Turn a Safe Queen into a Range King in one easy step

If you are anything like me, you likely have a gun in your safe that you loved at one time, but for whatever reason, you don’t shoot much anymore. It could be because it’s a little out of date, your tastes have changed, or it has a limiting factor. For me, that gun was a Ruger 10/22 that I received for my 16th birthday. I have treasured that rifle for many years. I have a habit of buying and selling guns, and I this is my only emotionally connected gun, so I actually engraved the barrel with my name on it so I cannot sell it easily.

The gun was built up in the early 2000’s, when silver barrels and silver scopes were all the rage. I quickly ditched the factory stock and barrel and slapped on a Midway USA bull barrel along with a Fajen stock (a Midway brand at the time). It probably wore a cheap 3-9 Walmart special scope back in those days, I don’t really remember but I was young and broke. I do remember splurging on a Volquartsen trigger kit for it though.

Somewhere down the line, I upgraded the scope to a Mueller APV 4-14 in matching silver. I remember the gun being accurate with Wolf MT ammo, but the chamber always seems to be sticky and rounds wouldn’t eject. I guess I should have expected that with Midway even engraving the barrel with such a warning. It was slightly frustrating to shoot knowing you were going to have to pry empty cases every so often out of the chamber.

Years later I moved out west and suddenly suppressor ownership was a possibility for me. I immediately purchased a Gemtech Alpine .22LR suppressor and started my wait. While I was waiting I started buying suppressor hosts. This is where the story turned on my trusty 10/22. It didn’t have a threaded barrel, so it quickly languished as simply a safe queen. It sure was pretty, but I never found myself reaching for it when it was range day.

Fast forward to this year and I found myself writing a 10/22 article for Athlon Outdoors and I had quickly amassed six or so 10/22’s. In that process, I got to work with Randy at Connecticut Precision Chambering, also known as Randy @ CPC on RimFireCentral.com. Randy was able to get my 4.5″ barreled Ruger Charger to not be a shotgun. The whole process working with Randy got my creative juices flowing and quickly my mind shifted to my original 10/22. A quick email exchange with Randy and my safe queen was on its way to Connecticut to be transformed.

My main want/need from the process was to get the barrel to chamber and extract rounds reliably and have the barrel threaded for my suppressor. Randy did that and so much more.

Let’s take a look at some of the key things that were done…

If you see enough Ruger factory receivers, you’ll know they aren’t always true and perpendicular at the barrel tenon. Randy refaced the receiver and trued everything up so that the barrel comes out of the receiver straight and true.

As part of the Athlon Outdoors article, this receiver was machined to accept a Kidd rear tang. This receiver shares time in a PMACA chassis so the rear tang provides another anchor point to hold the receiver down. Randy did this cut which involves a though hole with heavy countersink on the inside of the receiver, and a slot for the tang to rest in.

Randy usually does a trigger job if you are sending in a factory trigger group, but since mine already was stuffed full of Volquartsen parts he left it alone.

I didn’t confirm with Randy but I think he provided new cross pins that hold the trigger group in. They appear to be ground and the pins seem to fit tighter upon assembly. This is great news, you can actually tip the action on its side without losing all the pins. Randy also includes a non-metallic bolt stop which helps quiet the bolt slap.

One thing I noticed when tearing the gun down before shipping it off was that one of my scope rail screws was stripped. I ended up having to enlarge all the holes and go to the next size screw. I installed a new Volquartsen extended scope rail so I also had to machine out the rail to accept the new larger screws at the same time. Be careful when installing these screws, there’s not much material in the top of the receiver.

Randy also worked over the factory bolt. He surface grinds and squares the face to a .0425″ case depth. He edm’s a cross pin above the front of the firing pin to keep it from wandering around during firing. This has been explained as the culprit of some flyers during firing. It makes the firing pin more consistent in its operation. While he’s in there, the firing pin is reworked and ground flat.

