Head-to-Head: NEW Ruger Competition 10/22 vs. Custom 10/22 Build

If “high-end 10/22” sounds like a contradiction in terms, you’re not alone. Ruger’s legendary plinker has been a mainstay of gun safes for decades, but any old-timer will tell you that dressing up a 10/22 is kind of like putting custom wheels on your faithful old pickup. You love that truck, but those rims make it look like you’re compensating for something.

But welcome to 2019! Donald Trump is president, the economy is great, and people are spending more than $1000 on a semi-automatic rifle chambered in .22 LR.

Personally, I love this brave new world. Super-accurate .22’s are fun, plain and simple. Plus, they’re cheap to shoot, so even though you’re never telling your wife how much you spent on that barrel, you’re happy to report that you only dropped $30 on that Bucket O’ Bullets you burned through last weekend.

Ruger, at long last, has taken notice of the aftermarket 10/22 world and late last year the company’s new Custom Shop put together the 10/22 Competition Rifle. It’s a sweet shooter and it comes with all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a premium .22 firearm.

But how does it stack up against a custom build? That’s the question I wanted to answer so I reached out to one of my gun buddies who owns one. Before we get down to the nitty-gritty, you should know a few things about Ruger’s new Competition 10/22.

Specifications

Ruger’s new Custom Shop also offers an SR1911 Competition pistol.

Caliber: 22 LR
Stock: Speckled Black / Gray Laminate
Sights: None – Optics-Ready, 30 MOA Picatinny Rail
Material: Aluminum
Capacity: 10
Twist: 1:16” RH
Finish: Hard-Coat Anodized Black
Length of Pull: 13.50”
Overall Length: 36”
Barrel Length: 16.12”
Weight: 6 lbs.
Grooves: 6
Suggested Retail: $899.00

Features

The Competition 10/22 is loaded with features, all designed to improve accuracy and shootability.

You can find the full list of features here, but I wanted to highlight a few that stood out to me.

The stock is great. It’s laminate and speckled with an attractive, not-too-rough texturing. The comb can be adjusted both horizontally and vertically with a small latch located on the right side of the firearm. While an adjustable stock is less necessary on a 10/22 than a long-range shooter, it’s still handy to get a solid cheek weld no matter the shooting position.

Ruger’s engineers rounded the fore-end and cut grooves along both sides, which reduces the bulk as compared to Magpul’s Hunter stock. The butt also uses a more traditional profile, and while I’m partial to the squared tactical stocks so popular these days, Ruger’s design maintains the simple usability we’ve come to love in the 10/22.

The fore-end is rounded and grooved.

The comb can be adjusted both vertically and horizontally with a simple latch.

Moving to the other point of contact between the shooter and the gun, the trigger has been lightened with Ruger’s aftermarket BX-Trigger, but it isn’t much of an improvement over the standard 10/22 model.

I had the opportunity last summer to build a 10/22 using Brownell’s BRN-22 receiver, and I opted for the basic trigger assembly. Comparing the two triggers side by side, the BX-Trigger is roughly three pounds lighter – 2 pounds on the BX versus 5 pounds on the standard – but the enhanced trigger doesn’t make any noticeable improvements on crispness, pre-travel, or over-travel.

Like the standard model, the BX has the slightest bit of takeup before a semi-clean break. There is virtually no over-travel, and the reset *click* is small (both in terms of volume and feel) but noticeable.

The trigger isn’t bad by any means. But while a lighter trigger helps with precision work, a crisp break is, in my opinion, even more important. I expected a more obviously superior trigger on this Competition Rifle from the Custom Shop, and while it’ll get the job done, serious competitors might consider a premium aftermarket trigger or a trigger job from a reputable gunsmith.

Ruger also included an extended mag release lever, which is a popular aftermarket modification.

