June 24, 2012

Ruger Charger CHR22-10 22LR

Gun Tests Magazine tested the $380 Ruger Charger CHR22-10, a 22LR semiautomatic with 10-inch barrel, and with an action based on Ruger’s aluminum 10/22 rifle action. The gun plants the action inside a laminate stock with an extended grip that is flared at the butt to stabilize contact with the ground or shooting bench. It arrived with sights, but they were fitted with a Weaver scope mount. The gun fed from a 10--round rotary magazine made by Ruger.

Here's what they found:

In formulating this test, we encountered a drawback. We had to modify our specifications chart to include characteristics of both rifle and pistol. We specified Action instead of Slide, substituted Receiver for Frame, and added Stock just below the word Grip, to better describe the gun’s profile and construction.

To test the gun, we fired five-shot groups from a sandbag rest at a public range. This led to interruptions by onlookers who agreed with us that just looking at this fancy gun was a treat. We sighted in quickly from the 50-yard benches and ultimately decided to test from this distance as well. We considered collecting data from the 100-yard benches, but feared that absent of perfect shooting conditions (shifting crosswinds were trying to bring in rain), results might tell us more about the shooter than it would about the gun. For optics we chose a HiLux ES1X30 Tactical scope by Leatherwood. This scope featured a 3-MOA red dot inside a short 30mm tube with 1X magnification. We could have mounted a long-relief pistol scope or even a higher-powered rifle scope. Given the chambering there was no danger of recoil pushing the scope back into our faces, but we decided against using optics with magnification because the 1X sight picture was quicker to read and easier to stabilize. This was a consideration because the gun was not designed to be shouldered. In addition, only a very strong person would be able to shoot this gun offhand in the manner of a true pistol, with both hands surrounding the grip.

A variety of ammunition was run through the gun and the gun had one single malfunction over several hundred rounds, and the culprit was soft-shooting target ammunition not driving the bolt to fully eject the spent case. Since these guns were probably meant for hunting squirrels, rabbits, or prairie dogs, or knocking down steel silhouettes, we’d probably load them with the hottest rounds we could find, anyway. That’s not to say we limited our tests to shooting exotic ammunition. Shots of record were fired using typical "big box" fare. Test rounds included Remington’s Golden Bullet, a 36-grain brass-plated hollowpoint, and two choices of CCI Mini-Mag. They were the 40-grain copper-plated round nose and the 36-grain hollowpoint rounds. The devil is always in the details, so, let’s see how these two similar guns performed.

Gun Tests January 2010

Gun Tests found this to be a fun, inexpensive firearm that can be shot from a number of suitable positions.

Our Ruger Charger CHR22-10 22LR, ($380) was shipped in a handsome tan zippered carrying case with red logo. Alongside the Charger we found a high-quality Harris-style 6- to 9-inch bipod to be attached via the Charger’s sling stud. We doubt Ruger had sling carry in mind, but it did offer abundant solutions for additional support in the field. The supplied short bipod favored the prone position. For shooting from the seated position we applied a long-legged Versa Pod model 3 ($81 from versapod.com). We added a cuff-style rifle sling reaching from the bicep of the support arm to the swivel stud on the Versa Pod connector and from that point on we felt in total command of aiming our Charger.

The Charger design is striking enough in profile, but the black laminate stock offered additional appeal. The receiver was coated with a matching finish that appeared to be an epoxy base. It was matte in texture. Barrel twist was 1:16 inch and showed a Sporter profile, tapering from the receiver to the mildly recessed crown at the muzzle. The action utilized a crossbolt safety, and the standard 10/22 bolt handle was in place.

One upgrade to the action was an extended magazine release. Normally removing a 10/22 magazine requires sort of a pinching movement. The thumb reaches in and depresses the hinged plate to the rear of the magazine while the index finger plucks the front of the magazine from the well. Sometimes pushing forward on the Charger’s extended release let the magazine drop, and other times one needed to tickle the front of the magazine to coax it free. We found that pulling back the slide, not necessarily holding it back, but releasing the bolt from its adhesion to the chamber for a moment, helped free the magazine.

Gun Tests January 2010

The magazine release was enhanced by an extension lever. This saved a fingernail or two compared to the original design, but sometimes required some prodding at the front on the magazine before it would fall.

The gun arrived with a single 10-round rotary magazine. The boxy outer shape of the rotary magazine may make it clumsier to handle than a vertical stack magazine, but many feel that the rotary design is more reliable. That is because as the vertical magazine empties, the amount of energy available to push the next round upward can diminish. The rotary magazines on our test guns worked flawlessly.

