Thursday, October 27, 2022

10-22 Feddersen Grey Birch and Hawke Optics Build

10-22 Feddersen Grey Birch and Hawke Optics Build

If the zombie apocalypse occurs and I can only grab one 10/22 rifle, this will be it plus a bag full of magazines and .22LR ammo. This is that cherished custom 10/22 build that I covet over all others. When I say others, I can say with confidence that with well over a hundred 10/22 builds that I have more experience than most with the platform. Why this configuration and why this build? Mainly the versatility, moderate weight, comfort and insane accuracy of this build is what I love.

At the heart of this build is a Feddersen Bronze-Nickel alloy receiver and heavy tapered 17.1-inch Feddersen barrel. This is paired with a Kidd bolt, v-block, and charging handle and Timney Calvin Elite 10/22 2-stage trigger. Before I jump into the Grey Birch billet chassis, let’s unwrap why this action combo is so great.

Feddersen 10/22 Bronze Nickel Receivers

The Feddersen 10/22 receivers and barrels have proven themselves over and over performing at the highest tier through the years for me and this build is no exception. Though the Feddersen receivers appear to be the same integrated picatinny billet rail format as other premier tier 10/22 receivers in the industry, the receiver action itself is unique. The Feddersen 10/22 receivers are available in Nickel and Nickel Bronze alloy versions which are significantly heavier and harder than aluminum receivers. Feddersen does offer lightweight Aluminum versions, however the bronze nickel version looks like gold when polished and was the obvious choice for this midweight build. The advantages of these receivers are the high precision, room temperature slip fit shank size, and buttery smooth cycling. The Feddersen receiver has also been the base of my most historically accurate builds. Once polished, they are stunning and designed to perfectly host the Feddersen barrels. Notably the bronze and nickel versions are naturally very slick due to the metal which I think helps with reliability as the round count increases.

Feddersen 17.1 Heavy Taper 10/22 Barrel

The Feddersen 17.1-inch heavy tapered Feddersen barrel is a bit of a magical thing with a straight taper style barrel profile similar to a heavy target taper barrel in the bolt action world. Several of these 17.1-inchers have shot as well as my bull barrels while saving about ½-lb in the process. In fact even Feddersen’s light taper barrels are amazing performing. In my Dad’s 10/22 build with the light version of this 17.1 barrel, he was head shooting the squirrel steel at 125-yards with a 2-7 Nikon optic and my Dad is not a precision shooter guy. The Feddersen Heavy Taper barrel is even better.

The Feddersen 17.1-inch length itself was based on testing to develop the optimal length for stiffness and barrel harmonics. I do have a few 17.1 Feddersen based .223 Wylde AR barrels and they are also a bit magical. Whatever the case, I was delighted to see single hole groups appear downrange with the usual ammo which consistently performs well across all Feddersen barrels. Generally, that non-picky nature means a pretty wide range of ammo including CCI SV, CCI Velociter, CCI MiniMag, the range of SK and Lapua ammo, Wolf and other similar match ammo all shoot extremely well. Lapua Center-X has been my go-to ammo for my 50-yard split a playing card “trick shot”; and this build certainly delivered that result. That predictable accuracy is not only why I love this barrel, there is more. Feddersen barrels are one of the most reliable match barrels and least ammo picky I have shot. This means chances are high that whatever ammo I find or have to jam into the chamber, this barrel is probably going to shoot it really well and likely be extremely reliable. As a bonus, this barrel is threaded and with one of my suppressors it is nice and quiet.

Timney Calvin Elite 10/22 Triggers

Timney triggers have always been really outstanding, but usually trumped by Kidd triggers for premier tier bench gun builders. I would say previously the standard Timney 10/22 trigger was designed as a match grade trigger for the field which was a little heavier and not as crisp as Kidd triggers. Enter the Timney Calvin Elite model which has been heavily tuned for a trigger pull all the way down in the very light 2-lb range with a noticeably more crisp break plus end user swappable trigger shoes. Timney even offers the CE model in both single or two stage triggers. I think that the Timney CE 10/22 model may be the new reigning king of 10/22 triggers paired with the field tested reliability and solid ignition that we all expect in a Timney trigger. I certainly have no reservations including the trigger in my most coveted build.

Grey Birch Foundation Chassis

Now, about the shockingly amazing Grey Birch Foundation Chassis. Initially, I just thought this was a wild out-of-the-box design for a 10/22 chassis, however once I tested it, I think it could be the most awesome chassis for this type of mid to lightweight build on the market. At only 1.5-lbs, the billet chassis is crazy light, has a boatload of MLOK slots, includes a custom AR compatible grip, integrated ARCA mount, rear receiver locking screw, and a folding stock. The cheek and buttsock are both fully adjustable as well just like any great precision stock. All the features are there plus that wonderful folding stock that allows me to stow it a space way smaller than any other non-folder. It's like a super-duper light-weight high tier precision stock. In fact, I can fold this entire rig up and slip it in a low key gray Hazard 4 Takedown sling bag which goes pretty much unnoticed in most situations. Even with basic hotel to hotel travel, this does come in handy. Sure it is $500, but you get what you pay for and the quality is nothing short of amazing.

Hawke Optics 30 SF 2.5-15 & Extras

The last few pieces of this build include the Hawke Optics Frontier 30 SF 2.5-15, infinitely flexible QD Atlas Bipod, and a decent stockpile of my favorite Lapua, SK and CCI ammo. The ammo should be obvious, however I am heavily considering sending this gun to Lapua for their factory ammo matching process and then buying a pallet of the best shooting Lapua ammo for this rig. The Hawke Optics Frontier 30 SF 2.5-15 is rather special with its extremely wide magnification range that allows everything from shots on running rabbits on 2.5x to precision shots on 15X out to 200+ yards. The other features of the Frontier optics are the flexibility to adjust parallax down to 10-yards, illuminated reticle, and the really amazing clarity that makes it just that much easier to see what I am aiming at. I am a bit ashamed to say the clarity of this optic far surpses some of my long range rifle optics which eclipse this price point… maybe I need another of these to swap between rifles. For this purpose I do like the standard second focal plane which affords different holdovers at very long ranges for rimfire.


If I swapped out just one component on this build it would become something different - a different stock and it's too heavy and less portable, a different optic and not as flexible, or the barrel and it becomes potentially too heavy or too light and not as accurate. As amazing as the reliability, accuracy, comfort and broad flexibility is of this build, I do reconsider why I have other 10/22 builds. We all know that picking up a 4.2-lb ultra-light steel challenge gun is also an amazing but totally different experience than settling down behind a 15+lb weighted bench gun that seems to always find its target. As we know you cannot have just one 10/22. This build is just that perfect in between land that usually is filled with a factory barrel and a 3-9 scope, but in this case my absolute utopia of a 10/22 build.

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