Friday, October 26, 2012

Feddersen 10/22 Tennessee Ridge Runner Rifle Barrel Review

Feddersen 10/22 Tennessee Ridge Runner Rifle & Barrel Review

Let’s face it, quality costs money and in the world of $1300 match grade 10/22 rifles it would seem that you had to spend a lot of money to get a great shooting rifle.  This generally has lead to people buying an entry level base factory Ruger 10/22 and then upgrading the stock, barrel, trigger, bolt, and sometimes even the receiver to elevate the accuracy or to build a custom rifle from the ground up.  

Feddersen of course offers their barrels separately to do just that, but some of us don’t want to play gunsmith and just want to buy a rifle ready to shoot that does not cost an arm and a leg. This is where the complete Feddersen 10/22 Tennessee Ridge Runner Rifle makes so much sense for the 10/22 fanatic, avid hunter, target shooter, and/or common sense survivalist. The rifle delivers sub-1/4” groups at 50 yards out of the box with a decent powered optic all for $549; it is without a doubt the best accuracy deal for the dollar of any ready to shoot 10/22 rifle package I have yet to test.
 

ABOUT FEDDERSEN
The company is known by many names; Feddersen, R4, 1022rifle.com, and Gunbarrels.net.  Even with that identity crisis, Feddersen is a name people know. The company was founded in 1979 by Fred Feddersen and has become rather famous for his world record breaking patent pending R4 .50 BMG gun barrels.  The company’s barrels are so well regarded that they do also have several military contracts for their proprietary barrel designs.  Fred has been making gun barrels for quite some time and knows that there is more to making match quality gun barrels than just drilling a hole in a steel rod and pulling a rifling button through it.  Each and every step of their in house barrel production is unique and in fact their entire process is patent pending and trade secret process.

Unlike many barrel or firearms manufacturers, Feddersen is not buying pre-rifled blanks and just finishing them to their own specs, they are producing 100% of their barrels in house from solid round bar stock.  They have a special drilling process, a patent pending ultra-sensitive lapping/honing process, unique, patent pending and proprietary SEPR - Single Edged Polygonal Rifling, and one of the few companies in the world which offer a barrel with near perfect centricity and straightness between the bore and profile. Amazingly enough their 10/22 barrels start at only $145.

FEDDERSEN 10/22 BUILD
Normally this section of the article has a list of upgrades included in the build especially when it comes to tack driving 10/22s, but in this case it is a very short list. I personally talked with Fred and Gary at Feddersen and they had this insane idea to showcase and prove how great their barrels were.  

Tennessee Ridge Runner -  They thought why not just slip their 16.25” barrel on bone stock 10/22 action with a Hogue stock and offer that for sale to the public. No special receiver, tweaked bolt, match trigger, or fancy free float stock; an idea I though would have never worked until I shot the rifle. They call this rifle the Tennessee Ridge Runner 10/22 and is available from them directly for only $549 shipped to your local FFL dealer.  

Scope - Nikon P-22 2-7x32 BDC scope.  Although this scope lacks parallax adjustment, it is a blast to shoot with because the BDC (Bullet Drop Compensating) reticle makes it easy to start plinking at 100, 150, and even 200 yard targets. The optic is very clear and the resettable zero turrets are simple and easy to use and were very handy when switching between loads.It is also $180 retail which is an attainable price after you just spend your house payment on a custom 10/22.

All I added was my Harris bipod and my Nikon P-22 2-7x32 BDC 150 scope... actually for accuracy testing I didn’t even use the bipod and employed a used Simmons 4-12X scope for just a bit of extra power and parallax adjustment for accuracy .

FIT, FEEL, & FINISH
The barrel is made from premium chrome-moly steel and finished with deep bluing. To add a little style and lighten the barrel up just a bit, the Feddersen barrel features shallow flutes the length of the barrel. Personally I believe plain bull barrels look a little too… well, you know “plain”, so I think the fluting dresses up the barrel a bit.  For some time I have been a huge fan of short 16.25” bull barrels for a number of reasons.  I have found that they can often deliver accuracy which usually matches and sometimes surpasses longer barrels; smart metallurgist will rationalize the accuracy to a length to strength ratio and/or harmonics.  Whatever the reason, across a variety of platforms in a variety of calibers they always shoot well for me.  My favorite attributes are that they are much more maneuverable, provide improved off hand shooting stability, and when fluted are usually only marginally heavier compared to a 18”-22” standard profiled barrel. For a 10/22, loosing 2” off the end of the gun makes it infinitely easier to get in, thought, and out of brushy woods and thickets.

