September 23, 2010
By Joseph von Benedikt
Rimfires are the most popular of all firearms, and of those, there is one model that stands out: the monumental Ruger 10/22. Years ago, while working my way through college behind a gun shop counter, I admitted to my manager that I didn't own a Ruger 10/22. He threatened to fire me on the spot. These days I'm a 10/22 junkie. He'd be proud of me.
One of the rifle's greatest charms is its flexibility. What the stock 10/22 can morph into is limited only by the owner's budget. I've seen ultra-light 10/22 builds sporting carbon-fiber barrels and super-light synthetic stocks that weigh well under five pounds, and I've assembled competition guns with heavy-profile barrels and adjustable stocks that would do a benchrest rifle proud.
There are many manufacturers of aftermarket products and parts for the 10/22 enthusiast, and recently I had the chance to test some products from Shooter's Ridge, which recently entered the 10/22 market with aftermarket barrels and a line of excellent thumbhole stocks. I was able to get my hands on one of each: a carbon-fiber-finished stock and an 18-inch, heavy fluted stainless barrel.
Shooters Ridge 10/22
|TYPE:|| synthetic thumbhole|
|BUTT PAD:|| rubber|
|TYPE:|| stainless steel|
|CONTOUR:||straight fluted bull|
|DIAMETER:|| .915 in.|
|CHAMBER:|| Bentz match|
I was impressed with the look of the parts even before I began assembling them. The stock is designed for use with a scope and features a high, broad, comfortable cheekpiece. It uses a steel pillar to ensure consistent, positive bedding of the action. A rubber recoil pad provides a non-slip surface, and the stock comes equipped with sling swivel studs.
The barrel is even more impressive. Featuring a nice low-glare matte finish, the fluted barrel boasts a Bentz match chamber and 1:16 right-hand twist button-rifling that promises minute of angle or better accuracy with appropriate match-grade ammo. A recessed target crown completes the package.
The shank and shoulder that fit into the 10/22 action showed nice, clean machining. Over the years I've worked with barrels that fit sloppily and loosely into the action and those that were so tight I had to cam the barrel shank into the action recess with the mounting screws. I was pleased to find that the Shooter's Ridge barrel was just right: snug enough for a nice press fit, yet not so tight that it couldn't be removed.
The original barrel, stock and action with the Shooter's Ridge barrel mounted and ready to drop into the thumbhole stock.
Changing out the barrel via the mounting bracket is an almost foolproof operation and takes only a few minutes.
The project, once assembled and mounted with a scope, had excellent balance, felt good in my hands and pointed quickly and naturally.
I mounted a Nitrex TR1 3-10x50 scope, and the rifle promptly began shooting 50-yard thumbnail-size groups. Interestingly, the best-shooting load was CCI's Mini-Mag load, averaging an impressive .35 inch at 50 yards.
When I finished accuracy testing, I spent some time plinking, hitting small steel silhouettes and dirt clods out to 100 yards with ease. The rifle jammed with some very lightly loaded match ammo when the action became very dirty, but otherwise it ran flawlessly. It never failed to chamber and fire; the match loads simply didn't provide enough blowback pressure to reliably eject the empty cases.
The only thing I would change on the rifle as it's built now is the factory trigger. It has a great deal of overtravel, which I find tends to open groups up a fair bit when target shooting. The good news is that since match-grade triggers for the 10/22 are readily available, it's a simple fix.
Shooter's Ridge's new stocks and barrels are comfortable, durable, accurate and good-looking, and it's hard to ask more than that. On the company's website there's a "Trick My 10/22" feature that allows shooters to drag and drop different stock and barrel combinations and "build" a tricked-out rifle. It really helps visualize the finished project, whether with a camo stock and stainles
s fluted barrel or a Wild Web desert-type color stock and matte-black barrel.