Profit Big With Precision Rimfire

Centerfire isn’t the only option for precision shooters. Don’t miss out on the rimfire revolution.
Profit Big With Precision Rimfire

Precision rimfire rifles can deliver a unique long-range precision experience that does not need to involve a 20-pound rifle and $3-a-round ammunition. Precision rimfire can offer a larger array of customers another fun, lower-cost-per-round option all while building long-range shooting skills. At the premium tier of precision rimfire are Volquartsen rimfire rifles, which can make any centerfire shooter jealous.

It is no secret that custom centerfire rifles can exceed $5,000 quickly, and this is part of the reason why PRS (Precision Rifle Series) also offers rimfire matches. These rimfire matches offer challenging targets beyond 200 to 300 yards that require more challenging bullet drop and wind drift calculation than centerfire 500+ yard matches. Those ranges may seem long for .22LR rimfire rounds; however, today’s higher-end production and high-tier precision rimfire rifles, paired with the right ammunition and optic, can connect consistently at those ranges. Some customers may have experienced accurate production-class .22LR rifles, but the ¼- or even 1/8-MOA capabilities of today’s precision custom rimfire rifles are on another level.

Bolt guns are widely the most popular in centerfire matches; however, one of the most popular rifles for rimfire precision shooters are mild to wild customized Ruger 10/22-format rifles. As covered previously in our Rock Your 10/22 article, there are aftermarket upgrade parts for every part on the 10/22. A rack-grade Ruger 10/22 with just a DIY replacement match Volquartsen barrel and stock swap can deliver better than 1/4-inch 50-yard groups. Adding a match trigger and other custom parts can tighten groups much further. For those customers who want the ultimate out-of-the-box precision, dealers can stock the stunning custom factory .22LR rifles from Volquartsen, which offer custom features with stunning quality and out-of-the-box ¼-MOA-or-better accuracy that needs nothing except a quality optic.

Volquartsen has been the rimfire competitor’s rifle of choice for decades and led the industry with 10/22 aftermarket match-grade parts. They started offering full custom 100% in-house-design and -manufactured firearms. The performance and looks are superb and will pull in even the most resistant centerfire customers. Along with premier custom options like fluting and carbon fiber barrels, billet, stainless and even a toggle biathlon action receiver options, Volquartsen provides everything a precision rimfire shooter could want, including custom ordering options.

To show how far customers can take a precision rimfire rifle, we are showcasing Volquartsen’s premier IF-5-barreled $1,700 action bedded in a Woox Furiosa stock. The IF-5 also is loaded with every single custom match part manufactured in-house at Volquartsen. Parts include the stainless receiver, complete match bolt assembly, firing pins, extractor, stainless match chambered I-Flute threaded and ported barrel, miscellaneous parts, pins and bolts, and their match-grade precision trigger assembly. Uniquely, the IF-5 also features a receiver thread-attached barrel for the ultimate in rigid precision versus Ruger’s slip fit barrel design. The barrel is match crowned and features a proprietary Volquartsen match .22LR chamber designed to maximize accuracy. The only remaining factory Ruger part on the IF-5 is the 10/22 magazine, and results are gloriously impressive.

The WOOX Furiosa stock is also the pinnacle of stock design, blending premium wood with billet-machined aluminum for beauty and for all the advantages of a billet chassis system. The Furiosa stock includes MLOK mounting points, mechanical bedding, barrel free-floating, and pull length and cheek rest height adjustment. The Furiosa also happens to be the most expensive 10/22 inlet stock currently available on the market at $1,100. If customers demand the best, this is it.

The total build price as shown is easily in the realm of higher-tier precision rifles at a $3,550 total price of the IF-5, Furiosa stock, $650 Hawke Sidewinder 6-24x50 SFP, and $100 Seekins rings. For retailers rolling their eyes at the thought of focusing on precision rimfire rifles, they should take note of the high MSRP and exponential growth in this shooting category.

