Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Tricked-Out Ruger 10-22

Remember back in the day when all it took was a silly little .22 rifle to make you happy?  Cans, squirrels, and paper targets were all in danger when that little gun was in your hands.  I've recently rediscovered that joy.

A good friend, looking to liquidate some of his excess firearms and components, offered me the receiver of a Ruger 10-22, the most popular, reliable, and vaunted autoloading rimfire rifle ever produced.  Admittedly, I was a newbie to the platform, but I knew it was popular for a reason, and decided it would make a fun winter project.

My receiver-providing friend, no firearms slouch, had already done a trigger job, upgraded the firing pin and bolt handle, and jeweled the bolt.  But the rest of the gun didn't exist.  Enter the internet.  The next most important -- if not the most important -- component of any rifle is the barrel, and the 10-22 offers a dizzying array of aftermarket ones.  After a lot of investigation, I decided on the Tactical Solutions X-Ring fluted machined aluminum .920 barrel.  In rifle parlance, that's a "heavy" barrel, though this bad boy weighs less than a pound.  Installation was mind-numbingly simple.

I initially wanted a classy wood or laminate stock, but nothing really suited me.  I wanted this to be a gun that would fit me as well as Jack, my 10-year-old son.  Somewhat begrudgingly, I went for Blackhawk's Axiom R/F adjustable telescoping butt stock.  Boy am I glad I did.  It's free-floated, weighs just over a pound, and fits us both to a T.

For optics, I couldn't justify spending a ton on a rimfire gun (yes, I know, I had already spent an inordinate amount of coin on this gun, for those of you keeping score at home).  I "settled" for a Bass Pro Shops Redhead Ascent Rimfire 3x9 scope for about 60 bucks, with rings.  I chose a Tactical Solutions picatinny-style rail base as well.

I should've stopped there.  But I had a Leapers UTG bipod on order from Amazon that was originally destined for my AR, but I figured I was rapidly moving from tactical to "tacticool" on that weapon.  So I put it on the sling swivel stud of the Ruger's Blackhawk stock, and I've been amazed at how great it works on the range bench.  No sandbags, and much more stable.  I've heard there are reliability issues with the UTG rest, but so far, I haven't seen any.

So how much does this monstrosity weigh?  Would you believe a mere five pounds, three ounces?  Pretty slick, huh?  But is it a shooter?

Hell yeah.  Out at the range yesterday, at 50 yards, in 10-15 mph variable winds, I was routinely bulling my target -- and so was Jack.  You can shoot the thing all day, of course, since the noise, recoil, and expense of the ammo is minimal.  And if you like shooting centerfire rifles and pistols like my son does, you need to make sure you have a fun-to-shoot .22 in your gun cabinet.

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