Are you currently looking for the best charging handles for a Ruger 10/22 carbine? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
Best Budget Pick: Ruger Factory Charging Handle Replacement
The Ruger Factory Charging Handle Replacement is a solid choice for a 10/22 charging handle. Even though it visually looks nearly identical to the existing charging handle you have on your stock 10/22, this handle is more durable and more smooth in its operation. You’ll notice a big difference right away when you use the rifle. And as an added bonus, it’s affordable for a charging handle replacement.
Best Value Pick: Tandemkross Spartan Skeletonized Ruger 10/22 Charging Handle
The Tandemkross Spartan Skeletonized Ruger 10/22 Charging Handle is a solid pick for a replacement charging handle because of its long and curved design that makes it very easy to get a grip and charge the weapon. The skeletonized design also helps to reduce weight so that its lighter than the standard 10/22 charging handle. Beyond the Ruger 10/22 itself, it can also be installed on the Thompson/Center T/CR22 rifle.
Best Overall Pick: Volquartsen Ruger 10/22 Extended Bolt Handle
The Volquartsen Ruger 10/22 Extended Bolt Handle is our pick for a Ruger 10/22 charging handle because of the fact that it is easily one of the most durable charging handles on the market today. It’s built out of high quality carbon with a proprietary polished finish, along with a cryogenically treated rod to ensure stability when charging the weapon. Measuring a quarter of an inch longer than the standard factory charging handle, it will be very easy to grasp onto in order to operate.
The charging handle is the part of the 10/22 that you use to clear jams, to clear the action, or to manually chamber a new round. It’s an integral part of the firearm, and something you will need to buy if you are building a new Ruger 10/22 from the ground up. Alternatively, if you plan on upgrading your existing 10/22, a new charging handle can make for a solid improvement.
In this guide, we will dive into the merits of the Ruger 10/22 as a platform, how to install a new charging handle in your 10/22 carbine, the top qualities to look for in a 10/22 charging handle, and then our choices for the top three best Ruger 10/22 charging handles for 2020.
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Why Go With The Ruger 10/22?
First let’s answer this question: why should you even go with the Ruger 10/22 in the first place? The 10/22, needless to say, is one of the most popular firearms with civilians in the United States today. It was envisioned upon its release in the early 1960s as an affordable and yet very rugged .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle in an age where most .22 rifles were rather cheaply made.
It’s largely for this reason that the 10/22 has been so successful, in addition to the fact that it is one of the most customizable firearms in existence. In fact, only the Glock pistol, 1911 pistol, and the AR-15 have more customization options than the 10/22.
The 10/22 is a good rifle to have in your arsenal because of the fact that it fulfills numerous roles. In general, a .22 LR rifle can be used for casual target shooting, plinking, small game hunting, homestead use, pest control, and even tactical use if you needed it to. The 10/22 is designed to be more durable and reliable than most other .22 rifles, which makes it an appealing option in this category.
.22 ammunition is incredibly small and lightweight, meaning that you can store lots of ammunition in a very small amount of space. Furthermore, it creates drastically less noise than most centerfire rifle rounds do, so you are less likely to disturb your neighbors if you decide to shoot on your property (assuming that you live in a more rural area, of course).
In many regards, the 10/22 is the ultimate survival rifle. If you had to flee out into the woods in an SHTF situation, you would have a rifle that you could use to hunt small game to help stay alive, or you could use it to engage hostile forces with as a tactical weapon. Extended 15, 25, and 35 round magazines are routinely available for the 10/22, which offers you a significant amount of firepower.
As we have already noted, the 10/22 is one of the most customizable firearms on the planet. In fact, it’s even possible to build an entirely new 10/22 from scratch based on parts that you can buy online.
But regardless of whether you want to modify your existing stock 10/22 or build a new one from the ground up, one of the most critical upgrades that you can make is swapping out the factory stock charging handle for a new charging handle that is easier to grasp onto. This will make chambering a new round or clearing a jam much easier and faster.
Next, we’ll discuss how to install a new charging handle on your 10/22, the top qualities to look for in a charging handle, and then our picks for the best charging handles you can get today.
