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Ten-X custom Ruger auto pistol.

* Tom Volquartsen, of Tom's Gun Blueing Shop in Carroll, IA, has been in the gun business for the past 15 years. In his well-equipped shop, he offers all types of gun finishing such as blueing and parkerizing, as well as nickel and gold plating. In addition, he also creates heavy-barrell PPC revolvers, custom Rugers and High Standards, plus Remington XP-100s for NRA Bullseye and silhouette shooing as well as hunting.

Hot rodding the Ruger .22 auto is a specialty of his, for he produces no less than five different variations. All have Douglas or Obermeyer match barrels, Bo-Mar or Millett fully adjustable rear sights and checkered wooden grips with a thumb rest. Pachmayr rubber stocks can be had as an option and all models come with tuned actions and jeweled bolts. There is also a choice of finishes as the guns can be had in either blue or nickel.

Sturm, Ruger and Company's .22 auto pistol has been a popular choice for some of the top pistolsmiths to use as a basis for a custom target gun ever since it was introduced in 1949. Accurate, reliable and, above all, reasonably priced, the Rugger is a pretty good pistol as it comes out of the box. When worked over by a good pistolsmith, its potential as purely a target gun far exceeds that of many of the more expensive pistols.

The model I received for evaluation was the Match Ten-X. This model has a 6-1/2-inch Doublas precision barrel turned down so that its external diameter is the same as that of the receiver. A smilar style barrel 5-1/2 inches in length is also available. To add more weight and reduce muzzle jump, a full length underlug, similar to that of the Colt Python, is fitted to the underside of the barrel.

The entire pistol is finished in satin nickel except for the sights which are blue. The front sight is a square topped blade, under-cut at the rear to reduce light reflection. The rear sight is a Bo-Mar, fully adjustable for both windage and elevation, and set low on top of the receiver. In order to do this, the top of the bolt stop pin,which secures the lockwork, has been machined flush with the top of the receiver.

A set of nicely carved and checkered wood stocks had been fitted to the frame, the left one having a thumb rest. A gold plated trigger and a jeweled bolt complement the satin silver appearance of the rest of the pistol. Externally, all of these features make the Match 10-X quite a handsome pistol.

The trigger and action had been worked over to give a crisp pull of around two pounds. The trigger itself had two Allen screws fitted; one was set into the front of the triggerguard to take up play in the trigger, while the other was in the trigger itself and could be adjusted to reduce overtravel.

Tom tells me that he does a lot of work honing the varous parts of the action to obtain a smooth, crisp and light trigger pull. Usually this is all that is necessary, although sometimes a spring (other than the mainspring) or component may have to be replaced or slightly modified. However, as the basic action is unaltered, the takedown for normal cleaning and maintenance remained basically the same. the only difference was that the bolt stop pin was a little bit difficult to get back into place in the receiver as its top end had been squared off.

As far as the pistol I received for testing was concerned, it had good balance and sat well in my hand when I did a little dry fire practice (with a used case in the chamber) prior to going out to the range. The sights were clear and easy to pick up when the gun was aimed and the trigger had a good, crisp let-off.

I used a variety of .22 Long Rifle ammunition in the field test which included Eley, Remington, Winchester and CCI Match ammunition, as well as some Stinger and Yellow Jacket hyper-velocity cartridges. As far as reliability was concerned, the Match 10-X handled all of these without a single malfunction.

Thanks to its heavy barrel and underlug, recoil and muzzle jump was almost imperceptible, even when shooting the hyper-velocity Stinger and Yellow Jacket ammunition. Accuracy depended very much on the ammunition. From a benchrest at 25 yards, the Winchester and CCI Match ammunition consistently grouped within about 1-1/2 and 2 inches with four of the five shots closely clustered together. Similar results were achieved with the various brands of hyper-velocity ammunition.

I got much better results with Remington Match ammunition, for I was able to consistently group under an inch with one group measuring 1/2-inch. Similar groups were obtained with Eley Match, the tightest of which measured just under 3/4-inch.

I did not have an unmodified Ruger on hand to compare accuracy. However, I did test such a pistol some years ago and it grouped around 2-1/2 inches at the same range. Admittedly, that was with a much harder trigger but, even so, the improvement of accuracy of the Ten-X is considerable, and the superior trigger action of the pistol contributed to these tight groups.

After the accuracy test, I put up a target at 25 yards and tried some off-hand target shooting. It's been quite some time since I have done any target work, which probably accounts for my first few targets resembling a shotgun pattern. Nevertheless, once I got used to the pistol, my groups started to reduce in size.

The lack of recoil certainly helped in this respect as the pistol just seemed to hang in the air with the sights remaining rock steady. Actually, by the end of the session, I was very pleased with my results. The only problem was that all that extra weight made my arm pretty tired.

The pistol itself weighs some 3 pounds 4 ounces unloaded, which precludes it from being used in the International Standard Pistol match. However, it is suitable for NRA target shooting as well as silhouette work, and I understand that sales have been strong in respect of the former.

This is not surprising, for the workmanship and finish of the pistol I tested were excellent, and I was impressed with both the accuracy and performance of the pistol on the range. The price is even more impressive, for the cost of a Ten-X (which includes the basic gun) is just under $400. You can't beat that with a stick, and I am seriously considering ordering a Ten-X suitably modified for the International Standard Pistol match for my own use. Further information can be obtained by writing to Tom's Gun Blueing Shop, Dept. GA, 1818 Crewstview Drive, Carroll, IA 51401.
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Title Annotation:evaluation
Author:Arnold, Dave
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Date:Feb 1, 1985
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