In the first installment of this project, I had my receiver, but hadn’t yet selected a barrel and stock. At my favorite local store, the options were pretty slim. They had the Hogue stock I was looking at, but the only barrels they had were in the wrong color. Meaning they weren’t black. So after giving them first shot at the “Take my money!” game, I went online. I’d already been eyeing an AccuLite barrel from WhistlePig GunBarrel Co, so they were my first stop. Turns out they had a special – the Hogue OverMolded stock, and a 16.5″ Black Matte Threaded barrel for $222.75 + shipping. Done!
Two days later, my barrel and stock arrived. They were both packed well, and there was even a strip of emery cloth included. Per the instructions, the barrel should fit snug. If it’s too tight, sand a bit at a time, all the way around the shank, then test fit. Before I could do that, I had to clean up some heavy paint in the receiver with my Dremel. Once that was done, the barrel fit with two passes of the emery cloth. I wiped it clean, put a little oil on it, and made sure the extractor notch was in the correct location. When tightening the barrel v-block, I do a little at a time for each bolt. Once it’s good and snug, with the barrel fully seated, I back off a few turns. Final tightening is done with a torque wrench set to 10 inch/lbs.
With my barrel installed in the action, I reinstalled the factory bolt, charging handle, and trigger group. After centering the safety, I dropped it into the Hogue OverMoulded stock. The fit was snug, but not much trouble. No action screw is included, so the original Ruger one was used. That was torqued to about 15 inch/lbs. You can see in the photos what a close fit the action and barrel are to the stock. Yet there’s still room for a crisp dollar bill between the stock and barrel, for those who worry about free-floating. I’ve read that some folks have had to sand the channel of the stock though.
*The photo above was taken with evening sunlight coming into my office window. The stock is black, despite the warm look of the image.
Scope and bipod installation
Now that it looked like a rifle again, I added a cheap bipod. I have nothing against expensive bipods, by the way. I just needed something functional for mounting the scope and taking photos. This is a 6 pound (+/-) .22, so it doesn’t need much support anyway. With scope and rifle in hand, I went back to my local shop. They helped me choose some rings, which I used to install my scope. It’s the Vortex Crossfire II, 4-12×50. As mentioned, I like these for many reasons, including the variable objective. Also, it’s what I had on hand.
The big numbers
We’ll start with the stock. Hogue’s the SKU for the black OverMolded .920 barrel stock as 22010. MSRP is $89.95, but even Hogue lists it on sale for less. Length of pull is 13-3/4″, and weight is just under 2 pounds, at 31 ounces. That’s a savings over the factory wood stock of an ounce and a half. Not a big deal, but a step in the right direction.
WhistlePig’s product code for this $176 barrel is 16TNF-BM. It’s a LR (long rifle) NF (no flutes) TH (threaded muzzle-end w/protective cap) solid anodized .920 barrel. That’s a 6061 aluminum sleeve over a 4140 steel barrel liner. The liner is .050 thick, button rifled, 6 groove, 1:16 twist with a Bentz chamber. AccuLite barrels weigh approximately 1 ounce per inch. I didn’t weigh mine before installing, but that would put it at 16.5 ounces. Since the factory barrel weighs 28.7 ounces, we’ve cut 12.2 ounces, or 3/4 of a pound off this rifle. Right away, it feels lighter and more balanced.
My scope choice complicates things a bit. While the MSRP for the Crossfire II 4-12×50 (SKU CF@-31023) is $249.99, no one pays full MSRP. For the last two I bought, the average cost was under $200 each on Amazon. Weight is 20.6 ounces. You could save 7 ounces and about $100 by going with a Nikon 4-12×40 (MSRP $139.95). Or save the same 7 ounces and spend nearly twice as much on a Leupold 4-12×40 (MSRP $454.99). I like the bright 50mm objective, and the Vortex VIP warranty. Also, I know my limits, and it’s not the scope holding me back.
The little numbers
Not to put my journalistic integrity at risk, but I totally failed on the specs for the rings. I used a gift card, and bought a ton of ammo at the same time. And I didn’t keep the receipt. So we’ll guess $20, and the weight is negligible. I’m only including the 11 ounce bipod (under $20 on Amazon) for informational purposes. We shoot off a rest or a bag, so it’s pretty much just for photos and maintenance.
The final numbers
What’s that add up to? $120 (receiver) + $238 (barrel and stock, shipped) + $200 (scope) + $20 (rings) = $578. As mentioned, you could spend $100 less or $200+ more, depending on scope choice. Note that with the alternate scope options, you give up some light gathering ability, and the adjustable objective. But the weight savings brings the total weight back to what an unscoped, wood-stocked Ruger 10/22 weighs.
As I finished writing this article, the rifle has already been to the range twice. And I have results to share, along with the next steps. But there will be no spoilers, you’ll have to check back for an update. And as always, any comments, feedback, or suggestions are welcome.