New Ruger Charger & Charger Take-Down Semi-Automatic 22 LR Pistols

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

December 25th, 2014


Click pictures for a larger version.





Original Charger (with gray laminate stock) compared with the new versions.



Chargers each ship with one BX-15 magazine.



New Charger



New Charger ships in a cardboard box with padded zippered case.



Bipod attaches with supplied adapter.



Free-floated barrel.



Five-shot groups at twenty-five yards.



I first reviewed the then-new Ruger Charger pistol back in 2007, just as it was publicly introduced. Based upon the time-tested excellent 10/22 rifle, the Charger was, and is, pretty much a chopped 10/22 rifle, which isn't a bad thing at all. Legendary for its ruggedness and reliability, the 10/22 rimfire rifle has thrived for decades when many other competing 22 rimfire rifles have come and gone. Ruger has sold millions of these dandy little rifles, and they are still today the standard to which new designs of semi-automatic rimfire rifles are compared. The 10/22 rifles are reliable, accurate, and affordable, with both factory and aftermarket support to upgrade the rifle for competition, if desired.

The 10/22 Charger pistol is what is sometimes referred to as a "hand rifle", as it is smaller, lighter, and handier than a rifle, but larger than a typical pistol. The Charger was an ideal plinking and varmint hunting tool, but the original Charger was quietly discontinued a while back.

Now, the New Charger is being introduced in two forms, and both are better than the original, in my opinion. Wearing laminated wood stocks, as did the original, the stocks on the pistols are slimmer, lighter, and just plain feel better in my hands. Model 4917 wears a brown laminated stock with a 10/22 rifle action mated to a ten-inch hammer-forged barrel that is free-floated into the barrel channel. The Model 4918 is pretty much the same mechanically, except that it is built upon Ruger's relatively new 10/22 TD (Take-Down) action. The Charger TD has a Green Mountain laminated stock, and the barrel is not free-floated in the channel.

Both pistols ship with a Ruger BX-15 magazine, but can use standard ten-shot Ruger rotary magazines, Ruger BX-25 and BX-50 magazines, and any quality Ruger-compatible aftermarket magazine for the 10/22 rifle. The Charger TD ships in a hard plastic compartmentalized case, and the non-takedown model ships with a zippered soft padded case. Both pistols ship with bipods and locks for securing the pistol in an inoperable condition for safety. The Chargers also each wear a 4.5 inch section of Picatinny rail atop the receiver for mounting an optical sight, as no sights are provided with the pistols. Also an improvement over the original Charger pistols, the New Charger and Charger TD barrels are threaded standard 1/2x28 TPI at the muzzle for the attachment of a sound suppressor (silencer) or other muzzle device. That is an important feature, and one of the reasons that my original Charger pictured here wears a threaded aftermarket barrel. Both New Charger pistols also have AR-15 type pistol grips, which are much more comfortable to my hand than was the integral grip of the original Charger.

I tested the Charger pistols with several types of 22 Long Rifle ammunition for velocity and function. The results with each brand and type of ammunition are listed in the chart below. HP is a lead hollowpoint bullet. Solid is a lead roundnose bullet. Velocity readings were taken at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with an air temperature of 52 degrees Fahrenheit, with humidity in the ninety-seven percent range. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (FPS), and were recorded ten feet from the muzzles of the pistols. Bullet weights are listed in grains. There was no significant variation in the velocities of the two pistols, so I chose to not differentiate between the two in the chart below.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Federal Bulk HP 36 1209
Winchester DynaPoint HP 40 1054
PMC Match Solid 40 1012
Wolf Match Solid 40 1011
CCI Mini-Mag HP 36 1136
CCI Mini-Mag Solid 40 1111
CCI Velocitor HP 40 1299
Remington Yellow Jacket HP 33 1343
Remington Hi-Speed Solid 40 1189
American Eagle HP 36 1102
PMC Zapper HP 38 1167
Olin Solid 40 1001
Winchester XPert HP 36 1121
Hansen Solid 40 1054
CCI Blazer Solid 40 1187
CCI Stinger HP 32 1414
Remington Bulk HP 36 1139
Remington Subsonic HP 38 865
Winchester Wildcat Solid 40 1130
Armscor HP 36 1118
Aguila Subsonic Solid 60 775
Aguila Supermax HP 30 1492

Reliability with both pistols was one hundred percent, with each type of ammunition listed in the velocity chart above. Each pistol fed, fired, and ejected every cartridge flawlessly, and I expected no less. The trigger pulls were also better than those on 10/22 rifles of years past. Since Ruger changed over to the polymer trigger group housing, the trigger pulls are now more consistent from one rifle (or pistol) to the next, and these two released between the five and six pounds of resistance range, after a slight take-up of the slack.

Accuracy was superb. These two pistols will shoot! Being basically 10/22 rifles, they should shoot like 10/22 rifles, and they do. Many people have the notion that longer barrels are more accurate than shorter barrels, and that is just not true. The Charger Takedown model returned to zero after removing and reinstalling the barrel and forend. However, it is important to mate the two sections tightly. Like on the 10/22TD rifle, I like to tighten the knurled ring to the point that the two sections will not mate together, then back the ring off two clicks. This makes for a tight lockup, and is particularly important when using the bipod for shooting.

Since both pistols are threaded for a sound suppressor, I tried each with my Tactical Solutions Cascade can attached. Accuracy and reliability remained excellent, but it is important to note that attaching the suppressor will change the point of impact; more with some types of ammunition than with others. Shooting with the can attached, especially with subsonic ammunition, made the shooting very enjoyable, and would be a definite asset if shooting vermin in an urban or suburban area, without drawing unwanted attention.

I found the Leupold VX-III extended eye relief scope to work perfectly on each of these pistols. The scope has a variable magnification from 2.5 to 8 power, with very clear optical qualities.

These two New Charger pistols from Ruger are dandy weapons for the hunter, plinker, or target shooter. More compact than a rifle, but large enough to shoot like one from a rested position, these Chargers are a good option for the hunter or shooter who wants something a bit different than a common 22 rifle. I personally prefer the standard model, but if you need the capability of fitting the Charger into a small space, the takedown version is a good option. The suggested retail price of these pistols, as of the date of this review, is $309 US for the standard model, and $413 US for the takedown.

Check out the extensive line of Ruger firearms and accessories online at

For the location of a Ruger dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at

To order a Ruger firearm online, click on the GUN GENIE at

To order quality 22 Long Rifle ammunition online, go to and

For a look at the extensive line of quality Leupold optics, go to

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.



Barrels are threaded 1/2x28 TPI.



New Charger (top) and Charger Take-Down (bottom) each wear a Picatinny spec scope rail atop the receiver.



New Chargers have an AR-15 type pistol grip.



Magazine latch (top), bolt hold-open latch (middle), crossbolt safety (bottom).



These two groups show the change in point-of-impact when attaching a sound suppressor.



Charger Take-Down

Charger take-Down ships in a padded hard case.



Takedown procedure is quick, easy, and required no tools.



Charger Take-Down ships with a Harris-type bipod.



Five-shot groups at twenty-five yards.



Leupold VX-III pistol scope.