Lessons From The Playhouse: A LaserMax And Gunsite Adventure

What can you learn from a playhouse? Life-saving tips, actually.

Step 1 of the house clearing exercise - opening the door. The Glock is equipped with a Simunitions conversion and the new LaserMax Native Green laser.

Step 1 of the house clearing exercise – opening the door. The Glock is equipped with a Simunitions conversion and the new LaserMax Native Green laser.

I just returned from a few days at Gunsite Academy – one of the nations premier shooting academies located just outside of Prescott, Arizona. That’s pronounced more like “biscuit” by the way, not “Scott.” You may also know of Prescott as Sturm, Ruger and Company builds most of their pistols there. It’s a gun friendly place to say the least.

I ended up at Gunsite thanks to the good folks at LaserMax. They’ve got some big news that will ripple through the laser sighting industry over the next couple of years – Native Green technology. We’ll talk more about that next week when I write a separate article on Native Green laser technology. For now, just be aware that green laser light is currently generated by shooting an infrared laser through some ‘magic’ crystals to “create” green light. Native Green lasers generate bright green light right off the bat with no conversion required.

Chris is not telling me how awesomely tactical I am. He's telling me to stop "water skiing" and that I just shot the bad guy in the hand.

Chris is not telling me how awesomely tactical I am. He’s telling me to stop “water skiing” and that I just shot the bad guy in the hand.

The LaserMax team enlisted the Gunsite staff to help us test out the new LaserMax Native Green lasers in a variety of scenarios, one of which was clearing the famous Gunsite Playhouse. The Playhouse is a specially constructed building designed to simulate a home or business with multiple rooms, hallways and hidden corners and nooks. In other words, it has lots of places for innocent bystander and bad guy targets to hide. The Playhouse is set up to handle either live fire from real guns or Simunitions marking projectile rounds. We used Glocks configured with Simunitions conversions so we could easily see hits. Using Simunitions in the Playhouse also allowed us to take pictures from a catwalk above during the exercises without risk of losing photographers to friendly fire.

I’m an experienced shooter and have taken a number of self-defense shooting classes. One predictable outcome from every training experience is that there are always leaning epiphanies. This time was no different.

First, I must stress how much our Gunsite Rangemasters, Mike Moore and Chris Weare, emphasized that you never, ever, ever, ever want to clear a house on your own. It’s a bad tactic and you’re at a major disadvantage from the start. The purpose of this drill was to learn some basic clearing techniques in the event you had to “clear” a building in order to get out of it, or perhaps reach a loved one in trouble. If you ever arrive at your home or business and see signs that there’s been a break in, back up and call 911. Don’t go in on your own.

We were given minimum instructions: open the front door and “deal” with things. That’s it. At the end of my three or four minute house clearing, I thought about what went right and what went wrong.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub.com!

LaserMax Ends The Rodent Chronicles Arms Race?

If you’ve been around here a while, you might remember a little incident involving wetlands, a raised home and a rat.

It all started when a hot-shot realtor, wearing capri pants, sold us a home surrounded by “wetlands.” You see, “wetlands” is realtor-code for “swamp.” And where there’s swamp, there’s rodents. Some, like deer and the occasional fox are fun to have around. Others, like rats, just need to be shot.

It’s not as bad as it sounds though. Many “wetlands” homes are raised, meaning the first floor is actually one level up. This leaves a big open area underneath that most folks would consider a garage. We, who are in the know, call it a flood facilitation zone, as the next big tsunami will wash a few shrimp boats and mobile homes through there. Anyway, one of the benefits of raised homes is that the swamp critters don’t have direct access to your living quarters, but they do on occasion invite themselves into your garage area.

The problem is this. Normal Ruger 10/22 aiming is just fine with the standard iron sights, or maybe a low power optic. But as varmint squatters only appear in dark conditions, you can’t really see sight or optics. I’ve tried other strategies with mixed success. One plan was to flip on the lights and rely on a snap shot before that little beast of my burden could scurry back into his hole like the coward he is. That was great fun until I snap shot the gas line. $75, and a lame explanation to the gas repairman later, I decided to try something different. In my defense, the gas fixit guy did say he had seen weirder things, but he declined to specify.

