UPDATING THE RUGER .22 SEMI-AUTO PISTOL – THREADED BARREL

Once upon a time, in a previous life, I had the best of several Ruger .22 LR semi-auto pistols that have come through my hands over the years. This one was a fancy target model – blued bull barrel with target sights and nice checkered walnut grips with a “finger ledge”. Sadly, I let this one get from me on a youthful whim. When I was lucky enough to find my original “Standard” model Ruger .22, I decided to give it better treatment this time around than it and other guns have been subjected to in the past. After cleaning it up, getting a new magazine, and some nice holsters, I mounted first a red dot, then a 3X scope on the little gun. Nice, but I still sort of yearned for that thicker barrel.

Since my ultimate plan was to have a suppressor on my .22 pistol, and the original tapered barrel was not suitable for threading, I had been looking around for solutions. A new threaded bull barrel/upper receiver is one option, but the cost is as much as a decent used pistol already wearing a threaded barrel!

Then I “found” a stainless, threaded Ruger MK II target bull barrel, with adjustable open sights, and the front sight “undercut” to fit over a suppressor – in the classified section of the Ruger Forum! Not absolutely sure this barrel would fit on my 1973 vintage standard frame, I took a chance on it anyway, and the results have been very satisfying!

Picked up this gently used SS barrel, threaded for suppressor use, for my Ruger Standard .22 pistol.

Picked up this gently used SS barrel, threaded for suppressor use, for my Ruger Standard .22 pistol.

The Ruger Standard .22 LR semi-auto pistol was Bill Ruger’s original firearm offering – the gun that started the “empire”, so to speak. Over the years MANY upgrades and even completely new models have been offered, but the basic design concept is still very close to the first pistol made. One of the really nice features of the little Ruger is the ease of take-down for cleaning – or replacing barrels. The mainspring slips into the grip frame and is held by a lever that holds it firmly in place, yet is easy to remove – getting the mainspring segment and “bolt stop” pin out in one piece. The barrel/receiver then can be pushed forwarded and removed. Since I was replacing the barrel, but hoped to use the same bolt – the interior of the receiver that loads and holds the cartridge in the chamber – as was in my original barrel, the bolt is also easily removed by just pulling it out of the end of the receiver.

Reassembly is a bit more tricky. There is a recess on the underside of the barrel that mates with a protrusion on the frame to hold the front of the barrel in place. Supposedly a “click” can be heard when this is accomplished, but this did not happen with mine, yet I knew it was engaged because the barrel was held firmly in place at the front. The mainspring theoretically simply slides back in and locks the back portion of the receiver in place, but there are ways to do this, and ways NOT to do this. After watching several You-Tube videos, I turned to my Kindle copy of “The Ruger .22 Automatic Pistol”, by Duncan Long and a parts diagram and instructions in the owners manual found on the Ruger website. It seems that the safety needs to be on in one step, off and the trigger pulled in another, and the “hammer strut” has to fit in a groove on the inside of the mainspring unit. The bolt stop pin protrudes slightly through the top of the receiver, and has to snap through the hole to push and hold the firing spring pin in place. Once you figure out how to do this, it is pretty easy, but it seems to be difficult to explain the process in print or even on video.

The stainless bull barrel fits exactly in the place vacated by the older, standard blued barrel.

The stainless bull barrel fits exactly in the place vacated by the older, standard blued barrel.

If the hammer strut is not positioned correctly, you will notice that the slide will not open (a dead-giveaway!). Also, with my gun, it is obviously not properly tight, and will rattle around when moved. When it IS in place, however, everything will work as it should with the old bolt in the near barrel.

This view shows where the mainspring housing pin goes through the receiver and holds the pistol basically together. Also shows the adjustable target sights standard on such barrels.

This view shows where the mainspring housing pin goes through the line and holds the pistol basically together. Also shows the adjustable target sights standard on such barrels.

My new barrel came with a threaded thread protector for when a suppressor is not attached.

My new barrel came with a threaded thread protector for when a suppressor is not attached.Note also the notched from sight, to fit over the “can”.

This is a "used" stainless target barrel for a Ruger MK II, threaded to use with a suppressor - and the latest addition to my 1973 Ruger Standard pistol!

This is a “used” stainless target barrel for a Ruger MK II, threaded to use with a suppressor – and the latest addition to my 1973 Ruger Standard pistol!

My B-Square mount holds the 3X scope on the new barrel just as well as on the "stock" barrel.

My B-Square mount holds the 3X scope on the new barrel just as well as on the “stock” barrel.

This nice leather holster from Classic Old West did not fit my Ruger very well with the thin original barrel, as it was actually designed for a MK with a bull barrel. I kept it, just in case - and now it works great! It was only available in a left hand version when I bought mine, but I use it to carry the .22 butt forward on my right hip, with one of my big bore revolvers - or a 1911 - on the left side in a shoulder holster when woods walking.

This nice leather holster from Classic Old West did not fit my Ruger very well with the thin original barrel, as it was actually designed for a MK with a bull barrel. I kept it, just in case – and now if works great! It was only available in a left hand version when I bought mine, but I use it to carry the .22 butt forward on my right hip, with one of my big bore revolver – or a 1911 – on the let side in a shoulder holster when woods walking.

My Kydex "Tactical" holster for a scoped Ruger .22 also likes the bull barrel better!

My Kydex “Tactical”holster for a scoped Ruger .22 also likes the bull barrel better!

About MikeH

Texas hunter and fisherman for 50 years, published outdoor writer since 1979, licensed charter boat operator from 1982 to 2013. Past Member, Board of Directors, National Association of Charterboat Operators, current member Environmental Advisory Committee to the DOE and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Married to Dorothy since 2000, one son, Michael who is recently married and living in Nederland, Texas. My wife and I live in Oyster Creek, Texas, near Freeport, and have a hunting property outside of Brazoria, Texas.
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