Initially, we had difficulty locking back and releasing the bolt. The bolt-release lever located just forward of the trigger guard was, according to the manual, meant to be pressed back to lock the bolt open and pressed upward to release the bolt. We found that the release needed to be moved upward and with a bit of a counter clockwise arc as well. Key to locking the bolt open or letting it forward is the ability to first move the bolt fully to the rear. The left-handed shooter may have an advantage here because the right-handed shooter must abandon his grip to operate the bolt.

Until we learned the following regimen we were blaming the bolt release/lock for being balky. The left hand gripped the forward portion of the stock. We braced the rear of the gun against the body. Pulling the bolt back with the right hand, the right-hand thumb was then braced behind the rear scope ring. Holding the gun between the bolt handle and the rear scope ring, the left hand was free to set or release the bolt.

Once we learned that a loaded magazine could be inserted with or without the bolt locked back, we simplified handling by charging the guns beginning with the bolt closed. Another reason we chose this method was that neither gun was designed to lock open when the magazine was empty. But we often ended up dry-firing when the magazine was empty. We’re not sure at what point pulling the trigger on an empty chamber will damage the firing mechanism, but we think this could be a problem at some point.

Firing the Charger from the bench with the bipod in place gave us a solid hold. But on recoil the gun bounced around. It did not necessarily affect point of impact, but we had to reset the gun after each shot. Firing prone with the bipod in contact with soft ground negated this problem. We found that using a bipod in the field was a real advantage, but for bench work we preferred supporting each gun with simple sand-filled pillow-style bags. Our initial firing session was interrupted when we suddenly found our point of impact changing. The problem was quickly diagnosed as a loose scope mount. The mount itself was a lightweight alloy that was also treated to the same matte finish as the receiver. This coating was rubbed off easily by the crossbolts of our scope rings. But we tightened the mount and suffered no further problems.

Gun Tests January 2010

The aluminum Weaver scope base was screwed down and coated with the same epoxy base matte coating. The base did not fit Picatinny mounts, and the coating rubbed off.

From the bench we found it easy to get into a groove of finding our point of aim and squeezing the trigger. Trigger pull weight was about 4.5 pounds, and there were some hints of grit from time to time, but we liked the way we could break a shot and reset. The red dot let us find the target quickly, and we could imagine multiple targets, be they small game or tin cans, becoming great sport.

In terms of accuracy, the Charger liked the CCI Mini Mag hollowpoints best. We managed a best single group measuring about 0.8 inch across. Average groups measured about 1.2 inches overall. The Ruger Charger lent itself to firing from a number of positions, making it a lot of fun to shoot.

Our Team Said: This is a fun, inexpensive firearm that can be easily upgraded. It can be shot prone, seated, standing, or from a bench. The availability of a lone sling stud allowed us to add any style bipod and/or sling and fire from a number of suitable positions. Finding the one we liked best doubled our fun. The Charger can be fit with any manner of scope.

Comments (21)

Midway u s a and Natchez are my top 2 also. If cost is not a concern then Brownells can be

Posted by: keystone | July 1, 2012 6:41 AM    Report this comment

'Glad you are going that route, fat weasel. I have purchased several items from Midway USA, and I have always gotten them very quickly. The one time that I had a problem with a set of night sights, I returned them, and they cheerfully returned my money. As an aside, you may wish to check Natchez Shooting Supplies. I recently purchased a set of pistol sights from them, and they even gave me an unexpected discount from the catalog list price, with very fast delivery.

Posted by: canovack | June 30, 2012 8:50 PM    Report this comment

CANOVACK thanks for your response.your right ill order a timney from midway.and like you said i will be able to adjust it if i want.and it most likely would be the cheaper route.

Posted by: fat weasel | June 30, 2012 7:06 PM    Report this comment

Did anyone find the muzzel velocity for the hotter rounds?

Posted by: Jagliotta | June 30, 2012 4:15 PM    Report this comment

Well, fat weasel, I am not a gunsmith, and while I freely do some work on my own firearms, when it comes to triggers, the only thing I have done is the simple adjustment using the set screw (on those guns that have them). Changing the spring and polishing the sear may be good start points, if you know a good smith who can do the work for a reasonable price. That said, Timney triggers are pretty well known for their quality, and I think they are all screw adjustable, so that may be the route to go. I'm sorry I can't offer any better advice than that, but I don't feel qualified to get specific about which way to go.

