Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ruger 10/22-TD Take-Down Rifle Review

Ruger 10/22-TD Take-Down Rifle Review

For many, the Ruger 10/22 is the epitome of .22 semi-auto rifle perfection.  It works flawlessly with both cheap and expensive ammo, is inexpensive, it is phenomenally reliable, easy to shoot, fun to upgrade, and accurate right out of the box. What could make it better? A take-down packable Ruger 10/22-TD version of course.

The Ruger remains a top value in the market, however because of a few gripes this is actually my second draft of the review.  On the first draft, I found myself generally sprialing down a darker review obsessed and and a little pissed off that Ruger seems to be recreating the famed Ruger 10/22 in polymer... I was thinking enough already. First the trigger frame assembly, then the magazine release, the trigger itself, and now the barrel band is also polymer on some models.  

Then the reality of polymer set in. The Ruger 10/22-TD shoots wonderfully, is lighter, the polymer is tighter and more precise than the original aluminum designs, has proven to be more durable in Ruger's tests, and use of that polymer probably reduced the price by about $50. This is not a showpiece but a working gun with proven polymer materials, so I decided to stop the whining.  
In reality the polymer trigger is about 200% better than my vintage 10/22 ever was and the fit of the rest of the polymer trigger group does not allow what I term as self-disassembly; which is a state when all the pins fall out every time the action is removed from the stock. The polymer will not show scratches like my old aluminum trigger group has, so a polymer version is not a horrible thing after all.
There is one issue which I will raise my hand on and ask “what was Ruger thinking?” The 18.5” barrel is the standard barrel length, however on a rifle whose sole purpose is to be as compact and stowable as possible, why oh why did they put a 18.5” barrel on the Ruger 10/22-TD take-down model vs a 16.1” barrel?   A minimum length 16.1” barrel would fit the purpose far better than the 18.5” barrel, shave 2.5” from the overall length and .5lb from the overall weight. 
After all Ruger already has a 16.12” barrel in their Compact model.  The 18.5” barrel will not conceal completely in most 3-day packs.  That said, I bought the rifle anyway and will either run it down to my local gunsmith for a chop and thread or will wait for someone to introduce a lightweight aftermarket 16” barrel.  I have already seen one innovative person post pictures of a cropped 16.1” threaded barrel and a folding receiver stock.

Those issues noted, the Ruger 10/22-TD is a very well thought out design which feels just as solid and well finished once assembled as any standard Ruger 10/22 Carbine.  It shoulders, weights, and shoots for hours-on-end the same as any Ruger 10/22, except this model can be quickly broken down into a compact package is less than a second.

The Ruger 10/22-TD Take-Down model is in essence an exact duplicate take-down version of the top selling Ruger 10/22 Stainless Carbine model.  The only distinctive features being that It can be disassembled quickly and easily and that it comes with a very nice quality case/pack.

For those survival types, the pack provides ample room for a light get home bag, the receiver section is stored in one side with plenty of room left even if a standard sized scope is attached.  The barrel section is stowed in one of the two slots (yes expect other barrel options - my bet is a .17 Rimfire barrel).  Standard MOLLE straps also adorn the front of the lower pockets for added flexibility.  The front pockets of the pack provide plenty of room for ammo, magazines, pistol, and/or other necessities.  The pack is set up to function as a single sling pack with four d-rings on the back of the pack and one of the front for a lot of flexibility in strap placement. With an extra strap the pack could be easily converted to a backpack. Personally the grab handle seemed to be the most used carry method for me as the 10/22-TD moved in and out of my truck.  

As the entire design of the rifle and pack from a marketing perspective screams “prepper”, I would have preferred Ruger go with a hook and loop Velcro patch field for their logo, versus the giant bight freaking red “hey over here I am carrying a Ruger firearm” logo on the bag, which could certainly draw unwanted attention to yourself in the wrong environment or even if legally carrying the rifle while camping or hiking.  Then again subtlety has not been in Ruger’s vocabulary. My case’s giant Ruger logo will most likely have a field of velcro sewn across it instead.

