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SYSS Rimfire Magic

SYSS Rimfire Magic

There have been many .22 semi auto rifles made all over the world but none has the status of the Ruger 10/22. Roger Francis at South Yorkshire Shooting supplies began customising these rifles after the handgun ban. He has based his fine custom gallery rifles on either the Ruger 10/22 action or one’s made by Volquartsen of America. Increasingly in recent times it has become a lot harder to source Ruger rifles or Volquartsen actions from the states, with massive waiting times to get hold of anything, as well as price increases, which is not what Roger’s many customers want to hear.

Going It Alone

For a few years Roger had toyed with the idea of having his own semi auto rifle actions made in the UK for him and therefore reducing his reliance upon America. He looked at both the standard Ruger action manufacturing tolerances and those of Volquartsen and went for a medium between the two for his own action. A sensible decision, as the Ruger’s can be a little loose, while Volquartsen are a bit on the tight side. Ruger’s are made that way as they literally churn out thousands of actions a week and they have to work with what ever ammo the purchaser puts through it and in conditions from freezing cold to baking hot, given the climatic differences found in the vast expanse of America. The Volquartsen is a match version of the 10/22 and has to be kept clean, blisteringly accurate, but as a thoroughbred (at a thoroughbred price) it needs tender loving care to keep functioning without jamming up.

So the Rimfire Magic action was born, they are made on CNC machines in Yorkshire, in either aluminium or stainless steel. I have shot a lot of 10/22’s including Volquartsen but have never had one on my personal ticket, I just never thought they were reliable enough for me. Having seen the design process of the Rimfire Magic action from the start I knew I had to have one.

Shooter’s Choice

I was looking for a new rifle for speed shooting events, namely Mini-Rifle. The sport has taken off at two of my shooting clubs in a large way, and I have been fortunate enough to win quite a few events using GSG rifles, a good fun-gun they are but my new rifle would have to serve me well for years to come. I wanted quality and longevity.

From all this experience I knew what I wanted in a Mini-Rifle. It had to feed and operate perfectly on every shot without malfunction, no matter how fast I pulled the trigger. It had to be accurate out to 50m and handle the way I like, i.e. be quick on the aim. I put together a specification with the new Rimfire Magic action solely in mind. I even put Roger’s arm firmly up his back to get him to build my gun on his first action number one, RM0001, he was saving it for himself, but I am a competitive shooter, so I would showcase it… and give it a good home. Having a rifle built on the number one action it was going to have to be something very special indeed. The new stainless steel versions do not have an integral scope rail, so I went for an alloy version with the built in scope rail for added rigidity.

SYSS are also having trigger housings CNC machined, mainly because Ruger have gone on to plastic trigger housings on all their new 10/22‘s. The internals on the first SYSS trigger groups were Power Custom hammers and sears, but by the time you read this they will be the only parts Roger buys in for his rifle builds, everything else will be made in the UK for him. Yet another first for SYSS.

His bolts are already made over here, the firing pin of which is held in the optimum position by a small pin. This ensures the optimum strike by the firing pin on the cartridge base, SYSS showing again why they are the premium gallery rifle builder.

Other Options

I wanted a Tapco T6 Intrafuse stock as I liked both how it looked and how it handled. It is also very cheap for what it is at £115. It has two different rear stock mounting rods, an angled one if you want to use open sights or a straight one if you want to use optical devices.

The barrel would also be my choice and I wanted a standard stainless steel Ruger barrel cut down to 12 inches and threaded for one of SYSS’s own muzzle brakes. Also a standard barrel would fit the current T6 stocks and a large diameter heavier match barrel would not.

Now SYSS have the Tapco stock capable of taking a heavier barrel, a choice I did not have at the time. I did not want a match chambered barrel anyway as if you have a jam in a speed event you have little or no chance of winning, it’s better to have a bit less accurate rifle that always feeds as opposed to a mega accurate gun which can jam. That’s not to say I knew a standard barrel with its slacker chamber would not be accurate, I have tested a few Ruger barrels which when they have been cut down have shot very well, that is what I was counting upon.

To match the olive drab green plastic Tapco T6 Intrafuse stock I wanted the action/barrel and muzzle brake in the same colour. SYSS now do all their own Duracoat spray coatings. With all that specification sorted it was down to Roger to build it and Dave Wylde, his able assistant, to paint it.

Another custom part I wanted on my rifle was the bolt handle I needed the big titanium Power Custom model, again to aid any possible stoppages I might have in speed events, the standard blot handle it just too small I feel for Mini-Rifle events.

The Finished Result

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Roger and Dave put the rifle together and I was most impressed with how it looked. The only modification I had to do was to move the pistol grip back to place the pad of my trigger finger in the correct position on the curved trigger blade. When fitted as Tapco suggest, the joint of my trigger finger was on the blade when my hand was in a relaxed comfortable position. It only took five minutes to re-drill the stock and move the grip back with its one securing screw.

One thing to mention is that due to the shortened barrel on my rifle the screws for attaching the rear stock rod have to be secured with Loctite and centre-popped so they cannot be undone in order to permanently fix the rear stock on the rifle. If you unscrewed them and took off the rear rod it would make the rifle less then 600mm long and therefore illegal, just a point to note with the Tapco stock if you do want a short 12 ½ inch barrel.

