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[Review+Video] Ruger 22 Charger: Best Backpack Gun?

We take a look at the Ruger 10/22 Charger -- an affordable backpack .22 LR. Should you bring it on your next hike? Come see what we think...

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.

Ruger 10-22 Charger
Ruger 10/22 Charger

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.

Ruger 10-22 Charger

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

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Pros & Cons

If you can’t wait, here’s a summary of the pros and cons.

+ Compact, lightweight, at only 17 inches overall and 5lbs
+ Has built-in bipod lug upfront
+ Easy to manage with almost NO recoil
+ Suppressed .22 makes this gun very SILENT

– Additional accessories makes drawing from a pack tricky
– Does not come with any iron sights
– Had a few jams when we ran a few hundred rounds

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.

350
at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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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.

That’s a nope rope

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.

Ruger 10-22 Charger

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.

Ruger 10-22 Charger
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.

Ruger 10-22 Charger
That bipod lug is nice to have around if you want to toss on a bipod.

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?

Ruger 10-22 Charger

Accessories

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.

169
at Primary Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

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.

Ruger 10-22 Charger
Peep that optic!

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.

 Ruger 10-22 Charger
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.

Ruger 10-22 Charger

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.

Ruger 10-22 Charger
Who doesn’t like a side folder?

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.

Popular .22LR Ammo
Popular .22 LR Ammo

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.

Ruger 10-22 Charger
Tandemkross Extended Mag Release

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.

Ruger 10-22 Charger
Ummm, something’s missing here.

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.

Ruger 10-22 Charger
We’d call this a bit uneven.

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.

Ruger 10-22 Charger

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.

Ruger 10-22 Charger

By the Numbers

Reliability: 4/5

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.

Accuracy: 4/5

It ran well during range time and pinged targets easily. In short, I had fun with this one.  

Ruger 10-22 Charger

Ergonomics: 4/5

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.

Customization: 5/5

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.

Value: 5/5

For under $400, the Ruger is an affordable option for those looking to start small and stay small or build on with accessories.

350
at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Overall: 4/5

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.

Conclusion

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.

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.

350
at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

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.

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21 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Mark

    You have taken a $400 pistol and turned it into a $2400 weapon. . . with no real improvement in accuracy. I have had two of these. Using the bipod they are very accurate. Adding the folding brace and silencer does nothing to improve the accuracy. Why not test the weapon as is?

    November 27, 2022 2:29 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Steven Seely

    Well this article caught my eye as I own a Ruger Charger pistol, along with several other Ruger firearms.
    The Charger I own has the bipod installed along with a Ruger Red dot, and an after market muzzle brake.
    My comments are;
    1. This pistol is an absolute blast to shoot at the range or plinking.
    2. The magazines are interchangeable with the 10/22 rifle and I typically use the 25 rounder.
    3. The pistol is very accurate and will cover a quarter size MOI at 25-50 yards with the Red dot.
    4. This pistol is a conversation starter at the range and it is routinely requested by shooters to "try out".
    5. Adding the folding stock and silencer seems to defeat the purpose of the Charger being a packable firearm. The mag release lever seems to be a problem and I have heard of these dropping off.
    6. You can have a pretty fun time plinking with this for $20-30 of .22 ammo.
    If you understand what this is about and keep your expectations on it's design, it is a worthwhile addition to your small arms inventory-in my opinion. I always take this with me to the range regardless of what I am going to shoot as my primary firearm for that day.

    February 8, 2022 7:28 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    John Luke

    Probably one of the worst articles written in this website. Been enjoying your content for years now. I check you guys out literally every single day. Sometimes multiple. Your responsible for getting me even more into guns. But this review… oh man, what a stinker. This writer has written some good stuff. Lately, in my opinion. Not so much. But specifically this article was just so full of holes and not what I expect from PPT. I don’t own or was planning on buying this gun or a 10/22. No bias here regarding the gun. But felt this article was written poorly and that the gun deserved someone else reviewing it.

    February 6, 2022 11:15 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Jacki Billings, Editor

      Hey John, sorry to hear you were disappointed in the article. Do you mind sharing what you didn't like about it so we can improve moving forward?

      February 7, 2022 7:12 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Sparklenuts

    This rifle single handedly ruined the use of and made illegal all high capacity 10/22 magazines in Canada since it is considered a restricted weapon due to it length. I loathe this rifle.

    February 5, 2022 5:31 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Andrei

      Bro, it's a "pistol", bro - lol. I feel for you, though. Hope things turn around for you guys up north.

      February 5, 2022 9:23 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      James

      That’s where you have the USA handily next door - to conveniently buy all those “banned” items. LOL

      February 5, 2022 9:36 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    TonyS

    You basically turned it into a less reliable, silenced 10/22 with a folding stock. Why not just test the Charger straight from the box? And there was no backpack in sight.....
    I have two 10/22 rifles with folding stocks and stubby extended mag releases. One is now 40 years old - purchased in 1982 - and it never jams. Your condescending cracks about hunting were completely unnecessary too. Maybe this company needs a change of ''media manager'' to someone who is more in touch with reality and not a California Soy Boy.

