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Old January 13th, 2021, 02:51 PM #1
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10/22 Takedown Backpacker Review at Appleseed

Survival Rifles
Like many on this site, I have an affinity for “what-if” scenarios and own a few things that many people might see as of limited practical value. Heck, as I did some closet cleaning and looked back at some things I bought years ago for modest prepping, I was a little embarrassed. I mean, a miniature axe/hammer? A case of emergency rations should I be lost at sea? What was I thinking?

Despite that, I still have an abiding respect for cool concepts. When the 10/22 Takedown Backpacker was released a few years ago, I had to have one.

Newly Assembled Takedown Rifle



There are other “survival” and takedown rifles available – the Henry AR-7, Chiappa Little Badger, and Marlin Papoose are just a few – but I felt the 10/22 Takedown Backpacker had a lot going for it:
  • 10/22 Compatibility: I have other 10/22s so I also have magazines, trigger groups (BX, etc.), auto bolt releases, and other parts. I am very familiar with 10/22 operation, cleaning, and maintenance and they aren’t particularly “fiddly” with springs (as long as you don’t mess up the Ruger safety spring – DON’T DO THAT). Heck, the takedown makes cleaning even easier because you can clean from the chamber end when taken down.
  • Reliability: My takedown has been as reliable as any of my other 10/22s. While some will choke after a high volume of rounds, some targeting cleaning (extractor/bolt face, chamber, magazine feed ramp) will keep it running nearly indefinitely. Magazine quality and reliability are often an issue with the other takedown/survival rifles.
  • Portability: It is a very simple system to takedown and reassemble – one lever and a 45 degree twist. I also like that the backpacker connects the forend to the stock for travel – better than having the two components bumping each other in a discreet case. Also fits in parts of my gun safe that aren’t used by other long guns. The backpacker stock keeps the overall package lightweight. While the entire package is not as light as some other options, it is a very reasonable rifle at just over 4 pounds including optic. Though I don’t use the feature often, I like that there are storage compartments built into the rifle in the stock (for 3 spare 10-round mags or 1 spare 10-round mag and a 50-round box of 22LR ammunition) as well as a compartment in the grip for smaller items like a hex key or spare coin batteries.
  • Suppressability: The model I bought had a threaded barrel for a suppressor or flash hider. I am only disappointed that my rimfire silencers will not fit in the stock storage compartment.
  • Ergonomics: There is no doubt that the stock length of pull and forend length are shorter than on other rifles. But the inclusion of a stock cheek riser and a comfortable pistol grip make the rifle better than some other takedowns that have nothing like a traditional grip upfront (like the Marlin and Henry takedowns).
Stock Storage



Nobody’s Perfect
It does have some drawbacks as well, though perhaps these are only for certain use cases. I often live by the Townsend Whelen observation: “Only accurate rifles are interesting.” This is not because I don’t enjoy fun guns but that as an Appleseeder (student and instructor) I am more often going to the range or loaning rifles for an event with an intent to shoot groups smaller than 4 MOA (and hopefully much smaller than that). So if a rifle won’t do that consistently, it doesn’t come to the range very often.

The 10/22 takedown is more than capable of that standard from the bench with a receiver mounted scope or iron sights – in fact, it is generally far more accurate than that with the right ammunition. And while there could be concerns with variations in zero from takedown and reassembly, the Ruger system provides a consistent lock-up, minimizing the impact (though YMMV). So why do I raise it?

Appleseed coaches use of a sling as a significant accuracy enhancement. A sling attached to the barrel or forend will defect the barrel away from the receiver. With a standard rifle you won’t get that much deflection (maybe 1-2 MOA) and you can free-float the barrel to eliminate that. But with the Takedown, the amount of deflection seems to be 6-8 MOA with a tight sling based on testing that some instructors have done – and more problematically, it is difficult to have the same sling tension each time and in each position.

Now, at 25 meters, that is only 1.5 to 2 inches – and at 25 feet (plinking distances) it would only be a half inch or so. Many shooters would call that good or are not using a sling. But when you are shooting 1 inch targets at 25 meters, 4 inch targets at 100 yards, or 8 inch targets at 200 yards (the last two required during our Rimfire Known Distance events), it is the difference between a good hit and a clean miss. And since a shooter will face a lot of other factors that introduce accuracy variations/errors – ammo, focus, position, weather, etc. – all of which build on each other to create less precision, minimizing this factor is a priority.

Solve for X(-22)
There are several ways to mitigate barrel deflection variations.

