Soup It Up For Soldiers Step 5: Optics – Add The Right Riflescope

Soup it up for Soldiers Custom Ruger 10/22 Project Step 5 - Scope

After much crying, whining, gnashing of teeth, a few injuries, but no lost parts, we’ve reached the finish line with Step 5 of the Ruger 10/22 Soup it up for Soldiers Custom Ruger 10/22 build.

Ruger Custom 10/22 Project Step 5: Add A Sweet Riflescope

Nikon ProStaff Rimfire 4x32 scope on Ruger 10/22

The Nikon ProStaff Rimfire scope makes a perfect complement to the custom Ruger 1022

The generous folks at Brownells have donated a sweet optic for our project Ruger 10/22 – a Nikon ProStaff Rimfire 4×32 Riflescope. They also sent a set of Burris Signature ZEE rings so we could mount the Nikon on the rail included with the stock Ruger 10/22

The Nikon ProStaff is a 4x fixed power scope – perfect for plinking and small game hunting. It’s nitrogen filled so it won’t fog in humid or rainy conditions. We know this for a fact as the rifle was zeroed in South Cackalackee’s 90/90/90 weather conditions. To the uninitiated, that’s 90 degrees, 90 percent humidity, and 90 times as hot as should be legal.

We really like the windage and elevation adjustment design on this scope. Under the protective turret caps are hand operated knobs that provide 1/4” adjustment per click at 50 yards. Nice and simple and no tools are required to zero the scope. We zeroed the scope at 50 yards as this scope is designed to be parallax free at that distance.

At the range we found the scope to be bright and clear. The reticle is the Nikoplex Duplex design. This is a fancy description that means the crosshairs are fine in the center with heavy posts closer to the circumference. This design naturally directs your eye to the center of the scope.

The Burris Signature ZEE rings are medium height and matte black finished. These rings include self centering synthetic inserts. This accomplishes two things. First, as you mount and tighten the scope, the inserts automatically adjust to align the scope with the rings. The scope bases are concave on the interior which allows the inserts to move freely as the scope is placed in the rings. Second, the inserts help to protect the scope from dings and bending.

Let’s get started!

Nikon ProStaff Rimfire 4x32 and Burris Signature scope rings

The Nikon ProStaff Rimfire scope comes with elastic mounted lens covers, instruction book, and Torx wrench.

Mounting Burris Signature scope rings on the Ruger 10/22

Remove the top half of the rings completely using the included Torx wrench. The Burris Signature ZEE scope rings will slide over the end of the rail. Just remove the bolt and slide each bottom ring over the rail. Now re-insert the bolt so that it is set in one of the rail slots. Tighten it up.

Burris Signature ZEE scope rings insert

Drop half of one of the included synthetic inserts into the base of each ring. Note that the inserts are designed to fit together in a specific way. You’ll see a small cutout notch on one side of the insert. Line that up for top and bottom halves of the insert.

Mount the Nikon Prostaff scope and adjust eye relief

Rest the scope in place and install the top inserts, followed by the top half of the rings. Do not tighten anything at this point. Now pick up the (unloaded) rifle and mount it to your shoulder in a normal shooting position. Slide the scope back and forth until you have clear visibility through the scope with no shadowing around the edges. When it’s perfectly positioned, tighten the top halves of the rings. Not too much! Time saving tip: be sure that the crosshairs are perfectly aligned vertically before tightening.

Nikon ProStaff Rimfire scope turret dials

Now it’s off to the range to zero this bad boy. Using your preferred .22 ammo, set up on some sandbags and remove the windage and elevation adjustment covers. You can easily adjust both using the exposed knobs. We recommend setting the zero at a distance of 50 yards as that distance is parallax free with this particular scope. Once you’re happy with the zero, raise each knob vertically. This will disengage the cap from the adjustments so you can rotate the knob to read zero. Push the cap back down and you’re done. You’ll see a zero line for each adjustment just underneath the knob at the back.

