There are few firearms that are as popular as the Ruger 10/22.
In fact, it’s one of the most customizable firearms on the planet. In terms of the sheer number of aftermarket accessories that are available for it, the Ruger 10/22 rivals the AR-15, 1911, and the Glock pistol.
Best Barrel Overall: Volquartsen Ruger 10/22 Barrel
The Volquartsen is a premium barrel for your 10/22 from a company that is considered to make some of the highest quality rimfire barrels in existence. This barrel will greatly improve the accuracy of your Ruger 10/22 in ways that few if any other barrels will.
Best Barrel For Suppressing Your 10/22: Tactical Solutions SB-X Ruger 10/22 Barrel
One of the primary virtues of the Tactical Solutions SB-X is that it allows you to add a suppressor without greatly extending the overall length of your rifle, and essentially giving you the properties of an SBR (short barreled rifle) without having to go through all of the ATF paperwork and hassle.
Best Barrel For Target Use: Beyer Barrels Ruger 10/22 Ultralight Target Barrel
The Beyer Barrels Ruger 10/22 Ultralight Target Barrel is a superb target barrel that does not add as much weight to the 10/22 as most other bull target barrels do. In addition, the Beyer is also durable, rust resistant, and will improve the accuracy of your 10/22.
Ruger makes durable and high quality firearms (if anything, their guns are known for being overbuilt), so you should know that when you buy a 10/22 it will be ready to go right out of the box and last for several generations. It’s the kind of .22 that you can pass on down to your kids or grandkids.
But at the same time, you may want to maximize performance out of your 10/22, and with the massive number of upgraded aftermarket accessories that are available, it may be tempting to not customize your rifle to your exact specifications.
If there’s one component of the Ruger 10/22 that deserves to be customized above all else, it’s the barrel. That’s because the barrel to the 10/22, or any other rifle for that matter, will have the most direct impact on accuracy and overall performance.
In this article, we’ll dive into the basics of what you need to consider for a new 10/22 barrel and how to install a new barrel on your 10/22 rifle or carbine. Then, we’ll outline and discuss the top three best 10/22 barrels that are currently available on the market.
Why Go With The Ruger 10/22?
The Ruger 10/22 is arguably the best .22 rifle ever made. It’s been in continuous production since 1964 when it was designed to be an ‘adult’s .22 rifle.’ Up until then, several .22 rifles on the market were rather cheaply made and not designed to last long. Ruger desired to make a semi-automatic rimfire .22 rifle that would be built to the same level of quality as the centerfire hunting rifles of the era, such as the ones made by Winchester or Remington.
The result was the 10/22, and it was an instant success and remains one of the most popular rimfire rifles to this day, having a solid reputation for reliability, durability, accuracy, and variety of customization options.
The 10/22 is also a highly versatile platform because it can be used for everything from competition target shooting to casual plinking to small game hunting to pest control to general homestead use to an SHTF survival weapon.
Buyer’s Guide To Finding The Best Ruger 10/22 Barrels
When searching for a new aftermarket Ruger 10/22 barrel, you will want to keep each of the following considerations in mind:
Each rifle barrel contains spirals in the inside of the barrel (or the bore), consisting of grooves that make up the rifling of the rifle. The degree of the rifling is referred to as the twist rate, referring to how many times a bullet will make a complete rotation in the barrel. If a barrel has a twist rate of 1:7, that means the bullet will make a complete rotation once every seven inches within the barrel.
When it comes to the barrel twist rate of a .22 rifle, including the Ruger 10/22, a 1:16 twist rate is considered to be the most ideal.
The next consideration you will need to have is the thickness of your barrel. Every time you pull the trigger on your 10/22 and send a bullet downrange will cause the barrel to get warmer, so when you rapid fire multiple rounds downrange at once, your barrel will indeed heat up very quickly.
Considering the fact that there are aftermarket magazines for the 10/22 that can hold twenty, twenty five, thirty, thirty five, and even more rounds, and keeping in mind the semi-automatic properties of the 10/22, it should be easy to see how your barrel can heat up very quickly.
