Ruger Custom Shop 10/22® Competition Rifle

by Boge Quinn

photography by Boge Quinn

November 23rd, 2020

Full30 Video Link

Click pictures for a larger version.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fully-adjustable cheek rest.

 

 

Sling swivel studs are included.

 

 

Rubber non-slip butt pad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ruger Custom Shop was established a few years ago, with the purpose of offering the end consumer features previously available only on expensive custom firearms, at a fraction of the price of those custom firearms. We have previously reviewed some offerings from the Ruger Custom Shop, including their SR1911 9mm Competition Pistol and the Super GP100 9mm Competition Revolver, and have been very impressed with these products. The Ruger Custom Shop is taking some of the finest  products offered by one of our finest gun makers, and elevating them to an entirely new level, making fine custom firearms available to we common folk.

The subject of this review is a Custom Shop Competition Rifle based on Ruger's venerable and wonderful 10/22 rimfire rifle. The 10/22 is one of the most iconic rimfire rifles ever produced by any maker. With countless examples produced, the 10/22 has proven to be a reliable, accurate, and affordable companion, whether outfitted in rifle or handgun configuration. My first rifle, bought for me as a wonderful Christmas gift when I was the ripe old age of thirteen, was a 10/22 Standard Carbine; I still have that little Ruger, and over the decades it has accounted for countless squirrels, pine cones, tin cans, dirt clods, and paper targets without disappointing. I might miss from time to time, but that little 10/22 never did! I grew up (to the extent that I grew up at all) with that 10/22, and even though the World and myself have moved on, I still shoot it from time to time.

The Ruger Custom Shop 10/22 Competition Rifle takes up where the Standard 10/22 left off, and never looks back. Beginning with the heart of the rifle, the receiver is CNC-machined from 6061-T6511 aluminum; I am not a metallurgist by any stretch of the imagination, but I am given to understand that 6061-T6511 is darn good stuff. The receiver is machined with an integral 30 MOA Picatinny rail on top, to accommodate a wide variety of optical and open sights, and enhance long-range elevation capability. The chamber is reamed to match specs, and to work perfectly with the heat-treated and nitrided CNC-machined match bolt, which features an enlarged, match bolt release. As a nice touch, the receiver has a rear port, providing access to the rear end of the barrel for ease of cleaning. Finally, the receiver is bedded to the stock with dual bedding lugs, providing a rigid and accurate mating of receiver to stock.

The Custom Shop Competition Rifle's heat-stabilized, glass-filled polymer trigger assembly houses Ruger's excellent BX-Trigger. The BX-Trigger is a great improvement to the original 10/22 design, affording both a lighter and crisper trigger pull. Ruger specifies the trigger pull weight for the BX-Trigger at 2.5 to 3 pounds, but the trigger on the Custom Shop Competition Rifle averaged a very consistent 1 pound, 7 ounces as measured by my Lyman Electronic Digital Trigger Pull Gauge. The trigger assembly also houses Ruger's familiar 10/22 crossbolt safety, and Ruger's excellent trigger-guard-mounted lever-style magazine release; this magazine release is a great improvement over the 10/22's original flush-mounted button release, and allows the magazine to drop freely and naturally.

While on the subject of magazines, Ruger's original, patented 10/22 ten-round magazine is legendary. One of the great magazine designs of history, the 10/22 magazine features a rotary design that allows a rock-solid, reliable ten-round magazine to fit flush with the bottom of the receiver. As revolutionary as the ten-round 10/22 magazine was upon its introduction in 1964, aftermarket accessory makers have been trying almost since its introduction to produce an extended-capacity 10/22 magazine, with varying degrees of (mostly) failure. I have played with many brands of these extended magazines since the 1970s,  and I have thrown just as many away; either they would fail at the start, or their cheap construction would quickly wear out, rendering them useless. all this changed when Ruger introduced their excellent BX-25 magazine. The BX-25 is a twenty-five round version of the 10/22 magazine, and is just as reliable as the original. I have seen some negative reviews on the BX-25, but I have used the BX-25 enough that I don't believe the negative reviews; every instance I have ever had - EVERY instance - of any failures using any BX-25 (or standard ten-round Ruger-brand 10/22 magazine, for that matter) ended up being the fault of the ammunition used, not the magazine. Ruger makes their BX-25 with the same level of quality as the original ten-rounders, and I have found them to be absolutely reliable. The BX-25s are currently available online from Ruger, and are priced to sell (as of November 2020) at $33.95 each, or $54.95 for a two-pack. With the current political winds blowing as they seem to me, I would recommend you get some of these while the getting is good.

The receiver is mated to a match grade 16-1/8" cold hammer-forged barrel; the blued-steel barrel is of heavy match configuration, measuring 0.9225" in diameter at the muzzle, and is fluted for weight reduction, heat dissipation, and "cool factor". The barrel is securely paired to the receiver with a top barrel locator, allowing the entire barrel to be free-floated for match accuracy. The muzzle is threaded 1/2"x28 to accommodate accessories such as the included, very nicely designed muzzle brake, or any standard 1/2"x28 Suppressor.