The Custom Ruger 10/22 was tested with a variety of .22LR ammo - Winchester, CCI, Eley, Armscor, Remington

We tried a variety of .22 ammo in the rifle and had the best overall success with CCI Mini Mag. .22 ammo is notoriously finicky with semi-autos, so try a few types to see what your gun likes. We’ve not had good success with the Winchester white box bulk packs in a number of semi-auto rifles and pistols. The other brands we tried all worked completely reliably in this gun.

The Custom Ruger 10/22 shot excellent groups with Eley .22LR ammo

Being total idiots, we dashed off to the range to zero this scope without our sandbags. Using a shooting bag as an impromptu rest, we were still able to get some fantastic groups with this rifle. The photo here shows 4 shots in one large hole at 50 yards. The 5th was a result of a poor rest combined with aging eyes and a spastic trigger finger. This group was shot with Eley Practice ammo. The CCI Mini Mag load performed just as well. Measured center to center, the four shot group measured .443 inches. Nice!

Now that we’re finished, we’re packing up this rifle and sending it to Ruger to be photographed and placed for auction on Ruger’s GunBroker.com page. Of course, all original parts from the Ruger 10/22 Carbine will be included in the auction.

Remember, all proceeds from the auction go directly to Project Valour-IT of Soldiers Angels! So bid generously! We’ll post a notification and link to the auction as soon as it goes live.

You can review the complete Soup it up for Soldiers series with detailed commentary on each step here.

Soup It Up For Soldiers Step 2: Bull the Barrel

Soup-it-up-for-Soldiers_custom_ruger_10-22_Step-2

Last Week…

Last week in Step 1: Sportify the Stock, we replaced the standard stock on our Ruger 10/22 with a custom Revolution Extreme one, graciously donated by Brownells. This week, we’re going to replace the barrel with a sporty competition model from Tactical Solutions – also graciously donated by Brownells.

Remember, at the end of this series, we’re going to end up with one heck of a rifle. And we’re going to auction it on GunBroker.com so 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Project Valour-IT of Soldiers Angels.

Step 2 Objectives

  1. Take a perfectly good barrel off a perfectly good Ruger 10/22 carbine. Because we can.
  2. Do NOT butch up the receiver. “Butching up” is a techincal gunsmithing term that loosely translates to “gouging metal.”
  3. Do NOT butch up the shiny new Tactical Solutions barrel.
  4. Try to avoid the use of large sledgehammers and/or blowtorches. This might cause the Brownells GunTech Team to resign en-masse and we wouldn’t want that to happen. Who would we call for advice about Step 3?
  5. Make sure that the rifle still feeds and shoots. In a forward direction. Preferably .22LR ammunition.

The Custom Ruger 10/22 Project Parts

Tactical Solutions Silver X Ring Barrel fluted

Tactical Solutions Silver X Ring Barrel (fluted)

Tactical Solutions X-Ring Barrel

The Tactical Solutions X-Ring Barrel upgrade adds the “bull” part of this step

  • .920” diameter, 6061-T6 billet aluminum construction
  • Threaded end with included matching thread protector
  • Oversized shank (more about this below)
  • 1 in 16” twist 4140 button rifled steel liner with 11° target crown
  • This one is silver. And quite sporty looking.

Tactical Solutions Compensator

Given the massive power and recoil of the .22LR rifle, we opted to include a thread-attached Tactical Solutions Compensator. Ok, to come clean, we didn’t really add this to help reduce recoil, because it’s pretty much non-existent anyway. It just looks cool, OK? Isn’t that a good enough reason?

tactical_solutions_ruger_compensator

The Tactical Solutions Compensator – more genuine coolnesss

  • 360° gas ports allow for even distribution of gasses for optimum accuracy
  • Machined from solid billet of 6061-T6 aluminum
  • No indexing or gunsmithing required to fit on Tactical Solutions ½ x 28 TPI Threaded end barrels
  • 0.920” Outside diameter so it fits exactly flush with the X-Ring barrel

How To Install The Tactical Solutions Bull Barrel

Admittedly, we were more than a little nervous going into this step as our previous gunsmithing experience has been limited to advanced techniques like ordering extra magazines from Brownells.com and replacing the factory grips on a Beretta 92-FS with Hogue Rubber Grips . That one was kind of hairy – we had to remove at least 4 different screws. And put them back.