Ruger has constructed some panels in the case with closed cell foam and does claim the case will float with the rifle in it for a short time.  I will take their word for it. The case is well thought out, opens up in a clam shell style, and seems to be around 650 cu/in of space which allows for the creation of a nice little survival pack and has lockable dual zippers.

All the other standard 10/22 features are there as found on the Ruger 10/22 Stainless Carbine model including synthetic carbine stock, included scope base, folding rear leaf sight, front brass bead sight, 10-shot rotary magazine, and extended magazine release. Ruger has also included an action locking collar for use with the included Ruger lock.

The 10/22-TD receiver is a different part than your standard receiver.  The manual notes that the receiver and take-down insert must be factory installed and from what I can tell may be a factory threaded insert as I cannot find any retaining screws to hold in the insert. The rest of the receiver looks very similar with the exception of the take-down clamp bolted on where the v-block would normally reside. The barrel also has a few extra notches and do-dads which form the barrel mounted locking lever and the barrel mounted forend.  

The coupler system is brilliantly simple, secure and should be nearly infallible long-term.  To break the rifle down, all that is required it to clear the 10/22-TD of any ammo, pull back the bolt about ¼”, pull back on the barrel release, and twist the barrel 45 degrees counterclockwise.  
Ruger recommends locking the bolt back during assembly and disassembly, however all that is required is to pull the bolt back a little only to break down the 10/22-TD.  Assembly requires no attention to the bolt what-so-ever.  In fact I even tested leaving a loaded magazine in the receiver and just twisting on the barrel, cycle the action and shooting. Probably not the best on the extractor long-term, but worked just fine throughout testing.  If I was carrying this in a pack you can bet your backside, I would be carrying it in this manner to bring the rifle into service quickly.

From the factory the coupler is pre-set with the proper barrel tension, however if desired the couple can be tightened or loosened as required for optimal fit as wear occurs.  The instructions note that you should abruptly cycle the action by hand a couple times after assembly to seat the barrel and prevent first round fliers. Using this method, the 10/22-TD delivered consistent 25 yard zero’ed groups even when disassembled and reassembled between groups.

Generally take-down models can be picky and can loosen over time, however I experienced neither of these issues.  The Ruger 10/22-TD feed and fired everything just like a good 10/22 should.  Although the Ruger Take-Down adjustment can be tightened to accommodate for wear over time and I must have taken it apart and reassembled it a couple hundred times in the process of the review, I have yet to see a reason to tinker with the factory tension setting.
The 10/22-TD was definitely more accurate than my vintage 10/22 was and it arrived perfectly zero'ed at 25 yards.  It should be noted that the Ruger 10/22-TD has shown to have quite excellent accuracy for people and my testing was no exception.  In fact most information points to the fact that the TD model exceeds the standard capabilities of the standard carbine versions in most cases.  Looking at the 10/22-TD model you cannot help but notice that the barrel is in effect a modified free floated barrel. Whatever the reason, this take-down rifle was significantly more accurate than the 1” groups I have been used to from a standard 10/22.

As I recall, with a 1.5-5X scope my best rested 25 yard groups were just over 1”, however with the 10/22-TD I managed a standing 10 shot 1” group with the stock iron sights and from the bench pulled that into a .65” group with CCI Mini-Mags.  As it seems every Ruger 10/22 does, CCI  Mini-Mags were the clear performance winner for non-match ammo.  Scoped with a Nikon P-22 2-7X scope, the 10/22-TD stunned me with a couple .3” 5-shot groups at 25 yards with CCI Mini-Mags.  On the 50 yards line with the P-22 2-7 Nikon Scope, I was able to produce more than a few .75” groups with the Mini-Mags and one .5” group. The 10/22-TD is an excellent general purpose .22LR, survival rifle, a very fine plinker and definitely the most accurate take down rifle I have tested.
The 10/22-TD is a great little take down rifle for around $350 on the street. 

My wish list would be replacing the logo with velcro and a Ruger patch, the barrel should be a chopped 16.1” version preferably threaded, and it would be quite handy if the buttstock could have been hollow for storage or set up to hold 2 extra 10-round magazines.

