New Ruger 22 Charger Review
Part 1 - Introduction, Specifications and Summary
March 18, 2015

Ruger 22 Charger Takedown Review

In 2007, Ruger introduced their original Ruger 22 Charger.  Soon after, my son and I were at a gun show when we got our first close look at the 22 Charger and we thought it was a great looking pistol and it could be a very fun shooting platform.   We purchased the 22 Charger and in 2010 I finally took the time to do a simplistic review of this pistol.  One of the great and very important features of the original Ruger 22 Charger was that it was a tack driver.  The stout 10" barrel proved to be very accurate and I was a little surprised to see Ruger discontinue the 22 Charger after a few years.  Sure, a bench style pistol is not for everyone, but I thought it's uniqueness might have a chance at placing it long term in the Ruger lineup.  Perhaps my thoughts were right because Ruger recently reintroduced the New Ruger 22 Charger Pistol with some new features and improvements.  Hopefully these changes will be just what the 22 Charger needed to make it appeal towards a larger group of shooters.

 

On December 25, 2014, Ruger released their Press Release introducing their New 22 Charger Pistols (yes plural).  Ruger introduced the two new versions of the 22 Charger Pistol shown below.  Some of the new features are a threaded barrel, A2 style pistol grip, factory installed Picatinny rail and BX-15 (15-round) Magazine.  The main difference between the two new 22 Charger pistols is that one is a takedown version similar to the 10/22 Takedown Rifle and the other is not.  The takedown version is the one shown below with the green laminated stock.  MSRP on these two pistols is $309 for the brown laminate stock Standard version and $409 for the green mountain laminate stock Takedown version.  When doing a quick online search for pricing, I found these two pistols at around $255 for the Standard and $325 for the Takedown versions.

Figure 1 - Standard Version                                   Figure 2 - Takedown Version
 

For this review, I chose to get the Takedown version because I really like the green laminated stock and reviewing this model also gave me a good chance to study and show the Takedown features on this pistol.  This next photo shows my original 22 Charger along with my new 22 Charger Takedown.

Figure 3

I already stated some of the main differences between the original and new models, and the list below is everything different I noticed when studying the two pistols and ignoring that one was a takedown version.

Differences between the Original and New 22 Charger Pistols
Feature Original New
Threaded Barrel No Yes
Barrel & Receiver Finish Matte Ruger says Matte, but seem more like Gloss
Receiver Rail Style Weaver / Tip Off Picatinny
Grip Integral Wooden Replaceable A2
Bipod Shooters Ridge Model 40854 UTG Model TL-BP28S
Magazine 10-Shot Rotary 15-Shot BX-15
Exposed Stainless Bolt Surface Matte-ish Polished with Ruger Name

One of the differences that I didn't fully appreciate until I held and compared both pistols was the feel of the grip. I immediately liked the slim A2 style grip compared to the original. Ruger switching from the large integral wooden grip to a grip that is replaceable/customizable allows the shooter the ability to give this pistol the right feel for their hand. I'm already deciding which one of the many AR style grips on the market that I want to eventually put on this pistol.

Maybe I'm a sucker for interesting firearms, but I believe the looks of Ruger's New 22 Charger Takedown should turn a few heads (in a positive way) at the range.  The style of the pistol along with the beautiful green laminated stock makes this pistol take on a near artistic appearance.  It being built around the legendary 10/22 platform also gives this pistol industry recognized reliability and the potential for many different style magazines ranging from the standard 10-shot rotary magazine up to 50-round drum magazines.

During my reviews I like to compare my results to the manufacturer's claims where possible so the following text in colored italics was taken directly from the Ruger website on 2/14/15 and gives the Key Features and Specifications for the new Ruger 22 Charger Pistols.  The , and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos, commentary or both.  I may also add commentary after these marks as necessary to explain some items if needed.

Key Features

  • Cold hammer-forged barrel results in ultra-precise rifling that provides exceptional accuracy, longevity and
    easy cleaning.
  • A2-style pistol grip can be easily changed for any MSR (Modern Sporting Rifle) grip.
  • Factory installed Picatinny rail provides ample room for numerous types of optics from scopes to red-dot sights.
  • Includes a BX-15® magazine, with 15-round capacity, which is the perfect height when shooting with the included bipod prone or from the bench.
  • Included adjustable bipod offers rock-steady sighting.
  • Threaded barrel features a 1/2"-28 thread pattern that accepts most suppressors, flash hiders and the factory installed thread protector.
  • Takedown model quickly and easily breaks down into two sections for convenient storage and transport.
  • Soft case ( Standard Model 4917) or hard plastic case (Takedown Model 4918) .

