The Ruger 10/22 Trigger: To Replace, Modify, or No to Both?

If you are a Ruger 10/22 owner, you will probably agree that the most contentious part of the firearm is the trigger.  Heavy and rough from the factory, the standard 10/22 trigger has garnered a lot of complaints over the years.  Thankfully, there are a few ways to make the 10/22 trigger better; it is simply a matter of cost (parts and labor) vs. benefit.

While I have found that the trigger in the “Target” models is better than those in the “standard” models, the trigger could still use some work.  Of course, deciding if obtaining a better trigger is worthwhile is up to the owner and the intended use(s) for the firearm.

The beauty of the Ruger 10/22 trigger is its modularity.  The Trigger Guard Assembly, as Ruger references it, provides four functions; the actual functioning of the trigger sub-assembly, bolt locking, magazine removal and installation capabilities, and a safety function via a safety button sub-assembly.  Any and all of these functions can be modified to the user’s desire. The entire Trigger Guard Assembly can be replaced with another, which may allow modification of magazine functions, bolt locking functions, and/or modification or replacement of safety assemblies.

Once the lock and barrel is removed from the stock, the Trigger Guard Assembly can be removed by the simple removal of two steel pins.  The entire Trigger Guard Assembly fits in the hand and opens a new world of possibilities; some of which are going to be discussed in this article.

TRIGGER GUARD ASSEMBLY REPLACEMENT:

For some, the simplest and easiest way to improve the 10/22 trigger is to replace it with a more precision unit. Fortunately, there are plenty of trigger “Units’ available for the Ruger 10/22 (and Ruger Charger).  Major manufacturers include; Ruger, Volquartsen, Timney, Power Custom, and Kidd. A sample of each manufacturer’s model, and a description of each, follows.

Author’s Note:  Links to the various products are provided at the end of the article.  Also, product descriptions are attributed to the manufacture for each trigger.

RUGER BX TRIGGER:

Ruger BX-Trigger

The BX-Trigger was designed for easy installation, superior performance, and legendary Ruger reliability. Like the popular BX-25 magazine for the 10/22, the BX-Trigger will deliver the excellence and value that shooters have come to expect from Ruger.

The trigger offers a light, crisp, “drop-in” replacement trigger assembly that is compatible with all Ruger 10/22 rifles and 22 Charger pistols. The BX-Trigger is a Genuine Ruger Factory Accessory and is the perfect upgrade for all 10/22 rifles and 22 Charger pistol models because of the significantly reduced pull weight of approximately 2.75 pounds (versus 6 pounds on the standard 10/22 trigger).

Features:

  • Light and crisp 2.5 – 3.0 lb. trigger pull
  • Minimal over-travel and positive reset
  • Easy drop-in installation
  • Genuine Ruger factory accessory

MSRP from Ruger is $89.95, but these can be found for a more reasonable price from other sources.

Author’s Note: Having installed the Ruger BX Trigger in a 10/22 carbine and Ruger Charger, I can say that they are good trigger units and a definite upgrade from the standard trigger found on 10/22-based firearms.  From experience; however, the trigger units on the 10/22 Target models closely emulates the BX trigger.  With that said, the “Target” triggers (on the models that I currently own) came with a trigger pull weight of 3.6 pounds and 3.11 pounds on average.  In other words, the Ruger BX Trigger seems to be better than even the triggers that come on “Target” models.

VOLQUARTSEN TRIGGER GUARD ASSEMBLY 2000 RUGER 10/22:

Volquartsen Trigger Assembly Example

This complete Trigger Assembly is CNC machined from aircraft aluminum and equipped with precision EDM parts. It features an internal pre-travel adjustment and a hammer that is precision ground from 440C stainless steel and hardened to 58 RC. The sear and disconnector are made of A2 hardened tool steel with tolerances of +/- .0002″, complete with custom tuned springs. The trigger is black anodized, equipped with an over-travel adjustment screw and is reset internally to eliminate any dragging or inconsistencies caused by a conventional trigger plunger. An automatic bolt release and an extended magazine release are also included. Trigger pull is pre-set to 2 to 2-1/2 lbs. Due to the oversized safety used, it may be necessary for some stocks to be modified slightly to accommodate this part.