The best solution seemed to be application of advanced technology, because even though I think rats might just have opposable thumbs, I’m pretty sure they can’t read instructions. That means advantage me in the arms race. As the rat extermination gun of choice is a Ruger 10/22, I ruled out a night vision scope as that would just look silly.

The LaserMax Ruger 10/22 Laser turns your rifle into the equivalent of an Abrams tank ballistic fire control system. Well, almost.

The LaserMax Ruger 10/22 Laser turns your rifle into the equivalent of an Abrams tank ballistic fire control system. Well, almost.

Enter the new LaserMax Ruger 10/22 laser.

This little rodent illumination gem changes the whole ball game. I can now lurk in the shadows and dot that little garage squatter at leisure.

Here’s how it works.

Installation is a snap. Just remove the barrel band and slide it on.

Installation is a snap. Just remove the barrel band and slide it on.

The LaserMax Ruger 10/22 Laser is designed to replace the existing barrel band on the 10/22. After removal of the factory barrel band, the LaserMax 10/22 assembly slides right on to the the stock fore end. Kind of like a tactical beanie. Insert the included battery and tighten a couple of screws and you’re good to go.

To activate the laser, simply press the side lever right to left, or left to right if you’re feeling particularly rebellious, and it will stay on until you un-depress the lever. The switch is perfectly placed for your support hand to activate and deactivate easily.

Next, making sure your rifle is really and truly unloaded (chamber too!) aim it at a safe backstop and see how that newly-minted laser dot lines up with your iron sights. Windage and elevation adjustments are sensitive and you won’t need to use more than 1/2 turn total. If you do, something’s wrong with your mounting job. Once at the range, you can tweak the laser alignment to your preference , but lining up at home with your iron sights will get you really, really close.

Battery is included and note the accessory rail - they're on both sides.

Battery is included and note the accessory rail – they’re on both sides.

One of the neat things about the mount is that the laser is positioned directly under the bore and not offset to one side or the other. Using a sophisticated measuring device known in engineering circles as a ruler, I estimate the laser is just about 5/8 of an inch below the bore. So you can align the laser parallel with the bore, knowing that your shot will hit 5/8″ above at closer distances, or you can zero point of impact at a desired distance. Your choice.

One other note about the mount. Short rails are on both sides so you can mount a sling swivel, light, or any other rail mounted accessory you like.

The LaserMax Ruger 10/22 Laser is available in a couple of ways. If you already have a Ruger 10/22 rifle, you can order one as an add-on accessory. Or, if you’re in the market for the world’s most useful .22 rifle, order one ready to go from a Ruger dealer.

All in all this is one nifty add-on for a Ruger 10/22. It adds virtually no weight or bulk, and won’t get in the way of daytime shooting with iron sights or a scope. But it sure adds a lot of fun.

Keeping the garage rodent free is no longer a challenge.



Top 10 Shooting Industry Masters Fun Facts

Tisma Juett is only serious about two things: shooting and leading the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s (NSSF) First Shots program. When it comes to something as serious as the Ruger/Smith & Wesson Rimfire Rodeo, stand back! I’m pretty sure I felt all the available oxygen being sucked out of the area when Tisma started to focus. And when it comes to getting new people into the shooting sports, the game rises to a whole new level. One of her first projects upon taking the reins of First Shots was to schedule a series of events literally surrounding Washington, D.C. I think that’s called “throwing down the gauntlet.” Dear politicians: you think you got game? Ha! You’re rookies!

Tisma Juett is serious about two things: Shooting and NSSF First Shots. Shown here taking aim at the Ruger/Smith & Wesson Rimfire Rodeo event.