The first is to mount the sling to the receiver rather than the barrel/forend unit. In fact, the backpacker stock has mounting points for Magpul Type 1 and 2 QD mounts (but you have to buy them separately) and, in fact, connects to the receiver stock module rather than the forend. This reduces torsion/deflection on the takedown barrel but makes using a sling tough on your support hand. It takes some adjustment of position and a good glove, but it can be done (uncomfortably).

The second is to change the way you mount your sights/optic. The 10/22 takedown receiver has the standard Ruger and aftermarket rail options for a receiver mounted scope. And this is how many folks will set up their rifle. However, the more torsion/deflection on the takedown barrel, the more your Point of Aim (POA) and Point of Impact (POI) will diverge from the receiver and the rear sight/optic.

Rather than mount the sights to two separate modules, one solution is to mount them to the barrel. In fact, the iron sights that come with the Ruger are mounted that way (as they are on all stock iron-sighted 10/22s). But mounting an optic this way requires an aftermarket solution.

Micro-Dot Solution
The first solution I used was the Magpul X-22 Backpacker Optic Mount. It provides a rigidly mounted short picatinny rail mount for micro red dots rigidly attached to the barrel and forend. With the sight on the barrel, you can torque and tension that thing all you want with any sling configuration (or no sling), take it down and reassemble it infinite times, and the sights will always be zeroed. It is also a very compact configuration so it works great to keep the backpacker small and light. The rifle also proved very accurate – my high score on an AQT with a Bushnell TRS-25 red dot on the mount was 231.

Magpul X-22 Backpacker Optic Mount




Ok, problem solved, right? Well, it may not be an ideal set-up for everyone. I have an astigmatism so shooting with a red dot is not easy – I have to get a consistent sight picture using a part of the smear or starburst of the dot like doing a six o’clock hold with a front sight. That is the only way not to obscure the smallest targets that are only slightly larger than the 3MOA dot I am using. The targets are tiny and blurry without magnification at the ranges we are shooting and only get worse in certain lighting conditions. The dot is mounted pretty far forward, which some people do not like. While it is more than capable of the right kind of accuracy, it isn’t necessarily easy to achieve it.

Magnified Optic Solution
I started researching ideas for takedown barrel mounted magnified optics. While there were a few options – some that required the barrel to be drilled and tapped, some that were “scout-mounts” for extended eye relief scopes – I was looking for something a bit more elegant. The Volquartsen Lightweight Takedown Barrel seemed to be the best solution to my needs.

Volquartsent Takedown Barrel with Optic


  • VERY Lightweight: Only 1.3 pounds including the scope mount due to using carbon fiber tensioning for the barrel. It feels even lighter than that.
  • Threaded Barrel: Since a lightweight aluminum 22LR suppressor weighs only a couple ounces more than the included stainless steel thread protector, it is begging to be suppressed.
  • Very Portable: The full rifle is very compact when assembled, the barrel module still connects to the stock when taken down and doesn’t extend the length too much with the scope (though a few inches more than the red dot solution).
It is not cheap but Merry Christmas to me. It was an easier purchase because I already had a BX trigger installed with an auto bolt release as well as mags and a sling with QD swivels. I did make a few other purchases to round out the rifle:
  • Leupold VX-Freedom 2-7x33mm Rimfire Scope (MOA reticle): Since I can’t mount a 20 MOA riser to the scope mount, the reticle provides 25 MOA of hashmarks for longer range shooting and ranging. This scope is also pretty lightweight (11 ounces) and proved to have forgiving eye relief at all magnification levels.
  • Vortex Pro Series Low Height 1-inch Rings: I wanted something robust but also lightweight and these seemed like the right balance. The low rings provided enough clearance for the compact scope while also keeping the height over bore as low as possible. Perfect for the optics cheek riser that comes with the backpacker stock.
  • Magpul Type-1 QD Sling Connector: After testing out different configurations, I settled on putting it on the opposite side of the receiver from the stock, which seemed to offer the best loop sling configuration (though still compromised). I have since ordered a Type-2 so that I can mount the sling to either side of the receiver for future tests.
  • Extra Backpacker Forend: This way I can quickly connect either the red dot barrel or scoped barrel without any other changes. This makes it a “modular rifle system” if you find that cool like I do.
Modular Rifle System



My first impression after putting it together was disbelief that it could still be so light and handy despite adding a scope and .920 diameter barrel. I did a lot of dry fire practice to test different sling and hand positions, mount the scope with proper eye relief, etc., but otherwise it was a very straightforward – just like changing uppers on an AR.

