After mulling over my options, I decided to go with installing an aftermarket kit. I chose the Archangel 556 kit from Cheaper Than Dirt (www.cheaperthandirt.com). It runs just over $100, and is designed to give your 10/22 many of the characteristics of an AR-15 (hence the 556 in the name). While ordering my kit, I purchased a couple of 30 round magazines for it as well, since they can be purchased for less than $10.
Removing the factory stock was easy, as it simply involves removing two screws. I also had to remove the scope and scope rings. Make sure you are using hollow ground or parallel ground screwdrivers, as this lessens the possibility of damage to your screws, which can be vital when working with firearms. My cheap auction gun had some firing pin issues, but these were easily fixed by replacing the trigger assembly while I had the stock off. This is easily accomplished, as it is held in place by two pins which are easy to knock out with a brass punch and replace in similar fashion.
The next step is removing the factory dove tailed sights. On my rifle, the sights were broken, and were not going to be reused, so removing them were as simply as hitting them a few times with a plastic hammer. If you wanted to keep the sights, you would simply tap them off using a brass or nylon punch.
The first piece to go on is the front sight mount. Simply place the front sight over the barrel. The instructions say you can heat the part up in the oven if you have issues installing it, but I found that simply tapping it with the plastic hammer made it go on just fine. You simply knock it till it is flush with the end of the barrel. Once this is complete, install the pin on top of the barrel using a nylon punch. Be sure your holes line up before driving the punch, or it will bend.
This kit comes with an upgrade of the magazine release, which is nice, as is sticks down almost and inch parallel with the magazine, which makes magazine changes much quicker. To remove the factory release, simply drive out the pin. To install the new one, simply put it in place and reinstall the pin.
The next piece to install is the rail system. To do this, you simply remove the barrel from the action and slide it on. It will free-float on the barrel, you will finish it's installation last. After it is slid into place, you can replace the barrel.
Next slide the lower piece containing the adjustable stock onto the bottom of the action. It installs using the same screw you removed from the bottom of the factory stock.
The top piece with it's rail simply slides into place and installs with several screws.
Once this is complete, use the two provided Allen screws to attach the free floating rail on the barrel to the cover on the action.
All that is left to do, is to attach the bayonet, if desired. This piece is made from a polymer, similar to Israeli covert knives, and as such, the blade is not metal. This limits the bayonet to a stabbing weapon, and not a cutting one. But that's what a bayonet is for, right?
The completed rifle:
Overall, the rifle looks pretty sweet, and I was able to mount a red dot scope to the top. It appears to vastly improve the functionality of the weapon, and I'm anxious to shoot it. Once I do, I'll be sure to write a review on how it performs.