    February 4, 2022 10:16 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    WamCaro

    The venrable Kel-tec Sub2000 is the same level of portability, cost, and packs a 9mm punch. Perhaps a better "backpack" or "pick-up truck" option?

    February 4, 2022 7:11 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mr. Mark

    "Best Backpack Gun?" "Does it actually work as a backpack gun?" With the title and your own question I expected a true review carrying an "out of the box" gun on a backpack venture by an experienced backpacker such as yourself. Instead, you modified the gun to your taste so you could "run it" through your shooting drills. Then, you downgraded reliability because you ran a suppressor and experienced some jams, even though you say this was to be expected with a suppressor! Did you use subsonic ammo? Also not sure why you downgraded ergonomics while stating it works well out of the box? And you downgraded accuracy while you ran the gun at highspeed and pinged the iron consistently. Did you actually try an accuracy test on targets? Lastly, you say you don't hunt and peppered your review with sarcastic comments about those who may want to carry the gun to shoot "five point trophy groundhog" and waste small animals "with prejudice." Were you forced to do this, because it's definitely not your best review, John?

    February 4, 2022 10:53 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      TonyS

      Agreed - that was one crappy review.

      February 4, 2022 10:18 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mike.S

    I've been reading almost every review you guys have put out here on Pew Pew, since I signed up 3 years ago and I love them. But that Ruger 10-22 Charger is one of the ugliest firearms I have ever seen. I think firearms owners or someone looking to purchase one, buy not only for the use, accuracy, quality and price, but looks also. To me, the bare bones Ruger 10-22 Charger pictured, looks like something a punk would carry, to rob a gas station or convenient store. Sorry, not my style, I'd rather get a Henry or other backpack rifle. I do like the idea of a .22 LR, but why doesn't anyone put out more .22 MAG / WMR ammo fed semi auto pistols or rifles with an 8 inch barrel. Or are they racist against the .22 MAG/ WMR ammo ? lmao

    February 3, 2022 9:42 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Chris S.

    You kinda loat me, in the video, when refered to the barrel threads as "1 to 2 times 28 threads". I mean, who say it that way, unless they don't know anything? But I stayed in. You kinda redeemened yourself, until you said you don't eat meat. Or don't hunt, for food? What kind of real backpacker does not anticipate having to live off the land, and survive off of wild game? I mean... squirrel & rabbit may seem meaningless, until its supper time! Then its damn good.
    All in all, I did like your review of the 10/22 Charger pistol rig!

    February 3, 2022 8:03 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    EdK

    Seems pretty silly to rate a firearm with a bunch of random aftermarket junk attached (until it falls off). Test it bone stock, then you can try to address any problems it may have. I love my charger but it only feeds well with 10 round mags. I put a cheap tiny scope on it and a folding brace and I call it Mr Gopher Death.

    February 3, 2022 5:25 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Brian Moseley

    Built one for the wife. Added a brace and all purple accent pieces. Looks badass !

    February 3, 2022 4:54 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Edward

    Lower level gun guy here. But, for grins hold the 10 round next to the 25 round magazine and observe the difference even though both are from the gun manufacture. May need to add a few layers of black tape on the magazine to take up the magazine well slack and resulting magazine twist which may be have led to your fail to feed??? Use dry lube on dirty .22. Are you having ANY fail to feed on the 10 round magazines?

    February 3, 2022 4:38 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Justin A Wells

    This is a pistol, I don't think you are supposed to shoulder it on a stock.. That would make it a SBR which needs a tax stamp. Just FYI for anyone who gets one and thinks they will be ok doing that. Gun laws are a big no-no to mess up.

    February 3, 2022 4:02 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Cartman

      Its is a folding pistol brace, which by ATF standards doesnt need SBR stamp (yet)

      February 3, 2022 4:33 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Justin A Wells

        With any gray areas about gun laws I've always errored on the side of caution, all it takes is one mess up to have a real bad time. I know that the ar15 pistol brace as long as it's a factory option on a gun can be shouldered, I'm not a walking law library though so I just keep my nose clean as I can.

        February 3, 2022 4:59 pm
        • Commenter Avatar
          Lew

          Erring on the side of caution is sliding into a black pit that will eliminate all your freedoms. You dare not attach a brace at all, one administrator at ATF could issue an opinion, and then any brace will constitute an illegal SBR stock, regardless of design. Next could come a ruling that any pistol with a magazine forward of the trigger guard is actually a rifle, and so an illegal SBR. And that threaded barrel? That will be ruled a silencer part, and so it will be an illegal silencer. I NEVER err on the side of caution, I push the law until it snaps from its own brittleness.

          February 4, 2022 9:52 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mark

    looks like a fun gun go pack along for small game. The bipod lug is also a standard sling mount, which is probably it's typical use.

    February 3, 2022 3:26 pm
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