Ruger 10/22 Takedown Review: Survival Rifle Hands-On

The Ruger 10/22 is the Piper Cub of the .22 rifle world.  It is a standard of expectation and operation upon which all others, good or bad, are measured.  In a world filled with evolving products, the 10/22 is easily recognizable whether the gun is an infant, a teenager, or in its 50s.

With its classic barrel band, squarish flattop receiver, and blocky rotary magazine, the 10/22 is one of those rare gun designs that came out of the factory oven fully baked.

Ruger 10/22 Takedown, The Ultimate Survival Rifle?

This review addresses one particular .22 long rifle model from a family of semiauto 10/22 rifles that is more than six categories deep including .22 Long Rifle Ultimate Survival Rifleseveral variations-on-a-theme called Distributor Exclusives. And each of the categories has two, or three or even four individual 10/22 options. In the Takedown variety, or what I call the TD (as in both Takedown and a winning Touchdown for Ruger), there are two main choices; one is the type of barrel steel (alloy or stainless) and the other is the muzzle option (standard or threaded with flash hider). A couple of stock colors have entered the mix as well. Due to the uniform action, magazines, sight platform, and barrel clamp that the TD has in common with its fixed action brethren, the combination of additional aftermarket bells and whistles provides an ever-growing list of options to pimp your Takedown ride far beyond conventional appropriateness. And as a fan of innovation, I hope the the after-marketeers will embrace the Takedown’s break-apart design and offer some tactical stock options in the near future.

The stock of the Takedown  is, in my opinion, a massive upgrade in materials and design over the ultra-bland 10/22 wood carbine stock that’s been around relatively unchanged since it first appeared in 1964. The synthetic molding process allows the manufacturer to produce a more refined and detailed product compared to the labor-intensive, heavy, temperamental, and non-uniform attributes of wood. In fact, one of the most overt features of a basic 10/22 wood stock is its utter lack of anything but smooth untextured wood from for-end to heel. The only vegetation on this barren desert of a stock is an equally uneventful black plastic butt cap.

I’ve long since lost count of the number of 10/22s that have moved into and out of my gun safe. My current inventory is two, a basic Takedown model and another tricked out stainless non-TD model that has been lightly tactified with a Blackhawk adjustable stock, scope, and a few action upgrades.

The Humble .22

With estimates of the annual global production of .22 LR cartridges at north of two billion rounds, humble might not be the best word to The Best Survival Rifle 10-22describe it. The diminutive size and ubiquitous proliferation of both .22 LR guns and ammo makes it rather easy to forget just how formidable a force the little plinker really is.

A sizable portion of the shooting public around the world cut their teeth on a .22 long rifle. Since its inception in 1887, the .22LR has grown to be the most versatile cartridge across almost all gun platforms from single shot derringers, through all manner of revolvers, autopistols and a dozen different actions in long guns. Even .22 LR machine guns are common. Well, not common, but you know what I mean.

Retrofitting kits are popular conversion options to turn AR-15s, 1911s, and even Glocks into .22 LR firearms for a low-cost training alternative. On a good day you can buy a thousand rounds of .22 LR for less than $50, and there are also plenty of bullet choices from #12 shot shells to subsonic to tracer rounds.

Bullet weights range from 20 grains to 60 grains leading to a wide range of velocities from a muted 575 feet per second (175 meters/second) to a squirrel vaporizing 1750 f/s (533 m/s).

Although the defensive carry crowd collectively turns up their nose at the .22 LR as being wildly inadequate for self-protection, there is a long list of dead people who would beg to differ. While human death from a .22 LR slug is not usually as swift as by larger calibers, it is certainly a very real possibility. In fact, the military in Israel used the .22 LR back in the 1990s for non-lethal crowd control, but unfortunately the .22 LR proved it did not play well with others and quickly shrugged off its non-lethal status.

As a hunting round, the .22 LR is an excellent choice for smaller game. However, more than a few North American charismatic megafauna have met their doom through three grams of twenty-two caliber lead.

