Ruger 10/22 Takedown Lite review, lead
Photo by Sarah Dabbs
 Comment(s)

In a nutshell, the Ruger 10/22 is the most popular .22-caliber rifle in the U.S. In fact, I’d go as far to say that the 10/22 is as well known in the gun world as Coke and Apple are to the rest of the world. Simple, reliable, mass produced and reasonably priced, Ruger has tweaked and customized this rifle unlike any other rimfire model. The basic rifle is eminently serviceable, and the number of useful products available to maximize its design is vast. Then there’s the Takedown variant, which could be the one gun to save your life in a SHTF situation. Let’s take a closer look, specifically at the Ruger 10/22 Takedown Lite.

Evolution to the Ruger 10/22 Takedown Lite

Introduced in 1964, there are more than 5 million 10/22s in service. Using the basic 10/22 chassis as a starting point for the Takedown, Ruger engineers cut the gun in half and added a cam mechanism that enables the shooter to easily detach the barrel and forend for storage or transport without tools. The revolutionary rotary magazine packs 10 rounds of .22 LR ammunition in a space small enough to mount flush with the stock.

Ruger’s latest upgrade to the classic 10/22 line is the Takedown Lite. A ventilated, aluminum barrel shroud minimizes weight, and the addition of the weatherproof Ruger Modular Stock System with replaceable comb inserts (the user can select a standard or elevated comb) provides a better cheekweld. Replacing the comb insert is easy: simply unscrew the rear sling swivel stud, drop the insert in place and replace the stud.

The Takedown Lite comes with a nylon carrying case that looks a bit like a briefcase. The interior includes straps that hold the components in place, as well as zippered pouches for the manual, gun lock and ammunition. The outside of the case sports a Velcro patch with the Ruger logo. However, if you’re going low profile, you can easily remove it. When the gun is broken down and stowed, you can pretty much stroll anywhere without attracting attention.

Adding a Sight

Ruger 10/22 Takedown Lite review, testing
Photo by Sarah Dabbs

The 10/22 is a fine rifle in its own right, but few firearms lend themselves better to accessorizing. The 10/22 Takedown Lite comes standard with Ruger’s removable scope mount, which takes only about 10 minutes to attach. You just have to remove the tiny screw plugs with a jeweler’s screwdriver, orient the scope rail and affix it with the included screws and a dab of thread locker. Keep in mind, though, that the Takedown Lite won’t fit in its case with an attached optic. My solution was to use a quick-detach, throw-lever mount, which I topped with an EOTech Holographic Weapon Sight (HWS).

The HWS isn’t cheap, but it’s state of the art. Mine includes the convenient throw-lever mount and returns to zero every time. It also projects a true holographic reticle out to infinity (it overlies the target regardless of the range). I experience a little parallax shift when I look through the sight from an angle, but not much, and it remains close to being on target if part of the glass screen is shattered or shot through. It’s also one of the fastest electronic sighting solutions available at any price.

Further Accessorizing

During the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, high-capacity 10/22 magazines sold like weed at Woodstock. Prices got nuts, and supply dried up in short order. Today, several reputable manufacturers produce these magazines at a reasonable cost, so for the time being, all is good.

The muzzle of the Takedown Lite has standard 1/2×28-tpi threading, and the gun isn’t really living up to its potential without a proper sound suppressor. Gemtech’s Outback is a robust, time-proven suppressor; I shot mine on my Walther P22 until the pistol’s slide broke in half, which took thousands of rounds to accomplish. Walther also fixed the gun in nine days for free. Ten years and a lot of hard use later, I haven’t cleaned the suppressor beyond giving it a quick wipe down; it remains as effective as the day I picked it up from the gun shop.

I live right near Winchester Ammunition, which produces several million rounds of .22 LR ammunition per day. However, .22 LR rounds haven’t been available at my local Walmart for three years, but I finally found a reliable online source. My ammo of choice is Winchester’s M-22 Subsonic load. Loaded to high-subsonic velocities for autoloading guns, it functions reliably but dispenses with the annoying sonic crack that accompanies supersonic rounds fired out of a suppressed firearm. The 45-grain bullets are plated black, and quality powders produce minimal fouling. It’s pretty much made to order for this platform.

Range Time

rifle bag, bugout rifle, .22 LR Rifle
Photo by Sarah Dabbs

If you take your time, you can get the Takedown Lite out of the zippered case and fully functional—complete with an EOTech HWS, Gemtech suppressor and extended magazine—in about 30 seconds. Move with purpose and you could likely cut that time in half.

At the range, I burned through a brick of Winchester M-22 rounds without a failure and could lay my rounds right where I wanted them using the HWS out to 75 meters, which was the limit of my range space. After I finished the group-shooting portion of the evaluation, I spent the rest of the afternoon popping stumps and bouncing cans to my heart’s content.

There are endless applications for a proper utility rifle that you can carry in public without alarming people. The argument could also be made that a nicely accessorized Ruger 10/22 is literally the ultimate survival gun. It enables you to fill your cooking pot. It also enables you do a good job of protecting you and your brood against anyone trying to hurt you or rob you of your supplies.

If your bug-out plan involves traveling in built-up spaces covertly, or if you’d just like to tote your .22 LR rifle out to your car without getting a nasty look from that nosy neighbor, the Ruger 10/22 Takedown Lite has you covered. For more information, visit Ruger.com.

Ruger 10/22 Takedown Lite Specs

  • Caliber: .22 LR
  • Barrel: 16.12 inches
  • Overall Length: 34.62 inches 
  • Weight: 4.5 pounds (empty)
  • Stock: Synthetic 
  • Sights: None
  • Finish: Satin black
  • Action: Semi-auto
  • Capacity: 10
  • MSRP: $659

Ruger 10/22 Takedown Lite Performance

LoadSuppressed?VelocityAccuracy
Winchester 45 M-22Suppressed1,0430.41
WinchesterUnsuppressed1,0510.42

Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity in fps by chronograph, and lastly accuracy in inches for best four-shot groups at 20 yards.

Oh, and Read the Manual

bugout rifle, .22 LR Rifle, apart
Photo by Sarah Dabbs

Everybody knows that reading instruction manuals reliably lowers serum testosterone levels and that, for real men, operating manuals are little more than stuff with which to start a fire. Of course we already know not to “fire guns in crowds if you are blind” and “never store loaded firearms in occupied baby cribs,” or that “taking LSD while shooting could result in unintended injuries.” I skipped the manuals and snatched up my spanking-new Ruger 10/22 Takedown Lite and hit the range ready to punch some holes. Several dozen holes later, I was deflated and thought the gun was a piece of junk.

Initially, the rifle wouldn’t create tight groups at all. Shooting slowly at a target 20 yards away, my groups were in the 8-inch range, which wouldn’t satisfy me if I’d been using a slingshot I built out of tire tubing and a forked stick. I burned through maybe 30 more rounds and was just about ready to send the rifle back to Ruger. Then I remembered the manual.

According to the manual, you have to tweak the barrel-mounting system a bit before you use it the first time. The process is painless: Loosen the adjustment collar, mount the barrel and screw it down tight. Take the rifle apart, add a click or two for luck, and you’re good to go for the life of the gun.

Now the rifle creates groups as wide as a nickel—or a dime if I do my part. So, yes, the Takedown Lite is every bit the rifle its predecessors were. I now appreciate that I was an idiot. Don’t be like me. Read the stupid manual.

Up Next

WATCH: Hidden Truck Gun Storage Seems Cool, Presents Problems

A hidden gun storage compartment under a truck bed definitely checks off the cool...