Saturday, December 13, 2008

Building a Custom Ruger 10/22: PART 1 of 4 - Planning

My friend Bruce decided to custom build a Ruger 10/22. So you know, when Bruce does something, he does it right. He researches everything before spending a penny on it. He compares specs, customer comments and prices on every single piece. And what you're about to read is what he did when he built his custom Ruger 10/22.

This is an impressive four part series, laid out in specific detail, on how he did it - from the idea to the beautiful finished product. If you're thinking about building your own 10/22, READ THIS SERIES FIRST. It will save you a bunch of time, help you make educated decisions and eliminate headaches. Read on...

Here is how I have theorized the 4 part post.
  1. Planning
    1. How Did This All Begin?
    2. What do I need?
    3. Start with stock or go all out custom?
    4. Info Resources Used
    5. Nailing it down
  2. Buying
    1. Parts List
    2. Vendors
    3. Playing the FFL Game
  3. Building
    1. Action in the stock
    2. Action + Trigger
    3. Action + barrel
    4. Bolt Buffer
    5. Bolt
    6. Trigger/Action Pins
    7. Barreled Action
    8. Mating with Stock
    9. Scope Rings & Scope
  4. Shooting
    1. Bolt Stubborn
    2. First shot
    3. Day At The Range
      i. Ammo
      ii. Shooter vs. Shooter
    4. Final Thoughts
How did this all begin?
I'm a gun noob. I've never owned a gun and have only shot a gun once in my life. It was an old black powder riffle I shot when I was ~ 12. I've never had issues with guns or gun ownership. And I figured I would eventually buy a 9mm. I guess I had many other hobbies keeping me (and my back account) busy.
Well, I go out to a local range with Kennard, shoot all of his guns (including his stock Ruger 10/22) and go straight to Sportsman's Warehouse to buy my first gun: A Springfield Armory XD-9. Kennard had just bought his stock 10/22 within the previous couple weeks. While at Sportsman's, he mentions to one of the sales guys that he had just bought the 10/22 from them, how he enjoyed shooting it, how customizable the gun was and how everyone should have one. He later told me about the simple changes one could make to their 10/22: Bolt release, extended mag release and bolt buffer.
Being a computer/technology nerd, I started thinking about the concept of building or buying and modding my own 10/22. I've built computers from various parts from various stores and companies. I was just stuck thinking if this could be as simple as buying computer parts and putting a gun of my own together. Really that simple? Or am I getting into something I'll regret? Do I have to be a gunsmith to pull this off? Can anyone do it?
What do I need?
Repeat after me. "Google is my friend." I start searching the web for any info on building/modding a 10/22. Yes, Google is my friend. But I found it strangely hard to find a good site to put it into perspective. Then I came upon RimfireCentral. I found a thread called "To Build From Scratch" ( A couple users posted their parts list with prices. So, knowing nothing about brands and options, I start learning the Who-What-When-Where-Why of how to go about this venture. I must have read almost every thread on the "Ruger 10/22" section of the site. And then I came across my goal ( This is what I'm after.
So I need the following:
  • Stock
  • Action/Receiver
  • Barrel
  • Trigger Assembly
  • Bolt
  • Bolt Handle
  • Magazine
  • Scope, Scope Rail (mount) & Scope Rings (Optional – but why not?)
Start with stock or go all out custom?
This is where "analysis paralysis" starts creeping in. Decision, decisions and more decisions. In the end, I'd say it's all about money. I saw many posts on people doing a full custom build and other posts on people discussing buying a stock Ruger 10/22 and getting one part at a time. I imagine there could be a blog post of it's own on this site about the pros and cons of doing each way. But having the green light from my wife for a custom 10/22 for $1,000-1,100, I had all plans of picking each piece and building it on my own. There are plenty of posts on RimfireCentral about customizing a stock 10/22 and on which parts to upgrade first (various opinions on that) and price ranges for the options.
Nailing It Down
  • Concept
    • Dark laminated stock with silver trigger, action, barrel, scope and rings.
    • Thumb hole
    • I liked the contrast but going with silver can have it's draw backs.
      • Most scopes are black
      • Most scope rings are black
      • Not likely that all the silver parts will have the same shine/finish.
    • .920" barrel
  • Buying a non-factory action
    • It just seemed that buying a stock Ruger 10/22 @ $250 just for the action would be the same as buying a non-factory one.
