I had my eye on it for better than two months, the blue steel beauty with a hardwood walnut stock. Long before I was of legal age to be a “gun guy” I was one. As the days on the calendar passed by and my 18th birthday approached, I had my mind set on buying a Ruger 10/22 rifle. My birthday fell on a school day that year but the moment the bell rang I was out the door into my car and headed for The Gun Shop in Wooster, Ohio.
Before the first 24 hours of the 18th year could expire I proudly held the semi-automatic .22 LR rifle in my hands. At the time it seemed to me the epitome of rim-fire rifles. On that day I also picked up a 25-round magazine and two boxes of Mini-Mag ammunition. The ammo would be entirely spent before sundown.
That was decades ago but I still remember it like it was yesterday. I fell in love with that little rifle and did my best to singlehandedly keep CCI in business. That is up until the time I joined the Marine Corps. Like most young servicemen of the time money was normally tight. I sold the rifle and used the money to make a car payment, a decision I have regretted since.
Being a bit older and hopefully wiser, I recently bought a new 10/22. Having more disposable income than all those years ago I decided that the stock rifle could use a bit of upgrading. I wanted to keep it simple, a kitchen table project you might say.
Shooter’s Ridge Stock
The first upgrade item acquired would be a new stock. Yes, the wooden factory stock works just fine but I wanted something to personalize the gun. I chose a Shooter’s Ridge synthetic digital woodland camouflage thumb-hole stock with a raised comb and recessed bed that free floats the barrel. At the rear you will find a comfortable, rubber butt-pad and at the front there are insert rubber grips on forearm’s right and left side. Forward and rear sling studs are included as well. Switching out the factory stock for the new version was a simple as removing the front barrel band and loosening the base screw below the action.
The price tag on today’s Ruger 10/22 is not all that much more than it was 20 plus years ago. In order to stay competitive Ruger has had to reduce the cost of production. One aspect of the classic rifle that suffered was the trigger, by this I mean the entire trigger group, not just the hooked part sticking out. The current stock trigger group is “rough” to say the least. Does it function as advertised? Certainly, but the overly heavy trigger pull is an annoyance when trying to hit a small target.
Timney Triggers had just introduced a match-tuned trigger for the 10/22. The assembly is a single-piece unit that drops in to replace existing components. The folks at Timney include an easy-to-follow set of instructions with each set. Following the included directions closely, it took perhaps 10 to 15 minutes to swap the original factory trigger group for the Timney version. Pull weight in the new trigger was a very crisp 2.5 pounds. Shooters can choose from a variety of different colored trigger shoes to match the stock.
With the new trigger and stock in place I added a quality optic to the package. A few years ago Ruger modified the included scope base to accept Weaver-style and rimfire scope rings. The glass I chose for this project was the Rimfire Tactical Turret Scope from Cabela’s. This particular model is a 3-9X version with a 40-mm objective lens. Cabela’s includes five caliber specific turrets for .22 LR, .22 Mag, .22 Hornet, .17 HMR, and .17 Mach2. The target knobs are pre-calibrated and marked to allow the shooter to instantly dial in the distance to target.
Range and field accessories for my new custom rimfire included a Harris bipod and Uncle Mikes padded nylon sling. The final piece of the puzzle would be extra 25-round magazines from Shooter’s Ridge. Shooting a 10/22 is more fun if you don’t have to stop every couple of minutes to reload the magazine. To my thinking the Ruger 10/22 is a modern classic and one of the most reliable, enjoyable .22 LR rifles on the market. The transformation from a factory stock gun to a personalized custom rifle was kind of fun and easily completed at the kitchen table. Keep shooting straight and keep shooting safe.