Saturday, December 26, 2009

Stock Ruger 10/22 vs. Custom Built 10/22

Is it worth the time and money to custom build a 10/22 or is it better to take the cheaper and easier way out and buy a factory built, off the shelf Ruger 10/22? 
We actually have an answer and reason to do both, believe it or not. 
The two guns used in the challenge are an off the shelf Ruger 10/22 with the slightly “fancier” walnut stock (compared to the birch stock) and a fully custom 10/22 that was hand built using hand picked parts (reviewed and shown how it was built here). We used the same Federal .22 LR ammo in both guns, used the same magazines, the same beanbag-style Caldwell rest and of course, the same shooter.
The guns were not clamped into a fixed vice, rather we placed them on a the Caldwell rest shown below. The triggers are so different on each gun, the rest allowed some movement due to trigger pull. Thus one of the reasons we used bags instead of Bruce’s more stable rest with butt-stock clamp.

The Orange Peel targets were placed 100 yards out and the shooting began. We blew through several magazines to get the feel for the guns before we shot for the test. 

First, I shot the gun I’m most familiar with, my factory built Ruger. I put two 10 round mags through the gun, gasping for air between reloads. I was using a Nikon Prostaff 2-7x32 Riflescope. The results are on the left hand side of the image below.

On the right hand side of the image below, are the results of the Custom 10/22. Again, 20 rounds shot out of two 10-round mags. The ‘custom’ shot much more consistently and actually gave me the impression that with some practice, I could and should keep all 20 shots in the 10 ring. The stock gun, on the other hand, gave no such impression. The lack of a hand-lapped barrel and the heavy trigger (vs. the 2 freakin’ pound pull of the custom) added enough variables that keeping 20 shots in the 10 ring was impossible - at least by me.

Nevertheless, the results speak for themselves. Now, is it worth it to spend 2.5 times the money for the results above. Maybe. But there’s more to the equation. 
When you figure in the research (I consider fun), the hand selecting of parts from that research, the pride off self-assembly, picking the exact stock in the exact color and shape you want AND having it easily outshoot a stock gun...well, that makes it well worth it if you can afford it. If not, the stock Ruger will give you (and your kids if you have them) hours and hours of cheap fun that’s hard to beat.
If it had been warmer (it was about 47 degrees and late in the evening) and if we had more daylight, I believe I could have gotten a lot more out of the Custom. We’ll update the article in the spring of 2009 and retest the results. 

Stock Ruger 10/22 Walnut: About $329 (without scope). $460 with scope.

Custom 10/22: About $1200 with
The final parts list:
Stock: Revolution Yukon
Receiver: Volquartsen Superlight (Silver)
Trigger: KIDD (Silver with adjustable 2 lb. red trigger)
Bolt: KIDD (w/ scalloped engraving)
Bolt Handle: Volquartsen
Barrel: KIDD
Scope: Mueller AVP
Scope Rings: 1” dia. .25” height
Extra: KIDD Receiver Pin Kit
Extra: Ruger 10-22 Magazine
Thought you’d like to know.


  1. The custom can do much better. Its really difficult to keep the POI and POA consistent with the 10/22's.

    Long story, but my old neighbor was a gunsmith and tinkered with 10/22's a lot at school in Trinidad. Based on his advice, I bedded the barrel into the stock and used a Volquartsen one piece scope mount that is tapped into the barrel.

    With CCI mini-mags, which it really likes, and a Leupold 12x it can put a ten round mag into a 1" target sticker at 100 yards, if I do my part. Its done fairly well at the local silly-wet match too.

    A little tuning and I bet you can cut that group in half or more.

  2. Your target sticker inner circle is smaller than I thought at first. That's good shooting, its almost there.

  3. There are also much less expensive upgrades for the 10/22 owner who wants better accuracy with minimal expense. My suggestion is to start with the heavy trigger pull by replacing the stock hammer with the "target hammer" made by Volquartsen. It will lower trigger pull substantially, yielding better accuracy, especially in the field. You can get a VQ target hammer for less than $35 (no shipping charge)from

  4. To say the custom 10 22 is even a real 10 22 is a mistake. I believe you've changed it to a completely different gun. Not a good comparison and to spend 1200 wow, it's ridiculous.

  5. People re build 10/22 because they can...not because it is needed...for 9%% of field work it does extre,mley well. For match is all about bragging rights...serious users go to Anschutz etc...not auto's for match work....I own 5 10/ expensive the rest fairly stock except for buffers and triggers...they all work extremely yor money...nless you just like doing the build better ammo..and a trigger...and it will do all you need.

  6. I got a question that i cannot find anywhere on the internet, are these aftermarket parts and upgrades as tough and reliable as the stock ones? I have had a ruger 10/22 for 7 years now. I have put nearly 20,000 rounds through it and all i have had to do is change the barrel twice, change the firing pin and of course clean it. I just want to know, will these parts do the same or better?

  7. Yes and in most cases better. Companies like Volquartson and KIDD make parts with such high tolerances and use such high quality materials, they will undoubtably outperform stock parts. I have not shot 20,000 rounds through them but like anything else, the better made the longer it will last. There are some cheap aftermarket parts that'd I'd avoid but for the most
    Part you get what you pay for.

    1. I have a problem when it comes to, got to have the best out there. I have seen titanium internals such as extractor claws,firing pins, hammers,triggers, ect., rubber buffers. I want to make my rifle completely weather resistant and just tough as nails. What company would you recommend for all of this?