My 22 Charger blunderbuss project came about honestly enough. Anyone with more than a couple of 10/22 variants that they’ve customized will totally understand. A few spare parts get you thinking about the next build. In this case, it was actually a part that I didn’t have that started it all. While working with STS Firearms on my Dagger 9mm pistols, I noticed their Loudener. This cone-shaped muzzle device definitely lends a “Blunderbuss” look to certain firearms. With no shortage of Charger-length builds on hand already, the idea bounced around in my head for a bit (nothing to stop it), then I found a spare OEM wooden stock, and it all fell into place. The result is a fun build which is really easy to duplicate, and doesn’t have to be as over the top as this one.
Originally, I planned to use a Tactical Innovations Elite22 receiver with my cut and threaded .920″ steel KIDD barrel. But it was too heavy to shoot properly with one hand, and the proportions were off due to the length. Cutting down the barrel to save weight seemed like a losing proposition. So I grabbed my Fletcher Rifle Works 11/22 receiver instead. It already had a 6″ Volquartsen carbon fiber installed. Then I realized I would be into this build for about $1k with the optic, which goes against the whole point of a cheap, fun project.
In the end, I decided to use a Brownells receiver that I had gotten on sale. The bolt, charging handle, and trigger group all came out of my spare parts drawer. It does have a TandemKross extractor, some KrossPins, and their bolt release too. I’ll admit that my shorty Summit Precision carbon fiber barrel is still out of place, but I didn’t have a factory rifle barrel to cut down to size. The other modern concession is the SeeAll sight. I figured that since it doesn’t require batteries, it’s a reasonable compromise. This is all topped off with the STS Loudener. Really, it’s just another 22 Charger without that gracing the end of the barrel.
The pistol stock
This stock went through a few iterations as I cut it down and shaped it. And really, I’m glad I did. A straight cut, lopping off the front of the stock, looked terrible. Shortening it to get the right proportions was only the first step. From there, the way it tapers is what really gives it character. On the back end, getting the ergonomics right was a bit of a challenge too. I wanted to have a somewhat “correct” look, but also make it usable. So a lot of work went into what you see now.
If you’re making your own, I do suggest reducing the height by removing some material from the takedown screw to the muzzle. And also have it taper a bit, reducing the width at the front as well. That would give it a more “graceful” look, especially if you don’t want to spend the money on a big muzzle device.
Although I couldn’t get the exact images I wanted, due to the limits of laser engraving, I’m happy with how this turned out. On the right side is a generic “pirate” image. On the left is a movie quote that I find amusing. Some pirate movie, I don’t recall the name, or who was in it. Anyway, that dresses it up a little bit. I would have liked to add some brass embellishments, but that may have to wait until the next iteration of this. It was already too long in the making.
This is the one piece that really makes this a 22 Charger blunderbuss. Without it, as mentioned, it would just be a stubby wooden Charger. Don’t get me wrong, it would be a stupid expensive stubby wooden Charger. But that’s it. The Loudener matches the barrel profile pretty well, and really sets the project apart from any that I have done before. If I go to the range every day for a year, I know that I will not see the same gun a few lanes over. Maybe never.
So how does it shoot?
It’s a blast. There is something oddly satisfying about shooting it held in an outstretched hand. Most custom 22 Chargers are probably not shot offhand, and have braces instead. When I took it out the first time, we had the dueling tree setup. Knocked all the plates to one side with ease. Then proceeded to blast away at empty shotgun hulls. While standing in a dramatic pirate pose, non-shooting hand holding my invisible cutlass. Serious accuracy in a pistol which begs you not to take it or yourself too seriously.
The SeeAll sight does take a bit of getting used to, which also makes it a good fit. There is a bit of a learning curve to the SeeAll, much like I’m sure there was with old non-cartridge firing handguns. Which just adds to the overall experience. Modern firearms are quite easy to shoot, with fiber optic sights, or electronic reflex sights. Can’t have any of that here.
This was a fun project. While it might be easy to dismiss it as merely dropping a 22 Charger into a cut up stock, it’s not so simple. It was a great design exercise. Doing it forced to me to think about weight balance as well as aesthetics. I cannot stress enough how removing a little wood from the forend changed the overall look. And every enthusiast I have shown it to has wanted to shoot it. Even people who aren’t shooters appreciate the concept. And not a single person who has seen it has failed to crack a smile. It might become part of the collection I bring to the range for new shooters, as it’s a great ice-breaker. Feel free to use the comments section below if you have any questions or feedback.