A thicker barrel will be able to handle rapid firing better because a thinner barrel can alter the performance of a round as it heats up. The specific reason that the bullet’s performance can be altered is because of the heat conducted and vibration of the barrel with each bullet fired. But with a thicker barrel, less heat will be conducted and the barrel will vibrate less with each round fired as well. This means that you can shoot more rounds downrange in one time period with a thicker barrel before you will need to allow the gun to cool off.
Of course, the downside to using a heavy barrel is that it is much heavier. The 10/22 is a lightweight carbine already, and adding a thick bull barrel to the end of it will enhance its shooting performance at the expense of making the firearm less wieldy. If you want to take your carbine out into the woods to go small game hunting, this will not be preferable, especially when you need to carry the rifle at long distances.
Finally, you may want to consider getting a 10/22 barrel that is threaded at the end, enabling you to add a sound suppressor. Factory threaded barrels do exist for the 10/22, but not in abundance. This is why it can be worth spending the money to buy an aftermarket barrel for a 10/22, because you can get a threaded model to add a suppressor if you so choose.
Keep in mind that sometimes the aftermarket barrels for a 10/22 can cost as much as the 10/22 out of the box itself. Therefore, sending this kind of money may only be worth it if you’re spending it to get a barrel that can make the gun significantly quieter to shoot.
Installing A 10/22 Barrel
You don’t need a professional gunsmith to install a 10/22 barrel, but it is still a fairly intricate process. Installing the barrel yourself will require you to fully strip the rifle down, so you will need to have all of the necessary tools as well as the required knowledge to do so.
Here are the basic steps that you will need to follow in order to install your 10/22’s barrel:
- Remove the stock and the action by removing the stock retaining screw and barrel band (you’ll need a screwdriver to do this)
- Disassemble the action by removing the takedown pins, which will separate the receiver and the trigger assembly
- Remove the recoil spring, bolt, and charging handle, leaving you with the receiver and the barrel
- Remove the barrel retaining screws from the receiver using a hex key (a clamp will also make this easier)
- Remove the old barrel from the receiver
- Place the new barrel into the receiver
- Follow the previous steps in reverse
- Confirm that the rifle is functioning before firing ammunition through the new barrel
You’ll need a screwdriver and a hex key at the bare minimum in order to follow the above steps and replace your 10/22’s barrel. If you are using a 10/22 chassis instead of a stock the process should be similar.
Now that we’ve gone through the considerations you need to have when choosing a new 10/22 barrel and how to actually replace it, we will next dive into the top three best Ruger 10/22 barrels on the market today:
The Top 3 Best Ruger 10/22 Barrels
Here are the top three best Ruger 10/22 barrels available on the market today:
Beyer Barrels Ruger 10/22 Ultralight Target Barrel
The Beyer Barrels Ruger 10/22 Ultralight Target Barrel is designed to be as durable and well-made as possible while also being as lightweight as possible. This is a barrel that is designed primarily for enhanced performance for target and competition use while also not having the heftiness of that most bull barrels have.
Don’t get us wrong: this barrel is still definitely heavier than most other 10/22 barrels, and you will notice an increase in weight in contrast to the 10/22 that you get from the factory. But it is much lighter than most other 10/22 bull barrels that are available on the market.
Built out of an incredibly durable 7075 aluminum, the Beyer Barrels is actually significantly more durable than many other 10/22 barrels on the market, and Beyer also claims that this barrel will cause the heat to dissipate faster than standard steel. The outside of the barrel is coated in cerakote, which is a very durable and rust resistant finish. The interior of the barrel has a twist rate of 1:16, which as we discussed previously is ideal for a .22 rifle of any kind.
In addition to the standard .22 LR version, Beyer also builds a version designed to fit the .17 HMR version of the 10/22. Beyer only recommends that you utilize a heavier Ruger 10/22 charging handle assembly and bolt carrier if you want to switch to the .17 caliber however.
On top of everything else, this barrel is also not as expensive as several other quality aftermarket 10/22 barrels. Sure, it’s still going to be quite expensive overall and cost nearly as much as the 10/22 itself, but it is the least expensive barrel option in this list.
