[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.

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

Photo Gallery

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!

Written by Mike

Mike has been a shooter, bullet caster and reloader for over 40 years. Never one to be satisfied with the status quo, he is often found at his reloading bench concocting yet another load. With a target range in his backyard and after 40 years of shooting, his knowledge of firearms and reloading is fairly extensive. He is married, with four sons and daughters-law and 9-and-counting grandkids.

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