Friday, August 12, 2022

Summit 10/22 Carbon Fiber Barrel Review

Summit 10/22 Carbon Fiber Barrel Review

Like most "editors of the Industry" I am both excited and skeptical when new products hit the market. Will the offerings bring a different value or just deliver a warmed over version of something else. When I saw the Summit Precision Match grade 10/22 barrels, I had those feelings again. After all, a .22 Benz match chambered stainless carbon fiber sleeved barrel in your choice of color for $240 is a deal, but will it shoot.

My accuracy testing was done with a Hawk 2.5-10 Vantage which proved the accuracy, the primary build was focused on a ultra-light hyper fast handling steel challenge build with a red dot sight. The build was based on a bright red PMACA 10/22 lightweight Chassis with pic rail, Feddersen Aluminum receiver, Timney Calvin Elite single stage 10/22 Trigger, Sig Sauer Romeo 4T Red Dot, Kidd match bolt and charging handle, A2 buffer tube, ACE UL Stock and Magpul pistol grip. The final build is super slim and extremely fast handling and the extreme light 23 oz weight of the Summit Precision 10/22 barrel contributed greatly to that feel.

The Summit Precision 10/22 barrels are made with all the specs that would turn heads. Carbon fiber sleeved stainless barrel with color of choice, .22 Benz match chamber and a fit and finish that is very good. The specs are all there to deliver top tier accuracy and with the right ammo and pre-assembly tweaks it does amazingly well.

The Summit Precision barrel is designed to require fitting/sanding to fit the receiver. The process involves sanding the barrel shank to fit to the receiver and even includes a strip of sandpaper and printed instructions to do the job. Theoretically it is a good idea to get as tight a barrel to receiver fit, however over the years I have changed my mind on this after a lot of testing and….am no longer a believer or fan of this type of barrel fitment is necessary and there is one major reason… imprecise hand fitting.

I think most builders do not have the skill or equipment to reduce shank size in a way that keeps the bore true to the bolt face. It just seems totally counterintuitive to me to take a not particularly cheap barrel of extraordinarily high precision and then reduce dimensions with a low precision method like hand sanding, but many high tier barrel makers in the 10/22 world do this. I would rather have a standard slip fit sized factory precision turned concentric barrel shank and make up any difference with LocTite 638 or 620 which is specifically designed for this purpose, is cheap and reversible, simple to use, and I have found delivers the same results.

For this build, I used a less aggressive abrasive nylon wheel on my grinder with the barrel sitting on the grinder’s tool shelf, which provided a more gentle sanding and fitment option and allowed me to turn the barrel during the process for better bore concentricity. Within a few minutes of back and forth fitting, I had the barrel mounted to the Feddersen Billet Aluminum Receiver.


After initial testing, I find that most match grade barrels can benefit from a good dremel polishing of the breech with a basic rouge polishing compound to improve feeding. In this case the Summit Precision 10/22 barrel did need a good heavy polishing of the end of the breach. Without that simple 2-minute breach polishing tweak, I did have a few feeding issues during initial testing, and in some instances evidence of a shaved case, but once the breach was polished, feeding was perfect. Tension barrels are tricky, of the many I have owned, every single one has a loose tension nut after a long 200+ round barrage of shooting and the Summit had the same issue. Just lock-tite and tighten while the barrel is hot and you will not have any more issues.

With a bipod and Hawke 2.5-10 Vantage optic attached, the Summit Precision 10/22 barrel offered up a series of initial ½-inch 50-yard groups. Impressive, but I knew it could do better after some barrel break-in. I did perform my standard barrel break in with a magazine full of high velocity copper plated rounds such as CCI Mini-Mag or in this case CCI Velocitor. After over fifty or so 10/22 builds, I have found that especially with stainless barrels, this process speeds the barrel break in and seems to settle the barrel in a few HV copper rounds vs 300-400 rounds of lead standard velocity. Some stainless barrels can take forever to break in otherwise and both these rounds are match chamber friendly and not the hypersonic length cases like the CCI Stingers which should not be fired in match chambers. After this process most of my match grade ammo groups closed down immediately from ½-inch to my best groups around ¼-inch at 50yards which I will accept as excellent any day.

Thankfully, the Summit Precision barrel was not picky with which ammo shot well and seemed to shoot pretty much any quality ammo really well. My intent was to do a lot of plinking and steel banging with this build with random boxes of whatever ammo, so that was good to see that even less expensive ammo shot well. The junk ammo shot about as well as you would expect and good enough for better than average plinking, but the good stuff delivered exceptional results. In particular it shot SK Rifle Match and CCi Velocitor extremely well both delivering sub-.25-inch 50-yard groups. One Lapua Center-X 50-yard five-round group measured .168-inches, so the Summit barrels can definitely shoot and have a lot of accuracy potential. Even when I moved over to the Sig Romeo 4T with 4X multiplier behind it, I shot two sub-1/2 -inch 50-yard groups, which I was thrilled with considering the non-ideal setup. The barrel has a lot of potential.

At $240 the Summit barrels are up there with the premium tier of barrel cost, however no one else offers anything like this. Are the Summit Precision barrels as accurate as my Fedderson, Kidd, Proof, or Volquartsen? Well no, generally those barrels will deliver a bit better groups with some delivering me essentially single hole 50-yard groups, however Fedderson and Kidd do not offer carbon fiber barrels and Volquartsen’s start around $350 and Proof Research’s unique Carbon Fiber Wrapped Barrel starts at a whopping $650. The Summit Precision Barrel at $240 it is about 30% less expensive than the next available option and the color options are literally stunning. It shoots amazing, looks amazing, and offers a choice of colors, so yes, $240 is a great deal for what is offered.


Overall, I am quite impressed with what Summit Precision has brought to the market with this line of new 10/22 match barrels. Although I am sure many would disagree with me, my feedback to Summit Precision was to offer a room temperature slip-fit barrel shank sized to what is offered by other premier tier barrel manufacturers to simplify install, factory polish the breach to improve feeding out of the box, and increase the torque on the barrel tension. If you are buying a $240 match grade barrel though, you are probably used to a bit of tweaking with builds. For me a bit of barrel fitting, almost always polishing the breach, and doing a few rounds of CCI copper plated high velocity rounds is a process I am used to with nearly every build regardless of manufacturer.


 I really liked the Summit Precision carbon fiber barrels because they offer the performance fit and finish I would get with other high tier barrels, but the selling point for me was that they are really showy and I have a choice of carbon fiber color options and some custom limited run options that can really transform an average build into something with a WOW factor. It says a lot when a writer notes that they are laying down more of their hard earned case for a product and I can say that I already have plans for two more builds with these barrels. It would seem we have another 10/22 Barrel company to watch.

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