Ruger 22 Charger

[Review] Ruger 22 Charger: More Handy Than A 10/22?

For those of you out there who own a Ruger 10/22 rifle – all six million of you – Ruger has something relatively new for you. It’s called the Charger. And, if you’re not one of those owners, the Charger is for you, too. I’m sure a lot of you already know about this little gem and may even own one. But, if you’ve not seen one before, allow me to introduce you to one of the big sellers from Ruger. It is, basically, a short-barreled 10/22 minus the buttstock plus a bipod. And it is fun to shoot.

About The 10/22

The popular little carbine has been in constant production since 1964. I mentioned six million above – that’s how many the company has sold. That’s a whole lotta rifles. And my personal note – I’ve owned two of ‘em. I have one now that I put a scope and a home-made (home-sprayed?) camo paint job on. Not too bad, actually. The 10/22 was styled to put one in mind of the .30 caliber M1 carbine. Another plus: its patented 10-round rotary magazine makes loading easy. And, if 10 is not enough, there are other magazines out there that will hold a lot more. The gun is so popular with aftermarket companies that you could conceivably build one from the ground up using only third-party parts. I’m not sure of the legality of such a build, but it could be done.

Variety Is The Spice…

At last count, Ruger’s website shows 62 – yep, 62 – different variations of the 10/22. This is not counting custom versions. You can get the rifle with a polymer stock or one that is fancy and engraved, made of laminate hardwoods. Want one that uses a similar stock to the above-mentioned M1 carbine? Just order it – it’s there. Need a thumbhole competition version? Order away. Distributor exclusives are included in the above total…for instance, you can get a full-blown tactically dressed rifle with Picatinny rails, folding stock, etc. if your FFL deals with Talo’s.

Here is a breakdown of the different types of 10/22s that you can get:

  • Carbine: 19
  • Takedown: 16
  • Takedown Lite: 4
  • Target: 3
  • Compact: 1
  • Tactical: 5
  • Sporter: 11
  • Competition: 3

That’s a lot of variations on a theme. It seems that, no matter what your area of interest is in terms of a .22 rifle, Ruger’s got you covered. From plain to fancy, they have a gun for it.

So what’s this got to do with the Charger? Well, as you can tell from the photo, the Charger looks like a short-barreled, pistol-gripped 10/22 minus the buttstock. The Picatinny rail on top allows any sort of optic to be added, a distinct bonus. The bipod helps when you are shooting off a bench rest or the ground.

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Specs

Let’s look at the specs, then we’ll examine some photos.

Length19”
Weight57 oz.
Capacity15+1; other 10/22 magazines will work
Barrel10”, 1:16 twist; threaded ½"x28
FinishMatte black
BipodIncluded
Pistol GripAR-compatible, replaceable
StockPolymer, with QD cup for shoulder brace
RailPicatinny, 12 slots
SightsNone
OptionsTake-down version; Silent-SR® sound suppressor
MSRP$599
“Real-World” Price$330-$350

Ruger 22 Charger side shot

Ruger 22 Charger barrel engraving

Ruger 22 Charger rail top

Ruger 22 Charger trigger safety
Typical 10/22 firegroup and magazine release.

Note the way the removable pistol grip molds to the trigger guard via a spacer/adapter.

Ruger 22 Charger more barrel engraving and picatinny rail

Ruger 22 Charger handgrip

Ruger 22 Charger handguard
Handguard with scalloped friction pads.
Ruger 22 Charger bipod attachment
Bipod attaching point.

It’s pretty simple – slide the bipod mount over the existing sling stud, line up the holes and screw the lock pin in. Then, put the bipod on and tighten the round, knurled “nut” … that’s all there is to it.

Ruger 22 Charger bipod folded
Bipod folded.

The arms come just to the sides of the magazine. The stick mags present no problem in terms of the folding bipod’s arms, but those big drum mags might be a different story.

Ruger 22 Charger magazine
One of several magazine options.

This 15-round magazine is legal in New Hampshire, the site of one of Ruger’s manufacturing facilities, but it is not legal in its neighbor state to the south, Massachusetts or some other New England states. Interesting, to say the least, if interesting is the right word.

Why On Earth Would I Want One Of These?

