The Rimfire Report: Does the 11/22 Takedown RUIN Its Own Accuracy?

Luke C.
by Luke C.

Hello and welcome back to another edition of The Rimfire Report! This ongoing series is all about the rimfire firearm world and its many types of guns, its various shooting sports, and of course special rimfire-focused reviews by myself and other TFB writers. This week we’re talking about another fun plinker that often gets squeezed into several other roles – the 10/22, or rather the Fletcher Rifle Works OpenTop 11/22 Takedown model. A while back I gave you guys my first impressions of the rifle and over the last couple of months I’ve been spending a lot of time with the rifle at the range, primarily accuracy testing it, but also getting a good read on its reliability, and how the experience changes over time. So today we’ll be going over my findings, and answer the hot question that everyone has when it comes to the takedown model of the 11/22, and its removable Picatinny rail section – does it stay accurate?

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The Rimfire Report: Does the 11/22 Takedown RUIN Its Own Accuracy?

The Fletcher Rifle Works series of OpenTop 11/22 rifles has grown quite a bit over the years with even more iterations on the way in the coming years. President of FRW Paul Fletcher told me personally at SHOT Show 2024 that he isn’t planning on stopping the incremental improvement process when it comes to the platform. The 11/22 Takedown edition is the result of that mindset.

The OpenTop 11/22 takes the original concept of the 11/22 receiver and extends the rail into the section that was previously just a bare cover. This allowed shooters to mount more traditional riflescopes rather than just long eye relief scopes or red dots. The 11/22 takedown obviously comes standard with the best 10/22 pattern takedown stock on the market – the Magpul X-22 Backpacker. The X-22 is robust, simple to use, and handy for keeping around spare ammo and/or other survival gear if you’re trying to push the platform into that kind of role. Finally, the other parts of the gun including the bolt, charging handle, trigger assembly, and barrel are all premium parts. The Ruger BX trigger offers an affordable improved trigger experience over the OEM trigger, and the Beyer barrel just makes the whole platform operate a lot better in both the accuracy and reliability department, largely due to the Beyer match chamber.

All these features should make for a supremely accurate rifle but we all know that moving and removable parts often don’t go back to where we had them before. It’s why you always re-confirm your zero after removing or adding optics, muzzle devices, or reassembling a rifle. The 11/22 takes that added layer of tolerances and multiplies it by two by having both the barrel and the optics mount (or part of it)of the rifle removable.

Test Protocol

Today we’re going to test how much of an impact both the removeable barrel and removeable optics cover rail have on the overall accuracy of the Fletcher Rifle Works OpenTop 11/22 Takedown rifle. To do that all the groups for the test will be shot as 10-round groups with the barrel or optics mount being removed in between each 10-round group. This test is repeated a total of 5 times and with that, I was able to establish a fairly clear trend of what removing and replacing that specific component was doing. For the test and to get the best results, I used a Leupold MK V HD 2-10×30 riflescope. I could have used a much more powerful 5-25x56mm optic, but since it’s much larger than the fairly modest-sized 2-10, I felt that using the smaller optic was more in the spirit of a “backpack” rifle. All of the groups were shot from the prone position with a bag, using CCI 40-grain Standard Velocity ammunition from BX-15 magazines.

The Results

I’m equal parts surprised and impressed by the performance of the OpenTop 11/22. Long story short, I found that regardless of which component was removed and replaced between shot strings, you could expect only about a 1/2 or so of a shift from the original point of aim at 50 yards. By this, I mean that if you were to aim at the bullseye of a target, you could expect the center of your next 10-round group to land within a one-inch circular area around that point of aim.

This target on the left shows the 5 groups that resulted from removing and reattaching the optic and Picatinny cover rail.
The Target on the right shows the point of impact shift results from removing and reattaching the barrel.

While this might be a deal breaker for some, I think I can accept the slight shift in zero for this particular kind of backpacking rifle. Other reviewers of the 11/22 Takedown have also reported similar-sized shifts in point of impact as mine and I think this establishes that the 11/22 takedown, despite its premium price point, will not outshoot a dedicated fixed barrel rifle when you actually use either of the defining features of the 11/22 takedown. What can be said, however, is that between shot groups, the group sizes remained relatively the same at about 1″ or smaller with some of my caffeine-addled groups being slightly worse than that. So while your point of impact may shift after a quick cleaning or a quick reassembly, your overall group size is still quite respectable even with cheap standard velocity ammunition meaning it takes a little bit of the sting away from the point of impact shift problem (at least for me).

