The USA: The Ultimate Survival Arm

In the never-ending journey for the ultimate survival arm, a quest buried deep in the DNA of everyone concerned Best Survival Riflewith preparedness, yet another giant leap in the evolution of survival arm capability just spread it wings across the USA (via gun stores, UPS and FedEx). The Magpul X-22 Backpacker Stock for the Ruger 10/22 Takedown is finally available!

By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and

Karambit Knife

It took almost 50 years for Ruger to take the 10/22 from a one-piece 37” wooden stocked masterpiece to a two-piece 37” plastic stocked vision of the future.  Then a scant five years later, Magpul teased us with it’s X-22 Backpacker at SHOT Show 2017. Magpul took the essence of the Takedown to it’s rightful destiny creating a dynamic, integrated, self-contained survival rifle that is just at home in a home, active in the field, or packed away discreetly in a the bug out bag.

For the moment, and likely for many more moments into the future, a Magpul X-22 Backpacker stock filled with Ruger 10/22 and upgrades is the best, yes the best option for such a compact bullet-throwing machine. Add in the shear depth of importance of such an item when the SHTF making every decision and purchase and rifle build just that much more critical. So for this build, I addressed three particular survival gun tangents that are critical to preparedness and performance. The three tangents are 1) Mobility and Concealment, 2) Operational Accountability, and 3) Overall Durability.

Magpul Magic

On the Mobility and Concealment side of things, the stock and a daypack sum up the magic of this tangent. SBRs or Best Short Survival RifleShort Barreled Rifles are advantageous, not in long range shooting, but dexterity and speed. Uncle Sam needs at least 16 full inches of barrel to avoid the SBR label, and this U.S.A. build delivers on that four-squared promise, but when separated into pieces, all bets are off. No matter the law, you have the right, without tax or paperwork (in my neck of these here USA woods anyway) to carry a short rifle as long as it takes time to assemble it into a viable weapon from pieces as long as the pipe is 16 inches chamber to muzzle.

Also Read: Ruger 10-22 Takedown Review

Operational Accountability is both a critical step and demand. As much as I would like firearms to flow from factories with the utmost of perfection there is an unfortunately large number of almosts, nearlys, and close-enoughs. And those are just the ones that work out of the box. In the case of the 10/22, there are some maddening aspects of the gun that Ruger really need apply some attention. Look, I get that Bill Ruger, had specific intents for the 10/22 back before we ever went to the moon, but today, more than five decades later, we have greater expectations that need addressing. Lucky Ruger has plenty of help namely from TandemKross, Volquartsen, and now Magpul.

So to turn up the volume on Operational Accountability, it means that those elements you see fit to enhance on the 10/22 platform are all fair game and likely even some aftermarket competition in that particular space.

Durability is found in both design and materials. The for a semi-automatic, the 10/22 is remarkably durable, but it pure pitcher made in usa EPIC20 english 99.99 400x250 USAdoes have its wear points and limits. Essentially, the 10/22 is an aluminum receiver shell holding steel parts and pins connected to a blued or stainless barrel. The trigger group has some non-ferrous parts, and of the few spring, only one is actually needed to get the rifle to fire. Two if you want the trigger to reset. Three if you want the bolt to cycle. Four if you want the case to eject, and five and six if you want the magazine to stay inserted and actually feed. With a little help and low expectations, it’s often surprising just how few parts are required to make a bang. All the rest of the parts and cost are only essential for making subsequent bangs.

Taking Stock in Stock

The origin of this Ultimate Survival Arm build centers on Magpul’s new X-22 Backpacker stock for the Ruger 10/22 Best 10-22 StockTakedown rifle. Magpul has been in the stock business since shortly after it’s start in 1999. Magpul eased into the residential gun market using the Remington 700 bolt action as the transitional bridge between military pattern accessories to hunting and target shooting upgrades. It seems everything Magpul’s polymer finger touches turns to gold. And the Ruger 10/22 is no exception. Currently Magpul makes three stocks for the Ruger 10/22 rifle. The X-22 Hunter for non-takedown 10/22s, the X-22 Hunter Takedown, and now the X-22 Backpacker Takedown. And it is this latter and latest stock that is catching the attention of just about everyone with more than a passing interest in the Ruger 10/22 Takedown. In fact a few folks I’ve talked to are interested in getting a 10/22 takedown just to take advantage of this new Magpul X-22 Backpacker stock.

The magic of the Magpul X-22 Backpacker stock is that when in two pieces, the foregrip portion of the pair snaps into a receiving mechanism in the main stock locking together the two halves of the 10/22 Takedown rifle. The single unit now can be packed, carried, and mounted numerous ways without concern of separation all while the chamber-end of the barrel is protected inside the receiving hole of the buttstock. The barrel is attached with the top pointed away from the stock meaning that the two halves will mate perfectly regardless of optics or top-rail mounted accessories.

