Having expanded from its original business as a maker of AR- and AK-style rifle stocks, magazines and accessories into the manufacture of sporting rifle stocks, Magpul Industries now offers three replacements for Ruger’s popular 10/22 semi-automatic rimfire rifle. The first, the Hunter X-22 (June 2016, p. 68) is a full-length model for standard guns while the latest two, the Hunter X-22 Takedown and X-22 Backpacker, fit the 10/22 Takedown model. The former is virtually identical in shape to its non-takedown counterpart, and the latter, reviewed here, is somewhat skeletonized and allows the separated rifle’s receiver/buttstock and barrel/fore-end sections to be clipped together, forming a unified 19.5"x5.4"x1.6" package. The stock is made of subtly textured polymer and is available in black, flat dark earth, stealth gray and olive drab green.
Assembly of the stock to our blued, standard-contour, threaded-barrel 10/22 Takedown was easy, requiring only a couple of minutes using an Allen wrench and the gun’s original stock and fore-end screws. An optional optic mount ($60), also from Magpul, took about 20 minutes more to install as it required that the barrel-mounted takedown mechanism be disassembled and its attachment block replaced with one included with the mount hardware. The mount’s 1.38", four-slot Picatinny rail is shaped to allow the use of the gun’s barrel-mounted factory iron sights, and is intended to accommodate a small red-dot optic. Because it remains directly attached to the barrel assembly during takedown of the gun, the optic’s zero does not shift between shooting sessions. Installation of the stock had no negative effects on the gun’s accuracy, and it weighed in at 4.7 ozs. less than that of a factory Takedown stock, lightening the overall package to 4 lbs., 4 ozs. without the optic mount, which adds another 3 ozs.
Like the company’s other 10/22 stocks, the X-22 Backpacker’s fore-end accommodates both standard-profile and 0.920"-diameter barrels. It is somewhat abbreviated in length in order to fit into a matching cutout in the buttstock. The buttstock features the company’s familiar, replaceable rubber buttpad and recesses for its optional push-button sling swivel cups on each side at its front and rear. The pistol grip, while shaped differently from previous designs, retains the pronounced angle for which the company’s rifle and shotgun stocks have received high marks, as it allows for a natural approach to the trigger and a relaxed but secure control of the firearm.
Most notable about the X-22 Backpacker, however, is a set of unique design features that transforms the gun into a self-contained survival rifle. Once the gun has been separated, the fore-end is inverted and the breech end of the barrel is inserted into a socket in the stock’s toe. Then, as the fore-end is pressed into the buttstock cutout, the two sections audibly snap together by way of a latch at the front of the fore-end. A storage compartment in the pistol grip is sealed with an O-ring-equipped cap and can be used for a spare parts or fire-starting supplies. A compartment under the cheekpiece, which hinges at its front after pressing a button at the stock’s heel, stores two factory 10-round magazines and additional ammunition or supplies. The cheekpiece can be quickly replaced with an included tall version for use with high-mounted optics.
The X-22 Backpacker stock for the 10/22 Takedown represents excellent value in a high-quality, well-designed accessory for one of the world’s most reliable rimfire actions, transforming it into one of the best self-contained survival rifle designs. It would be an ideal upgrade for a rifle stored in an off-road vehicle or aircraft—or one that might be transported on a bicycle, ATV or horse. Given its sound ergonomics and available accessories, the new stock will not only lend its host 10/22 Takedown a new lease on life, it may help preserve the life of its user in the process.