Steel Challenge Rimfire Rifle Optic Project Gun

I picked up a used 10/22 with the black receiver and got to work taking it apart. The receiver and bolt looked good so I took everything else off. I ordered the lightest barrel I could find: the outstanding Volquartsen Ultralight.

This barrel has a steel core and a carbon fiber sleeve to dampen harmonics and maintain a bull diameter. It is every bit as accurate as my E.B. Shaw but at less than half the weight. With no muzzle device this barrel weighs just under one pound. The down side is that it costs about $300.00, which makes it by far the most expensive component of this build. I considered a few other options but in the end I felt that the Ultralight was worth the price.

While waiting for the barrel I ordered the Kidd trigger kit, which seemed too good to be true in reading the specs. A drop-in hammer, trigger/sear, disconnector, and springs for just over $100 that yielded a perfect 2 lb. trigger? I wouldn’t believe it until I saw it…which I did! There is virtually no takeup, no overtravel, and no reset. It’s like a touch screen. Just amazing. The fine folks at Kidd deserve a lot of credit for a brilliant design and execution, which also includes a nice wide trigger shoe. Bravo!

The next step was to decide on a stock. This project was prompted when I won a Hogue 10/22 thumbhole stock off a prize table. Ironically I realized that for Steel Challenge, the Hogue stock was really too heavy, weighing almost the same as the factory 2.5 lb. stock. There are many options on the market due to the immense popularity of the 10/22 but my ultimate decision was based on weight.

The Blackhawk Axiom stock is unusual in several aspects. It’s very light (just over a pound), it has a pistol grip, an adjustable butt stock, a forend with a large gap between it and the barrel, and the overall feel of a Nerf gun. As a smaller shooter, I feel the LoP is perfect, but I’ve had numerous people say it’s just too small, even extended. Also the grip has a small circumference. Again, this is perfect for me but many will find it too small.

After installing the barrel, trigger kit, and receiver, I realized I had a winner. I added a CMore Railway with 8moa dot and a cheap aluminum muzzle brake (to help the timer pick up shots) and I was ready to go. The CMore on a Picatinny rail is the perfect height and after figuring out how to actually shoulder the gun I was ready to shoot some Steel Challenge.

The shooting technique I have found works best is to keep the butt stock just below my right cheek and hold the gun nearly perpendicular to my torso, i.e., body almost square to the back berm. Bottom tip of the stock always starts in the same spot about 3″ below my clavicle. In the high-speed game of Steel Challenge, it’s all about repeatability and that starts with indexing.

I got this beauty ready by the first SC match of the season and was able to work my way up to A class in RFRO Division by the end of 2018. This division has become the most popular and the most competitive in our area so I’m still usually finishing mid-pack but it’s a great gun for the job. Carrying it around on a cart is easy obviously but most times I just kept it in a 35″ Bulldog Tactical soft case because it was so light. Best of all: I don’t see anything I would change for 2019.

Say hello to “Sunshine”!

About William Daugherty

William Daugherty is a firearms enthusiast, competitive shooter and Second Amendment advocate living in the Upper Connecticut River Valley region of Northern New England.
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