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Okay, here's a challenge. I think I'm going over to the dark side and have decided that since everyone else modifies the heck out of their 10/22's, I need to do one, too.

Here's the problem, though. I like "old school" looking rifles. Walnut stocks, not tacticool. So, what I'd like to do is upgrade a 10/22 so it works better, but still looks like a classic rifle. (Am not making a target rifle. I have a backyard range with different targets and things to shoot at).

Stock: I really want walnut wood stock, and not a thumbhole stock. If I have to, I'll just get a Ruger Walnut sporter stock, but if anyone knows of any traditional looking wood stocks, let me know. If I can't find the right wood stock, though, I might want to go with a Hogue over molded, or something similar.

Barrel: I think I want to stay with a tapered barrel, but it there are barrels out there that shoot better, I'm open to suggestions. Blued or stainless? Either would be good, I guess.

Trigger: How about a drop in assembly? Timney? Volquartsen? Kidd? What do you recommend?

Bolt buffer? Want one that works, but will last a long time.

Magazine release: I have a question about this. I see a lot of posts about extended mag releases. Am I missing something here? To me the stock one works great. It's right there to toggle with my index finger, but still short enough that it is not in the way.

Sights/Optics: I think I would like to stay with open sights, but would also be receptive to scope recommendations. No red dots, or anything tactical. Fiber optic? Ghost ring? Really open to suggestions.

Looking forward to some ideas!
 

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If you're old school like me, a walnut stock is the way to go. Shop around for used walnut stocks, either an original walnut carbine stock or a Sporter. Lots of folks have these leftover after a rebuild. Have found them in pawn shops and gun shops and I'm sure you could find one on E-bay.

I used the Kidd trigger kit on my carbine and it was the best $90 I could have spent.

A very nice setup for iron sights is a Williams peep set for the 10/22. Has a nice fiber optic front that goes with the peep. Fun and easy sights to use.
 

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Well if you don't have a 10/22 to build yet I'd suggest buying one (new or used) that already has a walnut stock. Otherwise as NC Gal pointed out check your local shops or eBay.

Blued or stainless comes down to personal prefferance.

For the trigger if you're really looking to do an old school build and are handy you can always install a spring kit along with a little hone and polish work on the hammer/sear. Maybe toss in a shim kit while you're at it.

Older 10/22s came with a flush mounted mag release that was kind of a PITA to use. Newer models have a slightly extended release. If you're happy with the one you have, keep it:)
 

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Stock: I really want walnut wood stock, and not a thumbhole stock. If I have to, I'll just get a Ruger Walnut sporter stock, but if anyone knows of any traditional looking wood stocks, let me know. If I can't find the right wood stock, though, I might want to go with a Hogue over molded, or something similar.
Try and find a stock from one of the "Classic" model 10/22's that TALO has made available the last few years. They're traditional in the style and use nicer walnut. I have a few I've done builds on based around these stocks for that same "old school" style.

Barrel: I think I want to stay with a tapered barrel, but it there are barrels out there that shoot better, I'm open to suggestions. Blued or stainless? Either would be good, I guess.
Look at those from Green Mt and ER Shaw. I've used them both and have gotten fantastic results from both. All did require a very slight amount of sanding the barrel channel to allow proper fit as they are a bit larger dimensionally than the standard factory carbine barrel.

Trigger: How about a drop in assembly? Timney? Volquartsen? Kidd? What do you recommend?
Unless you're gonna go all-out on the rest of the build, you'll never really use these to their full potential. As an informal backyard shooter, you'd be just fine with one of the DIY kits, likely even just a simply hammer change. However, I would certainly recommend the Kidd kit as it is as good as one can get with the kits. I prefer mine over the full VQ assembly. Drawback there is the Kidd kit is made with tolerances that suit the polymer housing best as it too is made with tighter tolerances than the older alloy ones. The Kidd kit is hit or miss with the alloy ones as far as being a straight drop-in. For what your needs are told as being, I gotta believe just the simple hammer change would be more than sufficient.

Bolt buffer? Want one that works, but will last a long time.
Whatever one is available from whatever company you're order other stuff from, go with it. No real discernible difference between them all and it's more of a feel-good thing than a true necessity.

Magazine release: I have a question about this. I see a lot of posts about extended mag releases. Am I missing something here? To me the stock one works great. It's right there to toggle with my index finger, but still short enough that it is not in the way.
It's all personal preference with these but being an "old school" style build, I'd stick with a flat, unobtrusive style as the older ones used to have.

Sights/Optics: I think I would like to stay with open sights, but would also be receptive to scope recommendations. No red dots, or anything tactical. Fiber optic? Ghost ring? Really open to suggestions.
Well, again, to me if it's to really be "old school" the optics should follow suit so to me, that means Weaver 4x or something along that older Weaver style. Nothing flashy or too modern (red dots, fiber optics, etc)

Now all this being said, here's a few "old school" builds I've done. A couple others are not photographed and another one in mid-progress makes the term "old school" a bit more true to form. Pics & details on that will have to wait. ;)


A "father - son" set I build for me and my son. Identical with the exception of his having a slightly shorter bbl. Both use GM barrels and Burris optics.