However, Larry Weeks from Brownells talked us off the ledge and convinced us we could do this without professional assistance. While psychiatric services might be required, there would be no need for professional gunsmithing.

The Tactical Solutions X-Ring Barrel includes a very easy-to-follow set of instructions. And, as it turns out, swapping a barrel on a Ruger 10/22 couldn’t be easier. Apparently this rifle was designed with interchangeability in mind. As for the compensator, we were able to do without detailed instructions – you just screw it on.

Here goes…

Installing a Tactical Solutions barrel on the Ruger 20/22

The Tactical Solutions X-Ring barrel comes with a great set of easy to follow instructions. Between this article and the included directions, you’ll be fine!

remove receiver and barrel from ruger 10/22

First, remove the stock by loosening the screw just in front of the magazine well. Lift the barrel from the front to remove the receiver assembly. Seems like deja-vu no?

Ruger barrel to receiver mount v block

Just under the barrel, you’ll see two allen screws holding a barrel retainer v-block. Now would be a great time to find an allen wrench that fits these.

ruger 10/22 magazine release

We found that the magazine release lever and it’s corresponding pin like to fall out fairly easily when not contained by the insides of the stock. No biggie, just be aware of this so you don’t lose the pieces. If your magazine is out during these steps, you might also want to keep an eye on the magazine latch plunger.

ruger 10/22 v block removal

Loosen the allen screws and remove them completely. The barrel retainer v-block will come right off.

ruger 10/22 barrel removal

The Ruger 10/22 barrel will pull right out with hand pressure. If you have an older rifle, or things are crudded up, be gentle – this is probably not a great place to use impact tools or recreational explosives.

tactical solutions fluted barrel threaded thread protector

Since the Tactical Solutions X-Ring barrel on this particular rifle is threaded, we went ahead and put the thread protector on so we wouldn’t butch up the threads during the next few steps.

tactical solutions barrel installation ruger 10/22

Using your hands only (no large metal hammers or other tools substituting as hammers! This includes screwdrivers, pliers, and heavy flashlights) insert the new barrel into the receiver.Oh, it probably won’t fit. That’s OK – it’s slightly oversized by design. Tactical Solutions makes the shank just a hair on the large side so you can custom fit this barrel to a variety of Ruger or aftermarket receivers and create a perfect fit for your particular gun.

tactical solutions barrel installation custom fit

Here’s a great time to be really, really patient. If you have to, pretend that you’re in an old 007 movie tinkering with an atomic bomb fuse – except that the clock is not ticking down while the co-star looks concerned. This is an easy step that will have major impact on the accuracy of the rifle. Using some emery cloth, gently sand down the barrel shank. Wipe off the crud, and try the fit. The barrel should eventually fit in the receiver very tightly, but with hand pressure only. Take your time and repeat the sanding, wiping, and test fitting as necessary. Remember, this part is made of aluminum, so it will sand down fairly easily.To the future buyer of this rifle: We were very patient with this step. The fit is rock solid.

tactical solutions custom barrel installed ruger 10/22

If you look closely at this photo, you’ll see that hand pressure has gotten the barrel to fit in the receiver except for the last 1/16th of an inch or so. Leave the hammers in the drawer!

install v block with new tactical solutions barrel ruger 10/22

Place the barrel retainer v-block back in position and tighten the allen screws alternately. This will snug the barrel right up to the receiver.

tactical solutions fluted barrel fit ruger 10/22

Look at that fit. Perfect!

