Thursday, October 24, 2013

Best5Zach's Ruger 10/22 Build Part 1

Like most every kid that grew up hunting, a rim fire .22 caliber gun was my very first firearm. My grandfather bought me a Marlin bolt action rifle when I turned 10 or so. There were several reason for buying a .22. The top reason was because it is a perfect teaching platform to learn about gun safety, maintenance, and shooting practice. It has been a fabulous little gun, but it has its drawbacks. First one being that we outfitted it with a cheap 3X scope, which sits atop it to this day. As many of you know, a firearm is only as good as it's optics. But, since I don't use it very much, it's been very much out of site/out of mind. The other issue I had with that gun was, when varmint hunting, every time you miss a shot...and you have to take your eye out of the scope to reload. It makes it very hard to get follow up shots. Near impossible, I'd say.

In the last few years, the Ruger 10/22 has continued to be the best selling rim fire rifle on the market, perhaps even the best selling firearm, period. And, why not? It is a fantastic weapon that works excellent out of the box. It doesn't cost too much. It shoots a cheap round. It has a fantastic aftermarket base. Most importantly, it is accurate and semit-automatic.

Alas, I found myself continuing to buy other firearms...whether that was pistols or shotguns. But, every time I bought a new pistol, I would cuss about how ammo was either too expensive or non-existent to shoot for recreational fun and, for the most part, unusable for hunting.  Additionally, as I have posted in my Commonality: How to be Efficient post, it was tough to select a firearm that had a good amount of utility. The .223 is a pretty good mix for a game/varmint/protection round, aside the fact that it has become expensive and hard to find. Additionally, in an EOTWAWKI setting, it is a little louder than you would really want for small game hunting. Sure, you have to eat...but you may not want everyone in the county to know it. And, there wouldn't be much left of the animal after hitting it was a .223.

On the other hand, .22 is plentiful, extremely cheap, fairly accurate in a good gun at 50 yards. It has no recoil. Perhaps my favorite feature is, it isn't very loud. That's great for people teaching their children to shoot, or preventing every game animal in 300 yards to take off running every time you shoot.

So, for the last few months, I had decided that my next firearm wouldn't be a hopped up .44 (though it's next on my list...aside from finishing my next AR build), but a semi-auto .22 rim fire. That point was driven home when my two oldest kids said they wanted to learn to shoot, but not on a loud gun. And, what better way to go than the most popular .22LR in the market.

However, for several months, it was almost impossible to find one. When you did, it was one of the $375 versions that had bells and whistles that I didn't care to pay for. In fact, it seemed that you couldn't get one under $250. I was seeing used ones sell on FaceBook pages for ridiculous amounts of money. I had all but given up on them when Academy did me (and themselves) a solid. I received a flyer in the mail that was advertising the Marlin semi-auto for $149. It wasn't a 10/22, but it was a decent gun. So, on a Friday afternoon, I headed up there to check it out.

But it just so happened they had 1 Ruger. I asked to see it. They showed the price tag and I laughed. I told them that the local gun emporium was selling them for $75 less. What I didn't tell them was that there was NO WAY I would brave that mad house on a pay day. The salesman smiled and said "No problem. We will match it."


Now. I need a scope. I shopped around a good bit and finally asked the salesman what he thought.

He steered me towards the BSA sweet .22. I saw the price tag and about clutched my heart and died. $130? I mean, I know I want nice optics and all, but DANG! That's about what I was going to pay for the gun, itself! The salesman just smiled. All he had was the display model, which he could sell me for $34. Additionally he told me how this scope had been designed FOR the Ruger 10/22. He said I could shoot the fleas off of the squirrels. I shrugged. For $34, I could try it out. They offer free boresiting for firearm purchases, so of course I took advantage of that.

Additionally, I would need the Leupold medium rings and scope mounts for the gun. Might as well do it right, he said. I agreed. The difference in funds between the cheap stuff and the the Leopold was negligible. In the basket it went.
Naturally, I needed a big nasty banana clip. There are a ton of choices, but I wanted something reliable, so I purchased the Ruger BX25. 

I walked out of Academy with all of this plus a little ammo for under $400. Of course, I didn't want to spend that much, but I hadn't really thought it through (my wife is laughing at that). I took it to the farm and immediately sited it in. Out of the box and with a boresite, it was 3 inches low and three inches left. The elevation was easy to fix, but the windage took some time to dial in. It took about 50 rounds at 50 yards to get it to shoot just the way I wanted. After siting it in, I used Metalloid's Metcor 57 and Gun Green Oil ( here is my write up on these products...check them out!) and had her shined up and cleaned.

During the Government shutdown, my dad and I had a lot of spare time. One of the things we wanted to do was to thin out the squirrel population significantly. So, we squirrel hunted 3 times in the 2 week shutdown. Even with a basic site-in job, the gun ran awesome. I never brought home less than 5 squirrels. In fact, I rarely missed with this gun.

I did, however, run into an issue with the BX25 mag. I did some research on the subject and found out that mags pre-scare had no problems. But, those that were bought afterwards seemed to have problems with the feed ramp. After cleaning it extensively, I found that the finish of the feed ramp was sorely lacking in quality. So, just as I had done before, I did some light firearm repair, as you can read about here: Light Firearm Repair. Problem solved with 30 minutes of work.

So, where to from here?

  • The next improvement I will make is to add a sling. It sin't any fun to carry it around in my hands because I don't have a sling. 
  • I don't really care for the overall weight of the gun. I attribute most of this to the wooden stock. I will be getting a synthetic stock ASAP.
  • The trigger pool is too heavy and it isn't smooth. I am researching some better trigger assemblies
As of now, I have $400 invested in a fantastic tool, which is exactly what this gun is. It has a ton of utility and is probably the most useful gun in my arsenal. Everyone should own one of these guns. It isn't going to be a 1-shot-wonder for home defense and it probably won't take down big game with anything less than a head shot, but that is probably the only draw back it has. It can be shot for fun, it is a perfect farm gun, it is downright deadly on varmints. It is cheap to shoot. And, it is the perfect gun with which to begin training your children.