First produced by Ruger in 1964, the Ruger 10/22 semiautomatic 22 rifle has proven to be extremely popular with shooters. To date, more than 5 million have been produced. The first rimfire rifle I personally bought, was a Ruger 10/22. My buddy brought over the barrel from his 39 year old blued 10/22 (we happen to know the age because it is stamped “Made in the 200th year of American liberty” (below), which would be 1976).
He wanted to install a tuner on the end of it and the model he was looking at required a 1/2″x28 thread. While we were working on it, he also wanted to cut and crown the barrel to 16.5″.
This barrel was 18.5″ and equipped with iron sights from the factory. We will be cutting 2″ off the barrel, including the front sight base. This means the rear sight and rear sight dovetail are no longer needed, these will be filled with metal to blend with the rest of the barrel.
For this project, I ordered the following from Brownells:
- Dovetail slot blank
- Hi-Force 44 solder
- No. 4 Comet flux
- Lathe file
- Starrett electronic calipers
- Do-Drill cutting oil
- Cerakote ovencure ceramic coating
- 120 grit abrasive cloth
- 220 grit abrasive cloth
- Manson muzzle crown refacing kit
All lathe work is conducted on a Grizzly gunsmith’s lathe.
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The filler is cut longer than the dovetail, at least a .020″ overhang on each side. At this point a hammer with a polished face can be used to form the blank into the dovetail. While this process works great, I prefer to silver solder in my blanks. I think it is faster, however, if the barrel will be blued, the bluing will not take to the solder. Since this barrel will be Cerakoted, it isn’t a concern.
Once the barrel cools, the blank can be trimmed with files (above) and abrasive cloth. Since I’ll be threading it, I’ll trim it on the lathe. To see how the blank is shaped by hand, please see Filling a dovetail sight notch with a blank.
A hacksaw makes short work of cutting off the barrel. Note the front sight base on the Ruger 10/22 is machined into the barrel, this can’t be removed by pressure or heat. If you wanted to reuse it, it could be cut off, bored, then be soldered over a tenon on a barrel.
Because the barrel is tapered, it is mounted between centers on the lathe. If it was a straight profile, it could have simply been placed in a chuck through the headstock. While I could have shimmed this barrel to hold it in a chuck, or held it in a spider, I think mounting the barrel between centers is the prudent choice.
The blank is cut down on the lathe.
I use the lathe to cut the blank until it is a few thousandths proud of the barrel.
A lathe file ensures the surfaces are level. Remember, oil and files don’t mix. Make sure all oil is removed from the barrel before using a lathe file.
120 grit abrasive cloth and some Do-Drill cutting oil are used for the initial polishing. Note how well blended the dovetail blank is with the surrounding barrel (the blank is facing you in the photograph above).
Time to focus on threading the barrel. This barrel will be threaded 1/2″x28. I use a high-speed steel right hand insert profile tool from Brownells to cut the tenon. By convention, thread tenons are cut .002″ under size prior to threading. Since 1/2″ is .500″ as a decimal, (.500″-.002″=.498″) .498″ is the target diameter of the tenon.
I head back with the right hand insert profile tool and clean up the shoulder behind the threads.
The tuner adapter fits well.
The barrel needs a new crown since the current crown was cut with a hacksaw and had the lathe’s live center placed in it.
I don’t own any piloted form tools that fit 22 rimfires (everything I have is for centerfire cartridges). Because of this, I will be crowning the barrel using a Manson muzzle crown refacing kit. If I owned rimfire pilots, I would have simply crowned the barrel using a form tool when it was set up in the lathe.
The Manson muzzle crown refacing kit shown above, uses a spring loaded handle (top left) to drive carbide tipped cutters (top center and right). The cutters are held perpendicular to the bore with an expandable arbor (bottom).
The barrel is secured vertically in a Multi-Vise. The expandable arbor is inserted into the bore and tightened.
I’ll be using two different cutters, the flat, 90 degree cutter shown here, and the 11 degree tool.
The black handle is turned with one hand while the other places pressure on the grey body. The tool is lubricated with cutting oil.
The finished crown and threads look great! Once the barrel is coated in Cerakote, it will be ready for installation and the range.
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