    • The word is that the Ruger actions are poured/cast metal where the after-market ones are machined. Well, by getting an engineering degree in college, I couldn't help but consider a machined piece of metal better. Or is it? I don't want to get into that debate if anyone feels strongly about poured metal as being better.
    • Options
      • $355 Tactical Solution X-Ring
      • $335 Volquartsen Stainless Steel
      • $235 Volquartsen Superlight
      • $175 M.O.A
      • $93 Ruger – as if you could find a site that had one in stock to buy
  • Buying a prebuilt trigger set
    • KIDD trigger group that can adjust? Not like I'm going to be the super competition guy. Do I need less than 2.5 lb pull? No. Would it be fun to turn it down to 6 oz? Yes.
    • Options
      • $290 KID two-stage adjustable pull weight from 6oz to 2.5lbs. Comes with extended mag release (3 options) and bolt release.
      • $241 Volquartsen TG2000 - Comes with extended mag release and bolt release
  • Bolt
    • "A bolt is a bolt is a bolt???" I couldn't and can't explain the difference.
    • Bolt buffer? Yes, or course.
    • Options
      • $75 KID (+$10 for scalloped finish)
      • $259 Volquartsen CNC machined bolt
  • Bolt Handle
    • Kennard showed me what seemed to be common with the stock (any some after-market) bolt handles: rough up your knuckle pulling the bolt back and catching it on the scope rings.
    • Options
      • $10 KID
      • $33 Volquartsen
  • Laminated Stock
    • Yep, just for the color bling. Not really wanting a wood finish.
    • It seemed that most after market stocks were channeled for a .920" barrel. By what info I could find online, factory stocks seemed to need some sanding to allow a .920" barrel.
    • Options
      • $143 Revolution Yukon (.920" Barrel Channel; 2.5 lbs)
      • $107 Hogue Overmolded Stock
      • $477 Laminated Wood Thumb hole Silhouette – Red (Volquartsen site)
      • $145 Boyds Blaster
  • Barrel
    • The great barrel length debate. 16.5", 18" or 20"??? That is the question.
    • Tapered target barrel (like Kennard's stock Ruger) or .920 bull barrel?
    • Options
      • $200 KID polished or bead blasted Stainless Steel barrel
      • $180 Tactical Solutions (multiple colors)
      • $170+ WhistlePig – If you want custom colors or fade colors, this place rules!
  • Scope
    • How much is too much?
    • I learned online that you just don't expect to shot a 10/22 beyond 100 yds.
    • Scopes can sure get expensive but I'm not going to be up in a tree aiming for a neck. Did I mention sub-100 yds?
    • What did I see mentioned the most online? The Mueller APV.
  • Scope Rings
    • Size depends on the size of the scope
    • Decided to wait until all parts were received to determine what is too small or too high
    • Math was what engineering was all about. I've got to make this a math problem or it just won't be that fun, right?
  • Extras
    • $30 KID Receiver Pin Kit ($22 without countersink)
    • $40 KID Scope Base (not needed if action comes with one)
    • $16 .22 Boresnake
    • $15 Ruger 10/22 Magazine
    • $6 KID Bolt Buffer
    • $12 Volquartsen Bolt Buffer
Info Resources Used
(Primary source) Rimfire Central Forums:
Rimfire ammunition (Widipedia):
Just a site that made the simple part list, well, simple:
KIDD Innovative Design:
WhistlePig GunBarrel Co:
Click HERE for Part 2: Buying the Parts.


  1. Thanks for taking the time to post.

    Was not aware of the MOA 10/22 receiver or all the really high quality products from KIDD.

    Have been interested in building a high quality 22 auto for a while, now the options that I was hoping for do exist.

    Thanks and enjoy your project.


  2. Wow! Thanks for doing my work for me....too late!
    I'm now left with a stock barrel and stock after putting my custom job together. Your post is still a major resource for me, thanks again.

  3. Thanks so much for posting all of this. I'm deployed with the military right now and looking for a way to spend some money and occupy my free time. I thought building a 10/22 would be fun, but it was turning into a big head ache until I found this site. Now all I have to is choose my parts and follow your blog.

    You've saved me days of work, especially since I barely get 56kbps here on a good day.

  4. Todd, glad this helped. Bruce but a lot of research, thought and work into building his 10/22 and he was very generous to share the information. Once yours is built, please let me know and we'll post a picture of it. If you have any added nuggets of info you learned, we'll share those too. Thank you.

  5. So the last post was in 2010..Here I am in May 2013 and can only repeat what many here have said - THANK YOU!

  6. 2014 and I found this in time to keep me from wasting the stock 22 I was about to purchase. Thank you for doing the hard work!