The Ruger 10/22 is the perfect project to customize a rifle to fit you and your personality.
There are many reasons why a shooter looking to build a custom rifle should consider the Ruger 10 22. The Ruger 10 22 is a perfect starter build because it’s very affordable relative to an AR, Remington 700 build. I built a custom 10 22, and let me tell you, it’s probably the most fun, least expensive rifle in my arsenal. It’s commonly known to anyone who’s familiar with buying firearms and ammunition that the .22 cartridge is by far the most affordable. Combine that with some experimental combinations, and you have yourself something very special. For example, you can purchase Sub-Sonic .22 caliber ammo for just a few cents more per round. Use this ammo with a very accurate bull barrel with a muzzle brake. Now you have a little to no recoil, extreme accuracy, and decibel levels that remind you of a suppressed rifle. It’s just too much fun to fire this weapon. As a matter of fact, I have to pick a fight with my wife at the range in order to get a turn behind the Ruger 10 22.
Now let’s talk about build cost. First things first, we need a doner rifle. This could be an old beat up squirrel rifle that sets in your coat closet. Or it could be a like new rifle. You can always convert this rifle back to it’s factory state rather quickly, so have no fear of breaking down that showroom new rifle. Let’s assume you must buy a new doner because you don’t own a 10 22. That will set you back close to $240.00. This will most likely be the most expensive single purchase you’ll have to make. See, I told you this was affordable. Once you have the factory rifle, it’s time to decide on a stock. There are many ways to go here. There are hunting styles, varmint styles, tactical styles, benchrest styles, etc. The choices here are plentiful, so it’s best to have a general direction you want to go with your build. For the sake of this article, let’s assume you’re going the tactical route. Pro Mag makes an excellent polymer stock that can be had for as little as $99.00. Here’s a look at the one I used: ProMag Archangel Deluxe Target Stock, Ranger Green Polymer This stock is lightweight, yet is sturdy enough to manage a .930 bull barrel with no issues. We might as well go ahead and discuss barrels. When it comes to barrels there are two main things to consider, weight and length. They basically go hand in hand because the longer the barrel the heavier it will be. Consequently, barrel O.D., or Outside Diameter like a .930″ bull barrel will add extra weight to your rifle. If you’ll be using this rifle for squirrel or rabbit hunting for example, you wouldn’t want a heavy bull barrel due to the extra weight.
At this point you basically have a custom rifle. Add your favorite optic to this rig and you’re in business. This reminds me that you will have to buy a picatinny rail for your rifle, but these can be had at a reasonable price as well. Here’s the one I used: UTG .22 Tactical Low Profile Rail Mount (#22)
As far as optics go, if you go with the bull barrel for example, you want an optic that’s proportionate to the size of the rifle. Keep in mind that we’re not dealing with a lot of recoil here. This gives us many more options in the lower end of the price range of optics. I went with a scope made by a company called Osprey. This scope is not only affordable, but the extreme magnification will allow you to see your hits on target easily at 100 yards without the need for a spotting scope. That in itself makes a high powered scope worth considering. Here’s a link to a great deal on high mag glass: NcStar 10-40X50AOE Red Illuminated Scope Rangefinder/Green Lens/Ring/Sunshade (SEFR104050G)
At this point you could walk away and have a great shooting platform that will give you countless years of fun. But, if you’re like me, you will want to make sure the action has the best components as well. If you place a premium on accuracy, you will want to make this part of your build a necessity as well. The real beauty of the Ruger 10 22 is the simple design of the action. The lower trigger housing is made and sold as a single unit. So it’s basically a drop and go situation. The bolt is almost as easy, and can be replaced in minutes as well. Here’s a high quality drop in trigger assembly by Timney that has an outstanding reputation: Timney Ruger 10/22 #1022 C Trigger This one’s top of the line, but you can find these in a much cheaper price range. If you want a guide to walk you through your build, this is the one to have: Customize the Ruger 10/22
Overall, the Ruger 10 22 build can be built by the novice gunsmith. This does not mean you should take on this project yourself if you have little or no experience with a build like this. Check with your local shooting range to find a reputable gunsmith to assemble your rifle for you. You should be able to get this done at a reasonable price. I can tell you from personal experience, my custom 10 22 ranks as one of, if not the top choice for overall range fun that I own. This is a powerful statement as I own many rifles and pistols that the Ruger is up against. It’s for the reasons in this article that I believe a Ruger 10 22 build is a perfect starter custom for a shooter that wants a real custom rifle that won’t set you back thousands. Did I mention it’s a blast to shoot as well! Get yourself a Hot Lips loader, Butler Creek 50 Round Hot Lips Loader 10/22, and a couple of 50 round magazines and you have yourself a winning combination.