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“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”

-Henry David Thoreau, Walden

The Ruger 10/22 is one of the world's most versatile firearms not only because of the chambering but also because of the availability of aftermarket parts.

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You can easily take a standard, "basic" 10/22 and turn it into a fine target rifle. I shot a Ruger 10/22 for the first time when I was around 10 years old. It was my Grandfather's rifle. His rifle featured a spiral hammer-forged stainless steel bull barrel , Nikon Prostaff 3-9 optic , and was all held together with a Hogue Overmolded stock . This rifle was his truck gun which meant it literally had years of carbon buildup and would often get quite dirty. I remember one time specifically seeing carbon/grime built up around the chamber and on the bolt and thinking to myself, "This gun is not going to fire". Much to my surprise, it did fire! Again and again and again! I was impressed not only at its ability to fire despite the carbon build-up but also by its accuracy! That rifle was actually capable of putting two bullets in the same hole. Seeing firsthand the reliability and the accuracy of his 10/22 made me want one!

I purchased a standard Ruger 10/22 from Dunhams for $199. This was a very basic model with a pencil barrel and a gray stock. This is the Ruger 10/22 model 31139.

Ruger 10/22 factory stock and rifle

One of the first upgrades I did to this rifle had nothing to do with the functionality, but the overall aesthetic. I added a laminate wood stock featured in the older Ruger Target models. It is made to fit .920 barrels, and it looks beautiful so this was a must-have!

Ruger 10/22 laminate rifle stock

Shortly after replacing the stock, I replaced the magazine release. The original was very shaky and was made of plastic. It was actually the reason a pin would fall out upon removal of the action from the stock. I decided to replace the original with a Volquartsen magazine release which is made of aluminum and solved the issue with my pin. It created a tighter fit which held the pin in place perfectly. The first thing I had to do was remove the two pins which held the trigger group to the receiver.

Ruger 10/22 laminate rifle stock installation

Then I had to remove the pin which held the magazine release in place which is located directly below the front large trigger group pin. This is the pin that I mentioned would fall out easily with the stock magazine release.

Ruger 10/22 receiver

Then I simply depressed the plunger and the old magazine release fell right out. These images are shown with the new parts being removed and reinstalled since this article was written after I had already added the new parts to the firearm. With the old magazine release out, it was as simple as reversing the process.

Ruger 10/22 receiver

When trying to align the release with the pinhole, you should be able to see light completely through the hole with no shadow.

Ruger 10/22 receiver release

I like this magazine release better for many reasons, it looks better, feels better, solves the problem of the loose pin and is made of aluminum.

The next upgrade I added to this firearm is the Volquartsen Auto Bolt Release . This is a very useful piece because it makes it very easy to release the bolt as well as lock the bolt back. With the original bolt release, trying to release the bolt was a pain, you would have to try to push the button up into the trigger group while pulling the bolt back, and if you were lucky, it would release. I did not like this at all because it was not reliable. The Volquartsen release completely eliminates the part where you have to push the button up to release the bolt. All you have to do is pull the bolt back and let go! This makes for an easy one handed operation.

In order to remove the original bolt release I had to remove two pins on the trigger group.

Ruger 10/22 receiver

After removing these two pins I had to move a spring out of the way that was resting under the top pin.

Ruger 10/22 receiver spring

The original piece can now slide right out and be replaced in the same orientation as the original. I would recommend replacing the magazine release and bolt release at the same time if you are going to replace both parts since you will have to remove the magazine release pin for both processes.

Ruger 10/22 Volquartsen auto bolt release

After you put the new bolt release piece in, make sure to push the spring under the upper pin.

Ruger 10/22 Volquartsen auto bolt release spring

It should be completely under the pin, with the pin passing over the spring and through the pin holes on the two remaining pieces.

Ruger 10/22 reciever view

The last thing I did to this rifle and arguably the most important would be replacing the original barrel with a cold hammer forged spiral blued target barrel. This was done by removing the original v-block, set screws and original barrel.

Ruger 10/22 receiver with mounted scope

I had some trouble removing the barrel so I used the bolt to help in the process by pulling the bolt back and letting it go forward. This action was enough force to aid in the removal of the original barrel. While putting the new barrel on I had to tap it into place. I simply laid a towel folded over a few times on the muzzle end of the barrel and tapped it down. It is worth noting that the extractor on your bolt must line up with the cut-out on the barrel!

Ruger 10/22 receiver with Tactical Solutions V-Block and Raven Eye Custom Stainless Steel Set Screws

I used a Tactical Solutions V-Block and Raven Eye Custom Stainless Steel Set Screws. The main reason I chose the stainless steel parts was to prevent what some call "barrel droop". Simply put, this is when the weight of the barrel causes it to pull the screws out of the receiver making the barrel drop down or "droop" which will cause inaccurate shots and will just make your gun look ridiculous.

Ruger 10/22 receiver with Raven Eye Custom Stainless Steel Set Screws

These stainless steel parts will eliminate any chance of that happening and have also been known to improve accuracy. Now with all of these parts assembled, there is only one thing left to do!

Ruger 10/22 target firing

The main question that I have received about this rifle has to do with the scope. The scope is a Barska 3-9, Illuminated reticle. In the future, I will get some lower scope rings and maybe a Primary Arms optic because I love the way they have the range estimation system built into the reticle. I love this Ruger 10/22 for so many reasons! The look of the spiral cold hammer-forged barrel against that laminated wood stock just has classic beauty! I also enjoy the pinpoint accuracy presented with this system mainly because of the hammer-forged barrel, v-block, and set screws. Hopefully, you've gained some insight on just how easy building a dream rifle from a standard off-the-shelf 10/22 really is! This truly is my dream 22lr!