There are a lot of components that make up a rifle and all of them are important but the one that actually makes the rifle go bang is the bolt. Yes, the trigger causes it to go bang but it’s the bolt that makes the rifle fire. That’s the obvious reason you want a high-quality bolt, to make your rifle go bang consistently but the bolt affects more than your reliability. The bolt face and how consistent it is and how true the firing pin strikes will have a huge impact on your accuracy.
When you get into the hyper-accurate world of competition, you will see actions and barrels blueprinted together where the bolt face is perfectly aligned to the barrel. For a .22 this may be overkill but adding a bolt that has a very precise and true face will go a long way. You can always decide to blueprint an action to a barrel later but as a place to start, check out these fine choices!
Best Ruger 10/22 Bolt Comparison Table
|POWER CUSTOM - RUGER® 10/22® MATCH BOLT|
** BUDGET - Ruger 10/22 Bolt **
|VOLQUARTSEN - RUGER 10/22 COMPETITION BOLT ASSEMBLY|
** OVERALL - Best Ruger 10/22 Bolt **
|VOLQUARTSEN - RUGER® 10/22® FIREFLY BOLT||VOLQUARTSEN|
|RUGER - BOLT ASSEMBLY, COMPLETE||RUGER||USA|
1. POWER CUSTOM – RUGER® 10/22® MATCH BOLT
** BUDGET PICK – Ruger 10/22 Bolt **
There are no lightweights in the bolt game so let’s jump right into it. If you are in the market for the best you can do with a 10/22, you need an expertly made product. There is a reason you can find barrels and receivers from a ton of companies but you only find bolts from a select few. This isn’t a place to fool around. You want a tried and true expert to make the best bolt with the finest of tolerances. Power Custom did that and stamped ‘MATCH’ right on the side of it.
When they say ‘Match’ they really mean it. This is a very precise EDM and CNC machined part that will drop into any receiver but does best when matched with a quality receiver, probably from Power Custom if you want to do it right.
This bolt weighs less than the factory bolt and does well with most any ammunition. It’s also hardened to prevent cracking and deformation. There is no reason to believe this bolt would last less than a lifetime of shooting and perform better than your expectations. There are few companies that can claim the kind of craftsmanship that Power Custom can.
This is a bolt only, not a complete assembly so it will use some of your existing Ruger parts. If you want a fully custom action, you will need to purchase the rest of the bolt group separately.
2. VOLQUARTSEN – RUGER 10/22 COMPETITION BOLT ASSEMBLY
** OVERALL PICK – Best Ruger 10/22 Bolt **
Admit it, you knew it was coming! If you start talking custom 10/22s, Volquartsen is going to be mentioned at least once. This is a company that has been in the business for decades and has done some of the best work on .22 rifles possible. They offer everything 10/22 related that you could want, all the way from a fully custom gun down to just the bolt assembly.
For just the bolt, you are getting one amazing bolt! Like the Power Custom, Volquartsen has machined this bolt to the tightest tolerances. It is hardened for durability and comes with a rounded titanium firing pin fully encased in the bolt to prevent the pin from binding which is can happen with such tight tolerances. The lighter firing pin also decreases lock time for quicker shots if that’s your thing but I think taking your time is a better use of this bolt.
Unlike the Power Custom, this is a complete bolt group with extractor, handle, recoil spring, and guide rod so you are sure everything matches and works well together. It’s still a drop-in job that anyone could do in just a few minutes time with no special tools or training.
3. VOLQUARTSEN – RUGER® 10/22® FIREFLY BOLT
It’s not uncommon to find multiple offerings from Volquartsen in any gun part category but in this case, it’s for a definite reason. The Competition bolt versus the Firefly really depends more on your use for the gun than anything else. Where the competition model is more suited to what you would do with a standard 10/22, the Firefly is specifically geared toward competition shooters.
The Volquartsen Firefly bolt is essentially a clone of the Competition bolt in every way but weight. It has the same extractor and firing pin and is machined to the same tolerances. At a glance, it would be hard to tell them apart if one didn’t have the Firefly blaze down the side.