These points the Ruger 10/22-TD is a winner of a gun even without an aftermarket barrel swap.  

In my opinion, the Ruger 10/22-TD is the best factory take-down .22 survival rifle available. The take-down action is innovative, rugged, fast, simple, light, reliable and even provides the ability to tighten any slop as wear occurs.  The 10/22-TD’s case also had a fair amount of thought put into it as well. . Great job Ruger, now get busy on that 16.1” barreled version that will fit in my 3-day pack.


Catalog Number: K10/22-TD
Model Number: 11100
Caliber: .22 LR
Stock: Black Synthetic
Finish: Clear Matte
Rear Sight: Adjustable
Front Sight: Gold Bead
Barrel Length: 18.50"
Overall Length: 37.00"
Material: Stainless Steel
Length of Pull: 13.50"
Weight: 4.67 lbs.
Capacity: 10
Grooves: 6
Twist: 1:16" RH
Backpack-Style Bag Included
MSRP: $389
Street: $350


Shop the complete selection of Ruger 10/22 Take down rifles and upgrades at Brownells.com 

Ruger Firearms

Monday, May 21, 2012


Long-Term Bulk Storage Grains and Preparedness Foods

For most of us, the flat black Type III Mil-Spec finish of an expensive custom billet AR15 is more to read and save for when it comes to survival and preparedness, however making the assumption that most of us are already a but over-gunned, whole bulk storage grains are by far the better investment.  In the two months since picking up these whole bulk grains from Pleasant Hill Grain, prices overall in the market have risen over 20% which means this was an excellent investment.  Bulk storage whole grains offer the preparer versatility, more compact size, lower cost, improved flavor, and in most cases much longer storage... and of course they are far more tastsy than  

With my Pleasant Hill 6 gallon bulk storage nitrogen packed grain buckets stacked, I have a six foot tall 10”x10” footprint which yields 4200 food servings for only $630 or about $0.15 a serving. Now that is pretty exciting for a prepper.

As searched for bulk whole grain retailers, Pleasant Hill Grains kept coming up over and over and at one point also for some gourmet kitchen products so I decided to go ahead and place an order.  Generally Pleasant Hill is a shipping based business, however if you find yourself cruising down I80 in the middle of Nebraska as I did, you can also pick your orders up in person.  
I was in the area anyway on a trip to visit the Hornady Manufacturing plant located in Grand Island, Nebraska which is only 20 minutes from Pleasant Hill’s warehouse.  During my visit at Pleasant Hill what I saw impressed me.  This is a new pristine and clean, food and gourmet products warehouse packed with thousands of different consumer and industrial kitchen products ranging from super premium $500 gourmet rice cookers to $15,000 commercial grain hammer mills, to canned butter and certified water storage containers.  Pleasant Hill’s product categories certainly cover a huge product width. 
Forget Sur La Table’s slick site and instead hit PleasantHillGrain.com.  This quirky site looks like it was designed in 2001, however the prices are the best I could find online and I encourage everyone to support small businesses versus the mega conglomerates.  Pleasant Hill definately gave me better service than the snobby gourmet stores ever have.  When asked about the circa 2001 site design, Carly Reed, Pleasant Hill’s Business Manager, noted that they talked about a site redo over the years, however customers love the old home look and feel.

