Tuesday, March 29, 2022

How to lighten your 10/22

 There are a thousand and one ways to build a 10/22 rifle, but if you are searching for a way to save some weight, read on....

We'll start this off with looking at the weight of a standard 10/22 with a beech wood stock and 18.5" barrel, which is 5 lbs +/-, the 10/22 with a factory plastic stock is 4.4 lbs.

Let's take a look at the individual items: 

The heaviest item on the 10/22 rifle is the barrel.

The factory 18.5" tapered barrel with sights installed weighs in at 29 ounces.

One option is to cut the factory barrel down to 16" (might want to make it 16 1/4" just in case :) ). This will save you a couple of ounces.

Some have even put their factory barrels on a lathe and trimmed them down. I don't know what affect this might have on the accuracy or precision of the barrel.

Another option is aluminum or carbon fiber barrels. These barrels feature a steel liner wrapped in aluminum or carbon fiber, often with a tensioning system to keep heat warp to a minimum, but these don't always save weight.

The 16.5" Volquartsen Ultralite barrel weighs just 15 ounces, it has a tensioned carbon fiber outer sleeve.

Dlask Arms also makes a 16.5" carbon fiber bull barrel, their barrel weighs in at 29.6 ounces, which is heavier than the stock tapered barrel.

Summit Precision also makes a carbon fiber barrel, there barrel tips the scales at 23.2 ounces

The next heaviest item on a 10/22 is the stock.

The factory beech wood stock weighs in at 28.9 ounces, while the factory plastic ones weigh just 21.4 ounces. We will use this as a baseline since most 10/22 owners start with a factory rifle.

First I checked the weight of the most popular 10/22 stocks:

Magpul X-22: 39.2 ounces

Hogue overmolded: 35 ounces

Stocky Stinger Thumbhole: 32 ounces

Pro Mag Arch Angel: 37.6 ounces

You can see that none of these options save weight, they all add weight.

What about the aluminum chassis? When looking at the weight you need to keep in mind that you need to add the buffer tube, butt stock and grip to the weights.

In order to keep things in perspective I weighed these three components (all A2 mil-spec components) and they weigh a combined 16 ounces +/-  

Crazy Ivan has two new lightweight options, the standard Comp Chassis weighs 8.92 ounces, the Comp Lite is just 8.4 ounces

PMACA Chassis is listed as 14.2 ounces

The Kidd Tactical Chassis is close at 14.4 ounces

The Enoch Odin Chassis System is a bit lighter at 12 ounces

So if we take the lightest chassis (Crazy Ivan Comp Lite) at 8.4 ounces, add in the buffer tube, butt stock and grip we come up with 24.4 ounces, which is 3 ounces heavier than the factory plastic stock.

We could swap out the buffer tube and butt stock for a one piece "minimalist" style stock like this one from Battlearms Development

With its 7.56 ounce weight his would bring the weight of the Crazy Ivan Comp Lite down to 15.56 ounces, only 5.84 ounces lighter than the factory plastic stock. 

The next heaviest item on the 10/22 is the receiver. The factory receivers are made from cast aluminum and weigh just 7.9 ounces. I doubted that there was any alternatives that would be lighter so I checked and here is what I found:

Tactical Innovations Elite 22 receiver weighs 8.3 ounces, but comes with the scope rail, so it is probably close to the same weight as a factory unit with the scope rail attached.

The Volquartzen Superlite receiver is a bit lighter at 6 ounces, but costs $348 

The next possible place to save weight would be the trigger housing. The factory trigger housings are currently made of plastic and weigh in at 1.7 ounces stripped. The factory aluminum ones weigh 3.5 ounces stripped.

I purchased a couple of these Pike Arms aluminum trigger housings and they weighed slightly more than the factory aluminum ones, probably due to their two piece design

I don't think there is any way to save weight by using anything other than the factory plastic trigger assembly.

The next heaviest item is the bolt.....but this may not be an area in which you could save any weight. The 10/22 uses a blow back operation and requires the bolt to be a minimum weight to operate properly....

Volquartsen offers a competition bolt, which features a titanium firing pin and an integral charging handle, both of which might save some weight, but weight savings is not listed as a benefit on their website, nor is the actual weight of this bolt

So here is the break down on a couple of possible lightweight builds:

1. Lightweight Aftermarket Components:

  • Crazy Ivan Comp Lite Chassis: $169, 8.4 ounces
  • Volquartsen Superlite Receiver: $348, 6 ounces
  • Volquartsen Ultralite Barrel: $340, 15 ounces
  • Battle Arms Stock Assembly: $199.95, 7.56 ounces
  • A-2 style plastic grip: $2, 1.6 ounces
  • Ruger BX Trigger assembly: $89.98, 4.8 ounces
  • Factory Ruger bolt assembly (includes charging handle): $59.99, 7.1 ounces
Total Cost: $1,208.94 (this doesn't include small items like the bolt stop, trigger pins and barrel v-block & screws)

Total Weight: 3.18 lbs. This is 1.82 pounds less than the factory wood stocked 10/22 and would cost you $920 more than a factory rifle (an increase of more than 332%) that comes out to $505 per ounce saved.

