My 8-year-old son Owen is becoming quite the firearms aficionado and enjoys watching the videos Ruger includes on its website. He has learned a lot about Ruger firearms and was particularly interested in the Ruger 22 Charger. It’s never too early for kids to learn about firearm safety. Being a quick study, he asked if I could get test one for my reviews. Though I didn’t have much interest in the Charger, I was impressed by the maneuver and requested one.

About the Ruger 22 Charger

The .22-Long-Rifle-chambered 22 Charger arrived in short order. As soon as I got it out of its box, I realized the 22 Charger had great fun and utility potential.

The 22 Charger is basically a Ruger 10/22, which is the most popular semi-automatic .22 rifle in history. But it’s cut down to modern pistol size and fitted with a 10-inch cold hammer-forged ½-inch, 28-threaded barrel and black synthetic pistol grip stock. There is a mounting stud up front for the high-quality bipod that is included and has adjustable feet for cant. And the gun includes a strip of Picatinny railing mounted atop the receiver for optics. However, no provisions are made for iron backup sights.

Ruger 22 Charger Specs:

Caliber: .22LR high velocity
Overall length: 19.25 inches
Barrel Length: 10 inches/alloy steel matte finish
Weight: 50 ounces/3.125 lbs.
Magazine: Ships with one 15-round polymer BX-15 magazine
MSRP: $379

I mounted a Crimson Trace CTS-1250 red-dot reflex sight for pistols that I had on hand. This kept the weight down for Owen and proved to be a good choice. The Charger’s operating controls are the same as any 10/22. Mounted on the front of the trigger guard is the safety is a push-button crossbolt. There is a bolt-open lever located just ahead of the manual safety.

Ruger uses the same magazine catch system on the 10/22s as on the Mini-14. This system is unlikely to result in an accidental release or improperly seated magazine of the type encountered on AR-15s. To load the 22 Charger, insert the BX-15 magazine into the magazine well and rock it back toward the rear to lock it in place. You will hear and feel a positive “click” when the magazine is properly seated. To remove the magazine, push and hold the paddle lever located behind the trigger guard, pushing it forward with the support-hand thumb. Then pull the magazine clear.

As I showed Owen the manual of arms for the Charger, I realized the shape and size of the BX-15 magazine allow it to serve as a comfortable vertical foregrip when firing. While I hadn’t initially been interested in this Ruger, it was certainly growing on me. The trigger pull measured a very crisp 3 pounds, 9 ounces, which was impressive in a sporting .22.

Shooting the Charger

We headed out on a beautiful Ohio fall day to a friend’s outdoor range. The BX-15 Ruger magazine loaded easily to capacity due to Ruger’s rotary magazine design. You won’t find a smoother loading .22 LR magazine on the planet. My friend and I tested the Charger using a two-handed standing position at 21 feet. It was loaded with a mix of CCI Mini-Mag 36-grain .22LR hollow-points and Winchester 40-grain .22 LR Copper Plated Round Nose solids. The CCI travel at a velocity of 1,260 feet per second, while the Winchester has a hotter muzzle velocity of 1,300 feet per second.

Our first shots from the 22 Charger were striking high and to the left, but the groups were still tight. Unfortunately, I had neglected to bring the box that the CTS-1250 came in, which also contained the sight adjustment wrench. None of the Allen wrenches I had in my range bag fit the sight. But it did offer a great lesson for Owen about shooting for group size.

I set him up on my shooting mat for prone position firing from 50 feet using the bipod. I explained to him that he needed to aim at the orange center dot of the bright yellow Thompson Target Center Fire Defender silhouette target — though the shots would land high left — so he would attain the tightest group.

Owen listened well. His first 15-shot group measured 2 ½ inches. Then he tightened his second 15-shot group down to 1 ¾ inches! After my son’s turn, we also tried shooting from prone. Loading up 10 rounds each, my friend fired a 1 ½-inch group, while I fired a 1 ¼-inch group. We were quite satisfied with the accuracy potential.

The 22 Charger ran flawlessly out of the box, feeding and ejecting both loads with aplomb.

Should You Buy a Ruger 22 Charger

We all liked the Ruger 22 Charger a lot. It would be a fun gun for plinking or target practice. Although I favor teaching kids to shoot on manually operated repeaters with iron sights, the 22 Charger can serve as a great starting point for youngsters who are too small to effectively use a shoulder stock or shoot a rifle from traditional positions. And a red dot sight is easy to understand. The charger is easily carried in one hand even with the bipod mounted. My son actually talked me into purchasing the 22 Charger.