Click pictures for a larger version.
Bolt lock (top), magazine release (bottom).
22/45 LITE (left) compared to Ruger 22/45 (right).
Barrel nut secures steel barrel into aluminum outer tube/receiver.
Muzzle is threaded 1/2x28 TPI for muzzle brake or sound suppressor attachment.
Tactical Solutions Cascade sound suppressor.
Disassembly/reassembly is easy, if you follow instructions.
22/45 LITE looks good with 22/45 checkered wood grips.
Sturm, Ruger &
Company has been in the 22 semi-automatic pistol market from
the company’s inception. Ruger started
out in 1949 with a rugged, reliable, and affordable 22 auto
that drove the nail in the coffin for many of its competitors.
Unlike other 22 semi-auto pistols, the Ruger design uses a bolt
within a tubular receiver, more like a rifle action, instead of
a frame and slide. The Ruger design is simple, reliable,
accurate, and extremely rugged. I have serial number 0132 that
was built in 1949, and it probably shoots as well today as when
it was brand new. I wasn’t around in 1949, but for the few
years that I have had this little jewel, it has never stuttered,
and is more accurate than I can hold it. I own several Ruger 22
auto pistols, and they all run very well, shoot accurately, and
I am confident that each will still give good service years
after I am gone.
A few years back, Ruger introduced the 22/45
variation of their auto pistol that has a lightweight
polymer grip frame mated to their steel receiver/barrel
assembly. This pistol replicates the grip angle and feel of a
1911, and it has been very successful, as shooters really seem
to like the feel, performance, and price of this variation of
the Ruger Auto.
The newest 22 auto from Ruger is the 22/45
LITE featured here. Ruger has taken the lightweight polymer
bottom half of the 22/45, and mated it with a lightweight
aluminum receiver/barrel shroud, resulting in a pistol which
weighs only 22.7 ounces, yet has the full-sized grip and feel of
the standard 22/45.
Built upon the Mark III generation of Ruger
auto pistols, the 22/45 LITE uses a ten-shot steel magazine, an
internal key lock, visual and tactile loaded-chamber indicator,
slide lock, and a magazine safety, as well as the manual safety
from previous generations of the Ruger 22 auto. The grips on the
22/45 LITE are removable, as on the latest versions of the
steel-topped 22/45 pistol. The grip panels on the LITE are
checkered black synthetic rubber, and built by Hogue. The
receiver/barrel shroud is gold-anodized aluminum, and wears
Ruger’s fully adjustable rear sight with a ramped blade front.
Both sights are, thankfully, black. The receiver color contrasts
nicely with the black grip panels, grip frame, sights, thread
protector, trigger, rear of bolt, and sights. The
receiver/barrel shroud is a one-piece unit, and there are eight
diagonal quarter-inch cuts milled into each side of the aluminum
tube, to lighten the weight slightly, and for cosmetic appeal.
To me, they look good. The receiver is also drilled for the
supplied scope base.
The 22/45 LITE feels great in my hand.
Compared to my steel/polymer 22/45 bull barrel, the LITE weighs
in a full three-quarters of a pound less. The LITE still uses a
Ruger Mark III steel barrel, but it is turned down to a thin
diameter, and fastened into the receiver/barrel shroud with a
large nut at the muzzle, which tensions the barrel within the
aluminum shroud. The owner’s manual warns to not remove the
barrel nut, as it is torqued properly and epoxied into place.
The muzzle is threaded 1/2x28 TPI for the attachment of a muzzle
brake or sound suppressor, and the threads are protected by a
polymer thread protector.
Critical specifications for the Ruger 22/45
LITE are listed in the chart below. The weights are listed in
ounces, and linear measurements in inches. The height includes
the sights and magazine base. The trigger pull is very good,
fairly crisp, with a smooth release and slight over-travel. The
trigger pull is listed as pounds of resistance, as measured on
my Lyman digital gauge.
|Maximum Grip Width
I tested the little Ruger
22/45 LITE pistol with several brands of 22 Long Rifle
ammunition for velocity and function. The velocity 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 fifty-seven degrees
Fahrenheit, with humidity in the twenty-five percent range.
Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (FPS), and were
recorded ten feet from the muzzle of the Ruger pistol. Bullet
weights are listed in grains.
|Federal Bulk HP
|Winchester DynaPoint HP
|PMC Match Solid
|Wolf Match Solid
|CCI Mini-Mag HP
|CCI Mini-Mag Solid
|CCI Velocitor HP
|Remington Yellow Jacket
|American Eagle HP
|PMC Zapper HP
|Winchester XPert HP
|Remington Bulk Solid
|CCI Blazer Solid
|CCI Stinger HP
In addition to the chronograph data above, I
also checked each brand and type of ammunition over the
chronograph with a Tactical Solutions Cascade sound suppressor
attached, and found little, if any, difference in velocity using
the can or firing the 22/45 LITE with no can attached. In some
instances, velocity increased slightly with the can attached,
and with other ammo, a decrease in velocity was noted. This was
shooting and recording the velocity of individual cartridges,
but when the data was compiled taking into account the ten-shot
strings from each type of ammo, there was no difference of
consequence whether using or not using the sound suppressor.
With the exception of Wolf 40 grain match
ammunition, the Ruger 22/45 LITE functioned perfectly with all
ammo tested. I even found a stash of old corroded ammo that
functioned perfectly. However, the Wolf ammo did not have
sufficient power to reliably cycle the bolt every time. All
other ammo functioned perfectly; feeding, firing, and ejecting
Accuracy was very good. I secured the LITE
into my Ransom Master Series machine
rest, and fired for accuracy at a distance of twenty-five
yards. All ammo tested grouped into less than two and one-half
inches for five-shot groups at twenty-five yards, with most ammo
doing much better, cutting that group size in half or even
better. The Wolf match ammo exhibited the best accuracy, but
again, it would sometimes fail to fully cycle the bolt, so it is
not recommended as a reliable carry load in this particular
pistol. It might function perfectly in yours, as it does in my
other Ruger pistols.
The Ruger 22/45 LITE is a dandy little
pistol, sufficiently accurate for use as a trail pistol,
informal target shooting, and just plain fun. 22 Long Rifle
ammunition is relatively cheap to shoot, has low recoil, and is
accurate. The 22/45 LITE carries easily on the hip, weighing in
at only about one and one-third pounds. It is large enough to
shoot well, but light enough to carry all day, and is probably
Ruger’s best 22 auto for packing on the hip to date. The 22/45
LITE comes with two magazines, padlock, internal lock keys,
scope base, grip screw wrench, and a padded, zippered pistol
rug. The 22/45 LITE is in production, and distributors have them
in stock and ready to ship as this is written.
Check out the extensive line of Ruger
firearms and accessories online at www.ruger.com.
For the location of a Ruger dealer near you,
click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.
To order a Ruger firearm online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.
To order quality rimfire ammunition, go to www.luckygunner.com.
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Click pictures for a larger version.
Cutaway picture of the 22/45 LITE shows how the steel
barrel was machined (photo courtesy of Sturm, Ruger).
Receiver is drilled for supplied scope mount.
22/45 LITE comes with two steel ten-round magazines.
Ruger 22/45 LITE even fired reliably with old corroded ammo.
Accuracy testing was done at a distance of 25 yards with the pistol secured into a Ransom Master Series machine rest.
Accuracy results at 25 yards.