I've been thinking that this forum needs something along these lines. I want to preface this by stating that I am not an expert, nor do I even consider myself to be anything closely resembling
an expert. As such, the advise that follows is largely based on three things: 1 - the opinions and feedback of RFC members contributing to THIS thread, 2 - my personal study of opinions, reviews, information, and technical guidelines set about in this website, and 3 - my own personal investment into this as a hobby. I will not use this post to start a "this is better than that" type of battle, instead, I would only like to use it as a quick-to-read information sheet outlining the various products available for the Ruger 10/22 so that those new to this may quickly read up. Many of you know MUCH more than I, so please feel free to amend and contribute as needed.
10/22's for the 10/22 Newbie
Which 10/22 Should I buy?
Ruger makes a plethora of 10/22's straight from the factory to satisfy most rimfire shooter's needs without ever replacing a single part. For the rest of us, there is this website! All Ruger 10/22's (with the exception of the Magnum) start with the same receiver; so if you plan on replacing everything but this, find the cheapest deal you can and save a buck or two (though much can be said for the resale of factory parts to recoup your initial investment, and higher-level parts bring more money!).
10/22RB & K10/22RB
- This is the basic Carbine. Affordable and simple. "K" means it's a "stainless" model.
10/22RPF & K10/22RPF
- This is a carbine with a synthetic stock, also available in blue or stainless.
- This is the "Deluxe" model, with a higher quality walnut stock & checkering.
- This is a 20 inch "Rifle" model. WalMart sells a stainless 22" version we all call the "Wally World Special"; it can only be found at WalMart.
10/22T & K10/22T
- This is the Target model, blue or SS. It has a laminated stock, hammer forged bull barrel, and a lighter trigger.
- This is a youth model with a 16 1/2" barrel and a shorter stock.
All Photos Courtesy of www.galleryofguns.com
It's also worth noting that several companies produce aftermarket receivers for, or instead of, the Ruger 10/22. They all use the same dimensions and parts interchangeability, but provide for a custom 10/22 when only the receiver is needed.
Notable companies that have made aftermarket 10/22 receivers are: Volquartsen
, Magnum Research
, Force, and AMT.
Volquartsen Super-Lite Receiver
Where should I start modifying?
This is where a difference in opinion will begin to rear its head among members here. Some will say to start shooting right away, while others recommend some basic "must haves", and still others will tell you to begin heating up that credit card! There are as many ways to modify the 10/22 as there are people that own them. The best way is YOUR way.
What follows isn't an order or recomendation on how to do things. What follows is a simple description of all the parts and services available to YOU.
By far, the biggest accuracy gains come from an improvement in the barrel itself. It is what actually holds the bullet during ignition, directs it during combustion, and the last thing it touches before it makes its flight to the target. In order to make the information in this article as complete as possible before writing it, one subject I tried to research was barrel material. So far, the best information I obtained was found in this article: The Making of a Rifled Barrel
, but never trust your source - do some research on your own.
Barrels for 10/22's come from a HUGE array of manufacturers and not only in one size or caliber: they range in length from 16.5" to 26", and in full .920" bull diameters, to sporter tapers, and even skinny stock-looking barrels, in .22 and .17 caliber. It's all out there! What you want in material construction, fluting, color, length, etc all depends on you. This article will not attempt to explain the differences each makes.
Green Mountain Rifle Barrels
What does prove to be of importance is that the chamber (the space dedicated to holding the round) and that the crown (the machining of the muzzle) are of impeccable quality. While much can be said of rifling twist rates, blank quality, OD variations, and other noteworthy factors, little can be argued about having both a good chamber and crown.
Who here hasn't oogled the plethora of stocks available for a 10/22? When I got started, there were only a few designs; some conservative, and only one or two really radical ideas. Now the market is FLOODED with excellently designed, quality stocks to build into anything your heart desires. And while a properly fitting stock will help you shoot better, and a properly inletted & bedded stock will help your gun shoot better, nothing is as big a factor in stock selection (nowdays) than appearance. Have at it. Find the one that makes your gun look the way you want it to look. Granted, some designs lend themselves to one purpose better than another (like a McMillan Anschutz compared to a Revival Yukon), but the market for aftermarket stocks is all about changing your gun's personality to suit you.
Most aftermarket stocks for the 10/22 will be a laminated plywood. Only a select few aren't, and those are noted in their own place. Other than the ease of construction and low prices for consumers, laminated stocks have an advantage over regular wood: they don't exhibit the same flexy, expand/contract properties like wood does, nor will you find irregularities in the surface. Still, many prefer the natural look and feel of real wood. Synthetic stocks are one step further in the "no flex, no soul" ladder: they hold up supremely well in various weather conditions, and are usually the preferred stock for hunters and some competition shooters, though they aren't always the epitome of style.
Laminated Stock Companies:
(Richard's also offers regular wood)
Bell & Carlson
This is another area where I would like to refrain from telling you what TO DO, and would rather tell you what you CAN DO.
By far, the easiest and cheapest way to modify the trigger is with a hammer kit. These have modified hook angles that lower the required amount of pressure to release the hammer. Typical results take an 8lb pull down to around 3lbs. They are available from PowerCustom
, Clark Custom Guns
, Rimfire Technologies
). As well, most of the forum sponsors (top of the main page) will carry these aftermarket products. I am intentionally avoiding listing all of them to avoid favoritism or leaving someone out - however, I will say that usually you will find a cheaper price by visiting a site sponsor than you would by visiting the manufacturer directly.
