Friday, September 10, 2010

Ruger 22 Charger Review - Part 1: In The Box & Exterior Features

Ruger Charger Review, Ruger Review, 10/22 Pistol Review, Ruger Pistol Review
Over 20 years ago my wife (girlfriend then) gave me a Ruger 10/22 as a college graduation gift.  If I try to estimate, I have probably gone through at least 4 to 5 bricks of ammo for this gun each year.  That's between 2000 and 2500 rounds a year at the minimum.  Today, my two daughters, son and wife can pick up that rifle and put most people to shame with their shooting abilities.  It's a great rifle and I consider it a "must have" for anyone who enjoys shooting.  About 3 years ago, my son who was 12 years old at the time, saved his money and purchased his first rifle which was Ruger 10/22.  I was glad for two reasons.  The first reason is that I consider the purchase a wise investment.  The second is that now I don't have to wait until my gun is free so I can shoot when we go shooting.

About two years ago we noticed the Ruger 22 Charger while at a gun show and thought it was a slick looking pistol.  After doing some research, we decided to purchase the Ruger 22 Charger and I thought it was another great investment.  I purchased the pistol from Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna, Gerogia.  Today, Adventure Outdoors lists the Charger at $299.  The photo below shows the pistol with a NcStar 2-7x32E Pistol Scope installed.

The following information in green italics was taken directly from the Ruger 22 Charger website and is what Ruger states about this pistol.

Long-Range Target Shooting and Small Game Hunting have always been a challenge for .22 rimfire shooters. Now the Ruger® 22 Charger™ Pistol provides a rock steady platform for those challenging shots. The time-tested Ruger 10/22® action and its superbly reliable rotary magazine have been paired with a warp-proof, ergonomically designed pistol stock and a precision-adjustable bipod.  
  • Caliber: .22 LR
  • Material: Alloy Steel
  • Finish: Black Matte
  • Sights: None Stock: Black Laminate
  • Barrel Length: 10.00"
  • Length: 19.25"
  • Height: 5.38"
  • Width: 2.00"
  • Weight: 56.00 oz. (3.5 pounds)- Note that this weight does not include the bipod.
  • Capacity: 10
  • Twist: 1:16" RH
  • Grooves: 6
  • ERGONOMICALLY DESIGNED PISTOL STOCK available in black laminate is warp-proof and maintains accurate zero.
  • PRECISION-ADJUSTABLE BIPOD offers rock steady sighting.
  • UNIQUE COMBINATION SCOPE BASE provides both Weaver®-style and "tip-off" scope mounts for all of today's optical sighting systems.
  • QUICK AND EASY MAG RELEASE allows for simple removal of the legendary Ruger 10-shot rotary magazine.
  • ALSO INCLUDES: soft case
 Some other valuable links are below:
When you purchase the Ruger 22 Charger, it comes with the following:
  • Charger Pistol
  • 10 round magazine
  • Shooters Ridge Model 40854 Bipod & Instructions
  • Charger Instruction Manual
  • Gun Lock & Instructions
  • Warranty Card

The case for the pistol is very simple and offers protection against scratches.  I'm not a big fan of this type of soft case when optics are involved, but it is still better than nothing.

The significant components are the pistol, magazine and bipod as shown below.  The great thing about this pistol is that it is the same action as the Ruger 10/22 and takes the same magazine.  Basically they took a 10/22 rifle, installed a 10" barrel, and put it on a pistol stock.

This next series of photos give you a good idea of the exterior features of the pistol.  I'm going to disassemble the pistol in another part of the review.  If you click on a photo, it will bring up a higher resolution photo.  The version of  this pistol shown has the Black Laminate stock.  The color of the stock in the photos accurately depicts the true color of my stock, which has a greenish tint.  Ruger has done an excellent job on the finish of this laminated stock.

Notice in the photos below the exended magazine release.  This is a difference from my older Ruger 10/22 rifles but appears to be common for all new Ruger 10/22 rifles.  In these photos you can see the 10 round rotary magazine is installed in the pistol.  This is the same magazine that is used in the rifles.  Over the years, I have found this to be the most reliable magazine for my 10/22 rifles and believe me I have worn out many plastic lip high capacity magazines.  Also shown is the cross bolt safety and the bolt lock, both of which I will cover more in Part 2 of the review.

Notice the recessed target crown and the warning stamped on the bottom of the barrel.  Ruger makes it very clear about the law and minimum barrel length on a rifle.  It may have been safer if they would have said "Warning - Do not install on a rifle stock".  FYI, if you are interested in "Short Barrel Rifles", you may want to look at this link to understand the associated legal issues.

The forend has an interesting curvature and swivel stud for mounting the bipod.

The matte finish on the receiver is different than from my other (older) Ruger 10/22 rifles.

The gun weighed in at 3.33 pounds without the magazine and bipod.

The empty magazine weighed in at 0.12 pounds.

The bipod weighed in at 0.64 pounds.

The total weight of the pistol with an empty magazine and the bipod installed is 4.10 pounds.  Clearly you can see that Ruger's advertised weight of the pistol is without the bipod.  Keep in mind that this weight does not include any optics/sights.  The final weight will be more depending on your choice of sights.

Bottom Line (Part 1):
Great job Ruger.  The Ruger 22 Charger has great eye appeal. The pistol feels good in your hand, but Ruger put a bipod on the 22 Charger for a reason. The balance of the pistol is front-end heavy and most shooters would be looking for some front end support anyway. If you are familiar with the Ruger 10/22 rifles, the 22 Charger pistol is basically a short barrel version with a pistol grip.  The pistol comes with no sights, so you need to figure that cost in up front when you purchase the pistol.

This review of the Ruger 22 Charger is broken down into multiple parts. Part 2 covers disassembly of the Ruger 22 Charger and Part 3 will cover range test results. Part 3 is in work and I will add links to this part of the review, so check back again soon.


  1. It feels so nice to remember those times when you got the Ruger 10/22 as a gift from your girlfriend. I think you really miss those moments, don't you? I personally like Ruger but unfornately I never got a chance to buy any of the firearms from Ruger. I have Glocks. Thanks mate for the review.

    MA Gun License

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