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10/22 Liberty Training Rifles -- Good for Appleseed AND for your budget!

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    Active Member
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    Aug 15, 2008
    Clear Lake
    As the cost of military surplus and new-production ammunition rises, and while supplies of the same are (at best) unreliable, many Appleseed instructors and attendees have noted a need for a cost-effective means of practicing marksmanship, especially at 25 meters. To this end, we have conducted extensive research and testing of many currently available products.
    The following is a summarization of our findings and experiences in the development of the Ruger 10/22® Liberty Training Rifle.

    The Appleseed Program promotes rifle safety and marksmanship, as well as knowledge of Revolutionary War history and grass-roots participation in the political process, especially as this relates to the preservation of the Second Amendment. Thousands of satisfied Appleseed attendees have proven that the marksmanship principles that the Appleseed Program teaches at 25m translate into accurate shooting at up to 500 yards.

    Unfortunately, the rising cost of ammunition has hindered the participation of some Americans in marksmanship activities. Proficient marksmanship requires regular practice, though not necessarily at full-distance. Practice at 25 meters, fortunately, does not require a full-power centerfire battle rifle; for this distance, a .22LR rimfire rifle is all that is required. Moreover, many indoor ranges do not allow the use of full-power rifles, but .22LR rifles are permitted.

    There are several accurate and durable .22LR rifles on the market today, but the Ruger 10/22 has proven one of the most successful. It is both affordable and accurate, and several aftermarket accessories have been shown to make it an ideal platform for a 25m training rifle. The components listed in this thread should not require any gunsmithing, and little mechanical aptitude is required to install them. In short, this is a true ‘do-it-yourself’ project.

    This should help you build a rifle that can quickly be put into service at an Appleseed, be lent to someone at a local AQT shoot, and be used to practice at 25m (or even use in 25 & 50 yard CMP rifle competitions) - all with cheap .22LR ammunition. Also, it will give you a valuable tool to use to train new shooters, without subjecting them to the often-intimidating recoil of a full-power main battle rifle.

    Which 10/22 should I use to get started? -- There are a lot of options: rifles, carbines, heavy-barrelled target rifles, even receivers that allow one to build a complete rifle with custom components. One of the most-popular options for many adult shooters is a 22” barreled rifle from WalMart, available for just over $200. Small-framed adults and children may prefer the slightly smaller 10/22 Carbine. Any 10/22 is a good starting point for your Liberty Trainer.

    Okay, I’ve got my rifle. Now what? – The Ruger factory sights are not suited to fine adjustments. Fortunately, Tech-Sights ( produces several adjustable aperture sights for the 10/22. These sights allow simple adjustment for windage and elevation (windage adjustment requires the use of an AR-15 sight adjustment tool – also available from Tech-Sights). [For those of you who would like to be able to quickly and easily adjust windage on the Tech-Sight, DPMS offers the Rapidex knob, which replaces the standard, must-use-a-tool A1 windage drum (Part# UR-3981, $9). ]
    On the 22 inch barrel rifle, each click of windage or elevation is .8 MOA. For most standard carbine barrels one click = 1 MOA (at least close enough for practical applications).

    So why do I want Tech-Sights instead of some other sights? – You’re free to add whatever type of aftermarket sights you like, BUT the sight picture the Tech-Sights give you is very similar to the sight picture of the Springield M1A and the AR-15 rifles. Since these types of rifles are the ones many shooters use when shooting at full-distance, it just makes sense to use 10/22 sights that replicate the sights of their long-distance rifles. Plus, they are easier to adjust than many other types of sights are.
    Williams are an alternative aperture-type sight, but do not give a sight picture as similar to your main rifle’s as the Tech-Sights do.

    How do you take the original front sight off of the barrel? – One of our satisfied shooters says this much better than I can: “I laid the barrel on a piece of 2X4, put the punch on the left side of the sight down on the dovetail part of the front sight blade (not the base) and smacked it with a hammer two or three times. On my 10/22 the dovetail in the front sight base was a lot larger than the new Tech front sight. I had to use a center punch to raise up little dimples in the front sight base dovetail to keep the Tech sight from falling out every time I turned the barrel over... remember to use Locktite on the screws as they will come loose.”
    The front sight is actually made to go in and be removed from one side. When installing sights, install from right to left. When uninstalling(removing) sights, remove from left to right.

