Friday, October 9, 2009

Customizing the Ruger 10/22 .22 Long Rifle

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The Ruger 10/22, in its standard form, has remained mostly unchanged since Ruger introduced it in 1964. It has remained the most popular .22 Long Rifle over the past 40 years. The 10/22 boasts an abundance of aftermarket accessories for the owner to personalize his/her rifle. Let's take a look at some of the options you have when to customizing your Ruger 10/22.

One of the most popular ways to customize your 10/22 is to replace the stock. Aftermarket manufactures have risen to the occasion by supplying Ruger owners with a variety of stock options. The most popular aftermarket stock, the TAPCO Intrafuse T6, gives the 10/22 an adjustable M-4 style buttstock and a SAW-style pistol grip, as well as rails on the bottom of the forearm and top barrel cover. It is available in several popular colors. Ram-Line (13270) and Butler Creek (23871) both offer synthetic folding stocks for easy storage of your rifle. Ram-Line (93183), Butler Creek (24673) and Hogue (RGR-220) all have synthetic Monte Carlo stocks for a classic look. For those that need the adjustability of the M-4 type stock with a folding capability, ATI offers a folding 6-position stock for the Ruger 10/22. It has the added feature of a removable, adjustable cheekrest. This is just a small sample of the stocks available. Thereare a number of manufactures that produce custom wooden stocks in any imaginable configuration and style for the 10/22 owner.

Barrel And Receiver Upgrades
With the Ruger 10/22, the ease of changing out the barrel has made barrel swaps a very popular upgrade. Usually the stock barrel is replaced with a barrel that has a heavier contour. There are as many options for barrels as there are stocks for this rifle. Some of the more popular choices are the target barrels from Butler Creek, available in 20" length, smooth or fluted, with 416 stainless steel or 4150 carbon-blued steel finishes. They are even available ported. Magnum Research and others offer carbon-fiber barrels for the ultimate in weight savings and cooling performance. Other companies offer aluminum sleeved barrels, threaded barrels, shorter barrels and even barrels with special twist rates for stabilizing 60-grain subsonic bullets or hyper-velocity loads. For those that want a one-step, quick and easy upgrade, Butler Creek packages its heavy barrel with its synthetic Monte Carlo stock.

When wearing gloves or if you're in a hurry, a handy item to have on your Ruger 10/22 is an oversized cocking handle. The oversized cocking handle gives you more area to grip. An oversize magazine release extends further than the Ruger factory magazine release making it more easily accessible for magazine changes or clearing malfunctions. The Auto Bolt Release eliminates the need for two-handed bolt release required with the factory bolt release. It is an instant, no-fumble way to release the bolt in your gun. When the bolt is held open, just a slight pull on the bolt handle will release the bolt. A Recoil Buffer will cushion the shock of the bolt hitting a metal surface on recoil. It does away with that annoying clunking sound and can add years of life to your gun's action. As with the stock and barrel combos all these items are available in one convenient package.

Many 10/22 owners put a scope on the rimfire, but for some, iron sights are the only way to go. As with everything else on the 10/22, there are upgrades for the factory sights. Williams offers its rear Peep sight in combination with a front FireSight as well as their FireSight front and rear set. TruGlo has a red front and green rear fiber optic sight set that increases visibility and accuracy in low-light shooting conditions for the Ruger 10/22. The HiViz front and rear combo sight set features a folding leaf-style rear sight and a front dovetail sight that has interchangeable fiber optics in green and red colors with different bead sizes.

Magazines are the lifeline of any semi-automatic firearm. For your Ruger, the factory magazines are always a good bet. Still, larger capacity magazines are almost a must for a good plinking session. The Ruger factory magazines are reliable and easy to find, but for some, are lacking in capacity. For extra-capacity magazines, the standard for years has been the 25-round Butler Creek Hot Lips or Steel Lips model magazines, also available in 10-round capacity. Black Dog Machine offers a 25-round magazine that is also an excellent choice. Whichever type of magazine you choose, be sure to stock up on them for easy plinking fun.

Rail Systems
Picatinny or MIL-STD-1913 rails have recently become more and more popular for all gun types, including the Ruger 10/22. Leapers/UTG offers a rail system for the Ruger that utilizes the factory stock or your favorite after-market stock. The .22 Commando Tactical Quad Rail is an affordable tactical solution, offering endless options of scopes, flashlights, lasers, bipods or foregrips on your 10/22.

For those who want more customization than replacing the stock or adding a rail system can give you, there are several companies offering conversions for your 10/22. Magnum Research and others have conversion kits allowing you to change your .22 LR to a .17 Mach 2 caliber. Based on the .22 Long Rifle rimfire case, the .17 Mach 2 (.17M2) is necked down to a 17-grain, .17-caliber Hornady V-Max bullet and is powered to a nominal 2100 fps velocity, nearly 70 percent faster than a standard-velocity .22 LR. At 175 yards, the .17M2 is still going faster than a .22 LR at the muzzle. The .17M2 will turn your little plinker into a screamer.

Conversion Kits
C&S Metall-Werks is one company that offers a conversion that completely changes your 10/22. Their Krinker-Plinker is a complete conversion kit for your Ruger 10/22 to turn it into a miniature AKS-74U "Krinkov." The Krinker-Plinker is a true transformation, using original military AK-74 parts and stamped, molded, cast and CNC-machined pieces. It's easy to install in just 20 minutes. The Krinker-Plinker is a great way to differentiate your 10/22 from the all the others.

For those who lean more towards the M16 than the AK-47, the Nordic Components AR-22 stock kit makes the 10/22 ergonomically identical to the AR-15 and works by simply bolting on to the barreled-action of your standard Ruger 10/22. The stock kit accepts standard AR-15 components (butt stock, grip, and hand guard) to complete the conversion process. This is a great idea for training that effectively mimics your AR, but using the less expensive .22 LR ammunition.

Learn More About the 10/22
As a final word, if you want to get to know your Ruger better, On-Target Productions has created affordable DVD's for all gun owners. These informative DVD's feature Larry Shields, who is a renowned firearms expert. Larry shows you the intricate details of the Ruger 10/22 and teaches you the proper ways to disassemble and reassemble them in less than an hour.

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