The NSSF Team, left to right: Bill Brassard, Tisma Juett, USA Shooting 3-time Olympian Matt Emmons (just photo-bombing here), Randy Clark and Steve Sanetti

Hosting free beginner First Shots seminars requires cash, and that’s where the great folks at FMG Publications step in. Publishers of American HandgunnerGuns MagazineAmerican Cop, and numerous special issues, FMG has hosted theShooting Industry Masters event to benefit First Shots and USA Shooting for 11 years now.

The NSSF Team, left to right: Bill Brassard, Tisma Juett, USA Shooting 3-time Olympian Matt Emmons (just photo-bombing here), Randy Clark and Steve Sanetti

The NSSF Team, left to right: Bill Brassard, Tisma Juett, USA Shooting 3-time Olympian Matt Emmons (just photo-bombing here), Randy Clark and Steve Sanetti

Not familiar with the Shooting Industry Masters? Let’s take a quick look at the top 10 Masters fun facts:

1. NSSF First Shots Benefits! Over the past 11 events, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised and donated to NSSF First Shots. That’s a lot of green that helps emerging “green” shooters become safe and proficient.

2. Olympic shooters can be bought! While the IOC might frown on the outright cheating and bribery, one of the fun parts of the Shooting Industry Masters is that teams can “purchase” a ringer from the U.S. Olympic Shooting Team to help improve their scores. It’s OK though, the competition is just for fun and fundraising.

Read the rest at OutdoorHub.com!

How To Add GI Aperture Sights To Your Ruger 10/22 Rifle

So you wanna be a better RifleMan, RifleWoman or RifleKid?

The first steps might be to focus on the fundamentals like body position, trigger control, breathing control, natural point of aim and developing the ability to call your shot. A great way to work on these skills is to work with iron sights and shoot at targets just 25 yards away. Why? At short range, you can see your hits on target and gain instant feedback. And if you can shoot a really, really small groups at 25 yards, you can shoot effectively at 100, 200 or even 500 yards – assuming you can see the target.

You could launch thousands of rounds down range from your AR-15, M1A, AK-47 variant or bolt-action rifle. But with the current cost and availability issues for ammo, it might be easier and less expensive to take up high-performance lawn tractor racing.

Or you could do a quick upgrade to an inexpensive and broadly available .22 rifle to simulate a high-powered rifle. That’s what the Project Appleseed rifleman experts recommend. Use something simple, available and inexpensive, like a Ruger 10/22, equipped with GI Aperture sights to simulate a battle rifle configuration. Then you can improve your fundamental skills without breaking the bank. All of those skills you develop shooting a .22 rifle translate directly to shooting a larger caliber rifle – like an M1A, M2 Garand, M1 Carbine, AR-15, FAL or AK.

Following a tip from the Project Appleseed website, I elected to modify a .22LR rifle with the Tech Sights “GI” Aperture Sights for the Ruger 10/22. The Tech Sights kit includes an adjustable rear sight and  front sight replacement that uses a standard AR type front sight post. So if you want to get really fancy, you can replace the sight post with an aftermarket one like the XS Sights High-Visibility Round-Top Front Sight Post.

Tech Sights GI Aperture for Ruger 10 22  2

The rear sight assembly mounts at the very back of the Ruger 10/22 receiver using the scope base mount holes already there.

The version I tested is the TRS200 model and as shown above features adjustable windage and elevation dials on the rear sight assembly with a single aperture. Tech Sights also offers a flip-up aperture version where the rear sight has a large aperture for close range shooting and a small aperture for longer range shooting.

Tech Sights GI Aperture for Ruger 10 22

The Tech Sights “GI” Aperture Sights kit for the Ruger 10/22 provides replacement sight for both the front and rear sights on the factory default rifle.

One feature to note about the Tech Sights GI Aperture Sights is that elevation is adjustable on both the front and rear sights. The front sight works just like an AR-15 front sight and you can easily raise and lower point of impact by pressing in the detent button and rotating the post. I chose to configure mine so that the rear sight sat low in the assembly when zeroed at 25 yards. The logic being that having the aperture as low as possible and inset into the sight base would provide better protection from knocks and dings.

