If your barreled action is X-ring capable but you’re still running a factory stock, you’re only half-way there…
by the ShootingDaily staff
Developing a top-shooting, reliably accurate rifle really boils down to a few essential areas of concentration: a high-quality free-floating barrel, precision chamber dimensions, a crisp and smooth trigger, and a solid, ergonomic chassis to house it all in. The Savage A22 LR has many of the desirable ingredients to make an enviable target or small game hunting rimfire, but the factory polymer stock just doesn’t do the rifle justice. It’s too slick and noisy for hunting, and the lightweight plastic doesn’t provide enough “grounding” to allow the barreled action to achieve its benchtop potential.
Since we acquired the A22 for the dual purposes of small game hunting and target shooting, the easiest way to achieve our goal was to ditch the iffy polymer stock for a Boyds Gunstocks unit built to our specifications. Why Boyds? There are several reasons:
- Boyds Gunstocks are built from a proprietary laminated hardwood billet that is incredibly strong to minimize flex and to ensure a sturdy platform that can withstand serious field use.
- The profiles of Boyds Gunstocks are well thought out from a shooter’s perspective, meaning the contours of the grip, forearm, buttstock, and cheek weld all contribute to optimal body alignment—especially when you take advantage of the custom lengths-of pull and adjustable combs Boyds offers.
- Boyds Gunstocks feature inletting that is precise, predictable, and usually fits factory barreled actions with little or no modifications required on the installer’s part.
- Many color and finish options, as well as customized laser engraving, are available so that you can create a stock that is unique to your needs and shooting applications.
Our experience has shown that a Boyds Gunstock is the quickest, most cost-effective way to upgrade both your rifle’s looks and performance.
After spending last fall with our Savage A22 LR in its original configuration hunting squirrels, the factory stock’s shortcomings became evident—too light for our taste, too noisy in the brush for anyone’s taste, and an overall “feel” that just didn’t match the barreled action’s true potential. Our fix? The Boyds Pro Varmint stock with the optional adjustable comb, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the transformation. Here’s how it all went down…
As you can see here, the Boyds Pro Varmint stock offers a more substantial platform for Savage’s A22 barreled action than does the original polymer stock. That the Pro Varmint allows the barrel to free-float and lets us adjust the cheek riser for our particular shooting style are added benefits that make a big difference in providing consistent shooting form and maximizing accuracy.
Among the hallmark features of Boyds rifle stocks, in addition to their rock-solid laminated hardwood construction and precision inletting, is the ability to customize the stock to your fit and flavor. For our Pro Varmint, we opted for the adjustable cheek riser, laser-engraved stippling texture along the grip and forearm, and a comfortable 1/2-inch Boyds recoil pad. Boyds also gives you the option of selecting the color and finish that’s right for you. We chose Apple Jack in the standard finish.
Before working on any firearm, place the fire control on safe, remove the magazine, point the muzzle in a safe direction, and pull back on the bolt to ensure there are no cartridges in the chamber.
The Savage A22’s construction makes separation of the barreled action from the stock a simple operation. Use a 1/8-inch punch to depress the action spring and pry off the receiver cover (left). With the cover removed, rotate slightly and pull out the action spring (right).
Remove the charging handle from the bolt assembly (left), and then use your punch or similar tool to pull back and lift out the bolt assembly.
Two screws secure the barreled action to the stock. Remove these with an Allen wrench.
Turn the rifle over and move the fire control so that it is positioned in the middle of the trigger group assembly and offers clearance for the stock removal (left). Lift up on the stock to separate it from the barreled action.
The barreled action assembly is ready to install onto the new Boyds stock (left). Boyds does a remarkable job of providing clean and precise inletting work on their stocks, but minor variations in firearm components mean some adjustments may be necessary. Our stock required very light sanding where the receiver contacted the stock (circled) in order to provide clearance (right).
Once clearanced, the barreled action slipped effortlessly and accurately into the new Boyds Pro Varmint stock.
To complete the installation, simply reverse the disassembly process.
Once the barreled action is installed in the stock, perform a complete function check to ensure all is working properly. With the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and no live rounds in the chamber, cycle the bolt and move the selector to the safe position. Pull the trigger and ensure the hammer does not fall. Move the selector to fire, pull the trigger, and ensure the hammer falls. Next, cycle the bolt, pull the trigger to drop the hammer and without letting up on the trigger, cycle the bolt again. Now slowly let up on the trigger and listen/feel for the trigger to reset. If the rifle passes the function check, you are ready to hit the range.
During our function check, we discovered a slight interference with the stock and the back of the trigger group that prevented the hammer from falling. Some light sanding in this area (circled) removed the interference and allowed the trigger group to function properly. This is why it is important to ALWAYS perform a function check when disassembling and reassembling a firearm.
Our optional adjustable comb allows for an easy custom fit by providing a full 1/2-inch of vertical travel. The integrated locking rods can be adjusted by the supplied Allen wrench for your ideal comb height.
The Boyds Gunstocks Pro Varmint made for a significant makeover to our Savage A22 LR. Not only are the looks inspiring, but the ergonomic improvements combined with the sturdier platform and free-floating barrel really helped tighten our groups on the bench and on the bipod.
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