 

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73 has good ideas imo...I have seen the Talo stocks on ebay...NOT CHEAP...

You can get a NIB factory deluxe sporter at full retail for $134...

I have a mint condition one that I was very tempted to sell but in the end decided to keep it and modify it...already channeled it for a .920 bull barrel...but if I would have sold it I would have sold the stock with sling and the original barrel (also mint) all together in the original box (1999) for $100 plus shipping...no way would I have sold them separately or for less than that...

The DSP stock is very nice but I would rather the Talo shown above for something 'special' and 'old school'...

The Williams Peep/fire-sight RU-22 set will come with a .093 aperture...the ring w/o the aperture insert is too big for a good ghost ring...however, for a nice ghost ring get the .150 'twilight' insert for that set...

It does require a matching front post height that is a little higher (nice for comfort imo)...so you cannot use the factory front post...

YOU CAN GET A WILLIAMS 'GOLD' DOT front post to match that set instead of the fiber optic which will look identical to the factory post only the correct height...

Also...while the fiber optic post is nice for fast acquisition IMO it would ruin the 'old school' look and having had one myself and liked it...it is not a precision target sight and I consider it to be 'tactical' and tactical looking...and as much as I like practical/tactical for plinking and fast shooting and shtf applications...for the most part tactical strikes me as tacki... :D

Having said that...if I was going to have a fiber optic front post with a Williams RU-22 rear peep I would get the Williams fiber optic ghost ring to match...gives you two horizontal fiber dots for elevation in the rear and one on the front post...very low profile...clean...effective...and very tactical imo...

Note that with the Williams RU-22 rear peep you will not easily have a scope rail mounted to the receiver...

If you wanted BOTH then Williams has the ACE in the Hole...

However...IMO...the ace in the hole scope rail being multi-slotted will kill the 'old school' look and add a 'tactical' element...

If all your shooting is 60 yards or less...I would suggest getting a 1-4x20 scope mounted with Weaver (brand) LOW rings on a Weaver TO-9 rail...

Then if you go with a GM tapered barrel like 73 has with no front post it will be clean as hell with the lowest mounted and most old school looking scope you could have...

With 1 or 2x minimum magnification you won't miss the iron sights at all...and it will stay light weight and relatively low/sleek profile...and with the lowest possible mounting you can get by without adding a cheek rest and still be comfortable...

On that note... I took a set of Leupold Rifleman Low rings and machined them such that I could mount them directly on the receiver with no rail....you cannot put a scope any lower eye level than that...and if I were doing what you are saying I would go that route...but that is me...and I have the stuff to make those for myself...any good gunsmith could certainly do it...however, probably NOT worth the money all things considered...

Although I don't have the Kidd kit if I had a polymer trigger group starting from scratch I would get it...

Another option that I would do without hesitation is similar parts from Power Custom and/or VQ I have those and have a 1999 aluminum trigger group...

I did have the VQ hammer alone at first and while it makes a big difference cutting the pull in half and putting it right at 3.5 lbs (perfect for me)...

However, it is way, way, way better with the PC adjustable sear and post travel stop that I added later...

Were I to do it over again I would get the Kidd but not for the Kidd I would get the PC adjustable sear/hammer kit for $70...and again like before drill/tap my factory trigger for a 4mm x 8mm set screw...

Fact is while the reduced pull is quite nice...if I had to choose between the factory pull with the pre and post travel reduced to minimum or the lighter pull with lots of travel I choose to remove the extra travel...this may not be as much of a problem on the newer polymer triggers...IDK...but I know I rather have less slop and harder pull than vice verse...

In fact...you can take your factory trigger now and see how far it travels after the hammer is released and then drill/tap it for post travel stop...take the slop out...see how you like it...very easily done...4mm x 8mm is ideal for the aluminum trigger group imo...not sure about the plastic but I am sure it wold be fine...

Sounds like you have a polymer trigger since you have the extended mag release...mine is old and it was flush...I bought an aluminum (TI) paddle mag release for it...hated it...also hated fiddling with the flush one...but LOVED the flush bottom otherwise...so I returned to the factory flush one...almost got the new factory one...so you are right IMO...the one you have is very good...

However...the lever release is worth every penny you pay for it...works fabulously...nice and flush...and they are somewhat 'old school' looking imo...regardless of if you agree about old school they look, feel and work GREAT...

I have the PC but think the Kidd is the nicest I have seen...

Last thing on the barrel...you can send it to Q for re-chambering for less than a new barrel...not saying you should just letting you know it is a lower cost option over an aftermarket tapered barrel...and he can also rework your bolt for less than a new one too...
 

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I was fortunate to grab the stocks early when they were very affordable (not eBay ;) ) These above are I believe French Walnut. A third I had to return as it arrived with a crack. That one had fantastic grain/figure.
Will try and get pics of the other "old school" ones that are completed a bit later. Maybe give you some ideas.
 
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