Unlike many of its competition, Pleasant Hill Grain actually knows about grain and farming.  They 
began as a real third-generation grain farm on the plains of central Nebraska selling grains and various kitchen products. The farm still produces over 4 million pounds of grains under wholesale contracts.
Pleasant Hill Grain’s continual growth in the kitchen and bulk storage foods drove their 2008 expansion into a new very large warehouse and office building which is impressively huge considering it is literally in the middle of a small 500 person Nebraska town.  Today Pleasant Hill Grain is an authorized dealer for some of the top gourmet kitchen products in the industry such as Bosch, Kuhn Rikon, Edgecraft, Berkey Purifiers, Excalibur, Vita-Mix, and Zojirushi, just to name a few as well as one of the largest dealers of commercial kitchen and food processing products.  Luckily their warehouse was in operation by the time the major boom of prepping began and that portion of their business drastically expanded both in sales and the variety of products Pleasant Hill Grains now offers. Although they offer a huge variety of preparedness foods and products, my focus was on bulk whole grains.
In general I am not a huge fan of “prepared survival foods”, however they do have their place if you are not “bugging in”, for those unable to cook, or for things like canned butter which would be tought to get. Prepared Survival Foods are represented in small proportions in my preparedness pantry and bug out bags and I even make my own such as canning extra chili left over from a big batch. Prepared survival foods are not as flexible, generally less energy dense, heavier, and can begin to lose flavor and nutritional value the moment they are packaged.  Conversely, bulk storage whole grains with proper packaging, provide very long-term 20-30 year shelf life with almost infinite cooking flexibility, retain much higher nutritional value and flavor and are lighter and more compact.  

BULK WHOLE GRAIN FLAVORAs with any base food product, as soon as you cut into it or cook it, the flavor begins to degrade exponentially so the longer you can leave grains intact the better they are from a flavor and storage perspective. Flour is not a good long-term storage food, however whole wheat is one of the best and all you need to do is grind it. We have unearthed clay pots of wheat from ancient Egypt which are still good which make a good case for the longevity of whole grains. As someone who cooks I actually get excited about grinding my own cereals and grains. I bake my own bread when I have a chance, have a Round Boy outdoor pizza oven which is used often, and even mill my own grains with a hand crank Country Living Mill (also from Pleasant Hill Grains).  Why do I do this? Flavor, flavor, flavor!  There is a difference between just surviving and surviving well, and great tasting foods will make a bad situation a whole lot better and grains are needed in any diet.

To stock my preparedness pantry with Bulk Storage Grains, I choose Pleasant Hill Grains for several reasons. They were definitely the least expensive, had the broadest options, are a locally owned and operated business, but most importantly provided the grains already pre-packaged for long-term storage.
Almost all of Pleasant Hill’s grains are packed in high nitrogen airtight mylar bags inside sealed air tight 6 gallon food grade buckets.  This packaging method does several things to protect the grains for long-term storage. The bucket and mylar bags are both air tight sealed to protect from all manner of bug and beast from getting into the container such as mice and weevils.  Those seals also protect the grain from additional water getting into the container such as a basement flood or moisture/condensation from temperature and humidity changes.  The nitrogen rich air in the mylar bags effectively puts biological processes on hold greatly extending grain life, flavor and nutritional value. The food-safe O2 absorbers sealed in the mylar bags suck up all the oxygen and leave only nitrogen in the bucket.

All of Pleasant Hill’s whole grain product are all natural (Non-GMO - Non Genetically Modified) and triple-cleaned to ensure purity and protect you and your grain mill from any foreign objects.  I should add that they also taste good as well, which is after all the reason you would go to all this trouble in the first place.

Whether you are buying survival, preparedness, or disaster foods, I always encourage people to buy what they like to eat and where possible buy at the whole ingredient level.  Doing so will provide you and your body with a less traumatic experience should you need to begin preparing that food. Everyone eats grains, beans and rice in one form or another, so it makes sense to have these whole kernel ingredients available. From these components paired with my hand crank Country Living Grain Mill or a food processor run from an AC/DC converter I have the ability to product everything from rough cut grain-meal for cereals to flours for flat breads and baking. Beans and rice add a lot of bulk to diets and the amaranth, oats, and hard red wheat are very high in proteins and vitamins.  So here is what I picked up:

