The modular nature of the Ruger 10/22, especially when it comes to its barrel attachment, makes it a popular candidate for upgrades of both aesthetic and performance natures. Many of these barrel replacements have exterior features that accentuate the “customized” aesthetic such as fluting or different material and colors, but they all bring something different to the table beyond the standard 16.5-18” length factory barrel. Even beyond Ruger’s .92” hammer forged barrel, which offers wonderful benefits in stability and heat control (in so much as a .22 LR can generate), they also come with a fairly inhibiting weight, making them ideal for stock bench shooting guns but less so for tramping through the woods looking for varmints or for training exercises.
Numerous aftermarket companies are ready to step into the breach offering everything from affordable to less so top shelf replacements. So numerous, in fact, that not only do several companies offer a similar product, but each company tends to offer several options.
Best Ruger 10/22 Barrel Manufacturers & Product Reviews
1. Tactical Solutions 10/22 Barrels
As I said above, for example, Tactical Solutions (TacSol) offers multiple models, but their primary 10/22 replacement Barrels are fluted to both decrease weight (only 15 ounces) and increase surface area for improved cooling. The chrome-moly barrels have a 1 in 16” twist, ideal for most common .22 match ammunition. An oversized shank means precise fitting to the receiver with no wiggle of play. Additionally, these barrels come threaded for the use of muzzle devices including silencers – an increasingly popular option in several US states. Available in matte black, gun metal gray or quicksand tan for additional unique matching with any custom stock, TacSol offers performance and visual improvements.
Just a mention: These barrels are most often paired up with laminated stocks such as by Vantage which are prepared for the .092” outside diameter of the most popular bull barrel sizes, not to mention the color variation offers an uncommon compliment to the colored laminates.
Tactical Solutions - Ruger 10/22 Stock Thumbhole
Tactical Solutions also offers an SBX barrel, a shorter version that is ideal for use with a suppressor without dramatically increasing the over-all length. This more compact barrel weighs in at 13.5 ounces – not including whichever muzzle device or silencer addition - and is only available in matte black.
Tactical Solutions 10/22 SB-X Barrel
One TacSol option that stands out from other makers is the X-Ring Open sight barrel. It is a bull barrel set up with iron sights. Machined from 6061-T6 aluminum (the same that most AR receivers are made out of), it is a light weight bull barrel that offer significant reduction to over-all weight and provides superior accuracy. The chromoly liner ends in a polished, 11 degree crown allowing equal dissipation of propellant gasses at the muzzle. The 16.5” fluted barrels are threaded to accept muzzle devices – the implication being a silencer as the most obvious and least accuracy affecting choice - and are available in both blued and matte gray. The sights are fiber optic green for improved sight acquisition with a rear sight that is fully adjustable for windage and elevation.
Tactical Solutions - 10/22 X-Ring Open Sight Barrels
The X-Ring offers improved bull barrel performance without the need to invest in a scope or other optic. While scopes offer simplicity and improved sight pictures, especially for older eyes, they are also prone to being moved out of zero in transport, and illuminated scopes are vulnerable to battery failures. Iron sights are simple and reliable, they have been that way for centuries, and insure the rifle is ready when you are.
Volquartsen is a well-established manufacturer of competitive grade 10/22 rifle clones, but that does not mean their barrels are not available for shooters and builders to use on their own plinking rifle to build into a world class tack driver.
Their ultra-lightweight barrel is made with a taper honed chamber and bore for match performance and superior accuracy. While it has the profile of a hammer forged bull barrel, it is actually shrouded in carbon fiber (or aluminum) with axial tension at both ends for rigidity without the weight of the heavy steel barrels.
Volquartsen - Ruger 10/22LR Ultra-Lightweight Barrels
These are also drilled and tapped for installing cantilever scope mounts, a popular alternative to mounting optics on the receiver making the barrel and scope a bonded unit in case other barrel options are used on the same rifle. They are available in both 16.5” and 18.5”. Weighing in at 23 ounces, these 10/22 competition barrels feature a single chambered compensator with multiple ports for reduced recoil (even a .22LR with an ultralight barrel has a little bump) and rapid follow up shots on target.
Volquartsen’s THM barrel is a 16.5” carbon fiber precision instrument designed for use on 10/22 receivers made by either Ruger or others. They are a little bit heavier at 32 ounces and are matte black on both ends but are still drilled and tapped to accept cantilever scope mounts.
Volquartsen - 10/22 Carbon Fiber THM Barrel
Shaw is a name with a century’s worth of field use in the custom gun and gun barrel making business. Machined with the latest technology by craftsmen who individually have years of experience.
They offer several varieties of bull barrel replacements that come standard with a “Bentz” chamber combining close tolerances of a match grade chamber with the reliable cycling that has made the Ruger 10/22 a world favorite.
E.R. SHAW - Ruger 10/22 Target Barrels
The 18.5” unfluted barrels weigh in at just over 3 pounds (58+ ounces) making them among the heaviest of the aftermarket bull barrels. This offers additional stability, but also makes them more favored for specifically bench shooting applications.
The heavier barrels are unfluted and available in both Chrome-moly blued and stainless steel with dished crowns. The stainless is also available with a patented helical fluting for better harmonics, greater heat dissipation, less weight (45.6 ounces) and of course a different appearance. The shorter blued 16.5” barrel weighs just under 45 ounces but has a threaded barrel for adding a muzzle device be it a flash hider, brake or silencer.
It should be noted, Shaw barrels are recommended for standard or match ammunition only, hyper velocity cartridges, such as CCI’s Stingers (1600+ feet per second) are not recommended, and in fact are unlikely even to be able to chamber. This again puts them into the realm of bench rifle, target shooting rather than use for hunting or defense.
