Here is a subsonic target rifle I built on PWS’s new T3 Summit rimfire toggle action:
I acquired the T3 receiver and trigger assembly, shown below, for $500. The beautifully machined bolt and receiver are proprietary, but everything else is compatible with the broad market of Ruger 10/22 accessories. The trigger assembly features a crisp 2.5-pound trigger, and is all metal except for the trigger itself and the convenient extended magazine release lever in front of the trigger guard.
I installed the receiver in a Hogue stock. The 18″ barrel came muzzle-threaded from EABCO and button rifled with a 1:9 twist rate: sufficient to stabilize subsonic 60gr Aguila .22 bullets. (The standard .22LR twist rate is 1:16.) Those two components brought total cost for the gun to $750, excluding a scope.
My goal with this rifle was to make it as quiet and accurate as possible. As I have previously explained, “quiet” firearms are created by:
- Adding a suppressor to the muzzle to catch as much of the supersonic propellant gases as possible
- Keeping bullet velocity below the sound barrier, thus avoiding the distinctive “crack” of a supersonic object
- Selecting an action that avoids venting propellant gas under pressure other than through the suppressed muzzle
I already had a registered Gem-Tech Outback II — a light and competent .22 suppressor. There are plenty of subsonic factory loads for .22LR, including most target ammunition, so the second requirement was easy. To ensure the third requirement was met I knew I wanted a manual action, since especially with the shorter cases of 60gr .22LR bullets there is a risk an autoloader will extract the case while there is still enough pressure in the barrel to create an audible pop out of the chamber. (Note: I have since read that with the right combination of bolt handles and recoil springs a semi-auto 10/22 can be kept closed long enough that there’s no pop from the ejection cycle. Given that $500 can also buy a complete Volquartsen or KIDD receiver/bolt/trigger assembly I’m inclined to try making that work next time.)
As for accuracy: In principle manual actions are also the most accurate, since the gun doesn’t have to do anything to cycle the action before the bullet leaves the muzzle — things that could introduce variance from shot to shot. In practice, however, it seems that especially blow-back autoloaders in small calibers like .22LR can be made as accurate as all but the most finely tuned manual loaders. Nevertheless, I decided to remove that variable and build a gun with a manual action.
The most common manual action rifle is the bolt-action. (Lever- and pump-actions are also not uncommon, but I’m not aware of any that allow such easy customization as bolt guns, and since I wanted a precision barrel with an unusual twist rate I knew I would have to assemble my own gun.) I have a number of bolt-guns, including a .22, and it always struck me as overkill — like using a sledge hammer to push a thumbtack — to be using a camming bolt (or “turn-bolt”) on such a low-pressure round. So I started looking for “toggle” actions.
Straight-pull bolt actions are rarely seen outside of olympic biathlon shooting. They offer a slight speed advantage over turn-bolts, which require the shooter to rotate the bolt at least 60 degrees in and out of battery before it can be pushed and pulled to feed and extract a cartridge from the chamber. But toggles and straight-pulls do require a more complicated mechanism, so perhaps that explains their near-total absence from any niche where bolt actions aren’t required and fractions of a second don’t matter. (There are a few notable exceptions: The Blaser R93 and the Merkel RX Helix are high-end centerfire rifles with straight-pull actions.)
All I could find for toggle .22’s were Russian Izhmash rifles (customized for biathlon and running upwards of $1500) and a line by Browning called the T-Bolt (but not readily equipped with the fast-twist barrel I needed). Then PWS came out with their T3 rifle patterned on the Ruger 10/22, so I jumped on it.
To date I have only tested this gun with Aguila subsonic ammunition — both 40gr and 60gr. When I first assembled it I had frequent failures to extract. PWS techs instructed me to file down the extraction groove of the barrel and that solved that problem. Then I had frequent failures to eject: The extractors would just drop the case before it hit the ejector, and even if it made it to the ejector more often than not it would fail to be kicked out the ejection port. This was a trickier problem. After some research the PWS techs concluded that the rim on Aguila 60gr .22LR is .269″ where a standard 22LR is .274″. They machined a primary extractor to account for the difference, but installing it didn’t completely eliminate the problem.
What did make things run reliably was to cycle the bolt quickly (which one should do anyway). This helped mitigate the other quirk of this toggle action, which is that the bolt runs into resistance at the rear of the stroke where it has to cock the trigger. Unfortunately, because the toggle and stroke run so far to the rear you have to give up your firing grip to cycle this, so it’s not like a true Olympic toggle gun. (This is probably inevitable for a gun that maintains compatibility with the Ruger 10/22 platform.) But if you just tug on it with two fingers and follow through to the rear of the stroke it does run back and forth smoothly.
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I have returned my PWS t3 rapter 4 times with extractor problems. I am checking my ammo for rim diameter thickness. What sources are available to correct this problem as PWS techs don’t seam to have the ability to fix my extractor.
Wow, that’s really bad! I recommend posting details and the history of this problem at rimfirecentral.com. You’ll get good advice on debugging the problem.
