The Slide Fire Ruger 10/22 kit turns the little rifle into a sleek, fast firing, and very “tacticool” looking rifle. The Ruger BX-25 magazine was one of the few that could keep up with the machine gun like rate-of-fire produced by the Slide Fire conversion.
By Chris A. Choat
Several years ago this author reported on a then new stock that allowed an AR style rifle to be bump-fired and thus produce almost as high of rate of fire as a full-auto gun. As the stock was merely an addition to a semiautomatic rifle and the rifle’s trigger still had to be pulled every time the gun fired, the device was approved for sale by the BATFE. One of the major advantages to this unit over other bump-fire devices is that the shooter could not only produce high rates of fire but he or she could do it in a safe and controlled way. Also, with a little practice, the shooter could produce semi-auto type fire as well as 2 or 3 round burst fire without changing anything on the rifle. The stock was produced by a company called Slide Fire Solutions (www.slidefire.com) and to date they have literally sold tens of thousands of these stocks.
In the past year or so the dramatic increase in the price of ammunition has caused lots of shooters to cut down on the amount of rounds that are put downrange. While the prices of all ammunition have gone up, centerfire seems to have taken a bigger hike than rimfire. That being said, more shooters are now turning to rimfire guns to go to the range with. This (along with a shortage of rimfire powder) has produced what seems like a shortage of .22 shells for sale on store shelves. It is very possible that more shooters are now turning to their favorite rimfire guns to satisfy their desire to go shooting. It also has increased the market for rimfire rifles that look and function like their AR style centerfire counterparts.
One of the most popular AR style rimfire rifle is produced by Smith & Wesson (www.smith-wesson.com) and is a member of their M&P series of guns. The M&P15-22 is styled about as close as you can get to an AR-15 style rifle – in fact, a lot of parts will interchange between the two. The M&P15-22 has an AR pistol grip, M-4 type stock, quad rail forearm, flat-top upper with Picatinny style rail and a 1/2 X 28 threaded barrel. While the gun uses polymer upper and lower receivers, it is built plenty strong enough to handle rimfire ammo. It uses S&W proprietary magazines in either 10 or 25 round capacities but several aftermarket companies have now started producing magazines that fit this rifle including 50-round drum magazines. The function and quality of this gun is typical S&W with flawless performance.
Another rimfire gun that offers flawless performance is the Ruger (www.ruger.com) 10/22 rifle. This rifle has been produced since the early 1960s and Ruger, as of last count, has sold well over 6 million of them. Almost every shooter has at least one of them in their collection. For over 50 years this gun has been the one to go with when teaching new shooters or just going out for a
day of plinking.
Now, Slide Fire Solutions has started producing a couple of kits that incorporate their bump-fire style stock units. These two new kits are being made for the S&W M&P15-22 and the Ruger 10/22 rifles. These new kits not only allow the Slide Fire stocks to fit the two most popular .22 rifles being made, they also include some other added enhancements for the guns as well.
The kit for the M&P15-22 is called the SFS 15/22. The kit includes a Slide Fire SBS stock with attaching hardware, a CMC Triggers (www.cmctriggers.com) complete drop-in 3.5 pound trigger unit and one of their new custom designed muzzle devices called a recoil enhancer. The SBS stock is Slide Fire’s newest design stock and will fit any rifle with an AR style buffer tube whether mil-spec or commercial. The trigger is a complete unit that includes the hammer, disconnector, trigger and associated springs in a drop-in module. The unit has been factory tuned to a 3.5 pound trigger pull. This light trigger pull has been found to allow the rimfire guns to work perfectly with the Slide Fire stocks. The final item included is Slide Fire’s recoil enhancer. The recoil enhancer replaces the standard flash hider on the rifle and helps to give the rifle a gentle rearward push as the bullet exits the barrel. This is accomplished by the design of the recoil enhancer. Think of the unit as a small enclosed chamber with tiny gas ports around the front of it. As the bullet exits the barrel escaping gas is trapped in the chamber and then vented out of the ports creating a slight rearward push. This can hardly be felt but does add to the reliability of the gun with the Slide Fire stock.
The kit for the Ruger 10/22 is called the SSAR-22 and is somewhat different in that it includes a chassis system. The system includes three pieces; an upper and a lower receiver and a forearm. The upper and lower combine to encapsulate the action of the 10/22 as well as having an attached AR style buffer tube. A uniquely styled forearm fastens the three pieces together and gives the 10/22 a very modern, tactical look. With all the pieces installed it gives the rifle a full-length rail across the top for attaching optics or other accessories. The kit also comes with a complete 3-pound trigger unit that is manufactured by Volquartsen Custom (www.volquartsen.com), long known for their work on enhancing the Ruger rimfire guns as well as a complete line of guns of their own. This trigger unit is a complete unit made to replace the whole trigger pack of a Ruger 10/22. The kit also includes Slide Fire’s OGR stock, which is their original pattern stock. The chassis system is available separately as the TAC-22 and comes with a standard M4 type stock and A2 pistol grip.