4. Green Mountain
Green Mountain barrels are popular choices for custom 10/22 builds. The 20” long blued bbl weighs in at 3.17 lbs (51 ounces) and have “Bentz” chambers for consistent accuracy and cycling. A fluted blued or stainless steel model is also available for improved cooling and weight reduction at 2.75 pounds, or 44 ounces. Match quality performance available at reasonable pricing explains why Green Mountain remains a popular choice with casual 10/22 builders and shooters.
Green Mountain - Ruger 10/22 Replacement Barrel
5. Beyer Barrels
Beyer Barrels offer an ultra-light (and these are REALLY light) 16.5” selection made from 7075 aluminum billet and a Chromalloy steel liner with button crowned rifling that is suitable for match ammunition as well as the heavy grain, subsonic rounds. Threaded barrels allow for the installation of a suppressor for discrete target shooting lobbing shot after shot into the center ring. Barrel shanks are oversized and may require some fitting to insure enough material for a proper mating to the receiver. These barrels are coated with a cerakote ceramic finish to resist corrosion as well as provide a tough layer of protection against scratches and surface wear. Threaded barrels are ½-28 threads per inch to accept standard AR type muzzle devices and suppressors.
Beyer Barrels - Ruger 10/22 Ultralight Target Barrel
In addition to the contour 16.5” barrel that weighs 1.35 lbs (18.16 ounces), Beyer also provides an alternative tapered barrel. This offers a factory like aesthetic but at a weight that is perhaps the lightest on the market: .72 lbs, or 11.5 ounces. This puts all the weight back in the receiver and stock rather than hanging out front where it causes the most muscle fatigue.
Perhaps the most professionally promoted aftermarket match barrel comes from Shilen. Available in both stainless and blued, these are a 20” bull barrel weighing in at 3.09 lbs, or 44 ounces. Started in the 1980’s, Shilen gained the spot light when top rated benchrest competitor Tony Boyer borrowed a friend’s rifle equipped with one of their match grade barrels and found that, regardless of wind conditions, the bullets continued to go through the center of his target. From that day forward, he was a convert and like-minded accuracy enthusiasts followed suit.
Shilen - Ruger 10/22 Match-Grade Barrel
The 10/22 match grade line barrels are straight cylinder bull barrels with .92” diameter and “Bentz” match chambers. Like many of the match barrels, they are designed for low to medium velocity match ammunition. High velocity ammo will not be stabilized out of these and accuracy will suffer dramatically.
What is the best Ruger 10/22 barrel FOR YOU?
There has been several mentions of Bentz chambers above. These are designed to be tighter fitting than standard .22 Long Rifle chambers without being as constricted as a “true” match chamber – which provides great accuracy but does not cycle well in self-loaders. The Bentz chamber offers a compromise of both worlds. This allows for more versatility and general use out of the replacement barrels than a top of the line match barrel.
They do not, however, allow for the use of several hyper velocity rounds however: not only will their velocity fail to be stabilized out of these barrels affecting accuracy negatively, but they will probably not even chamber fully as their cases are slightly longer. In most cases, this will just result in a failure to feed. Though it could potentially result in an out of battery discharge which could damage the bolt, magazine and potentially the shooter and anyone standing too close to the right. Consequently, they are for dedicated target guns, not all around service barrels.
As to best choices of barrels, most of this, as always, comes down to personal choice. Green Mountain remains a popular choice for shooters starting out in customizing their 10/22 and deliver superior performance and appearances over their factory standard. From the selection above, however, the two barrels that stand out are TacSol’s X-Ring and Beyer’s tapered barrel. Most of the bull barrels offer the same general aesthetics and vary only slightly in weight between the heavy and aluminum/carbon fiber varieties, but these two each offer something different and unique. And neither are Bentz chambered which may not make them the most accurate of the bunch but offers versatility in ammo choice. They are not specialist barrels but suitable for a broader range of applications.
The X-Ring is one of the few bull barrels that do not place the reliance of the shooter upon a secondary tool, i.e. a scope. While optics are great, they increase weight, create a larger parallax between point of aim and bullet impact, and of course increase cost of the final product. While many, shooters enthusiastically pay the price because it is another toy, er uh… option, and one that no argument offers convenience, there is a certain simplicity of having the accuracy of a bull barrel with the reliability of iron sights.
Beyer’s tapered barrel is by far the lightest barrel covered here. This offers no benefits to a bench rest shooter, but for shooting offhand, the boons are obvious: fatigue will be staved off for much longer using this barrel over long periods of standing matches. Further, it makes it a good choice for taking on long (romantic?) walks in the woods.
Both of these options preserve one of the least promoted, but arguably more important features of the 10/22: its versatility. Its adaptability to multiple roles is reduced when putting a dedicated match barrel onto its receiver. That is not a bad thing however.
Unless the goal is to create a competition rifle that will shoot only under [mostly] controlled circumstances, replacing the barrel with a match barrel is a questionable exercise. Thousands have done so: turning a versatile tool into a specialized tack driving wonder weapon. With so many options and choices available it is easy to be tempted to try. The market offers numerous options to adopt from its general, comparatively mundane, appearance and general, comparatively plebeian, role: many shooters have converted a $200-300 out of box rifle into a thousand-dollar custom piece. Many have done it and many have done so more than once: a dedicated competition 10/22 (or more than one) and a custom general purpose rifle (or more than one). There is little wonder as to why: it is fun, and the results rarely disappoint.