How to Replace the Barrel on a 10/22 Rifle

Recently I embarked on a little project – I wanted to take a stock Ruger 10/22 rifle- complete with the woodish stock as shown above- and give it some cajones. Simply stated, my initial goal was to make it look as scary as Sen. Feinstein (in any decade) looks without her Joker makeup on. Ok, maybe not that scary but at least scary enough to make Double-Barrel Biden blow all 18 pellets.

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First step- find a distinctive barrel. I ordered one from McGowen in MT. It took awhile since they made it custom from a blank, but it is beautiful:

  • heavy contour .920 – heavier barrels can get hotter before they lash- i.e. Better accuracy
  • stainless to add an element of distinction
  • flutes cut  into barrel to conduct heat more efficiently
  • threaded end- for resale value, compensator use, maybe even adding an AR style flash hider someday
  • Note: If you plan to change a barrel and reuse an existing stock be advised that you may need to remove material from the old stock- especially if you switch to a heavy contour barrel.or buy a new stock-there are many options out there at many price points.
  • Also be advised that you must check the chamber headspace after removing or changing any rifle barrel. More on this later.

So once you have a barrel, verify that safety is on and clear (unload) the rifle. Once the weapon is clear disassemble the rifle. Even if you needed the link to the manual you should now have the trigger group and bolt removed from the receiver. Remove the barrel retention screws from the v-clamp as shown below:

Once the screws are removed the v-clamp should also come off easily. Now you’re almost there- you can remove the existing barrel by pulling it forward. It will probably be a tight fit (that’s good) so don’t be afraid to work at this a little (a vice is helpful for this). The barrel will slide out and you should have a stripped receiver as shown with the barrel at bottom of the photo.

Now for the easy part- slide the new barrel into the receiver. Align it into the receiver on the barrel shank as shown here:

A snug fit is what you’re looking for and the flat edge of the barrel should line up with the barrel retention screw housings. Now replace the v-clamp and those retention screws- Brownells says you can tighten the v-clamp down to 45in-lb of torque.

Now replace the bolt, buffer and trigger group and you have one very important task to complete before you continue reassembly:

Check the headspace

This is very important for safety any time you alter the barrel (and thus the chamber) of a rifle. If the chamber headspace is out of spec the firearm is not safe to operate. This includes the risk of a KB- aka detonation. Don’t take a foolish risk- buy or borrow a set of go/no-go gauges to check the chamber. You can also ask your local gunsmith to check a chamber for you but it may cost you as much as the gauges.

They work quite simply- the gun should chamber the go gauge and should not chamber the no-go gauge. If both those events occur you passed the chamber check! Congratulations- now you should be all set to install the receiver assembly into a stock. That stainless barrel is a nice look, isn’t it?


2 thoughts on “How to Replace the Barrel on a 10/22 Rifle

  1. Pingback: How to make your 10/22 look Scary (good) | kR-15: info and resources for firearms enthusiasts

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