New Ruger 22 Charger Review
Part 5 - Range Tests
March 18, 2015

Ruger 22 Charger Takedown Review

In this part of my Ruger 22 Charger Takedown Review, I show my range test results for this new version of the 22 Charger pistol.  During range testing, there were some key aspects that I wanted to evaluate such as accuracy and reliability.  I also wanted to evaluate repeatability of the sight zero when using the takedown feature. 

Since the 22 Charger doesn't come with any sights or optics, my first order of business was to decide on what scope to use for the accuracy portion of my range tests.  Clearly, the scope needed to be a handgun scope with long eye relief and one with some optical magnification always helps to shoot tight groups.  After considering several good handgun scopes on the market, I finally decided on the Burris 3-12x32mm Handgun Scope for several reasons.  The first was that Burris makes quality optics and it is hard to pass up a "Forever" warranty, the second was that Burris is one of the few manufacturers that offers a parallax adjustment feature in a handgun scope, and the third was that I needed to get a quality and versatile handgun scope in my inventory for other future reviews.  I want to reemphasize that I'm a big fan of parallax adjustment on scopes utilized on rimfire rifles because I find that many times I'm shooting much closer than 50 yards and depending on the size of the target I may be zoomed in at a higher magnifications.  The parallax adjustment feature gives me a crisp clear image and minimizes any potential error that might occur from improper sighting through the scope.

 

Figure 1
Burris 3-12x32mm Handgun Scope 

I installed the Burris 3-12x32mm scope using a set of Burris Medium 1" Signature Zee Rings.  I'm also a fan of these Burris rings because the polymer spherical inserts ensure proper alignment and full contact on the scope tube without the need for lapping.  The photo below shows the Burris scope installed on the new Ruger 22 Charger Takedown Pistol.

Figure 2
Ruger 22 Charger with Burris Handgun Scope

Next I needed to decide on what type of .22LR ammunition to use for range testing.  I wanted to check some various bullet weights, styles and velocities, along with various levels of price/quality.  After sorting through my shelves, I was able to come up with the ammunition shown below and and listed in Table 1.  (FYI... Somehow the CCI Standard Velocity used didn't make the photo.)

Figure 3
Ruger 22 Charger with Burris Handgun Scope

I selected 25 yards for my range test distance.  I struggled with the decision to shoot at 25 yards versus 50 yards and decided on 25 yards because this is a very common distance available at many indoor ranges.  Since Ruger provided a bipod, I shot all my groups using the bipod and I placed a sand (actually bird seed) bag under the pistol grip for stabilization.  The chronograph was placed about 9 feet from the muzzle.  Also, since the pistol had a threaded barrel, I shot one type of ammunition with my C3 Defense suppressor shown in the photo below.  The photo gives you a good idea on the setup.  The temperatures were in the lower 70 degrees F and the winds were mild most of the time during the accuracy testing.

Figure 4
Ruger 22 Charger Review Range Setup

The results shown in the table below summarize my range tests.  The short story is this Ruger 22 Charger Pistol is a real tack driver with the right ammunition.  When I see group averages less 3/8" and with all shots touching, I feel that is very impressive for a pistol.  Except for the Wolf Match Target ammunition, all ammunition below 1200 fps (measured velocity) had a group average of 0.52 or less.  I'm not sure of the issue with the Wolf and I didn't have any additional ammunition to shoot extra groups to see if the issue was consistent, so I wouldn't take my results as the final gospel.

Table 1 - Ammunition and Range Test Results 
Ammunition  Measured Velocity Energy
(ft-lbs)
Group Size (in) 
Manufacturer, Sub-brand
and (Part Number)
Weight
(gr)
Type  Velocity
(ft/sec)
Average
(ft/sec)
Std. Dev.
(ft/sec) 
Max Min Avg 
Aguila Super Extra Subsonic HP 38 HP 1025 938 18 74 .57 .34 .45
Aguila Super Extra Subsonic HP Suppressed 38 HP 1025 942 11 75 .56 .34 .44
CCI Mini-Mag HP (0031) 36 CP-HP 1260 1153 27 106 .68 .35 .51
CCI Mini-Mag HV (0030) 40 CP-RN 1235 1160 18 120 .73 .26 .49
CCI Standard Velocity (0035) 40 LRN 1070 1021 15 116 .46 .22 .34
ELEY Club  40 LRN 1085 1018 11 92 .50 .23 .35
Norma USA Match-22  40 LRN 1100 967 22 83 .65 .39 .52
Remington 22 Golden Bullet (1500) 40 PRN 1255 1092 41 106 .51 .47 .49
Remington 22 Viper (1900) 36 TC 1410 1237 53 122 2.02 .98 1.40
Winchester 333 Rounds (22LR333HP) 36 CP-HP 1280 1205 19 116 .94 .62 .72
Winchester Super Speed HP (X22LRHSS1) 37 HP 1330 1207 28 120 .93 .8 .89
Wolf Match Target  40 RN  1050 932 17 77 1.07 .57 .85
Group sizes for all 48 groups shot = 2.02 .22 .62
CP - Copper-Plated, HP - Hollow Point, LRN - Lead Round Nose, PRN - Plated Round Nose, RN - Round Nose
TC - Truncated Cone