If a slight point of impact shift is too much for you to handle, you can always just mount an optic directly to the barrel portion, and keep your X-22 takedown capabilities, but you’ll likely be stuck with a goofy cantilever setup or just a simple red dot with perhaps a magnifier at the back which shouldn’t suffer from any shift other than its alignment with the dot. A large part of this consistency comes from the precision machined lockup of the 11/22 Takedown, and the fine tolerances that the Picatinny cover rail has come from the Fletcher Rifle Works machine shop.

The takedown mechanism is very finely tuned to be tight and is one key to ensuring tighter groups between reassemblies, but can lead to a stiff takedown process.

Reliability

Throughout my testing over the months, I probably shot about 1,500 or so rounds of various 22LR including super, and subsonic loads of all types and brands and a whole Christmas bonus’ worth of cheap bulk hollowpoint ammunition. Although the rifle was pretty filthy by the end of all of it I didn’t feel like I had to clean it since it was running just as well as when I received the rifle. It seems that the premium components do make quite the difference in not just the accuracy department, but the reliability department.

Final Thoughts

I think there is a lot here in this latest iteration of the OpenTop 11/22 rifle for rimfire junkies like myself. I really enjoy messing around with the 10/22 platform and the FRW 11/22 Takedown might even have more cool modifications that could be made to it if there were a compatible M-LOK equipped takedown chassis on the market. When it comes to accuracy, the 11/22 Takedown isn’t a slouch but it certainly isn’t a true “return to zero” affair in either respect. If you want 100% return to zero you are stuck with an objectively worse optics mounting position and are likely limited to unmagnified optics only if this is the case so I can understand why someone might not want to pay $1000 plus for a fancy takedown rifle that doesn’t give them a consistent point of impact in between reassembly. However I feel like for the components alone that are being offered, the price is more than worth the entire package and then some with just how much fun I’ve had with the rifle.

The OpenTop 11/22 Takedown is fun to take camping when the main focus of the trip isn’t shooting, but the opportunity does present itself. Rimfire ammunition is cheap and compact and with a compact rifle that has solid reliability, and great group sizes once assembled, the 11/22 is just one of those rifles that are fun to have around and shoot with friends and family on the weekends. As always, I’d like to hear your thoughts on this rifle and test and what you guys might have done differently. Is the point of impact shift too much of a downside for you to ever consider adopting the FRW 11/22 Takedown? Let me know in the comments and as always thanks for stopping by to read The Rimfire Report and we’ll see you all again next week!

Luke C.
Luke C.

Reloader SCSA Competitor Certified Pilot Currently able to pass himself off as the second cousin twice removed of Joe Flanigan. Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ballisticaviation/

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  • Mystick Mystick on Mar 12, 2024

    If this rifle has a locking mechanism like the stock 10/22TD, I may have some relevant advice.

    I have found that to get secure lockup, through trial and error, adjust the ring until the mating is firm - almost difficult - prior to assembly; the ring, despite knurling, is nearly impossible to tighten properly to eliminate slop once the pieces are together.

    I use a common-ring receiver-mounted scope and I get repeatable <1MOA(not bad with a .22LR) groups with the proper ammunition. I say "proper" because in the case of the vanilla 10/22, it is picky on what it likes to eat, and it varies from gun to gun. Some like Velocitors, some certain sub-rounds. I got "lucky" with mine - it likes to eat Golden Bullets, which are affordably packaged in buckets.

    Now there's more to say about Golden Bullets' quality - charge, bullets rattling in the brass, etc - but that's a whole different thing not really germane to the 11/22.

  • BeoBear BeoBear on Mar 13, 2024

    Surprising. I have a basic 10/22 takedown with a QD scope. I tested mine multiple times and had no shift. I shot the rifle, removed the QD scope and the barrel then reassembled it and shot again with no shift. The only other factor I can think of is making sure the barrel lock mechanism is as tight as possible, any looseness will definitely affect accuracy.

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