May 20, 2011
In the first two parts of this series, I took a standard-production Ruger 10/22 rifle and began the process of converting it into a close copy of the M1 Garand.
By Reid Coffield
Next to a full-size Garand that the author shot for years in the National Matches at Camp Perry (top), the converted Ruger 10/22 (bottom) sure looks like a real Garand. The guns make an unusual and unique combo.
In the first two parts (Part 1 and Part 2) of this series, I took a standard-production Ruger 10/22 rifle and began the process of converting it into a close copy of the M1 Garand.
When you combine the reliability of the Ruger 10/22 and the distinctive look of the Garand, you end up with what is perhaps one of the neatest "fun" guns you could ever imagine.
Earlier, I took a worn-out Garand barrel I obtained from Numrich Gun Parts, fitted it to the Ruger receiver, and installed a Brownells Redman .22 rimfire liner. I then shortened and modified a Garand stock and fitted the Ruger barreled action to it. The only steps left to perform are fitting a rear sight, adapting the 10-shot Ruger rotary magazine to the modified stock, and finishing the metal and wood.
The author halved a demilled Garand receiver.
There are two ways you can go in fitting a rear sight, and I've done 'em both. The easiest and simplest method is to install a rear sight produced by Tech-Sights LLC, 904 Deer Run Dr., Hartsville, SC 29550; 843-332-8222. These are very military looking sights that sell for $59 to $69 and appear to be based on the early M16 rear sight. They're simple, rugged, fully adjustable, and fit the existing drilled and tapped scope base holes on the 10/22 receiver. I used one of these sights on my first 10/22 Garand and was very satisfied with it. They're excellent sights.
An alternative for those willing to do a bit more work and want more of a Garand look to their Ruger conversion is to use the rear half of a demilled Garand receiver. I picked one up years ago as a curio. While working on this project it occurred to me that I might be able to fit it over the Ruger receiver. Sure enough, by cutting away the sides of the demilled receiver and then TIG welding in two thin steel plates, I was able to make it fit. I also drilled the receiver for an 8-40 screw to attach it to the 10/22, and I used a bit of bedding material to enable it to better match the contour of the 10/22 receiver.
TIG welded in two thin plates.
In addition to my demilled Garand receiver half, a number of my junk Garand parts were in pretty rough shape. Once I finished fitting them to the rifle, I bead blasted them and applied a coat of Brownells dark Parkerizing bake-on finish. I didn't worry that these parts did not match the color of the other parts I used. The reality is that most Garands will have parts with a variety of different colors and shades of color. It's normal. In fact, if you ever see a Garand where every part matches perfectly, you can just about bet that someone has refinished it.
Speaking of junk parts, one of the pieces I used was a cracked op rod. I used a short length of it as a filler in the upper handguard because it just didn't look right to have an empty space visible under the handguard. Using the filler took care of that, and I believe it added to the overall look of the conversion.
Next fitted the assembly over the 10/22's receiver to make the rear sight look more authentic.
Earlier I had done a bit of work to fit the bottom of the Ruger 10/22 magazine to the underside of the Garand floorplate. The floorplate is a significant part of the distinctive look and profile of the Garand, and I didn't want to eliminate this important component. I solved the problem by attaching the floorplate to the bottom of the 10/22 magazine. I used Brownells Steel-Bed bedding compound to do this.
Without release agent, the Steel-Bed will adhere to any metal surface with no problem. The challenge was getting it to bond with the plastic base of the 10/22 magazine. I dealt with that by using a Dremel rotary cutter to undercut the bottom of the magazine. This allowed the bedding compound to form a mechanical lock when it hardened and hold the magazine in place on the floorplate. By the way, when fitting the floorplate, it's important to allow a bit of movement in the stock to the front and to the rear. When the Ruger magazine is released, it actually moves back just a hair, so make sure your floorplate inletting allows for that.
Brownells dark Parkerizing bake-on lacquer was used to refinish many of the worn, junk Garand metal parts.
Once the magazine work was completed, I did a bit more shaping to the stock and then sanded it. As this was a military stock, I only needed to sand it to120 grit before applying a dark walnut stain. This was followed by a couple coats of tung oil. When I finished, the buttstock had a nice military look and matched the upper and lower handguards, which did not require any modification or finishing.
A bit of sanding, some tung oil on the buttstock, and final assembly brought the .22 rimfire Garand project to a close.
It was then just a matter of assembling the rifle, and the project was finished. By this point I was really anxious to do some shooting with it at the local range. What was most gratifying and enjoyable was the reaction of other shooters when they got a look at my .22 rimfire Garand. It was just amazing how many folks asked where I got it and how they could get one. It definitely attracted a lot of attention and favorable comments. I'm sure you'll experience the same thing with your 10/22 Garand.
Until next time, good luck and good gunsmithing!