Journey to the “Ultimate 10/22”, Part 1

During the process of writing a recent Athlon Outdoors article about 10/22’s and building your own I acquired a gaggle of parts. I built 6 great setups as seen in the group shot above. I liked them but I always had a nagging feeling that I was getting the optimal ergonomics when using a high powered optic like the Vortex 3rd on the left. AR-15 stocks generally don’t have a high enough comb because they are limited by the charging handle clearance.

In another article I had done, I picked up a Magpul Hunter stock for the Ruger American. I was amazed how much better that stock felt compared to the factory setup and even the MDT chassis I had that rifle in previous the Magpulization.

Taking a cue from my experience I had Brownells send a Magpul X22 Hunter stock for the Ruger 10/22, along with Magpul’s cheek riser kit (high & low). I already had a Magpul MLOK bipod on hand so I installed that onto the stock upon arrival.

Now that I had the stock as the platform, it was time to decide on what components it was to be stuffed with from all the parts I had amassed.

The heart of the system started with the Brownells BRN22 smooth top receiver. You may ask why not just go with the railed receiver to eliminate the need for a scope mount. Well, I tried that, but with the larger scope I had planned on this rifle I needed to get a scope mount that projected out over the front of the receiver and over the barrel. The railed receiver only goes as far as the receiver, coming up short for me.

Speaking of scope rails, I topped the action with a Volquartsen scope mount. I like the mount, I just wish they would include Allen head screws instead of flat head screws. A published torque spec would be nice as well!

Vortex tactical rings clamp to the rail, and house the Athlon Midas Tac 6-24×50 FFP MIL/MIL scope. I haven’t strayed from Vortex in quite awhile with scopes, but I really needed a scope that would focus down to closer ranges since this was a rimfire, and Vortex doesn’t have a slam dunk scope for this application. I had read tons of good reviews of Athlon, and after talking with their crew at the NRA Annual Meetings I decided to give it a go. I’ll cover the scope in an upcoming article since there’s so much to cover there. Suffice to say, it’s good to go!

I stuffed the receiver with a Volquartsen CNC bolt assembly and TG2000 trigger group. The parts are simply beautiful. In my testing for the previous article, the TG2000 netted the lowest pull weight, with the least over travel. The CNC bolt is stunning, smooth as silk and incorporates all the upgrades people try to do to factory bolts.

I fitted a 16″ Volquartsen Ultralight barrel to the receiver. The fit is tight, so application of heat with a heat gun to the reciever is required to slip the barrel in. I had to purchase a long hex key to use my FAT wrench to get the proper torque on the v-block to retain the barrel.

After everything was assembled and I shouldered the rifle for the first time everything clicked. This was the setup I was after. It took a few swaps of cheek risers to get that perfect eye to scope alignment. Thankfully the Magpul has interchangeable risers to make this task a snap.

With the Volquartsen barrel coming in UNDER 1 lb the gun is a featherweight. It feels handy and nimble, yet can drive tacks if needed. The trigger and bolt assembly don’t leave anything for me to blame besides myself if shots go astray.

What’s next? How could it get any better than this? Well, the Magpul bipod leaves alot to be desired. Once you get used to the adjustability of the Atlas bipod, it’s hard to settle for any less. The Magpul is much less expensive so I don’t knock it, but not being able to push the legs out 45 deg is not ideal. I’ll likely swap the bipod out for a pic rail so I can use my Atlas when needed.

I also need to do thorough ammo testing to see what it really likes. I only tested it with Wolf Match Target and I’m seeing good groups, but I want to see if it likes something else better before settling on an ammo.

The stock has a barrel shim near the bipod. It’s adjustable via a screw to either free float the barrel or put some amount of preload on it. With the barrel being so light, it shouldn’t droop like what can happen with heavy bull barrels, but I still need to experiment with different settings to see if this rifle likes preload.

Look for upcoming articles shaking the rifle out and if any upgrades are needed.

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