The VOLQUARTSEN TRIGGER GUARD ASSEMBLY 2000 RUGER 10/22 is available in a black or silver housing. Other variations may exist.

MSRP is around $220.

TIMNEY:

Timney Trigger Example

The new Timney 10/22 trigger will undoubtedly set the standard for the future of aftermarket trigger upgrades for the Ruger 10-22. Featuring a one piece action of CNC machined 6061-T6 aircraft grade billet aluminum the new Timney Trigger for the Ruger 10-22 is a complete action replacement. The trigger, sear, and hammer are wire EDM cut and heat treated steel for exceptional durability. Push out the two action pins and “drop in” the new Timney Complete Trigger assembly. The new Timney 10-22 Trigger features a Timney designed Extended Magazine release that can be operated by one finger for exceptional ease and accessibility. It also comes standard with an auto bolt release. As with all the Timney Triggers made in the U.S.A. each complete action replacement is hand assembled, calibrated and tested for a lifetime of reliable service. The trigger is set at 2 3/4 pounds from the factory, with no creep.

MSRP is around $230.

POWER CUSTOM:

Power Custom Trigger Example

The Power Custom Grandmaster complete trigger guard assembly is a precision machined and enhanced trigger assembly for your Ruger 10/22. The trigger guard is CNC machined from aircraft aluminum and the internal parts are precision cut with wire EDM. This assembly has an adjustable trigger pull from 1-3/4 lbs to 3 lbs. The assembly also features a redesigned safety that is pushed forward to fire and pulled back for safe. The extended magazine release makes magazine changes easier and faster. The unit is available in silver or black.

NOTE: This trigger assembly includes a magazine ejection assist spring that aids in removing Factory 10-Round Rotary magazines. Installation of this magazine spring assist requires Permanent Receiver Modification. Without installing this part, removal of factory rotary magazines can be difficult. The spring assist is not required for use with extended length aftermarket magazines.

MSRP is approximately $280, depending on the source.

KIDD:

Kidd trigger units come in single-stage and double-stage configurations.

Single Stage:

  • Aftermarket Replacement Trigger Unit for the 10/22®
  • Easy Upgrade
  • Improve your Accuracy with a Great Breaking Trigger
  • Great new look!

KIDD Trigger Examples

Experience the premium manufacturing of Kidd Innovative Design’s Single Stage Drop-in Trigger Unit.  This quick upgrade will give you a superior break without any needed gunsmithing to install.  This aftermarket 10/22® trigger is designed to adjust from 1 1/2 pounds to 5 pounds with the turn of a screw. It comes standard in silver or black anodized aluminum with our redesigned auto bolt release and interchangeable magazine lever system.

Our single stage trigger guard is CNC machined from billet to Tony’s specifications.  Always following the KIDD Quality of closely held tolerances enabling the cleanest breaking single stage in the industry.

How is this different from our two stage? This single stage more closely matched the traditional function of the factory trigger except with a refined feel and adjustability. Our two stage has a travel stage where the trigger blade moves rearward for about a 1/4 of an inch before it comes to the breaking stage. Because of this travel stage our two stage trigger is able to be reduced in weight to only 6 ounces versus the lowest weight for our single stage is 1 1/2 pounds.

Note from sales department: Buy one of each, you will love them both!

Drop-in exceptions to the rule:

Our single stage trigger drops into nearly all 10/22® models with little exception.  If this trigger is going in a SR-22® please let us know so that we may remove a small amount of material from the rear tang.  With our recently updated look, we have slimmed down the rear of the trigger guard so that it now fits without modification into the pistol grip style stocks that engulf the rear of the trigger guard giving the rifle that handgun appearance around the trigger area.

MSRP is $199.95 at the manufacturer’s web site.