How to install the Tech Sights GI Aperture sights on your Ruger 10/22

Ruger 10 22 front sight removal Ready for an adventure? Try removing the front sight from a factory standard Ruger 10/22. It probably takes less force to dislodge Michael Moore from a CiCi’s pizza all you can eat buffet. It comes off moving from left to right as you’re holding the rifle normally. The challenge is that Ruger installs a little nub on the bottom of the factory sight, then jams it into the dovetail on the barrel. This is done for good reason – so the sight won’t ever move under lots and lots of shooting. The problem only occurs when you want to remove it to install a different front sight. You can do this by placing the barrel against a firm (but non-scratching!) surface and whacking the bottom of the sight with a hammer and punch. Be careful, as you’ll really need to smack it to break the sight loose. If you can use a hard piece of plastic to support the barrel, that won’t give as much as wood and you’ll have better luck at knocking the sight out. Just a fair warning, this can be an adventure. That sight is installed really, really tightly.
Ruger 10 22 front sight removal  1 A lower risk method of removing the front sight is to use a sight pusher. If you don’t have one, maybe you can beg, borrow or steal one from a friend. Of you can can get one of these general purpose Williams Gun Sight Front Sight Pushers from Brownells. This can be used for most any front sight where the dovetail is not cut directly into the round barrel. It removed the very stubborn Ruger 10/22 front sight easily.
Brownells Magna Tip Screwdriver Set While we’re talking tools, if you don’t have a set of gunsmith screwdrivers, you might want to consider investing. Gunsmith screwdrivers have the blades ground flat and have bits sized for common gun applications. Why flat-ground you ask? You’re far less likely to butch up your screw heads using a properly fitted screwdriver. Trust me on this one. And a Brownells Magna-Tip screwdriver set like this one is not expensive.
Tech Sights GI Aperture for Ruger 10 22 installation OK, let’s get busy installing the front sight. First, start the socket set screw into the front of the sight base as shown here. DO NOT tighten it yet! This screw will eventually expand the dovetail of the sight base to lock it in place. For now, you just want to get it started as it’s easier to get into place before you install the sight base in the barrel dovetail.
Tech Sights GI Aperture for Ruger 10 22 installation  1 Now, slide the new Tech Sights GI Aperture base into the dovetail from the right side – just the reverse of how you removed the factory Ruger sight.
Tech Sights GI Aperture for Ruger 10 22 installation  7 The kit includes two button head screws and washers that install on either side of the sight base to center and support it on in the dovetail slot.
Tech Sights GI Aperture for Ruger 10 22 installation  2 How you can tighten up the front set screw to lock the base firmly into position. If you’re sure it’s how you want it for a while, apply a little Blue Loctite to all three front sight screws.
Tech Sights GI Aperture for Ruger 10 22 installation  4 The rear sight is a snap to install as the Ruger 10/22 receiver includes holes for a scope base mount. These will have small screws in place, so just remove the two towards the rear of the receiver.
Tech Sights GI Aperture for Ruger 10 22  1 The Tech Sights GI Aperture Rear Sight will fit over the two rear scope base holes. Just attach it to the receiver with the included screws. Again, you may want to use a little Blue Loctite if you plan on using this for a while.
Tech Sights GI Aperture for Ruger 10 22 windage The TRS200 model rear sight includes a windage adjustment dial. Each hole indicates a 1/8″ left-right adjustment at 20 yards, or 5/8″ at 100 yards.
Tech Sights GI Aperture for Ruger 10 22 rear elevation The rear aperture is set with an adjustable elevation dial. Each click (visible by the white vertical lines, adjusts point of impact up or down by 1/8″ at 20 yards.
Tech Sights GI Aperture for Ruger 10 22 front The front post is also elevation adjustable. By pressing the detent button down and rotating the site post, you can adjust elevation by 1/8″ at 20 yards. Since both front and rear sights have elevation adjustments, you can configure the height of each according to your preference.
Tech Sights GI Aperture for Ruger 10 22  4 Like its military big brothers, the Tech Sights (front and rear) are protected by wings. I also found that the side wings help reduce glare on the sight post.
Tech Sights GI Aperture for Ruger 10 22  5 A side view of the rear sight installed.


