Ruger 10/22 Takedown Upgrades For SHTF

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Outfitting the Ruger 10/22 Takedown for SHTF Duty: Since its introduction in March, 2012, the Ruger 10/22 Takedown has set the survival world on fire.  Finally, survivalists and outdoor enthusiasts had an esteemed rifle design of known reliability, quality, and accuracy that broke down easily – no tools required! – and stowed into an easily-managed included pack.  With other existing takedown .22 LR designs like the Armalite/Henry AR-7 and the Marlin “Papoose” either impossible to find or of…questionable…reliability and accuracy, the everyone-loves-it 10/22 quickly became the gold standard of survival .22 takedown rifles.

Ruger 10/22 Rundown

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The Ruger 10/22 was introduced in 1964, and immediately became popular due to its low cost, innovative and compact 10-round flush-fitting detachable rotary magazine, quick and intuitive handling, and now-legendary reliability and accuracy. The original .22 Long Rifle caliber branched into a since-discontinued .22 Magnum variant, a well as a short-lived .17 HMR model. Many variations have been available over the years, including dedicated target models, youth models, and “tactical” models with flash suppressors and other “tacticool” goodies available.

Also Read: Ruger 10/22 Takedown Review

The aftermarket support for the 10/22 is nothing short of ridiculous and amazing.  A perusal of a Brownell’s catalog or online search for 10/22 accessories or parts will leave most 10/22 owners wiping away drool and wondering which bill(s) can be pushed off until next month. It’s an accessory wonderland that rivals the popularity of the AR-15 and 1911 offerings…and it’s just awesome.

The standard 10/22 Takedown (TD) comes standard with a black synthetic stock, an anodized aluminum receiver and stainless steel 18.5” barrel. The barrel turns and pulls out of the receiver once the bolt has been locked back and the knurled locking nut has been loosened, breaking down into two sections that stow away into a padded case. The case sports two pouches on the outside (one with MOLLE straps) for extra magazines, ammunition, hearing protection, or whatever else you deem fit to keep with the rifle. On the inside of the case, there is one larger velcro-secured pouch that houses the receiver and rear stock assembly, and two smaller pouches, one of which holds the barrel and front stock assembly. It’s a great, reasonably well-thought-out system that is immediately attractive to many.

My Favorite Accessories for Ruger 10/22 Series

Before I dive-in to the must-haves for the Takedown, I wanted to share my favorite accessories that enhance the experience. Again, these are not must-haves. They are good-to-have and more “toys” to add to your list:

Magpul Hunter X-22 Takedown Stock review
  • Favorite Stock for Ruger 10/22 Takedown
  • Quick and simple to install
  • Compatible with all Ruger 10/22 accessories
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Vortex crossfire 2 for ruger 10/22
  • Favorite Scope for Ruger 10/22
  • Anti-reflective, bright and clear views
  • Waterproof and fogproof performance
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  • Favorite Sling for Ruger 10/22
  • Made with lightweight foam. No slip.
  • Swivel test to 300 pounds
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Truglo Rifle sight for Ruger 10/22
  • Favorite Sight for Ruger 10/22
  • CNC machined. Not for carbine barrels.
  • Front diameter is .060" and rear diameter is .035".
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  • Favorite Magazine Release
  • Drop in part. Easy to install
  • Speed increase between Mag changes
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Handle for Ruger 10/22 review
  • Favorite Bolt Handle for 10/22
  • Ready-to-go. No gunsmithing needed.
  • Made in USA
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Downsides of the Ruger 10/22 Takedown: Must-Have Upgrades

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However, in my eyes, the Ruger 10/22 Takedown doesn’t roll off the factory floor in what I would like to call “survival optimal” configuration. It will certainly work, and work pretty well, in a pinch…however, I’d definitely add a couple smallm not terribly expensive items that make it much more user-friendly for whatever purpose I may use it for.  Call it “mission optimization”…and my mission for a takedown .22 is mainly for small game foraging. (and, of COURSE, lots of entertaining range time eradicating rabid charging soda cans.)  Yes, I suppose that if I had to, I could use it for self-defense – but I think at almost any range under 30-40 yards, a high-quality, accurate 9mm or larger handgun will probably do a better job in that department than a .22 rifle.  Flame away if you wish, I’ll say that a .22 rifle isn’t my first choice for close-range self defense unless it’s all I had.  But I digress.

Related: 7 Ruger 10/22 Accessories You Actually Need

I have two major beefs with the Ruger 10/22 Takedown, and both of them are detrimental to what I think this rifle would primarily be used for.  Here’s what they are and how they can be easily fixed to transform a good rifle into a better one.

