I love the Ruger 10/22 rifle. It’s a sweet-handling semiautomatic that you’ll enjoy whether you’re an experienced shooter or a novice. It’s one of those guns you’ll use your whole life, then pass down to the next generation.
I have to qualify that profession of affection just a bit, as there is one part I don’t really care for: the magazine release. The Ruger 10/22 comes standard with a 10-round rotary magazine that fits completely inside of the stock. You can get larger magazines, of course, but part of what makes the 10/22 special is its 10-round capacity with no extra bulk. It’s the standard magazine release lever that just doesn’t sit right with me. It’s a non-traditional curved lever in front of the trigger guard that you push forward to drop the magazine from the rifle. I find it somewhat awkward and non-intuitive.
One of the neat things about the Ruger 10/22 is that it’s so popular that companies have developed all sorts of aftermarket accessories and upgrades for it. For example, you can replace that standard magazine release lever. Better yet, you can get a modular unit that upgrades the trigger and improves magazine release.
I’ve got a standard Ruger 10/22 Carbine that’s itching for some custom work, so I decided to upgrade the trigger and magazine release with a Timney Triggers Ruger 10/22 replacement. It’s a drop-in replacement for the entire action, so the trigger, hammer, springs, and magazine release assembly are all new. The magazine release is a lever that wraps around the bottom of the trigger guard all the way to the back. You operate it with a quick downward flick of your middle finger. It’s fast and positive.
How to replace the trigger and magazine release on the Ruger 10/22
Installation is easy. All you need is a flat-head screwdriver and something to punch out the trigger housing pins. I used a Real Avid Gun Tool for the whole operation. In fact, I did this upgrade at the range so I could test the rifle’s performance before and after the upgrade under identical conditions.
Before you do anything, remove the magazine. Now make double sure that the chamber is empty. Put any nearby ammo elsewhere so there is no risk of inadvertently loading the gun. Now double check once more to make sure the gun is completely unloaded!
|Loosen the screw in the bottom of the stock, just in front of the receiver. It will come all the way out. Now you can lift the barrel up and remove the barrel and receiver from the stock.|
|Completely remove the receiver from the stock. The entire trigger assembly is held in place with two punch pins. Oh, one more thing. See that big hole in the upper right of the receiver in this photo? That’s for a large bolt-stop pin. It likes to slip out, so make sure you don’t lose it.|
|Using a pin punch or other suitable tool, push both pins completely through and remove them from the receiver. Hold on to these as you’ll need them for reassembly. Also beware of loose parts. The magazine release lever tends to fall out when the receiver is removed. This is OK as you won’t need them with the new trigger, but you may want to save the parts for future use.|
|Once both pins are removed, the trigger unit will drop out of the receiver.|
|As you can see, the replacement Timney Trigger Assembly looks similar to the original and is completely self-contained.|
|Insert the Timney assembly and replace the two cross pins. Now you’re ready to reinstall the receiver into the stock. Put the rear of the receiver in place first, as it will fit into a notch, then lower the barrel. Replace the stock screw and you’re good to go!|
I measured the factory trigger before the upgrade and found the pull weight to average five pounds. The standard Ruger 10/22 trigger is pretty good for a gun that starts off in the $225 range. However, once I installed the Timney replacement assembly, the pull weight dropped to an average of 2-1/8 pounds and broke crisply. The new magazine release worked like a champ and made for a huge increase in usability.
While a great trigger does not physically change the mechanical accuracy of a gun, it does help you, the shooter, achieve the maximum possible performance from a firearm. To quantify this, I conducted a test of the 10/22’s performance before and after the Timney assembly’s installation.
To evaluate the impact of the new trigger, I shot a number of five-round groups with ammo that’s been proven consistent in my Ruger 10/22—CCI Green Tag competition. It’s a 40-grain lead subsonic round rated at 1,070 feet per second. As a competition load, it’s consistent shot to shot, which made it perfect for my before-and-after test.
Shooting from a BLACKHAWK! Sportster Titan III rifle rest at a range of 50 yards, I recorded a number of five-shot groups using the factory Ruger 10/22 trigger. The largest group measured 1.66 inches, the smallest 1.15 inches, and the average worked out to 1.31 inches.
After installation of the Timney Trigger upgrade, I re-shot the groups. Post-upgrade, the largest group measured 1.16 inches, the smallest .95 inches, and the average group size worked out to 1.07 inches. Overall, I observed an 18.9 percent reduction in group size using the same rifle, ammo, shooting rest, and weather conditions. Not too bad!
If your trigger finger gets an itch for something better, you can find the Timney Trigger Assembly upgrade kit at Brownells for $229.99.
Tom McHale is the author of the Insanely Practical Guides book series that guides new and experienced shooters alike in a fun, approachable, and practical way. His books are available in print and eBook format on Amazon.