Review: Tricked-Out Volquartsen Rifle for Precision Shooting
I’ve always said in the world of practical rimfire competitions, semi-auto rifles can be just as competitive as bolt actions. This review is a prime example of my point.
Last year, I was sent a Volquartsen Classic barreled action, which I paired with a Grey Birch Solutions LaChassis DLX aluminum chassis and a U.S. Optics TS-20X MGR scope. I shot it throughout the fall and winter competition season. After a bit of a learning curve, I started to really love it.
In fact, I am planning on sticking with it for this season over my premium bolt action, but I am going to get a little nit-picky here to give you my honest opinion of everything. So, here’s why I made the change.
The Barreled Action
The Volquartsen Classic barreled action I received consists of a 10/22-style action, receiver, and barrel all built by Volquartsen in the USA. It features a match bore and chamber tolerances that are proprietary to Volquartsen. The receiver is CNC-machined stainless steel.
The bull barrel is also stainless steel and threads into the receiver instead of being captured by a V-block like normal 10/22s. This increases the rigidity and accuracy of the entire system. An integrated 20-MOA Picatinny rail completes the upper receiver.
This gun is built like a race car. Everything is beautiful and smooth. It just feels solid and dependable.
The Volquartsen sports a TG2000 trigger group that is a drop-in replacement for the Ruger 10/22. It’s CNC machined from an aluminum billet. It has a very consistent, crisp, clean trigger pull that broke for me at 2.75 pounds. There’s a spongy, light take-up and a solid wall with a short reset after the crisp break. Pretravel and overtravel are adjustable.
This is a premium trigger. I really like the feel, but I do wish it was a bit lighter. However, I like it as a training trigger. Having to use a heavier trigger really helps you train for a better trigger press.
Everyone always wants to know about accuracy. But depending on your particular use, I don’t think one-hole groups are the be-all and end-all of a rifle. If you are shooting benchrest, I don’t think this is the rifle for you. But for the practical, long-range rimfire game, it’s perfect.
As with nearly every 10/22 I’ve encountered, the Volquartsen was ammunition sensitive. Actually, most .22 LR rifles are this way, but semi-autos are worse. I keep a box of all the ammo I come across for accuracy testing. You just never know what ammo will run well in a particular rifle.
The groups from the Volquartsen ran from 0.5 inches to over 1 inch at 50 yards. The company recommends, Wolf .22 LR Target. I didn’t have any, but Wolf Target is made by Eley and, in my results, Eley ammo performed the best. My 0.5-inch groups were consistently made by Eley Force. For me, a rifle that shoots under 1 inch at 50 yards is competitive at practical rimfire matches.
But 50-yard groups are not the only thing you should consider. Equally important is precision at longer ranges. Eley Force had the best 200-yard groups as well. The rifle easily shot 4-inches at 200 yards, which is 1 MOA and more than enough for practical purposes. We never shoot at targets under 1 MOA past 50 yards. Usually, it’s a minimum of 2 MOA or larger.
In my opinion, it’s not the accuracy of semi-auto rifles that’s the problem but the difference in lock time compared to a bolt action. Lock time is the time interval (often measured in milliseconds) from when the trigger of a firearm is activated until the firing pin strikes the primer.
The longer the lock time, the greater the probability that the shooter disturbs the rifle before the bullet has left the barrel. Bolt-actions guns typically have short lock times, so they are more forgiving to shoot. Semi-autos rifles with longer lock times require a better shooting technique to shoot as accurately as bolt actions.
Volquartsen says they have maximized the lock time on their rifles, so the lock time on this gun is probably better than most semi-auto peers, but there still is a discernable difference between the Volquartsen and a bolt action. This is not necessarily a bad thing. You just need to know this fact going in. It actually made me improve my technique.
Reliability is the Achilles heel of the semi-auto platform. In general, 10/22s are not as reliable as bolt-action rimfire rifles. The Volquartsen also suffered from this problem. At first, I had a terrible problem with light primer strikes. It was so bad, I had to send it back for them to take a look at it.
Their tech ended up replacing the firing pin, extractor, and firing-pin spring. It was a very fast turnaround. Now, it’s very reliable with Eley ammo. Although I am still having problems with some other brands of ammunition such as CCI. So, just like with accuracy, you will have to do some ammo testing. Remember to ammo test in different conditions, too. Cold is a semi-auto killer.
The LaChassis DLX is the new name of the Grey Birch’s Foundation chassis. This is their flagship chassis designed to be lightweight, modular, and adjustable. This particular LaChassis was built for the 10/22 platform and is packed with features to allow it to go from a short-range race gun to a long-range precision rifle.
The folding chassis is made of 6061 T6 aluminum and comes in at 1.5 pounds with a length of pull between 13 and 14.5 inches. Overall length is 29.5 to 30.5 inches, depending on your adjustments, or 20.5 inches folded. The magwell is cut for easy mag changes. This chassis hosts multiple attachment points for M-Lok accessories and ambi QD mounts
This chassis was fantastic! I found it light and handy, and it really changed my shooting style. In the past, I favored a heavy rifle for the stability. However, I found this lighter setup helped me in stages with a lot of dynamic movement. On the East Coast, most of our matches are speed and movement based, so this configuration was optimal. I also liked the idea that this could be a good field gun because it was so lightweight and compact.
My only complaint was the set screw for the rear tang. This screw was designed to eliminate any play from the slight differences in dimensions on the various 10/22 receivers. Most good 10/22 chassis have this feature. What I didn’t like was that this set screw isn’t accessible or even visible when the scope is installed.
When it got loose, I started to experience accuracy issues. Because the screw is not visible while the scope is installed, I didn’t know the screw had gotten loose. My ultimate solution was to Loctite the screw in place. After that, I had no more issues.
The final build included the U.S. Optics TS-20X rifle scope with a first focal plane. It has a 34mm tube, which affords generous elevation adjustments.
Here are some additional specs. If you want the full list, you can check it out here:
In general, the scope worked well for me. I really liked the clear, sharp glass and intuitive MGR reticle. The glass is probably one of the best in this price range. The ability to parallax down to 10 yards was also a great feature for a rimfire rifle since we can have targets closer than 50 yards. The dial adjustments were spot on and allowed me to make consistent hits out to 300 yards.
My biggest complaints were the lack of a zero stop and turret lock. Technically, there is a zero stop, but when it is set, you can only turn the turret one revolution. This makes the scope pretty much useless for the type of long-distance shooting I do, so that’s why I say it essentially has no zero stop. While not critical, I think it is a real oversight not to have these on a scope at this level. In addition, the parallax adjustments were very stiff.
I think the fact that, after over six months of shooting this gun, I’m planning on sticking with it as my main match rifle even though I have a very expensive bolt gun in my safe should tell you all you need to know about this firearm. Go check out Volquartsen, Grey Birch, and U.S. Optics. You won’t be disappointed.