2. The Volquartsen Ultrallite with the Mod Shot stock, Volquartsen will sell this to you as a complete gun. The weight is just 3lbs 13oz, but the price starts at $1811.

3. Factory Ruger 10/22 Carbine with plastic stock Model # 1151:

Total Cost: $279.00

Total Weight: 4.4 lbs

4. Option 4 will use a combination of factory and aftermarket parts along with some home-done trigger/action work.

We will use a factory plastic stock, aftermarket aluminum receiver, a factory 18.5" barrel cut down to 16".

Our goal will be a 4lbs gun with a budget $250 or less.

Stay tuned.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Firearm Factory of the Month: Kingston Armory

It's March, time for the Ruger 10/22 posts, this month's Firearm Factory is Kingston Armory, a company that made a 10/22 based M1 Garand "tribute" rifle.

Kingston Armory was a short lived company that made a .22 caliber tribute to the M1 and M1A rifles.

The story starts with a man named Mike Kera. Kera had an idea to create a tribute to the M1 Garand rifle that was chambered in .22 Long Rifle. The rifle would have the look, feel and heft of the original.
On February 19th, 2010 he registered the name "Kingston Armory" with the State of New York.

In 2013 Kera petitioned the village of Liberty, NY to set up shop and produce the rifles.
On March 28th, 2013 a meeting was held by the planning board and after some discussion the approval was unanimous. 

The location, on North Main Street, was once an A&P Store (if you don't know what A&P is, look it up on wikipedia).
The building had a cement basement which would be perfect for an indoor test-fire range.

Kera's choice of the name for the company follows along with other companies co-opting names in an attempt to cash in on the recognition of former government armories, see my write up on that practice here

There were two government armories named "Kingston Armory", one in Kingston, PA and one in Kingston, New York, the latter being a little over an hours drive from the village of Liberty. Both are now used for civic events.

Rather than try to recreate the gas operated, rotating bolt of the original M1, Kera opted to use the proven design of the Ruger 10/22 Carbine.
Interesting how the story comes full circle here, the Ruger 10/22 was inspired by the Ruger 44 Carbine, which in turn inspired by the M1 Carbine which is a copy and little brother of the M1 rifle.....

Any how Kera copied the 10/22 action, choosing to make his own receivers from cast 4140 steel. They are identical to the Ruger versions, except of course they weigh more than double the factory units. These receivers weight 17.2 ounces, while the factory aluminum ones weigh around 7.9 ounces. 

 Here is a prototype that used a Ruger receiver (the serial number gave it away), they simply milled the Ruger roll marks down and applied thier own.

The barrels were probably farmed out, they were made custom to fit both the 10/22 receiver and the M1 stock and hardware, they measured 24" and had the same profile as the original M1, minus the bayonet lug.

The grooves provide clearance for the V-block/barrel retaining screws

The bolts were also non-Ruger. I am not sure if Kingston made these in house or purchased them from JWH Custom, they look like JWH units anyway.

The trigger assemblies were purchased from JARD

They had custom copies of the Ruger BX1 magazine body made, with an extra deep bottom plate. This is so they could attach a metal cover to make the rifle appear just like the M1. I would assume the internals were Ruger parts.

The M1A copies had a metal box attached to the bottom of the 10 round rotary mag that matched the look of the original M1A mag.

I have read that the American Walnut stocks were made by Boyd's stocks, but I don't have any information to back that up.

Being that the 10/22 is blow back operated it would have no need for a gas piston and gas tube, for the sake of looks, Kingston created these pieces to fit around the barrel and into the stock

Some pictures of the completed rifles

At the 2015 SHOT Show Kingston displayed their prototypes to attendees.

After some time advertising and taking orders they finally began shipping the guns in mid-2016. 
The exact production numbers are not known, but the six bare receivers I purchased were had serial numbers starting in the 700's.

I don't know the whole story of why the company failed. It could be production costs, could be the high price they retailed for or it could be the quality control issues which seemed to plague too many of the rifles.
I found many complaints in online forums, the alleged issues included:

  • Bolts that were "out of spec"
  • Ejectors on the JARD triggers not hitting the cases
  • Barrel holes misaligned
  • The JARD trigger assemblies not holding the magazine correctly.

While I cannot speak to any of these issues, most of the problems were fixed by replacing the questionable parts with factory Ruger units. In addition most attest that the guns were very precise when they did function.

By the end of Summer 2017 the fix was in, the company would not survive. On October 20, 2017 an auction was held to sell off the assets and remaining inventory of parts. Many of which are still available at the time of this writing.

What Remains

Besides the remaining parts which are still in abundance at this time, the old A&P building (and the newer metal building in front of it) still exists. They can be found at 308 North Main Street Liberty, NY


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