If you send the barreled action along with a sample of the ammo you’re using to PWS they shouldn’t be returning it until they have it working. So please post a link to details here as well: if PWS is dropping the ball on customer service both we and the visitors who come for this review would like to know!
I have a PWS T3 with ftf issues, PWS says its a headspace problem and recommends that I shave the shoulder of my KIDD barrel to fix the problem. Not impressed with the quality or the service.
I’ve had some runarounds when I mix parts on 10/22 platforms … I need to get a post up on those.
I’m surprised you’d have FTF on a KIDD barrel, or that a FTF would be attributed to barrel fit instead of magazine fit on a manual 10/22. Did PWS actually gauge the barrel in the receiver and tell you that?
PWS has the rifle now….the problem is headspace, the gap from bolt face to barrel should be .004, mine is .022. There is NO question in my mind that the KIDD barrel is up to spec and shouldnt be touched. If PWS refuses to acknowledge the problem is with the receiver I’ll probably just scrap it and put the barrel on a 10/22 action, maybe using the PWS trigger and mag release.
Glad I saw this review. I was just shopping for a barreled summit action today. Please be sure to post updates so we know the resolution of the issue.
PWS has the rifle now and are working to resolve the issue. I am more than satisfied with thier customer service…they seem like good people. I’ll follow up on the rifle itself when it gets back to me.
My experience has been that if you get the action barreled by the same guys who do the receiver you shouldn’t have problems. All my 10/22 problems have come from mixing custom barrels with custom receivers.
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Just a LATE follow up, FTF were fixed by PWS. The rifle cycles fine, but the accuracy was never great, as I expected it to be. I moved the barrel to a different rifle, obtained a PWS carbon tension and now have a light fair shooting rifle. Hopefully Volquartzen works out the bugs.
Had all those problems with mine after Volquartsen marketed/sold them. Bought the action, had the 1:9 twist Volquartsen barrel for the build after all the failure to fire, feeds, ejections and light strikes I decided to take matters more serious and make this all right from my own view/mathematical view..Pulled barrel and modified ejector slot so ejector grabs more of the rim on the Aguila sss round and slightly chamfer chamber mouth for feeding..Don’t over chamfer (only to lower portion chamber mouth) this as the cartridge may recess more counter sinking it if done incorrectly, just polish it. Next while the barrel was out chucked it in the lathe and took .003″ off the shoulder the get a better lock up as I never needed shims in the first place and lockup was too weak..I like a good click here when the action closes on the barrel face..After it was done it was a little too much, but I wanted to take the bolt face down anyway because of the excessive “cartridge head” recess in the bolt face..Anyone can do this without a mill; used 400 sand paper with oil. taped to a flat surface (glass, granite block etc..) making sure bolt stays flat move it back and forth taking several thousands off till the bolt closes just right (careful here as it can remove material quickly) . Take off too much and ignition can happen upon closing bolt or by using other ammo…My bolt face recess was .451″ deep with Aguila round rim being .400″-.402″ thick-no doubt the culprit of light strikes so in about 5 minutes I took the recess down to .404″ (removed .007″) using the method explained with excellent results…Overall Result: Bolt locks up good without slop, cases eject fine, (as long as you don’t cycle too fast) excellent/better firing pin strikes with proper ignition, accuracy is great…All this was done in about a hour at home…Now there is also a significantly noticeably better discharge when the round goes off from closing the distance to the case head/bolt face recess with velocity increase and better “complete powder burn” (still subsonic too out of my 18″ barrel in 0 degree temperatures) and customizing this aspect of the bolt is ok because you built the gun for one type of ammo anyway; the “sss Aguila round”…My barrel shank length was .751″ when all finished..My action sleeve depth was .745”..Before when barrel shank length was .748″ I used shims it made it worse removed shims and still sucked and caused these probs/ had to machine .003″ off..Bottom line if you use this gun for this ammo; 1) Remove material from ejector slot so shell case can be grabbed better. 2) bolt face recess is too deep so take it down to eliminate light strikes, poor performance and misfires. 3)This leads to address the barrel next, must be set so the bolt closes on the barrel face with a good but not too much resistance to get a solid but not excessive lockup ( too sloppy and easy with get so terrible accuracy like any poor headspace or sloppy action will) …Its supposed to be a bolt but straight pull so you want bolt accuracy not 1022 semi accuracy…All this is impossible to get with a production rifle which has these problems initially anyway.. if you don’t have the ability to do this buy another rifle…
I purchased a T3 rifle about three years ago. Although there was about a two month delay from the expected shipment date (possibly to rectify the FTF problems described in earlier posts), I have had zero FTF or FTE or anything else. The toggle is smooth but does require two fingers to operate. I have shot most brands of Ammo (primarily sub sonic) with a SilencerCo Specter II, but the hands down best is CCI Quiet Ammo. Accuracy is not Anshultz class but certainly WELL 1/2 MOA. I do like this rifle