The Outdoorsmans Guide To Forever Free

The Outdoorsmans Guide To Forever Free

Rifle Review: Davidson’s Ruger 10/22 Takedown Backpacker

When it comes to semi-automatic 22 rimfire rifles, there’s a short list of iconic models that have really made their marks over a span of decades. These would include, in no particular order, the Remington Nylon 66, Marlin Model 60, Browning SA-22, and of course the Ruger 10/22. Of those, the Ruger is certainly the most-accessorized, with available aftermarket triggers, barrels, stocks, magazines, etc. Fortunately for us, Davidson’s has teamed up with Ruger and Magpul to create a really cool Backpacker version of the 10/22 Takedown rifle.

The 10/22 is a compact, handy rifle and I’ve been using them for more than 30 years… but this is my first experience with their Takedown model. And ya know what? I really like it.

The Ruger Backpacker 10/22 Takedown Magpul (Photo © Russ Chastain)

The Ruger Backpacker 10/22 Takedown Magpul
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

First, some specs:

  • Model: Ruger 10/22 Takedown Backpacker
  • Davidson’s item number: 31138
  • Stock: Magpul Magpul® X-22 Backpacker in Flat Dark Earth (includes cheek riser)
  • Front Sight: Williams Firesight Green Fiber Optic
  • Rear Sight: Williams Firesight Red Fiber Optic adjustable
  • Barrel: Satin Blued Steel
  • Barrel Twist: 1:16″ RH, 6 grooves
  • Threaded Muzzle (1/2″-28) with thread protector
  • Receiver: Alloy with black satin finish
  • Receiver drilled & tapped for scope mounts
  • Scope base adapter included for both Weaver and “rimfire tip-off” scope mounts.
  • Weight: 4.5 pounds spec. (Mine weighs 4.55 with all 4 empty magazines)
  • Barrel length: 16-3/8″
  • Overall Length Assembled: 34-1/8″
  • Approximate dimensions in Backpacker mode: 19-3/4″ x 5-1/2″ x 1-5/8″
  • Magazines: Includes 4 10-round magazines (3 stored in stock)
  • Oversized magazine release
  • MSRP: $514

Taking Stock

The Magpul X-22 Backpacker stock is a thoughtful and cool creation in and of itself. Here are the specs:

  • Platform: Ruger 10/22
  • Butt Pad Dimensions: 1.53 X 5.0 in.
  • Compatibility: Factory Ruger® 10/22 Takedown® 22 LR receivers
  • Length of Pull: 13.75 in.
  • Weight: 18.25 ounces
  • Width of Butt, max: 1.5″
  • Width of Forend, max: 1.625″
  • Width of Stock, max: 1.625″
  • 60 degree grip angle from bore axis
  • MOE SL nonslip rubber butt pad
  • Comes with interchangeable standard and “optic height” cheek risers
  • Integrated storage compartment in the grip
  • Hinged storage in butt stock capable of storing three spare magazines
  • Unique locking interface to attach the barrel assembly to the stock body when being transported
  • Optional QD sling mounting capability
The Magpul stock allows the two parts of the 10/22 to nest together. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

The Magpul stock allows the two parts of the 10/22 to nest together.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

I’m about as grown as I’m gonna get, but certain things still make me kinda giddy — and this rifle is one of them. Yes, a takedown rifle is cool — but one that stows the parts together is way cooler. And this stock is really pretty nifty.

When taken down and stowed together, it's pretty cool. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

When taken down and stowed together, it’s pretty cool.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

Something about the balance makes it nice to pick it up by the pistol grip while it’s stowed together.

The stock has holes for QD sling swivels, but the steel inserts are not included. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

The stock has holes for QD sling swivels, but the steel inserts are not included.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

Instead of the “Uncle Mike’s” type of sling studs I’m used to seeing on my hunting rifles, this one is set up for a more tactical approach. Once the steel inserts (not included) are installed in the holes in the stock, pushbutton sling swivels like this one can be used.

Note the barrel extension in this photo. When you stow it, that goes into a rubber piece in the butt stock. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

Note the barrel extension in this photo. When you stow it, that goes into a rubber piece in the butt stock.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

The Magpul X-22 Backpacker stock makes the most of the 10/22 Takedown, allowing considerable functionality in addition to allowing the two main parts of the rifle to stow together.