The Takedown Lowdown

At the heart of a Takedown 10/22 is its ability to quickly, easily, and safely come apart without tools. Followed by the ability to quickly, easily, 22 Long Rifle for Survival and safely reassemble back into a fully functioning rifle all while the sights remain zeroed.  I’ve played with several other takedown and survival rifles over the decades, and I think I can safely say that the Ruger Takedown is in a class by itself. There are some larger caliber and custom builds out there that rival the simplicity and reliability of the Takedown, but at 3 to 10 times the money. The other similar priced options are usually more in the realm of a compromised survival gun rather than a 100% rifle that happens to be engineered to separate into smaller pieces as needed. And to add icing on the Takedown cake, as a direct descendant of Grandpa 10/22 it is heir to dozens of aftermarket accessories and magazine options.

The previous starlet of the survival .22 world was a fat bottomed girl named Henry.  While the Henry’s AR7 is not much of a looker, or a shooter for that matter, it did float.  Although I have not personally tested the Takedown’s buoyancy, I’m pretty sure it can’t swim. And personally, I’ve never given much thought to whether or not a gun would float. In fact, the only other potential floater I’ve come across is a bulbous-gripped marine flare gun which is actually, in spite of what you see in the movies, more of a glorified fireworks launcher than a survival pistol. Sure, a properly stored AR7 is a fine option, but for actual shooting work, leave that to the TD since it will shoot round after round with the same reliability as every other Piper Cub flying around out there.

My first foray into the takedown gun world was with a Savage 24 Series P over/under 20 gauge/.22 magnum. A sharp yank on the forearm popped it off and the barrel unhooked from the action and stock. The barrel was the longest piece at 24 inches making this single-shot combo gun only four inches longer than the longest part of the TD which happens to be the stock/receiver half. The barrel half of the TD is 18.5 inches chamber to muzzle. Gravity is also a factor between the two because the hollow stock of the TD and its svelte barrel only draws about 4 pounds 11 ounces of tug from the earth. The Takedown’s overall length of 37 inches is the same as the standard 10/22 carbine we all know and love.

The Backpack

I won’t deny the coolness factor of a takedown rifle that comes with a well-made padded Cordura nylon zippered pack. Especially a black one Ultimate Survival Riflewith Molle webbing and a prominent red Ruger logo. But beyond that, I find it is more a storage case that works well for transport. Frankly, I’ll leave the guns to Ruger, but I get to choose my own backpacks.

If the rifle is all you are packing, then the accompanying backpack is comically large. But add an optic, 25-round mags, a few range tools, targets, and some lunch and the pack comes into it’s own. For general preparedness, the pack is fine. But for actual survivalist situations, the gun is much more useful as part of a larger overall kit that, of course, includes a larger overall backpack.

And speaking of the 25 round mag that Ruger sells, it holds two-and-a-half times more ammo than the standard 10-round rotary mag, but takes up five times as much space and is three-and-a-quarter times as heavy. The 25-round mag wins on convenience, but that’s about all. However, it certainly has not stopped me from packing a couple loaded 25-rounders in my Ruger Takedown bag.  And as if the mag was not big enough, Ruger now offers two attached 25-round mags in a combined reversible configuration that provides 50 shots with less bulk and weight than two separate 25ers. But price-wise, it’s sixes.

Shooting the Takedown is almost indistinguishable from a non-TD model. In fact the only topside indication its a TD is the knurled barrel nut and small gap in the smooth plastic. And if you flip this puppy over and look between its legs, you will notice this boy has a little lever recessed into the forearm.

The TD disassembles and reassembles equally fast, and faster than popping the slide off a Glock.  For a right hander, you use your right thumb Ruger 10/22 Takedown Reviewor index finger to pull back the slide lever, and with your left hand and the finger or thumb of your choosing, you pull on the forearm lever and rotate the two halves in the only way they will turn. Just reverse the process to reassemble, or, oh hell, Ruger warnings be dammed, just slam the halves together and twist. It’s not the best for the mechanism, but if you really need to get that shot off fast, you can worry later about the wear and tear on your gun if you’re still breathing.

