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Monday, January 21, 2013

Ruger 10/22 - The Anything Rifle

The Ruger 10/22 is a rifle that millions of American's have chosen for a wide variety of applications since its introduction in 1964. From target plinking and competition shooting to small game hunting, varmint removal, and even up to hunting larger game such as deer in the right conditions, these affordable rifles should be an asset in everyone's inventory. Shooting the .22lr cartridge makes it very easy to have plenty of ammunition on hand and not have to take out a second mortgage to do so. Over five million rifles have been sold over the course of production, and there are numerous other reviews online that attest to their reliability, this one being no exception.

I have ran several brands of ammunition through this rifle, and it has fired them all with a great track record. So far I have tested Federal Champion, CCI Minimag, Eley Sport, and Winchester white box. I have experienced the most failure to extracts with the Winchester, even though the number is only about four out of three hundred.

This particular model is the 10/22-RPF Carbine, with black synthetic stock and blued alloy steel barrel. I managed to find this one new at a local retailer for the amazing price of $218. It came with a chamber flag, action padlock, and one ten round rotary magazine. Luckily I picked up the two BX25 magazines at the same time, what with them being impossible to find at the moment for a fair price. All of the magazines have proven to load and feed very reliably, and I plan to stick with Ruger factory mags if possible.

Ruger BX-25 magazines with custom made windows. The constant pressure spring is located on the right side of the follower, making the left side a better choice for the modification.
As a quick google search will verify, there is a vast majority of options and upgrades that can be added to a 10/22 rifle. You can even order a custom receiver and build a complete gun from the ground up part by part. So far I've tweaked this rifle with practicality in mind, and have made a few modifications and additions to make it a flexible and valuable part of my survival gear.

By drilling through the bottom of the front end of the stock I was able to affix a section of rail and attach a Magpul AFG (Angled Fore-Grip). It fits very well onto the shape of the Ruger body, and gives a very positive grasp onto the front of the rifle with the supporting hand. The use of a fore-grip or hand stop ensures that the grip and stance when firing has more consistency, enabling greater speed and accuracy when shooting. The argument can be made that a consistent grip can be just as important as the zero on a scope or red dot sight, hoping to achieve the same platform for shooting each time.

I found the factory provided gold bead front sight post to be hard to pick up with my eye, and began to search for something better for me. I decided to go with these Williams Fire Sights fiber optic red/green three-dot sights. They are very easy to pick up in daytime and even low light, and are quick to acquire the sight picture. The rear aperture is fully adjustable for windage and elevation with a small flathead screw. They do sit high enough that if the scope rail is attached to the receiver a see-through mount can be used to utilize the iron sights and a scope at the same time. Unless you have an adequate heavy-duty bench vice and appropriate punch and hammer, I would advise against replacing the 10/22 sights yourself, as the factory dovetail set can be very difficult to remove, and too much pounding in the wrong spot/way can damage the front sight mount.

I attached a Condor one-point sling onto the stock with a section of MOLLE strap that had a D-ring attached, which works well with the quick-detatch design of the sling. Many testify the importance of a sling on any rifle system, and I have found the one-point to be the best way to go about it as opposed to a two- or three-point sling. They are very easy to drop the weapon down and get it back up, and there is a lesser chance of getting something tangled up in the firearm's operating mechanisms.

Despite the fact that Ruger now includes an extended magazine release sold with the rifle, I wanted to find an option that worked better for me and my hands. The design that comes from the factory is similar to that of an AK or H&K style, where the release is pressed with the off-hand's thumb and the magazine is then removed. Other options include those in which the release follows the trigger guard back, allowing the user to engage the lever with the firing hand without the need to move it from fire control. This gives you the ability to depress the magazine release with either hand. An example of one of these designs is the product offering by Primary Weapon Systems, and is a great part to pick up for the 10/22. By pressing the lever with your trigger finger, the Ruger ten round magazines drop free, allowing you to already have grabbed another ammo source ready to be inserted. The longer, curved mags do not drop completely free from a stationary platform, but with slight movement of the rifle they can be dropped in the same manner.