This is a nifty little upgrade for a couple of reasons. First, I found the sight picture clear and fast to acquire. The brass bead on the Ruger 10/22 factory front sight is great and easy to see, but I’m not a big fan of the rear leaf sight. Those tend to feel slower for me, but that’s a personal preference issue. More importantly, the Tech Sight mounts about 8 inches further back from the factory rear leaf sight, so the overall sight radius is longer. While the 8″ longer sight radius does not make the rifle “more accurate,” it DOES make the rifle easier to shoot more accurately.

This is a great way to make yourself a fantastic practice rifle. And it’s plenty good for just fun plinking as well. Of course, to really prepare your Ruger 10/22 for rifleman practice, you’ll want to add a sling. We’ll cover that in a separate article.


Tech Sights, LLC Ruger 10/22 Gi-Style Aperture Sights

A Litte More On Rule 1: A Gun Is Always Loaded

Rule 1: A Gun Is Always Loaded

Rule 1: A Gun Is Always Loaded

Rule 1: A gun is always loaded!

Yes. Always. Even when it’s not.

Every year we hear about people who are accidentally shot with ‘unloaded’ guns.

  • “I thought it was unloaded!”
  • “I’m sure I unloaded it last time I put it away!”
  • “It wasn’t loaded before!”
  • “Maybe I was loaded last time I unloaded it!”

Of course, a gun is not technically always loaded. But the intent of Rule 1 is to treat a gun as if it’s always loaded. If you treat a gun like it is loaded, you tend to change your behavior in terms of how you handle that gun.

Hopefully you won’t check out the sights by aiming it at someone.

Hopefully you won’t pull the trigger, unless you’re actually ready to fire the gun at a safe target. More on that in a minute.

And hopefully you won’t do anything else careless with it.

Rule 1 is first on the priority list, because it’s Rule 1, but also because it covers a lot of safety ground. Treating a gun like it is loaded and ready to fire has a fantastic ripple effect that makes everyone around safer.

So take it seriously. Pretend that a gun is loaded every single time you look at it or touch it. Pretty soon you’ll start believing that it IS actually loaded. Even when you look, and verify that it’s not, you’ll want to look again to make sure. This is a good thing. Never ignore a gut feeling to check the status of a gun just one more time to be sure.

Ruger LCR Revolver loaded rule one

Is this Ruger LCR loaded? Trick question! Of course it’s loaded!

I like to have some fun with this when teaching new shooters the safety rules. Not for fun’s sake alone, but to really drive home the point.

Immediately after telling them Rule 1, the gun is always loaded, I pick up a gun, point it in a safe direction, and open gun’s action to show them. It’s empty of course, but I don’t tell them that. I ask them if the gun is loaded. It’s even better when both kids and adults are present in this new shooter orientation. Almost without fail, the kids look at me with an odd puzzled look for a second, then respond “Yes! It IS loaded!” Kids are much better students than adults. They love getting this trick question right! Adults tend to score about 50% on this pop quiz. About half of them look intently then tell me that the gun appears to be unloaded. We all have a quick laugh when I tell them, “WRONG! It’s ALWAYS loaded!” Then they get it.

So be creative when talking about the rules of gun safety with others. You can have fun teaching people to be safe – and just maybe they’ll tend to remember a little better!

Buyers Guide: Blackhawk! Leather Speed Classic Gun Holster

My Gun Culture Shooting Buyers Guide

Blackhawk! Leather Speed Classic Snubnose Revolver Holster

Blackhawk! Leather Speed Classic Snubnose Revolver Holster

We recently reviewed the Blackhawk! Leather Speed Classic Holster for a Ruger LCR revolver and found it to be an excellent concealed carry solution for several reasons.

