If you’re a fan of the 10/22, you likely know of the Charger. It is an odd beast. Bigger than most of Ruger’s rimfire pistols, the Charger is not really designed to be shot off-hand. And without a stock (and a shortened 10″ barrel), the Charger isn’t a rifle either. The Charger is in a class almost all its own, and it is a blast.
The Old Chargers
When Ruger introduced the Charger in 2007, the first thing I thought about was the 1970’s era Enforcer, which was a chopped version of the M1 Carbine made by Iver Johnson.
Yet the Charger was rimfire, and not .30 Carbine, and it had an odd angle on the front of the stock. I think the design comes from the desire to have a stock, but to keep it off (maybe way off) of the barrel. Perhaps it was fashion.
The old charger (pictured below) also had a grip carved with the stock (which made more waste). The guns were popular, and remain popular, but weren’t around long.
The Charger is a unique firearm, maybe even a niche gun. My guess is that everyone who wanted a Charger bought one, and the demand subsided. That said, I ran into someone in the gun store last week who had just found a used Charger in excellent condition, and he couldn’t have been happier.
What do you do with a Charger? The lack of a stock makes the charger less versatile than the average 10/22. They’re not really light enough to hold one handed. As far as pistols go, the Charger is on the large side. The inclusion of a bipod made them functional on the bench, or from the prone position, but the lack of iron sights meant you had to mate a scope to the gun to see any real results.
The Chargers didn’t seem like they were meant for any kind of offensive charge. And you’d have a hard time repelling many charges. It isn’t the best set up for any kind of hunting, unless a rabbit or deaf squirrel were to wander across the range. In short, the Chargers were fun guns. They’re accurate, reliable pistols that are ideal for a day of laid back target shooting. And in a world full of reasonably priced rimfire, the Charger would provide for epic good times.
The New Chargers
These new Ruger Chargers are even better than the old ones. They’re still roughly the same gun, but there are some notable differences. The free-floated barrel has been threaded for a suppressor. The stock is cut to accept AR grips. There are still no sights, but the full picatinny rail up top is a solid place to mount optics. And the strange shape of the forend has been changed, too.
There are two versions out now. The Standard has a laminated stock that is brown and tan. The other swirls in some greens and greys, and is the Takedown model. These guns are still built on the venerable 10/22 action, and they use 10/22 magazines. Both come with UTG bipods that attach to a sling swivel stud. On both guns, I had to back the stud out half a turn to get the bipod to thread correctly.
Inside the gun, it is the same rock-solid 10/22 action that has kept the rimfire at the top of the market for 50 years.
I’m not going to do a full range report here. Stay tuned, and I’ll provide all of the relevant shooting details. I’ve taken the gun to the range twice now, and both days were brutal. The day we shot the video segment, it was below 20 degrees, and the wind was raging. All of the 25 yard bays at our range face the same direction, which–on the days we were shooting–were directly into the wind. The targets were bouncing on their wire hangers. It is incredibly hard to judge the size of a group when the target is bobbing up and down. I almost went down and held the dam thing still, just so we could get some data.
What we have here is a proof of concept. The guns are capable of much more, I’m sure. We had a Leupold FX-II Scout Scope on one, and a Trijicon RMR on the other. After getting them sighted in on the dancing targets, we shot a few groups. Both performed well enough for me to proceed with the rest of the review.
We ran a full brick of CCI Mini Mags through the guns–plinking, poking holes in torso targets, ringing steel, and shooting clays on the bank of the berm. As I would expect from the 10/22, we had no jams. No failures. No failures to extract. Nothing at all went wrong. We shot CCIs, Gem-Tech subsonic, Remingtons, and a smattering of other rounds we had left over.
The New BX15 Mag
Ruger has long had great 10 round mags. They released the BX-25 mags a couple of years ago, but those are almost too long to use with the bipod on the charger. Now they’ve got a new shorter extended magazine, the BX-15. It is perfect for the Charger.
If you live in one of those draconian wastelands where owning a pistol with a magazine outside of the grip is illegal–the Charger is not for you. Or maybe it is–but its not for your state. California sucks like that. For the rest of us, the magazine system rocks. The short magazine can actually serve as a hand hold or hand stop. It makes shooting the charger from a standing position much easier. And it looks cool.
Don’t try too hard to define the Charger’s roll. The heavy barrel allows for solid accuracy. Yet it can be an awkward gun to shoot. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but if you’ve shot a Charger, you will understand what I mean. You need to get way down on the gun, like you would when shooting prone. Finding appropriate eye relief on the scope without the help of a stock to guide you can be a challenge. Steadying the gun isn’t too difficult. And it shoots incredibly well. Maybe it is a bit like riding a bike. You need to find that balance, and then it clicks. You’ve got it, and getting it back is easy.
The prices? The Takedown is $409. The Standard is $309. Either way, it is money well spent.