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Can a Ruger 10 22 barrel be correctly lapped DIY?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by Headsawyer, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. Headsawyer

    Headsawyer New Member

    Sep 29, 2012
    i'm interested in the degree of accuracy enhancement, if any, that can be gained by lapping the barrel of a stock ruger 10 22. If its worth it, can the average sawmiller do the job himself at home?
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Senior Elder

    Dec 24, 2002
    From my contacts in the 10/22 world, the gains are with setting the barrel back to cut a clean close chamber, Benz, maybe; and working the bolt face to minimize excess headspace. I have not heard of lapping the barrel, but it may be being done someplace.
  3. Catshooter

    Catshooter Member

    Jun 20, 2003
    south east South Dakota

    I have fire-lapped one 22 in my years. A Marlin model 60 and it was very worth it.

    I've fire-lapped about twenty firearms over the years. In my experience it helps the most when there's a problem with the bore.

    An inexpensive firearm won't have the best barrel. Lapping something like a CZ, Glock, SIG unless it had some unusal issue wouldn't be worth it.

    Marlin, Kel-Tec and many S&Ws it can really make a difference.

    I've never even owned a 10/22, never looked down the bore so I can't tell if it could benifit from it.

    But I would think that someone who is a head sawyer has the mechanical apptitudes to do the job.

    Go for it. I've never seen it hurt anything, the worst was it didn't help any.

  4. hq

    hq Active Member

    May 24, 2011
    I've hand-lapped mine. Slight improvements in accuracy, less leading, slightly higher muzzle velocities. Worth it? Yes, but if there are no major issues with the barrel, you can get away with fire lapping. The easiest way to do it with waxed lead bullets like .22lr: get some powdered white clay (bolus alba), heat the tip of the bullet over a candle or lighter to melt the wax, dip it in powder, blow off excess (you want the bullet to look like it's been snorting coke :)) , chamber and fire. Five to ten rounds usually does the trick. This method is pretty much foolproof, very cheap and amazingly effective.

    Disclaimer: do NOT try this with jacketed bullets.
  5. 45_auto

    45_auto Senior Member

    Jan 3, 2011
    Southern Louisiana
    Go to Rimfire Central and ask on the 10/22 board. They go crazy with those things over there.

    My experience has been the same as Jim Watson's. A tight chamber and tight headspace will get you under .50" at 50 yards. Most quality aftermarket barrels come with a Bentz chamber (match chamber for a semi-auto, slightly larger overall than a regular minimum-dimension match chamber). I believe that setting the barrel back means that you need a new locking block, while the aftermarket barrels use the stock locking block.

    There are many people who will headspace your bolt if you don't want to do it yourself.

    I haven't seen any documented improvements by anyone lapping the barrel on a 10/22. Doesn't mean it won't help, but apparently it doesn't make a huge difference.
  6. mtrmn

    mtrmn Active Member

    Apr 22, 2011
    I've fire-lapped just about every centerfire rifle I own. In almost every case there was some improvement in accuracy and definitely decreased the amount of copper fouling. This was mostly on fairly new AR15 barrels that came in the cheapest parts kits I could get my hands on. Also a Winchester 94 30/30, a mini 14 and maybe a couple more I've forgotten over the years. Despite the opinions of many hand-wringers out there, I did not ruin any barrels and noticed improvements, some big and some slight, in almost all of them. In my opinion, you won't hurt anything and just may gain big.

    I hand lapped the mini14 with a lead slug and valve grinding compound. There were definitely tight spots in the barrel that smoothed out as I lapped it. The barrel didn't pick up copper fouling anymore, but NOTHING ever improved the accuracy of that gun. Do a internet search on fire-lapping and you'll get some good info, along with a lot of BS.
  7. Red Cent

    Red Cent Senior Member

    May 20, 2010
    McLeansville, NC by way of WV SASS 29170L
    I would probably save the barrel for last. The Ruger barrel is really a good barrel but as it has been noted here, the chamber is too loose. As is the headspace. The action and barrel is held by one action screw bearing on wood. The trigger leaves a lot to be desired.

    Adjustable sear and hammer kit and polish everything that touches. Might get a 3# trigger with no peerceptible creep and pretravel. Little pretravel is necessary to alllow reset of hammer/sear.
    Pillar bed action screw (Google is your friend)
    Anchor/bed rear of action
    Float the barrel
    Either have factory barrel faced and rechambered. This will "hold" the front of the case as it should. Or buy a barrel with a "match chamber"
    Note: If you are going to use the rifle in a "run and gun" competition, let it be. Makes it a little finicky but lends to good accuracy. A very tight=accurate chamber will not allow extraction easily. May have to fire the round sometimes.
    Fix the headspace. Factory is about .450-.452. Should be .425.
    Pin the firing pin in its groove. Requires it to hit the case at the same spot every time. 22 ammo finicky about this.
    install Over Travel stop.



    Careful the 10-22 is very addictive.
  8. Jim K

    Jim K Elder

    Dec 31, 2002
    " ... heat the tip of the bullet over a candle or lighter to melt the wax..."

    One hopes this is done carefully without the heat setting off the powder charge or priming.

  9. Slamfire

    Slamfire Mentor

    Dec 29, 2006
    The average 10/22 does not have a match barrel or chamber. Instead of lapping the barrel just get a drop in match version.
  10. PRD1

    PRD1 New Member

    Apr 24, 2008
    S.E. Arizona
    With regard to headspace...

    I think the previous poster slipped a decimal place. The minimum ('Go') headspace for the .22 RF is .043" (forty-three thousandths), and the maximum is .046". The factory headspace is set within the permissible range to operate satisfactorily with a wide range of ammunition types. Reducing the headspace to the minimum measurement (which I have done) in a match-conditioned 10-22 can improve accuracy, but reducing it below .043" introduces a slight possibility of slam-firing with maximum cartridge head thickness. The risk is, admittedly, slight, and minimized by the use of selected match-grade ammunition, but should be considered before reducing headspace below the minimum standard - and the half-thousandth difference will make no difference whatsoever in accuracy.
    As for lapping the barrel - it is my belief (as a barrel maker) that no lapping should ever be done on a finished and chambered barrel, and that any lapping done should be done (preferably by the maker) before the barrel is chambered and fitted, so that the inevitable (and uncontrolled) dimensional changes to the bore at both ends of the barrel can be eliminated in the chambering and crowning operations.
    PRD1 - mhb - Mike
  11. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Elder

    Jan 27, 2006
    West Tennessee
    This. Ruger doesn't make a bad barrel, they just cut sloppy chambers and sometimes don't do so well at cutting crowns. Many times a Ruger barrel modified in such a way will outshoot the less expensive aftermarket barrels.
  12. Red Cent

    Red Cent Senior Member

    May 20, 2010
    McLeansville, NC by way of WV SASS 29170L
    If you purchase from Kidd a CNC machined bolt from 4140 steel, it will be headspaced at .0425" . Kidd is highly recognized in Ruger 10-22 mods and accessories. The bolt will cost you $99.95. They sell some of the best trigger groups for the 10-22 ever. Their benchrest 2 stage is 3 oz/3oz. Close to $300.00.

    The 10-22 cottage industry is crawling with machinists that all say the correct headspace for the accurate rifle is .0425".


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