The action, on the other hand, is noticeably superior. The bolt is heat and nitride-treated and I found it to be both tight-fitting and buttery smooth. The receiver is also improved over a standard 10/22. It features two bedding lugs to ensure a secure fit, a 30-MOA Picatinny rail, and a hole in the rear of the receiver to allow access to the bore.

The 16-1/8” barrel is also an improvement. It’s fluted to reduce weight and cold hammer-forged. It also comes suppressor-ready with a ½”x28 thread pitch as well as a muzzle brake.

The fluted heavy barrel reduces weight and helps dissipate heat.

The action is super-smooth, thanks in large part to the match-grade bolt.

The barrel is threaded for muzzle brakes and suppressors.

Testing

The Competition 10/22 would also be a blast to shoot with a red dot.

The barrel, combined with the match CNC-machined bolt, can be credited for the gun’s excellent accuracy. I conducted my testing from 50 yards using a Caldwell Lead Sled and a 3-9x scope. I shot five five-shot groups with each cartridge and let the barrel cool slightly between each set of groups.

As you can see, three out of the four cartridges averaged groups less than one inch, and all produced at least one group under 0.7 inches. The gun performed the best with the CCI, but the Federal and Aguila weren’t far behind.

BrandBulletGrainAverage Velocity (fps)Low Group (in)High Group (in)Average Group (in)
FederalHunter-Match401200.691.25.96
RemingtonGolden Bullet361231.681.861.29
CCISegmented Hollow Point401203.591.25.86
AguilaSuper Extra401181.61.7.99

Shootability is great as well. At six pounds without an optic, it can be shot easily from the standing position, and the adjustable comb allows for a consistent cheek weld from any position. Recoil is virtually non-existent, of course, and the light trigger makes quick follow-up shots a breeze.

Applications

The gun’s minimal recoil and shot report make this rifle an excellent way to introduce a new shooter to firearms. I brought my father to the range with the Competition 10/22, and even though he hadn’t had much previous shooting experience, he took to this rifle like a duck to water. A red dot sight can also be mounted to the Picatinny rail, which I’ve found to be the perfect optic for a new shooter.

But there are cheaper .22’s out there, and you don’t drop +$600 on a 10/22 to use it as a training gun. Ruger bills this as a “competition” firearm, after all, so I wanted to find a .22LR competition in which this 10/22 might excel.

Meet the Practical Rimfire Challenge (PRC). The PRC is the rimfire take on the super-popular Precision Rifle Series (PRS). It features a variety of stages with targets from 25 to 300 yards and forces shooters to engage from a variety of shooting positions.

I spoke with Cole McCulloch, owner of the outfit that runs PRC matches, the Peacemaker National Training Center. He emphasized that even though the PRC looks like the PRS, it’s in a category of its own.

“PRC is not and never was intended to be ‘little PRS,’” he said via email. “The PRC is designed to provide the full test of shooter, .22LR rifle, ammo, and optics out to 300 yards, and in some cases out to 500.”

I haven’t competed in the PRC, but it seems like a great venue for Ruger’s new Competition 10/22. You won’t win any Olympic competitions with a semi-auto, but Ruger’s gun is tailor-made for this kind of setting – it’s light enough to carry while scrambling around barriers and accurate enough to engage targets out to 300 yards.

McCulloch agrees.

“The Ruger Competition 10/22 will be ideal as its focus and features are driven to promote enhanced accuracy,” he said. “The beauty of the PRC is that a variety of bolt and semi-auto platforms can be used and it’s affordable for people to shoot.”

The PRC is only in its third year, but they’ve been adding matches every year, and they’re backed by some of the biggest companies in the business. If you’ve always wanted to compete but haven’t been able to find the right match, check out the PRC. They’ll be announcing their 2019 match schedule in the next two weeks.

Showdown

The Ruger Competition 10/22 would excel at its namesake activity, but how does it stack up against a custom build using premium parts? To answer this question, I asked one of my buddies to donate his 10/22 to science, and I compared parts lists, price, and accuracy.

