I recently decided to breathe some new life into my father’s 30-year-old Ruger 10/22 carbine. This rifle has been with him for as long as I can remember. This is the rifle that I learned to shoot with, and until a few days ago, it was straight-off-the-shelf stock. I thought I would share the build process with folks out there, in case some of you are pondering the potential of pimping-out your plinker. The following post will show you exactly how it’s done.
Before you start dumping hundreds of dollars on aftermarket parts, you ought to consider your overall theme. Do you want a bench rest match gun, a lightweight varmint hunter, a tactical-esque desert fun gun, etc…? In this build, I was going for a lightweight, yet highly accurate target gun for various steel matches, along with the aesthetic qualities of a medium/long-range tactical rifle.
There are four primary areas to consider based on your needs:
- Trigger: Reducing the trigger pull alone will cut your group size by at least 30%, even if no other mods are made. You can reduce the trigger pull by buying a simple hammer and spring kit and doing some light stoning of the factory sear. If you really want to burn through some cash, you can get an entire custom trigger group.
- Barrel: An aftermarket, match-grade barrel is not essential for every build design. I have seen some great rifles built on the Ruger factory tapered barrel. However, if you are planning on going sub-MOA, plan on shelling out the funds for one.
- Stock: There are dozens of styles to choose from depending on your theme. These range from collapsible M4-style stocks, to rubberized poly stocks, to laminated wooden target stocks with thumbholes, etc. Remember to consider your barrel option when selecting a stock; .920 bull barrels won’t fit in a stock made for a factory barrel. Also, consider the barrel bedding options; a heavy, all-steel bull barrel mounted in that light aluminum receiver may need to be bedded rather than free-floated to ensure stability.
- Sights/Optics/Mounts: Those cute little factory sights will likely have to be upgraded for virtually any serious custom build. If you are sticking with iron sights only, check out www.tech-sights.com. I put their aperture sights on another 10/22 build, and I just love them. Otherwise, choose a decent piece of glass and some solid mounting hardware. Don’t go too cheap in this area just because it’s going on a .22. Consider the size of your scope’s objective lens and your desired “cheek weld” when choosing the height of your scope rings.
Below is the product list for my build. If you like it, go ahead and copy it. I promise I won’t pull an “Apple” and sue you over it.
- Volquartsen – Drop-In Hammer Kit
- Power-Custom – Titanium Extended Mag Release
- Weigand Combat – Tactical Picatinny Scope Base
- Tactical Solutions – Fluted Aluminum Threaded .920 Barrel 16.5”
- Weaver – 1” Tactical Rings, Includes Torx Wrench
- Burris – Rimfire 1” Rifle Scope 3x-9x 40mm
- Hogue – Rubber Over-Molded Stock
- Volquartsen – Exact-Edge Extractor
- Volquartsen – Polyurethane Bolt Buffer
REQUIRED TOOLS FOR THIS BUILD
- 3/32” Punch for trigger group cross pins
- SAE Allen/Hex wrench set for barrel removal and set screws
- Small flathead screwdriver for receiver screws
- Automotive pick tool or other hard, hooked object to contract the extractor plunger
- Needle nose pliers for grabbing small parts
- Padded vice to hold rifle and/or trigger housing while working
- 800-1200 grit sand paper in case barrel needs minor fitting
- Triangular or square stoning rod for polishing the sear (optional)
- 2 small bubble levels for mounting a scope (optional)
- Reaming tool for scope rings (optional)
WARNING: UNLOAD YOUR FIREARM AND REMOVE ALL AMMO FROM THE WORK AREA! READ THIS DISCLAIMER BEFORE YOU BEGIN.
START YOUR BUILD
1) Disassemble your rifle as shown in these instructions.
2) Disassemble your trigger group and hammer strut assembly as shown in these instructions.
3) Clean and lube all parts. Separate and store the old/replaced parts as emergency spares.
STEP 1: Preparing the Trigger Group
1) Install the replacement hammer spring onto the strut. (the large spring)
2) Install the replacement trigger return spring on the strut behind the trigger. (the small spring)
3) Polish the contact surfaces of the sear with a triangular or square armorers stone. CAUTION: When stoning the sear, do not remove any metal or alter the dimensions and cut angles in any way.
The goal is to lightly polish the surfaces to reduce friction at the contact points.
4) Install the new extended magazine release and hammer kit as shown in the reassembly instructions. Make sure you put the hammer bushing spacer rings on the inside, so they are touching the hammer, and then finish reassembling the trigger group as instructed.
STEP 2: Replacing the Barrel
1) Remove the factory barrel by unscrewing the two retaining block screws with a 5/32” hex wrench.
2) Carefully pull the factory barrel out of the receiver.
3) Insert the replacement barrel into the receiver. CAUTION: Do not force the barrel into place. Due to slightly varying tolerances of rifles that have been in production for many decades now, your barrel may need minor fitting. Do not get tempted to take your mallet and try to force it in. Use a small piece of super-fine grit sandpaper and twist away on the outside of the breech end to reduce the circumference a little. Then add a bit of lube and slide it into place.
4) Reinstall the barrel retaining block and screws. Being that the receiver is made of aluminum, try not to over-torque any screws that go into it.
STEP 3: Installing the Optic Mounting Rail
1) Remove the tiny set screws that are used to plug the mounting holes on top of the receiver.
2) Clean and lightly lube the contact surfaces between the receiver and the rail with a silicone gun cloth.
3) Install the mount by aligning the mounting holes with those on the receiver, and insert the included mounting screws. Again, use caution not to over-torque.
Step 4: Installing the Extractor
1) Place the bolt in a vice with the extractor side up.
2) Use an automotive pick/scraper tool or other hooked contrivance to contract the plunger towards the rear of the bolt. *The plunger is the little steel cylinder between the extractor and it’s spring*
3) While holding the plunger back with one hand, use your needle nose pliers to pull the extractor back, up and out.
4) Slowly release the plunger. CAUTION: Be careful not to let the spring send your plunger flying. This kit does not come with a new plunger, and they are very easy to lose.
5) Swap the old spring with the replacement spring, insert and contract the plunger/spring, and install the new extractor. Slowly release the plunger to retain the extractor.
6) Test the range of motion and make sure it is secure by pushing the extractor side-to-side several times.
STEP 5: Reassemble the Rifle Using the New Stock:
1) Follow the reassembly instructions shown here.
2) Make sure you replace the steel bolt stop pin with the polyurethane bolt buffer after installing the bolt into the receiver.
3) Follow the stock manufacturer’s instructions for proper barrel bedding. This Hogue stock has a V-shaped bedding block just ahead of the receiver to provide some harmonic stabilization and structural support. The barrel is tensioned against the bedding block when the stock retaining screw is inserted and torqued.
STEP 6: Mounting the Optics:
Properly mounting a rifle scope is a sizable subject that likely needs its own dedicated mini-post. For that reason, I will not be covering it in detail here. If you need help with mounting your optics, you can simply refer to the wealth that is your search engine. And of course, you may always post your questions below for feedback from fellow users and yours truly.
THE FINISHED PRODUCT:
VIRGIN FALLING PLATES MATCH:
Above is a video clip of the new build in action. I am shooting at the right-side set of plates, while my opponent works on the left. This is at 100-yards on the bench. The new build almost made it too easy.
Have fun and play safe,