What’s a backpack gun? It’s a gun you keep in a backpack.
And why would you keep a gun in a backpack, you ask? For shooting things that might need to be shot while wearing a backpack.
The Ruger 10/22 Charger might very well be a gun you can stuff in your favorite pack…but does it actually work as a backpack gun?
Well, we’re here to find out. I was able to take the Ruger 10/22 Charger out for some fun on the range recently, so let’s break down the specs and features then talk about how it shoots.
By the end, you should have a good idea of whether you want to add this to your collection.
Check out the full video review below if you’d rather skip the words.
As always, check out Pew Pew Tactical on YouTube for more guns and gear.
Table of Contents
Why the Ruger 10/22 Charger?
I consider myself a reasonably experienced outdoorsman — hiking at a local mountain range for pretty much my entire life.
I’m quite comfortable living out of a ruck and sleeping in holes for days at a time.
However, it’s also worth noting that I don’t hunt — and even on longer treks and even in situations where I might want to be armed in the wilderness, a .22 is probably the last cartridge I’d want to be packing.
All that said, I recognize some folks venture into the wilderness with a varmint gun — either for pest control reasons or to take small game.
If you’ve got a burning need to clap squirrels with a minuscule gun that’s deployable at a moment’s notice, Ruger’s 10/22 Charger family might be right up your alley.
Specs & Features
Coming in at just 17 inches overall, the minuscule Charger is full of just enough features to make it worth considering over “survival rifles” on the market.
It comes with the added benefit of not needing to be broken down to carry comfortably in a ruck or daypack.
The 8-inch barrel features 1/2×28 threads to which we’ve mounted a Silencer Central Banish .22.
While I’m not a .22 guy, I will say that if you’ve never fired a suppressed .22, they’re essentially whisper-quiet. And that’s a novel enough experience to make even my curmudgeonly self grin like an idiot.
The Charger’s got a built-in bipod lug right up front, which can be used to attach the included UTG Harris-style Bipod knockoff.
But I kind of question the utility or necessity of having a bipod on a .22 LR backpack gun.
Maybe you’re using it to take resting shots from prone, maybe not.
Obviously, the addition of accessories to the gun makes quickly drawing it from a pack a bit trickier. We wouldn’t want you to let that 5-point trophy groundhog get away, would we?
We mounted a Primary Arms SLX MD-25 on the Charger’s included Picatinny rail.
It gave us a 2 MOA dot that felt well suited for the platform — even if perhaps the SLX housing itself might be a bit chunky comparatively.
In the future, it’d make more sense to go with something on the smaller side.
Regardless, you’re going to want to get some kind of optic configuration figured out, as the Charger doesn’t come with any sort of irons. It’s just that high-speed.
For some of our 10/22 optics recommendations, check out our article on the Best 10/22 Scopes.
We’ve gone ahead and added a 25-round magazine, upgraded BX-25 trigger, and Tandemkross Extended Magazine Release.
But the more basic model comes with a 15-round mag and stock mag release and trigger pack that works just fine as well.
The Charger’s pistol grip is AR compatible. This means if you’ve got some specific preferences with regards to what exact grip you need on your .22, you’ll be able to swap them with no issue.
We found the stock pistol grip to be just fine. Again, you probably don’t want anything super fancy with this gun.
Interestingly, there’s a bit of Picatinny space that runs vertically at the rear of the receiver, so we mounted an SB Tactical side-folding pistol brace.
The side-folding brace is nice, comfy, and fits in a medium-sized bag snugly. It also adds a third point of contact when you need the utmost precision in eliminating small mammals with extreme prejudice.
With all the specs and features out of the way, let’s get down to range performance.
At the Range
We ran a few hundred rounds through the charger, and while it mostly worked, we ran into a few snags.
We had a few random jams, which comes with the territory when you’re running a suppressed .22 since all that powder gets thrown right back into your chamber. But that’s nothing game-breaking.
However, the Tandemkross Extended Mag Release, while initially nice and functional, suddenly…went missing. Apparently, the pin that holds it in place ejected without our say.
Unfortunately, finding a small silver pin in the mud and grass of Texas Shooting Academy proved to be a little too challenging. So, we finished our range time with the mag release knub as the only way to drop the magazine.
Not really sure what the issue was or why exactly that piece was loose enough to free-fall out of the gun but keep that in mind if you wind up going a similar route. You may want to Loctite that bad boy down.
Also, this might be kind of nitpicky — and didn’t impact function as far as we could tell — but the spray coating Ruger used was messily over-sprayed inside the magazine well and receiver area.
It’s unclear this area was intended to be coated and ended up half-finished or if it was intended to be raw and was hastily sprayed. Either way, it didn’t cause any issues and is, again, a nitpicky complaint.
That aside, the Charger ran well for the duration of our time with it.
The aftermarket trigger pack combined with the fact that .22 has no recoil whatsoever means you can dump those magazines quickly.
Even with the brace folded, the Charger is absurdly easy to manage. If, for whatever reason, you need to deploy it but don’t have time to flip that bad boy out, you should still be able to land hits on whatever you’re shooting at with reasonable ease.
By the Numbers
We ran into a few jams largely due to the suppressor + .22 LR combo. It wasn’t surprising and is well within what you might expect when adding a can to a rimfire rifle.
It ran well during range time and pinged targets easily. In short, I had fun with this one.
The Charger works well out of the box, but you can always tweak it to suit your body type — whether that’s adding a different pistol grip or stock.
It’s a Ruger .22, which inherently means it’s got a ton of upgrades and accessories. In fact, there are so many we have an entire article dedicated to Ruger 10/22 parts.
For under $400, the Ruger is an affordable option for those looking to start small and stay small or build on with accessories.
The Ruger 10/22 Charger may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who want something to take on the trails, this model is certainly worth looking into.
If you’re dead-set on something minuscule you can toss in a ruck; it’d be hard to find something as small, lightweight, and inexpensive as the Ruger 10/22 Charger.
Coming in at just $380 for the base model, it’s also not going to kill your wallet if you want something just to play around with – although the accessories and suppressor can easily push that $1,000+ if you go that route.
All told, I had a reasonable amount of fun with the Ruger Charger, and you likely will too.
Again, feel free to check out the video below to see it on the range.
What do you think of the Ruger Charger? Let us know in the comments below. For more Ruger 10/22 models, head over to our Best 10/22 Models.
[Review+Video] Ruger 10/22 Charger: Best Backpack Gun? is written by John Currie for www.pewpewtactical.com