The Barrel Band of the 10/22 is probably the most controversial and debated part when it comes to upgrading the rifle. Some say the band is necessary; others claim it’s purely cosmetic. Here we’ll learn about the truth regarding the barrel bands of a 10/22. We’ll also learn about the best 10/22 barrel band upgrades available in the market.
What Purpose Does The Barrel Band Serve?
Primarily, the barrel band binds the action of the rifle to the stock. It is there to strengthen the rifle assembly so the barrel doesn’t detrimentally fly off the stock. Apart from the barrel band, there’s only one screw which holds the stock to the action of the 10/22 rifle. No doubt, the barrel band provides added strength to this connection.
The stock with the barrel band also adds to the looks of the Ruger 10/22 and makes it look more like pre-WW2 era guns. In some cases, the barrel bands have also been reported to affect the accuracy of the rifle. However, individual discretion matters in this case.
In other rifles - those specifically designed for military combat use - the barrel bands are used to keep the action in place while soldiers use bayonets. Yes, that’s another purpose of the barrel band. It grips the action tightly, so when a soldier performs the slashing and cutting maneuvers, the assembly stays firm. But hopefully you won’t have much use for a bayonet on your 10/22!
In some cases, the barrel band may also be used to serve as a front sling shackle.
Upgrading Your Barrel Band
Upgrading your barrel bands with aftermarket products can help you improve the usability of your rimfire. Modern-day barrel bands allow you to use them as a sling shackle, or to mount add-ons like optics, lasers and lights without interfering with the front sight.
Like any other upgrade, your rifle needs testing for barrel bands as well. Different weather and environmental conditions can make a difference - and so can your tastes. It’s not a case where one is a clearly superior product.
Top 10/22 Barrel Bands
Here are some of the best 10/22 Barrel Bands available in the market. These bands can be used to spruce up the functionality and usability of your 10/22.
The Picatinny barrel band, as the name suggests, has Picatinny rails on three sides. Made from high-grade plastic, this barrel band can be used to add up to three accessories to your 10/22 at once.
The band features two screws at the bottom which can be tightened to fit perfectly on the stock. You can attach a bipod to the base rail, a laser to the left rail and a torch to the right rail at the same time.
The band flexes a bit upon firing so it is not really meant for very rough use. However, if you want to use multiple accessories at once with your 10/22 this band would suit you the best.
This is a good-quality barrel band made of machined aluminum. It is a good choice for people who don’t like plastic barrel bands. This band is solidly constructed, so it doesn’t flex.
This barrel band features an integrated sling loop and two Weaver-style accessory rails. Slings up to 1.25 inches wide can pass through the sling loop. The band has a reversible design which allows you to place the sling loop on either side of the rifle.
The side rail has a single slot and the bottom rail has two slots which are good enough to mount a bipod. This band has a machined finish as compared to its counterparts which appear to be cast. A single screw on the base of the band is used to attach it to your 10/22.
Overall, this barrel band has a solid construction with a notable and diverse functionality. It fits all models of Ruger 10/22 rimfire rifle.
This metal barrel band is from Tactical Innovations. It is a replacement for the standard factory barrel band in case you break it, lose it or want to change its color.
This barrel band has been manufactured from billet aluminum. It is available in eight different colors, from satin blue to fire red. It features a simple hex screw at the bottom which can be tightened using an allen key.
The price of this barrel band is quite low, so you may consider buying several colors to play around.
Is A Barrel Band Worth It?
Do you really need the barrel band? Maybe, or maybe not. It’s not absolutely necessary, for sure. But this is a case where you can’t determine the worth of an object until you see if it meets your tastes. That’s definitely true with barrel bands for your 10/22.
It may seem to be a worthless decorative piece of metal to someone. They claim it’s simply metal or plastic eye candy hearkening back to World War II-era rifles
The most common pro-barrel band argument is that Ruger must have put it there for a reason. After all, why would they waste money on a non-essential part that would cut into their profits?
Like humans, the amazing quality of rifles is that every piece is different. You have to test and check the workings of your own rifle - and your own preferences - to get it into its perfect working state.
Many do believe that barrel bands affect the accuracy of a 10/22 rifle. The barrel band clamps the barrel with the stock. Once a round is fired, recoil and harmonic vibrations are generated inside the barrel.
The particular barrel of your gun might also affect your choice. With lighter barrels, this may affect the group size. Heavier barrels like the 20” bull barrel don’t need clamping because of their heavy weight and improved capability to handle harmonic vibrations. Not using a barrel band is called a free-floating barrel.
To check whether your gun needs a barrel band or not, you’ll have to test it accordingly. Fire some shots with the band on your 10/22 and some shots after removing it. Check the overall group size of these two phases. This should help you decide.
In many cases, the barrel band is a matter of choice, not a necessity. It takes experimentation to see how your gun works and what you like before you can make a choice.
A barrel band can no doubt be an important accessory of the Ruger 10/22 rifle. If you’re unsure about using one, you can test your rifle with and without the barrel band. This will let you know what works best for you and the gun.
Aftermarket upgrades of barrel bands are quite effective. They can provide increased stability, and can also give you the liberty to use shooting equipment like lasers and lights on the rails. Buying a new one would not burn a large hole in your pocket. They are inexpensive and you may consider buying an upgrade without thinking twice.