How To Install A Charging Handle Into A Ruger 10/22
Replacing your charging handle on the Ruger 10/22 should be an overall simple and straightforward process, and does not requires the aid of tools or a gunsmith in order to do.
Just follow these steps:
- Remove the magazine from your 10/22
- Pull the charging handle you have on the rifle to the rear to confirm it is empty
- Ensure there is no ammunition in the immediate area
- Push out the retaining pins to remove the Ruger 10/22 trigger housing from the rifle (you’ll need to get the appropriate punch for this)
- Locate the pin in the back of the 10/22 receiver, and punch it out
- Turn the receiver upside down
- Push the bolt and recoil rod assembly out from the receiver
- Take this opportunity to remove any dirt, grime, or debris from the receiver (spray it with gun oil and then wipe down thoroughly with a cleaning rag)
- Now drop in the new bolt handle and recoil rod assembly into the receiver
- Make sure that the back of the recoil rod is held in place in the notch in the rear of the receiver
- Pull the bolt handle back so that the bolt can drop into the notches along the handle
- Reinstall the trigger housing assembly and push the pin back into the rear of the receiver
- Secure the trigger housing assembly with the two retaining pins
- Mount the barreled receiver to the stock if they had been separated prior
And that’s it! Overall replacing the charging handle in your 10/22 is a very simple process. If you are still confused by the process because of your unfamiliarity with the intricacies of the 10/22 platform, you can check out tutorial videos online for a visual demonstration.
Buyer’s Guide For The Best Ruger 10/22 Charging Handles
These are the most important factors to consider when looking for a new charging handle for your 10/22 rifle:
Contrary to what some users may think, you should not have to go to a gunsmith or use specialized tools in order to install your new charging handle. A drop-in design means that the old charging handle can be removed and the new one installed by you easily. Just follow the step-by-step process for replacing the charging handles like we have described above.
The whole reason you are replacing your charging handle in the first place is because you do not particularly find your existing charging handle to be ergonomic, right? That’s why you need to make sure that your new charging handle represents a major upgrade in this department.
The stock charging handle for a 10/22 works (after all, it’s been used since the early 1960s) but it’s also very basic. Most aftermarket charging handles are meant to be more ergonomic because of their longer length and also because of their grip. For instance, some charging handles will have a longer curved shape to them so they are easier to grasp onto, whether it be to chamber a new round or to clear a jam.
Of course, there are many different kinds of shapes available, which you will soon see when you conduct further research. Some charging handles have a curved design, others have a latched design, also have more of a hook shape, and so on.
Again, the charging handle on a 10/22 standard from the factory works, but it could be better. Many third party charging handles are designed to function more smoothly, meaning that less force should be required in order to draw the charging handle to the rear. It also means that you should encounter less physical resistance when drawing the charging handle back to the rear as well.
Finally, and this won’t apply to you if you’re a right handed shooter, but if you’re left handed you would most likely want to have an ambidextrous charging handle. An ambidextrous charging handle has a separate handle on the left side of the 10/22, even though the action of the rifle is on the right side.
The Best Ruger 10/22 Charging Handles For 2020
Now that we’ve covered why you need to upgrade the charging handle for your Ruger 10/22, here are our individual choices for the top three best Ruger 10/22 charging handles for 2020:
Ruger Factory Charging Handle Replacement
If you simply want a Ruger factory made charging handle replacement for your 10/22, then this the option that you need. Take note that this is not the same charging handle that come standard on the 10/22 that you bought off the dealer shelf. Even though this charging handle is built by the Ruger factory as well, it’s meant to be both more durable and more smooth than the standard charging handle that comes on your carbine.
Granted, buying this charging handle would not be as exciting as purchasing a handle from a third party. Visually, this charging handle looks very similar to the existing handle that is likely already on your 10/22, so it’s not going to seem very special in terms of its appearance.
But in terms of how it operates, you are going to notice a major difference with this charging handle. Any 10/22 carbine or rifle made before 2005 in particular would benefit highly from this charging handle as it will provide a smoother operation for chambering rounds from the magazine into the action or clearing jams.
