I recently purchased a Ruger 10/22 at an auction. I got it for a cheap price, however it did have some physical issues. The stock has some very bad scarring on it, and most of the bluing was missing from the barrel. I went ahead and purchased the rifle, however, because I was aware of the various aftermarket parts and kits available.
Upon picking the rifle up for the first time, I was tempted to re-blue it and strip, fill, sand and refinish the stock. However, after looking at some of the aftermarket kits available, and considering my options, I decided to purchase one of them.
The reasoning for this stems from several different ones:
1. Cost: Aftermarket kits are widely available, and fairly inexpensive. While blueing requires tools and chemicals that are more expensive. I have done some blueing on small arms, like revolvers, and I've found that the cold blue kits such as Birchwood Cassidy offers work well for this application. I have not tried them on a larger scale, and while they may work for small jobs, I suspect that larger ones may prove significantly more difficult. Also, these kits are not cheap, and would be rather expensive to use on such a large job. The other option for this is hot-blueing, but that requires more chemicals and a knowledge that I simply don't have yet. I have read some good reviews of the DuraCoat system for putting a protective "paint" on rifles, and while this seems like a good option, it just simply wasn't what I wanted to do with this gun. As for the stock, you'd have to buy the removal chemicals, the filler, the sandpaper, and the finish you decided to put on it. Most kits come with stock and barrel options together.
2. Ease: As hinted at in #1, refinishing the barrel and stock would be fairly difficult to do.
3. Interoperability: Many aftermarket kits add a rail system, which will allow easier attachment of accessories, as well the ability to move these accessories to other rifles, such as my M&P15.
Plus, there's always the "cool" factor. :)
A picture of the basic Ruger 10/22, as it typically comes from the factory:
I will update this blog later in the week, with pictures of the finished product, as well as information on the work done.