Ruger 22 Charger
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A logical extension of the Ruger 10/22 lineup, the 22 Charger is a reduced-size pistol variant, clearly looking to appeal especially to those interested in a braced version or a stocked SBR version.

Ruger 22 Charger

Ruger’s continuing success with the 10/22 isn’t very surprising. Since 1964 Ruger has positioned the platform as the go-to option. With a low price point and a robust aftermarket, the 10/22 and its many versions have sold millions.

In 2007, Ruger tried out the Charger lineup, a stockless pistol version with a short barrel often found with a bipod, but cancelled that line shorty after.  Around 2014 Ruger saw fit to try again, and has found surging success since then thanks to the rise in popularity of pistol braces.

Ruger offers a few different models of the 22 Charger. I’m not going to cover the minor cosmetic differences like the cheetah print option, but the major differences from the model I’m reviewing includes a Takedown model (quick detach barrel), a barrel shroud version and the choice between having a standard receiver or a rear-mounted 1913 Picatinny section for attaching a brace/stock.

Ruger 22 Charger
Rear picatinny mount for stocks and braces

I’ve had this gun for over two years now. The only changes I’ve made were adding a Palmetto State Armory triangle brace, an AAC Pilot 2 suppressor and a Vortex Crossfire red-dot optic. The optic is a no-brainer since the 22 Charger has no iron sights. The brace and the suppressor are logical additions, making the gun more stable to shoot and exceptionally quiet.

I’ve chewed through between 2,000 and 3,000 rounds of ammo with this gun from at least six different manufacturers.  My kids have shot nearly a 1,000 rounds as well, feeling like the 22 Charger is their entry into “modern” guns, unlike the hand-me-down bolt-action .22’s I learned on and passed to them.

The 22 Charger is a fun gun to shoot, as nearly every suppressed .22 LR gun is. The factory trigger is fine, neither too heavy nor too gritty. The gun is light, balanced and always enjoyable to shoot. Except when it doesn’t.

Ruger 22 Charger

When I first shot this gun two years ago it was my opinion the trigger would be the first part to get replaced if I started upgrading this gun. I still feel that way, only because I haven’t isolated the creeping reliability issues that started around 500 rounds, and have persisted despite deep cleaning, ammunition changes and magazine replacements.

If I was only getting one type of malfunction, it would be easy to diagnose. I’m getting failure-to-feed, failure-to-extract, stovepipes and occasional light strikes. This isn’t a high enough round count to justify the gun giving me issues on  less than 10% of the rounds fired.  I know .22 LR firearms, by their size and nature, especially being such a narrow, slender round, are known for being finnicky. Again, none of it has been enough to make me put the gun up or make any drastic changes to it. And to be fair, this is the only one I own and have shot, so it could be something unique to this one gun.

Ruger 22 Charger

Returning to all other aspects, the 22 Charger is still a good gun. Shooting from a rest will get groups around 1.5 MOA at 50 yards with CCI Mini-Mags. Shooting standing while leaning against a post makes it easy to drop rounds onto a 6-inch square at 100 yards, despite the 2 MOA red-dot taking up a third of the target. Even my kids (around 10 to 12 years old) have an easy time dropping rounds onto the 100-yard target. This isn’t “record-breaking” shooting nor accuracy, but from a roughly $300 gun, I’m very happy with it.

One upgrade I always did to older 10/22 rifles was dropping in a “paddle” style mag release lever, ditching the OEM button that plagued my gloved hands growing up in Alaska.

Ruger 22 Charger

Running basic drills transitioning from target to target (usually clay pigeons) is easy, as the 22 Charger is well balanced with the PSA triangle brace.  This specific brace folds to the left side, staying clear of the charging handle.

Of course the 22 Charger shines with subsonic ammo, given that I’ve suppressed it. This makes a wonderfully quiet platform, and the bolt noise of the 10/22 platform is pretty minimal. Dropping birds near the garden doesn’t bother a soul. People elsewhere on the homestead usually don’t even hear it, and nearby birds are hardly disturbed.


Boiling my experiences with the Ruger 22 down into a brief statement leaves me with: “bittersweet, but heavy on the sweet.” Reliability issues are always frustrating, even when they’re expected to a degree in .22 LR chambered guns. When it runs though, which is most of the time, the Ruger 22 Charger is one of the most enjoyable guns I’ve ever owned.