Unanswered Questions
It also raised a question I had not considered originally – if you use the receiver sling QD point, do you need to worry as much about barrel deflection or can you just use receiver mounted sights? There will still be hand pressure on the bottom of the forend, but no torsion because you are not gripping the rifle, it is just resting against your palm.

I guess that will be another question worth answering in a future test…but since I just spent a bunch of money on a solution that may not have been required, I don’t want to think about that yet!

It also opened up whether I should get a different takedown stock with more conventional sling mounts (Magpul Hunter, Hogue, Ruger, etc.) now that I took the sling torsion out of the equation with the barrel mounted optic. My concern is that I will lose some of the benefits on the backpacker stock, particularly lightweight, since the Magpul Takedown Hunter weighs over 1 pound more than the Backpacker. But it would certainly be an option to consider.

And weight really is an advantage right now: the Takedown is 4.75 pounds with the scope, 4.5 pounds with the red dot. When I compare that to one of my standard loaner rifles (a T/CR22 with a 3X scope, standard diameter barrel, and Ruger Modular Stock) the scoped Takedown is a pound lighter. And when compared to one of my heavy barrel target 10/22s, which weighs just over 8 pounds, it is a real lightweight.

Weight Comparisons



And one final question remained – how would it shoot? Would it really offer advantages over the old red dot solution?

Though I instruct with Project Appleseed, I am still a shooter at heart. There were some spots open at a two day clinic in Northern Virginia and plenty of instructors, so I signed up with a friend from work as a shooter – nothing like a January Appleseed, right? Well, we lucked out – it was definitely cold for our area in the morning (right around 30) but warmed up in the afternoon to the high 40s, so no complaints or excuses there.

Let’s Shoot!
I made day 1 all about the Takedown. Now, while I had shot the Takedown with the original barrel and red dot before, I had never even fired it with the new barrel nor zeroed the scope after mounting it for the first time – in fact, I only finished putting it all together on the Wednesday night before the event. So it was going to be a bit of a challenge to shoot the first Red Coat target cold.

While we normally do sighting adjustments later in the day, I admit I “cheated” and made them during this initial string of fire – I didn’t clean the Red Coat but felt roughly dialed in. We started the formal zeroing process on the squares target.

My first square (shot at 25 meters from prone position with a sling) showed what this little rifle could do – a very nice group, though about 1 MOA right.

First Square Group - Grid is Quarter Inch, Square is One Inch



I used the squares to try out different ammo as well, switching between Eley CMP and SK Standard Plus – it seemed to prefer (or at least not show any downside with) the less expensive Eley so I settled on that for the rest of the day. We moved from squares to the Green targets to start practicing transitions to prone and seated as well as standing.

Squares and Green Practice Target



Moment of Truth: The AQT
There was only time for one AQT on Saturday afternoon and I scored a 225. While it wasn’t my best target, I was extremely happy with it considering I had fired the rifle for the first time that morning.

The score could have been higher except someone else put a miss and a 4 on my standing target (knocking out 2 5s and changing a 49 to a 43) and I had one failure to feed on Stage 3 of the AQT and did not have a panic mag. That cost me 3-5 points as well and I would use a panic mag the rest of the weekend.

AQT



My AQT score was lower than my previous high with the red dot equipped Takedown, which I suppose begs a question of whether it was worth the cost and effort to build the rifle in the new configuration. I think it was.

The rifle is capable of producing higher scores (and therefore to be more useful out in the field) in less optimal conditions than the red dot. I achieved that 231 score amidst a lot of lower scores over a course of many AQTs. Clean up a few things and the target would have been in the high 230s. Perhaps if I had stuck to the Takedown on day 2 of this past event I would have scored higher to prove the point. I will continue to test it out and let you know how it does.

We finished up with the Red Coat and this time I cleaned it, with a little help from the “30-caliber rule” on Morgan’s Shingle.

Final Red Coat



On Sunday I switched over to another 10/22 and my Appleseed-edition Tippmann on my quest for a perfect 250 score. It didn’t happen as I topped out at 237. But that is another journey and write-up.