The barrel extension goes into that black rubber piece when you nest the two parts of the gun. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

The barrel extension goes into that black rubber piece when you nest the two parts of the gun.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

Stowing the barrel is easy, as is removing it to reassemble the rifle. Stock parts are well-fitted and have a nice texture; not too rough, but still easy to grip.

To remove the barrel & forend, squeeze the buttons on the sides to release it from the butt stock, then pivot it away from the butt stock. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

To remove the barrel & forend, squeeze the buttons on the sides to release it from the butt stock, then pivot it away from the butt stock.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

There’s even water-resistant storage in the pistol grip — and perhaps the stock’s biggest flaw: A storage cap (which they call a “grip core”) that doesn’t stay attached when open. I can’t say I really mind that for myself, but people have proven they can and will lose any and all gun parts that are not somehow attached.

This shows the pistol grip with storage cap in place. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

This shows the pistol grip with storage cap in place.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

That said, I don’t believe anyone will accidentally lose this cap on account of it falling out. The orange o-ring seal makes it a tight fit.

Depress a release and you can pull out the cap (Magpul calls it a "grip core"). It has an O-ring seal for water resistance. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

Depress a release and you can pull out the cap (Magpul calls it a “grip core”). It has an O-ring seal for water resistance.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

I measured a good 3-1/2 inches of storage depth beyond the space occupied by the cap.

The storage area is pretty deep. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

The storage area is pretty deep.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

I received this rifle the day before I went on a hunt, and it was sort of a last-minute thing. After I got it home, I started looking around at the stock just taking it all in. At the time, I knew nothing about this model.

That part on top opens up. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

That part on top opens up.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

When you see a latch on a rifle stock, you naturally open it up to see what’s inside. So I did — expecting to find some sort of empty storage area.

Slide the black latch to open the butt stock storage. Hinge is on the right. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

Slide the black latch to open the butt stock storage. Hinge is on the right.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

Imagine my surprise when I opened it up and was faced with three spare 10-round magazines! Awesomesauce.

Three extra magazines in the stock! Cue the angelic choir. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

Three extra magazines in the stock! Cue the angelic choir.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

Yep — this rifle comes with a total of 4 10-round Ruger rotary magazines.

Oh. My. Goodness. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

Oh. My. Goodness.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

There’s a removable divider, which can be removed (there’s a place to store it so it doesn’t get lost) so you can store one mag and a box of ammo, if you wish.

The black divider can be removed so you can store other stuff, such as boxes of ammo. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

The black divider can be removed so you can store other stuff, such as boxes of ammo.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

Yep, I’ve gotta say this is one nice stock for this rifle. I like the Flat Dark Earth (FDE) color, too. My main dislike is that I have to really shove my face way down on the cheek rest in order to aim it… so it could use a smidge more drop.

If you have a 10/22 Takedown and you don’t have this stock, well that’s kind of a bummer… but you can buy one. It will work with sporter and bull barrels, and it’s currently listed on the Magpul website for $109.95 in black, gray, and FDE.

The Rifle

When the time comes to take your 10/22 Takedown apart, it’s a real piece of cake. Slide the locking lever forward, and with the bolt pulled back either slightly or all the way, rotate the barrel 1/4 turn clockwise (as viewed from the rear of the firearm). Then slip the barrel out of the receiver. Done!

That silver thing in the oblong hole is the takedown latch. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

That silver thing in the oblong hole is the takedown latch.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

The first time you assemble the barrel to the receiver, you should adjust the knurled knob to remove “slop” between barrel and receiver. I failed to do this before I fired it for the first time, and the fit between barrel and receiver was a bit loose — but it fired every time and was accurate enough. It tightened it up nicely when I actually followed the adjustment directions.

Front view of receiver, sans barrel. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

Front view of receiver, sans barrel.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

The Ruger Takedown system is pretty nice, and I believe it’s the fastest, easiest takedown system I’ve used.

Rear view of barrel. Yes, it's dirty -- this thing is fun to shoot! (Photo © Russ Chastain)

Rear view of barrel. Yes, it’s dirty — this thing is fun to shoot!
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

I like the sights — this is no surprise, as I’ve long been a fan of Williams gun sights — but I do have some qualms about the way the rear sight hangs back to the rear. This is not much of an issue when the gun is assembled due to its close proximity to the receiver, but when nested for transport it would be fairly easy to snag the rear sight on something. Of course, the outermost things will always be your sights when it’s stowed, so care must be taken.

