Ruger 10/22 Takedown

If you’ve been following the Lounge for any length of time, you know it’s no secret that Ruger is one of my favorite firearms companies. They don’t always have the absolute best product available in every category, but they’re constantly coming out with new and interesting stuff. Plus, since the leadership change in 2006, they’ve been doing a great job of delivering what customers actually want.

Case in point: the Ruger 10/22 Takedown Rifle. The rifle was a pretty big hit when it was first released in 2012, which should come as no surprise. How do you improve the most popular .22 LR rifle of all time? Add the ability to quickly and easily break it down into two smaller pieces for compact storage and transport.

Plenty of 10/22 owners were already paying lots of cash to have gunsmiths perform the custom takedown modification on their standard rifles anyway, so Ruger just cut out the extra step and made it more affordable. Since then, curiosity for takedown rifles among shooters in general has steadily risen, but the concept hasn’t exactly exploded as “the next big thing”.

The Takedown Rifle: Practical or Novelty?

“Okay, that’s pretty cool. But what’s the point, really?”

After the initial hype died down following the release of the 10/22 Takedown, I started hearing that sentiment more and more. I heard it again this year after reviews popped up for the new DRD Tactical AR-style takedown rifles. There seems to be some debate as to whether the takedown function on a rifle has some actual real world utility, or is the takedown rifle just a gimmick.

Remington Model 81
The Remington Model 8 was a semi-auto takedown centerfire hunting rifle produced from 1906-1950, first as the “Remington Autoloading Rifle” and later as the Model 81. The action only allowed the use of lower pressure centerfire cartridges like .35 Remington and .300 Savage. The fixed five round magazine could be replaced with a special 20-round unit that was only sold through law enforcement supply companies. I want one.

Whatever the case today, demand for the original takedown rifles was most likely driven by necessity rather than novelty.

The concept itself is actually very old. The Remington Model 8, for example, was introduced in 1906, and had a built-in takedown function. The well-known AR-7 .22 LR survival rifle dates back to 1958. Both of those rifles were intended to serve the original application of the takedown rifle and that’s to make the gun easier to carry for long periods of time outdoors. At that point, it was a tool used either for survival or for hunting expeditions. Those are certainly still valid applications for takedown rifles, but skeptics who see modern takedown rifles as frivolous are quick to point out that the majority of today’s firearms owners are not active hunters, nor is there as much overlap between avid backpackers and shooting enthusiasts as there once was.

So, if you fall into the camp of gun owners who don’t regularly find themselves tromping through the wilderness with 40 pounds of gear, but you’re still looking for a good excuse to buy a takedown rifle, allow me to present the following Very Good Reasons™ why you definitely need one anyway.

Discreet Transportation

Depending on where you live, privacy can be hard to come by once you walk out your front door. If you’re in an apartment complex or a typical suburban home, there might be quite a few eyeballs between where your firearms are stored and your car as you leave for a trip to the range. I’m usually happy to talk to most people about guns — even the ones in my own collection. But I’m sure you can think of plenty of reasons why it’s not always prudent to advertise to everyone around you when you’re leaving the house with a big rifle case.

Nemesis Vanquish Takedown Sniper Rifle
Modern takedown rifles aren’t limited to .22 plinkers. The Nemesis Vanquish is a long range precision takedown rifle available in .308 Win and five other centerfire calibers.

A takedown rifle allows you to transport the gun to your car without telling the whole world. And I know two-wheeled vehicle enthusiasts really appreciate being able to head out to the range with everything they need discreetly tucked away in a backpack or saddlebag. As a wise philosopher once said, “Keep it secret. Keep it safe.”

Air Travel

A lot of people are surprised to find out that it’s completely legal to travel domestically by air with a firearm in your checked luggage (international travel with guns is also possible but gets a bit more complicated). The rules vary from one airline to the next, but assuming the airline employees and TSA folks on duty have been properly trained on how to handle it. If you’re familiar with the laws, checking a firearm should be quick and painless.

That said, who wants to draw all the attention of waltzing through the airport entrance with a rifle case in hand?  Most people probably wouldn’t even notice, but all it takes is one misguided nervous Nellie to freak out and question your intentions in order to ruin your travel plans and spend the afternoon in “the back room” for a cavity search.

A takedown rifle can fit in a much smaller case that resembles everyday mundane luggage, allowing you to avoid upsetting the delicate sensibilities of any easily alarmed bystanders.

Marlin 1895 Takedown Rifle
Marlin 1894 .44 Magnum with Takedown Conversion from The Arms Room

Home Storage

Takedown rifles are convenient not just for transportation purposes, but also for storage. I love my 800+ pound Liberty safe, but I realize that not everyone can spare the expense or floor space for something similar. Some takedown rifles will break into pieces small enough to fit in a much smaller pistol safe or other secure storage container. I have actually known a few people who are handgun owners, but put off buying a rifle because they have kids and lack an adequate place to safely store a long gun. The takedown rifle offers a temporary solution for gun owners facing that predicament.

DRD Tactical CDR-15
By design, all AR style rifles are “takedown” since it’s very quick and easy to pop the pins and separate the upper and lower receivers. DRD Tactical takes that feature to another level by adding a nut that allows quick removal of the barrel and foreend. The resulting component pieces are all shorter than a complete upper receiver, making storage and transportation easier than a traditional AR setup. Various models are available in 5.56, .300 BLK, and 7.62×51 both as complete rifles and upper receivers only.

Truck (or ATV or Boat or Airplane) Gun

There are plenty of different interpretations for the “truck gun” and why you might want one. In the broadest terms, they’re for when you want to take a gun along in or on your personal vehicle, but don’t necessarily want to have it strapped to your body all the time. Storage space is at a premium in most vehicles, especially in smaller recreational vehicles like 4-wheelers or fishing boats. Instead of being relegated to a handgun for these situations, takedown rifles allow you to pack a long gun, stored in an out-of-the-way corner or compartment.

Henry AR-7 Survival Rifle (Takedown Rifle)
The AR-7 survival rifle was first manufactured by Armalite in 1958 and was adopted by the US Air Force as a survival tool for downed pilots. Various companies have produced the design over the years, and the current version is made by Henry Repeating Arms as the U.S. Survival AR-7 Rifle.

Bug out Bags

So maybe you’re not into wilderness survival per se, but you’re all about surviving the eminent collapse of Western society. Or maybe just a major natural disaster. Whatever your reason for embracing the “prepper” ethic, a long gun is often included in many versions of the emergency disaster kit or bug out bag. Without advocating for or against the wisdom of including a rifle as a priority in your go-bag, those who are committed to the idea should definitely look into takedown rifles. Many of them will beat out even an SBR or disassembled pump shotgun in terms of size and weight.

Kel-Tec SU-16
The Kel-Tec SU-16 series of folding rifles are chambered in .223 Rem and use standard AR magazines. While not technically a takedown rifle, the ability to fold the rifle in half provides many of the same advantages.

Just Do It

If none of those reasons seem particularly compelling to the more rational parts of your brain, but you find yourself wanting a takedown rifle anyway, just buy one. The Ruger is fairly inexpensive as far as rifles go, and even if you don’t find yourself using the takedown feature to its full potential, you’ll still have one of the best and most easily customized semi-auto rimfires available. And who knows… maybe it will even inspire you to take to the outdoors more often, just so you can say you got your money’s worth out of the rifle.

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