Sunday, October 28, 2012

Custom Ruger 10/22 Part I - Machining the Receiver

stock Ruger 10/22


I've always wanted a Ruger 10/22.  It's one of those iconic rifles that has everyone should have.  It has stood the test of time as a reliable, accurate, fun rifle.  As a .22 rimfire it's cheap to shoot, and best of all the aftermarket support for this rifle is HUGE!  You can literally replace every single part of the rifle with an aftermarket part creating exactly the rifle you want.  It's the Burger King ("Have it Your Way") of rifles!  You can have almost as much fun modifying the rifle as you can shooting it.

So when it came time to get my own 10/22, I had a few choices.  I could buy a stock one, then spend hundreds on upgrading it to the custom piece I wanted.  I could shell out big money for a custom one already modified.  Or I could start from scratch and build my own.  I opted for the challenge of building my own.  Not just choosing and assembling every part, but making the receiver as well.

Razor 10/22 receiver blank

Rather than start with a hunk of aluminum and machine the entire receiver, I started with a Razor 80% 10/22 receiver from Select Fire, LLC.  Basically, it is a partially finished Ruger 10/22 receiver.  You perform the steps to complete the receiver into a functioning firearm.  Perhaps in the future I will make one completely from scratch, but the Razor will save me so much time it's a no-brainer.  Before anyone asks, this is all perfectly legal.  The Razor is not a functioning firearm.  It is merely a hunk of metal until you finish the machining to make it into a firearm.  Therefore, the sale does not need to take place though an FFL.  And yes, it is perfectly legal to make your own firearm so long as 1) you can legally own a firearm (i.e. you are not a felon), 2) the firearm you make is legal to own, and 3) you are building it for yourself, not to sell.  If you don't believe me, check out the official statement from the BATFE.

The Razor has some nice features.  It is made from bar stock 6065-T6 aluminum on cnc machines (not cast).  It can be purchased already anodized, saving me the time and money of applying the myself.  It also sports an integrated rail and riser making for rock solid and repeatable optics mounting.  They claim the rail is military standard 20 mm (i.e. picatinny rail), but picatinny rail has flat bottom grooves.  The Razor has rounded grooves.  Maybe it's a hybird made to fit picatinny and weaver scope rings?

I'm not going to go into great detail on finishing the receiver.  Adequate directions and dimensions can be found on their website.  The directions assume you are using a drill press and their drilling jig (sold separately).  However, if you have a mill, the jig is unnecessary.  Machining is pretty easy, some drilling, some tapping, some clean-up work.  No milling involved.  All straightforward, no explanation needed.  The hardest part was drilling the barrel hole.  The drilling itself wasn't hard but the set up took me about 2 hours to get perfect.

receiver secured for drilling

It is critical that the barrel hole is perfectly parallel to the top and sides of the receiver or the barrel will end up on an angle.  So take the extra time and be sure the set up is perfect.  I used precision angle plates and 1-2-3 blocks to make sure everything was square.  Then I held everything in place with c-clamps and triple checked everything with a machinist square.  This ended up in a rock-solid setup.

front view of set up

this thing isn't moving anywhere

The Razor used to ship with the center marked for the barrel hole.  Now it does not.  I had an older model with the center marked.  A #12 drill bit fit the hole perfectly.  To line things up with my collet, I chucked the #12 drill upside down and adjusted the table until I could lower the bit into the receiver without feeling or hearing the bit hit the sides of the hole.  Once lined up I locked the tables and started drilling.  I started with a 1/8" drill bit and worked my up to 1/2" in 1/16" steps.  Then I drilled the 9/16", 5/8" and 11/16" holes with end mills.  I spun the end mills at 1500 rpm and used kerosene as a lubricant.  I only cut about 1/16" at a time, cleaning the chips after each peck.  The result was a very clean hole.  The barrel fit perfectly; a nice tight fit with no play.  I doubt I could have done much better even if I had reamed the final hole.

centering collet to drill barrel hole

completed barrel hole

the barrel fits!

The finished receiver came out great.  All of the machining is hidden by the parts, so the anodized finish is left unmarred.  Better than the stock Ruger item because the scope rail is integrated into the receiver.  All that is left is to add your parts and go shooting!  Check out the links below to see the rest of the build.

Part II - Parts
Part III - Modifications
Part IV - Troubleshooting
Part V - Accuracy


finished receiver - side view

front view

bottom view

rear view

14 comments:

  1. Very cool. I'm about to start one from complete scratch. BTW, those are also my favorite strippers!

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    1. I've thought of doing the same, maybe in steel or in a different form factor like a bullpup. Simple design, should be easy to machine. Good luck! Let me know how you make out.

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    2. There is a real nice Ruger 10/22 replacement receiver on the market . It is machined from billet aluminum and looks very cool. Select Fire makes it,its called the RAZOR!

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  2. what is your total cost for the build?

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    1. About $570 not including the bipod or optics.

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  3. The instructions in the razor receiver site indicate we must reduce the lenght of the drill bits to 3" to 3 1/2" when using a drill press. Is this necessary whith a milling machine?

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    1. The longer the drill bit is, the more it will flex, regardless of the machine. That leads to a hole that is off center. End mills are much more rigid. I started with a center drill, then regular drill bits, making sure they were very sharp, seated them deep in the collet, used very little pressure so as not to bend the bit, and lots of cutting fluid. Then finished up with end mills. So even if the hole was a little off center, the end mills will re-center the hole where is should be.

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  4. if anyone is interested, i have the complete razor kit from select fire. turns out i dont have the time or skill to complete the build. Willing to part with it for much less than i paid. send me an email. JT445@bellsouth.net

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    Replies
    1. Is your razor kit still available? If so how much is your bottom dollar.

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  5. Would you drill one for me for resonable amount of money

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    1. Sorry, but it is illegal to build a gun for someone else without a license to manufacture firearms. You can purchase a jig that shows you where to drill all of the holes, then all you need is access to a drill press.

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    2. okay thanks.

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  6. would a 10" drill press work

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    1. Depends on if the receiver can fit vertically under the chuck with the drill bit. It'll be close. It should have enough power though, you're not drilling through much material.

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