All in all, if you wished your existing stock charging handle on your 10/22 could have a smoother operation, you would be hard pressed to avoid replacing it with this Ruger Factory Charging Handle Replacement. Even though this charging handle may look nearly identical to the existing stock handle, it is more durable and a noticeably smoother operation, which you will notice when you load your carbine or clear jams.
- As it’s a factory handle, it is fully compatible with other factory components
- An overall solid value
- More smooth and durable from the standard factory charging handle
- Nothing special beyond what you already get from the factory
Tandemkross Spartan Skeletonized Ruger 10/22 Charging Handle
The Tandemkross Spartan Skeletonized Ruger 10/22 Charging Handle, on the other hand, provides a drastically different look than the Ruger factory replacement handle. That’s because this handle has a much longer and curved shape, which makes it much easier for you to get a grip over it to chamber a new round or clear a jam.
The skeletonized design of this charging handle also helps to reduce weight drastically as well, and overall it should be lighter than the standard charging handle that is present on your existing 10/22. Granted, you’re not going to notice a drastic weight different overall when you hold your 10/22, but it’s still worth noting.
This charging handle is very easy to install and requires no special tools or gunsmithing services. Overall, it may be too long for some shooter’s tastes, but the trade off is that it will be very easy to get a full grip over the handle when operating your carbine.
According to Tandemkross, this charging handle is compatible with the following Ruger 10/22 models:
- Ruger 10/22
- Ruger 10/22 Takedown
- Ruger 10/22 Takedown Lite
- Ruger 10/22 Charger pistol
- Ruger 10/22 Charger Takedown pistol
- Ruger 10/22 Carbine
- Ruger 10/22 Target Lite
- Thompson/Center T/CR22 rifle (not an official 10/22 but still compatible)
All in all, the Tandemkross Spartan Skeletonized Ruger 10/22 Charging Handle is an excellent choice to install on your 10/22. It’s durable, lightweight, and curved to ensure you get a good grip. It also requires no special tools to install thanks to its drop-in design.
- Compatible with most standard 10/22 models
- Skeleton design reduces weight
- Long and curved design ensure that you can get a full grip when chambering a round
- Available in both black and chrome colors
- Also fits the Thompson/Center T/CR22 rifle
- Requires no tools or gunsmithing to install
- Charging handle may be too long for some user’s tastes
Volquartsen Ruger 10/22 Extended Bolt Handle
The Volquartsen Ruger 10/22 Extended Bolt Handle is one of the most durable 10/22 charging handles on the market today. It’s built out of very durable carbon steel with a hardened polished finish. This finish is designed to reduce friction and fouling.
Meanwhile, the recoil rod spring of this charging handle is also built out of carbon steel and has been cryogenically treated to extend its service life and improve stability when charging the weapon.
Measuring a quarter of an inch longer than the stock factory 10/22 charging handle, the Volquartsen will be very easy to grasp onto in order to charge the weapon or clear a jam. The drop-in design means that it does not require a gunsmith or specialized tools in order to install.
The Volquartsen may be expensive for a charging handle overall, but you also get what you pay for. It’s very durable, rust and corrosion resistant, stable, and does not require a gunsmith or specialized tools thanks to its drop-in design. Measuring a quarter of an inch longer than the factory 10/22 charging handle, you should have no problems with getting a good grip on the Volquartsen to load a new round or clear a bad malfunction.
- Built out of durable carbon steel
- Coated with a nice silver finish that reduces friction
- Recoil rod spring has been cryogenically treated
- Easy to grasp thanks to the extended design
- Has a hardened polished finish
- Drop-in design does not require specialized tools or a gunsmith
- Very expensive for a 10/22 charging handle
And that concludes our list of the top three best charging handles for a Ruger 10/22 in 2020.
Any one of these charging handles will be an excellent choice for your 10/22 and help make clearing jams or chambering new rounds a breeze. Alternatively, you can follow our buyer’s guide section that we described before to help you find a suitable 10/22 charging handle as well.