Tuesday, October 16, 2012

WhistlePig 10/22 Barrel Review

WhistlePig 10/22 Barrel Review
So there I was, buying and reviewing all manner of 10/22s, and then I started getting emails about whether I had tried this or that barrel.  Then someone noted that I should review a barrel manufacturer with funny name; WhistlePig.  


Oddly enough I knew what a Whistlepig was.  A whistlepig is a nickname for a rather invasive and destructive ground squirrel which emits a high pitched whistle as they communicate. Although I was not raised out in Idaho, we still called our ground squirrels by the same name.

ABOUT WHISTLEPIG GUNBARREL COMPANY
The idea of the company when founded in 2001 was to develop a lighter, better balanced, and more accurate tool to help in the disposal of these destructive little bastards.  


WhistlePig was actually the first company to develop and produce aluminum sleeved 10/22 barrels. 

WhistlePig’s barrels all feature 4140 stainless steel barrel liners with Benz .22LR chambers sleeved with 6061 T-6 aluminum which both reduces weight and increases overall barrel stiffness. This design delivers barrel which is up to 70% lighter and a rifle which is up to 50% lighter than comparable bull barrel 100% steel barrel rifles. In addition to the light weight, the match Benz chamber and precision rifled barrels deliver outstanding accuracy.

Over the years, people started asking WhistlePig for various barrel lengths, then different anodizing, and even different profiles like octagonal barrel profiles, integrated compensators, and graduated anodizing for a true one of a kind custom 10/22 rifle barrel.  Without a doubt, no other manufacturer offers more custom barrel options than WhistlePig; literally 1000s of combinations.  The company offers 16.5”, 18”, 20”, and 22” barrel lengths, matte, satin, brushed, aluminum finish, polished, fading/rainbow and marbled anodizing, round and octagonal profile, fluting, and even a whole bunch of muzzle options.  WhistlePig offers threaded, compensated, or target crowned muzzles.  They definately have perfect personal option to make your 10/22 truely custom. Depending on features selected the barrels range from $182-$357.


BUILD SPECS
Tactical Innovations Purple CH22 Top Charge Receiver with Machined Bolt Assembly, Tactical Innovations Gold Trigger Guard and bolt buffer, Ruger Stock trigger internals, WhistlePig Gun Barrel 18" Ported Octagonal barrel, Boyd Evolution Royal stock, Leupold V2 3-9x33mm Rimfire Scope. $950.98 as equipped.

FIT, FINISH, FEEL, & FEATURES
For my WhistlePig barrel order, I wanted something that would look nice contrasting against my royal purple anodized Tactical Innovations CH22 top charge receiver with gold anodized trigger group nested into a purple Boyd’s Evolution stock.  After cruising the WhistlePig sight, despite the wild and crazy options, I thought the octagonal profile made enough of a statement that the clean satin finished 18” barrel with integrated compensator was the right choice for my build.  Though the .22LR hardly needs a compensator, it looks cool and mitigates any remnants of 
recoil.


All of their barrels are a standard .920” bull barrel profile which allows it to fit any bull barrel profile or fully floated stock such as a popular Hogue Overmolded, Boyds Tacticool or Evolution, Bluegrass Stock, or other free floated 10/22 stock.  The barrel receiver shanks are .001” oversized to allow a tighter fitting than stock barrels.  On the TI CH22 receiver, the barrel slipped in tightly without modification, however WhistlePig does includes a little strip of sandpaper should you need to sand the barrel shank down to tweak the fit.

When comparing to even a 29oz stock carbine barrel, as you would expect, the 18oz barrel is surprisingly light and when mounted, delivers light and fast handling rifle.  I tested the barrel on a number of the above mentioned stocks and the octagonal barrel profile fit the same as any bull barrel profile. 




As noted in my Ultimate 10/22 Shootout, the Boyds stock and Tactical Innovations components add beautiful custom touches to the rifle.  To be up front, I built this rifle for Mrs. Pandemic whose favorite color is purple.  She loves all the custom touches and immediately commented on the lightweight, cool octagonal barrel and integrated compensator.

