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Yeah, Santa brought me a Ruger 22 Charger. Granted, I had to ask, hand over my credit card, and it showed up after the holidays. But I’m calling it a gift from the fat man with the white beard. And if you’ve been following this site at all, you know that my firearms rarely stay stock for long. In this case, I had a plan, and some “spares” waiting to be pressed into service. So I took my brand new Ruger 22 Charger, wiped off the factory oil, and took it apart. Not completely. Just removed the barrel, furniture, and trigger group. Which, I should point out, are all perfectly fine when they leave the factory. I just had other plans.
Ruger 22 Charger, model number 4923
I won’t go into too much detail here, as you can find the full spec sheet on the Ruger website. The Ruger 22 Charger is a pistol based on Ruger’s 60-year-old 10/22 action. It’s a proven design that is reliable, accurate, and an excellent platform for customizing. This model has a 10″ cold hammer-forged barrel with a 1:16″ twist and threaded 1/2″x28, so it’s ready for a suppressor. The matte black polymer stock is durable, but not exciting. Overall length is 19.25″, and unloaded weight is 50 ounces. That makes it a large pistol, but a great backpacking firearm for plinking or small game.
Step one: add an optic
No iron sights are included, which sort of makes sense. Yes, it’s a pistol, but the Ruger 22 Charger is shipped with a bipod. It’s almost as though they expect users to add a scope. That would also explain the Picatinny rail installed at the factory. We’re having none of that though. A Vortex Venom 3 MOA red dot sight was added to the rail. This offers quick target acquisition and low weight. Holosun, Viridian, and other companies make similar compact optics. I chose the Vortex because I had a spare sitting on my bench. A few twists of the large screw, and it was snugged down. My laser sight was used for a 25-yard zero. Now it’s a functional pistol.
Step two: a Boyds stock
I had ordered this Boyds stock for the Ruger 22 Charger with a project in mind. The color is Blackjack Laminate, and I ordered it hoping it would be a bit pinker than it is. I planned to combine it with a custom pink barrel from Summit Precision, but it wasn’t a good match. So I ordered a different barrel. More on that below. Like all Boyds laminate stocks, this one is made from 37 layers of wood that is dyed before being glued and compressed. The intense pressure pushes the adhesive into the pores of the wood, making the stocks super strong. That blank is then CNC inletted and cut to shape. A durable clear coat protects it from the elements.
Installation was as simple as loosening the original action screw from the factory polymer stock, removing the entire barreled action, and dropping it into the Boyds. The trickiest part was centering the safety so that it would slip into the Boyds. In other words, no trouble at all. At this point, I probably would have been happy to just take my new Ruger 22 Charger out to the range. But as I mentioned, I had some more parts to add.
Step three: a custom Summit Precision barrel
Summit Precision offers custom carbon fiber barrels for Ruger 10/22 and 22 Charger pattern firearms. Each barrel starts with a 416R stainless steel barrel which is given a carbon fiber sleeve. The result is the stiffness and accuracy of a bull barrel, but without the huge weight penalty. And they look awesome too, with a large variety of colors to choose from. The metal portion can be ordered in a stainless finish, or FNC (ferritic nitro carburized) black, The FNC finish increases surface hardness while adding corrosion and wear protection.
My barrel is the Silver/Black carbon fiber over FNC and topped with a TandemKross Game Changer compensator. The 22 Charger barrels are available in the following lengths: 6,7,8,9,10,11,12, and 14 inches. No 13, because that’s an unlucky number (I’m guessing. I really don’t know). One of the nice things about Summit Precision is that the owner is very committed to customer service. So if you need an odd length, like 5-3/8″, or 9.5″ as seen here, you may get one if you ask nicely. Anyway, I removed the v-block, held the barrel and tapped the receiver with a nylon mallet until the factory barrel popped out. A little oil for lubrication, a few gentle taps on the back of the receiver, and my new barrel was installed. After checking for extractor timing, I reinstalled the v-block.
Step four: TandemKross Ultimate Trigger Kit, Fireswitch, Bolt Keeper, KrossPins, and Shock Block Bolt Buffer
This complete trigger group came out of a previous project, so the Ultimate Trigger Kit, Fireswitch and Bolt Keeper were already installed. I’ll point out that I don’t actually have dozens of 10/22 and 22 Chargers just lying around. Instead, I have more than one or two, and have recycled some parts for different projects. As long as I was installing this trigger group into my latest project, I used the receiver KrossPins to hold it in place. I like them because the ball and detent design makes them easy to install and remove, but they don’t fall out. TandemKross even offers smaller pins for the magazine release. Which is convenient, since mine fell out the moment I removed the trigger group.
While it was apart, I also replaced the steel receiver buffer pin with the Shock Block Bolt Buffer. This should cut down on a bit of noise when shooting suppressed. Now I have a much lighter trigger (about 2 pounds) with no pre-travel and very little post-travel. Rather than over-complicate things, TandemKross uses an extra spring in this trigger kit which puts a very small amount of tension on the trigger. Not enough to affect the pull, just enough to remove that pre-travel. It’s a great design that offers performance without compromising safety. And it’s priced great too. The Fireswitch allows me to push or pull to drop a magazine. Finally, the Bolt Keeper is an update on the bolt release, with a knob to assist locking it open. If you or someone you know struggles with locking back the Ruger bolt, there’s help.
Step five: Go have fun!
If it wasn’t snowing, I would have already put a box or two of some cheap bulk ammo through this Ruger 22 Charger. But Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate. And really, this wasn’t just a project for the sake of using up some spare parts. I wanted to demonstrate how easy it can be to upgrade Ruger’s awesome platform. The barrel, stock, and trigger swap were all done with a single hex wrench, a punch, and a nylon hammer. Nearly anyone could do this at home with some very basic tools. The result is a really fun range toy.
As someone who experienced a life-changing event in 2022 (job layoff), I’m not suggesting that everyone can drop loads of money on a rimfire, or any other firearm. But it’s possible to make a nice custom .22 over time. That’s one of the reasons I enjoy this platform. These upgrades could have been done in any order. Well, except for the optic. Definitely start with some sort of optic. Everything else can be done over time, as budget allows.
As always, I’d like to thank Ruger, TandemKross, Summit Precision, and Boyds Gunstocks for their continued support. Not just for my site, but their support for the firearms community. Recreational shooting is a popular pastime. Whether it’s families plinking at the range, competing, or even putting food on the table, exercising our 2nd Amendment right is as important as teaching firearms safety and marksmanship.
Did Santa bring you a Ruger 22 Charger? If so, what are your plans for it? Feel free to share below.