Part I in a two-part series about Ruger’s 1022-TD rifle. Make sure you click here for Part II!
The Ruger Twist
The 1022-TD is a Whole New Take(down) on the Popular Autoloading .22 Rimfire Carbine.
Ruger’s 10/22 rifle has been an American icon since its introduction back in 1964, with more than six million variants sold. I’ve owned at least a half-dozen 10/22s during this timeline, including the Sporter, All-Weather, Compact and Target Models. But none of these are as impressive as my latest acquisition, the 10/22-TD, or “takedown.”
The most compelling feature of this autoloader is its ability to split itself into two primary components (barrel/forend and stock/receiver) in a matter of seconds using one simple push and twist motion. Better still, performing the reverse function will put everything back together, and the rifle will be ready for action in a nanosecond, with no degradation of accuracy. The friction fit lockup of the assembly joint is simple to adjust, but will rarely need re-adjustment after the first assembly. The lockup is secure and repeatable, ensuring an accurate return to zero, even when receiver-mounted optics are used. Simple is always good when it comes to weapons, and the 10/22-TD is a simple but robust design that works.
Historically, takedown designs have suffered from operational and reliability problems as parts and latches wore out, or were subjected to repeatable accuracy challenges if the parts didn’t fit back together “just right.” To top it off, the weapons were pricy. The Ruger engineers have slain all three dragons with one swing of their 10/22 Excalibur sword. The stainless steel sub-assembly that is fitted into the forward section of the receiver to accept the stainless steel barrel features a proprietary knurled, click-adjustable locking ring that allows users to lock up the barrel-to-receiver connection no matter how much their 10/22-TD settles in over time with extended use. With this unique design, repeatable accuracy is no longer an issue, plus the added cost of the convenient takedown feature is only a modest upcharge to the standard price of a more conventional one-piece 10/22…nice!
One of the most unique traits of the Ruger 10/22-TD is her repeatable accuracy once you have your favorite optic dialed in…the return to zero is almost uncanny and belies the fact that you are separating the barrel from the receiver and then putting it back together again. Talking to the Ruger engineering folks, the “secret” to insuring this repeatable return to zero on the first fired shot is to cycle the bolt manually a few times after reconnecting the two primary component parts and before inserting a loaded magazine, which allows the rifle’s barrel and receiver to “settle” back together.
Shooting repeated 10-shot groups with any sort of a magnified optic at 50-feet, 75-feet and even at 50-yards produced typical ragged holes in the center of the target. It was a challenge to measure pinpoint accuracy via this method, and no ammunition that was used for the test seemed markedly better than its competitors…they all worked great! For the record, we sampled Winchester 333/555 bulk packs (36-grain copper plated hollow points @ 1,280-fps), Federal Champion 325/525 bulk packs (36-grain copper plated HPs @ 1,260-fps) and CCI Mini Mag 100-round boxes (36-grain copper plated HPs at 1,260-fps). Federal’s Gold Medal Ultra Match produced the “smallest” ragged holes (1/2-inch at 50 feet) in the target bulls-eyes (40 grain solid @ 1,080-fps), but I only had one 50-round box of these on hand, which prevented me from conducting a more detailed evaluation.
I’d like to say that the Ruger 10/22-TD was a perfect 1,000-for-1,000 from an operational standpoint, but such was not the case. I had at least a dozen hiccups along the way to emptying two bricks of 22-cal ammo, including a few ignition failures, failures to feed and failures to extract during four different days of range testing, both indoors and outdoors. Some of these problems can be attributed to faulty bulk packaged ammo, with others due to using aftermarket mags (Butler Creek, Ram, Eagle). There were also a few misfires caused by a need to dial in the 10/22-TD’s adjustable lock-up mechanism. Once I used the right ammo in combination with the right mags and a properly adjusted barrel/forend-to-stock/receiver connection, she ran like a proverbial typewriter, which is the usual norm for 10/22s. I would have liked to have tested Ruger’s new gold-standard BX-25 factory magazine with this 10/22-TD, but recent passage of the NY SAFE Act put a damper on that thought, limiting me to using the standard 10-round Ruger rotary mags and aftermarket varieties.
Like her sisters, the Ruger 10/22-TD is a fairly accurate weapon right out of the box using the stock iron sights, which feature a gold bead front post and an elevation-adjustable rear notch, with a 15-inch sight radius. Line up the front bead with the rear notch, then squeeze the trigger on a loaded chamber and you will usually hit what you are aiming at, so squirrels, crows and rabbits beware! One of the standard accessories on this Ruger includes a Weaver rail that screws into a quartet of pre-drilled and tapped holes set in the topside of the aluminum alloy receiver. I went an extra step and purchased a Midwest Industries Picatinny rail ($19.99 from Midway USA) for my field testing, since this would allow me to use some sniper quality combat optics on this platform.
I had a blast employing a trio of the new Trijicon RMR (Ruggedized Miniature Reflex) ACOGs during my range tests, in addition to a pair of Nikon ProStaff scopes (4×32 Rimfire and the 3-9×40 Variable Power) and my all-time fave, the Meopta MeoPro 3-9×42, which is assembled a few miles from where I live in Hauppauge, NY on Long Island. Using any of these aforementioned optics, you just couldn’t miss the dead center of the target, each and every time. Both Nikons offer affordable quality that will enhance the 10/22-TD’s repeatable accuracy potential, with prices in the $140-to-$175 range. The Meopta’s MSRP is $399, but it’s worth every penny if you require great glass to identify your targets downrange. The Trijicons are all in the $575-to-$600 range, depending on the model selected…these aren’t cheap, but you are getting a state-of-the-art advanced combat optical gunsight for the investment, which are unparalleled for accurate snap shots with both eyes open.
Story & Photos by John N. Raguso