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Image by Keith Misner

the hunter's lane:
build a custom hunting rifle
[ruger 10/22 .22lr] 


About The Ruger 10/22 .22LR Rifle:

Built in American factories by American workers, the Ruger 10/22 has long been America's favorite rimfire rifle, with millions sold over a span of more than half a century. When it comes to choosing your next .22 rifle, why settle for "off-the-shelf" when you can affordably build your very own custom rifle? If you are a beginner and new to building your own firearm, the Ruger 10/22 .22LR rifle is the perfect place to start.

Ruger’s 10/22 semi-automatic .22 rifle is one of the easiest firearms to modify or build from scratch at home.  It has a relatively simple design, and parts are easy to swap out for upgrades to build your own Ruger 10/22 Rifle. If this is your first time attempting to build a firearm, the best way to get started is to begin with an already assembled factory firearm. Set the weapon on a flat surface with lots of space, preferably its own table.


To protect your table from damage, lay down a towel or butcher paper before placing the weapon down.  Remove all parts one-by-one, and lay them down carefully in order, placing small screws in a bowl for safe keeping.  If there are any parts that you are keeping from the factory firearm, give them a good polish with the gun oil for easier assembly.


Field & Stream Shows Us How To Build A 10/22 rifle:

This quick video shows each step of the building process in just over 2 minutes. Below, you'll find a list of needed components and steps for building your own custom 10/22 rifle.











Installing Components:

As previously stated, depending on the exact model you purchase, there will be about 14 to 16 different parts that you can customize.  Below, we will touch on the most common parts to swap and where you can find them.



A barrel is perhaps the most important upgrade you can make to your rifle.  Depending on what barrel you choose, it has the potential to significantly increase the feel of your shot.  When looking for a barrel, it is important to choose based on what you plan to use your rifle for most.

A shorter, sportier barrel, like the Tactical Solutions 10/22 SB-X Barrel, is perfect for use as a squirrel rifle.

If you are looking to build your rifle more for long-range work, then a .920” profile barrel, like the Tactical Solutions 10/22 Takedown Bull Barrel, would be a better fit.



Upgrading the trigger on your 10/22 rifle is an easy way to improve accuracy.  A trigger is a difficult part to purchase online, as the feel of a trigger is hard to choose without pulling it a few times.

To find the right trigger for you, go to the store in person to try out a few.  If you are not able to get to a store, give the Ruger 10/22 BX Trigger a try.  This trigger requires about half the force needed than the factory trigger.  It also minimizes over travel and has a positive reset. The trigger is a self-contained module, making it easy to install.



None of the upgrades you add to your weapon will matter if they are mounted on an inadequate stock.

One of the main things to consider when choosing a stock is to avoid a metal stock, like ridged aluminum.

Metal stocks don’t have the ability to dampen vibrations at all, and will therefore throw off all other parts of your weapon.

An adjustable stock, like the ATI Ruger 10/22 Strike Force Stock, is adjustable 6 ways for compact handling and storage, and is made of temperature glass-reinforced polymer to dampen vibration and hold up to a lifetime of use.



Upgrading your bolts gives your rifle smoother, more reliable cycling.  You can use the same bolt provided with your weapon and still give it an upgraded feel.  Use some gun oil on the bolt and run it in and out of the receiver a few times. Doing this will allow you to feel any places of resistance.

Polishing these areas will provide the user with a faster, slicker action.  If you are looking for a new bolt altogether, finding one with a heavier spring is a good idea if you plan to frequently fire high-velocity ammo.



The receiver is the core of the firearm and holds all other components of the rifle together.  A receiver is the only part of the firearm that you can’t order online because it is the part that contains the serial number and is legally considered the firearm, even without any other parts attached.

Ruger does not sell receivers without the purchase of a factory weapon, but the receiver that comes with the factory rifle works well.  It can be oiled well before parts are attached so that assembly is easier and the rifle works more efficiently. You can purchase a stripped receiver that is not from Ruger, however you will have to go to a federally licensed dealer with paperwork and all related fees as you would for a fully assembled firearm.



A scope is the last main part of your rifle that you can customize.

Prices for scopes range greatly, but a scope is not the place where you want to save money.

A great scope, like the Leupold VX-R Riflescope, has nice, high-quality glass and lots of control.

Choose a scope that works best for what you plan to use your rifle for the most.



There are many more customizable and upgradable components to the Ruger 10/22 .22 rifle than discussed in this article.  As previously stated, we touched on the major components that would be the best place for a beginner to start with. While assembling your own rifle takes skill and patience, it is a skill worth developing.

Learning to build your own Ruger 10/22 rifle also gives you a much deeper understanding of your weapon which will build appreciation and trust between you and your weapon. Over time, you can modify and upgrade your rifle into a unique firearm that is completely tailored to your preferences.

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