To delve further into trigger modification, you can add an adjustable sear. The sear in these kits has an adjustable screw to reduce or completely eliminate pre-travel in the trigger movement. Further modifying, you can add an aftermarket trigger blade; some have improved ergonomics, while others are simply a different material like Titanium. Most aftermarket triggers have an adjustment for overtravel, which is the movement of the trigger after the hammer has released. Volquartsen sells kits with a disconnector - these disconnectors are typically matched to the sear with which they are sold.
Lastly, there are several aftermarket trigger groups available as well. Some, like the Jewell, are no longer in production, but were made so well as to still have a following today. Hornet Products sells a trigger group that has been gunsmithed by them, and sold as new to replace your entire trigger group. Jard (a popular company with AR15 enthusiasts) also makes an aftermarket trigger group. But so far, the creme-de-la-creme of aftermarket trigger groups belongs to the Volquartsens and KIDs.
Volquartsen machines their group out of aluminum, and includes EVERY aftermarket Volquartsen trigger group part available. These triggers are fully adjustable for pretravel and overtravel, and usually break in the 2.5# area. For about $200, you can have a completely aftermarket modular trigger unit!
Going one step further, Tony Kidd of Kid Innovative Design (KID) makes his own two-stage competition trigger for the 10/22. It is an aluminum-housed trigger that is adjustable for two different stages of pull weights, length of pull, cant and rearward position of trigger body, and sear engagement. For about $300, you will have the best trigger on the block. STI Triggers are the same as KID triggers, but without the adjustability.
No trigger modification should be mentioned without mentioning ways of keeping them nice, or making them better. KID sells aftermarket trigger group pins with flush screwheads to tighten up the relationship between the trigger group and the receiver. Eliminating slop, no matter where, can be felt when it comes time to put finger to trigger. These are sold by KID from many distributors and sponsors of this site. As well, some gunsmiths offer this as part of their trigger modifications; Rimfire Technologies' hammer kits come with oversize trigger group pins as part of the kit - they replace the hammer and sear pins to further reduce any slop.
Scopes, rings, and mounts
Scopes are another big issue on this website. There are many schools of thought on this, but nobody disagrees that having a decent scope is a waste of money. Personally, I like to stick with name-brand scopes, and use as high a magnification as I feel I can get away with for the circumstance. An example: a hunter needs to be able to quickly find and track targets in his scope, and having something with 40x magnification would make this too difficult; thus, the lower the magnification, the easier this process can be; conversely, having only 1x or 3x wouldn't give you enough "zoom" to accurately see where and at what you are aiming. There is a compromise to take into consideration, and I personally err towards more magnification. Bigger objective lenses don't enlarge the image, but gather more light, allowing a brighter picture at higher magnification settings. Through some math, I've determined that even old eyes won't need much more than a 40mm lens at as much as 9x magnification! Scopes, reddots, peep sights, and iron sights are as personal as the shooter - read up about your intended sighting system, learn about alternatives, and look through as many as you can. Get as much as your budget will allow.
Rings are another issue - I don't believe in using the most expensive rings out there because they're usually overkill, but I don't get cheapies either. The two favorite rings of this website are the Millett Angle-Loc and the Burris Signature Zee rings. Millett rings are superbly simple, but windage adjustable; and the Burris Signature rings have their famous inserts. Find one you like and run with it.
The bases to which the rings mount is just as important as the rings themselves; the sturdier the base and the more solid the mount, the more consistent and foolproof the system is going to be. New Rugers come with a 3/8" dovetail or a T-09 Weaver mount - this refers to the size of the dovetail, and the corresponding ring to go with it. Aftermarket mounts are made by many companies, are Weaver or Picatinny (a standard for the Military) and are usually 1/2" high - this gives the same benefit of high rings to clear large scope objectives without actually having to get such high rings. Higher rings, mind you, can introduce an area to cause flex into the system; though it could be debated that the mount point itself is an area to point a finger at! I'm not here to argue...
Bolts & Bolt Modifications
So far as I know, only one company is selling an aftermarket bolt: Volquartsen. AMT used to make a bolt to go with their rifle, but I've never heard of one for sale. The Volquartsen bolt is externally the same dimensions and weight as a Ruger bolt. The firing pin is titanium and machined round (as opposed to flat) to ride in its own tunnel, rather than a groove. The face is headspaced at .043" depth, just like match .22LR rifles. And the bolt handle is a part of the bolt body, instead of a separate charging handle/recoil rod assembly. It is quite expensive at $175, but is also quite trick. This forum is thus far inconclusive as to whether a modified Ruger bolt is any more or less consistent than the VQ; what can be said, however, is that the VQ is a very good and very different way of making the same thing.
Any talk about bolts for the 10/22 cannot ignore the proliferation of gunsmithing available for them. There are several VERY competent gunsmiths that will machine your bolt square, machine the face to reduce headspace, pin the firing pin (to limit it's up & down movement), cut a wider radius on the rear of the bolt (for easier cycling), and sometimes engine turn (or "jewell") the external side of the bolt... cosmetic mostly. Again, nobody has provided conclusive proof that an aftermarket bolt is any better than a modified bolt, though just about everybody with a modded bolt can show and explain the advantages over a stock bolt.
CPC Reworked Bolt
Lastly, an aftermarket extractor - for $8 - shouldn't be overlooked. The shape of the hook is closer to the bolt face to hold the round more consistently against the bolt. A side benefit is that it more positively holds to 22 casings for more reliable extraction, and that the material is slow to dull.