The Takedown performs as advertised and punches holes in the same place regardless of how many times its been cut in half. Although I’ve never 22 Long Rifle Survival Rifleneeded it, Ruger did plan for the future by engineering in a way to maintain the tightness of the mechanism. A round nut almost an inch in diameter adjusts the spacing between barrel and receiver ensuring centuries of shooting with zero play in the works. In fact I’d bet the barrel would wear out faster than the business ends of the takedown assembly.

Side Benefits

Cleaning a standard 10/22 must not have been a priority given the rifle’s design. As anyone with a RugerUltimate Survival Rifle Mark II or III .22 auto pistol knows, Grandpa Ruger never designed his auto guns for routine housekeeping or disassembly. The Takedown, on the other hand, gives you easy action access without crawling through a 19-inch long tube in order to wipe out all the grit and lead left behind from a few thousand bangs.

From a survival rifle standpoint, the Ruger Takedown 10/22 has a little bit to be desired.  It was designed as a special version of the venerable 10/22 that could take up less space as needed. It’s not lighter, smaller, and certainly not cheaper than a standard 10/22. The TD has no storage bay in the stock, nor does it come in a ultralight compact fluorescent orange version. Sling swivels are not included, and there is no hidden compartment in the grip. As mentioned above, the TD does not float, and the barrel does not fit inside the stock. It does, however, score big on dependability, simplicity, plastic and stainless steel durability, and most of all, its exclusive diet of any .22 long rifle cartridge.


Unlike many rifles in the survival genre, the Ruger Takedown is a working gun that just happens to come apart easily. When as one, the TD components behave the same as any other bombproof rifle that can squirt 40 grains of hollow point lead downrange all day long.  But is the Takedown the ultimate survival rifle? Well, ultimate might be too strong a word. Perhaps “best” or “excellent” or even “near perfect.” Personally, I think the TD is on its way to ultimate status, but Ruger or the aftermarketers will need to play the full survival card and ramp up the SHTF potential of this .22 rifle before I feel comfortable calling it the “Ultimate.”

Photos by:
El Ruso
Doc Montana


Written by Doc Montana

Doc honed his survival skills through professional courses, training, and plenty of real-world situations, both intentional and not. Doc lives to mountaineer, rock climb, trail run, hunt, race mountain bikes, ski, hunt, and fish. Doc Montana holds PhD’s in both Science Education and Computer Science and currently teaches at a University in the northern United States. Read his full interview here. Read more of Doc's articles.

36 thoughts on “Ruger 10/22 Takedown Review: Survival Rifle Hands-On”

  1. Love the 10/22. I think that only in the Survival Community is it truly appreciated. Long after all of the other bullets run out, the true survivors will be shooting .22LR – and dropping the unprepared.

    • I agree that the .22lr is a great survival round and I love my 10/22 as well. I have an issue with the "Long after all of the other bullets run out…" statement though. You can't reload rimfire, however, you can purchase reloading tools that fit in a small bag. I have a lever action that takes ceterfire pistol rounds and if they ever quit making bullets I plan on reloading my own with anything I can melt and pour into a mold. I'm certainly not going to rely solely on a finite supply!

  2. Although I agree that the 10/22 is a great survival gun, the recent drought of .22 caliber ammo has caused me to rethink my opinion. I ran into a fella who was out of sorts because hin new semi auto was only firing 1 round before jamming. I inspected the ammo ( read the box) and found he had purchased .22 with no powder in it. I called them CB’s as a kid. Well he conformed that he walked into the ABC oun shop and asked for .22 The response was “what kind” his answer was “any I don’t care” so for $7 a box the guy bought 5 boxes of CB’s. I hooked him up with a city boy revolver shooter who was willing to trade 1 for 1 so he could shoot “quietly” when needed. Since then My love for all things Ruger has not deminished, but my survival gun will be ruger single six and any tube fed bolt action so no matter how crappy the ammo I can shoot and score a meal!