Specifications

  • Model Number: 4917 (Standard), 4918 (Takedown)
  • Caliber: 22 LR
  • Material: Alloy Steel
  • Finish: Matte Black
  • Sights: Picatinny Rail Installed
  • Stock: Brown Laminate (Standard), Green Mountain Laminate (Takedown)
  • Barrel Length: 10.00"
  • Overall Length: 19.25" 18.6" parallel to the barrel
  • Grip: A2-Style
  • Thread Pattern: 1/2"-28
  • Weight: 3.13 lbs. (Standard), 3.22 lbs. (Takedown) empty with no magazine, bipod or optic
  • Capacity: 15 with B-15 magazine provided, but also accepts all other capacity Ruger 10/22 magazines
  • Twist: 1:16" RH
  • Grooves: 6
  • MA Approved & Certified: No
  • CA Approved: No
  • Stock Options: Standard and Takedown
  • Suggested Retail: $309 (Standard), $409.00 (Takedown)

This review is broken down into multiple parts with this page providing links to each part along with an overall summary of the specifications, pros and cons, and my final "bottom line" comments.  Make sure you take time to checkout the other parts of the review because they contain many photos and lots of commentary.  Also, there is an extreme amount of detail in those parts which is not covered on this page.

As you read these Pros and Cons below, keep in mind that it is hard to keep my particular preferences from creeping in the equation.  Therefore, it is important that you take the time to look at the other parts of this review so you can decide yourself on items which may be more of a personal preference.

Pros:

  • A very unique and attractive pistol that will draw attention at the range.
  • Built on the proven 10/22 platform ensures reliability and many different choices of magazines.
  • Threaded barrel gives the option for various types of muzzle devices (suppressors, flash hiders, breaks, etc.) and comes with a thread protector if you don't want to install a device.
  • The contour of the stock allows some beaver tail styled grips to work as a replacement option for the A2 grip that comes with the pistol.  There was some variation in fit so make sure you checkout Part 3 starting at Figure 23.
  • Like most 10/22 platforms, disassembly was simple and easy.
  • Takedown model comes with a hard case that allows use with various compact optics.
  • The Ruger 22 Charger Takedown is a real tack driver and proved to have great accuracy.  Best accuracy was achieved with standard velocity ammunition.  Given the correct ammunition, optics and bench setup, this pistol proved its 1 MOA capability.
  • The pistol's ability to hold zero using the takedown feature proved to be true with no perceived shift in zero when removing and reinstalling the barrel.
  • As always, the Ruger 10/22 platform proved to be very reliable.

Pro/Con/Comment (you decide)?:

  • I checked torque on the Picatinny rail screws and it was less than 10 in-lbs on each.   I removed the screws and reinstalled them using purple (low strength) Loctite on the screws and torqued them all to 18 in-lbs.  Be extremely careful when torqueing these screws because they are threaded into an aluminum receiver and over torqueing could result in stripped threads in the receiver.  You should always check your mount screws on any firearm before you mount your optics.
  • Different aftermarket beavertail style pistol grips will have a slightly different fit.  My CAA grip fit great, the Hogue grip fit good, and the Magpul MOE did not blend well with the stock (see Part 3, Figures 23, 24 & 25).
  • The fit of the bipod adapter plate to the forend was not the best, but it was still very secure (see Part 3, Figure 50).
  • Using the bipod, I was still able to achieve very positive range test results (see Part 5).
  • By removing the block on the bottom of the barrel and realigning the block during reinstallation, I was able to achieve a better fit of the forend on the barrel.
  • In general, I would check the tightness on all of the screws to ensure they will not work loose.
  • Lubricating the inside of the receiver allowed the bolt to have a smoother action when hand cycling.
  • In Ruger's Instruction Manual, they state very clearly the "Unauthorized installation of the 22 Charger pistol's barrel assembly onto a 10/22 Takedown rifle's receiver is a felony under the NFA..."  Since I don't have a Takedown rifle, I cannot confirm that you can install the Takedown rifle barrel on a 22 Charger pistol receiver (this would be a LBP - Long Barrel Pistol, not SBR - Short Barrel Rifle).  Since Ruger's manual covers this possibility and since many of the parts that make up the takedown features are the same, my guess is you could do it.  Is it worth making a SBR without properly applying for the right to build an SBR? No!  You don't want to risk your right to own firearms and potentially spend 10 years in Federal prison.

Cons:

  • One thing I noticed on this pistol was that the end of the stock bolt was actually pressing up against the bottom of the takedown spacer when the stock bolt was tight.  This was preventing the takedown adjustment knob from being rotated.  I removed the stock bolt and filed about 1 thread off the end of the bolt and this solved the problem.  When you are inspecting your pistol prior to purchase, make sure you can easily rotate the adjusting knob with the barrel removed.  If not, then ask to see another pistol or be prepared to shorten the bolt yourself which is a very easy task.
  • I found that the forend bolt was also slightly long and I shortened it by one thread also.  Again, shortening this bolt is a simple task with a file or grinder.

 

Bottom Line:

The new Ruger 22 Charger proved to be accurate and reliable and the takedown feature proved to hold zero.  I feel the design features such as A2 pistol grip, Picatinny rail, threaded barrel and 15-round magazine are features that will be attractive to many consumers.  If the takedown feature is not something that interests you or if you need to save some money, Ruger's non-takedown version would probably be a better choice for you.  Both versions of the Ruger 22 Charger are very attractive and should give you many years of shooting pleasure.  I did have an issue with two screws being slightly long which was easy to fix and most likely Ruger is already looking into this on their future pistols.  If you are in the market for this style of pistol or if you are just wanting something outside the norm, I highly recommend taking a close look at the new Ruger 22 Chargers when deciding on what to buy.


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