Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Ruger Project
Guest Blogger:
The Hobo Brasser

I recently acquired a Ruger 10/22. To it I added an old Tasco Propoint PDP2. The gun came with a rail. Of course, the first thing I did then was scoot to the range which is five minutes from my house by car. Sighting in the gun was done with Remington Gold .22LR ammo. This stuff is not the best, but it is cheap and makes good plinking ammo. After it was sufficiently sighted in I dropped 5 rounds of CCI Mini Mags into it and got a decent, but not great group at 50 yards.

Being a tinkerer and somewhat OC (obsessive-compulsive), I decided I could make it better. Something I have done with nearly every rifle I have owned. The first step was to read some of the forums which are about 10/22's. Several of them said not to rush out and buy a new barrel until you give your factory barrel a fair chance to perform at its best. The number one improvement recommended is a trigger replacement. The factory trigger is about 8-9 lbs. The Volquartsen kit I dropped in measures about 2-3 lbs. Believe me it is a vast improvement. The other thing I did was to replace the stock bolt handle with a Power Custom extended titanium one. I was after the extended handle because the PDP made accessing the factory handle awkward. I ordered the kits from Midway USA.

All this took about an hour, the kits came with complete directions and the only tricky part was holding the trigger return plunger and spring in place while I reinstalled the trigger. I used a piece of tape to hold the trigger against the plunger while I installed the trigger pin. Whenever I work on a gun, it would not be a complete day without a spring flying across the room. This was no exception. The new bolt return spring launched itself when I was careless. Fortunately, I found it behind one of the piles of junk on my desk after only a couple of minutes.

With the installation finished the stock work was next. I wasn't sure whether to cut down the stock and free float the barrel or buy a new stock. The forums supplied the answer. Several people had cut down their stocks and were happy. So using a moto tool and a course sanding drum I opened up the barrel channel. If you do this keep trying the barrel every few minutes and stop when the channel is the width of a postit [ED: Post-it Note?] wider than the barrel. Just wrap the postit around the barrel while it is in the stock then run the postit up to the receiver, if it doesn't bind anywhere you are done.

My preferences run to simple, clean, purely functional lines on guns, so cutting down the stock didn't require much thought. Since the barrel band would be of no further use, I just cut off the nose-end right behind where the barrel band mounts.

Next came sanding down the whole stock and finally giving it a coat of Testor's Black Pearlescent paint. A word here: this stuff is pretty thin and it ran on me. I had to let it dry overnight and then sand it down. Then I was cautious with the paint, very light coats from about 18 inches away. The top of my bench vise is now Black Pearlescent, but then it was red and silver before. I drilled a shallow hole in the butt end of the stock and put a bolt in the hole so I could hold the stock in the vise. Finally I put a coat of Pledge over the dried paint to smooth out and protect it. I may add skateboard tape later for gripping.

[ED: I remember watching my father spent hours refinishing stocks. He used wet-and-dry very fine grain sandpaper to smooth each of the many, many coats of finish. The final coat was finished with buffing compound. This is perhaps beyond the standards most of us would apply to a stock finish. It does provide a guide for our own efforts, and it appears that The Hobo Brasser understands the principles of stock finishing. My father used a carnuba furniture wax, but Pledge is certainly a step in the right direction.]

You can see the finished product in the pictures. The final shot group below is CCI Mini Mags at 50 yards. In that shot group, the two shots at 9 o'clock and the one at 5 o'clock were called, so you can see why I am pretty happy with the group. For reference the inner circle is 1-1/2 inches across. I have slightly less than $350 in the project. Now if I can just talk the tactical guys into letting me use this in the carbine portion of their monthly match.

[ED: All links and [bracketed text] are from the editor, and not part of the original submitted material.]

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