Say Hello to Libby.

So about a week ago I asked r/guns to help me pick out a Ruger 10/22 variant that would best meet the basic needs of an Appleseed shoot happening in my area in December.

The thread is here.

In addition to saving me $120 on the gun by encouraging me not to bother with the Takedown version, Gunnit recommended a series of immediate enhancements and modifications I should plan to make right out of the gate.

They were:

1) Tech Sights.
2) A replacement hammer to help reduce the high factory trigger pull.
3) A sling.

So, I took Gunnit at its word.  Say Hello to Libby.

Here's a step-by-step walkthrough of what I did, case someone else wants similar instructions.

First: I bought the rifle at Academy Sports.  It cost me $210ish, with tax.  Any big-box with a gun counter is your best bet for a cheap, commonly available rifle like this.

I hit up the Tech Sights website and ordered the TSR100 ($65). I'm familiar with the back-and-forth leaf apertures of an AR 15, so I decided to keep that tradition on this gun.

Then, I went to Midway USA.   There I found:

A basic two-point sling ($7).

the Power Custom Hammer replacement ($31)

And the Blackhawk Sling swivel kit for the 10/22 ($14)

I also ordered a set of three 10rd Ruger magazines ($12ish a piece), but they were back ordered and shipped separately.


Rifle: $210
Tech Sights: $65
Midway parts: $56 (with shipping)
Midway Magazines: $42 (with shipping).

Total: Approximately $375
I ordered the parts on a Monday, and purchased the Rifle that evening.  On Thursday, the parts arrived, and I set out to do the mods.  I was tempted to race the daylight and try to get to the range that afternoon, but I decided to take my time and do the job as well as possible instead.

I started by by taking the rifle apart so I could put the stock in my vice easier, then set about installing the sling swivels.  Despite having the barrel band on my carbine, I decided to go ahead and install the front swivel, because I might make some changes to the front of the stock eventually, and I want to have some options.

I installed the front swivel just in front of the barrel band, since I wanted the sling mount point as far forward as possible.  This creates a bit of a hassle getting the barrel band on and off, but it's flexible enough to manage. 

I marked the locations where I would be drilling for the sling with a sharpie, first, and if I had been smart I would have done the smaller drilling first, then come back to countersink so the countersinks would be centered.  Really though, this isn't meant to be artwork, it's a workhorse, and she wound up looking just fine regardless.

While I had it available, I sanded down the inside of the stock a bit to prepare for potentially doing a thorough free-floating later on.

When I was done with the sling, I moved on to the hammer.  I don't have much of a head for mechanisms, so I'm always afraid I'll take apart anything with fiddly-bits in such a way as I don't know how to put them back together.  I hunted up a couple of youtube videos and watched guys take apart and re-assemble the mechanism before I attempted it myself.  I relied primarily on the Brownell's walkthrough of the install of the power custom part I had purchased, and this very similar Volquartsen install walkthrough.:

Note: the bushings don't quite work the same, and you might worry yourself if you start with the Volquartsen one but are using the Power Custom.   However, the Vol one does a better job of warning you to be ready for the spring that loads the ejector pin, so watch both before you get started if you're a newbie.

All in all, it was SUPER easy to do this mod.  It took me longer to watch both videos than it did to actually do the part-swap, and everything went back together just fine with no complaints.   All I replaced was the hammer, but I saved the reset and hammer springs from the kit in case I want to add them later.  Honestly I'm not sure I would want the trigger pull much lighter than it is now.

Everything dropped in fine, and operated just fine through the dry fire sequence. 

Last but definitely not least: I installed the Tech sights. That meant removing the factor sights first.  I had been warned that getting the factory sights off was a hassle, and those warnings were absolutely warranted.   The front sight was a beast, and was still actually easier for me to remove than the rear sight (removed simply because I don't like purposeless things).   I wound up completely destroying the flip-up portion of the rear sight before I got the base to budge.

But finally, that was done, and the tech sights were dropped in.  I didn't have any thread locker at the house at the time, so they're all screwed in place dry for now, I'll come back and remount things once I have some (probably next week) and put everything solidly in place.

Post Range Note: Make sure you have Loctite on hand before you install the tech sites, otherwise you'll just wind up reinstalling them anyway.   The rear sights freed themselves from the receiver no less than three times during my 200 rounds at the range.

All told, I spend about 2.5 hours on the sling, the sanding, the sights, and the hammer job.  That was largely due to going slow and double-checking my steps as I went.

So, that's it.  There's a walkthrough of the top recommended improvements to the rifle, the things I learned along the way, and the time investment it takes.

The next day I took it to the range and it did OK.  It didn't care for federal value pack 22 much (3 failures in 100 rounds) but it did just fine with the 60 rounds of CCI mini-mag I put through it.  I bought a 1600 round canister of that on the way home from the range (as well as some thread locker), and that should last me for a while.

Friday, November 02, 2012