In last months match report I noted that I was having an issue with the Eley Club ammunition not fully cycling the bolt which resulted in a great number of stove-pipe style jams throughout the match. These jams ended up costing me a number of points on each target because each time I would have to disrupt the rifle in the bags to clear it. After discussing the problem with a few other shooters after the match I decided that the best course of action would be to purchase and install a lighter bolt return spring.
The following week I started looking around online to see what my options were for a different spring, and after a little reading I decided to replace the whole spring/rod/bolt handle assembly. The factory bolt handle is somewhat small and has a rather sloppy fit in the slot of the bolt. Additionally, the factory rod has a very course finish to it which results in increased drag on the spring and bolt when the bolt cycles. This ultimately lead me to KIDD Innovative Designs who specializes in precision components and parts for the Ruger 10/22.
First on my order list was KIDD’s Bolt Handle Charging Assembly with Guide Rod and Springs with the Black Ring bolt handle. This one simple kit replaces all of the parts mentioned in the above paragraph and comes with three different springs so you can tune the rifle to the ammunition you are shooting. One spring is the same rate as the factory spring, one is 10% lighter than factory, and the third is 10% heavier. In my case I installed the lightest of the three springs since the Eley Club ammunition I’ve been shooting wasn’t producing enough rearward bolt thrust to fully cycle the bolt with the slightly heavier factory spring.
I also went ahead and ordered one of KIDD’s Bolt Buffer’s. Most of the replacement bolt buffers on the market are simply a rubbery-plastic type material that replaces the factory metal bolt stop pin. The KIDD bolt buffer uses a stainless steel center pin with a rubber sleeve. Whether the addition of the steel pin offers any benefit or not I couldn’t say.
While on KIDD’s website I noticed they offered precision replacement bolt that comes fully polished and with their upgraded firing pin and extractor parts. I had plans to polish the factory bolt sometime in the near future – probably over the winter during the off-season as doing so reduces friction and helps minimize bullet deformation issues caused as the bolt slides over the next round in the magazine. KIDD’s precision bolt can be purchased for just under $100, and the more I thought about it the more just buying a precision replacement bolt made sense.
For starters, it saves me the time and hassle of having to polish the factory one, and anyone who knows me knows I’m not the best person to do precision detail work of that type as I just don’t have the patience or the light touch that’s needed to do it right. Secondly, even if I did a perfect job polishing the factory bolt it would still be a factory bolt whereas the KIDD bolt is machined with much tighter tolerances. So as you’ve probably guessed by now I went ahead and ordered the KIDD bolt as well.
Installation of the KIDD parts in the factory receiver is pretty straight forward so I’m not going to go to go into detail on the install. The process for installing all these components is exactly the same as disassembling/reassembling the factory components which is all outlined in the owners manual. That said, unlike the factory pieces the KIDD Bolt Handle Charging Rod Assembly is not a captured assembly. Additionally, with the bolt handle and precision bolt being made to tighter tolerances getting everything assembled back into the receiver is a little more challenging than with the original components. It would be nice if KIDD would machine a groove into the end of the guide rod for a small E-clip to make it a captured assembly yet still allow one to easily change out the spring, but given the small diameter of the rod that might ultimately make it too weak and susceptible to failure.
Once the ABRA-Cadabra project rifle was reassembled with all the new parts it was clearly evident that there was a lot less drag on the bolt when cycling it by hand. In fact, I was so surprised by the difference in feel that I pulled the gun back apart and reinstalled the factory parts just to make sure I wasn’t imagining it as it’s truly a night and day difference with the polished bolt and guide rod.
Of course the real test for the new KIDD components came at the range and I’m happy to report that in firing 65 rounds of the Eley Club ammunition I didn’t experience a single stove-pipe jam. I can’t really say what kind of effect these new parts have on accuracy yet as my shooting with them to this point has just been for function testing, but based on the groups I got during that function testing I can definitely say they haven’t hurt the accuracy.
This coming weekend (August 8th) is the Ohio State Championship Match and I’m hoping the weather holds out. Presently they are calling for a 50% chance of scattered thunderstorms all through the weekend with high’s around 80 degrees. Most likely that will mean even if we can squeeze the match in between showers we’re likely going to be dealing with some gusting wind which will surely cause some headaches.