That is the question I would probably hear you ask if you were here, or at least I bet that thought’s gone through your mind as you read this. At any rate, we’ve looked a bit at this gun’s ancestry, specifications and photos. Now we’ll go over some roles that his gun might fulfill. What on earth could you possibly want to shoot with this short rimfire that’s not exactly a pistol and not exactly a rifle? The gun is a hybrid, to use the polite word. There are a few uses I can think of…

Plinking

Of course, any gun ever built could be used for plinking. My definition of plinking is recreational shooting at informal targets of opportunity. For that purpose, this gun is very well suited. Being short, it’s easily carried or transported. Being light, it won’t tire you out after an afternoon of ridding your homestead of evil tin cans.

Varmints

If you are after varmints such as rats, raccoons or other such critters, this Charger would make a good companion. If you have access to a flat surface such as a table, large tree trunk, pickup bed or similar, you can unfold the bipod and extend your range. With the right optic on top, you could be effective at greater ranges than you might encounter with a plain, ordinary pistol. Also, if you are able to do so safely, keeping this gun handy by hanging it from a sling within easy reach might discourage any less-than-desirable varmints from accessing your property, both 2-legged and 4-legged.

Targets

Again, the bipod will extend your range a bit. With a scope, you could start at fifty yards and move out to one hundred. (If you need targets, see our free offer to download several targets here on this site). Of course, steel targets are great for exhibiting a form of instant feedback – they make a nice “ting” when you hit them.

Small Game Hunting

No squirrel would be safe if it was within range, with your Charger in hand. Also, rabbits. I used to teach with a fellow who hunted rabbits with a .22 Remington Nylon 66 (this was in the mid-’70s). He said that it might take him the whole magazine but he usually got his bunny. With no buttstock to interfere with your gun handling, you would be free to swing the gun as you follow the rabbit’s screwball, twisting path. It would certainly be fun!

I only listed four uses for the Charger – I‘m sure you could find others. One reason I didn’t list was introducing new shooters to the sport. This gun may not be the best for that, unless the newbie is past the basics and can handle the bipod-equipped fore end. (Or, remove the bipod – no tools needed). The point is that the Charger is a unique, useful amalgam of pistol and carbine that is well-built, fun to shoot and is guaranteed to arouse interest at your local range. How you use this gun is up to you – I enjoyed just plinking and ventilating paper targets with it. Plus, it just looks cool!

Ruger 22 Charger tailgate

To Scope, Or Not To Scope?

The gun comes from the factory with no sights, open or otherwise. You will need to put something on it, unless you are good at sizing up the target by peering down the center of the Picatinny rail and guessing where the bullet will go… I’m not so good at that. With the twelve-slot rail on top, your choice of optic to install is limited only by your imagination (and budget). I think a red dot mounted about midway down the rail might be a good choice, if you are looking for a quickly acquired aiming point. If you are going to hunt with it, maybe a low-magnification scope would be the ticket. At any rate, you should not any problem finding something to put on it. If you’ve read any of my earlier reviews, you might remember that I took a chance on a very inexpensive red dot, obtained from Amazon. I think I paid $25 for it. It works, which sort of surprised me. Having both red and green dots and multiple reticles, I was impressed. I stuck it on my S&W Victory .22 pistol, where it has acquitted itself very well. I think a sight like this would be excellent for our Charger.

Suppressor-Ready

One neat thing about the Charger is that it has a threaded barrel. You can attach any suppressor that has ½ X 28 threads. Ruger sells one, their Silent-SR. Made specifically for the Ruger SR22, this “can” will work on the Charger. The MSRP on this is $449, and requires you to jump through all the hoops put in place for such purchases. I tried to get one to test but my FFL of choice is not set up to sell suppressors so it couldn’t happen but I’m sure you get the idea about the noise reduction.

Silent SR hero

Here we see it mounted on the SR22 pistol. Like most everything Ruger builds, this device should last you a long time if you keep it clean. A sound reduction of up to 40db is nothing to sneeze at…it just about brings the .22 rimfire to the level where you can go without “ears”, hearing protection. Of course, this will vary with each individual, but it does bring the noise level down. This quieter experience can only help reinforce good shooting habits…part of our natural inclination to flinch is due in part to the noise that guns make, some even while we’re wearing hearing protection. That depends on the particular protection’s noise reduction and how loud the gun is. At any rate, shooting a suppressed .22 is a fun experience; with Ruger selling both the gun and the suppressor, you can kill two birds with one bullet… er, stone.

