the range.  The trigger on the Charger exceeded my expectations given out-of-the-box 10/22 triggers.  There’s a slight amount of creep, but it breaks clean just under four pounds on a Lyman gauge.  We were able to shoot everything you’d expect from a 10” barreled .22 pistol: knocking over targets from 15-50 yards offhand, tipping bowling pins, quarter-sized five-shot groups at 50 yards and taking squirrel-sized targets with ease from the rest of a tree branch.

Though I was initially skeptical of the takedown barrel and its potentially detrimental effects on accuracy, I was tickled with the performance of the Takedown Charger. I anticipated accuracy not up to par with my 10/22 rifles, but I was wrong. Accuracy does not seem to suffer at all and we could run a mag into the bullseye, pop the barrel off and back on, and repeat without a hitch.

Ruger Charger Takedown bipod

The Ruger Charger Takedown’s design clearly lends itself to bench shooting and even comes with a bipod, though shooters can chose from several aftermarket products. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

The BX-15 magazine is, in a word, great, and fits the gun perfectly when on the bench with a bipod.  For the sake of testing, we also ran standard 10-round rotary magazines and, after swapping out the red dot for an extended eye-relief pistol scope and ditching the bipod, I even took the gun into the woods on a hunt for vermin along with a 25-round BX magazine.  While a 25-rounder is too long for bench-resting, it’s great for carrying afield and eliminates the need for carrying spare ammo.

Like most Ruger 10/22 actions, ammunition types do not make a heck of a lot of difference.  We ran 250 rounds down the tube, straight out of the box with 100 percent reliability.  We ran premium alongside budget rounds, hollow points and round-nose.  The Charger eats ‘em up and spits ‘em back out again.

ruger charger -takedown removable barrel

Ruger has been working on their takedown feature for years now and, after fitting of the barrel, all that is required to seat and remove the barrel is an under-barrel latch. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

What’s hot and what’s not

The takedown feature of the Charger, well-proven on earlier takedown models of the 10/22 rifle, works like a charm.  After an initial fitting of the barrel—which is as simple as loosening the barrel nut, twisting the barrel into alignment, and hand-tightening the nut—all that is required to seat and remove the barrel is use of the under-barrel mounted latch.  With less than a quarter twist of the barrel on and off, you’re locked and ready or packed to carry à la Mr. Bond, black suitcase and all.  Heck, there’s even room to tuck a sound suppressor in there.

ruger charger takedown bipod

I found the bipod that the Ruger Charger Takedown came with from the factory a little flimsy feeling, but it definitely did the job at the range. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Speaking of suppressors, the threaded barrel is a hot boon for the 2015 Chargers.  They are ready to wear your suppressor, flash hider, or threaded muzzle device of your choosing.  The factory picatinny rail makes optics mounting fast and easy, and the Charger works equally well with red dots or traditional scopes.  As I mentioned above, the BX magazine is sweet, too. Modeled after the popular BX-25 mag, the BX-15 fits all 10/22’s, Chargers, Ruger 77/22’s and Ruger American Rimfire rifles chambered in .22 LR.

green laminate stock Ruger Charger takedown

The laminate stock and the takedown features do allow for a large level of customization on these guns. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Not-so-hot is the included bipod.  Made by UTG, it has a slightly flimsier feeling in the hand than I’d prefer.  Mounting the included bipod first requires attaching the included picatinny block to the factory sling swivel.  Seems to me it’d be simpler just to attach a quality bipod directly to the factory front sling swivel.  While I love the thought of including a bipod in the kit, I just wish it was a sturdier, Harris-style unit.  That’s a minor quibble, however, since the UTG bipod held up just fine and performed its expected bench and prone shooting duties.

Ruger Charger Takedown pistol grip

The new Ruger Charger Takedown is customizable on a number of levels including taking just about any AR-15 pistol grip out there. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

A “Transformer” pistol

Aesthetically speaking, I’m not a fan of the contrast between the green laminate stock and the black synthetic pistol grip.  However, that minus quickly becomes a plus, as the A2 pistol grip allows users to easily interchange pretty much any AR-15 pistol grip.

Change the bipod, change mags, change the grip, change the trigger to Ruger’s new BX trigger.  With the combination of muzzle threads, picatinny rail, and the amount of both factory and aftermarket parts available for 10/22 platforms, the Charger Takedown is a true Transformer pistol with no shortage of customizations.

There’s not much that can go wrong with another addition to the time-tested Ruger 10/22 family, and the bloodlines of the new Charger Takedown pistol run true.  It’s smaller, lighter, and handier than a full-sized rifle but is capable of the same accuracy and reliability.  Is the Charger something that you really need?  Perhaps not.  But if you enjoy plinking, small game hunting, or just desire a durable, packable survival firearm, then the Charger leads the way.