Shortcoming #1: Sights

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The sights that come with a stock Ruger 10/22TD are a simple brass bead front sight and a folding “buckhorn” type rear sight. Now, I LOVE a nice fine brass-bead front sight, so kudos to Ruger for incorporating that out at the end of the barrel. However, the sight picture offered up by the buckhorn back sight leaves so much to be desired, especially when you consider the aftermarket sight support that graces the 10/22 platform.  Yes, I know that factory standard buckhorn sights have harvested millions of animals and perforated millions of targets, as well as having helped untold numbers of first-time shooters cut their teeth on shooting.  But, no matter how you look at it (or through it), they just plain suck.  A simple aperture/peep type sight will improve your view of the target, help you intuitively line up the sights, and basically be more accurate, more quickly. How can you go wrong, especially when great sights are readily available, for not much money?

There are many different options, but the ones that catch my eye (pun intended) are the Williams “Ace in the Hole”, and the NoDak Spud sight.  These offerings combine aperture style rear sights with Picatinny rails that allow you to also mount optics while keeping the rear sight mounted. Pretty cool. As a bonus, you can just flip down the standard Ruger rear sight and use it as a tertiary sight in case your aperture gets banged up or otherwise put out of action. I haven’t yet chosen one of these sight setups for my pictured rifle, but you can bet one is going on ASAP.

One thing I’ve always loved about aperture sights is how much it eases carrying of the rifle in your hands.  To this day, even as I have reached the point in my aging where apparently body parts and systems start going downhill as opposed to uphill, I stubbornly insist on aperture sights for my hunting rifles, unless I’m going to be sitting over an area where I know I’ll be shooting a long distance that requires a scope.  An aperture sight on a light, quick-handling rifle like a Winchester 94 or Marlin 336 means there’s no obtrusive scope in the way of wrapping your hand around the receiver right at the balance point.  It’s indescribably better for close-in woods hunting, where you need to keep your rifle in one hand for a quick shot, but you need an open hand to push branches, etc., out of the way.  That’s my two cents, back to the sights on this 10/22.

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To maximize the usefulness of these rear sights with integral scope mounts, I’d set it up with a set of quick detachable scope rings like the excellent Warne QD offerings.  I’ve used Warne rings on many rifles, and they are of the highest quality, fit on Picatinny rails, and, best of all, retain zero, even after hundreds of removal/remountings. I can’t recommend them highly enough, especially for the price point.  Combine the rings with a small, lightweight red dot sight like the ADCO Ranger or a rimfire-oriented (non battery-utilizing!) scope with a 50 or 75 yard parallax adjustment like the Leupold VX-1 Rimfire, and you will be completely set up for sighting the rifle. A quality optic, a backup (or primary!) aperture sight for close-in or fast work, and then a tertiary flip-up buckhorn sight. Gotta love redundancy in a survival rifle!

Shortcoming #2: No Sling Atttachments

The Ruger 10/22 TD doesn’t have any built-in sling attachment points. Yup, truth. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why on earth Ruger would build a rifle with a definite outdoors niche, then not provide a way to keep it on your person easily. The only justification I can think of is that the case has a sling you can use to throw the cased, disassembled rifle over your shoulder – but let’s be honest: a rifle is pretty useless when it’s disassembled. The rifle won’t be apart 100% of the time – it will likely be in your hands or on your person. But if you’re carrying supplies or other items in your hands, your rifle has to go someplace…and sometimes the situation won’t allow for you to take the time to pull the gun apart and stow it in the bag. Yessir, the long gun requires a sling.

Also Read: M6 Scout Survival Rifle Review

I ALWAYS mount slings on long guns that leave the house with me. Even if I’m just going to the range: the sling is useful to stabilize the rifle while shooting offhand, and it makes it easier to bring with me as I go to check the targets – I don’t like leaving unattended guns at the firing line (I shoot at a sandpit, not a formal shooting range.). If you’re outdoors with the rifle, you can hang the rifle upside down on your shoulder or on a tree branch when it’s raining or snowing, so as to keep moisture and debris out of the bore. A sling also serves as a rugged lashing or belt in an emergency, so it’s just a damn good idea to have one.

But, alas, the 10/22 TD does not have any provision for this, so we have to modify the rifle in most cases. There are wrap-around type slings and tie-on D-rings for those who don’t want to permanently modify the rifle or don’t have the tools available, but I’ve never been a fan of the added bulk, and they never seem to go on 100% tight and secured. Installing sling swivel attachments is pretty easy with a couple hand tools and some knowledge; I’ll show you how I did it.