If you’re looking for a target bull barrel that is not excessively heavily, the Beyer Barrel is without question one of your best choices. This is a durable and rust resistant barrel that will greatly improve the accuracy and performance of your 10/22
- Coated in cerakote to greatly improve rust and corrosion resistance
- Cheaper than several other aftermarket 10/22 barrels
- Very durable 7075 aluminum construction
- .17 HMR version is available in addition to .22 LR
- 1:16 Twist Rate
- Weighs less than one pound
- Dissipates heat fast, so good for extended firing sessions
- Heavier than most standard 10/22 barrels (although still lighter weight than most bull barrels)
Tactical Solutions SB-X Ruger 10/22 Barrel
Are you looking to add a suppressor to your Ruger 10/22? If so, the only way you can possibly do so is if you have a barrel that is threaded at the end.
A suppressor can certainly be a good thing for your 10/22 because it can dampen the nose of the rifle when it is fired considerably. If you’re shooting near your neighbors or on the range and just want to create less noise to be more considerate, a suppressor is what you need.
The downside, of course, is that a suppressor will greatly add onto the length of your 10/22 to make it less nimble and more unwieldy. But what if there was a threaded barrel that was already short so your barrel wouldn’t be so long when the suppressor is added?
This is the problem that is directly solved by the Tactical Solutions SB-X Ruger 10/22 barrel. A suppressor can increase the length of the barrel when added by as much as eight inches. Considering the fact that the standard barrel of a 10/22 can be sixteen inches or more, this can make your 10/22 a bit too unwieldy in tight conditions.
Fortunately, the rifled part of the SB-X barrel is only twelve and a half inches long, in addition to internal threads that extend beyond the barrel to accept a rimfire suppressor. This essentially gives you the functionality of an SBR, or short barreled rifle, but you won’t need to go through the ATF in order to get it.
The twist rate of the SB-X barrel is 16:1, which is perfect for the .22 LR cartridge. However, the outside of the barrel is coated in a matte black finish, which isn’t the nicest looking finish by any means, and there is also a lack of iron sights as well.
If you want to add a suppressor to the end of a 10/22 barrel while still keeping the overall length of the rifle fairly short, the Tactical Solutions SB-X barrel is a prime option. This would be a great choice of barrel for the 10/22 Takedown model especially.
- Very short at twelve and a half inches, in addition to outer threads
- Essentially makes your 10/22 an SBR, but without requiring ATF paperwork
- 1:16 Twist Rate
- Lacks Open Sights
- Matte Black Finish is not the nicest
Volquartsen Ruger 10/22 Barrel
If you’re willing to spend a lot of money on a premium barrel for your Ruger 10/22, you will want to look no further than Volquartsen. This company may charge a high price for their products, but they are widely regarded as making some of the very finest rimfire barrels in the entire world.
That’s because the Volquartsen is built with a taper honed, match chamber and bore to create the best possible accuracy out of your 10/22. Furthermore, this barrel is built out of a space ace carbon fiber steel, which makes it one of the most rigid barrels for the 10/22 that is currently available. The top of the barrel has been threaded for use with a cantilever scope mount, instead of mounting a scope for the 10/22 to the top of the receiver.
Unfortunately, a version that has been threaded for use with suppressor is not yet offered by Volquartsen, although hopefully that will change in the future. However, there is a version offered that comes with a compensator, with greatly reduces recoil and makes it easier to shoot fast, follow up shots. The black and silver finish will also greatly improve the look and aesthetics of your 10/22 as well.
Currently, there are two versions of the Volquartsen available for sale, one that measures sixteen inches (the standard length) and another, much more expensive version that measures eighteen and a half inches.
The Volquartsen is one of the highest quality aftermarket Ruger 10/22 barrels in existence. There are few, if any, barrels on the market that will improve the accuracy of your 10/22 as much as this one.
- Very rigid and durable thanks to carbon fiber steel
- Threaded to add a cantilever scope mount
- Variant is offered with a compensator
- Premium choice overall for the 10/22
- Different barrel length options available
- Taper honed, match bore and chamber leads to outstanding accuracy
- Very lightweight
- Very expensive
- Threaded versions for suppressors are not yet offered
Hopefully this list and the buyer’s guide we provided will help you determine the barrel that you will like to get for your 10/22 rifle.
The 10/22 may be an excellent rifle already right out of the box, but any one of these barrels will be sure to maximize performance for it even further.