The order process is simple.  Call Feddersen, order and pay for the rifle, have it shipped to your local FFL deal, and then pick it up after completing the transfer paperwork and usually a small transfer fee. The rifle arrived at my local FFL dealer packed in the original Ruger 10/22 box. According the original model number on the box, I deduced these rifles apparently arrive at Feddersen as bone stock basic 10/22-RB harwood carbine format rifles where the stock and barrel are removed and replaced with the Feddersen barrel and Hogue rubberized stock, test fired and returned to the box for shipment. As business grows for Feddersen, I wonder what they will do with all those original Ruger carbine stocks and barrels?  

It should come as no surprise that outside of the barrel and stock, that the rest of the rifle is a bone stock 10/22 with the same fit and finish I have pontificated on in previously articles. Nothing special or “match grade” anything, but it works.

The Hogue rubberized stock is a standard upgrade for 10/22 upgraders which has had hundreds if not thousands of reviews and definitely stood the test of time.  The weather-proof stock features a plastic base skeleton with a rubber overmolding which is wonderful to hold.  The stock has been so popular that Ruger has a “target” version of their venerable 10/22 with the stock included.  For an easy and inexpensive upgrade to host a match bull barrel, this would be my choice for a working rifle that will get knocked around.

The entire package makes for a fast shouldering which is in my opinion the perfect off the shelf squirrel gun as it points naturally, is stable for offhand shooting and is stunningly accurate.  

BARREL FEATURES & FUNCTIONS
Obviously I am not going to rehash the intricacies of reviewing a bone stock 10/22 action or the world’s most popular aftermarket 10/22 stock, but the barrel is something special. The chamber is Feddersen’s own proprietary modified/tweaked SAMI spec Benz type match chamber.  According to Fedderson, it is within SAMI spec, but on the tighter side of the tolerance range. I have had zero issues with feeding and functioning all grades of match to bulk pack ammo.  This reliability tells me they are not using a super tight match chamber which frequently causes functioning issues and drives more frequent cleaning intervals.

While we are on cleaning, Polygonal rifling such as Feddersen’s SIPR - Single Edge Polygonal Rifling requires less cleaning, and in fact I was told not to worry about cleaning the barrel for at least 500 rounds. What, isn’t it a crime punishable by death if you don’t clean your match barrel every 20-50 rounds. Actually, every barrel manufacturer I have ever talked with says the less cleaning the better, because most damage to the barrel chamber, rifling and crown occurs during the cleaning process or in some cases by aggressive over cleaning; but its your barrel, you do what you want. 



Gary noted all that is recommended to clean the barrel, if only lead bullets are shot, is just a couple passes of a lightly oiled pull through BoreSnake cleaning rope from breach to muzzle. With copper plated bullets, he noted you may need to use some solvent as well. The SIPR and Feddersen’s lapping/honing process delivers a very smooth surface which reduces bullet deformation  and fouling and of course increases accuracy; the result is a cleaner running more accurate rifle with less maintenance.  Polygonal rifling generally does not use hard edges to form the rifling, but more of a wavy pattern.  Feddersen’s version only has a single edge which apparently helps up accuracy considerably.

The Tennessee Ridge Runner 10/22 rifle has a modified 90 degree recessed match crown which seems to really maximize accuracy and the recessed crown will help protect it as you hammer through brush on your next hunting trip.

At some point I will have to write an article on the gathered opinions of how to break in a barrel according to the manufacturers, however Feddersen recommends no break-in what-so-ever... just go out and start shooting it like it was twenty years old.

Three shots
two card slices at
50 yards Lapua Center-X

ACCURACY
The barrel is gorgeous, however the rest is just a basic 10/22 in a Hogue stock. Yawn, however I FREAKING LOVE THIS RIFLE.  You can and I have won bets with this thing with sick little accuracy tricks like slicing  cards at 25,  40, and even 50 yards with the right ammo, because it appears to be Jo Bob’s typical slap on a bull barrel upgrade, ohhh but looks are very deceiving. In my case the scratched and well worn Simmons scope really helps me suck my buddies into a bet.
  Load up some Lapua Midas or Center-X and start taking your friends' money.