It’s discreet. The design causes the revolver to ride high relative to the belt line. This makes for easier concealment and reduces the need for a knee-length photographers vest.

It’s fast. The gun is held in place by shape and side pressure. To draw, simply rock the revolver forward. An elastic strap connected the two leather halves of the Speed Classic. The forward rock allows the gun to release above and out the top front side of the holster.

Retention is great. The leather fit, with additional pressure applied by the elastic strap makes your snubbie revolver stay where it’s supposed to.

It’s comfortable. The outside the waistband design and high ride keep the gun out of the way in sitting and standing positions.

Fast, secure, and discreet. This one is a great solution for snubnose revolver users.

Available Here Blackhawk! Leather Speed Classic Gun Holster

A Custom Ruger 10/22 for Project Valour-IT



We’ve just completed an epic building project. Successfully. Without bleeding. Or parts left over.

This Custom Ruger 10/22 is a phantasmagorical plinker

This Custom Ruger 10/22 is a phantasmagorical plinker

Over the past couple of months, we’ve been working with the great folks at Ruger and Brownells to customize a stock Ruger 10/22 Carbine. It’s now a fancy race rifle. A glamorous gun. A fantastic firearm. A phantasmagorical plinker. You get the idea.

Ruger graciously donated the rifle, and the always generous Brownells team donated the parts, and more importantly, the expertise for the project.

Our role was simply to be average and build this custom Ruger 10/22. Being average, mechanically uninclined and generally untalented was not at all hard for us, as most gunsmithing projects around here end badly – usually with a large ziploc of parts being delivered to a genuine gunsmith. But one of the primary ideas behind the project was to see how much can be done to customize a Ruger 10/22 without special tools or knowledge. The other main objective was to document the process so our readers could see exactly how to customize their own Ruger 10/22′s.

Custom Ruger 10/22 with original parts included

If you win this auction, you get the factory original parts too

Fortunately, we picked the right platform – the Ruger 10/22 – and the right partners – the Brownells Gun Tech Team. This combination of an easy to customize rifle platform, and always ready advice and expertise made a positive end result inevitable. Even for us.

You see, a quality outcome for the project was a critical objective, because as much as we wanted to keep this rifle, it was destined for greater things. Last week, we sent it off to Ruger for final cleanup and photography. Now it’s listed for auction on Gunbroker.com.

The best part? 100% of the proceeds are being donated to Project Valour-IT. In case you’re not familiar, Project Valour-IT is a group within the fantastic Soldiers Angels organization that aims to provide voice-controlled/adaptive laptop computers and other technology to support Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand wounds and other severe injuries.

This is a great cause and we’re glad to help them out.

Now you too can help Project Valour-IT and obtain a fantastic rifle in the process. Ruger will ship the customized rifle to the winners FFL for delivery along with all of the original parts and a signed letter of authenticity.

You can read all about the Ruger 10/22 customization process and the parts used.

More importantly, head on over to Gunbroker.com and place your bid!

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 4: Custom Ruger 10/22 Extended Bolt Handle Installation

Customize Ruger 10/22 for Soup it up for Soldiers

We’ve completed 3 steps out of the 5 planned for this Ruger 10/22 customization project. As my teenage kids would say, we’ve got “one sick rifle” at this point. As you’ll see from the photos, we’ve put a temporary optic on it for testing as the bull barrel has no iron sights.


This week we’re going to install a new Volquartsen Extended Bolt Handle and Recoil Rod

What’s next?

Custom Ruger 10/22 Step 4: Install Volquartsen Extended Bolt Handle

How about an extended charging handle and recoil rod? Even with the temporary optic mounted, it’s ever so slightly inconvenient to reach the standard bolt handle. Since this is a benefit gun for Project Valour-IT, let’s make it awesome.