The cheek rest/pouch is offered by Fox Tactical, and is actually sold as a shotgun accessory which includes two velcro shotshell holders that attach to the right side and inside the pouch. I was able to repurpose the shell holders by applying adhesive velcro onto the receivers of two other shotguns. It attaches onto the stock via three straps on the underside with another elastic strap on the rear end to keep it from sliding forward. All of these straps are fully adjustable by velcro on the inside of the piece, allowing it to be used on a wide variety of stock sizes. The pouch is a good size, and currently is used to hold the ten round magazine, extra pair of ear plugs, and a pill bottle holding fifty loose rounds of ammunition with some room left over for small items.

With the stock pad removed, the stock's butt pad can be removed for storage which is used to hold a pocketknife, matches and strike pad, and a small first aid kit holding gauze pads, sterile gloves, bandaids, alcohol prep pads, and packets of anti-bacterial cream. A wide range of items can fit inside the stock, so why not utilize the space?

Even though it is entirely not necessary to replace the factory steel recoil buffer pin, I found the idea of a steel bolt hitting a steel pin in an aluminum frame to be not optimal. There are rare cases of the pin's holes in the receiver deviating into a more oval shape, and even more rare is the instance of the receiver itself cracking. Added to that there's the metallic clang sound upon every fired round. There are numerous options for replacements, and one of the best rated and reviewed are the Tuffer Buffers. I was able to find a package of three on an eBay store for $15 shipped, which is a great deal given that some stores sell them for $12 per each one. The urethane pin replaces the steel factory part, and provides several functions. It eliminates the metal-on-metal contact, reduces felt recoil, and makes the gun a little quieter while cycling.

Another part worth picking up is the Volquartsen Exact Edge Extractor. Totaling in at around $16 shipped from Brownell's, it's another example of a part that's so cheap it's hard to find a reason not to purchase. Made of A-2 tool steel and hardened to RC58-60, the sharp hook point provides a very precise grip on the case head and will last nearly forever. The extractor also includes a replacement spring for the assembly. Even though the factory extractor is made of steel, it is stamped steel and is not made of as hard a material as the aftermarket part, causing the hook point to wear down faster leading to more failure to extracts as time goes on.

The only other internal modification to the firearm is the auto bolt release modification. The standard operation of the bolt lock is to pull the bolt handle all the way to the rear, press up on the bolt lock lever, then release the bolt. At that point, the bolt is locked open. To close the bolt, pull the bolt to the rear again, and press forward on the bolt lock lever, allowing the bolt to slide home. You're right, that was complicated. By purchasing a new part, or modifying the existing bolt lock as I have with a dremel and file, the process can be greatly simplified for performance. The steps for locking the bolt open are the same, but after the mod the bolt is released by simply bringing the bold handle back to the rear and releasing it. The rifle was not designed to do this, and after modification it can release the open bolt by smacking the rifle hard on a surface, so be aware of this added level of safety awareness that needs to be tracked.


  1. I like your 10/22 setup. However, are you worried about the custom windows on your BX-25 mags allowing in dirt/water and other debris and reducing their reliability?

    Also, where did you get the MOLLE strap with the D-ring for the single point sling? Does the single point mount get in the way of the buttstock pouch?

    1. John, thank you for your questions! I have not noticed any failures caused by anything getting into the windows on the BX-25s. I'm sure if they were buried in sand it may cause some problems, however you could expect the same from some of the other open-windowed mag designs out there such as the 15-22 platform.

      For the molle strap I just used a spare strap from one of the molle packs I own, so it was literally just using what I had on hand, and it worked quite well. This did not interfere with the pouch at all either. Since I have moved over to the ATI folding stock kit, I now use that molle strap as a one-point mount for my Mossberg 500C 20 gauge with pistol grip.

      Let us know if you have any other questions!

  2. Thats awesome, I really like the afg on the front... How difficult would that be for a lay person to do correctly?

    1. To JiuJitsuCowboy1:

      It shouldn't be difficult at all, but it does require some attention to detail while doing so. You'll want to place the rail on the bottom centered, and mark the drill holes with a fine tip felt marker. While you do that though, you need to make sure that those drill holes are clear of any material on the inside of the body. Then once the holes are tapped, just attach it with screws and preferably a lock-washer and nut on the inside. Thanks for the question!