We set out to build a survivalist AR-15 that might serve as a...
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The Ruger 10/22 is an extremely popular platform in the survivalist community, especially in its bug-out-friendly Takedown form. It's easy to shoot, affordable to reload, compact and light enough to stash in a backpack, and supported by a massive variety of aftermarket parts and accessories. That last point brings us to the topic of today's article.
Ruger's standard 10/22 Takedown stock is functional, but nothing to write home about. It's composed of hard black polymer with a few textured sections and a metal barrel band on the forend. Ruger also offers models with an upgraded Modular stock, which features replaceable high and low cheek rest combs, sling mounts, and more extensive texturing. However, this still leaves something to be desired for many owners. Aftermarket 10/22 stocks offer improved comfort and control, more color choices, modularity, and other helpful features such as hidden storage compartments.
We began this review with a Ruger 10/22 Takedown Lite, one of the company's factory-upgraded Takedown models with an MSRP of $659. It includes the aforementioned Modular stock, as well as a cold hammer forged 16.1-inch barrel tensioned in a lightweight, .920-inch diameter aluminum sleeve. This barrel also features 1/2-28 threads to accept a suppressor (such as Ruger's own Silent-SR) and includes a knurled thread protector. Ruger provides a zippered nylon carry case with each rifle.
The original Lite stock served us well for a few years, but we were ready for a change, so we began looking at replacement stocks. This search yielded three substantially different choices: the Adaptive Tactical TK-22, the Hogue Rubber OverMolded Stock, and the Magpul X-22 Backpacker. Before we get to these stocks, we'll discuss one other upgrade we added to the rifle at the same time.
Prior to testing any of the new stocks, we picked up a Vortex Diamondback Rimfire scope for our 10/22. It features 2-7x magnification, a 35mm objective lens, and a simple V-Plex reticle with parallax set to 50 yards (as opposed to 100 yards for the non-rimfire models). At 11.6 inches long and 14.2 ounces, it doesn't sacrifice much of the Takedown's portability — if that's your top priority, you'll probably be using a micro red dot sight, but we prefer the versatility of a variable-magnification optic in this case.
Vortex says the Diamondback is “virtually indestructible and highly resistant to magnum recoil,” so we're certainly not worried about it putting up with .22LR. The variable magnification and clear multi-coated glass makes it great for short-range varmint hunting, even in low-light conditions. Overall, it's an excellent choice for this platform.
We mounted the scope on a pair of Vortex Hunter 1-inch Low scope rings ($25 MSRP). This combo fits nicely on the standard Ruger scope rail and clears the Lite barrel without sitting excessively high. Factoring in the scope's $260 MSRP, this setup certainly won't break your bank account.
The first of the three stocks we evaluated is the biggest departure from the rifle's original form. The TK-22 has a pistol grip as well as what Adaptive Tactical calls an “adjustable M4 type butt-stock.” This stock is compatible with standard 10/22 barrels as well as .920 bull barrels, such as those on the Lite and Fluted 10/22 Takedown models. Since we fell into the latter category, we removed the included forend insert (pictured below at bottom right).
Out of the box, we noticed some unappealing blemishes on this stock. The finish is visibly uneven in some areas, as seen above, and rough edges left behind by the mold weren't cleaned up, as seen below. These flaws didn't inspire confidence in the build quality. The TK-22 fit our 10/22 easily, but the gap between the forend and receiver housing was wider than the other stocks we tested (including the original Ruger stock).
The so-called “M4 type butt-stock” is simply Adaptive Tactical's EX Performance AR-15 stock, so it's 4-way adjustable and will fit any mil-spec buffer tube. This explains the presence of the huge cushioned rubber recoil pad, which would be more at home on a 12-gauge than it is here.
Thankfully for those of us who aren't concerned about getting pummeled by the immense recoil of .22LR rounds, it's removable via two Phillips screws. The stock also features an attachment point for a standard sling swivel, as well as a QD sling swivel socket.
A rubber stopper in the base of the pistol grip fills a cavity that's designed to accept Adaptive Tactical's TacTred Monopod. It can also be used to stash various small items, although heavier objects may dislodge the friction-fit stopper and fall out. The grip itself is relatively comfortable. We appreciated the cutaways on each side of the magazine well, since these make reloads easier — prying some 10-round magazines out of the original Ruger stock can be tricky.
The stock we received was bundled with a Takedown Firearm Backpack from Copper Basin. This pack looks reasonably unassuming and has pockets for each half of the 10/22 Takedown plus various accessories. It serves its purpose and protects the gun, but isn't as sleek as the original Ruger carrying case. The backpack is priced at $100 on its own or $190 bundled with the TK-22 stock.