Either kit can be installed in just a matter of minutes with the only tools needed being a supplied Allen wrench and a Phillips and a straight blade screwdriver for the Ruger. To install the M&P15-22 kit the rifle’s original stock and pistol grip are removed and replaced with the Slide Fire stock with attached pistol grip. The original pistol grip is replaced with an interface block. This block and the buffer tube allow for bearing surfaces for the Slide Fire stock to reciprocate on. The S&W M&P15-22 uses the same fire control parts as a standard AR-15 so the original parts are merely replaced with the CMC Triggers drop-in module and pins. The only thing left to do is to unscrew the original flash hider and replace it with the recoil enhancer. To install the Ruger kit the original barrel band and stock are removed. The original Ruger trigger group is removed by pushing out two trigger pins. The Volquartsen unit is then installed into the Ruger’s receiver. The author chose to replace the original steel bolt stop pin with a Buffer Technologies recoil buffer. The high impact polymer pin absorbs the bolt’s rearward momentum and cushions the impact. Every 10/22 should have this inexpensive accessory. The three piece chassis system is then installed along with the matching forearm. The Slide Fire OGR stock is then attached to the chassis system and the installation is complete. The kits are available in either right or left handed versions and now come in three colors: Black, Dark Earth and OD Green.
With the kits installed it was time to grab lots of ammunition and head to the range. While on the subject of ammunition, it needs to be made clear, these devices work by harnessing the recoil energy of the gun and using it to assist the cycling. They require good, high quality, high powered ammo. Not the white box discount store variety. Low power, target or standard velocity just will not work as reliably as the “good stuff”. This author chose CCI Mini Mag and the newer CCI Tactical .22 and they both work well; but most other high velocity .22 LR will work well. There is no fun if you have to always clear malfunctions due to weak ammunition.
The S&W unit was tried first. The gun was loaded with a S&W 25-round magazine of CCI Mini Mags and the fun began. There is a slight learning curve associated with a Slide Fire stock. Someone picking up a gun equipped with one might not have the best of luck with the first couple of magazines. It seems like it usually takes a couple of magazines before a new Slide Fire user gets the feel for it. First of all to use one of these stocks you don’t PULL the trigger, you PUSH the rifle. Slide Fire stocks incorporate a little shelf that is positioned just to the side of the trigger. The shooter places their trigger finger through the trigger guard and onto this little shelf and keeps it there. The rifle is then pushed forward with the off hand, which in turn pushes the trigger against your stationary trigger finger. The result is that when the gun fires it recoils rearward and the trigger resets but the shooter still has forward pressure on the rifle, which pushes the rifle forward again and the cycle starts over. The all happens in a nanosecond and the result is a rate of fire that equals a full-auto gun. A .22 equipped with a Slide Fire stock will shoot at a cyclic rate of about 500 to 600 rounds per minute. Though there are other select-fire .22s that fire twice as fast (1,000 to 1,200 rpm), their cyclic rate is was too fast. At those rates a 30-round magazine is finished in about 1.5 seconds. With the slower rate of fire, a shooter with a Slide Fire equipped gun has more control and gets the full-auto sensation without going through ammunition like water through a fire hose.
Secondly, a light grip on the rifle’s forearm works the best. In fact, with the .22’s tested, if you just laid the forearm on the palm of your offhand and used the thumb and forefinger to grip it and pull back they worked best.
The S&W gun worked just as advertised with a 10-round burst erupting from the gun. Another forward push and the rest of the magazine fired completely. This was followed up with several more magazines. The only time that the gun quit was when it came across a “light” load. You could actually tell by the feel of the shell’s recoil that it was a light load. In a standard .22 bolt action or even a semi-auto you would never notice as the gun would continue to function as long as the shell produced enough energy to eject the empty brass. But with a Slide Fire equipped gun a light load will usually cause it to stop. With quality ammunition and a little practice you can empty a full 25 rounds without a hitch.
The Ruger 10/22 equipped with the Slide Fire unit was a little problematic at first. The gun was loaded up with a 30-round Butler Creek magazine. It would fire just 2 or 3 rounds and stop; then maybe 4 or 5 and stop. This continued through the first two magazines, both Butler Creek. We then tried a third magazine that was one of Ruger’s own BX-25 mags. The whole magazine fired without one malfunction. This was repeated several times with the same result. It turns out that the two Butler Creek magazines would not work 100% in another 10/22 that was tried as well. The magazines that worked the best turned out to be the original Ruger 10-round, the aforementioned Ruger BX-25 and the HC3R magazines (www.hcmags.com). If you haven’t tried one of the HC3R magazines do yourself a favor and get one. They load easily, hold a total of 45 rounds on board and can be taken apart to be cleaned. They are a first rate piece of equipment. By switching to the other magazines and giving the rifle a shot of WD-40 the gun ran perfectly. We found that both guns seemed to like just a small amount of lube and they would run multiple complete magazines without an issue.
Another great feature of the Slide Fire stocks is that they can be converted from working in the bump-fire mode into a regular “fixed” stock instantly. All of the stocks have a small engagement lock lever located at the bottom of the stock about where the release lever is on a standard collapsible carbine stock. This lever is turned 90 degrees either right or left to select either a locked or a sliding mode. This is handy when letting a youngster that is not quite ready for the Slide Fire experience shooting the gun.
In conclusion, the testing revealed that the Slide Fire Solutions .22 kits are a complete blast and work just as advertised. This company hit on the magic remedy for accessories. Make them for a reliable gun that is produced in very high numbers. The Ruger 10/22 and the S&W MP15-22 rifles fall into both of these categories. You can’t go wrong with either rifle or with the Slide Fire Solutions .22 kits. The stocks are not tactical and they are not for everybody. But if you want to have an afternoon of shooting fun without spending a fortune, try one.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V19N4 (May 2015)|