WHAT’S IN A NAME?
You know how sometimes the field of work someone finds themselves in matches their name so perfectly it’s almost as if they were born for that purpose? No? Let me fill in the blanks… the fastest man in the world is Usain Bolt. How the heck do you end up with a name like “Bolt” if you’re not born to be a sprinter… or an electrician. The same goes for the name Volquartsen. Are you with me now?
The Volquartsen Superlite (AKA the “Top Shot Model”) is NOT your average 10/22 rifle. It doesn’t shoot like it, doesn’t look like it, doesn’t feel like it and doesn’t handle like it. The workmanship is some of the finest quality you’ll find in the combination of a precision piece/working man’s rifle. We feel “working man’s rifle” is a fair title considering how rugged & durable the CNC machined anodized aluminum receiver, the Volquartsen proprietary THM tension fiber barrel and the Hogue over molded stock all are. No to mention the entire rifle sans optic brings a svelte five pound weigh-in making it an uber friendly option as a backwoods plinker or a rimfire truck gun. The first impression of the Superlite is simple… but… VERY strong.
So what do you do while doing a rifle review on and testing a Volquartsen Custom Superlite 10/22 pattern rifle? You shoot it. A LOT. Which is exactly what I wasted no time in doing after Mr. Volquartsen and company sent me the rifle for review a couple of months ago. First up was reliability testing with various ammo. Most of us know 10/22 rifles are pretty dependable, and this one takes that reputation and launches it into the upper echelon (apologies for cliche adage). First off was quantity testing with over a dozen different brands of over the counter ammo. I’m talking the regular common stuff and the el-cheapo bulk boxes like Remington Golden Bullet, Federal Classic, Peters by Remington, Winchester Super X, Federal Lightning, Blazer and the list goes on. The most “expensive” ammo I bought was Federal Premium Match, CCI Mini Mag, and CCI AR .22 Tactical. I know some folks might say that’s like putting regular unleaded in a Lamborghini Countach (I’m a child of the 80s), however I wanted to see how this rifle would perform with real world everyday rimfire ammo. NO COMPLAINTS. NO STOPPAGES. NO PROBLEM up to 600 rounds in this phase.
Because the very nature of the Superlite is so lightweight, quiet and accurate it’s hard to put down. No matter what power level the ammo we tested lie in from the subsonic rounds to the hyper velocity CCI Stingers and the consistently strong CCI AR .22 Tactical rounds the Superlite fed with the same speed and consistency for each.
And since the Volquartsen is essentially just a 10/22 rifle albeit one on steroids, it takes standard Ruger 10/22 magazines and ships with the classic 10 round rotary magazines. I also worked in a new-ish Ruger BX-25 stick magazine and experienced the same consistent results as we saw with the rotary mag.
I already posted some initial info about the rifle’s accuracy results on a windy day. Well, go figure my stupid luck every single day I got the rifle out to shoot on a bench it was windy. Like 20+ mph windy whether it be crosswind or headwind. That first day we saw $.25 piece sized groups (or roughly one inch) with just about every ammo type we ran during the test. The best that day were Remington Subsonics and Winchester Xpert printing about a seven-eighths inch (7/8″) 10 shot groups respectively AND ironically considering each are at opposite ends of the ammo spectrum in terms of velocity.
Wanting to decrease the variation and spread of group size as it related to the external surroundings I was battling I opted to change my accuracy test from a 10 shot group to a 5 shot group. The fact that most of these lightweight 36-38 grain .22 caliber rounds are traveling anywhere from 1050 fps (subsonics) to 1200 to 1400 fps-ish makes it easy for them to fall victim to varying and heavy winds with unfortunate regularity even at 50 yards so I felt this was a fair adjustment.
For what it’s worth I typically won’t bellyache about wind negatively affecting accuracy from centerfire rifle rounds. Living in Northern Colorado wind is a constant so I’ve got to learn to deal with it from the bench and the field as a fact of life.
The 2nd and 3rd time I buckled down for an accuracy test I was not disappointed even in the wind partly thanks to dropping from 10 shot to 5 shot groups to cut down on variation and also in part to moving from the shooting bench to a prone position with sandbags and from the Nikon P-22 Rimfire Scope to an older but crystal clear Leupold VX-II fixed 6x scope with much finer crosshairs. Nothing against the Nikon, which I actually really enjoyed, but I could REALLY cinch down and center things up with the Leupy. This time I saw the most satisfactory groups from (in descending order) the Federal Premium Target, Remington Subsonic and Winchester Wildcat loads all of which were nearly DIME (as in $.10 piece) sized groups. All groups claimed here can be seen pictured in the photo roll below.
Again just like during our reliability testing we experienced no malfunctions, stoppages, complaints, or poor performance in any way from the rifle after another 400+ rounds. Ironically the ammo that it seemed to shoot the least accurate was the CCI Mini Mag brand, which in my experience has typically made average rifles perform one level up.
Didn’t I cover this already? It’s a sexy beast. No raised seams at contact points, no burrs, no ugly finish marks… nothing. The threaded muzzle brake twists on tight but not so tight it can’t be taken off for cleaning. The trigger group (Volquartsen’s original drop in) drops out with a couple of pins and the modified 10/22 style bolt have a smooth gloss finish that aid in cycling and fit tightly into the CNC machined anodized aluminum receiver. While it all disassembles and returns to form like a dream, nothing is loose or stubborn in fit.
The Superlite rifle I received was shipped in a full length heavy duty Volquartsen Custom branded hard case that I had almost no use for the whole time I’ve had it. Why? I wanted to see how the rifle would handle being tossed around in my truck and lined up with other guns in the back seat trip after trip. The verdict? Despite being a tad dusty and a nick in the outside of the trigger guard you can’t tell I didn’t just pick the rifle up at my FFL.
Free floating the barrel is something that the Volquartsen kids have down to a science. Removing the Hogue stock from the action to reveal the bedding and the fit of the barrel to the receiver is a thing of beauty. Everything is square. There are no gaps. The integrated picatinny rail capping the top of the receiver is uniform and rock solid and all the lines are rounded yet firm and straight.
I’m not sure how important a trigger is to you in a rimfire rifle, but the Volquartsen is different. Perfect even. There is absolutely ZERO take up, the back wall is light yet solid and breaks like glass with very little over travel so finding the reset point after firing is a breeze.
I think I’m attached to this rifle. Every now and then I get something in that I enjoy so much I’m not sure how I would ever part with it when it’s time to say goodbye. Yes they are a bit on the expensive side. Yes you’ll have to save your pennies for a while to make it happen. But rest assured that when you make it happen there is no lack of bang for your buck in a Volquartsen product as they stand above the competitive and ever growing 10/22 pattern market. It’s what you get when you pay for a Volquartsen Custom rifle.
And once you’ve got one in your hand, you can shoot one of the pennies you saved from 50 yards just like I did and sit back with unbridled pride in the finest rimfire rifle you’ve ever owned. I’d show you a picture of the penny I shot but it flew away and I couldn’t find it. Same for the dime and nickel I shot.