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Dropping a Ruger American Rimfire into the Pro Varmint Stock from Boyds Gunstocks was an easy decision for me. I’ve been using Boyds stocks for more than ten years now, as they are a great upgrade. Especially considering the somewhat generic polymer stocks that most of the Ruger American Rimfire rifles ship with. If ergonomics, aesthetics, and performance matter (of course they do!), this is the solution. And though I may have a reputation for being the “10/22 guy”, my collection includes a fair amount of bolt actions. Despite fewer aftermarket choices, out-of-the-box accuracy is usually good to great, and they suppress well too. So when yet another .22 LR American Rimfire followed me home, I ordered another Boyds for it.
Of course, things didn’t go quite as planned. Really, they never do. My last American Rimfire project rifle was for my son. After a little discussion, he got the new rifle, and I got the one with the cut-down and threaded barrel I had used for his rifle. We’d been using that rifle to see how much accuracy could be squeezed out of the American Rimfire. The new Boyds Pro Varmint stock seemed like a better home for it, as we continue our testing.
Construction of the Boyds Pro Varmint for the Ruger American Rimfire
Manufactured from 37 layers of laminated wood, Boyds stocks are exceptionally rigid and stable. Think about that for a moment. Thirty-seven individual, thin layers, pressed together under so much pressure, the adhesive is infused into every cell of the wood. From there, each blank is carefully machined for your specific action. And yes, I said “your”, because most Boyds stocks are custom-made to order. They do offer some ready-to-go, but generally, the buyer gets to choose the exact options they want, and only then is the stock machined from a blank. That results in a stock that’s a perfect fit and virtually impervious to temperature and humidity fluctuations. Boyds does mention that some minor fitting may be required, and I have yet to have any issues that weren’t solved with a few passes of some medium grit sandpaper.
With about 17 finish options, including more than a dozen colors, Boyds really leans hard on the “custom” part of their stocks as well. To achieve the color brightness they’ve become known for, the dyes are also pushed deep into the fibers of the wood. That’s done before the laminating, resulting in solid and uniform color throughout the entire stock. And once the machining is complete, it gets a super-hard spray-on finish to seal the wood. All this results in a stock that maintains its color while being very well protected from moisture, which is the enemy of wood. So you get a stock with great color and excellent stability.
My selected options for the stock
When ordering a Boyds stock, there are several options, which include shape, color, finish, LOP, butt pad, and even laser engraving. Usually, I take most of the standard options, but I really like the laser engraving (which is an extra $$ option). The pictured stock is the Pro Varmint in nutmeg laminate. Finish, LOP, and recoil pad are all standard. You’ll notice that I opted for the checkering though. Despite being laser engraved rather than traditional cut checkering, it looks great and works equally well. Included in the price are two swivel studs on the forend, and one on the buttstock. Base price is $181 for this stock. Another $19.50 for the nutmeg laminate brought that to $200.50, then $64 on top of that for the checkering resulted in a total of $264.50 for the finished stock. Not bad for a custom stock.
In addition to the options listed above, Boyds also offers a $69.00 adjustable comb. Though I didn’t find it necessary for this rifle, it’s another level of customization on an already great stock. It raises and lowers easily using a single hex key, and offers a wide range of adjustment. This is a good choice if you are planning on using a scope with a large objective. And it’s not a bad idea if you like to tinker with different scopes, and need that extended range, as opposed to the fixed height.
As mentioned, most of the Ruger American Rimfire models are delivered with a polymer stock. These have a molded-in trigger guard. So Boyds includes a new trigger guard and the required extra screw, with their stock. That’s a nice touch, as my very first Boyds purchase over a decade ago required some extra bits to complete the swap. It goes without saying that before starting any work, always verify that the rifle is unloaded. I remove the bolt as well, which makes things a bit easier. Swapping stocks is as simple as removing the two action screws and taking the barreled action out of the stock.
After placing it in the new stock, check the fit. The barrel should be centered in the stock, and magazines should load easily and drop free. I like that my barrel free-floats in this stock as well. After verifying the basic fit, I snugged down the action screws and new one behind the trigger, then checked to make sure the magazines still pop in and drop out, and that the trigger and safety function correctly as well. For me, the final step was to add a bipod, and then it was ready for the range.
Whether from a bench or prone, the Boyds Pro Varmint Stock for the Ruger American Rimfire offers good comfort and ergonomics. The cheek rest is high enough for a scope, rather than irons, but doesn’t play well with really big optics. A Vortex Venom 5-25×56 requires some taller rings, which isn’t ideal. Switching to a smaller 6-24×50 scope with lower rings brought things back in line for me. The grip area is closer to vertical than the OEM stock, which I really like. My right thumb rides on the same side as my trigger finger, right next to the safety. And my support hand naturally found its place in the cut under the stock.
I should mention that despite going through a variety of CCI, Aguila and Eley ammo, I haven’t been able to get my groups down to 1/2″ at 50 yards. It’s close, but not quite there. Either way, this is still more than accurate enough for most of the shooting we do, with the smallest steel target being an inch at 50 yards. That ring is satisfying enough. As much as I hate to admit it, sheer will isn’t going to improve this rifle’s accuracy. Which is another reason I swapped the Venom for a less expensive scope.
One MOA or not, I really like these Ruger American Rimfire rifles. They aren’t too expensive, and they use the same magazines as my 10/22, which means I can shoot a few hundred rounds in one outing without having to reload a magazine at the range. Threading a suppressor onto one makes for a very quiet and enjoyable range day. Adding a Boyds Pro Varmint Stock improves the looks and ergonomics far beyond what is offered by the factory.
Yes, Ruger does offer a laminated stock version. It’s only available in one color though. When factoring in the price difference, upgrading the Standard or Compact rifle with a Boyds stock makes good sense. You get plenty of color choices, along with LOP and laser engraving options for a small premium over the factory laminated stock rifle. I’ll take more options any day if it means a better-looking, better-performing rifle. Your mileage may vary.
As always, I’d like to thank Boyds for providing their stock for my testing and evaluation. If you’d like to order your own, or just play with their configurator to see what options are available, head over to the Boyds Gunstock Configurator.