Wrap-up Observations
  • I definitely had no wandering accuracy issues from barrel torsion – the rifle configuration worked.
  • The lightweight rifle really made it easy to control in standing with the hasty sling – I had less perceived wobble and with the receiver sling mount I was forced to use a very compact position. Weight can lead to stability, but balance also matters and this little rifle is perfectly balanced. My scores in Standing were very high (49-50 out of 50) in practice and the AQT (minus help from my neighbor).
  • The loop sling position was awkward in seated and prone and took some getting used to. Rather than wrapping around my hand with my fingers perpendicular to the muzzle, I had it crossing just over the back of my hand and had my fingers facing the muzzle (though, of course, well behind it). This created the desired tension (similar to a hasty-hasty sling configuration) but wasn’t as naturally stable as I am used to. It felt like the rifle wanted to cant but I didn’t want to use muscles to twist the rifle. I used a heavy shooting glove and still found it uncomfortably rubbing against my wrist. I settled on a shooting position where my hand was relaxed but I had fingers were on either side of the forend, which seemed to offer more stability. I will try some other sling configurations going forward.

    Sling Position = Fingers Forward



  • The sling position did make magazine changes a little harder. With my sling hand and the QD swivel so close to the magazine well, I had to twist the rifle to make sure I had a clear path when removing and inserting a magazine. I also found that standard Ruger flush fit 10-round magazines were more comfortable than the 10-round mags with Tandemkross bumpers I typically use. It was just a little slower, but worth mentioning.

    Sling and Hand Blocking the Mag Well



  • When we were in extended preparation periods (handle unloaded rifles, including dry fire), I practiced relaxing and then bringing the rifle to my shoulder dozens of times in each position to simulate a transition or a reload. Since it wasn’t as natural as some other rifle and sling configurations, I found that doing this built confidence for when I would be under time pressure.
  • The rifle was extremely reliable despite a lack of break-in – I would have more failures to eject with my other rifles on Sunday. Maybe it was because the receiver/bolt was already worked in, because the takedown has slightly looser tolerance, or because Volquartsen has strong quality control.
  • The Leupold 2-7 scope worked very well. I had no issues with eye relief at maximum magnification, it was extremely clear, I could spot my holes for making sighting adjustments, and had plenty of magnification for the target sizes we shoot. We did get a lot of direct sun on Saturday afternoon that caused issues for everyone using scopes but you just had to find the right angle to avoid glare. But I finally understood why someone would put a long sun shade on their scopes!
  • The BX trigger, while not as finely tuned as some other match triggers, was perfectly fine. I switched to a 4-pound single stage Timney on Sunday morning and it felt heavy.
Conclusions
Much like AR uppers, the best part is that I now have, essentially, 2 different rifles I can travel with easily without needing to buy too many new parts. They pack well in a discreet case, including 4 mags stored in the rifle itself.

Ready to Roll



Finally, the rifle is damn sexy! I know, this is the least important part of the whole package but the carbon fiber wrap looked great contrasted with the stainless parts and black stock/receiver finish. The whole package looks sci-fi modern.

Rifle Left and Right Side

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Last edited by KYFHO; Yesterday at 12:56 PM.
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Old January 13th, 2021, 03:07 PM #2
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Thanks for a nice writeup. I'm still deciding between this and Ruger PC Carbine 9mm.
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Old January 13th, 2021, 03:19 PM #3
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Originally Posted by Michigander08 View Post
Thanks for a nice writeup. I'm still deciding between this and Ruger PC Carbine 9mm.
Thanks! I have both and I am a bigger fan of the 10/22 Takedown. The Ruger PC Carbine is cool and accurate, but so damn heavy to me. I think the new Magpul Backpacker stock will be a lot lighter, but of course would not be compatible with my front end. For home defense or something, the PC 9 is certainly more useful. If you have any 9mm ammo...

Takedown's Big Brother

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Old January 13th, 2021, 03:25 PM #4
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Great overview, with lots of info.
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Old January 13th, 2021, 03:32 PM #5
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I've been thinking about doing something very similar to this. Thanks for a great write up!
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Old January 14th, 2021, 01:39 PM #6
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Great review! I still have the Ruger black polymer stock on my 10/22TD. Seriously considering this as a replacement option.
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Old January 14th, 2021, 02:20 PM #7
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fantastic read
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Old January 14th, 2021, 02:45 PM #8
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Who makes the soft case you have pictured? Funny, sexy is exactly my descriptor for the TD I sadly lost in the Bay.
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Old January 14th, 2021, 03:15 PM #9
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Who makes the soft case you have pictured? Funny, sexy is exactly my descriptor for the TD I sadly lost in the Bay.
It is the ARFCOM covert tactical takedown case (that is a mouthful) - it was only $23 on-sale when I bought it from Brownells last year: https://www.brownells.com/shooting-a...rod134898.aspx

Might be able to buy it from ARFCOM directly?
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Old January 14th, 2021, 03:29 PM #10
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That is one of the best reviews I have read in a long time! Thanks for all the time and effort.
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