Ruger’s 10/22 is likely the single most popular rifle action in competition across the multitude of .22 LR disciplines, especially among those that require rapid fire in a variety of positions. A few inexpensive maintenance tools specific to the 10/22 significantly ease disassembly and reassembly—and prevent lost springs, plungers and tempers.
Semi-automatics used in competitive shooting can get dirty—really dirty—and they need frequent disassembly for cleaning to keep them operating reliably. Though the Ruger 10/22 is one of the simplest semi-automatic rimfire rifles to field strip, it does have a few design foibles that seem to require a third hand or esoteric knowledge to get it apart and back together again. And, as with any firearm, springs and plungers can fly out and disappear when using an inadequate tool, rendering the firearm unusable until replacement parts arrive—parts that may also fly off and disappear to join their brethren. Let’s look at a couple of tools offered by .22 LR accessories guru Tandemkross that help make taking apart and reassembling the Ruger 10/22 a whole lot less frustrating.
First up is a device so simple that the maker apparently decided it should do more than just one job. The Gunsmither 10/22 Bolt Bar and Extractor Tool is a piece of bent aluminum bar used to ease reinstallation of the bolt by depressing the bolt handle and spring assembly and holding it in place until you can drop the bolt back in.
To use, invert the receiver as usual when reassembling, drop in the bolt handle and spring assembly, depress the spring with the Bolt Bar tool, drop the bolt into place at the rear, push down firmly on the bolt and slowly withdraw the tool. The bolt handle will snap into its recess in the bolt. Because the tool is aluminum, it won’t gouge the aluminum 10/22 receiver.
Job number two of the tool is to help remove and reinstall the 10/22’s extractor without losing the spring and plunger. There are two pins on the edge of the tool; insert the front pin between the extractor and plunger face, pull back against the extractor spring and lock the other pin against the back of the bolt. The tool keeps the spring compressed while you remove the extractor and then ease pressure off the spring to remove spring and plunger. Use it the same way to reinstall the spring, plunger and extractor.
It normally isn’t necessary to break down the 10/22 trigger assembly for routine cleaning; often, a spray cleaner followed by a few drops of lubricant will suffice for years. But the high volume of cartridges fired through a competition 10/22, coupled with the requirement for flawless reliability and consistent trigger pull, necessitates occasional detail stripping and cleaning of the trigger guard assembly.
Most folks hesitate to mess with taking apart any trigger assembly, often because of past bad experience. However, the 10/22’s trigger guard assembly is comparatively simple, once you know a slave pin is a necessary “third hand” to ease its reassembly.
Tandemkross’s Gunsmither Safety Tool is actually three separate tools that assist in retaining the spring and plunger when removing and reinstalling the 10/22 safety button, to remove and reinstall the trigger guard pins, and remove/reinstall the disconnector pin. The latter is where the Safety Tool’s slave pin comes in, and it will improve your quality of life in avoiding bafflement and frustration when reassembling the unit. Like the Bolt Bar and Extractor Tool, the Safety Tool really works and makes working with the Ruger’s trigger guard assembly a whole lot easier.
Gunsmither Tools is the maker of these unique 10/22 tools, but you’ll save 20 to 25 percent when you purchase them from Tandemkross instead. That may seem odd, but that’s capitalism. Detailed written instructions accompany the tools; Gunsmither Tools’ illustrations are hand-drawn but usable. For Millennials, video instructions are available at the Tandemkross website.
If you put a lot of rounds through your competition 10/22, or even weekend bricks through your plinker 10/22, at $12.95 for the Bolt Bar and Extractor Tool and $14.99 for the Safety Tool, these inexpensive accessories will save you some frustration while maintaining your 10/22 in top condition.
See more: Review: Ruger Custom Shop 10/22 Rifles