10/22 Factory Stock Project Part One: The Plan
I don’t currently have any rifles in a 10/22 factory stock. This is partly due to the fact that I don’t have any barrels with the factory taper. Mostly it’s because the 10/22 factory stock is pretty ordinary. Since I’m in the middle of what feels like a never-ending winter, I’ve decided to take on one more project. And that project involves opening up the barrel channel on a factory stock, along with some other modifications. I’ll take that stock from ordinary to slightly less ordinary. A little cutting, a little reshaping, and a lot of sanding. Hopefully, I can top it off with some laser engraving as well.
As mentioned, the 10/22 factory stock is really the focus of this project. That barreled action shoots well no matter what it’s in. Although to fit it in the stock, the barrel channel has to be opened up a substantial amount. This is done with some high-grit sandpaper wrapped around a socket, dowel, or piece of pipe – pretty much anything that’s close to the appropriate diameter. In this case, the barrel is .870″ in diameter, rather than the more typical .920″ bull barrel. So I will sand until it not only fits, but fully free-floats in the stock. And where I wouldn’t typically bother bedding the action, I might, after some accuracy testing.
Starting out with a 10/22 factory stock should be a pretty obvious move. Since I had a few of them, I chose one with decent grain, and not too many battle scars. It’s missing the barrel band, which is fine. That’s pretty much where the end of the stock is going to get cut off anyway. And then I will spend about an hour carefully sanding the barrel channel to accommodate a larger diameter barrel. From there, I will round some of the hard edges as I did on my Blunderbuss project, as I like the way that looks. Once all the shaping is done, I’ll sand off the factory finish on the entire stock. Before it gets a fresh clear coat, I’ll see if I can come up with a fitting design for some laser engraving.
The barreled action
As rifles get upgraded, and parts get swapped around, I end up with a very attractive spares pile. In this case, it starts with a Tactical Innovations Elite22 receiver. The charging handle and magazine release are from Tactical Innovations as well. Inside is a JWH Custom bolt riding on top of an OEM trigger housing with a TandemKross Ultimate Trigger Kit installed. For a great balance between weight and accuracy, I’m using a KIDD ULW barrel. These are all great products that have worked well together in other rifles. They’re just getting dropped into the factory stock for a somewhat stealthy build. At least compared to the rest of my chassis and polymer stock rifles, which look anything but stock.
The one thing I haven’t decided on yet is the optic. It’s definitely getting a scope, I’m just not sure which one. A 2-7x seems a bit underpowered for the accuracy potential here. But I also don’t necessarily want the weight of a 6-24x either. This leaves me considering something around the 4-16x range. That’s enough magnification for getting small groups at 50 yards, but still light enough to be handheld easily, if necessary. Since I have a few other project rifles in the works right now, I’ll worry about that once this one is finished.
The process, and next update
Sanding can be messy work. Definitely not something that I want to do in my home office where most of my other projects are done. But when it’s less than 40 degrees out, my garage isn’t exactly warm. So I’ll do the sanding in short stretches, depending on the weather and my tolerance for the cold. Which is a nice way of stating that the next update could be a in week, or a month. Either way, I hope to have a freshly sanded and mildly reshaped 10/22 factory stock to share soon.
While I look at a stripped stock as a blank canvas, it’s not really that simple. I usually have all sorts of ideas for engraving, and they get shot down as the artwork in my head doesn’t always translate well to the medium. They need to be black and white line drawings, with no greyscale. As the stock gets reshaped, I’ll consider whether to go with something serious, or more whimsical. Although a classic checkering pattern is possible, that does seem like the most boring option. And definitely no logos, as there’s going to be very little “Ruger” left in this rifle.
In a rare move for me, I’m going to open up this conversation to suggestions from readers, as well as on some of the enthusiast sites I frequent. If someone offers up an idea that is both applicable and achievable, I’ll run it past the engraver, and see what he thinks. Yeah, it’s not quite like crowd-funding, or crowd-design, but it could still be fun to see what suggestions relative strangers might have. So leave a comment below if you have a suggestion, and check back soon for updates.