Ok, maybe you do not. But I do. And I might as well write about it while I do.
As regular readers are aware, Better Half and I are gearing up for attending our very first Appleseed shoot in a little over a month, and one of the prerequisites for those events is actually having a rifle. For the purposes of cheap and easy training, .22LR is the recommended caliber, and for the purposes of easy access to spare parts and modifications, Ruger’s 10/22 is the recommended platform (we are not really going to go into the hows and whys of that – just take it as given, or see here).
After shooting a variety of rifles, Better Half informed me that the governing requirement for her particular rifle was weight – specifically, it had to be as light as possible due to existing, unavoidable joint damage in her arms and shoulders. I toyed a little with the idea of building her one from the ground up, spec-ing each part for its weight, but then I remembered that Magnum Research produced their Magnum Lite series of 10/22 clones, and the rest, as they say, is history.
That still left me without an acceptable rifle, though; after receiving the Magnum Lite, I kind of wanted one of my own, and after shooting it, I really wanted one of my own, but we rationally concluded that having two exact duplicates was not really necessary (after all, aside from Appleseed, we can certainly share the little thing), so I decided to go an entirely different direction and try building something of my own.
So here were the operational constraints:
1. Budget of $630. This is tremendously more than you "need" to spend on a Liberty Training Rifle, but that is what Better Half’s version ended up costing (not counting the scope, scope rings, sling, sling loops, tax, or shipping), so I figured it was only fair. But, honestly, all you really "need" is a $210 off-the-shelf blued-and-wood Ruger 10/22, and you will be set, so do not let my toy-shopping intimidate you*.
2. Part commonality with Better Half’s rifle. In other words, I had to stick to the general 10/22 design. A group or a family all using the same rifle only makes sense – you can draw from the same magazine pool, any spare parts will work in all the guns, and you all know more-or-less how the guns function.
3. It has to be something I can assemble. I wanted to put this gun together from its component parts from the ground up, but I want to be the one doing the work, rather than dumping a bucket of parts off at my local gunsmith and waiting weeks/months for his backlog to clear. Not to mention this is the first time I have assembled my own 10/22, and after putting together an AR-15 lower, how bad can it be?
And that was about it. So, sure, I could have gone with the aforementioned bone-stock 10/22, but then where would be the fun in that?
So, as we progress through this post series, we will examine each of the key elements of a 10/22s construction, my motivations for choosing what I did, and, finally, how to put it all together into something resembling a functional firearm. I would stress that I am not a gunsmith of any caliber and that I am only writing this because people have told me it might be interesting; if you screw up your gun or hurt yourself by following my advice/instructions, it is on your head. Take this series as a starting point, do your own research, and see if you can figure out what I said that was wrong, because I am sure there will be something.
(* – Note: as I go through the build process and start listing off everything I purchased, you may notice that the prices you see add up to far more than $630; I can promise you that I only spent $627.78. How did I manage this? I cheated. To begin with, I have a Curio and Relic FFL, which grants me access to "dealer" prices at Brownells (that FFL has paid for itself at least ten times over by now), and I also waited until Brownells ran one of their "$30 off $300" promotions and very carefully split my orders up to exploit that as much as I could. I am not even going to guess what my final product would have cost at full sticker value, but I am going to guess "more than my budget" is a good start.)
(Obligatory middle finger to the FTC: I purchased all of the various bits and pieces that will be used in the course of this series of posts with my very own money; the only discount I received on those parts was due to the aforementioned Type 03 FFL which I also paid for with my very own money. As always, I am going to write whatever the hell I want to write about the products I write about, but this time around, you can piss off and find someone else to harass (or, you know, stop wasting my tax money harassing webloggers in general).)