Related: EOTech vs Aimpoint

The Magpul X-22 Backpacker stock has two storage compartments, one on the stock’s comb under a swinging door Survival Riflethat also provides an adjustable cheek weld platform.  A suggested use for this particular compartment is to store extra Ruger 10-round rotary magazines. The space will easily hold three mags, or one mag and a box of shells. The aft end of the compartment dips down about three inches allowing some creative options for storing cleaning supplies or survival gear.

The second storage closet is a lightly watertight O-ring sealed compartment inside the grip similar to those found on AR-15 pistol grips. It is less convenient to access and of interesting shape, but a great long-term storage that leans towards those items you may or may not need anytime soon.

Takedown Lowdown

The rifle choice for the Magpul X-22 Backpacker stock is limited to the Ruger 10/22 Takedown. However, there are many options when it comes to off-the-gun-shelf Takedown variations and almost every part has an aftermarket option. For this U.S.A. build, I kept everything Made in America, and about the only true Ruger parts were found in the receiver, and the mags. Alway use Ruger’s mags. Well, at least until Magpul addresses that. Of the two larger pieces I swapped out, the Magpul X-22 Backpacker stock was the obvious starting point. After that was the pipe. So for the barrel, I chose the Volquartsen carbon fiber bull barrel for its lightweight yet durability composite design, improved accuracy, and thread muzzle. The optic mounting platform on Volquartsen’s barrel is a bolted-on five inch rail that rides above the barrel. The rail is reversible so to minimize the overall length of the folded X-22 Backpacker, the rail was reversed. The downside is that optics are moved further down the barrel and away from the eye. Running a red dot sight on this platform, however, is not significantly affected. And speaking of red dots…

A Dot of Red

For this project, I selected the American made Leupold Deltapoint Pro red dot sight. It is a fine sight that plants a Best Red Dot for Survival Riflerock solid crystal clear red dot on the target. It mounts securely on a standard rail, and is operated by a center push-button just behind the glass display window. Running on the common battery that is changeable without removing the sight from its base such as is required with the Trijicon RMR sights that I used on my Katrina Pistol project.

The Leupold Deltapoint Pro mount attaches with a simple twist of a 3/32” Allen wrench. And that’s the same 3/32” wrench that will separate the DeltaPoint Pro from the Cross Slot Mount, or retighten it to the rail. Additionally, Leupold thoughtfully provided a removable rubber housing that completely covers the DeltaPoint Pro when not in use.

Red dot sights are an incredible invention that gives superpowers to new shooters and simplifies the aiming process when any number of events intervenes with aligning the muzzle and target. In fact, the parallax-free wonderment of spec-ops grade red dot optics leaves little to the imagination: Dot = hit. Well, more or less.

But Wait, There’s More…

A couple other things I built into my build before taking it to the field include Magpul QD ports, a sling, a few receiver action upgrades, and some magazine enhancements. The Magpul X-22 Backpacker stock contains two double-sided round ports for accessory Quick Detach (QD) plugs. I added QD ports fore and aft, which then begged for a sling. The Magpul MS1 Sling with QD points to be exact.

There are four receiver action upgrades I feel are essential for every one of my 10/22s. So when I started this U.S.A. Survival RifleUltimate Survival Arm build, I immediately headed to the TANDEMKROSS website. The four essentials include 1) a better extractor, 2) a bolt buffer, 3) a bolt release plate, and 4) a Takedown Knob that allows you to free the receiver from the stock without tools. While this last upgrade may not be critical for occasional firing operation of the 10/22, but for those of us who launch lead with the 10/22 on a regular basis, taking the system apart is a common practice. So imagine when things go south and you don’t have a nice gun cradle and cleaning supplies, you will thank me and TandemKross for a simple solution to unplug your Ruger receiver from the stock. At that point, you can knock out any necessary pins and work on your gun with reckless abandon.

Related: The Katrina Pistol

The bolt-release plate makes up for Ruger’s insistence that one fiddle with an oddly behaving piece of sheet metal in Best Survival Rifleorder to close the bolt. For a few bucks and a few minutes, you can install TandemKross’s Guardian Bolt Release. And then your 10/22 bolt behaves just like a good bolt should.

As a semi-auto, ejection of a spent case is just as important as feeding a live round. And the key to a good ejection is a good ejector. The stock 10/22 ejector is nothing special, likely make of the same stamped steel as other receiver parts. However, the hooked end on this tiny piece of metal is where all the important stuff happens. If the hook doesn’t grab the case firmly and instantly during its one shot at it, a failure will occur. By using hardened tool steel and a stronger spring, TandemKross’s Eagle’s Talon extractor is an essential upgrade even if the end of the world is not in your plans.

