OK, folks, time for go ‘round #3 with the World’s Most Popular .22 Rifle. In the last installments we went over where to buy and how to make your own Trick Parts for the fire control group, and buying and installing barrels.
I mentioned that my own gun was a real sales generator from the people that see it. My gun wears a Fajen Aristocrat in a brown laminate. It has a Monte Carlo rollover cheekpiece that lays MY eye right down the centerline of my scope, and a slight forward curve at the bottom of the pistol grip. It looks sharp, but not thumbholed and multi hued in primary colors with lines reminiscent of a Klingon Battle Cruiser. This particular stock is no longer available, to my knowledge, since Fajen went out of business. Volquartsen sells one that looks quite like it, but for over $200. Boyd’s “Dakota Will” is also similar, but for $100 less. Boyd’s has a sale going on now where you can get any of their 10/22 stocks and an ER Shaw barrel for $190 – $299. The least expensive is for .22lr, blue steel. The most expensive is for .17M2 with a stainless spiral fluted barrel. One of the stocks is the Dakota Will, and the others are thumbholes of various styles. The stocks are laminated and can be had in 17 color combos from subdued to purples, turquoises, and assorted colors that God never meant you to see short of that Tequila Sunrise. They even have a Star Spangled Banner version that I guess you have to salute, and then shoot. The only price difference is for caliber and barrel. Wood Plus makes a nice walnut youth size stock with either a raised (for scopes) or plain comb, for $75 from Brownells.
For those who prefer synthetics, Hogue’s over molded stocks are available in soft or hard exteriors, and standard or bull barrel channels. They fit well, shoot well, and cost about $55 on sale from Midway. I’m not a huge fan of the Butler Creek or Ramline stocks; I just think the Hogue’s are a much better stock for the same price. They do, however, have some with some interesting features like a fold-up stock and barrel, and one with a fold away bipod. Bell & Carlson makes terrific synthetic stocks in several different configurations including a really nice (pricey) multi-adjustable Anschutz style. They are also available in different colors and I believe one of them is their really good looking wood grain. They also sell stock and barrel combos and accessories at Bell and Carson.
Brownells lists some other more expensive and thoroughly racy looking laminated wood and synthetic stocks.
When it comes to screwing the stuff all together, again you can get as complicated or simple as you want. The generally accepted way to maximum accuracy is to bed the barrel and mounting point and free float the action. Yep, works pretty good. Most of these will shoot better than you can hold if you just bolt them together. If the mounting point inside the stock isn’t entirely flat or smooth, make some 1/8” deep and wide grooves across its surface with a Dremel burr and lay some AcraGlass Gel in there before you screw it together (uh, don’t forget to put the release agent on the metal!). While you’re doing this, you can also color up some of the gel to match the stock and lay about a 2” band in the barrel channel from the fore end tip back. Use the gel so it doesn’t run out because we’re going to put the stock upside down (horizontal) in a vise and hang a 1.5lb weight from the muzzle. I use a big crescent wrench with a shoestring through the handle hole (very hi-tech and scientific) and hang it over the muzzle. When the glass sets up, you will have an upward pressure at the fore end tip equal to the weight of the wrench (or other weight). Try the gun before you do this and only do it if it needs help. I have done this with the composite barrels and it works OK, but what works better with them (because they’re so flexible) is to put a hard plastic shim about 3/32” thick under the mounting point to free float it. If you don’t do one or the other, it will wander around in the fore end tip and settle in different positions. Not good.
For scopes, get one with an adjustable objective lens. You’ll be shooting from REAL close to 200 yards. The parallax error (and focus) in a big game scope gets pretty great inside 50 yards, and over 75 yards in a rimfire scope. This usually means an air rifle scope (great choice for .22s), or a 3×12 or 4×12 scope. Inexpensive Tasco, Bushnell, Weaver or BSA scopes are available in the $75-$125 price range and do a good enough job. Do NOT get any scope cheaper than a BSA! They usually are SO bad that they give you a headache and don’t hold zero. I’ve used all four of the above mentioned scopes for many years on a bunch of .22s with really good luck. Tasco makes a 3×10 with a mil dot reticle that’s loads of fun for LOOONG range pasture poodle shooting. DO NOT use the 3/8’ tip off groove type .22 mounts and rings. They are really weak and generally just s—k. Weaver, Wiegand, Clark, etc. make Weaver bases for $8-$15. Use them and almost any kind of Weaver style ring you want.
By the way, I’m sure that most of you know that you have to do some experimenting with different ammo brands and loads to find what your gun likes. When you do, buy a couple of bricks of the same lot. For my friend “Full Auto Bob”, that’s barely a weekend’s shooting. I find that for hyper velocity stuff, the Remington Yellow Jacket works well in more of my guns than any of the others, but Quik Shok does too. Go figure.
OK, you had the fun of building it, now go terrorize the rodents and tin cans and generally reward yourself for this arduous project. When you get back, put your feet up, open up an Adult Beverage, settle back in your favorite chair and watch a football game. Hey! You deserve it!
Order a catalog from Brownells if you don’t already have one, and the Gunsmithing catalog from Midway. They have enough parts and neat stuff to provide bathroom reading material for the next year. We sell an Armorer’s video for the 10/22, Course #109 VHS and #1094 DVD (way easier to use). It will help you to understand how to detail strip and maintain these firearms. They also discuss triggers (you can work on the Ruger parts, saving beaucoup bucks) and accessories. We have a video especially dealing with 10/22 trigger jobs, #332 VHS and #3324 DVD. Get it and truly understand what you’re doing. You’ll also save $120 in parts (hammers, sears, etc.) on each trigger job you do! You can order them on our website or give us a call at 800/797-0867. We have an “Iron-clad” money back guarantee.
by Jack Landi