I had the rifle in time to take it down to the Autumn Action weekend in October last year at Bisley. For ammunition I started using CCI Mini-Mag from the start, a re-think on what I used for Mini-Rifle with the GSG which seemed a bit ammo fussy. I had seen more jam’s with Mini-Mag in the four GSG guns in regular use at the club.

The Rimfire Magic actions I had tried all felt very, very slick and I thought fast ammo like the Mini-Mag would make the best of the ultra smooth action. Dave’s Duracoat finish to the internals of the action helped with the cycling of the action. The action was engraved with the words RIMFIRE MAGIC after the painting process and it really stands out in silver against the O/D green.

Magazines and Trigger

I also bought four Tactical Innovations TI25 composite magazines from SYSS. These are 25 round mags built for the 10/22. The magazines have four screws which adjust to tailor the magazines to each individual action for faultless feeding of ammo. My Rimfire Magic rifle worked perfectly without even adjusting the mags, but it’s a good idea to follow the instructions on their web site www.tacticalinc.com to get the best out of them on a standard Ruger 10/22. I did not use the big 25 round magazines at Bisley as they were not needed. It’s a maximum of ten rounds per stage anyway. I bought six standard mags from SYSS; as a note SYSS “tune” all standard Ruger magazines they supply with their guns and I must say I have had no problems with them at all.

I fitted a Yankee Hill machine grip on the forward Picatinny accessory rail under the forend of the Tapco stock, this too is from SYSS. Rimfire Magic’s trigger cluster was a revelation, I did not want a Kidd or any other very expensive match type trigger as for speed events you just do not need it, what you want is a crisp, predictable, consistent trigger… and it has all these things in spades. The pull weight was only 2lb 8oz (1.128grm) but it feels much, much lighter. Also I definitely did not want a plastic Ruger trigger housing, I suppose it makes the Ruger 10/22 cheaper to buy in Wal-Mart over the pond, but it is just not nice.

In Competition

I shot the Advancing Target for the first time at Bisley and the rifle never made a hiccup, in fact it has never missed a beat at any shoot where I have used it so far. I was lucky enough to win a Silver award in the Advancing Target as well as not finishing below 3rd in class in any event I shot over the AAW event at Bisley.

A few weeks later I shot a practice Mini-Rifle event at my club with the TI25 magazines and put all my shots except one into the “A” or top scoring section. My one and only miss was when I miscounted, and only fired one shot at a missed target instead of two.

Following the AAW I have now fitted a Leupold 3-9*33 EFR on Hawke low mounts.  This combination will also serve me when I am shooting further events down at Bisley. The Rimfire Magic rifle with its standard barrel is very accurate and continues to impress me. No matter how fast I pull the trigger I cannot catch the action out - something which you can do, and I have done, with a standard Ruger 10/22.

The .22 Semi You Always Wanted?

The Rimfire Magic rifle’s action is so slick everyone who tries it comments on how un-Ruger like it is. SYSS are now building my spec Mini-Rifle into its standard rifle build list.

A Rimfire Magic action with bolt assembly, recoil buffer and standard bolt handle, Rimfire Magic trigger unit with auto bolt release, extended mag release Duracoated in black or silver, fitted with a Ruger barrel cut down to 12 ½ inches and fitted with a brake, sitting in a T6 stock with one Ruger 10/22 magazine will set you back £695 inc vat.

When the last of Roger’s Ruger 10/22 actions have been sold he is not going to be using them any more. A Rimfire Magic action is only £20 more as opposed to him buying in a Ruger 10/22 then throwing most of it away, which Roger has to do by the way, as he has never been able to just source only the 10/22 action from the USA.

For customers it means no more waiting as the actions in Stainless or in Aluminium with integral sight rail, are on the shelf and proving to be more reliable and more accurate than 10/22’s ever were. I’m glad I waited to get the Rimfire Magic rifle, it’s the .22 semi auto rifle I always wanted, but never thought anyone would ever build.

PRICES (AS ON TEST GUN):
Action £290 including SYSS’s own bolt
Trigger £150
Barrel £90 (Screw cut)
Muzzle brake £50 (only when part of a SYSS build)
Plus cost of stock and barrel to customers specification, see
SYSS build list for options. Action only is NOT supplied

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gun
features

  • Model: SYSS Rimfire Magic
  • Action: Semi-auto blow back
  • Calibre: .22 Rimfire long rifle
  • Magazine: Can use any stock/magazines made for the Ruger 10/22
  • Features: Integral Picatinny/Weaver scope rail, choice of colours.

1 Comments

  • Great article Tim, recently I to became the proud owner of a RM-10/22 12.5" barrel in a Tapco stock (OD of course!). I decided to go for one after visiting SYSS's website several times and giving it lots of thought. Its a shame I hadn't read your article months ago as it would of made my mind up in seconds. I found everyone at SYSS very friendly and helpfull and they sorted out delivery to my local RFD with no bother, I think it took less than 2 weeks from ordering my new .22 to having it in my hands.
    Quick question: as the integral scope rail sits higher (I measured it to be about 0.3") than the rail on the fore-end of the Tapco stock, does it mean I would not be able to co-witness AR15 style detachable iron sights? (sorry still quite new to shooting) I looked about on the net and noticed AR gas block front sights are taller, would this be a possible solution?

    Default profile image
    Ben
    02 Feb 2011 at 10:17 PM


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