Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Volquartsen Summit 10/22 Rifle Review

Volquartsen Summit 10/22 Rifle Review

If you want something unique in the 10/22 market or something really insanely quiet for suppressor work, the Volquartsen Summit is for you. It is the only 10/22 compatible platform with a non-semi automatic action, specifically it is a biathlon push-pull action. For suppressor work, it is also the only 10/22 compatible action which will not utter a peep after the hammer drop. It is unique, fun and useful as a platform; especially for shooters in countries which don’t allow civilians to own semi-automatics but still want 10/22 compatibility. I present to you, the most unique 10/22 compatible action on the market - the Volquartsen Summit.

I fell in love with the quirky PWS Summit and the love affair starts again with the Volquartsen offering. It is just so cool, smooth and fun to shoot. A little history before we begin; the Summit Action was originally designed by PWS - Primary Weapons Systems - actually Dean Sylvester CEO at PWS. You might remember a few articles I did with the PWS Summit action many moons ago. At one point PWS shelved the project and later Volquartsen licensed the design from PWS - wala, we have the Volquartsen Summit action. Well not exactly that simple.

There are a few things you should consider before buying a Volquartsen Summit 10/22 Action. There were some things that Volquartsent did tweak beyond making the receiver look Volquartsen’y. Most felt the PWS Summit was pretty tightly headspaced and locked up with zero bolt slack which made it wildly inconsistent with any ammo which it was not perfectly headspaced for. The result was chasing some really frustrating accuracy results when swapping ammo and also premature linkage wear and occasionally breakage. There were also some issues with light strikes here and there and some feeding issues that required some tuning. It was a very niche 10/22 compatible receiver which had some nuances that many 10/22 shooters did not understand. The Summit is in the right place under the Volquartsen brand where it can mature under the eyes of the most well regarded precision rimfire manufacturer in the world.

The Volquartsen updates did ease the initial Summit design challenges considerably with an action that now feeds, extracts and shoots reliably. As a buyer, you really should look at the Volquartsen Summit as a bolt action rifle and not a unique modified 10/22 semi-auto. Like any bolt action .22LR rimfire, the Summit does not have the wildly forgiving trait of the self-headspacing semi-auto bolt. By contrast, the Summit bolt locks up in a fixed position each and every time instead of auto-headspacing +/- a few .001 based on variability of rim thickness like the semi-auto. Due to this design, owners may need to swap out barrel shims to adjust the headspace for different ammo.

The reality is that, like a bolt action, you need to “identify” the rifle’s favorite ammo and stock up deep on that round. Back when I had the PWS action, I could literally tune the gun to shoot any ammo crazy good, however that process was and still is a bit painful involving complete disassembly, a trial and error process of different barrel shims to adjust headspace, reassembly and retest. The Volquartsen version is a bit less picky with ammo and they have found the proverbial sweet spot of compromise where there are no longer giant swings in group sizes from ammo to ammo. Some of that is thanks to the really amazing Volquartsen carbon fiber tensioned barrel. The Volquartsen Summit still does like to be tuned to a particular rim thickness to get the best accuracy possible, however it does feed and extract perfectly. So now we have a 10/22 compatible platform that offers the flexibility of not only identifying the preferred ammo, but also offering the ability to tune to a specific round by adjusting the headspacing via barrel shims. Its really very cool and a unique feature.

Where the previous PWS Summit caused me to revert to torrets style rants was when testing various ammo with groups opening up as much as 1.25-inches larger just with different match grade ammo but the same barrel. The Volquartsen Summit at least only opened up groups about ½-inch from one match ammo to the next. My particular Volquartsen Summit seemed to love Federal Gold Medal .22LR ammo delivering sub-¼-inch 50-yard groups. Find what your Summit loves and go deep on that ammo or tune to your ammo preference - the choice is yours. Similar to the PWS version, the Volquartsen Summit was not as picky with high velocity rounds. Still no idea why that could be, but it was in my notes from the PWS Summit builds and seems to be the same on this new Volquartsen version.


Like all Volquartsen firearms, this Summit action is tight, extraordinarily high quality with a fit and finish second to none in the 10/22 market. Notably, the Summit action is not a standard 10/22 receiver and cannot be used or converted to a semi-auto. The Summit action is its own platform which happens to have a barrel, stock, magazine, and trigger which are all directly compatible with 10/22 parts. The action is a push-pull action similar to those used on biathlon rifles, thus the common reference noting it as a biathlon action. Cycling is a fast backward and forward pull/push which is a bit faster than a standard bolt action cycling.

Volquartsen decided to make the focus on this build around something more lightweight and fun with a lightweight carbon fiber tensioned barrel dressed out in black. The model I ordered was complete with a gray Magpul Hunter stock and it is a good fit for this build. A really fun part of the Volquartsen Summit is that it is really nice and light. The super light Magpul Hunter Stock does not weigh down the build while still delivering a stiff stock with MLOK compatible slots. In this format, the Volquartsen Summit is a nice light and super accurate all-around rifle with a ton of accuracy potential.

I decided a good fit for the Volquartsen Summit was the Hawke Optics 2.5-10 Endurance. Though this optic model does not have an adjustable focus, it delivers minimal parallax shift in the low 2.5-5 range where most of the shooting is done under 25-yards and the higher magnification I reserve for 75+ yard ranges. Ideally, a Hawke SF model with low magnification would be preferred.

Volquartsen does offer the Summit receiver both as a complete rifle and also as a receiver complete with the proprietary bolt and charging handle. I really would recommend the complete rifle unless you have deep…deep 10/22 build experience paired and a lot of barrel headspacing experience. There are enough nuances to the Summit that I would recommend all but the most experienced to opt for the complete factory rifle which still allows for a wide range of customization.  The factory Summit build includes all of Volquartsen's amazing parts such as their match trigger assembly, pins and screws which match with the Summit receiver perfectly.

From my perspective, if you are not running a suppressor on the Volquartsen Summit, you are missing 95% of the design purpose. It literally is the firearm peanut butter to the suppressor jelly, the 10/22 Yen to the suppressor Yang… well, you get the idea. If you are like me and love the 10/22 format, but want a bolt action for quieter shots with suppressors, this is perfection incarnated, but without a suppressor, it feels like you are missing something really big. If you have shot 10/22 suppressed, you already know that the sound of the bolt slamming around is 50% of the sound. With the Summit, all there is to that sound is the click of the hammer. Even without a suppressor, the Summit is just quieter… you know, like a bolt action but fed with a Ruger 10-round rotary magazine.

I loved the PWS version, but the Volquartsen Summit has had some tweaking done that makes it just that much better with a more consistent and enjoyable shooting experience right out of the box. The Summit action is a different animal, and runs different than other 10/22s. Find the ammo it likes and the Summit will reward you in a big way with the most unique 10/22 compatible action on the market.


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