    • CBs are an interesting case. The rifle was not failing to fire, but failing to cycle due to the lack of blowback pressure. You can manually cycle the action and shoot anything that fits in the magazine and packs enough umph to make it out of the barrel. Heck, I've seen .380s shot out of a 9mm Glock if you don't mind racking the slide yourself.

      On a tangent, under some situations shooters do not want the bolt to cycle because the brass goes flying. There are conditions where you might want to place your thumb or palm on the back of your Glock slide to keep the spent case in the chamber. Just an informational tidbit to store away, you know, just in case.

      On the survival pistol front, I like a .22 wheel gun as well, but having both a double action S&W Model 63 and a single action Colt Frontier Scout (both in .22LR), I would take the DA over the SA anytime. If you need to fire a SA pistol but you are freezing cold, have an injured hand, or any other impediment, it's going to struggle to pull back the hammer with any speed or safety.

      Now on the training front, SA revolvers make fine intro firearms, especially with children and new or nervous shooters.

  3. I agree with the author. The self defense community puts do the .22LR but no one ever wants to get shot by one. Similar to the 9mm – "Doesn't have the knock down power of the .45 ACP" – ya but there are plenty of mother f-ers in the ground right now because of the 9mm and the .22LR.

  4. The "good" days of 1000 rounds of 22lr for under 50.00 are long gone and have been for a while….Might want to update your pricing since 22lr has skyrocketed.

    • I doubt the shortage will last.

      .22 LR ammo has been a staple for 150 years and more is being made now than ever before. Not sure where it's going, but when the shortage bubble pops (just as the .223 did last year) the floodgates will open and ammo will be plentiful. At this time last year a case of .223 was just shy of a grand with dirty steel rounds over selling out at over 50 cents a bang. Now the shelves are buckling under the weight of all the available .223/5.56 ammo and the same rifles that went well north of a grand or two last year are now plentiful at $600.

      Two weeks ago I picked up a box of 525 rounds for ~$24. Around here .22 is available for about an hour when the truck rolls into town at various stores. Sometimes there's a lot, sometimes a little, but every week there's some.

      • Think about the shortage this way.

        Author says 2 Billion rounds annually – divided by 52 weeks a year.
        38,500,000+ rounds made per week – usually in a 500 round box.
        80,000+ 500 round boxes – lets say ALL is sold in the USA.
        1,500+ 500 round boxes per state, per week. Lets say 100 retailers per state.
        That is 15 boxes per retailer per week.

        That assumes we get ALL the production. The shortage might last longer than you think.

        • I agree with your numbers BamaMan. Scary isn't it.

          Assuming production and distribution has remained constant, then there is something else amiss.

          I was talking with a local ammo dealer and he said that according to multiple distributors, production of .22s is up but the supply chain is hijacked somewhere between the producer and the citizen consumer, and its not the military or government since their procurement numbers are unchanged.

          Even the hoarders don't count for much because there is too little to hoard.

          I predict that like the shortages of specific guns and ammo in the past, there will be a recovery, followed by a self-inflicted shortage out of habit hoarding. Then once the perceived scarcity wears off, there will be available ammo at past levels..

          But all this is predicated upon the colossal unknown X between the manufacturers and the retailers.

          If there was no shortage two years ago and the numbers were the same on the production and consumer-consumption side, then the unknown force at work in this equation is the only variable causing the shortage. And that variable cannot last forever.

          So, any ideas what X is?

          • Many people I know who are the retailer selling the ammo are "out" of ammo in the store and loaded with it in the back room. If this is happening at the retailer level and also to the layer or two of distributors then it could be a small amount of the problem, but probably not more than 20-30%.

            In some ways ammo is like Gold in the 1,800 an ounce days, someone is holding and its all speculative investing on price appreciation. Probably why so many went under.

    • last i saw ANY .22 lr was a brick of 500 for 40 bucks. and that was july 2014
      Walmart gets the occassional shipment in, but a bunch of good ole boys scarf it up non stop and resell at twice the price.

