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.
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
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.