  • Model: Ruger 22 Charger
  • Caliber: .22 LR
  • Weight: 3.25 lbs.
  • Overall Length: 17 in.
  • Barrel Thread Pattern: 1/2×28 tpi
  • Barrel Twist:  1:16-in. Right Hand, 6-grooves
  • Barrel Length: 8 in.
  • Forward Sling Stud: for sling or bipod use
  • Grip:  AR-15 grip compatible
  • Optic Ready: Top mounted 1913 Picatinny rail
  • MSRP: $439 (street price comes in around $309 with other variations costing $299-$500)


Ratings (out of Five Stars)

Accuracy * * * *
This isn’t a match rifle, but its accuracy is good even before you factor the low price point.

Ergonomics * * * * *
Light weight, well balanced, AR grip compatible, and with a paddle mag release, the 22 Charger is a treat.  A factory brace option would be my last improvement suggestion.

Reliability * * 
I expect budget box .22 LR ammo to fail from time to time. When I’m running top quality ammo, I’d like to go a mag or two without a hang up.

Overall * * * *
The 22 Charger would be an absolute Grand Slam if it ran solid 100 percent of the time. As it is, this is still a fun, accurate gun that sees a lot of use around the homestead.  Squirrels and birds would come to fear the 22 Charger, if they ever heard it. My kids call it “the trainer,” and it is their gateway to the world of owning and operating full-size guns, malfunctions clearance drills included.


Check out Ammo To Go, the ammunition retail sponsor of TTAG gun reviews. Get your bulk and quality ammo for a bargain by visiting their site


Read more articles and reviews by Jens “Rex Nanorum” Hammer or follow him on Instagram @Rexnanorum.

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  1. The lack of reliability is troubling. Even my much cheaper 22lr rifles (Marlin 60, 795, and Rossi RS22) are totally reliable (other than crappy Remington Thunderbolt ammo). I wonder if it is just this individual gun that has that problem. Maybe others are more reliable.

    For a “modern platform” the CMMG 22 conversion kit works pretty well in my ARs.

    I have always thought these Chargers look like a lot of fun.

      • Truth.

        The CMMG Bravo 22lr conversion kit is a must for AR owners and firearms instructors. I can’t fathom how much this setup has saved me in ammo costs, yet i still am shooting the firearm in training that i would use in SHTF scenario. With & w/o a can , makes no difference in how rock solid it runs. Including that it runs perfectly on my early Adams Arms piston AR as well as a gas gun.
        As an instructor I have introduced many women and newbies that were apprehensive about the scary black rifle into the POTG Family by starting them out on the 22s. Then a 30 second bolt swap and they were plinking w/ 5.56. Nothing but smiles !!
        My most favorite comment heard several times after training sessions is when a wife or girlfriend says, “ I want my own!!”
        AR/CMMG for the win !!

        • If you clean your gun?? ? And don’t
          boast about not cleaning it, as many people do. Then using .22lr ammo in your AR15 will be just fine.

          As far as malfunctions go, it’s important to train to clear a malfunction. I have a 1022 as well. And in my experience. Ruger has made some extremely reliable 22 caliber firearms.

    • My first 10/22 only liked CCI FMJ. It’s a little better now that I’ve had it for quite awhile. I’ve bought two others over the years that are less picky in the ammo they’ll work with.

  2. The conversion is a good thought but mine sludged up too bad to operate at about 150 rounds.

    • The CMMG conversion is 100% stainless. Take it apart, cover it in CLP and run an old toothbrush over it. I’ve run more than a thousand rounds through mine in one range session with a trigger crank and some solid Black Dog mags and drums.

  3. I like a Ruger 10-22. I think I bought my first one between high school and the army. They put walnut stocks on them back then. The last one I bought was a couple of years ago. I tripped over it on the used gun rack on the floor of Mallard’s in Crystal River. it was an International. For $400. I walked straight to the counter with it. That said, this 10-22 ain’t my cup of tea I really prefer a good bolt gun in .22 LR. Oh yeah, I’ve owned a Ruger 77/22 with a Leupold 4X RF Special on it for decades. Squirrels tremble.

  4. I made a Charger10/22 in 1984.
    Thumb hole stock painted black, 10.5 barrel, 3×7 Bushnell.
    The hard part was dovetailing the front sight as I retained the factory iron sights. I have found its easier to use a pipe cutter when cutting barrels as opposed to using a hack or chop saw.
    It takes a little longer but does a better job and is much easier to crown.

