Volquartsen Custom .22 Rimfire Rifle
By Mike Bailey
I have often wondered why people sometimes spend thousands of dollars, euros or British pounds sterling on their larger calibre deer/big game rifles, but are happy to spend so much less on the rifle they will probably practice with a lot more, i.e. their .22 LR. It is generally agreed that the best way to become a better shot is to try and shoot more. It is easy to pop down the local range with your .22 and loose off 100 or so rounds from various positions, prone, sitting, rest, sticks, you name it. It costs next to nothing and if you can do an hour and a half a week for a year you will notice the difference in your marksmanship.
Here in Spain, 36% of the male population shoot in one form or another, so things are a little more relaxed than my native country, England, where restrictions on firearms are prohibitive. When I arrived here 6 years ago I started to get back into shotgunning after a 20 year lay off (mainly due to career and family) and soon realised there was also a lot of other game to be found. I decided to find a .22LR that I would be proud to own and would allow me to practice and improve my shooting, as I hope to go on safari to Africa in the future and I’ll need to be shooting to a reasonable standard for that.
I trawled the internet and found www.rimfirecentral.com, which--along with the Rimfire Guns and Ammo section of Guns and Shooting Online--had a lot of information. After soaking it up, I decided that a Volquartsen custom rifle seemed a good idea. I ordered the standard rifle with a classic walnut stock, stainless steel action and barrel, a skeleton butt plate and QD swivels. I already owned an unused Leica 1.75-6x32mm scope, which I sent to Volquartsen for use on the rifle. (I am reliably informed that Leica never actually made rifle scopes in house, they were made for Leica by Leupold under licence). Since I have a Leupold VXIII 1.5-5 with which I am very happy, I thought that this scope should be OK for the Volquartsen.
Then I waited . . . and waited. To be fair to Volquartsen, they finished the rifle in approx 8 months. However, I made the error of asking a friend in the gun trade to import it to the UK for me and send it on to me in Spain. The US state dept viewed this as a “re-exportation” so the licence was refused. To cut a long story short, the paper work was eventually sorted out and the rifle arrived 4 weeks ago, 2 years after it was ordered!
The rifle had been shipped in a black, high impact plastic gun case. Three corners had been shattered in transit but fortunately the gun inside was untouched. I emailed Nic at Volquartsen to let him know that if he sent any more guns to Europe or further maybe he should use a heavier case.
The gun itself looked fabulous. It has a 45cm stainless steel bull barrel, approx 1” in diameter. Metal to wood fit is excellent. The skeleton butt plate really has been done superbly. I own a 12 bore Luciano Bosis O/U shotgun on which I specified a case colour hardened skeleton butt plate. The stainless plate on the Volquartsen is fitted just as well. Superb.
The walnut is American claro, not exhibition grade, but a nice piece of timber with reasonable figure. As usual for me the LOP is too short at 13.5”, but since I forgot to specify a 14.5” LOP, that is my fault. I can always slip-on a recoil pad to lengthen the stock.
The Volquartsen action is a modified copy of the Ruger 10-22, but built in house. The trigger is crisp with no creep and mine breaks at a tad over 2lbs. The factory guarantee a 3 shot group at 50 yards of 3/8ths”. Weight is approx 7 pounds with scope and mount.
After purchasing 6 different types of rimfire ammunition, being mindful that most .22 LR have a particularity for certain types of ammunition, we trundled off down the range. Fullbore ranges are rare in Spain (and in Europe generally, come to think of it) and my local smallbore and pistol range has set ups for 10 metres, 25 metres and 50 metres. I opted for the 50 metre targets.
I fired 50 rounds just to “bed” the barrel a little, then tried a group. The gun can outshoot me, that’s for sure and after another 50 rounds I managed to put 8 out of 10 rounds, with the two fliers called, into 11mm or approx ½”. The rifle, sighted 1” high at 50 metres, should be good out to 90 metres for the rabbits and other small game we get here, assuming I can do my bit.
I would have liked a proper oil finish on the wood. Instead, it is finished with a type of synthetic varnish. There is no chequering on the stock. As the chequering gunsmiths in the USA are universally acknowledged to be THE finest chequers in the world (the London best gun makers Holland and Purdey will admit to this; no one can approach the States for chequering) it seems a shame. If I had the time, I would send the stock to get it oil finished and chequered. (Note: our Gunsmithing Editor, Rocky Hays, can do that kind of work and engrave the metal bits as well. -Ed.) Otherwise a really nice rifle. Cost was about US $1700 excluding scope and shipping.
If you would like a nice, accurate rimfire that any of your descendants would be over the moon to receive when you shuffle off this mortal coil, you will not go wrong with a Volquartsen. I am a happy customer.
Copyright 2008, 2012 by Mike Bailey. All rights reserved.