Are you currently looking for the best 10/22 barrel? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
The 10/22 is easily the most ubiquitous .22 rifle in the United States today. The rifle is responsible for completely redefining the .22 semi-automatic rifle as well.
Before the 10/22, most .22 rifles were cheaply made and of poor quality. From the beginning, the 10/22 was built to be durable and of such a level of quality that you could own the rifle for a lifetime and pass it on down to future generations.
As a result, the 10/22 is a solidly built rifle out of the box, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any upgrades that you can make to it to improve its performance. Arguably the most important upgrade that you can make to your 10/22, especially if you want to improve accuracy, is to invest in a new barrel.
That’s what we’re going to discuss today.
In this guide, we’ll dive into the benefits of the 10/22 rifle, the top qualities to look for in a new barrel in one. Then, we’ll outline and discuss our top five choices for a 10/22 barrel that meet those qualities.
Why Go With The Ruger 10/22?
First, let’s discuss why you should consider buying a 10/22 rifle in the first place.
The Ruger 10/22 was originally released in the early 1960s. Since then, it has become the most popular .22 rifle in history. It’s also among the most customizable firearms in existence as well, rivaled only by the Glock, 1911, and the AR-15 in terms of spare parts and accessories available.
The 10/22 was envisioned by Ruger from the beginning to be a high quality .22 carbine built to the same level of quality as the bolt action or lever action hunting rifles of the era. Prior to this, most .22 rifles were very cheaply built.
For this reason alone, the 10/22 became an instant success for Ruger. It began a new era of higher quality .22 rifles that have persisted to this day, such as the Marlin Model 60 or the Smith & Wesson M&P15-22.
Why You Need A .22 Rifle
There are many practical reasons to own a 10/22 as well. Not only is it a very well made .22 rifle available at an affordable price point, it effectively serves many different purposes.
Simply put, no gun collection is truly complete without a .22 rifle. The .22 LR round is very small and can be bought in bulk on the cheap. You can store literally tens of thousands of rounds in a very small amount of space, and you can carry a considerable amount of ammunition on your person as well.
If you had to bug out into the woods, the .22 would serve you well as a survival rifle. It could easily bring down small game to keep you fed, it could be used defensively if you needed it to (too many people underestimate the value of a .22 as a defensive cartridge), and you could carry lots of ammunition with you.
It’s for these reasons that you need to own a quality .22 rifle if you don’t yet already. If you want a .22 rifle that is durable, well made, accurate, and easily customizable, the 10/22 is arguably the very best option that you could go with.
The 10/22 can be used for anything from casual plinking and target shooting to small game hunting and even self-defense or tactical purposes as well. The fact that the 10/22 comes with larger capacity, detachable box magazines for quick reloads means that it can be used as a tactical rifle if need be.
In essence, the 10/22 is an excellent quality rifle that will work very well and last for many generations out of the box.
However, as noted it’s also the most easily customizable rimfire rifle that you can buy today.
If you want to upgrade your Ruger 10/22, you have no shortage of aftermarket parts to do so. And if you want to improve accuracy specifically, you’ll need to invest in a new, high quality barrel from a reputable manufacturer.
Next, we’ll dive into the top qualities to look for in a 10/22 barrel.
Qualities To Look For In A 10/22 Barrel?
Here are the top qualities that you should look for in a replacement barrel for your 10/22:
The twist rate refers to the number of inches a bullet will travel down the barrel to make one rotation. When it comes to rifles chambered in the .22 LR caliber in general, an overall twist rate of 1:16 is the most ideal. This means that the round will travel sixteen inches in order to make a single rotation.
The durability of your 10/22 barrel is of the utmost importance. Carbon steel, stainless steel, or an aircraft grade aluminum alloy are all more than acceptable build materials for a 10/22 barrel.
It’s equally important for your barrel to be rust and corrosion resistant so it can withstand the elements such as rain and moisture without rusting. Blued barrels may look nice, but are hardly resistant against rain at all. Instead, go with a stainless steel barrel, or one that comes with a cerakote or hard coat anodized finish (each of which are very rust resistant).
Consider going with a barrel that is threaded at the end so you can add a suppressor. Even though the .22 LR already creates minimal noise, if you plan on shooting on your property in relatively close proximity to neighbors a suppressor is very beneficial. A suppressor can also be useful for tactical scenarios or for hunting as well.
Thicker barrels are heavier, but are also superior for handling rapid firing. Remember that as the heat of your barrel increases, accuracy can be decreased. A thicker barrel results in less heat being conducted and therefore less vibration from the barrel with each round fired as well.
Keep in mind that there are a wide variety of 25 and 35 round magazines available for the 10/22, so it can be very easy to send a lot of rounds downrange fast. A thicker barrel will be a superior choice if you plan on doing a significant amount of shooting in a minimal amount of time.