  5. The only issue I’ve had with my 10/22 Takedown is that it doesn’t seem to like the Butler Creek Steel Lips 25-round magazines I bought. Fortunately, Ruger now makes a 25-rounder…. 😀

    For those who like folding stocks and pistol grips on their 10/22 rifles, a company called AGP makes which eliminates the need to customize one of the existing aftermarket 10/22 stocks. I plan to purchase one in the very near future, and I’ll update this post once I’ve installed it and tried it out.

    • I with you on the BC Mags. Some have good luck with them, but not me. I own nothing but Ruger mags now. I got some of the clear 10 rounders and those are my favorites.

      Thanks for the stock link. I'm glad to see someone jump on the TD bandwagon with both a folding stock and color options. I wish Magpul would go after the 10/22 like they do the 870 and AR15. Now wouldn't that just shake things up.

      Looking forward to your update! Thanks.

  6. Great article. Well written and informative. I have a 10/22 TD and I am training my 7 year old on it. I have to say that I don’t think there is a better option for teaching proper weapons handling, maintenance, operations than this weapon. I also don’t think there is a better option for a prepared person to carry in almost any situation.

  7. @All; The 10/22 is the epitome of the perfect .22 rimfire rifle for survival. And while the TD model seems tailor made for bush pilots, I just don't see its use otherwise, where space isn't really a premium. I've heard people say that you can "hide it" in the wonderfully embroidered pack that comes with it….the one with the obvious Ruger logo on the "oddly tall" backpack. Instead of a "shoot me first" vest, you end up with a "shoot me first" backpack. I also don't see the point of turning a $200-$240 rifle into a $700 "tacti-cool" .22 rimfire rifle. Course if that's what you want to do then hokay. Now, speaking out of the other side of my mouth, I would recommend some A2 style iron sights from to improve "shootability" and therefore utility. You can buy all the parts to fix it as it has such an after market. You can prolly get stock trigger groups from guys that put the after market trigger groups in them. The 10/22 is certainly the best SA .22 rifle around for accuracy and dependability. Good post. Be well.

    • agreed…..if I hide a gun it is still got ammo in the magazine and certainly not broken down, regardless of how quick you can assemble.

    • I own both a standard and a take-down. The take-down with tech-sights (and nothing else) is my go to gun, not the standard. The case that comes with the take-down is not a back pack. It doesn't have back straps. It is only a carrying case with a handle. My purpose for a take-down is to conceal it, only when necessary. Better to have and not need then to need and not have. Broken down, you can fit it concealed (diagonally but barely) into an 18-1/2 " computer back pack, walk through NYC and no one would probably bat an eyelash over it. Urban and suburban camouflauge at it's best. Black colored pack would be suitable for the sticks as well. When not needed it concealed, keep assembled at all times and don't play with it. I've shot the take-down enough to be satisfied with it's accuracy. Can't talk about long term reliability but I don't intend to play around assembling and disassembling the rifle and wear out the locking mechanism.

  8. I’ll happily stick with the ol’ reliable Henry .22 Levergun; you achieve triple the ammo choices via .22 Short, Long and Long Rifle, at least comparable accuracy (better, in my experience) and Henry’s extreme reliability. Also, if concealability is an objective, the compact and affordable Mare’s Leg variant is not to be underestimated – it’s made to all the same specifications of a traditional Henry carbine and, quite frankly, one of the best d*mn little .22s I’ve ever took packing! Can you find better in capabilities? Arguable, but you’d be hard pressed to do so and doubtfully more in value…

    Also, it’s really not that hard to shoot without a traditional stock. It takes about 10 minutes to master the “aim with your cheek” method, no big deal!