Shooting The Charger

Shooting the Charger was, in a word, challenging. Not having any sights meant I had to scrounge up some sort of sight(s) to put on it. That done, I was impressed with its accuracy. The Charger, which basically consists of the business end of a 10/22, lacked nothing when it came to putting shots where they needed to go.

I shot different .22 loads, all of which were decently accurate. I kept one target that I shot with the aid of a red dot sight. This load was the Winchester 36-grain Super X hollow point. I’ve had luck with it in other .22 guns. This is not anything to write home about, but it just shows you that the Charger is accurate and should serve you well for whatever purpose you use it for.

target win superx hp shot with charger

To Sum Up

I have a question for you. Let’s say you buy one of these, put a sight and possibly a suppressor on it, grab your favorite .22 ammo and head to the range, or the woods, or the field, or the ___ (fill in the blank). How could you not have fun? Honestly, this year has not exactly been stellar, with all the sickness (I contracted COVID, am negative now and OK), upheaval, civil unrest, election woes, etc. I’m not sure about you, but I’m up for any chance to have a bit of fun when and where I can and shooting is the prescription for that for me. It’s easier for me than it is for many of you, because all I have to do is to grab whatever gun I want to shoot, go to my garage and pick up some handloads (or .22 ammo) and step into my back yard for up to 100 yards of fun shooting. I am blessed, in more ways than one, and I know it. This Charger sure would be fun to take back there and ventilate cans, squirrels or targets at 50 or 75 yards. Boy, I would welcome that, and will try to do it every chance I get. I know I’m not the only shooter out there who’s had a challenging year…all I’m saying is maybe we should think instead of having a “Charger” year – I like that one better! This is one fun gun to shoot.

If you are looking for a new rimfire but you’re not sure if you want a rifle/carbine or pistol, take a look at the Charger. It seems to give the best of both worlds – its bipod really helps hold it still, like a rifle, but the pistol grip and lack of a buttstock puts one in mind of a handgun. Add a suppressor and a couple of boxes of ammo (I was going to say “brick” but then I remembered about the shortage) and you’ve got the recipe for an afternoon of fun.

If you’ve had experience with the Charger, please leave us a comment below. As always, keep ‘em in the black and stay safe!

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19 comments
  1. Mike,

    I have a Love affair with the 10/22 as IMNSHO is the best General ALL ROUND best for anyone to own.
    IF I had it to do all over again Or maybe eventually acquire one of the 10/22 Take downs with the case and use as many 30 round mags that the carry case will hold.

    I have several old 30 Round Ram-Line Mags with the “Hot-Lips” and they have never failed me and are rather compact that snap together though when I do with them I add a wrap of Duct Tape to make sure that they stay together…but that is me.

    I was really PO’ED when Ruger did away with the .44 Mag Semi-Auto, Which more or less was a 10/22 on steroids’ and I never did manage to acquire one.

    Now about the Charger…..Nice and fast handling piece of Art! With an authentic Lineage!

    I have been wondering it Ruger would make it in other Calibers and it would make a simple and effective PDW with a larger capacity magazine….9mm NATO or .45 ACP or .40 S&W or .41 Magnum or the “Attenuated 10mm” or even Full Bore 10mm Magnum or .44 Magnum or any of the various other calibers including .357 Magnum Maybe the FN-5.7

    Anyway as the Charger is now, It makes a GREAT and Decent Weapon for people with weak grips and hands…. 30 Rounds or more .22 LR for such incapacitated people the Charger is easily handled by most anyone and can rest it on the arm of a wheelchair and easily target BAD GUYS….With several Rounds of .22 LR proper ammo perforating BAD GUYS with more rounds remaining to make more perforating of BAD GUYS IF Needed.

    While No one would normally recommend the .22 LR as a Defensive round, there are those that cannot handle heavier weapons or their recoil and need something to Protect and Defend themselves…..

    IMNSHO the Charger fits that Role very Nicely! For others perhaps a nice Holographic Site would also work on the Charger for Many people…..