The final essential, so to speak, is a non-metal bolt stop. At the back of the 10/22 receiver is a pin that the bolt The Answer Water Bottle Filtration Solution 300x250crashes into when the gun is fired. While rare, with enough collisions bad things can happen. But the simple remedy is to replace the bolt stop with a bolt buffer. The buffer is a softer polymer material that the bolt can slam into all day long without complaining. Plus it’s quieter, produces a softer vibration, and won’t fall out into the mud should you need to remove your receiver from the stock while outdoors.

Move Out

One of the great things about the QD attachment points is they are at the polar opposites of the stock side of of this stock. With a total length of 19.5 inches, the buttstock of this stock is surprisingly short. That means a small footprint on your back, in your daypack, backpack, car, truck or Bug Out Bag. And it is this last area where I think my Magpul X-22 Backpacker will shine. But for more on that, you will have to wait for part 2 of this story.



7 thoughts on “The USA: The Ultimate Survival Arm”

  1. I'm sorry, but I fail to see why this particular set-up is a 'ultimate survival arm'. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of the 10/22, but to me a survival rifle should be inexpensive (I didn't see a price tag on this set-up) and have room for a small kit and extra ammo (250 rounds minimum). I assume that this set-up still needs to be carried in the Ruger backpack since the receiver and barrel front end appear to be open to unwanted intruders. One BX25 mag (as well as the 10rd. mag. in the mag. well), 250 rds. of ammo (not loose), a good neck knife, a ferro rod or lighter, a cleaning kit, a small metal cup to boil water in, a small non-electric scope in a semi-hard, water-resistant case are IMHO the minimal kit needed for a 'survival' rifle. I like the AR-7 but it takes too long to assemble, has almost no ammo storage (24 rds., really!), no room for a kit and lastly, the accuracy isn't much better than a good target handgun! If the 10/22 Ruger takedown had a aftermarket 24" bull barrel then I'd be one of the first buyers, a survival situation is one that may not allow a missed shot, accuracy is key! GLAHP!

    • I hear you Roger. But we differ on a few things. Regarding the price tag, I often work backwards, not forward meaning that cost is a consideration much later tin the equation I rarely start out with artificial or arbitrary limits as that changes the performance dynamic before ever venturing outdoors with the creation. For the record, this whole gun, carbon fiber barrel, red dot, etc. comes in at less than a decent quality AR15 would cost these days. Not even a billet one. Just a name brand with good furniture.

      And at no time will the Ruger backpack be used. In fact the USA does not fit in the backpack securely so why bother.

      Yes, the muzzle and the receiver are exposed. But solutions are on the way. More on that in part two. And also in part two will be some ammo suggestions, survival gear options, and even barrel options with sight options. The USA written about above was a concept. Now that concept is in the field being tested. Yes there will be some changes and tangents explored, but the more I use it the more I stand by my name USA: Ultimate Survival Arm.

  2. I am with Roger on this one, first you have to assemble the rifle to use it that is not svelte / graceful IMHO.
    Looking at the ballistics a rifle barrel of 18 inches only increases the velocity by a couple hundred feet per second over a 5 inch barrel pistol.
    A Ruger MK IV comes in a 6.88 inch barrel looses less than 100 foot over a rifle of 18 inches .

    Just for kicks I like a rifle and a pistol in the same caliber especially when one will hold a hicap mag like the BX-25 while the MK versions hold 10. If I was forced to load lite I would rather go with a long barrel pistol 6 to 7 inches barrel and balance the rest with ammo & mags..
    another route but not as slim is the Ruger charger takes all hicap mags and has a 10 inch barrel but I can see where thin is better in a shoulder holster most times.

    • Funny thing about this is that it is a 2 MOA rifle, not a one MOA gun. So the question is "do you feel lucky? Well, do you Punk?"

      Seem in today's world, that non+perfect accuracy is the same as worthless. Too bad. There is much to be gained by the Magpul Backpacker 10/22 takedown. Using up five seconds as a big deal to snap together a damn good rifle is nothing more than fake news. I'm happy with the performance of this gun, and have no trouble believing the Hollywood hype is behind the need for raged single hole sub-moa performance.

      On the real SHTF battlefield, the need for skill and optimum efficiency trumps insane accuracy. I'm happy with my Backpacker. And you will ….or you won't. Only the apocalypse will tell.

  3. I have been debating a Marlin Papoose at only 3 1⁄4 lbs, or a setup like this: 10/22. Magpull x22, and carbon fiber barrel. However I don't know about using a battery operated red dot for a survival rifle… But hey its light, compact and works great when there is juice in the batteries. I am interested to know what is the final weight of your setup? The standard 10/22 take down is 4.6 lbs.


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