Double Stage:

  • Best drop-in aftermarket trigger for the 10/22®
  • No finer trigger can be had for this rifle
  • Faster Lock Time results in less interference of the shot

The KIDD Trigger, shoot with it or against it…

Our trigger is the best aftermarket 10/22® trigger on the market. Whether you shoot Smallbore Silhouette, the Sportsmans Team Challenge or just hate Crows and Groundhogs this is the trigger you have been looking for. What makes it the best you ask? Tony Kidd’s patented two stage design. It offers the incredibly clean and consistent let off expected in a target trigger while maintaining the total reliability and safety required of a field trigger. The pull weight can be infinitely distributed between the two stages offering a pull as light as 6 ounces (3 ounces on the first stage and 3 ounces on the second stage) or as heavy as 2.5 pounds. We will gladly distribute the trigger weight to your individual needs.

Our trigger guard is CNC machined from 6061 T6 billet aluminum and each assembly. The hammer, sear, transfer bar and other internal tool steel parts are CNC machined and cut by a wire EDM. All springs are manufactured by a .22 aficionados and KIDD customer Murphy & Read Springs. We assemble each trigger in the KIDD shop employing the strictest quality control knowing our reputation rides on every trigger.

Talk about INNOVATIVE! Have you noticed the interchangeable magazine release levers for our trigger assemblies? You can now purchase one of three styles or all three. The Sportsman or the flat lever is the best lever for all you hunters. The Extended (medium) is a great universal magazine lever and our most popular. Then the Speed (long) lever that wraps around the bottom of the trigger guard is for all you target shooters who are racing the clock.

We offer black and silver anodized trigger bodies/guards both supplied with our signature red trigger (or as a customer from San Antonio, Texas referred to it “the salsa trigger”). Both black and silver trigger bodies have a matte glare free finish. We have offered a straight trigger shoe option in our trigger housing for years, but the concept is still new to most customers. The straight trigger replaced the standard curved trigger nicely and feels particularly good with a pistol grip or thumbhole style stock. We recommend that if you use a sporter style stock that you stick with the standard curved trigger. Our curved and straight trigger shoes are available in both red and black powder coating. The two-stage trigger also comes with an auto bolt release already installed.

What the heck is a two stage trigger? The two stage trigger offers a unique geometry which allows a very clean, light and repeatable break. This is accomplished by distributing the trigger pull weight into two distinct segments. The first segment or stage is an initial take up which leads to the second stage. As you pull the trigger rearward taking up the first stage weight, you will feel a stop. This is the second stage. At this point the hammer and sear are engaged by .001″ and any further rearward movement of the trigger will release the hammer firing the shot. The advantage to this system, which is used on all European competition auto-loaders, is the ability to not only have very consistent trigger breaks but to also allow light and reliable trigger breaks. In an auto-loading rifle this can only be accomplished with a two stage trigger. When cocked, the two stage has approximately .040″ hammer and sear engagement, almost 10 times that of the factory trigger. Only KIDD offers a 10/22® trigger assembly which incorporates precise let off, complete reliability and total safety.

We offer two hammer spring options, standard and magnum. The magnum spring can be purchased for an extra $4.00 during check out and should be used with the .22 magnum and 17HMR.

Exceptions to the drop-in rule:

Our two stage trigger drops into nearly all 10/22® models with minimal exception.  If this trigger is going in a SR-22® please let us know so that we may remove a small amount of material from the rear tang.  Our trigger drops into most magnum and 17HMR versions of this rifle but there are some manufactures that made a different bolt length dimension and our trigger won’t work with those models.  Our trigger doesn’t drop into the radical pistol grip such as the (AA597) Archangel style of stock due to the dimensions of the trigger guard around the trigger blade but it works great in the more traditional style stock offered by Archangel such as the AATS1022.  Along this line of radical pistol grip stocks, our trigger now drops into the Tapco® Intrafuse stock.

MSRP is $289.95 at the manufacturer’s web site.