If you're hoping to take your 10/22 in a more modern and “tactical” direction, the TK-22 may appeal to you. We're not big fans of the look — one onlooker compared it to a Hi-Point Carbine — and were disappointed by the build quality issues we noticed, especially given the stock's $130 MSRP (the highest of the group).
Hogue's 10/22 Takedown stocks are coated in the company's signature OverMold, a soft and grippy rubber material. These stocks are available in either standard or thumbhole configuration, and are offered in various colors ranging from plain black to bright purple or Red Lava swirl. Hogue sells versions for standard barrels, as well as .920-inch barrels.
We chose a standard stock with Ghillie Green rubber OverMold and .920-inch barrel compatibility. The stock is slim, but feels sturdy and well-made. The design is relatively minimalistic, with subtle chevron cuts on either end of the receiver, stippled texture in key areas, and a Hogue logo stamped on the underside.
The butt pad is held in place with two Torx/flat-head screws; removing these reveals a cavity that can be used to store emergency gear. Traditional sling swivel attachments are present on each end of the stock.
Installing the Hogue stock for the first time was somewhat tricky — the screw hole in the stock was slightly off-center from the hole in the front of our 10/22's receiver, and the stock's tight tolerances didn't give it much wiggle room. After pushing firmly against the receiver and being careful not to strip the screw, we were able to install the stock.
With this initial hiccup out of the way, we liked this stock a lot. The two halves fit well with no unsightly gap, and the rubberized coating made the gun easy to hold and carry. If you're looking for a 10/22 stock that maintains a traditional appearance, the Hogue OverMold series is a solid choice. MSRP is $120 for colorful finishes or $110 for plain black.
Magpul offers two stocks for the 10/22 Takedown, the X-22 Hunter and X-22 Backpacker. The Hunter stock is designed for customization, with interchangeable cheek risers, removable butt pad spacers, and M-LOK slots on the forend. The Backpacker is designed as a packable survival rifle platform, with multiple storage compartments and an ingenious mechanism that locks the barrel assembly onto the stock body for easy transport.
We selected an X-22 Backpacker stock in desert-friendly FDE finish ($110 MSRP). We also picked up an X-22 Optic Mount ($60 MSRP) that attaches to the barrel, replacing the factory barrel block and adding a Picatinny rail. We test-fitted the optic mount and found that it works well for small red dot sights. It also has a channel to preserve the functionality of iron sights, if your 10/22 has them. But since we're currently using the Vortex scope and its objective bell doesn't clear the Magpul mount, we left it off the gun for now. Regardless, it's a good accessory to have on hand.
The X-22 Backpacker has a wealth of storage compartments, allowing this rifle to serve as a full-fledged survival kit. Pressing the button at the back of the cheek piece reveals the largest of these compartments, which can house up to three 10-round magazines. Installing the optic-height cheek piece adds more room, and we were able to squeeze in a 10-round mag, a 50-round box of ammo, fire tinder, water purification tablets, a mini folding knife, and numerous other small items. Whatever you choose, pack it tightly, otherwise the contents will shift and rattle as you carry the gun.
Check out Alexander Crown's video for some great ideas on how to use and modify this compartment.
There's a second sealed compartment inside the grip. We filled this with a Bic lighter wrapped in duct tape, ensuring we'll have a quick (and dry) way to start a fire. Removing the butt pad reveals another small cavity where a strand of kevlar cordage or a fishing kit can be concealed.
Installing the stock was easy, and we had no fitment issues. Build quality is exactly what you'd expect from Magpul, and all the mold seams are smooth. A pair of holes in the stock can accept Magpul sling mounts ($15) but after watching the video above we learned that paracord loops can serve as an improvised solution.
Shooting our 10/22 with the X-22 Backpacker stock was comfortable, and the taller cheek piece worked well with our scope setup. We also liked the steeper grip angle on this design, although traditionalists may not be as fond of it. If you're planning to store your 10/22 in your bug-out bag and use it for hunting small game in a survival setting, the Backpacker is ideal for this role. And even if you're not living off the land after SHTF, it's extremely convenient to have storage for spare mags and ammo built into the rifle.
These three 10/22 Takedown stocks represent drastically different approaches to modifying your rifle, and show the versatility of the platform. Whether you want a modernized plinker, a traditional small-game hunter, or a bug-out gun for the apocalypse, the 10/22 can be taken in any of these directions. A stock upgrade is a simple way to make this iconic .22 even better.