    • Oh, and put the wide wheel towards the breach.
      Go slow and you won’t muck up the bluing.

    • “I have the take down version.”

      As do I, because of that very .22 Plinkster video.

      Mine came with the little bipod and the nice Ruger BX trigger, it is seriously spoiling me.

      What I love most about the combination package is that the entire gun breaks down small enough to fit cleanly in the classic black canvass military surplus tool bag ‘China Freight’ sells for about 10 bucks, even with a silencer and a handful of extended magazines if I decided to bring them.

      Carried like that, I look just like a technician carrying an innocuous tool bag, which, if you think about it, kinda actually is.

      It’s one of my current bug-out bags… 😉

      EDIT – The brace fits in there, as well…

  5. I have an early version, and can say that trying to run it with the Ruger 25 round magazine is problematic. Other shooters have had some luck with shimming them, but I prefer to just run any of my many 10 rounders in it without any hiccups. And I occasionally put a spare 18″ Green Mountain stainless barrel and bipod on it just to bring out the “experts” who’ll stroll over to my shooting lane to tell me that it’s illegal.

    • So, looking closer at the photos, is the trigger guard assy. and bottom ” metal” now made of plastic instead of the aluminum formerly used for these parts?

    • “I have an early version, and can say that trying to run it with the Ruger 25 round magazine is problematic.”

      Try one of the current manufactured ones, they supposedly fixed that so shimming may not be necessary for you…

  6. In our private game of $5 Thumb Tack Challenge (20 rounds at 20 thumb tacks stuck in cardboard at 50yds), i have found that my early Charger Takedown is as accurate as a full size 10/22, and a very close second to our CZ bolt rifles.
    It befuddles my buddies, and me as wel.
    Of course, what optic you mount on it & what gun food ya feed it makes it or brakes it for accuracy.

    • “Of course, what optic you mount on it & what gun food ya feed it makes it or brakes it for accuracy.”

      Indeed, I have a quality 3-mil red-dot on it, and that’s I’ll ever need for accuracy, concerning my degraded eyes.

      Throw a brace on it, with the ATF currently shackled via that brace injunction, it’s a ton of good, clean back porch after supper quiet plinking fun… 🙂

      • I have the SB Tactical folding brace and Crimson Trace 1400 red dot on it, just like in the .22 plinkster video above.

        *Super* happy with the setup… 🙂

  7. Mr Rex, last time i had a 22lr firearm that acted inconsistently like yours i discovered two things. 1) a mag issue, and 2) lead fouling in the chamber/throat area.
    I run mostly the Ruger 15 rnd mags since then.
    Just sayin…

    • I’ve heard Ruger has made good progress in ‘tightening up’ the gun’s grouping recently…

    • I was going to say the same thing. I don’t own a 10/22 so I don’t know, but if I have all kinds of malfunctions on a semi auto gun, the first thing I’m going to do is replace the magazines. My modern gun experience has been SW 15-22 are bad about wearing out the polymer feed lips and I can’t really tell on quick visual inspection(though if you can easily flip round up vertical in mag = no bueno). All the same malfunctions you are experiencing were experienced with the SW and all were cured with new mags.

    • Unfortunately I’ve swapped mags (even trying aftermarket), and have scrubbed out the chamber to like-new shine. Still working on it!

  8. Wow, if a person can shoot running field mice from the cab of a moving tractor with a Heritage Rough Rider imagine what a person could do with this.

    • …. not just a moving tractor, but also at nightfall in a blinding snowstorm uphill both ways in nothing but his underwear, with both hands wrapped in barbwire for better grip. While teaching Her Royal Majesty’s young conscripts gunnery basics.
      What other feats has Albert been up to lately?

      • “…but also at nightfall in a blinding snowstorm uphill both ways in nothing but his underwear, with both hands wrapped in barbwire for better grip.”

        And, he liked it!

  9. my boy’s first firearm, takedown, bipod. under two bills new. used trs25. armscor ammo has a lot of duds but everything else runs.

    • I found the Armscor nickel-plated .22s run exceptionally well nay “flawless” in my stainless steel barrel Marlin Model 60 while the Federal Automatch results in misfires, failures to feed, and overall jamming. Funny how some guns can be so ammo sensitive.

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