  • Oat Groats (whole) Organic, SuperPail - 36lbs - MSRP:$87
  • Hard Red Wheat, Organic - 40lbs - MSRP:$70
  • Organic Soybeans 25 Lb. Bag - MSRP:$40
  • Rice Basmati Organic, SuperPail - 43lbs - MSRP:$130
  • Corn Yellow Dent Organic, Superpail - 38lbs - MSRP:$68
  • Amaranth Organic - 45lbs - MSRP:$125.00
  • Red Kidney Beans - 40 lbs - MSRP:$110
In total I ended up with around 267 lbs. of compact food which will most likely taste the same today as it will in ten years.  This 267 lbs. of food will net approximately 4200 servings which is a family of four’s meals three times a day for 1 year and that is just these six buckets and the bag of soybeans.  Add in any other dry/canned goods in the pantry and any food I can rescue and can from the refrigerator and freezer and I realistically have about two years of food all without the need for a bunker or without seeming like a total freak.  
The $510 Country Living hand crank Mill, also available from Pleasant Hill Grain, is not a necessity as there are certainly far less expensive mills from Pleasant Hill. I actually use a mill daily to at the very least grind my cereal, I opted for highly durable light commercial mill with and optional corn/bean auger, table mount and electric motor pulley.

I see these folks online and on TV with cases of crappy tasting MREs and I wonder why you would go that route when you could be eating truly spectacular food.  Your body needs bulk intake; a squirrel a day will keep you alive, however your intestinal track will be in knots.  
From a price perspective, $630 is extraordinarily cheap considering that delivers a $.15 a serving cost with high calorie count and lots of bulk intake daily.  For the cost of a Spam can of 5.56 ammo, you would be hard pressed to find a better deal on food than that if you are a prepper.  
Pleasant Hill Grain
1-800-321-1073 toll-free for orders & info

From outside the U.S. call 1-402-725-3835

Friday, May 18, 2012



Previously, I reviewed the James Williams designed Shinbu and Hisshou short sword defensive knives and was so wowed by their cutting ability that I picked up both of James’ folding knife designs produced by CRKT as well. James Williams, as you may remember, is a world renowned sword practitioner and cutting expert.  He is also actively involved in teaching Military special operations and government security professionals how handy an edged weapon can be in situations where firearms are not permitted. The request came back to James for smaller folding knives that still packed the powerful cutting characteristics of the larger fixed blade Hissatsu, Shinbu and Hisshou.  The result was the Heiho and Hissatsu folding knives. These are two quite bad ass knives for their size.
Fit & Feel - CRKT Heiho Folder - I own more than a few CRKT knives and the Heiho is from my opinion the finest folding knife I have owned yet from CRKT.  They have done an absolutely beautiful job with the G10 handle and blade finish of this knife. Generally CRKT has been known for making what would be termed as high quality working knives, however this beautifully elegant knife will look good in fatigues, jeans, or with a suit.  The CRKT Heiho is a great size which also has a blade length legal to carry in the more restrictive cities with 3.5” or less blade length restrictions. Despite the minimalistic design, the knife feels very comfortable in the hand in a variety of grips.

Fit & Feel - CRKT Hissatsu Folder - The Hissatsu Folder also has the same overall subdued design which does not scream “Look, I have a tactical knife clipped in my pocket”. When in the pocket it looks a lot less like a tactical knife and more like a tool than almost any other knife made.  This is a good thing if you want to keep a low profile. The Hissatsu Folder’s glass filled nylon handles does have more of that high quality working knife look however the grip is very secure regardless of how wet the handle is.

Shared Features - The Heiho and Hassatsu Folder both share the same overall design with dual grind modified tanto points, AUS8 blade steels, thumb disks for easy ambidextrous opening, LAWS liner locking systems, and OutBurst assisted opening mechanisms.   
James Williams designed the blade shape after a classical Samurai design which gives outstanding penetrating power as well as exceptional slashing performance. There are a load of premium steels out there, however for me, AUS 8 stainless steel has been a favorite with great strength, edge-holding ability, and very good stain resistance but also because it can be resharpened to a razor edge about twice as fast as the premium steels.

Operation on both models is simple and easy with the ambidextrous thumb disk and CRKT’s OutBurst assisted opening mechanism, which springs the blade fully open after you have opened the blade approximately 30 degrees.  The OutBurst spring mechanism can be easily removed with just a set screw and I found I prefered the CRKT Heiho without it.  The CRKT Hassatsu Folder has an AutoLAWKS safety which instantly locks the liner lock in place creating in essence a fixed blade knife.  The AutoLAWKS system assures the knife cannot be closed accidentally during use. The Heiho has a manual LAWKS safety which can be engaged as needed.