tactical solutions compensator installation

This would be a swell time to screw on the new Tactical Solutions Compensator!

ruger 10/22 rail installation

Now it’s time to put the new barreled receiver back in the stock. See Step 1 if you need a refresher on that.This would be a great time to add the rail that Ruger includes with the 10/22. Simply remove the four screws in the top of the receiver, and fasten the rail using the included screws. Remember to use proper gunsmith screwdrivers here so these very visible screws stay nice and tidy. You can get a set at Brownells.

bushnell red dot ruger 10/22

Since Step 2 resulted in the loss of our factory iron sights (The Tactical Solutions X-Ring Barrel does not have them) we popped a nearby Red / Blue / Green Dot sight from BSA on the newly mounted rail just to test things out. During a future step, we’ll decide what optic should live on this rifle permanently. Let us know if you have ideas!

Voila!

Custom Ruger 10/22 Tactical Solutions Barrel and Compensator

The custom Ruger 10/22 is starting to look somewhat nifty

Purely as a quality control measure, we took the completed rifle with it’s shiny new barrel to the range to make sure it still worked. After all, one of our Step 2 objectives was to make sure that the rifle still was able to fire .22LR ammunition in a mostly forward direction. We tried a small variety of ammo types and experienced not a single problem with ejection or feeding. Considering we just put a whole new barrel on the Ruger 10/22, that was some very good news.

22LR_ammo_eley_remington_CCI_aguila

The custom Ruger 10/22 worked just fine with a variety of ammunition

Yes, this rifle is already more fun to shoot than should be legal. Golf balls will be at your mercy at most any reasonable distance.

Next Steps For The Custom Ruger 10/22 Project…

Join us next week when things get really hairy. Hairy and triggery. We’re taking apart the receiver to install a new trigger group. Be on the lookout for explosions originating from an undisclosed location somewhere in South Carolina.

Stay tuned!

On the Eighth Day of Christmas… Eight Guns for Plinking

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On the eighth day of Christmas, I hope my true love gives to me…
Eight guns for plinking…

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CX4-Storm-Rig

Beretta CX4 Storm Carbine
Always wanted one of these. In 9mm. Not sure why, but a light fast bullet just seems right out of this gun, especially as a plinker. It would get some nice accessories on the rail for sure.

golden-boy

Henry Golden Boy .22LR
Yes, you remember correctly. We had another Henry rifle listed in our 5 Magnum Things list. They are just SO classy and you can’t beat a lever action for pure fun. Having one in .22LR means shooting all day for less than $20.

Model-9410-Traditional-MID-514006-m

Winchester 9410 .410
Hmmm. We seem to be on a lever action kick here. But how can you resist a .410 lever action shotgun? Talk about the ultimate plinker! Slugs, shot, buck. Knock yourself out. Too bad its not in production anymore, so keep an eye on the used market.

1911-22-A1-MID-051802-m

Browning 1911-22 A1
Shot a pre-release model of this gun at the 2011 Professional Outdoor Media Association Conference and… wow! It’s more fun than should be legal. Want one bad.

811030_01_md

Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22
Fun, cheap to run, and maintains the operating features of a centerfire AR. Great for practice, but fun just because…

1022-blac0green

Tactical Solutions X-Ring Rifle
Who wouldn’t want a tricked out Ruger 10/22? Loaded with all the Tactical Solutions goodies, this one can’t be beat.

22-kit

Beretta 92 Series .22LR Practice Kit
Pricey, but the quality and functionality are top notch. We’ve had one before and in a moment of complete stupidity, traded it. Ouch. We’d get the barrel threaded for a suppressor this time.

2245260_angle

H&K MP5 A5 .22LR
Why? You have to ask why? Really?

 

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Seven lasers aiming…
Six scales a weighing…
Five magnum things…
Four written words…
Three tactical pens…
Two shooting gloves
And a Smith and Wesson M and P

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