Precision Shooting 2000
by John Feamster
'The Times, They Are a-Changin'...
Now flash forward to 1996. Troy Lawton, silhouette wizard, defeats Lones Wigger, international shooting legend, to take the national smallbore rifle silhouette championship. That in itself is noteworthy, but what was really amazing was that Troy used a Ruger® 10/22®, against Lones Wigger's bolt-action! Suddenly, 10/22® aficionados perked up nationwide -- the little autoloader was now officially on the map as a top-quality competition rifle! In researching this development shortly thereafter, I found that Troy had used a prototype 2-stage match trigger designed and built by Tony Kidd. At that time, Tony was the head pistolsmith of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, where Troy is employed as a rifle coach. It's a small world indeed... I knew Tony from having been to the USAMU for an extensive series of interviews back in 1994. Although now most of my rifle shooting is centered around NRA Highpower and Long Range, I still maintain more than a passing interest in rimfire accuracy, and I wasted no time in contacting Tony to see if the new wunder-trigger might be made commercially available."
Accurate 10/22®'s -- Building The Whole Enchilada
"The KID trigger arrived in due time, and upon installation, ignition and accuracy remained excellent. By now, I'd whittled out a thumbhole silhouette stock from a semi-finished Fajen laminated wood blank, which Tony glass-bedded. Various bedding approaches have been used successfully with the 10/22®; some folks advocate bedding the barrel, occasionally using a barrel sleeve, and free-floating the action. Tony went with a more conventional approach, bedding the action and first 2.5” of the barrel, and free-floating the barrel out to the muzzle. After shaping the stock to fit me, I finished it in clear polyurethane and added an experimental, adjustable weight assembly. This allows fine-tuning the balance (total weight plus fore/aft location) without affecting barrel harmonics. The result was a well-fitting, accurate, balanced, and highly-shootable silhouette rig!!
Compared to high-dollar bolt guns of the Anschutz/Walther/40X genre, the 10/22® is very simple for the owner to work on. Parts are inexpensive, and the tweaks needed typically don't require extensive, precision metalsmithing skills. In working with 10/22®'s, Tony has often found them to have insufficient firing pin protrusion as they come from the factory, which he corrects on the rifles he builds. Firing pin protrusion is controlled by an oval slot in the firing pin, through which a retaining pin is fitted. Removing a little metal from the rear of this slot allows owners to increase the firing pin protrusion – but go slow!! You don't want to increase this enough to cause it to strike the rear of the barrel, which can cause damage over time. Tony usually reduces the depth of the bolt face recess to 0.043"-0.044" to tighten headspace; obviously, if this modification is to be performed, it should be done before any changes to the firing pin protrusion, as it will affect the relationship of the firing pin to the breech face. Tony also adds a synthetic recoil buffer pin to soften the feel of the bolt slapping back and forth as the rifle cycles, and customarily drills the action for cleaning from the rear, although this isn't difficult for the shade-tree gunplumber to do at home. Occasionally, Tony has found that 10/22® extractor hooks need to be adjusted to hold the cartridge rim closer to the bolt face for optimum functioning. This he accomplishes by heating the extractor, peening the hook down, and then hand-fitting it to the bolt. The 10/22®, when fitted with a top-quality barrel, ergonomically correct stock, glass-bedding and the other tweaks mentioned above, can become a top-notch silhouette rifle capable of cleaning banks of targets at will. The KID trigger gives a light, crisp and predictable 2-stage pull, and the semi-automatic 10/22® allows the shooter the maximum possible time to hold, aim and squeeze, uninterrupted by working the bolt of his rifle.
So, Let's Meet The KID!
The KID 10/22® match trigger is a two-stage design, and arrives ready to drop in to your rifle without fitting or adjustment required. After ensuring that the rifle is unloaded, simply remove the barreled action from the stock, slide out the two trigger retaining pins, install the (cocked) KID trigger, replace the pins, and you're ready to roll! KID triggers are offered in 3 versions – Super Match, Match, and Sportsman (Now the is only one KID trigger fully adjustable from 6oz to 3lbs). Curved triggers are standard, while straight triggers are available as an option at slight extra cost. Super-Match triggers typically offer a 6-8 ounce first stage weight and a 6-ounce second stage, for a total weight of about 14 ounces, while Match triggers are about 14 ounces on the first stage and adjustable second stage. Tony usually sets the Match trigger's second stage at about 14 ounces, but lighter settings are available. The Sportsman trigger arrives with a 1.25 lb. first stage, and a 1.25 lb. second stage, for 2.5 lbs. total weight. KID triggers have a 50% lighter hammer weight for faster lock-time, and the trigger adjusts for length of pull, cant and over-travel. An automatic bolt release is offered on both Match models, and all three versions have an extended magazine release."
"One question that immediately came to mind was about the long-term reliability and durability of the KID trigger. The trigger housing is machined from a 6061-T6 billet and parts are manufactured using CNC and EDM processes that allow keeping fine tolerances – it reeks precision, but how durable would it be over time? I set to work with my 10/22®, with a goal of firing at least 1000 rounds using the new trigger before writing this article, in order to have some data on its durability. Fortunately, this was hardly an onerous chore -- with its superb trigger, excellent accuracy, incredibly smooth cycling and near-total lack of recoil, the little rifle is an absolute joy to shoot, inviting marathon plinking sessions in addition to the usual practice and matches. The KID trigger is rated for both standard and high (but not hyper) velocity ammo, and my Shilen barrel shoots much better with high-velocity fodder than most other high-grade .22's I've tested, making it cheap, as well as fun to shoot. When shooting standard velocity ammo using ear plugs, and particularly with the synthetic recoil buffer installed, one doesn't really hear a “crack” when it fires – the sound is more of a muted “ka-TICKA!”, which is almost always accompanied by the desired result downrange. This thing is a plinking MACHINE!! In addition, the truly accurate 10/22® is a perfect test-bed for checking rifle scopes, as it makes short work of verifying their reliability of elevation/windage adjustments and return to zero. Soon, a procession of Leupolds and Weaver T's danced a veritable tarantella across the top of the little silhouette rifle, each helping me expend about 100 rounds in the course of testing. I was racking up the rounds at a lively pace, and the KID trigger never faltered. I'm now fast closing in on 1500 rounds fired with no trigger changes, problems or malfunctions noted whatsoever. Speaking of reliability, Tony reports he's sold numerous triggers to ground-squirrel shooters and other varminters who are using highly-accurate 10/22®'s. In addition, several report they've been using the KID trigger in .22 Magnum 10/22®'s with no problems noted – just big grins! My own KID trigger is working great, and my new self-loading silhouette rifle has finally come of age -- only a dozen years after I first wistfully conceived of it! At last, I have a rifle with the ergonomics, speed, accuracy and trigger to help me clean bank after bank of targets. It looks like I'm fresh out of excuses.... the rest is up to me!'