I dropped the Wolf ammunition from the chart below to give you a better idea of the accuracy to velocity sensitivity for the ammunition I used and to highlight that my results show you should shoot standard velocity ammunition out of your 22 Charger for best results.  The Remington 22 Viper at 1237 fps (measured velocity) was the largest group size tested and I wouldn't recommend shooting this ammunition out of this 10" barrel pistol.  The chart also shows a sweat spot at about 1020 fps which was the measured velocity from the CCI Standard Velocity and ELEY Club ammunition.  It just so happens that the Eley was the third (out of 12) type of ammunition used for accuracy testing and the CCI Standard Velocity was the last, so I feel I was fairly consistent throughout shooting my groups.  I also believe that this pistol has even more accuracy potential with a better trigger.

Figure 5
Ruger 22 Charger Group Size Versus Ammo Velocity

Since no review is complete without showing some 5-shot groups, I have shown some of my best groups below.  Keep in mind these groups were shot at a distance of 25 yards which might imply that this pistol is 1 MOA capable with the right ammunition and bench setup.  Also, I didn't try to adjust the scope zero between each type of ammunition, so ignore that the groups may jump around with reference to the target center.

 Figure 6 - ELEY Club (0.23")                        Figure 7 - CCI Mini-Mag 40gr (0.26")
Ruger 22 Charger and ELEY Club Ammo  Ruger 22 Charger and CCI Mini-Mag 40gr Ammo

Figure 8 - Aguila Subsonic (0.34")              Figure 9 - CCI Standard Velocity (0.22")
Ruger 22 Charger and Aguila Subsonic Ammo  Ruger 22 Charger and CCI Standard Velocity Ammo

Last I wanted to check and see if the zero would shift when removing and reinstalling the barrel using the takedown feature.  To do this, I fired 5 shots and removed and reinstalled the barrel between each shot.  Each time after I reinstalled the barrel, I pulled the bolt to the rear and released the bolt so it would "seat" the barrel as recommended by Ruger.  This next photo shows this 5-shot group which measured an amazing 0.25".  I was so amazed at how well the 22 Charger Takedown held it's zero that I had to shot another blank target to confirm it was hitting at my point of aim and I wasn't off the paper.  Sure enough, it held the zero perfectly.

Figure 10 - Variation Due To Barrel Removal/Installation for 5 Different Shots (0.25" 5-shot group)
Ruger 22 Charger Takedown Repeatability

Once I was through with the accuracy portion of range testing, I had to send several hundred rounds down range shooting at various steel targets and had a great time doing so.  From the bench, hitting the targets seemed too easy, so I switched it up and shot freehand while standing.  For the bench shooting, the Burris scope was great, but for freehand shooting I feel some type of 1x power red dot sight would make for a more enjoyable experience and this will probably be my final configuration for this pistol.  Throughout all my range tests, I only had one failure to fire issue.  After the failure to fire, and after waiting the appropriate time, I loaded the same round again and gave it another try.  Like before, two very positive firing pin strikes wouldn't fire that round so I don't feel the issue was related to the pistol.  Overall I shot 800+ rounds and every other shot fired was reliable just like you would expect from a Ruger 10/22 platform firearm.

 

Thoughts

As I mentioned earlier, the Ruger 22 Charger Takedown is a real tack driver and proved to have great accuracy.  Best accuracy was achieved with standard velocity ammunition and the groups got significantly larger with ammunition rated above 1255 fps. 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.  Once again, the Ruger 10/22 platform proved to be very reliable.

For more detailed photos and commentary, make sure you check out the other parts of this review and feel free to leave comments below.  The following links are provided to help you see other parts of this review. 


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