With some help from the guru’s at Brownells, we chose the Volquartsen Extended Bolt Handle and Recoil Rod. From Volquartsen’s specs:

The Extended Bolt Handle features the same shape and design as the bolt handle featured on our fully machined bolts. This handle has also been extended .25″ for faster, easier operation. The recoil rod is polished, hardened and coated with a proprietary finish. This finish is not only extremely hard but also contains lubricating features to create an extremely smooth operating guide rod. This coated recoil rod reduces friction which improves both feeding and ejecting. A recoil rod spring is also included. This spring has been cryogenically treated to withstand years of use.

Here are the steps to install the Volquartsen Extended Bolt Handle and Recoil Rod on our custom Ruger 10/22 rifle.

Ruger 10/22 remove stock

If you’ve been reading along, you should remember how to do the first step – removing the barreled receiver from the stock. To refresh your memory, see the first article. As always, be sure the rifle is completely unloaded (chamber too!) before starting. Just remove the single screw that holds our new stock to the receiver and gently lift the barrel from the muzzle end first.

Ruger 10/22 trigger group housing removal

To get to the bolt handle, we need to remove some stuff. First, we need to remove the trigger housing that we installed in the last step. To do this, push the retaining pins out, or at least far enough through the receiver to allow the trigger assembly to drop out.

Ruger 10/22 receiver bolt retaining pin removal

Now you will see the bolt in the upper portion of the receiver. While you’ll be able to move it back and forth, you won’t be able to remove it as there is a large solid pin at the very back of the receiver that prevents full travel. Gently punch this pin through and out of the receiver.

ruger 10/22 bolt removal

Now, if you push the bolt all the way to the rear of the receiver, you’ll be able to remove it. It’s a tight fit and the bolt needs to drop out ‘as is’ without much angle, so it might be easier to turn the receiver upside down and let it fall into your hand.

remove recoil rod and belt handle from ruger 10/22

You can actually remove the existing bolt handle and recoil rod and spring by simply lifting up the front of the bolt. Go ahead and completely remove the bolt though. That will make installation of the replacement bolt handle much easier.

cleaning ruger 10/22 receiver

Hey! Now that you have an empty receiver, this is a great time to scrub any gunk from those hard to reach places.

ruger 10/22 recoil rod bolt handle installation

The new bolt handle and recoil rod assembly drops into place as shown. Be sure the back end of the recoil rod is captured into the notch in the receiver.

install bolt in ruger 10/22

Now you’re ready to drop the bolt back in. Retract the new Volquartsen Extended Bolt Handle as the bolt has to drop onto notches in the bolt handle itself.

Volquartsen bolt handle recoil rod installed

Replace the large pin at the upper rear of the receiver first to make sure the bolt is secured. Then re-install the trigger housing assembly and secure it with the two retaining pins.

Volquartsen extended bolt handle clears optic

Now just mount the barreled receiver back to the stock and you’re ready to go with a new Volquartsen Extended Bolt Handle. Piece of cake.


That’s it! We’re done with Step 4 of the custom Ruger 10/22 project! No parts left over. No blood. All in all another successful endeavor.

Join us next time as we add the final piece of gear to this customized Ruger 10/22. We’re working with the great folks at Brownells to select just the right optic. If you have any ideas, let us know in the comments!

Remember to keep track of Soup it up for Soldiers here. As soon as this rifle is done, it’s getting shipped back to Ruger where it will be photographed and placed for auction on Gunbroker.com with all proceeds going to Project Valour-IT of Soldiers Angels.

Soup It Up For Soldiers Step 3: Ruger 10/22 Competition Trigger and Magazine Release

Soup it up for Soldiers Customize Ruger 10/22 trigger group

Now that steps 1 and 2 of the Customer Ruger 10/22 project are complete, we’ve got one nasty accurate rifle with what is perhaps the world’s most comfortable (and sporty) stock. As you’ll recall, with the help of Brownells, we installed a Revolution Extreme custom stock on the now customized Ruger 10/22.

Force trigger and extended magazine release Ruger 1022

The Force Trigger Housing System is ready to go out of the box. And idiot proof. We know.

What’s next?