ACCURACY & FUNCTIONALITY
Though the WhistlePig barrel line can be showy, they are designed first and foremost for accuracy.  With my Leupold V2 3-9x33mm scope topping the rig for testing, I managed a nice tidy .207” 5-shot 50-yard group with Wolf Ammo.  Averaging all the ammo tested delivered a .694” average for the twelve 5-shot 50-yard groups .  



I will keep my ever growing Google Spreadsheet with accurate results however one of my favorites was CCI Standard Velocity ammo which consistently delivered groups around .5” group.  From my perspective this is very good and highly accurate barrel.  Take a look at this barrel compared to the other rigs tested during my Ultimate 10/22 Shootout review.  Accuracy results are posted here to my Google Accuracy Spreadsheet .



FINAL THOUGHTS
An important note is that this barrel has consistently outshot my Tactical Solutions barrel all while being as problem free.  In addition, the WhistlePig barrel offers a huge variety of length, profile, finish, and muzzle options.  Will it match the accuracy of the super premium match barrels like Fedderson, Kidd, or Force? Really...really close. In fact so far I printed a .207” and .253” 50-yard group which is definitely in that Super Premium Match range and given time, I may be able to tighten those WhistlePig groups up even more. 


After testing with the quite wonderful Leupold VX-2 3-9 EFR scope, my wife decided to mount a Bushnell TRS-25 red dot.  


Although this 1X red dot by no means maximize the accuracy of the WhistlePig barrel, she has been having fun plinking with the rifle and is easily able to hit the 2”-3” spinners at 50 yards, keep Coke cans jumping at that distance, and most importantly take out raccoons on the run... we have a serious nuisance issue with raccoons surrounding our house. The great thing about customizing a 10/22 is making it yours. For Mrs Pandemic, she loves to look and the lightweight and quick shooting that the TRS-25 provided, but will certainly slip on a variable powered scope if we head out to shoot squirrels.

The WhistlePig barrel certainly does the job that is was designed to do which is deliver exceptional accuracy in a lightweight package to put bullets accurately on target.  Extended offhand shooting is far less painful than with a long heavy bull barrel and less weight mean less pain when carrying the rifle all day.   Let’s face it, there are a lot of great accurate barrels out there, but what sets WhistlePig apart is their lightweight barrel design and the huge custom array of barrel options.  Nowhere will you find more options to build your perfect custom tack driving 10/22.

SPECS
18” Octogonal 10/22 Replacement Barrel
Gun Barrel Stock: 6061 High-Quality Aircraft Aluminum

Barrel Lengths Available:  
16.5”, 17”, 18”, 20”, 22” Barrel Lengths Available in all Calibers (22 L/R, Mag, .17HMR and .17HM2) … Some without Compensator.
Rifle Liner Ends ¾” from the Muzzle End in Barrels with Compensator.  
Rifle Liner Runs the Full Length in Barrels without Compensator.
Factory barrel is 18.5" in length

Diameter:
.920 Bull Barrel Style

Shank Size:
.001 Oversized  (May require minor hand fitting)

Chamber:  
LR Bentz Chamber * (standard)
* 22 LR Bentz Chamber: Can use standard or match grade ammunition. Hypervelocity ammo (such as CCI Stingers) are not recommended.

Liner:
4140 Steel
.050 Thickness on LR & WMR Liner, 6 Groove
.065 Thickness on .17HMR & .17HM2 Liner, 6 Groove

Rate of Twist:
1:16 - 22LR and WMR
1:9 - 22LR Sub-Sonic (40, 50, 60 grain ammo / accuracy range 25-50 yds. max)
1:10 - .17 HMR  
1:9 - .17HM2

Weight:
18 ounces - 18" LR Fluted & Compensated Barrel (1 oz. per inch)

Caliber:
22 Long Rifle, 22 WMR Magnum, .17HMR and .17HM2

Compensator:
Standard Feature - Built-in, Non-Threaded Style
Fluted Barrel: Standard Feature


SOURCES
Whistle Pig Gun Barrel Company
http://www.wpgbc.com/


Tactical Innovations
http://www.tacticalinc.com/

Boyd Stocks
http://www.boydsgunstocks.com/


Leupold Optics
http://www.leupold.com



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