A friend recently purchased Christmas gifts for me and my wife. The gift he sent me actually fulfilled a dream from circa 1999. I was 15, and my father had agreed to buy a new .22lr rifle if I saved up the money. More than anything, I wanted a Ruger 10/22 with a folding stock.
Unfortunately, I searched the internet high and low, and could barely find a folding stock for a 10/22. Most of the ones I found were permanently forced open. They looked like a folding stock, but they didn’t actually FOLD in half.
Why? Because it was 1999, and the damned Clinto ‘Assault Weapon’ ban was still in full effect. A pistol grip plus a folding stock combined to make an ‘Assault Weapon’. I’ll talk about the idiocy and hypocrisy of ‘Assault’ bans some other time.
Ok, so, I couldn’t put a folding stock on a brand-new 1999 Ruger 10/22. I needed a “pre-ban” rifle. Ok, I need a Ruger 10/22 from before 1994. It shouldn’t be hard, in theory, to find a rifle made between 1964 and 1994. But the problem is, how the heck can I tell when a rifle was made?? The serial number proves when it was made, but I would need a guide to interpret the serial numbers.
As I dug further, I learned more. I didn’t just need a “pre-ban” rifle, I needed a rifle that was already an ‘Assault’ rifle before the ban. I wasn’t enough to find a Ruger 10/22 from before 1994, I had to find one from before 1994 that was already modified.
I gave up. I couldn’t afford to buy something that specific. A basic 10/22 was already a third of my ‘yearly income’ when I was 15. All of these extra hurdles were just too much.
Now, it’s 2012 and I’m 28. I finally have a folding Ruger 10/22. It’s not a Ramline (pure junk) or Butler Creek (mediocre), it’s not even a Choate (one of the best), it’s a new design that didn’t exist back then.
It’s from AGP Arms. The fit & finish are excellet. This is a ‘blemished’ stock, but all I can find is a section on the front left that has a few glossy marks. Also, it did have small molding lines, which I shaved off with a pocketknife. The unusual, distinguishing thing about the AGP 10/22 stock is that it doesn’t have any kind of forward handguard or forearm. It’s so short in front that the barrel mounting bolts are exposed.
It’s an ideal stock for a short-barreled-rifle, sometimes known as a ‘pocket rifle’ in these specific cases. Hey, there’s another post: an explanation of the pocket rifle concept. It’s also a good option for a take-down rifle. Since the barrel mounting system is exposed, it’s easy to mount and dismount the barrel with a common allen hex wrench. The advantage is that the action stays in the stock, and the whole package fits into any case long enough to hold the barrel. (My barrel is 18.5 inches, but the minimum legal barrel length for a rifle is 16 inches.) The disadvantage to removing the barrel is that it can cause some misalignment between the barrel and a scope. I’m uncertain how MUCH misalignment. It may or may not be significant and it is probably dependent on how tightly a specific barrel fits into a specific receiver. Barrel-mounted sights, like the standard 10/22 sights, obviously remain aligned with the barrel. Fortunately, I’m not currently using a scope on my rifle.
Alternatively, any 10/22 stock can serve as a ‘take down’ by simply removing 1 screw and taking the entire action (with barrel) out of the stock. The advantage is that is can be done with any 10/22, and it preserves the correct alignment of a scope with the barrel. The disadvantage is that it’s awkward and the 10/22 action is held together by pins which can fall out. If those pins fall out, the entire trigger system and magazine system fall out.
Back to the point, though. I have a stock! Now that I’ve fiddled with it for a while, I think I’ll eventually use it for a registered short-barreled rifle.
Update: I wrote the above on Dec 17th, shortly before my return to WV. Unfortunately, I failed to take any pictures at the time, and I decided to leave the 10/22 in WV due to the current political climae and legal travel concerns. We had a layover in Dulles on the return trip. If anything went wrong, it’s conceivable that I could find myself in a DC hotel room with a case full of guns and ammo. DC is known for going way overboard on firearm prosecutions, unless you violate the gun laws on national tv while arguing for stricter gun control.