by B. Gil Horman - Tuesday, September 20, 2016
There's never a dull moment in Ruger's 10/22 rimfire rifle department. Thanks to the platform's continuing popularity, the company has released an eagerly anticipated new model, the 10/22 Takedown Lite. This version of the rifle combines the convenience of a rifle that splits in half for easy storage with a reduced-weight target barrel and modular stock system.
Like other 10/22s chambered in .22 Long Rifle, the Takedown Lite is a blowback-operated semi-automatic rifle that feeds from a removable rotary box magazine. In this case, the rifle arrives with one of Ruger's patented BX-10 10-round magazines that fits flush with the stock. The rifle will also accept a variety of increased-capacity aftermarket magazines.
The Lite in the Takedown Lite's name refers to the design of the barrel. Starting at the receiver’s knurled adjustment ring, the first 3.5" of the blued alloy steel barrel has a .920" diameter, much like a target bull barrel. From the 3.5" mark forward, the barrel is milled down to a pencil thin profile and fitted with a ventilated aluminum sleeve that maintains the .920" diameter.
At the muzzle, the thin portion of the barrel is fitted with a specialized nut that's tightened against the aluminum sleeve to generate tension so as to reduce the flexing of the barrel when a round is fired. The result is a level of barrel rigidity comparable to a bull barrel at a fraction of the weight. In fact, the Takedown Lite weighs about 2 oz. less than the standard profile barrel version and 13 oz. less than the fluted bull barrel Takedown. The muzzle extends 0.40" beyond the tension nut and is threaded at ½"-28 TPI for accessories including muzzle breaks, flash hiders and Ruger's Silent-SR .22 Caliber sound suppressor. A knurled steel thread protector is provided.
The matte black aluminum receiver is drilled and tapped to accept the provided scope base which is compatible with Weaver-style scope rings and .22 tip-off scope mounts. The bolt assembly and trigger group are factory standard. The grooved single-stage polymer trigger exhibited a smooth 6 lbs. 1 oz. trigger pull. An extended polymer magazine release lever is located in front of the rounded polymer trigger guard. Just behind the magazine release is a round-button cross-bolt safety.
The Takedown Lite is fitted with the company's lightweight black composite 10/22 Modular Stock System that was introduced with the 50th Anniversary model in 2014. The shoulder stock's comb and butt plate are a single polymer unit, or module, that can be removed from the stock by loosening the rear sling swivel stud. The module can then be replaced with interchangeable replacements that increase or reduce the comb height and length of pull. The Takedown Lite arrives with two stock modules, each providing a standard 13.75” length of pull, with one unit providing a taller comb for use with an optic. The fore-end and grip are lightly textured for improved purchase and the base of the grip sports the Ruger logo in red.
The rifle and its accessories arrive in a convenient custom soft-carry case. Instead of a backpack, this case is a flat shooting-bench configuration. One side of the interior is all loop-side fastener that allows the various retention straps and buffer pads to be removed and adjusted. The other side is dedicated to large zippered pockets for ammunition and additional magazines.
The steps for separating the two halves of the rifle are the same as other Takedown 10/22 models. To start, lock the bolt back into the open position and remove the magazine. After verifying that the rifle is completely unloaded, depress and hold the takedown lever located on the underside of the shoulder stock. While holding the lever, twist the barrel assembly counterclockwise and then pull it free of the receiver. Reverse the steps to put the rifle back together.
One of the challenges of testing rimfire rifles these days is the ongoing general shortage of .22 Long Rifle ammunition. It's not as bad as it was several months ago when there was nothing on dealers’ shelves at all. I still can't find .22 at the local big-box stores but it's now regularly in stock at some sporting goods stores and gun shops. That being said, procuring .22 ammunition is still a matter of buying what you can find instead of picking the loads you prefer.
When it comes to the 10/22's reliability with a variety of ammunition, there's little to worry about. This platform is one of the least ammunition-sensitive guns I've worked with. And as expected, this 10/22 hummed right along without any malfunctions. There weren't any faulty primers to gum up the works either.
What about the barrel’s accuracy? I could have fished out a couple of premium target and competition loads that I have squirreled away for a rainy day. But how useful are accuracy results with loads that are not readily available? I opted instead to conduct the formal bench rested five-shot group accuracy testing of the Takedown Lite's tensioned target barrel using two quality bulk-box loads and a new hunting load that I've been able to acquire in the last couple of months. Bullet velocity was measured using a LabRadar chronograph.
With an Alpen Optics Kodiak 3-9x40 mm Wide Angle scope mounted to the rifle, Aguila Ammunition Interceptor 40-gr. copper-plated solids left the barrel at an average of 1390 fps. with a best single group of 1.21" and a five group average of 1.36". Browning Ammunition’s new BPR Performance Rimfire 40-gr. lead round-nose loads traveled at 1215 fps. with a best group of 1.44" while averaging 1.54". CCI Ammunition recently started shipping the new Copper-22 small-game round, which is topped off with a lightweight 21-gr. hollow-point bullet composed of copper dust pressed into a polymer binder. With a listed velocity of 1850-fps., the Copper-22 turned in a muzzle velocity of 1737 fps. with a best single group of 1.32" and an average of 1.40".
Out of curiosity, I went back to the accuracy results of the standard profile threaded barrel Takedown I tested a couple of years ago. When those accuracy results are averaged together and compared to the averaged results of the Takedown Lite, the Lite version of the rifle shaved down the group sizes by 0.25" across the board using similar types of ammunition. This is not exactly a jaw dropping increase in accuracy. However, it seems likely that those shooters who choose to upgrade the Takedown Lite’s trigger group and use premium target ammunition will see the kinds of improved accuracy they’re looking for. For those who want to stick to the factory package, the Lite barrel does perform better than the standard profile model.
The latest version of Ruger's 10/22 semi-automatic .22 Long rifle, the Takedown Lite, continues the company's reputation for reliability and innovation. I'll admit that a configuration like this one is what I was secretly hoping for when the platform was first announced. The lightweight barrel, threaded muzzle, extended magazine release and modular stock system all lend themselves to competitive shooting events and use in the field. Along with the factory standard black version of this gun the Takedown Lite is also available in blue, red and green as exclusive offerings from various distributors.
Manufacturer: Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc.
Model: 10/22 Takedown Lite (#21152)
Action: Blowback-Operated Semi-Automatic
Caliber: .22 Long Rifle
Barrel: Alloy Steel Barrel Tensioned in Black Aluminum Sleeve
Muzzle: ½"-28 TPI Threading with 0.920" Thread Protector
Receiver: Matte Black Aluminum
Stock: Black Polymer Modular Stock System
Optics: Combination Scope Base for Weaver and Tip-off Type Scope Mounts
Barrel Length: 16.10"
Overall Length: 34.62"
Length of Pull (LOP): 13.75”
Capacity: 10-round Rotary Magazine
Twist: 1:16” RH
Rifle Grooves: 6
Accessories: One 10-Round Magazine, Scope Base, Soft Case, Low Comb Stock Module, High Comb Stock Module, Lock, Owner's Manual
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