The bolt bottom rear is also fully radiused for smoother operation. Lastly, the bolt is jeweled on the ejection port to give it that little bit of panache. The receiver and bolt work are good, but where the real magic happens is in the barrel.

The chamber area of the barrel receives the most attention. The existing chamber is machined back to reveal fresh material. From this new material, a new chamber is cut to CPC’s specs. The extractor channel also has to be recut during this process. The chamber is polished and the shank of the barrel is recut oversized to fit precisely into the recut receiver.

An astute 10/22 aficionado would ask if Randy cuts the chamber end of the barrel, how will it lock back in with the v-block? Glad you asked because it was a question I had as well. Looking at the v-block notch you’ll see how it is compensated for.

Randy recuts the forward part of the notch and installs a metallic spacer in the rear of the notch. The v-block then pulls tension on the new spacer when you tighten the barrel.

Moving up to the muzzle end I was excited to see that Randy threaded my muzzle 1/2×28 to accept a suppressor or other barrel attachment. If you already have a suppressor you should tell Randy what you have so he can thread accordingly. I failed to do this and my suppressor would prefer a slightly shorter thread length, so when my suppressor is tightened I have a small gap between the barrels shoulder and my suppressor. I plan on having the end threads shortened a tad, but in the meantime, it seems to just be an aesthetic issue.

Randy applies a recessed crown which is a welcome sight. It means I’m less likely to knick the crown and damage the barrel.

Randy also custom cut a blended thread protector for when the suppressor is not mounted. It too has a recess which looks great. As you can see it blends very nicely with the profile of the barrel.

 

So you probably want to know how it shoots, right? I took some of my CCI ammo out to the range before I shipped the gun off and shot some groups. I then took the same ammo out after the gun came back from Randy and shot some more groups. The picture below shows the results (pre on left, post on right)

I was very happy with the overall scope of work that Randy did to the rifle. I test-fired the above groups with an Athlon Midas Tac scope on.

After feeling satisfied the work improved the gun I removed the Athlon scope and moved it over to my Volquartsen setup I’m also testing. I reinstalled the Mueller APV scope and took it back to the range to sight in and get it settled in.

While the silver setup was popular when I built it, I’m not sure I still feel the same way today. My plan is to now send it off to Cerakote in a satin black for all the silver parts. I’ll have to find another scope to replace the APV.

The Fajen stock is still as classic as it was when I bought it. It’s a very comfortable stock so I don’t plan on ditching it just yet.

I took both the CT Precision reworked rifle and my Volquartsen setup out to the range on the same day with the same ammo to see how they fared together. The Volquartsen has a retail of about $1,900 and oozes quality. The CT Precision work is a downright bargain comparatively.

I shot five 3 shot groups using CCI standard velocity ammo, from the same yardage back to back. The Volquartsen used a $800 MSRP Athlon scope that’s 6-24 power, and the CPC sported a $140 4.5-14 power Mueller APV.

Here’s the results of that range outing….

Volquartsen averaged .446″ groups.

CPC averaged .436″ groups.

All group sizes were calculated with the BallisticX app.

Pretty close, but the CPC reworked Ruger came out ahead. You’ll notice one extra round on the CPC target in the bottom left corner. I called that shot as a pulled shot so I put another on paper and omitted that shot.

After reading all about my experience, are your creative juices flowing thinking of an old Ruger 10/22 in your safe? Keep in mind your gun doesn’t have to be tricked out to send him. Randy is known to take a bone stock 10/22 and turn it from a boring plinker to accurate blaster.

Take a look at CPC’s website and browse all the different options and packages available. Then email or call him to set up your Safe Queen to Range King conversion for yourself.

http://ct-precision.com/

 

 

If you prefer a video version, here’s a quick video I took explaining what Randy does

 

The video below is one I shot just before sending the rifle to Randy

 

The video below is one I took after shooting the first set of targets. I quickly talk about the results if you are interested.

 

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