As part of our first Project 10/22, I had installed an AccuLite barrel from WhistlePig GunBarrel Co. The goal was to reduce weight while improving accuracy. And at about 16 ounces, the AccuLite barrel does both. The barrel I chose normally sells for $176, but I got it in a bundle with a Hogue stock, making it an excellent bargain. Some of this info was covered in a previous article, I just wanted to dedicate a whole article to the barrel itself. **Note that WhistlePig is now known as Acculite22.com.**
Like so many other companies, WhistlePig started out as something of a hobby. The Townsend Ground Squirrel, AKA “WhistlePig”, digs burrows that are a danger to cattle and horses. In between machining parts for clients, a 10/22 barrel was designed to help a local rancher. The goal was simply a lighter, consistently accurate barrel for eliminating this pest. As the designs were improved and word got around, demand increased. So they went from a local cottage industry to the creation of The WhistlePig GunBarrel Company.
Although I mentioned the specs in a previous article, here they are again. WhistlePig’s product code for this barrel is 16TNF-BM. With a little work, it’s easy to decipher the details from that code. It’s a LR (long rifle) NF (no flutes) TH (threaded muzzle-end w/protective cap) solid anodized BM (black matte finish) .920 barrel. That’s a 6061 aluminum sleeve over a 4140 steel barrel liner. The liner is .050 thick, button rifled, 6 groove, 1:16 twist with a Bentz chamber. AccuLite barrels weigh approximately 1 ounce per inch, which would put it at about 16.5 ounces. Since a factory barrel weighs 28.7 ounces, you’re cutting 12.2 ounces off a typical rifle.
As you can see from the photo, the finish and machine work is excellent. I love the nearly seamless muzzle cap. Most companies go with a knurled protector, which is fine. But the finish on the barrel allows enough grip that this cap stays in place, and is easy enough to remove without tools. No one will mistake this for a stock rifle, yet it’s much more stealthy than a bright barrel in a laminated stock.
WhistlePig ships the barrel with a strip of emery cloth. Per the instructions, the barrel should fit snug, without being forced in. If it’s too tight, sand a bit around the shank, then test fit. This is where patience is key. My receiver had a buildup of paint in the receiver. Before I could start, I had remove that with my Dremel. After cleaning it up, the barrel fit with two passes of the emery cloth. I wiped it clean, put a little oil on it, and made sure the extractor notch was in the correct location. When tightening the barrel v-block, it’s best to do a little at a time for each bolt. Once it’s good and snug, with the barrel fully seated, I back off a few turns. Final tightening is done with a torque wrench set to 10 inch/lbs.
Results during the initial break-in were better than expected. Not so much the group sizes, but the fact that this barrel, with its Bentz chamber, ate every brand I tried. And some of my best results were with Federal bulk ammo. You can read about that here. Of course, an indoor, 25-yard range isn’t going to give you a true picture of accuracy. For that, I needed to wait for a warm day where I could shoot outdoors to at least 50 yards. While waiting for that day, I tried to get at least 500 rounds through the barrel.
When we finally had a small window of decent weather, I got to shoot outdoors. With limited time, I didn’t bring a lot of different ammo. Average group size over ten five-shot groups was 0.52″, so it’s pretty close to 1 MOA. Given some warmer weather, more time, and maybe a bit more ammo variety, I’m sure we could improve on that. But these groups were good enough with the Federal ammo I had on hand. This isn’t a precision rifle, it’s a lightweight “friendly competition rifle”, so 1 MOA at 50 yards is sufficient.
If you’ve never replaced a 10/22 barrel, you’d be surprised at how easy it is. And the results are absolutely worth the money and effort. Lighter weight and better accuracy, at a reasonable price. That’s hard to beat. If flat black is your thing, they’ve got that, along with silver and olive drab in matte, semi-gloss, and glossy. Plus some other cool color options, and the octagonal barrels as well. All with performance to back up the looks.
I totally forgot that I had prepared a separate article covering just this barrel. But recalling the accuracy of this very good-looking barrel, I ordered a second one, this time the 20 inch version. Same finish, as it looks great with the Hogue OverMold stock. Even though I know some companies will send me a barrel to review, or offer a discount, I’ve paid full price for two from WhistlePig GunBarrel Company. Part of that is because Louis answered my emails in a very timely manner. And I used my personal email, so he didn’t know it would be mentioned in my review. That should say something about how the business is run. Great products, great prices, great service. wpgbc.com