Features - CRKT Heiho Folder - The Heiho features full stainless steel InterFrame liners and black G10 scales with Kanji characters engraved providing a secure grip. The Heiho’s ambidextrous stainless steel clip seats the knife very deep in the pocket and can be easily mounted for right or left-handed users with a single screw.  Personally I like a really deep carry depth because it conceals the knife much better and with smaller lighter knives, such as the 3.125" bladed 3.6oz CRKT Heiho. I think a deep carry provides more retention and lessens the risk of loss on smaller knives.

Features - CRKT Hissatsu Folder -  The Hissatsu delivers full sized performance with a blade length of 3.875" while still being safely under more typical 4” legal limits in most jurisdictions.  Following the intent of the original Military request, the black finish is a non-reflective black coating and features a heavier-duty InterFrame with thicker 0.059" 420J2 stainless steel liners.  The pocket clip is still fully reversible, however it does position the knife a bit higher in the pocket.  This I am sure was done from an indexing perspective to put the knife in  the hand during the draw which facilitates a smooth and fast opening.

James Williams knows edge geometry and these things are seriously aggressive cutting knives. Even the little Heiho surprises me the tasks it can take on and the Hassatsu is more than capable and durable for “Mission Type” operations where durability is critical. Resourting to my standard test of breaking down a whole chicken (they are about 50% cheaper that way) the Heiho and Hissatsu are aggressive meat cutting knife which I am sure would provide the required defensive cut should the situation arise.  Where the Shinbu were really single purpose this modified tanto tip seem to provide all the versatility of a drop point design.

CRKT Heiho Folder - I do swap out knives often, however for the last couple months the Heiho has been clipped into my pocket.  Part of that reason is that in my real profession, I do not look like I am carrying around a knife.  It sits low in the pocket and looks tastefully less “tactical” when I do have to use it, however when back in jeans or shorts, the knife still provides plenty of cutting power all while being smooth to open and having the option the engage the LAWKS system.  I actually used the knife to chip ice from an ice block for an evening of drinks for a party and with the LAWKS system engaged I knew the blade would not accidentally close on my hand.

CRKT Hissatsu Folder - Having just recently spent some time with an old friend who happens to be DOD Special Operations, I heard cases over and over of simple works, complex usually does not.  In this case the Hissatsu folder is a simple, reliable knife that backs a wallop for cutting power.  From my perspective CRKT and James have done a great job optimizing these knives for concealment and utility.  The Hissatsu is a tough folder I would definitely add to a 3-day or get home bag.


  • Open Overall Length 7 inches
  • Closed Length 4 inches
  • Weight 3.6 ounces
  • Blade Length 3.125 inches
  • Blade Thickness 0.122 inches
  • Blade Material AUS 8
  • Blade-HRC 58-59
  • Blade Finish Satin
  • Blade Grind Hollow
  • Blade Style Dual Grind Modified Tanto
  • Blade Edge Plain
  • Handle Material Polished G10
  • Handle Liner 2CR13
  • Lock Type Locking Liner
  • Safety System LAWKS
  • Carry System 2 Position Clip
  • OutBurst Assisted Opening (Removable)
  • MSRP $69.99
  • Street $60.00
  • Open Overall Length 8.75 inches
  • Closed Length 5 inches
  • Weight 5.8 ounces
  • Blade Length 3.875 inches
  • Blade Thickness 0.16 inches
  • Blade Material AUS 8
  • Blade-HRC 58-59
  • Blade Finish Tactical Black Matte
  • Blade Grind Dual
  • Blade Style Classic Samurai
  • Blade Edge Plain
  • Handle Material Glass Filled Nylon
  • Handle Liner 420J2
  • Lock Type Locking Liner
  • Safety System AutoLAWKS
  • Carry System 2 Position
  • OutBurst Assited Opening (Removable)
  • MSRP $99.99
  • Street $88.00

CRKT Knives