Ruger 10/22 -Bedding Job Experimentation.
The Ruger 10/22 is one of the funnest little carbines out there. However, for those of us with somewhat absurd accuracy expectations, they can be a little frustrating. I have loved the 10/22 since I can remember, and worked on them for several years now. This information has been MY experience only, is not proof positive, doesn’t mean anybody else’s way is inferior, this is just my findings/results. I have designed adjustable pressure pads, bedded the barrels, bedded the action, two point bedded, free floated, all in the name of fun and experimentation. I ascribe to the fact that ‘ONLY ACCURATE GUNS ARE INTERESTING,’ but I also love to make my guns more accurate and thoroughly enjoy it; almost as much as shooting them.
1) I came up with the idea of an adjustable tension screw at the front because I got sick of bedding, free floating, pressure pad, removing the pad, etc. etc. I later learned that it wasn’t such a stroke of genius as it had actually been done before. Anyway, here is what I do. Buy a hex head threaded bolt, and a brass threaded collar. Sorry guys, but size doesn’t matter . ½ an inch from the front of the fore-end drill through the stock large enough to accept the brass collar, and counter sink the hex bolt. Same fashion as the action screw. Voi’la, nothing fancy, but EXTREMELY efficient. High tension, low tension, whatever you want. I have found that only the super light barrels really need tension up front. Heavy barrels operate better when free floated. Even did a 2 screw approach for more stability, (thought 1 screw straight up may shift barrel to one side.) No real difference, ended up with a brass barrel contact. Circular piece of flat brass (I used a dime for a guide), bent it to the contour of the barrel. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)
2) Most smiths just say bed the first 3-4 inches, well is it 3 or 4. We are playing for accuracy here. My method of bedding the 10/22 is this. You need to bed from the action screw to the balance point. What? I’ll explain more in a minute, but first. A major problem with the 10/22 is the fact that it is only held in by 1 screw (a pivot). This pivoting point also is the only recoil lug. So first thing, make it bigger. Size does matter . I use a 1/4X20X1 screw, and stainless because……I can. Here again, I use a hex head. Rethread the receiver hole. Bore out the brass collet, and you’re done with that. Next we NEED a recoil lug. The VQ barrels handle this with the squared off taper at the front of the v-block section. If it is tapered, as in factory barrels, Butler Creek barrels, Hogue, etc, etc. You gotta create one, so take a HACK SAW to your rifle. . BUT very gently, and only about a 1/16-3/32 inch deep max, cut a STRAIGHT, perpendicular line across the bottom of the screw block, in front of the screw. In front because it is easier to bed and that’s the position of most factory centerfire recoil lugs. I then use a CHAINSAW…….file in the cut to open it up a bit and remove the sharp edges that “COULD” cause a theoretical weakness. So now you have a round ridge in the bottom of your action, that will fill with epoxy and create a reversed recoil lug, this will also eliminate rotational torquing of the action around the screw.
3) Now BR shooters for years have known that the most stress free barrel is a free floated barrel. The same is true with heavy 10/22 barrels. But a tremendous amount of stress is created because the action is aluminum with thin walls. So you NEED to bed the barrel and you need to float it, pretty difficult challenge. Well how much do I bed? UP TO THE BALANCE POINT(BP). How do you determine the BP? I came up with this by accident. As a sword/knifemaker, balance is extremely important. A well balance knife balances at the hilt. Well, I had a barreled action out of the stock and was contemplating, “free float or bed the barrel??” Unconsciously, by habit, I found that I was holding on to the balance point. It occurred to me. I don’t need to bed the WHOLE barrel, only enough to support it, any more is waste and interferes with barrel harmonics. But, one must bed the action screw. So that’s how I came up with it. Now fill holes, edges, and crevasses around the bedding area with modelers clay (I like red). IMPORTANT NOTE: put at least an 3/16th of an inch of clay in the front of the v-block or you’ll wedge in the action. Put release agent all over the place, screws included. Put on several coats. Now the tricky part. I use Devcon with Titanium, strong enough for the magnums, it’ll work for a 22. Plus it sets up in 5 minutes, with a dough factor that makes cleanup a cinch. So with your barreled action ready to bed, mix the epoxy and here the trick, GET IT UNDER THE ACTION BLOCK. I place the stock at an angle fore-end down, and put a glob in the action area right ahead of the barrel channel. The angle keeps it from running back into the screw hole. That’s a really bugger to fix! Been there, done that, DON’T feel compelled to try it. TRUST ME, its miserable. This allows your new recoil lug to be filled. I remove the screw after 5-7 minutes and re-lube it with OIL. Then let the whole thing set over night, YOU WILL BE AMAZED