For years Ruger sat around and only shipped their 10/22 rifles with the standard 10-shot rotary magazine that the gun was designed for. While these mags were efficient, they just left many users wanting more. After decades of after-market companies listening to the 10/22 world, Ruger finally got off their backside and came up with an extended mag that wasn't half-bad.
Back a decade or so ago companies like Eagle and Butler Creek came out with a series of canted 25-shot magazines that fit the Ruger 10/22 and 77/22 series rifles as well as the Charger pistol. Butler Creeks were by far the more desirable, with their Hot Lips and Steel Lips models becoming the aftermarket Ruger 22 long gun standard.
While they suffered from the occasional .22LR ammo flakiness exacerbated by a low-strength magazine spring, they worked more often than not. The fact that these plastic body mags could be picked up for as low as $15 or so made them a hit. Then came Tactical Innovations with their TI25 Ultimate 10/22 magazines featuring steel lips a few years ago.
Well we guess Ruger took note and decided to get in on the act.
A couple years ago, Ruger finally got away from their self-imposed 10-round limit and started making some hi-cap rifle mags. Taking a page from Eagle, TI, and Butler Creek, they came out with a banana shaped plastic bodied 25-shot magazine for the 10/22 series rifle. The mag has stainless steel feed lips at a 30-degree angle. Its inner stainless steel constant-force spring provides enough umpf to move its cargo of 25 rounds up its lubricated injection-molded polyacetyl anti-tilt follower. To clean these mags they can be disassembled by removing two stainless steel screws, which is a pain but hey, at least you can get in there to get the gunk out.
(These mags run anywhere from $20-$35 so shop around)
In a nice feature borrowed from MagPul, they ship with plastic dust covers that snap on and off to keep debris out of the way.
Do they work?
There have been some reports of fails and issues with these mags from Ruger, but overall they seem to work well. On Midway, who has probably sold more of these bad boys than everyone else combined, the mag has over 250 customer reviews with an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars. We have several for our 10/22 builds and besides the occasional ammo-related issue and some wiggling, tend to have good success with these mags.
Unboxing and shooting a fresh BX-25
(Butler Creek hopper speedloader, top, Butler Creek Hotlips right, standard issue banana center, BX-25 right)
About the only consistent complaint is that they are slow and rough to reload but this can be helped by any number of speedloaders (Butler Creek again) that can speed up the process.
Upgrades and Mods
The US Firearms people, creators of the ZiP .22LR pistol that uses Ruger 10/22 mags, have come up with a +10 modification to standard BX-25 mags. This upgrade takes a stock BX-25 and adds an over plate that puts an extra 10-shot bandoleer on the back of the mag. According to USF, it also corrects the feed lip orientation and adds an additional independent follower for better reliability.
(There is a cottage industry of mag pouch makers out there now making very nice pouches for BX-25/TI-25/BCHL/BCSL mags. These can often be found for as low as $15 on eBay and Gunbroker)
For faster reloads, a number of small operations have been selling couplers to mount a pair of BX-25 mags or similar together. The idea is that a piece of plastic or rubber holds two mags together to where, when the first is empty, the second can be rapidly inserted, bringing the 10/22 up and running in a snap. This is copied from battlefield practice dating back to WWII known as the jungle style mag.
Going past coupling two mags, Ruger came out with the BX-25x2, which gives fifty rounds at the fingertips. This magazine is essentially a pair of BX-25 magazine molded into one magazine. They are not screwed, bolted, or glued together, but rather formed together as one unit with two opposite-facing BX-25 magazines. Just take one end off, rotate, and insert the other end for another 25 rounds.
Better living through polymer.