First, I purchased an Uncle Mike’s 10/22 QD sling swivel kit from Amazon. There are kits that have fixed swivel loops that are attached to the rifle, but you have to remember: this is a takedown rifle. When you pull the rifle apart, you don’t want one end of the sling permanently affixed to the forestock, and the other end affixed to the buttstock; it’ll be a severe PITA to stow away. So quick-detchable (QD) sling swivels that are easily removed from the attachment stud are the way to go.

Ruger 10-22 Front Sling

The Uncle Mike’s kit gives you a couple options to work with.
In the package, we find a few things:
1. Two screw-in type swivel studs: these simply screw into drilled holes in the stock. They have a pretty coarse thread, since they are designed to be driven into a wood stock. This doesn’t work too well for the 10/22 TD’s moulded plastic stock, so we have to epoxy them in.
2. One blade-type sling swivel stud that is designed to be mounted on the front barrel band, clamped between the two ends of the band where they are screwed together on the bottom of the gun.
3. Two Quick Detachable sling swivels for a 1” sling. These can fit in either type of supplied sling swivel stud.

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Now, since Uncle Mike’s was nice enough to give us all the parts, we have to make a decision: drill once or twice? We can either mount both of the screw-in studs (one in the buttstock, one in the forend) or just one on the buttstock and one in the barrel band. I chose the latter setup and collected the tools: a power drill with a 3/16” drill bit, some sandpaper, epoxy, and a flat-headed screwdriver.

First, I marked a line on the bottom of the stock, about 2 1/2” up from the butt. This located where the buttstock stud would be located. There is a moulding line that runs up the bottom of the stock, dead center, so I used this as the centerline for my first mark. I chucked up the 3/16” drill bit in my trusty DeWalt cordless screw gun, and carefully (and slowly!) drilled a hole at my marks. Use care to make sure you’re drilling perpendicular to the stock profile: this ensures that the sling swivel stud will sit flat against the stock when it’s screwed in. I mounted one of the quick-detachable swivels to the stud, and used that for a little bit of leverage to screw the stud into the stock. I started the threads on the stud, then stirred up a small amount of JB-Weld epoxy. Once it was properly mixed, I applied a glob to the threads of the stud, then finished screwing it into the stock. I wiped off the excess and set it aside overnight to cure.

Related: Ruger 10-22 vs. Smith & Wesson 15-22

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For the front band-mounted swivel, I did the obvious thing first: I unscrewed the clamping screw, opened the band up a tad, and inserted the swivel. After pushing the screw through and tightening, it became very apparent to me that it wouldn’t be that easy, for the barrel band slid right off the gun. The blade of the swivel is wide enough so that it opened the band up enough so that it didn’t clamp. OK, back to the drawing board….

Since the barrel band is just plastic, I took it all apart again, and removed the screw and its nut (buried in one half of the band). I took a piece of 80-grit sandpaper and folded it in half, so there was abrasive on both sides of the paper. Then, after opening the band up a bit so it straddled the sandpaper, I  slowly rubbed the band back and forth, trying to remove the plastic on both sides of the swivel/screw area evenly. It took some patience, and a lot of trial-and-error, but eventually I removed enough material so that the blade sat inside the band and the whole works sat securely on the gun. I purchased a black nylon sling, and after threading it through the supplied swivels, I now have a nice, secure sling setup that can be used once the rifle is assembled. The sling dismounts from the rifle with zero effort, and everything stows nicely in the Ruger carrying case.

Other Annoyances

With those two modifications behind us, there are some other less-pressing issues that kinda bug me, but not enough to get me up in arms about HAVING to fix them immediately.  One of them is the 10/22 bolt hold-open system. It’s a complete pain in the ass…there, I said it. However, it IS functional, just different. It’s almost impossible to use with one hand, and once the bolt is locked open, a simple tug-and-release of the bolt charging handle doesn’t disengage the bolt stop and send it forward into battery after picking a round up from the magazine – you know, like how practically EVERY OTHER semi auto firearm in the world works.

There is a quick, cheap fix for this, though: the Volquartsen 10/22 Auto Bolt Stop.  They’re less than 10 bucks through Amazon, and they are easily installed.  I watched this YouTube video from and had the Volquartsen piece installed in a few minutes. Definitely worth the trouble, and now my 10/22 works the way I feel it should, and I don’t have to train with different firearms’ reloading techniques. Winning.

Another small issue is the fact that the flush-fitting 10-round magazines are rather difficult to extract from the gun. Again, it’s not awful, but it takes a bit of finagling to get it out of the magazine well.  Larger-capacity magazines, like the Ruger BX-25, don’t have the issue because they have real estate that projects outside the gun that one can muckle onto for leverage. But the 10-rounders require you to squeeze the magazine release while pinching the magazine fore and aft, and then wiggling it around a bit to remove.

