America's Favorite Rimfire
September 23, 2010
Here's how to get the most out of your Ruger 10/22 semiautomatic .22 rimfire rifle.
If it's not the most popular American rifle, Ruger's 10/22 is certainly our most popular rimfire. My current 10/22 collection includes a Mannlicher-stocked, stainless gun and an integrally suppressed custom rig by Tactical Solutions. Both are cool as the other side of the pillow and awful fun to shoot, but neither is a pure, purpose-built, tackdriver. Recently, I decided to fill that hole in my collection and build a precision rimfire of my own.
I had a good stainless 10/22 in my safe, so I was good to go in the action department — -at least until my son saw me surfing the Net. When Cole found out what I was doing, he decided he wanted to build his own precision rifle, too. I located a new 10/22 for him on Gunbroker and then started searching in earnest for the right parts to build our new rifles.
My search led me to Boyd's Gunstocks, where the company's limited production "TactiCool" stock caught my eye. The hardwood stock is specifically designed for precision work. It has a moderate beavertail fore-end that is wide and flat enough to ride a sandbag but trim enough to grip comfortably for offhand work. The underside of the buttstock is hooked for better control and precision with a rear bag, and the comb is elevated for a better cheekweld. The pistol grip has a very straight drop and a slight palmswell that works for both right- and left-handed shooters.
The TactiCool stock has two front sling-swivel studs to facilitate bipod mounting and a soft, rubber recoil pad. It is finished in a tough, textured tan, OD or black paint. It is a drop-in part that, according to Boyd's, requires no fitting. Cole and I both liked the looks of it, and the design seemed ideal for precision work. It was also on sale for $79, so I ordered one in tan and one in OD green.
To tell the truth, I didn't do much looking for barrels because the heavy, helically fluted barrel on the Boyd's stock home page caught my eye immediately. The folks at Boyd's directed me to E.R. Shaw Barrels, where I ordered a pair of stainless-steel match tubes.
Shaw's match barrels are straight-taper tubes that measure 0.920-inch at the muzzle. They are available in chrome-moly or 416 stainless steel, in 18- or 20-inch lengths. All feature match chambers. I ordered stainless, 18-inch barrels for both guns, one with traditional flutes and the other with Shaw's distinctive helical flutes.
The author used a Kidd trigger and housing for one of his custom-built 10/22s.
The standard 10/22 trigger works well enough, but I really wanted something that would allow me to milk the utmost accuracy from my remodeled rimfire. After much research, I decided to try triggers from Timney and Kidd Innovative Design.
For my son's gun, I selected Timney's new 10/22 trigger. The modular unit is an easy, drop-in install that proved to be a significant improvement over the factory trigger. The Teflon-coated, EDM-cut, single-stage design broke at a very nice 2 pounds, 2 ounces and went bang every time I squeezed the trigger. At an MSRP of $149.95, it is an excellent upgrade for any 10/22.
Even though it cost a whopping $289.95, I'd heard so many good things about the Kidd Innovative Designs 10/22 trigger that I decided to try one on my rifle. But because it is so expensive, I was prepared to be very critical of it. However, it was so darn good I could find nothing but great things to say about it.
A Timney trigger (bottom) in the original Ruger housing (top) was also used.
Its housing is CNC-machined from a billet of 6061 T6 aluminum. The hammer, sear, transfer bar, and other tool steel parts are CNC-machined and cut by a wire EDM. The high-quality parts are then assembled, in-house, to Tony Kidd's demanding standards.
The trigger is a two-stage design that is user adjustable from 6 ounces to 2.5 pounds. The trigger shoe can be moved fore and aft, and you can adjust the pull between the first and second stages. You can choose between a straight and a curved trigger. You can also select a short, medium or extended competition-style magazine release. On top of all those features, the 1-pound pull weight of my Kidd trigger is incredibly crisp, clean, and adjustable. In fact, I would rate it as the finest trigger I've ever tripped. Period.
Putting It All Together
Assembling the two rifles was fast and easy. I simply removed the barreled actions from the stocks, removed the barrels, and replaced them with the Shaw tubes. They slid right in and were secured easily with the standard Ruger barrel retainer. Both triggers were easy to install, though the Timney trigger required a bit more work in the form of tightening some small screws once the unit was in place. The Kidd trigger dropped right in.
The barreled action with the straight flutes and Timney trigger slid right in to the tan stock, and everything worked perfectly. The action with the helically fluted barrel and Kidd trigger wouldn't quite fit into the green stock, but a quick application of fine sandpaper around the trigger guard fixed that problem.
I used a Kidd scope base and Warne rings on my green gun and a factory base and Weaver-style rings on my son's tan gun. I mounted Nikon Monarch 2-8X 32mm scopes on both. Friend James Jeffrey suggested adding a little OD green Cerakote to the tan-stocked rifle to give it a dif
ferent look. He'd bought a bunch from Brownells for another project and was kind enough to use some to coat the action, scope base, rings and barrel flutes for a cool, corrosion-resistant look.
Read How to Coat an Action
My first outing was a quick trip to the police range to ensure everything worked properly and to get the scopes close so I could get right into my accuracy testing later. From a solid kneeling position with CCI's Green Tag ammunition, I got the scopes pretty much dialed in and got a good feeling about things to come — -every group was as tight as I am capable of shooting from kneeling.
With the scopes dialed in, I loaded up five, 10-round magazines of assorted loads from CCI, Federal, Wolf and Winchester and ran 50 rounds through each gun as fast as I could press their triggers. Both rifles ran without a hiccup. As I shot the guns, I couldn't help but notice how incredibly comfortable the TactiCool stock was and how perfectly it aligned my eye with the scope. I was also blown away at how fast I could fire the guns with the new triggers. The Kidd trigger was particularly impressive.
After I cleaned the rifles, I returned to the range a few days later for some 50-yard accuracy work. Once again, both rifles were impressive. My son's tan rifle shot several sub-half-inch groups with Wolf Match and, incredibly, Winchester's bargain-priced Wildcat load. My green gun also shot very well, producing sub-half-inch groups with Wolf Match and CCI's 36-grain Mini-Mag hollowpoint, an excellent small-game load. I also shot several sub-quarter-inch groups with Federal's Ultra Match load. I was, as you can imagine, quite thrilled with the accuracy of both my home-built rimfires.
There are more parts and accessories for the 10/22 than I could ever possibly test. The ones I tried simply caught my eye. Fortunately, they all came together to make a pair of sexy, super-accurate rimfire trainers my son and I will get a lot of use out of in the coming years.