Unsurprisingly, customers can easily spend more than the Volquartsen IF-5 going the DIY route without achieving this result. Over the last decade, I have built many dozens of 10/22 custom rifles; however, the IF-5 build outperforms other builds. I have been testing this build for nearly a year and the groups are truly amazing, delivering regular 100-yard sub-1/4-inch groups. The 50-yard five- to 10-shot single-hole groups with Lapua Match .22LR ammunition are easily ⅛-MOA. For dealers, customers will love that they can pull the Volquartsen rifle line from the box and go shoot, and they have dozens of customizable models. If customers desire, the optional Woox stock swap is simple enough for any customer and an attractive option for dealers with a Woox stock display already on the floor.


More Than Meets the Bull’s-Eye

There are many factors that dramatically influence accuracy with precision rimfires, similar to centerfire rifles. Generally, the main factors for rimfire precision are the barrel, trigger, bolt and stock. Other tuning areas include free-floating the barrel, tuned bedding torque, and very light-breaking triggers, with some with guns having trigger breaks as low as 8 ounces. Match-quality bolts have a tighter headspace that more closely meets those tolerances held with match ammunition. Most match .22LR rimfire rifles feature a tighter .22 Match or .22 Benz chamber instead of a loser, more forgiving .22LR Field chamber. This can impact reliability without regular cleaning; however, the tighter match chambers offer the trade-off of exponentially better accuracy.

Match crowns are employed on these higher-tier rifles to get the absolute most precision possible. In every way, these precision .22 rifles have more in common with custom centerfire PRS rifles than they do with their factory counterparts. Volquartsen provides DIY parts as well; however, the IF-5 and their other models draw on the company’s decades of experience. To assure the highest tolerances are achieved, Volquartsen uses Lothar-Walther barrel blanks and a special custom .22-tuned chamber that is even tighter than the Bez chamber to squeeze even more accuracy from each round.


Match Ammunition

Match ammunition and rimfire-specific optics play a huge part in delivering the full accuracy potential of any rimfire rifle. At the 25-yard line, nearly all mid-grade non-match ammo should group well; however, at the 50-yard line, drastic differences will be noticed between the mid-grade and premium match rounds. At 100 yards, the bullet and velocity variance in bulk pack budget ammo is so dramatic that budget ammo is seldom used for anything other than plinking at these longer rimfire distances.

Most of these aftermarket precision barrels and bolts prefer at least quality mid-grade rounds like CCI Standard Velocity or Velociter and have a strong preference for premium match rounds like SK and Lapua’s .22LR match rounds. With the tighter chambers, functionality of inexpensive bulk rounds with high round variances can become problematic. Match rounds offer the minimal bullet deformation and velocity variances to deliver truly impressive groups. With .22 rimfire precision, quality ammunition is a requirement, with some of the most premium match rounds tipping into the 50¢/round cost. There is no amount of magic that will deliver tiny groups with inexpensive bulk-priced .22LR ammo. Currently there is an exceptional array of precision match .22LR ammunition available from Lapua and SK, which dealers should consider stocking.


Rimfire-Specific Optics

Although the temptation for dealers and customers is to package a lower-cost optic for rimfire or bolt on whatever rifle scope is on sale, the reality is that precision rimfire rifles need the clarity of a high-tier optic with focus and parallax adjustment down to 10 yards. Without those features, even the best rifles will struggle to deliver anything remotely close to their accuracy potential. Optical clarity is a must, as is a very fine precision reticle to assure the target is not obscured.

Very few premium-tier optics offer parallax adjustment down to 10 to 25 yards. Without proper low-yardage focus/parallax adjustment, inches of parallax shift will be introduced at those close rimfire distances, plus the target will not be in focus. Hawke Optics specifically developed optics for the precision rimfire and PCP airgun shooters. The result is focus/parallax down to 10 yards and a clarity and reticle system that makes many shooters consider these the best rimfire scopes on the market that are rated for any centerfire caliber. For this build, I chose the very high-value Hawke Sidewinder 6-24x50 SFP with a high magnification range, very fine tree reticle, and extreme clarity even at ranges beyond 300 yards.


Final Thoughts

Though I love my big, heavy precision centerfire rifles, more fun can be had over the course of an afternoon with a precision rimfire, all without recoil and with less ammo cost. The side benefit is that a precision rimfire is a great small-game hunter and offers a challenge for varmint hunters as well. There is also something extremely satisfying about drilling single-hole groups even within the limits of common 50-yard ranges.


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