Posted by: canovack | June 30, 2012 11:36 AM    Report this comment

i have a 1995 ruger m77 markII 7rem mag the early composite stock.leopould high mounts 6-24 50mm bell mildot reticle.the trigger is just crap.creep 8-10 pound pull weight do nothing to help accuracy.when i do my part this one will shoot better than moa.my question canovack is should i order a timney or have a gunsmith file the sear and change the spring.is there a better option?

Posted by: fat weasel | June 29, 2012 8:31 PM    Report this comment

What question did you have about your rifle's trigger, fat weasel?

Posted by: canovack | June 29, 2012 10:51 AM    Report this comment

Sure would like to see this gun in .22 mag...

Posted by: gunner44 | June 29, 2012 6:40 AM    Report this comment

Sad to say, but this is just the latest in a long string of Ruger products that I end up really liking, but only AFTER I did the work that the Ruger factory should have done before the sale.

I bought two Chargers and had the same problem with both of them: The coating that is on the outside of the receiver was also sprayed on the inside, too. During cycling, the bolt would rub against the coating and turn it into a gummy mess that jammed the action tightly. Poor quality control, to put it mildly.

It took a fair amount of time to remove this thick coating, but after removal, it shot like all my other 10-22 rifles---very well.

Ruger employees must be constantly rushed and extremely overworked... that's the only reason that I can come up with.

Does it make me hesitant to buy other Ruger firearms? Definitely!

Posted by: RackEmPunk | June 28, 2012 11:27 PM    Report this comment

Have had one since they first came out. Remounted it on a pistol grip Advanced Technology Fiberforce Rifle Stock ($39.00 at Midway USA) and cut off the end of the stock right behind grip (easy to sand and shape) so it wasn't a SBR... added bipod, scope, and 25 round 10/22 clip. Nothing but fun, accurate out to 100 yds, and folks at gun club always ask what it is.

Posted by: TRL | June 28, 2012 10:10 PM    Report this comment

canovack could i have your opinion regarding a question about my rifles trigger?

Posted by: fat weasel | June 28, 2012 9:17 PM    Report this comment

i know were talkin 22s and 17s but but rugers first long gun has alot to do with it in my opinion.1959 deerfeild.

Posted by: fat weasel | June 28, 2012 8:24 PM    Report this comment

the 44mag version is a great choice as well.

Posted by: fat weasel | June 28, 2012 8:13 PM    Report this comment

Todd: no iron sights on gun. comes with WEAVER type mount that accepts a red dot or scope.

Posted by: keystone | June 28, 2012 7:49 PM    Report this comment

So could someone please clarify whether it comes standard with iron sights or not?
Thank you.


Posted by: percynjpn | June 28, 2012 7:41 PM    Report this comment

My nephew has one of these and he sure likes it. I have several 10-22's and never had a problem with one of them and plan on getting one for each of my grandkids. I am looking for a model 96-22 mag right now at a good price.
God Bless America and Our Troops Past Present and Future.
Keeping to My Oath Locked Loaded and Keeping My Powder Dry.
Get the US Out of the UN and the UN Out of the US.

Posted by: bear1 | June 28, 2012 7:10 PM    Report this comment

purchased this about 2 years ago and have never had so much fun. put a 2-6 scope on it and hunt squirrls with it.

Posted by: keystone | June 28, 2012 6:57 PM    Report this comment

purchased this about 2 years ago and have never had so much fun. put a 2-6 scope on it and hunt squirrls with it.

Posted by: keystone | June 28, 2012 6:57 PM    Report this comment

This gun should be supplied with a rest that clips on to the partly rolled down auto window. This would make it perfect for redneck poachersand might make helpful in settleing gang territorial disputes.

Posted by: olafhardtB | June 28, 2012 6:27 PM    Report this comment

The Ruger 10/22 carbine is one of the most popular little pieces in history, if not THE most popular little rifle. I bought my first one back in 1964, when they first came out, paying.....I think.....about $50.00 for it. Ruger just seems to have hit it big with almost all of the firearms it has brought to the marketplace. Now they've come out with this neat little pistol built on the proven 10/22 platform.....It should be a hit as well.

Posted by: canovack | June 27, 2012 1:42 PM    Report this comment

We hate spam as much as you do, and we're on a constant lookout for spammy comments. If you see spam on a GunReports post before we do, just enter 'SPAM' as a comment, and we'll be alerted to look at the file asap. Thanks for helping us patrol the AO. --Yr. Obt. Svts @ GunReports.com.

Posted by: ttwoodard | June 26, 2012 12:29 PM    Report this comment

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