MODIFYING THE EXISTING 10/22 TRIGGER GUARD ASSEMBLY:

There are two options for modifying a standard (or target) 10/22 Trigger Guard Assembly; Allow a competent and qualified gunsmith to perform a trigger job (parts + gunsmithing labor), or enhance the trigger with your labor and selected parts.

In most cases, the gunsmith will; replace parts such as springs, replace parts such as the hammer and sear, perform the necessary tasks of matching hammer to sear (honing, polishing, etc.), and perform the necessary function checks.  A few rounds may be fired to verify operation. Reliability and dependability; however, still remain a test of time and use by the owner of the firearm.

An alternative to the above is to do the trigger job yourself by installing quality parts.  A common upgrade is to install a low-cost kit like the Volquartsen Target Hammer, which also comes with springs, hammer bushings, and hammer shims.  The Volquartsen Target Hammer kit costs about $35, depending on the source.

While I have installed just the Volquartsen Target Hammer, I have achieved better results with the slightly more expensive Volquartsen Match Target Hammer and Sear.  Aside from the hammer and sear, this kit also comes with: Hammer Spring, Trigger Return Spring, Sear Spring, Hammer Bushings, Hammer Shims, and an Assembly Pin (holds the Trigger, Sear Spring, and Sear units together for installation into the receiver. The Volquartsen Match Hammer and Sear runs about $74, depending on the source.

After installing the Volquartsen Match Target Hammer and Sear, I have been able to achieve a 2.3 pound trigger pull with standard Ruger springs.  With using the Volquartsen-provided springs, the trigger pull would be slightly less, but reliability is an issue.  I’ll get to that later in the write-up.

There are others, of course, that manufacture parts and kits for the Ruger 10/22 trigger.  I tend to stay with Volquartsen parts; however, having used them and I can attest to their quality (or lack of quality).

In my experience, the cost of the Volquartsen Match Target Hammer and Sear is almost the same as the cost of a Ruger BX Trigger, but provides a better outcome.

Prior to diving into replacing Ruger 10/22 trigger parts, you must be totally familiar with the 10/22 Trigger Guard Assembly.

  1. Trigger Guard Assembly –Complete Includes Key Nos. 17 – 40 (See Exploded View)
  2. Trigger Guard
  3. Bolt Lock
  4. Bolt Lock Spring
  5. Hammer
  6. Hammer Pivot Pin
  7. Hammer Strut
  8. Hammer Spring
  9. Hammer Strut Washer
  10. Ejector
  11. Safety Detent Plunger Spring
  12. Safety Detent Plunger
  13. Safety
  14. Disconnector & Trigger Pivot Pin
  15. Disconnector
  16. Sear Spring
  17. Trigger
  18. Sear
  19. Trigger Pivot Pin
  20. Trigger Plunger Spring
  21. Trigger Plunger
  22. Magazine Latch
  23. Magazine Latch Pivot & Ejector Pivot Pin, 2 Req’d
  24. Magazine Latch Plunger Spring
  25. Magazine Latch Plunger

Note:  Highlighted parts must be factory fit.

I am not going to take you through how to disassemble the Trigger Guard Assembly, replace the upgrade parts, and assemble everything, because there are a lot of instructional videos on YouTube that can do so.  I have provided some links to a couple of instructional videos at the end of the article.

While you are considering your own DIY trigger job, you might consider a few more options that can be installed while you have the Trigger Guard Assembly out of the firearm and disassembled.  The two most common replacements are the Magazine Latch and the Bolt Lock.

Extended Magazine Release Lever Example

An Extended Magazine Latch allows you to quickly exchange magazines.  This is something that you will come to enjoy regardless of the purpose for your 10/22 or Ruger Charger.  I have used several in my personal 10/22 firearms and they all work well for their intended purpose.  Extended Magazine Levers are available through Power Custom Competition, Tactical Solutions Performance, Tacticool22, and Nordic Components; all of which I have used and can attest to their quality and performance.  It is simply a handy thing to push downward with a finger just behind the Trigger Guard Assembly to release a magazine rather than pushing against the standard Magazine latch and hoping that the magazine will release.