This bolt differs by being specially designed to fire CCI’s Quiet .22 rounds. These are preferred by some shooters because they are 75% quieter than a standard round but they do lack the velocity to cycle the bolt on most guns. They can turn a standard 10/22 into an inconvenient bolt action so having a specific bolt tailored to that round is quite handy. If you shoot any round under 1000 fps, this bolt is a great investment.
If you have a 10/22 that is used exclusively with a suppressor and subsonic ammunition, you are a prime candidate for the Volquartsen Firefly.
4. RUGER – BOLT ASSEMBLY, COMPLETE
Now that we have covered the big dogs, let’s take a look at a model on the low end. If it’s your preference to just head to a gunsmith and get your action blueprinted, it’s going to cost you upwards of $250.00. That eats into the budget pretty hard so you may want to stick with a budget option. You may also want to go with an action that doesn’t have hundreds of rounds through it to get a more precise fit.
If that’s you, pick yourself up a brand-new bolt for your old 10/22. They are dirt cheap! Even if you aren’t going to accurize your rifle, a new bolt can fix any annoying hiccups or accuracy issues in your old rifle. It’s a great way to revitalize that 10/22 that you’ve had since 1987 and shot thousands of rounds through.
Replacement is as easy as a screw and a few pins and the old girl will perform better than she has in years! This bolt uses the standard 10/22 spring and guide rod assembly so it’s just a matter of swapping it out during a normal field strip cleaning just to get a little more out of a used 10/22.
WHICH BOLT IS BEST FOR YOU
Unlike a lot of parts, picking a bolt is straightforward. There are not a ton of different features or specific uses that you need to consider. It’s what makes the gun go bang so whatever does that best is obviously the best choice. That isn’t to say that there aren’t a few considerations that can make things work out a little better for you.
We always have to talk about price. In this case, the Ruger factory bolt is obviously the cheapest by a huge margin! It only costs 33 bucks where the power custom costs over a hundred dollars more. Both Volquartsens come in just north of $200.00 but that doesn’t mean they are that much more expensive than the Power Custom. Since the Volquartsen are complete bolt groups and the Power Custom is just a bolt, the price difference in the end for a fully custom bolt is going to be close.
- The long and short of it is that if you are just replacing a worn bolt in the old plinker, there is nothing wrong with the Ruger factory offering but you may want to go ahead and add a guide rod and recoil spring while you are at it. If you are looking for an upgrade, the Power Custom and Volquartsen are on equal footing with price.
- If you are building a custom gun, the best advice is to match your bolt to your receiver. You will be a lot happier in the long run and things are sure to fit just right. There is no reason to put a Volquartsen bolt in a Power Custom receiver or vice versa.
- If you are shopping for bolts before deciding on a receiver, you need to look at all the parts you would need for the Power Custom to make it complete and compare that to a Volquartsen. The quality is going to be close to the same and the price is probably not far off. Volquartsen will tend to be a little more expensive and maybe a hair better.
- Of course, if you want the quiet ammo or want a really a silent, suppressed gun, go with the Firefly. It has all of the quality of the standard Volquartsen, just remember you will be restricted from using high-velocity ammo and most standard ammo.
As I know I prefer a Volquartsen receiver, I think I would go with a standard competition model Volquartsen bolt. The same is true if I just wanted to add a better bolt to a standard 10/22 receiver. The fact that it is packaged as a unit and I know it’s designed to work together makes the difference.
But don’t take that as a set-in-stone endorsement of Volquartsen over Power Customs. Yes, I do think that Volquartsen has a slight edge in quality but it’s so small it probably doesn’t count. Power Customs is probably a little cheaper in the end but the margin is small. Either one you get is going to serve you well!
I do admit that for my suppressed 10/22 that the Firefly is a tempting offer! I just hate to deal with needing such a specialized ammo for a gun. Sometimes I just like to dig out whatever loose rounds I can from the bottom of my range bag and have a little fun.