Step 3: Ruger 10/22 Customization

How about a two-fer. This week in Step 3, we’re adding a Force Trigger Housing System which gives us a competition grade trigger AND an extended magazine release that allows speedy magazine changes without losing your firing grip. Nifty.

We have to confess that we got lazy with the shopping process for this episode. Overwhelmed by all the possible options for this step, we simply crawled to the Brownells GunTech team whimpering and asked them to take charge of the selection process for the next Ruger 10/22 customization step. A few days later, the Force Trigger Housing System showed up in the mail. And, as you’ll see, it couldn’t be easier to install. I suspect the folks at Brownells are well aware of our lack of engineering skills and deliberately chose something that we couldn’t screw up. Smart folks those Brownells Techs…

First, a little about this component:

This is a complete drop in aluminum assembly with match quality trigger pull of between 2 and 3 pounds. The housing is made from aluminum and is available in matte black or silver. The trigger features a serrated, semi-flat surface with over travel adjustment for individual shooter preference.

This Force trigger group and extended magazine release includes an extended release which allows magazine drops with your trigger hand. It’s quick and easy.

Let’s get started!

Ruger 10/22 stock removal and installation

Step 1 is starting to get familiar and we should all be professionals at removing the action and barrel from the stock by now. I’m thinking about starting a new business: Stock Removal Specialists, Inc. There must be an enormous market for this type of service. My wife is not convinced. As always, be sure the rifle is completely unloaded (chamber too!) before starting. Just remove the single screw that holds our new stock to the receiver and gently lift the barrel from the muzzle end first.

remove ruger 10/22 trigger housing front pin

The Ruger 10/22 is beautifully engineered – especially when you start taking it apart and realize how easy it is to do customizations. The entire trigger housing is held in place by two punch pins. Simply prop the receiver and barrel up on something non-scratchy like these custom wood blocks and gently tap the forward pin through. Make sure your wood blocks or alternative platform allows enough space for the pin on the bottom side. This should take very little pressure and/or light tapping.

remove rear pin ruger 10/22 trigger housing

Now tap out the rear pin in similar fashion.

remove trigger housing ruger 10/22

Don’t worry if the pin does not want to come all the way out. On this rifle, the front pin fell all the way through fairly easily, while the rear pin remained in the receiver. Either way is fine as long as the pin pushes through enough to pull the trigger housing out. See? This is a low stress project after all.

ruger 10/22 receiver with trigger removed

Remove the original Ruger 10/22 trigger housing. It will slide right out. This is a great opportunity to clean out the inside of the receiver and re-lube things. Everything is easy to get to with the trigger housing removed. Think of it as ‘Spring Cleaning.’ Pun fully intended.

install force trigger system in ruger 10/22

The new Force Trigger Housing System will slide right in to the now clean receiver.

install force trigger system ruger 10/22 pins

Now, simply replace the two retaining pins. On this setup, the Force Trigger Housing System holes aligned perfectly with the receiver. Piece of cake.

completed force trigger housing installation in ruger 10/22

Ta Da!

Force trigger magazine release in ruger 10/22

Now that you’re an expert at stock removal and replacement, put the barreled receiver back into the stock and tighten up the retaining screw.

That’s it! We’re done! No parts left over. No blood. All in all another successful project.

With the new Force Trigger Housing System, we’ve now added a two-fer: A competition grade trigger with adjustable travel and an extended magazine release lever for speedy mag changes. If you’re faced with a horde or rodents on your property, you can maintain a high rate of accurate fire.

Join us next time as we add some more gizmos to this fine rifle. We’re going to call the folks at Brownells GunTech to see what we ought to do next. Perhaps an extended bolt handle. Would night vision goggles qualify as a rifle upgrade? Hmmm. Not sure the Brownells folks will buy that logic…

Remember to keep track of this project here. As soon as this rifle is done, it’s getting shipped back to Ruger where it will be photographed and placed for auction on Gunbroker.com with all proceeds going to Project Valour-IT of Soldiers Angels.

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