Also Read: The Katrina Rifle

Yeah, I suppose I could only use larger-capacity magazines, but some locales don’t allow them for hunting, or allow them at all!This is a moot point post SHTF, but I like using my guns for hunting, etc., now. And right now I don’t like arguing with the magazine just to remove it and refill it to keep the fun rolling.

A cool solution that I’ve found is a magazine floor plate called the Tandemkross “Companion” floor plate. They’re about 10 bucks and extend the floor plate for easy gripping. There is also a spring-loaded floor plate called the SLAM Magazine Base that helps eject the magazine under spring tension. Either of these would definitely help mitigate the magazine extraction issue. I haven’t tried them but they’re on the shopping list.

Bitch Session Over

Okay, now that I’ve gotten all that off my chest, I will say that I really do love my Ruger 10/22 Takedown.  It’s a simply awesome (and extremely fun!) way of having a small, lightweight, effective foraging rifle with you wherever you go (laws permitting.).  All my complaints above shouldn’t detract from the fact that all in all, it’s a great platform that accomplishes, quite effectively, what it sets out to do. And with the 10/22 TD readily available for less than $400, it really makes a great choice for someone looking for a rifle for their truck, boat, airplane, or Bug Out Bag. The modifications I’ve suggested above just make it better…even optimal in my eyes.

Costs for this whole setup? If you have the tools, that’s of course a big plus. Plus if you have an optic kicking around ready to use (Like I did for the pictured ADCO Ranger red dot), that’s a huge cost savings. But the main-item breakdown is:

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Those adds will be a great foundation to your personal customization..everyone has their own personal opinions in slings, optics, magazines, etc. Go peruse MidwayUSA or Brownells for 10/22 gear and start the list like I have. It’s addictive, I’ll tell you…   Any thoughts? Do you have any thoughts or modifications that you’ve done to your 10/22 TD to make it a better SHTF/emergency foraging gun? Sound off in the comments!

Stay Safe!

Photos by: Drew, Ruger, Bald Steve

Written by Drew P

Along with Joel, Drew is one of the co-founders of SurvivalCache. Drew has been immersed in the firearms and outdoors culture since birth. He now is a factory-certified armorer for several firearms manufacturers, as well as an experienced DuraCoat finisher. He currently works with a local firearms training facility as an on-call armorer and gunsmith. Read his full interview here. Read more of Drew's articles.

18 thoughts on “Ruger 10/22 Takedown Upgrades For SHTF”

  1. Great suggestions Drew. Thanks.

    I have a Gemtech Outback IID for mine. Just waiting on the barrel threading now. Also eyeballing the Aimpoint Micro T2.

    A couple new stocks are available for the Takedown, but Ruger noticed that as well and offers some new takedown models. Might just pick up another one instead of upgrading my old ride.

    • I wish I could afford an Aimpoint Micro!! I have a Comp ML3 in a LaRue mount on my AR, and I love it dearly! But I just have a hard time spending $600 on the ultimate red dot when the toddler needs diapers and the teenager needs new shoes every 3 months and eats me out of house and home!

      Truth be told, though: I'm likely going to be putting a Leupold Rimfire fixed 2x or 4x on this rig – I don't like battery powered setups, even when they last 5 years!

      Thanks Doc!

      • Hi Drew,

        I'm interested in the Aimpoint for both rifle and pistol. Red dots remove sight radius from the equation which is why there is an explosion of micro reds and Glock has it MOS (modular optics system) run of guns. The difference between a 3" barrel and a 8" barrel is negligible once sight radius is a non-issue.

        I find the Ruger OEM sights to be on the weaker end of such things. In fact my brass bead was crooked on my Takedown so I straightened it with pliers.

        Now that I've had a Takedown for about as long as you could have one, I find that streamlined transport in a car is its best feature. Lately I've just used an old-school gun sock folded in half to carry the Takedown. Not much extra padding, but plenty of general protection. Then it fits nicely behind a seat or in a backpack.

        I haven't opted for many extras for it since it's my beater .22 now and it was never a tack driver to begin with. But there might be more fun to be had with some of the distributor exclusive Takedown designs if I can find them. Check out these on the Ruger site:
        -TacStar Adaptive Tactical Legends Camo (my fav)
        -Mossy Oak® Break-Up Camo
        -Krptic Highlander Camo

  2. I like the take down version of the 10/22, fits nicely into a non-descript luggage bag one can schlep into the night's lodging, and should a "Mumbai-style" event take place, you can reach out a little farther if needed. I think it's a great little rifle and LONG over due. Very easy to quickly put together if/when needed for use, and accurate enough for MY needs.