The aforementioned stock is very well designed, being laminated with a grey/black speckled finish. The black speckling is quite attractive against the gray background, and further makes for a nice textured feel, with just enough roughness to afford just the right amount of grip for cold/wet conditions. The forend has a generous thumb/finger groove at the top, giving the digits a great place to grab for a comfortable and repeatable hold. The stock is equipped with sling swivel studs fore and aft, as any good stock should be, and a generous rubber non-slip butt pad. Finally, the 13-1/2" length-of-pull buttstock is equipped with a fully-adjustable cheek piece, which allows the cheek piece to move 1-3/4" fore and aft, and 1-1/4" vertically, to address just about any scope or open sighting system imaginable with the proper cheek weld. This adjustable cheek piece is also easily removed if desired, and the adjusting / lever-locking system is reversible for left-handed shooters. In all respects, this is a well-thought-out and comfortable stock design, and I cannot see a way to improve upon it.

Specifications - Ruger Custom Shop 10/22® Competition Rifle

Model # 31120
Caliber 22 LR
Magazine Detachable Box, 10-Round Capacity
Receiver CNC-Machined 6061-T6511 Aluminum, Hard-Coat Anodized Black, Dual Bedding System
Barrel Configuration 16.125" Length Fluted Bull Barrel, 6-Groove 1:16" RH Twist, Satin Black Finish, Threaded for Muzzle Brake / Suppressor
Sights None - Optics-Ready, 30 MOA Picatinny Rail
Weight 6 pounds, Unloaded & without Optics
Overall Length 36 inches
Stock Speckled Black/Gray Laminate, Fully Adjustable Cheek Rest, Sling Swivel Studs Installed
Length of Pull: 13.50 inches
Trigger BX-Trigger®, Average Pull Weight 1 pound, 7 ounces
Accessories Included Hard Case, Ruger® Custom Shop Certificate of Authenticity, Challenge Coin, Cleaning Cloth, and 
Decal
MSRP as of November 2020 $899.00 US

The rifle bears no sights as-issued; rather, as noted above, the receiver has an integral 30 MOA Picatinny rail, which allows for a great many sighting options. I tried the rifle with tip-off AR-style open sights, and they worked just fine, but this rifle really deserves an optical sighting system. The integral rail will accommodate large high-magnification telescopic sights to take full advantage of the Custom Shop 10/22's capabilities, but I opted to outfit the rifle more as a mid-range small-game and target rifle. So, I mounted my favorite sight for this purpose: a Trijicon RX34 42mm Reflex sight. For ruggedness, reliability, and ease of use, nobody beats Trijicon: the RX34 is always on, and the 42mm diameter makes picking up the dot quick and easy. Illumination is provided by both tritium and fiber-optics; in low-light conditions, the tritium dot is sufficient for any application, and in brighter conditions where the lower-intensity tritium dot might be overwhelmed by ambient light, the fiber-optic automatically kicks-in to augment the tritium dot. Furthermore, neither of these dual illumination systems require batteries to work, so the sight will not go South on you just when you need it. The Trijicon's ruggedness is legendary; I know several soldiers who used the RX34 in the desert, and they have told me that soldiers there were swapping other battery-powered optical sights two-for-one to obtain the reliability of the Trijicon units. At a current (November 2020) MSRP of $624.00 US ($682.00 US with Thumbscrew Flattop Adapter as shown), the RX34 is by no means cheap, but the best never is. I have never regretted spending my money on Trijicon.

The Ruger Custom Shop 10/22 Competition Rifle currently retails for $899.00 US, with a "street price" of probably $650.00 to $700.00. With the base 10/22's current MSRP at $309.00, you can see that the Custom Shop offering really is a bargain when you factor in all the custom work included. Any comparison of the two is really unfair, as the Custom Shop rifle is not really based on the standard 10/22 at all; rather, the Custom Shop begins with a purpose-built match-grade receiver, and using parts that would cost hundreds of dollars aftermarket, creates an entirely new animal. There really is no comparison.

Check out Ruger's extensive product line at: www.ruger.com.

Ruger Custom Shop: www.ruger.com/micros/customShop.

Buy Ruger accessories directly at: www.shopruger.com.

To find a Ruger dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at Lipsey's: www.lipseys.com.

To order Ruger products online, click on the GUN GENIE at Davidson's Gallery of Guns: www.galleryofguns.com.

Buy ammo online at Lucky Gunner: www.luckygunner.com.

Remington Ammo: www.remington.com.

Federal Ammo: www.federalpremium.com.

Trijicon Optics: www.trijicon.com.

Boge Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.

 

 

The Custom Shop 10/22 Competition Rifles comes with a hard case, instruction manual, lock, Certificate of Authenticity, Custom Shop branded polishing cloth, decal, and challenge coin.

 

 

Barrel is free-floated along its entire length.

 

 

Muzzle is threaded for standard 1/2"x28 accessories / suppressors, and comes with a very well-designed and effective muzzle brake.

 

 

Polymer trigger housing accommodates Ruger's superb BX-Trigger, new magazine release lever, and standard crossbolt safety.

 

 

Ruger's excellent BX-25 magazine, available from ShopRuger.com.

 

 

Trijicon Reflex RX34 dual-illuminated dot sight.