Volquartsen 10/22 upgrades: barrel, trigger, and bolt
Major Pandemic 08.20.13
Volquartsen has without question been at the top of the custom 10/22 market since it launched back in the 70’s. The company is also famous for souping up a number of other firearms, but almost everyone knows them first as a manufacturer of premium, high-accuracy, custom parts for the venerable Ruger 10/22. After two years of being featured on the show Top Shot, I thought it was high time I made a Volquartsen 10/22 build to perform a couple of my own trick shots.
Way back in 1974, Scott Volquartsen’s operation was not really a custom parts company so much as a home based gun bluing operation. But today, Volquartsen is not just making parts — they now have their own line of firearms that ranges from customized versions of existing base firearm designs to designs which are functionally unique to the company. Swirly barrels, cool flutes, colorful anodizing, radical compensators, and sci-fi stocks aside, Volquartsen is more than just gorgeous firearm and parts — what they are really famous for is stunning accuracy.
About the build
For this build I used a Volquartsen THM Tension I-Flute Lightweight 10/22 .22LR barrel with forward blow compensator, CNC machineed 10/22 Bolt Group, and TG2000 competition trigger unit. When paired with a stock Ruger 10/22 receiver, Glacier Ridge stock, and Simmons 6-18 Prosport scope, the build came in at $1177.
Fit, finish, & feel
Sure, there are less expensive routes to sub-.25” 50-yard groups, however Volquartsen has never indicated they were the least expensive, just the best. The fit and finish is superb. Every piece seems like it belongs in the Modern Art Museum. There are plenty of folks churning out 10/22 parts, but the Volquartsen parts are in the super premium category of fit, finish, and feel. Every part is perfect. Stylistically, there is not one 10/22 option out there that has the style and look of a Volquartsen part.
Features & function
Volquartsen’s THM Tension I-Flute Lightweight 10/22 .22LR barrel weighs in at $286 MSRP. I am pretty sure they did not pioneer the sleeved and tensioned 10/22 barrel, but they certainly are the ones that turned the idea into an artform available to the masses. The THM I-Flute barrel is essentially a Lothar Walther barrel which has been profiled to a chamber neck area and then steps down to a barrel liner profile. A stiff sleeve, in this case an aluminum alloy, it secured over the liner.
At this point the barrel is technically a sleeved 10/22 barrel similar to those from Beyer, Tactical Solutions, or Whistelpig, but a tensioned barrel adds some additional engineered stiffness. A tensioning nut presses against the sleeve adding tension to the barrel, which in theory creates a stronger and stiffer barrel. Having owned a few tensioned barrels, they are consistently some of my best performing barrels regardless of weight.
Volquartsen’s famous accuracy is delivered via the Lothar Walther barrel blanks and a Benz style match chamber, but is enhanced via Volquartsen’s chambering, crowning, chamber reaming, precision turning and in this case, tensioned barrels. Note this is a precision barrel with a match chamber so it is not recommended that you shoot extended case rounds such as the CCI stinger. It will chamber and shoot them, but you will likely damage your chamber/rifling in the process, which will impact accuracy negatively.
The company offers a rainbow of smooth sleeved barrel colors, but I opted for the black custom I-Flute barrel which is noted to save a little weight. It is also a stunning looking barrel that turns heads with the Forward Blow Compensator installed.
The Volquartsen forward blow compensator is $102 MSRP. The .22LR round hardly needs a compensator, and many would argue that there is simply not enough powder-burn-volume to even make it operate effectively. But it does help some, plus it protects the crown from damage and looks way cool. In this case, it added a really nice custom touch to the barrel and did decrease muzzle rise a bit while also decreasing the noise to the shooter.
Unless your existing trigger is truly an abomination, a trigger upgrade is second only to the barrel as an accuracy increasing upgrade. Volquartsen has a whole host of upgrade parts for the stock 10/22 trigger assembly, but I opted to go for it with a full trigger unit — the $260 Volquartsen TG2000 10/22 Competition Trigger. Like the barrels, the triggers are available in a rainbow of colors, but I stuck with silver to maintain the black and silver build theme.