    MERRY CHRISTMAS My Friend!

    1. Bingo, as usual, it’s with great pleasure that I read your comments. You make some great points here, about using the Charger in a PDW role for folks in wheelchairs – good idea. This gun would be very special in 9mm/.45/.40 etc. I agree that a centerfire version would be welcome. And, I also agree that they discontinued the .44 Mag carbine way too early. As always, I appreciated your comments!

      1. Mike,
        I love your writing and the “Good Scoop” you always provide. I enjoy sharing my opinions, my views, experience, views (especially if different) and ideas with you and the readers.
        I also in enjoy reading their views and ideas and experiences and other info.

        I didn’t mention this previously but I have a friend that has a 10/22 fully decked out and set up for target shooting…His job forced him to move and I dunno who made what parts on it but it has a heavy laminated stock with a Thumbhole grip and a SS Bull barrel…
        He also had a magnificence scope that I cannot remember the make. He brought it over one day to sight it in and was having a REAL KODIAK BEAR moment with it….after he started adjusting the scope or trying to he called me over….I spotted the issue immediately… He had a low base mount on the rifle. I told him his set up was never going to work with the base he had on it and that he needed a High base mount …Then the WELL DUH hit him. He is a one hell of a shot I have seen him shoot with other .22LRs riles and could consistently shoot a 3 shot group you could cover with a dime at 50-75 yards.
        We were limited in distance for the makeshift range….. He is former US Army…I don’t recall his MOS/job that he had.

        I am glad to see and read about other readers and thank them for their info and on places to get various modifications. Currently my 10/22 is still Factory stock, the way it came out of the box. other than the larger magazines I got for it.

        The Ruger 10/22 is truly a do most anything rifle and one can get more different items for than a Sears and Roebuck Christmas Toy Catalog could hold.
        I have seen a set up that uses Two 10/22s in a dual mount that resembles an Anti-Aircraft gun from WWII.
        I have seen another that turns a 10/22 into a sort of Gatlin Gun with the turn crank. Along with other kits from making the 10/22 look like an M-1.30 caliber Carbine to AR or AK platforms.

        One of my hopes for/from Ruger was (besides bring back the .44 Magnum Carbine in perhaps a different caliber such as the .454 Casul or other such “Heavy for handguns” type of caliber) was to release a 9mm or .45 ACP carbine to the market …..well they did that in the 9mm PC Carbine…..Unfortunately while the PC Carbine is no doubt a very capable weapon and a nice compliment for anyone that carries a Glock or perhaps other similar handgun….probably an excellent choice for some LEOs
        It just isn’t my cup of tea so to speak.. I am not sure exactly why I don’t particularly, but that is irrelevant But then again I have a serious Love affair for the H&K MP-5. There is nothing that I have handled that says LOVE like one of those UNLESS it would be the H&KMPSD.

        That has nothing to with the Ruger 10/22 Charger….and the visions I have of it being Centerfire…

        BTW have/could you (or is it possible) for you to do a review of the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle,….preferably in .308 Winchester.
        ‘ The friend I mentioned earlier that was former Army and had that Ruger 10/22 on steroids.. I let him shoot mine and he loved it (as I do that is possibly a Rifle would marry if I could LOL) after firing the First round he told me I am going to this home with me…. I replied I have 8 very good reasons in my back pocket that says THAT is not going to happen. LOL

        The Rifle is a joy to shoot, excellent trigger for out of box trigger IMNSHO…No perceived or felt recoil….other than putting a sling and Bi-pod and some extra magazines I have not done anything else to her.

        But if you get a chance to do such an article….I would greatly appreciate your input and love to read it!

        All the Best of good things be with you and yours!
        Stay Safe and Healthy!

        Merry Christmas my friend.

        1. Bingo, very interesting post as usual. I always enjoy reading your comments. You are right about the 10/22 being a very versatile rifle. With over 6 million of them out there, there is no limit what you can do with one. That anti-aircraft setup intrigues me – possibly use a .22LR AA mount against drones? Maybe! As for the .308 Gunsite rifle, I can’t say one way or the other at this point, but will look into it. As always, I appreciate your kind words. You have a Merry Christmas as well!