One of the few things I don't like is that the rear sight is vulnerable to snagging. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

One of the few things I don’t like is that the rear sight is vulnerable to snagging.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

As usual for a 10/22, the front sight is dovetailed into an integrated steel riser. Finish is as expected for a Ruger: Serviceable but a tad rough. The included thread protector works well when you’re not running a suppressor.

This rifle was zeroed just fine from the factory — but the sights are so low that I almost can’t get my cheek low enough on the butt stock to properly see the sights. So the comb of this stock seems to be a smidge on the high side.

Front sight is dovetailed in place. Muzzle is threaded and comes with this knurled thread protector. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

Front sight is dovetailed in place. Muzzle is threaded and comes with this knurled thread protector.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

End of thread protector is flush with muzzle when installed.

Muzzle. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

Muzzle.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

The crown is deeply beveled to protect the rifling — and on a takedown rifle there’s no reason the crown would ever be damaged by a cleaning rod.

Threads and crown both look good. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

Threads and crown both look good.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

The painted alloy receiver is drilled & tapped for mounting optics or a peep sight. I have a Williams peep sight installed via the rear two holes on my old walnut-stocked 10/22.

Receiver is drilled & tapped for optics or a peep sight. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

Receiver is drilled & tapped for optics or a peep sight.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

Ruger includes a scope base and four screws. The base will accept Weaver-style scope rings or the narrow dovetail “tip-off” scope mounts often used for rimfire scopes.

This scope base is included. It accepts both Weaver-style and rimfire "tip-off" scope mounts. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

This scope base is included. It accepts both Weaver-style and rimfire “tip-off” scope mounts.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

If you install a scope, you may wish to swap out the cheek rest, a.k.a. butt stock storage compartment lid, with this one.

A cheek riser is included; it replaces the standard-height storage lid on the butt stock if you choose to mount a scope. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

A cheek riser is included; it replaces the standard-height storage lid on the butt stock if you choose to mount a scope.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

Receiver without the barrel installed. No, you can't shoot it like this. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

Receiver without the barrel installed. No, you can’t shoot it like this.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

I really like this rifle, and I almost wish I didn’t… because I might have to buy it instead of sending it back.

That said, I’m not a fan of the extended magazine release. I find it easier to remove a 10/22 magazine the old-fashioned way; simply grab the magazine with thumb and forefinger, naturally pushing in the mag release with the thumb, and pull it out of the rifle.

With the extended release, there’s no way you can actually grab the magazine to pull it out… so I’ll have to re-train myself in order to use this one well.

This shows the gap between barrel and stock when stowed. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

This shows the gap between barrel and stock when stowed.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

I like the way it stores, I like the way it goes together, and I like the way it shoots. The trigger pull is not nearly as bad as it could be, weighing in at a mildly-creepy 5 pounds. I do appreciate the grooved surface Ruger now uses on these triggers.

It comes with 4 Ruger magazines! They worked great, even with old cheap bulk ammo. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

It comes with 4 Ruger magazines! They worked great, even with old cheap bulk ammo.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

This little rifle is fun, practical, and good-looking. All four of the magazines functioned just fine, with the gun giving me only one hiccup; while rapid-firing cheap bulk ammo, I got a single stovepipe jam. I was just happy they all went bang; some of the older bulk-pack 22 ammo isn’t super reliable.

Includes manual, Magpul instructions, optics mount, cheek riser, and obligatory cable lock. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

Includes manual, Magpul instructions, optics mount, cheek riser, and obligatory cable lock.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

If I had to complain about anything, it would be that the cheek rest is a tad too high for comfortable aiming, and the extended magazine release is going to take some getting used to. Other than that, this is a nice portable popper that you can cram in your backpack to take on a trip — along with plenty of mags stored right there in the stock.

This is one fun, cool little rifle. (Photo © Russ Chastain)

This is one fun, cool little rifle.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

I don’t always fall in love with the firearms I test, but in this case there’s some definite affection involved. Ya think they’ll take a 1977 walnut-stock 10/22 in trade for it? Me neither…

Give the Davidson’s Ruger 10/22 Takedown Backpacker a good hard look if you’re in the market for a takedown 22.

The post Rifle Review: Davidson’s Ruger 10/22 Takedown Backpacker appeared first on AllOutdoor.com.

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