The Top 5 Best Ruger 10/22 Barrels
Now that we’ve gone over the benefits of the 10/22 rifle and the top qualities to look for in a barrel, here are our top five choices for a Ruger 10/22 barrel:
The Beyer Barrels Ruger 10/22 Ultralight Target Barrel is designed to drastically improve the accuracy of your 10/22 without adding too much extra weight to your carbine. It’s a well known fact that target or match grade barrels for firearms in general can be heavier, and this is a problem the Beyer Barrels seeks to avoid.
The Beyer Barrels is built out of a very durable aircraft grade 7075 aluminum, which contributes significantly to why this barrel has a lighter overall weight. According to Beyer, this barrel will also allow heat to dissipate faster than other 10/22 barrels, which makes it a good choice for extended shooting sessions. The 1:16 twist rate of the Beyer Barrels is also ideal for the .22 round.
- Cerakote finish is rust and corrosion resistant
- Aircraft grade 7075 aluminum construction
- Designed to dissipate heat quickly so you can use it for extended shooting sessions
- On the heavier side for a 10/22 barrel
You’ve probably heard of the Shilen brand if you’ve done a fair amount of research into long range, match grade barrels in general. Shilen has been in the business of building competitive match grade barrels since 1955 and they offer an entire line of barrels for the Ruger 10/22.
The Shilen is built out of a very durable and rust resistant stainless steel material. Just take note that you should always use match grade target ammunition with the Shilen; using non-match grade ammunition means that the bullet will likely not gain enough spin to stabilize properly after being shot out of the barrel.
- 16:1 twist rate is ideal for the 10/22 round
- Very durable stainless steel construction (also rust and corrosion resistant)
- Match grade barrel is designed for optimum accuracy
- Need to be paired with expensive match grade target ammunition; non-match grade ammunition may not chamber or function properly
- Very expensive for a 10/22 barrel
The Volquartsen Ruger 10/22 Barrel is a good choice if you’re looking for a premium 10/22 barrel and are willing to pay a higher price for it. This is a tapered match grade barrel designed to create the best possible accuracy out of your 10/22. Built out of a high grade carbon steel, the top part of the Volquartsen has been threaded in order to add a scope mount (versus having to mount a scope to the receiver instead).
There is also a variant of the Volquartsen that ships with a compensator, which will reduce the 10/22’s minimal recoil even further to make firing faster follow up shots much easier. There are two primary versions of the Volquartsen, one that measures sixteen inches in length, and another that measures eighteen and a half inches.
- Carbon fiber steel construction is very durable
- Available with a compensator in one barrel
- Match grade barrel leads to outstanding accuracy
- Definitely expensive for a 10/22 barrel
The ER Shaw Ruger 10/22 Target Barrel is another match grade target barrel designed to offer optimal accuracy out of your 10/22, but at a price point that is much less than most other 10/22 match grade barrels. The ER Shaw has a 1:16 twist rate,with muzzle threading at the end of the barrel with a thread protector.
Designed to function with high quality match grade ammunition, the ER Shaw is available in both 18 inch and 20 inch barreled configurations. It’s also available with either a blued or stainless steel finish; between the two, stainless steel is definitely more rust and corrosion resistant.
- 16:1 twist rate is ideal for the 10/22 barrel
- Available in stainless steel or blued finishes
- Less expensive for a match grade target barrel
- Available in 18 or 20 inch barreled configurations
- Needs to be paired with match grade ammunition; non-match grade ammunition may not chamber
The Tactical Solutions Ruger 10/22 SBX Barrel is a solid choice for a 10/22 barrel if you are looking to add a suppressor to your carbine. Even though the .22 LR is already a relatively quiet round in comparison to larger calibers, attaching a suppressor will reduce noise even further. This is beneficial if you live out in the country and shoot from your property, but still live in relatively close proximity to neighbors.
The rifled part of the Tactical Solutions SBX barrel is relatively short at only twelve and a half inches long, with the addition of internal threads in order to accept the suppressor. This means that when you do add a suppressor, it would not add as much length in contrast to if you were to add a suppressor to a normal length barrel. Of course, if you choose not to add a suppressor, this means you now have a 10/22 that is much easier to maneuver in tight conditions.
- 1:16 twist rate is ideal for the .22 LR round
- Comes with outer threads so you can install a suppressor if you want
- Very short and easily maneuverable in tight conditions
- No open sights, so you must add them yourself
- Matte finish is admittedly not the nicest looking
That concludes our list of the top five best Ruger 10/22 replacement barrels that you can buy today.
Hopefully this guide served as a valuable resource on the best 10/22 barrels that the marketplace has to offer and what to look for in a barrel. Again, the factory barrel already installed on your 10/22 will work just fine, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do better.
Any one of the 10/22 barrels that we have discussed today will be a solid successor to your existing factory barrel. Alternatively, you can continue your search for other barrels on the market based on the criteria that we set in our buyer’s guide earlier.