Because I do not want to drive myself totally insane updating countless 10/22 articles with the latest accuracy data, I have posted them HERE on a Google Docs spreadsheet.


When you look at the accuracy result data, what you will see is that the barrel shot all ammo very consistently compared to other 10/22 barrels.  Obviously the barrel had its favorites, however the extremes from the largest to the smallest groups had a smaller variance than almost all of the other 10/22 barrels I have tested. 

My best group so far is a 5-shot .136” group at 50 yards with Lapua Midas ammo (yes those numbers are correct) which is just .002” shy of matching my $1400 Kidd 10/22 build with the same ammo. I would say not to bad at all, however this would be the firearms understatement of the century.  The fact that a $549 rifle is a non-free-floated stock can come close to the accuracy of the top 10/22 in the business is an amazing testament to the SEPR - Single Edged Polygonal Rifling and all the other patent pending processes that go into making the barrel.

In a follow up discussion with Feddersen on the Tennessee Ridge Runner 10/22 Rifle and how stunned I was, they also told me they are working on Ruger Charger barrels as well.... can you image the bets you could win with one of those.  Gary indicated he actually randomly samples tests barrels from each lot and assured me that although he would classify me as a good shooter, those groups were very typical with optics in the 15x+ range.  He actually notes that with a 40X scope, that much smaller groups are possible; so exciting to think about that I have a very high powered optic on the way.

Fred and Gary proved their point about how good their barrels are and I am sure they will sell large volumes of these rifles, however many will want to drop in their own barrel and stock to save a few dollars. Feddersen has the same barrels ready to bolt onto your existing 10/22  starting at only $145, it makes me wonder how others in the Match Quality barrel business will compete with this barrel.

FINAL THOUGHTS
This rifle made me reconsider everything I ever believed about what affects accuracy.  Here we have a bone stock 10/22 which would have been lucky to deliver 1/2” groups at 25 yards now delivering groups of nearly under 1/4” at 50 yards with nothing more than a barrel and stock change. No special anything other than the barrel.  It makes one wonder what will this rifle deliver with a higher magnification clearer optic and a match grade trigger. I have not seen this impact on accuracy due to just a barrel swap on any other 10/22 build.

For those who are intending to build or buy a tack driving 10/22 and are only concerned about accuracy, I would recommend they just start here with a lowered powered optic.  In this case the  Nikon P-22 2-7x32 BDC 150 gives you a low power for close running game, higher power and Bullet Drop Compensator reticle for accurate shots out to 150 yards and re-settable targets turrets which makes tuning for ammo or wind a breeze. The used 12X Simmons scope did not provide the magnification for real benchrest group shooting, if that is your only goal a 32X+ magnification scope would be the best choice.  

In my opinion, the only thing that could make this Feddersen rifle shoot any better is a match grade trigger and obviously the best optic you can afford. I love the shiny, pretty, and fancy 10/22 builds, after all I have like six of them. That noted you owe it to yourself to pick up just one of these Tennessee Ridge Runner 10/22 Rifles for only  $
549or just one of their barrels as I believe it will deliver accuracy beyond the competition for years to come... and of course there is something special about ripping $20 out of your buddy’s hand after splitting a playing card at 50 yards.

SPECS
Feddersen Tennessee Ridge Runner 10/22 - $549

Features - Stock 10/22 action, trigger, and receiver, Hogue Rubberized stock, (bipod optional)

Optics Featured - Nikon P-22 2-7 Scope with BDC reticle, Used Simmons Prohunter 4-12X scope with adjustable parallax. 

SOURCES
FJ Feddersen, Inc.
http://www.1022rifle.com/
http://www.1022rifle.com/rifle-ruger

Nikon Hunting Optics
http://www.nikonhunting.com

1 comment:

Smitty said...

Great article! I just finished building out my own with the Hogue black OM and a 16.25" fluted Feddersen. It started life as a bone stock Walmart purchased SS carbine. Only other chages are a Kidd Charging Assembly, Poly Bolt Buffer, and Bolt Lock modification. I have been toying with the idea of affixing Tech Sights but don't wan't to ruin the lines of the barrel or look of the rifle. Tech Sights may also be a waste in terms of the distance accuracy achievable on this firearm with good optics... My intention is to use this rifle in an Appleseed. We'll see how it goes...