  3. I tried to find one I did not I have a butler creek folding fore end it has a cam system that traps the barrel so you do not need barrel wedge and screws it is not as compact but it folds into 1/3 less length over all.

    Good write up and advice.

  4. I have a 10/22 and am happy with it, but the craftsmanship is nowhere comparable to my marlin. The only trouble, and it is a big, big drawback in a self defense role, is the time it takes to reload the 'tube' . Is there any way to convert a Marlin from tube load to magazine load? Also, the 10/22 drops parts, as in pins, once it is apart. At home, no big deal. In the woods it could be game over with me on the losing end. Just some thoughts. thanks

    • Hello, I have used a marlin 60 before quite a bit and I will say that the fastest way to reload the tube is to get some spare round pipe about the same size and put your rounds in that.

      then just take the magazine follower out.

      drop the rounds out of the tube into your gun.

      and put the follower back in rack it and GO!

  5. Primary Arms also has a stellar Red Dot sight that we have on ALL our 10/22 rifles. Might be worth looking into, if the AimPoint is out of line price wise. (Was for us)

  6. I stuck with the standard 10/22, not the TD, instead replaced the stock with a Butler Creek folding stock that brings the folded length down to 27 1/2 inches with a pistol grip; much handier in one-handed, heavy-brush situations. I really wish that Ruger would make a 10/22 model or a add-on that would add a single-shot .410, probably like a M203 with a underneath barrel that would slide open to load and unload but with the trigger on the side of the slide so the thumb could fire it. I really like my Savage model 42, but the reload time is too long. The .410 would allow you to carry a slug or 000 buck round at the ready for close-in self-defense or a 6-8 shot round for sudden quick-moving targets like rabbits or game birds! I also think that additions should include a clip system to hold an extra 25-round (XM-25, of course) mag to the weapon exterior, an 5-6 round .410 ammo holder attached to the other side of the under-barrel slide, a hollow stock with basic survival gear (i.e. skinning knife, ferro rod, a small metal flask to carry and/or boil water in, and maybe some 550 cord) already provided inside, and lastly, a double peep sight (my personal favorite), one for the front and back for better accuracy and I think the unguarded front post sight is too easy to damage! These improvements would IMHO make this 10/22 (on steriods) the best survival gun/system available! I would buy one (hell, several, large family and Christmas is coming) faster than a New York minute! Ruger or Savage are you paying attention! Good Luck!

    • I actually think the idea to put a single shot .410 barrel is a great idea. The .22 barrel may need to be longer than standard to maintain a uniform barrel length at the muzzle depending on the action used. Maybe a side break action would help keep the 18" required barrel length for the .410 from extending out farther than the standard .22 barrel.

  7. Lance the ATF guy doesn't waiste time ,people already know you don't need to make that comment just make sure you don't do illegal things that's it

  8. Great article! Wife bought me the Mossy Oak TD for my birthday last year. She wanted to use it for an Appleseed shoot, but no sling attachment points is an issue. Now I'll be following your excellent suggestion. Thanks again for putting the work and helping other along the path!

  9. I put the butler creek folding stock on my ruger td and ripped out the stitches of the pockets to fit the scoped end of the rifle in. I had to saw the fore end off the stock to fit it at the takedown point and it works great. I had a Burris compact scope laying around so it now sits on the ruger.TD. The pocket on the outside of the bag is for the Ruger SR22 pistol which I have shoved in with it's zipper pistol rug. I had to put the 5 round extensions from Tandemkross in the sr22 mags for 15 rounds. Nice overall package now..

  10. Looking at your setup you missed a critical item that will make this tool a box of rocks in the woods. You have mounted the site on the wrong portion of the rifle. Every time you brake down the 10/22 and reassemble it you have to re-sight the weapon. You have to mount the site on the barrel not the receiver. The barrel sets the trajectory and if your site is integrated with the barrel it is always zeroed at assembly. I learned this the hard way with many rounds down range, a Simmons 3-9×22 scope,Bushnell AR/22 rimfire scope, and a Bushnell Red Dot (0 magification). The red dot mounts on the barrel and out performs every time on reassembly.

    • On some takedown setups, like the Magpul versions written about here, the barrel mount is prefered. Oddly, however, a receiver mounted optic on a Ruger 10/22 takedown that is adjusted properly will return well within to its common 2 MOA accuracy over and over. Not a concern unless competitive target shooting or hunting cockroaches at 50 feet.


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