Volquartsen Automatic Bolt Release Example

An Automatic Bolt Release unit, that replaces the standard Bolt Lock, saves you from the frustration of fighting the Bolt Lock to release the bolt from a locked position. Anyone who owns a Ruger 10/22 knows what I am talking about.  With an Automatic Bolt Release, you simply pull the Cocking Handle to the rear and release it.  There is no more pushing up on the Bolt Lock and hoping that the bolt will release.  The anxiety level of simply releasing a bolt goes to zero.  Although there are several manufacturers of Automatic Bolt release units, I favor the Volquartsen unit.  Note that you can also modify the standard Bolt Lock to perform as an Automatic bolt release, if you desire, and there are several instructional videos on doing so. Personally, I prefer to leave standard parts standard should I decide, at some time, to restore a 10/22 to its original configuration.

There is one more upgrade that can be performed, but I have found it to be more problematic than not; installing a bolt hold-open on last round. Custom Shooting Technologies, produces a 2ND GENERATION AUTO BOLT STOP.

However, the 2nd generation CST Auto Bolt Stop only functions with the new Power Custom Match Bolt providing the world’s only last shot bolt hold open function for 10/22 rifles.  Unlike the original version, the 2nd Generation Auto Bolt Stop will provide a last shot bolt hold open function for the 10/22 without the need of a modified magazine, and will allow the use of the popular Ruger BX-25 high-capacity magazines.  This is an upgrade that I don’t need, but you might desire.

WRAPPING THINGS UP:

Personally, I like some degree of sweat equity in my firearms. With that said, I also know my limitations. Fortunately, I can perform modifications to a standard Ruger 10/22 Trigger Guard Assembly, with some inexpensive drop-in parts and a little labor, which will result in a trigger to my liking.  The cost is comparable to simply purchasing a BX Trigger and installing it, but the satisfaction of having a little bit better trigger than what the Ruger BX Trigger provides is worthwhile to me.

With that said, the most expedient and inexpensive path to a good trigger on a Ruger 10/22 (or Ruger Charger) is the Ruger BX-Trigger. The BX-Trigger is utterly reliable, and with a couple of upgrades (extended magazine release and automatic bolt release), utterly enjoyable. The Ruger BX-Trigger is the best bang for the buck.

There are some who would rather replace the standard Ruger trigger with a Volquartsen, Timney, Kidd, or Power Custom unit, and that is also fine.  There are also those who customize a Ruger 10/22 to the point that it not longer resembles a Ruger 10/22. My hat is also off to you for being able to do so.  There are also those who would simply turn their 10/22 firearm over to a qualified and competent gunsmith to produce a “perfect” trigger. I say that is fine also.  In addition, there are those who simply accept the standard Ruger 10/22 trigger and enjoy themselves immensely just shooting the firearm, teaching their kids how to shoot, or just having a firearm in the vehicle in case of emergencies without worrying about customizing or improving a firearm.

With over 5 million 10/22 rifles sold since its introduction in 1964, the Ruger 10/22 is certainly no “niche” firearm. In the grand scheme of things, the Ruger 10/22 could be improved upon by Ruger, but that would take away the joy of doing so as a 10/22 owner. I would venture to say that the Ruger 10/22 is one of those firearms that can truly reflect the personality of the owner.

RESOURCES:

You may notice that Midway.com is the predominate source for various parts. That is not to say that these parts cannot be found elsewhere. It is to say that when I plan a 10/22 trigger project, I don’t mind a single-source for parts. Parts may be found at other site locations for better or worse pricing.

About Taurian

Taurian is a U.S. Army veteran and former LEO and Defensive Tactics Instructor. Taurian also has over fifty years of experience as a Technical Writer and Training Program Developer. After leaving home at the age of ten without any shoes, Taurian continues on with many years devoted to the keeping and bearing of arms.

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