  9. The 10/22 is a great gun! So are many other rifles and handguns firing this versatile cartridge, the 22LR. Depending on your needs/definition of a survival weapon, almost any well-made gun will work; certainly better than nothing! I personally carry a Ruger Mark 1 bull-barrel in a shoulder rig with 2 extra mags. which shoots accurately out to about 50 feet; which is about as far as I can reliable hit a rabbit-sized target! In a pinch, this can serve as a self-defense weapon, but if possible, my Ruger GP100 (.357 mag.) will be holstered at my side (with speed loaders) and my FAL slung over my shoulder; just in case survival turns into combat! AND, never forget a good knife or two, which in my opinion is the most important survival tool of all!

    • The usual three answers are none, traditional 4x scope, and red dot/holo. Personally, I would avoid any battery powered optic since that is in somewhat contradiction of the point of a survival rifle. For general shooting, red dots are fine, but if you hope to pull it out of a back sometime in the future, then avoid batteries and circuits.

      The traditional optic for a .22 is a fixed 4x, and that is what I would recommend. Variables are nice but you pay for them in price, weight, and durability.

      An issue with the 10/22 is that if you attach the rail on the action in order to mount an optic, the factory iron sights are 95% blocked. The channel running through the rail is just a hair below the front sight when aiming the gun. If you are comfortable with the rail essentially being the front sight, then shoot on, but I don't like it. The options are to 1) live with it, 2) avoid the rail and thus an optic as well, and 3) swap out the OEM iron sights for one of the many after-market sights of which I'd recommend giving the fiber optic ones a serious look.

      When I did have a scope on mine, I used a variable power Vortex. The Vortex warranty is much better than their inexpensive scopes, so I've been through a couple already. I used a UTG quick detach mount to connect the scope to the rail and found it exceptionally strong, fast, and retaining the zero. It's a beefy mount and wild overkill for a .22, but again, in the spirit of a takedown survival rifle, beefy is good. On, the mount is called the "UTG Max Strength QD Lever Lock Integral Picatinny Mounting Systems (1-Inch)."

  10. BTW, today, on May 24th, I picked up three 100 rnd .22 HP packs. As I was buying them an a employee said they had 1000 rnd boxes last week. Hopefully the hoarding is over.

  11. I don't get into guns much. I am a black belt in Karate, Taekwondo,Judo, jiu jitsu.
    Plus a lot of Hand to Hand combat.
    All i cary is a Kubaton and about 4 throwing knifes and maybe a star or two.

    • Hilarious… A "star" or two? Ok Mr. Seagal! I've never met a real martial artists that gave that mail order crap a second glance. I guess you just want to impress the police when they search you after getting your butt kicked at the local bar.

    • Stay focused here. We're talking about a .22LR rifle here; not about martial arts and martial arts add on weapons. Hopefully, you understand that a chubby, 70+ or 12 year old can take you down pretty easily with one of these from 50' away without you even knowing they are there.

  12. I like the article, but when I saw the word "review" I was hoping for a bit more information.

    Like, how's the trigger, out of the box? Get a trigger pull gauge and show us how your rifle was.

    How's it shoot? Any functioning problems with any ammo tried? What ammo did you try in it? Did you shoot it for groups at 50 yards, or 100? Optics or irons? If optics, what make and model?


  13. I just say "Chuck Norris" three times fast, and the magic man appears, and destroys whatever and whomever is bothering me. I don't need a weapon.

  14. Believe it or not, the butt plate can easily be pried off the stock and the stock stuffed with all kinds of gear, like extra ammo, lighters, water purification tablets, paracord, ziplocks, swiss army knives, etc. the butt plate can easily be replaced and secured with a screw (like from your sling swivel set) or simply replaced with a small size slip on rubber recoil pad. I have contacted Ruger and suggested they put a hinged butt plate on all their synthetic stocks to accommodate those who follow our thinking.

  15. as a employee of wal mart, i work on and stocked 22lr ammo when we got it in yes it was recently $50 per 1000 of winchester black ammo, and yes i got my hands on some for myself when i seen how people were getting over it, i felt my money was as good as everyone elses, i have maybe 12 bricks nowadays nothing comes in 22lr at all glad i grabbed some, yes i have a 1022 for about 30 years, it ran about $70 new it is a hell of a fun gun


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