It’s possible to build a cheaper 10/22, especially with Brownell’s new BRN-22 receiver. I did it last year, and my all-in price was around $460. But I didn’t get the accuracy I was expecting. That gun shot the occasional sub-1” group from 50 yards, but it wasn’t as consistent as Ruger’s offering. Your build might shoot better at a lower price point, but I haven’t seen that success.

Moving up the quality scale, here’s a partial parts list for my friend’s 10/22:

PartModelCost
ReceiverBRN-22 Railed$89.99
BarrelKIDD Ultra Lightweight Fluted/Threaded$185
TriggerKIDD Single-Stage 1.5-Pound$199.95
BoltScalloped KIDD Bolt$109.95
StockMagpul Hunter$139.95

 

Add another $15 for pins and screws, and you’re looking at a total cost of around $750.

You won’t pay that much for a Ruger Competition. Even though the MSRP is significantly higher, the street price actually comes in about $60 less—you can find one on GunsAmerica for $690.

In terms of accuracy, the guns are comparable. Using this gun’s favorite ammo, along with the Lead Sled and a scope, I averaged groups around 0.8 inches, which is just a bit smaller than my average with the CCI and the Ruger.

These groups were shot with the same setup and on the same day as the Ruger — 50 yards using a Caldwell Lead Sled.

Bottom Line?

There’s so much variance in custom 10/22 builds that it’s tough to come to any definite conclusions. You might be able to find the parts listed above at a lower price, for example, or use cheaper parts from a different company that performs better. But it’s clear (in my mind, at least) that Ruger has developed a turnkey 10/22 for those shooters looking to get the most out of their plinker.

If you’re thinking about building a custom 10/22 for competition, you might save yourself some trouble with this new rifle from Ruger. It’s accurate, feature-rich, well-built, and reliable. With this first addition to Ruger’s Custom Shop, I’ll be looking forward to what they release in the coming months.

Visit Ruger to learn more by clicking HERE.

***Shop GunsAmerica for your next Ruger 10/22***

About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Roger Snider February 24, 2022, 11:20 pm

    Does any company make a steel receiver for 10/22 for a competitive shooting? Too add heavy barrel too ? I’ve got a ss heavy barrel, it’s hammer forged barrel . On a different gun . I want too do a custom build . Muzzle of barrel must be .749 dia

  • James November 8, 2020, 1:29 pm

    So I have a Bagara BXR22 with the carbon fiber BARRELL and a 3×9-40 LEUPOLD scope and the ruger bx22 trigger and it shoots as good or better than the custom 10/22 and the ruger competition 10/22 for a lot less money.

  • Gene C June 24, 2020, 10:01 am

    What is a dopey dem doin on a gun site.Dont need AOC & her gang No Cops = More Guns in the hands of Criminals that u support u and Geroge Z why do u think they get PAID to protest and riot How does video convict cops but not Felons,who riot,arson,assult with weapons(yes bricks) and even att murder but no arrests Well mother f er come to my house and Just try to take my Blue Lives flag down Like the Man said “I’m Easy to Find

  • Mr king September 13, 2019, 7:11 pm

    You lost me at trump, he’s an idiot as viewed by the rest of the planet, makes America look stupid as shit.

    • Derrick Simon November 10, 2019, 7:34 pm

      We wouldn’t even have guns if your boys Bernie or Hillary won you Democrat douche

  • Dusty Dino July 24, 2019, 3:56 am

    Which rings are those? And specifically, what height option? Trying to see what clearance I’ll be able to get away with.

    Thanks for the review.

