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Ruger 22 Charger

by G&A Staff   |  January 3rd, 2011 4

The new Ruger 22 Charger semiauto pistol is a “handgunized” version of the company’s enormously popular .22 Long Rifle 10/22 semiauto rifle.


The new Ruger 22 Charger semiauto pistol is a “handgunized” version of the company’s enormously popular .22 Long Rifle 10/22 semiauto rifle. The 22 Charger utilizes a standard Ruger 10/22 aluminum receiver and action mechanism fitted with a 10-inch, medium-heavy barrel and a laminated wood, rear-grip, metallic-silhouette-type stock.

The barrel tapers from 0.92 inch at the receiver to 0.66 inch at the muzzle. The muzzle has a recessed target-style crown.

The stock features a fore-end sling-swivel stud, a flared-butt ambidextrous palmswell grip, and an extended wide-bottom fore-end that supports just the first 2 inches of the barrel. The stock attaches to the receiver via a single takedown screw in front of the magazine housing. The color of the standard-issue laminate stock is gray/black; various other laminate color patterns are available in Ruger distributor-special versions, including red/black, purple/black, and blue/black.

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Ruger 22 Charger

Model: .22 Charger
Purpose: Target/hunting
Manufacturer: Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc.
1 Lacey Place
Southport, CT 06890
203.259.7843
Action type: Straight blowback
Magazine type/ Capacity: Detachable rotary box/ 10 rounds
Reciever material: Aluminum
Barrel length: 10 inches
Rifling: Six grooves, 1:16 RH twist
Sights: None
Metal finish: Matte Black
Safety: Manual crossbolt sear-lock
Trigger type: Single-action
Pull Wieght: 3.87 lbs.
Stock material: Gray/black laminated wood
Stock finish: Matte
Weight, empty: 3.5 lbs
Overall length: 19.25 inches
Height: 2.0 inches
Width: 5.5 inches
Accessories: Owners manual, safety lock and shackle, carry case, bipod, scope-mount base
MSRP: $369.50

The 22 Charger’s metal is finished in matte black, and its overall weight is 3.5 pounds. That’s about the same as an S&W Model 629 83/8-inch revolver in .44 Magnum.

The 22 Charger is very similar in concept, configuration, and appearance to the existing Magnum Research MagnumLite PiCuda pistol, which features a 10-inch, carbon-fiber barrel and retails for $699, and also to the Hornet Custom Match Target 10/22 pistol, which features a custom 16.5-inch barrel and retails for $995. From Ruger, the 22 Charger package’s recommended retail price is $369.50.

Like all 10/22-platform guns, the direct-blowback 22 Charger receiver/trigger assembly features a manual crossbolt sear-lock safety and a manual bolt lock located in the front of the trigger guard. Ruger’s flush-fit, 10-round rotary magazine is standard, and any higher capacity 10/22 aftermarket accessory magazine will also work in the pistol. One feature unique to the 22 Charger is its extended magazine-release lever, which eliminates the press, squeeze, pull magazine-removal method required on standard 10/22 rifles.

The 22 Charger comes without metallic sights. Instead, its receiver is equipped with a screw-on optical-sight-mount base that is designed to allow the use of either tip-off .22 rimfire-type rings or any Weaver-style or Picatinny-type crosscut rings.

The 22 Charger package also includes a Shooters Ridge 6- to 9-inch adjustable bipod, whi
ch attaches without tools to the fore-end swivel stud. This is an invaluable accessory for a firearm such as the 22 Charger, as it adds greatly to its versatility and allows it to be employed with benchrest precision under a wide variety of field and range conditions.

Styled after the well-known Harris bipod, the Shooters Ridge unit has individually adjustable spring-loaded legs that can be folded up or down. The unit can be installed to allow the legs either to fold backward along the fore-end or forward to allow unobstructed fore-end support from the non-firing hand. With the buttstock resting on a conventional sandbag, the bipod can be adjusted to allow a horizontal firing aspect in nearly any shooting circumstance with cast-in-concrete stability. The 22 Charger comes with the bipod installed with legs in the fold-back position and a zippered soft carry/storage case bearing the Ruger logo.


The 22 Charger employs a standard Ruger 10/22 trigger, safety, and bolt-lock mechanism. The 22 Charger uses standard Ruger 10/22 rotary magazines, and it features a unique extended magazine release. The scope mount base allows the use of either .22 tip-off or Weaver/Picatinny crosscut scope rings.

Rifle-Like Performance
The 22 Charger’s performance with conventional .22 Long Rifle ammunition has several interesting aspects. A concern frequently expressed when using “rifle” ammunition in handgun-length barrels is the degree to which its reduced velocity may affect its in-target bullet performance. I chronographed eight different .22 Long Rifle loads in the 10-inch 22 Charger, including standard-velocity loads, high-velocity loads, and hypervelocity loads, and I compared the results to the ammunition manufacturers’ cataloged velocity specifications–typically based on 24-inch ballistic test barrels.

Even though the 22 Charger has a 58 percent shorter barrel length, the overall average 22 Charger velocities were only 12 percent less than the overall average nominal velocities. Moreover, when I compared the 22 Charger results with high-velocity and standard-velocity loads in a 161/8-inch-barreled Ruger 10/22 carbine, the 22 Charger’s velocity loss was only about 2.75 percent.

A look at some of the individual load results is even more revealing. For example, the CCI 40-grain Velocitor GDHP from the 22 Charger is less than 1 percent slower than a 40-grain high- velocity load from a 24-inch barrel, and the Remington 33-grain Yellow Jacket HP is actually faster from the 22 Charger than any high-velocity hollowpoint load from a 24-inch barrel. The message is clear: Velocity considerations in using a 10-inch .22 LR pistol compared to a rifle depend entirely on your choice of ammunition. If you’re concerned about bullet upset and effectiveness shooting varmints, pests, or predators with the 22 Charger, you’ll get equivalent performance using the CCI Velocitor or Remington Yellow Jacket to using high-velocity hollowpoints in a 24-inch rifle.

As for accuracy, the 22 Charger was superb. I fired five, five-round groups with each of the selected eight review loads from a sandbag benchrest at 50 yards, and the overall average was 0.95 inches. Several of the individual load averages were well under that. That’s headshot accuracy for squirrel hunting by anybody’s standards and should put to rest any lingering misconception that shorter barrels are less accurate than long barrels. Actually, all other things being equal, shorter barrels are generally more accurate than longer barrels because they vibrate and flex less while the bullet is traveling down the bore.

I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of shooting and hunting with guns that do not have shoulder stocks, and the 22 Charger suits my tastes in all regards. Precisely accurate, versatile, and easy to handle, it’s an excellent choice for rimfire metallic silhouette, small-game and varmint hunting, and pure-pleasure plinking. It’s a great little gun.

  • Paul in Oregon

    I came across an offer to trade my well-used Walther P-22 even-up for a new Ruger Charger, and this article just helped me make up my mind. I'll be driving tacks & killing rats tomorrow!

  • shidpoke

    I've owned 3 10/22's, never a problem, but now its a choice between the Kel-Tec PLR-22 and the Ruger Charger. I believe I'll stick with Ruger, simply because I think it will make a better "bench" gun. The Kel-Tec will be a success no doubt, but a Ruger is never a mistake

  • Steve Stark

    Own 2 Chargers,love to shot them,so by grandkids

  • Paul in Illinois

    I will be getting one of these soon to hunt tree rats. Should work great with my Trifeca Handgun Rest.

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