          1. Mike,
            Thank you for your kind words. They are very much appreciated!

            This probably is the weapon I was think of as 10/22 Anti-Aircraft gun.

            It has been a very long time since I saw it.

            Here is a link on YouTube I think you will find most interesting as it does resemble
            a WWII AA G and no doubt would work well against drones…. If you can find some .22LR Tracer ammo ( I know it is made and out there and load them say one for every Five rounds you probably get some nice videos.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbERZQxfnUQ

            There are some other interesting videos on the Right side of the screen.

            i am just saying I have never used tracers in .22LR but in 5.56 NATO or 7.62 NATO they will definitely add wear to a barrel if used in large amounts.

            Using Tracers are a TWO WAY Street….When loading mags for an AR (or for other calibers) load 5 rounds then 2 maybe 3 tracers and then finish loading the magazine with whatever ammo you were using.

            Doing this will let you your magazine is close to running dry.

            All The Best of Good Things be with you and yours!

            Merry Christmas!

          2. Mike,

            I was puttering around on YouTube and found this and I think it applies here as well I will let you and anyone else that is interested in the Challenger!

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WVJMOHiNpM

            I love the “Can” he is using…..

            I would like to hear/read any/all replies from everyone that watches the video.

          3. Bingo., thanks again for your comments. I’ll check out the links. Sounds really interesting, if only to know that such a thing can be created. And, I didn’t know that you could get tracer .22 ammo – learn something new every day!

          4. Bingo, yep, I’d seen that. Sounds like a good idea for sure – they’ll sell a bunch. Thanks again for your comments!

          5. Bingo, great – thanks! I’m sure a lot of our readers will appreciate your links. Thanks again for writing.

  2. That’s a nice toy but Too darn high priced for a plinker! That’s what a handgun is for! IMHO, ! But hey! each to his own!
    Great article Mike! You always cover all the angles!

    I’m sure they are fun! But not for a budget minded shooter!like me!
    Don’t get me wrong, I love Rugers! Own several! 60’s to 90’s vintage Ruger handguns! 22cal to 44mag.

    Looking for a Mini carbine in 300 acc! For the right price!? Maybe Santa has them?
    Stay safe and happy reviewing!
    Jhk

    1. James, yeah, it’s a bit salty, and maybe more than some might want to pay for a plinker, but if you could find one used or at least really discounted, it would be a lot of fun. And, since I don’t have an inside track to what’s in Santa’s bag, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see! Thanks for writing!

  3. I will say, I bought a takedown model when they came out. after having it a few years now I can unequivocally say it is a great all around gun. Before I get in to what all I do with it I will explain what I have done it make this an Awsome ground squirrel gun.
    First and foremost mine came with an A-2 pistol grip which I replaced with a ergo beavertail in OD to compliment the laminated stock. I favor these grips on ar’s. I added a tandem cross game changer compensater , yes these do there job especially for rapid fire.
    Most importantly I installed Wolfe spring kits and replaced the imm parts with a polished set. You can just buy replacement triggers and hammers. I also love the 10/22 shim kits from Lance at trigger shims they take up all the slop that is in the system. Do yourself a favor check out Lance at triggershim.com excellent products and customer service.

    Now I use a red dot for plinking and steel. I have a 1x to 6x pistol scope that I use for ground squirrel prairie dogs and jacks and cotton tail. I love the bag that came with mine that is why I carry it in the jeep. Over all I have enjoyed the 10/22 charger I have had experience with contenders and encores so in my mind it fits in that category. What more can you say it is a 10/22 maybe not for everyone but with a red dot great trigger and a 25 rnd mag its alot of fun and with a scope it is a fun varmint gun

    1. Douglas, wow – you sure have this thing figured out! Sounds like you have a lot of fun, taking out small game and varmints. I’ll bet your Charger is in demand, if you go to a range. Thanks for writing!

  4. Hey Mike,
    I shot one of these with the drum magazine and Franklin armory binary trigger at my local range. The binary trigger makes this a ton of fun to shoot. There were occasional feeding issues but otherwise it was an affordable and fun way to pass the time.

    1. Dan, sounds great. With the good trigger and many shots before having to reload, you should be good to go. Thanks for writing!

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