    What other parts should I add to my Liberty Trainer?

    1) A sling is a tremendous aid to accurate shooting, often improving group size by 50% or more. If your 10/22 has sling swivels already, you’re ahead of the game. If not, you need to add a pair.
    Most Ruger factory sling swivels will not accommodate aftermarket sling swivels (the holes are a little too narrow). If you want to add the same sling that you have on your long-distance rifle, you’ll need to add a pair of 1¼ “ sling swivels (like those available from Uncle Mike’s) so that you can mount a US GI 1¼“ web sling.
    You may have to use a drill or Dremel tool to widen the sling swivel holes very slightly. This should be the only time you’ll use a power tool during this project.

    2) As it comes from the factory, releasing the 10/22 bolt from the locked-back position is a 2-handed operation, and is especially inconvenient when you’re firing from the prone position. The good news is, an aftermarket automatic bolt release only casts about $11 and is easy to install.
    The CST Auto Bolt Stop ( requires the use of specially modified magazines (using non-modified mags in a CST-equipped rifle may potentially damage the mechanism). Since the goal of this trainer is to get you out to the range (and not into the machine shop), you’ll probably be happier with one of the devices that doesn’t require you to modify your magazines.

    3) The 10/22 magazine release is also difficult to manipulate. Without a doubt, an extended magazine release (the most popular cost about $5-$10) makes magazine changes faster. If your primary MBR is an M1A, the Bell and Carlson release is very similar in length to that of your MBR.

    4) Many shooters report improved performance after installing target triggers in their 10/22 Trainers, and while this is not absolutely necessary, it does provide for improved accuracy due to lightening the trigger pull.

    There are quite a few magazines available for the 10/22. Which magazines are the best? -- Butler Creek produces some well-regarded 10 round single-stack magazines which extend about 2 inches below the rifle, allowing a convenient grip for more-rapid magazine changes. Their Steel Lips magazines have proven to be nearly as durable as Ruger’s factory magazines. If you’re an M1A shooter, the Butler Creek 25-round magazines can be loaded with 20 rounds to simulate the M1A’s 20 round mags.
    A device that allows you to attach 2 or 4 factory 10/22 magazines by their bases is a available from

    Is there any special modifications that are recommended for my ‘WalMart 10/22’? -- The only real difference between the standard receiver and the WalMart 22" version is that the WalMart receiver is painted both inside and out. This leads to rough operation and early fouling as the oil, powder, and rubbed off paint mix to form glop, (the technical term). If you strip the paint from the inside, just the top part, where the bolt and bolt handle rub, and polish the area with very fine sandpaper, you’ll find that the bolt is very much slicker to operate.
    The standard black receiver should be fine, as they don't paint the inside of those.

    Any other tips on constructing my 10/22 Liberty Trainer?
    1) “I've done a couple of these and in both cases I went back to the OEM Ruger trigger return spring. I found that the lighter Volquartsen spring will occasionally just not quite reset the sear. use the Volquartsen hammer spring, but stick with the factory Ruger trigger return spring. That's where mine is, with a decent 3-1/2 lb. trigger and 100% trigger reset reliability thus far.”

    2) “You might want to consider fully bedding the barrel instead of free floating it. The 10/22 has a somewhat weak connection point between the barrel and the receiver. Free floating reportedly can lead to some POA/ POI and warping issues. On the other had, those who have firmly bedded it report exceptional accuracy gains. I know this sounds anti-intuitive, but this gun seems to prefer bedding vs. floating.”

    I really don’t know how to disassemble my rifle to install these parts – No problem. There are some valuable resources available at . As a bonus,
    this link ( shows you how to disassemble a factory magazine for cleaning.

    I’d like an adjustable stock, so shooters of all sizes can use my rifle – Several shooters have recommended 2 adjustable stocks: the Christie Super Stock ( and the T6 Stock for Ruger 10/22 (

    Now get out to the range! And take some new shooters with you.


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    Nov 11, 2008
    Deep in the Heart of Texas
    Good post! Thanks. I've got a 10-22 that I've had for a long time - bought it used from the pawn shop and basically used the receiver to make a new rifle - hogue stock, buttler creek graphite barrel - put a 4x Nikon rimfire scope on it. Nice rig. Have some 30 rounders and a loader for it too.

    Weighs next to nothing and shoots great.
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