  • Larry Hardy April 7, 2019, 11:15 am

    A custom shop isnt a custom shop
    Unless they have a trigger offering in the low oz’s.
    I have kid triggers in my 1022 builds
    I have never had a double fire or any issues .my personal 1022 I built around my first 1022 I bought in 1969 it’s the original bolt and reciever.
    The reciever has better than 25000 rnds through it.and it shoots lights out.
    An accurate 1022 will reach out to ping pong balls @200 yrds. I wouldnt use less than 24X
    You can always turn it down.
    My personal scopes are 40X
    Find the ammo your barrrl likes and stick with it .Do not shoot different ammo on the same day
    It will make for a disappointing range day.
    Would I buy a ruger from their custom shop…No
    You cant go wrong with a build using Kidd products.
    I use their triggers group only.
    So I’m not promoting them.
    I’m am putting you in a very good direction. Have fun with what ever you do.

  • BooJones April 3, 2019, 7:34 am

    I built a 10/22 with:
    KIDD-bull barrel
    KIDD-scalloped receiver
    KIDD-charging handle
    KIDD-2 stage trigger group
    Set@6 oz per stage
    Stocky Stock
    Bushnelll 9×50 scope
    Fun as hell to shoot!

  • Bewildered April 2, 2019, 7:31 am

    I agree with jackkade. At the very least, you should have included CCI Standard Velocity as a sort of reference ammo that everyone is familiar with. Wolf Match or Eley Tenex would have been a real measure of what the rifle is capable of.

    • Jordan Michaels April 2, 2019, 1:52 pm

      Great feedback, thanks. I still have the rifle, so I’ll take it out and do just that. I’ll post the results here in the next few weeks, if you’re interested.

  • J T April 1, 2019, 11:55 am

    Your punched paper visually shows a considerable difference in pinpoint accuracy between the Ruger Custom Shop model and the “Custom Built” 22. If your shooting bunnies or squirrels maybe there isn’t much difference, but if you’re trying to remove bullseyes in competition there is a huge difference.

  • jackkade April 1, 2019, 11:36 am

    IMO, a poor choice of ammo. He should have used some Standard Velocity ammo. Also, i’m not impressed with accuracy of either rifle, considering the high cost. I have 2 10/22 semi-custom builds that will out shoot
    those with CCI sV ammo and with other mid price range ammo. Plus, both of my rifles cost considerably less.

  • Mike April 1, 2019, 8:53 am

    Would like to know, what type, brand name and price is that rifle scope on the Ruger Custom Shop .22 Rifle? Is that a Ruger Scope available from their Custom Shop ? Wanted something better than the standard Bushnell .22 rifle scope I used to have on my original Ruger 10/22 rifle years ago. The original Bushnell Scope, broke during a move some years ago. Have a brand new 10/22 from Ruger that replaced my original 10/22 I bought back in 1974 for $ 50.00 !!! I had parkerized the receiver as the bluing wore off. Guess it was a Low Serial Number, so when I took it for re bluing, Ruger took it in trade for a brand new 10/22 rifle. Thanks for your time and consideration.

    • Jim Edwards April 2, 2019, 12:48 am

      It appears to be a Redfield 3-9×50. I run primarily Nikon Prostaff 3-9×40 150BDC Rimfire scopes. You can download the Nikon app and dial in just about every .22 load on the market. I think for the money they are the best rimfire scopes on the market and when you combine the phone app to mark crosshairs, that’s money.

    • Jordan Michaels April 2, 2019, 1:50 pm

      Jim Edwards is right — Redfield 3-9X50. It’s worked pretty well for me!

  • Cal April 1, 2019, 5:44 am

    I heartily recommend .22LR precision shooting for folks wanting lots of fun at minimal cost. Very accurate ammo can be found for less than 20¢/round and, for plinking, less than 10¢/round!

    Local groups I’ve shot with are welcoming and helpful to a new shooter, even those with gray, or no, hair. For an old mobility-challenged geezer like me, benchrest shooting has become my new fun activity.

    Of course, if you wanna’ go crazy, you’ll be able to spend exorbitant amount$ on high end equipment and ammo, so you can routinely make those 5-shot cloverleafs. It all depends on the level of your addiction and size of your wallet. 😉

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