The trigger assembly delivers a crisp, clean 2lb trigger pull, with shooter adjustable pretravel and overtravel adjustments. I felt the trigger was perfect out of the box for a fieldable gun, but match shooters may want to fiddle with those settings a bit.
The hammer, sear and disconnector are precision wire EDM-cut from A2 hardened tool steel with tolerances being held to +/- .0002″ to increase accuracy. I have become a fan of flat style triggers, but I like the Volquartsen design, which combines the look and function of both a flat and curved trigger to keep everyone happy. To prevent inconsistencies due to the trigger plunger reset, their model is reset internally
The TG2000 trigger assembly is 100% Volquartsen internals paired with their own trigger housing design CNC machined from high strength solid billet aircraft aluminum. Its factory assembled, ready to drop in, and has all the cool features/upgrades we have come to expect on high end 10/22s, including the automatic bolt and extended magazine releases.
Volquartsen CNC Machine 10/22 Bolt Group – $235 MSRP & Recoil Buffer $11.30 MSRP – After barrel and trigger upgrades, a machined precision bolt, extractor, and firing pin are next on the list. This upgrade delivers more precise ammo handling, leads to more consistent chambering and accuracy. This in itself is not a huge accuracy gainer, but it does enhance accuracy. Where I see the biggest advantages are an improved Volquartsen round firing pin and extractor, which deliver improved ignition and less issues with extraction. The recoil buffer is a small upgrade, but it does seem to deliver a quieter cycling 10/22. Of course, the bolt itself and the charging handles are again worthy of a museum exhibit.
Volquartsen did not disappoint. My largest 50-yard group was .698” with Winchester 555 bulk ammo, and my smallest 50-yard group was .131” with Lapua Center X. Even at its most inaccurate it was still far more accurate than the best a good shooting stock tweaked/recrowned barrel. On the tiny group side, this Volquartsen is stunningly accurate delivering groups step for step with my Kidd and Feddersen builds. Considering Volquartsen is using the same Lothar Walther premium .22 match blanks as Kidd, I would expect nearly identical accuracy.
I even managed my 50-yard playing card spitting trick with this rig. Although pretty much anything from Lapua delivers outstanding accuracy, the CCI Standard Velocity rounds delivered extremely consistant .25” 50-yard groups, but these days it may be easier and cheaper to get the more expensive Lapua. For the full comparison to all my other builds, take a look at my Google Docs spreadsheet.
I own about a dozen 10/22 in various customer configurations, in fact I have probably dedicated more time to testing 10/22s parts and accessories than any other writer on the planet. Of note is my extensive Ultimate 10/22 Shootoff, where I compared the ins and outs of each brand. That said, Volquartsen remains up there in the top slot or at least tied with Kidd. Where Volquartsen blows everyone away including Kidd is maintaining that quality across the huge diversity of 10/22 and other firearm products. It is truly stunning how many options they have available; each and everyone one is gorgeous.
From an accuracy perspective, the Volquartsen build is equal to the reference accuracy standards set by my Feddersen and Kidd builds. The net of this superb accuracy, quality, and design is that you will not only match shot for shot with the best 10/22s on earth, but you will look better doing it. I can see why Volquartsen is so legendary in the 10/22 market.
- Volquartsen THM Tension I-Flute Lightweight 10/22 .22LR barrel – $286 MSRP
- Volquartsen Forward Blow Compensator – $102 MSRP
- Volquartsen CNC Machine 10/22 Bolt Group – $235 MSRP
- Volquartsen TG2000 10/22 Competition Trigger – $260 MSRP
- Volquartsen Recoil Buffer – $11.30 MSRP
- Glacier Ridge Stock – $69.99 Street, $79.99 MSRP
- Simmon 6-18 ProSport Scope – $113 Street
- Ruger 10/22 Stock Upper Receiver – $100
- Total Build = $1177