Continuing this story… The innards of the Ruger 22/45 are not the only pieces of metal in need of modernization. There are plenty of upgrades necessary on the outside of the pistol to make this a B.O.L.T.-worthy tool. For instance, the magazine baseplates, the grip, the threaded barrel protector, carry options, and of course the sights. And speaking of sights, the stock Ruger 22/45 iron sights are near impossible to see.
By Doc Montana, a contributing author
This is the second article in a 2 part series (Read Part 1)
The rear sight is little more than a flat black square notch that centers a thick flat black front sight blade ensuring the stock sights are nearly useless. Low light situations are out of the question, and anything with a dark or variable colored background makes sight alignment nearly impossible. Since sights are imperative to accuracy, quality aftermarket sights are a must. In this case, Williams FireSights were the obvious choice. No, I’m going to take this further. If you don’t update the sights, in specific to FireSights, then it would seem that you are not taking this situation seriously. The fiber optic light gathering and contrasting colors make the Fire Sights embarrassingly better than the stock irons. The brilliant glowing green and orange dots are nothing short of magic. For less than fifty bucks, you can put your 22/45 on target every time, not just when conditions afford visibility of flat black on flat black.
The grips on the 22/45 are, well, like a government issue .45 auto which is exactly where the 22/45 gets its name. As a diehard Glock fanboy who was born with a Glock grip angle on my first toy rattle. But the semi-slippery scales that screw onto to the handle of the 22/45 can benefit from a rubberized upgrade. And it’s Hogue to the rescue. By providing a grippier circumference to snuggle up with, the Houge’s offer a positive interaction between shooter and machine. But as a Glockster, the finger indexing on the Hogue lock in a positive interface making aiming the Lite intuitive and rock solid.
One In The Holster
Carrying all this .22LR firepower all day every day requires a suitable holster. And none serves this duty better than the Blackdog. As a adjustable friction fit Kydex containment system for all things Ruger (and a Benchmark), the Blackdog could care less about barrel length, and to a certain extent suppressor length. Hint, hint. But back on topic, for this exercise I chose the Low Ride Blackdog. I like high ride holsters for aggressive carry, and low ride for day to day open carry.
Holosun? Yea, I Heard Of Them
Finally the optic. I was all ready to snap on an Aimpoint Micro onto the OEM rail. But then Holosun HS503C caught my eye. In roughly the same form factor as the Aimpoint, the Holosun HS503C incorporates two reticle options as well as running on both solar and battery power. One thing I really liked about EOTech sights (about the only thing) is the large sighting ring, something around 65 MOA. A single small red dot is great when you can see clearly and have a good cheek weld, but waving a pistol around trying to find the dot can be a challenge especially if the shooter is in motion. There are just a few degrees of movement where the dot appears in a micro-sized tube at arm’s length. Having the choice of large ring or small dot gives the shooter the best of both worlds.
Also Read: The Hurricane Katrina Rifle
And while the Holosun has a battery life in the ballpark of Aimpoint’s three million minutes (50,000 hours=2083 days=five years eight-and-a-half months). Although the solar does not charge the battery and needs the sun, low light shooting with a dead battery will require iron sights. But enough dust should have settled in five years to not need to sneak around in the dark.
My main comparable in optics on a .22 pistol is my Ruger Mark III Target pistol with fluted bull barrel and Leupold 2X pistol scope. While the Mark III is better at long range and more accurate with the crosshairs, the Holosun topped 22/45 was much faster on target massively lighter.
Sound is a dead giveaway. Even the pop of a .22 will attract attention and scare game. So a true Bug Out pistol would not be complete without a suppressor. Unscrewing the Game Changer Compensator and threading on the Gemtech Outback II drops the decibels to the “what was that?” level. If that.
Gemtech is a leader in suppressor (or silencer to the Hollywood crowd). Based in Boise, Idaho, Gemtech produces some of the finest and lightest suppressors on the planet. The Outback II is a high-end ultra lite .22LR only suppressor. It’s certainly not the least expensive, but certainly one of the higher performing and higher options available from your Class-3 dealer. And if you want to upgrade your Outback II, you can opt for the G-Core upgrade for another pair of Benjis.
Sound suppression should be a fact of life, but instead the NFA makes it a $200 tax plus paperwork, fingerprints, signatures, and a few months of waiting. But that should not be too much to swallow when it comes to an optimal bug out gun. Spinning on a suppressor opens some doors otherwise closed to ear-ringing decibel damage. For the cost of just five more barrel inches and 2.7 ounces, the silence is defining.
When subsonic ammo pops out the far end of the suppressor at less than 1100 feet per second the B.O.L.T. Pistol spatters lead down range both accurately and with no more sound than the bolt cycling, usually by hand.
Compensating For Something?
A stock 22/45 with a threaded barrel comes with a small protector. Tandemkross makes a Compensator that works wonders whether on pistol or rifle. The muzzle jump on a .22 is near-zero, but the compensator does reduce it. I measured the upward acceleration of the muzzle using a Vernier accelerometer comparing the compensator to a bare muzzle and with a supressor. The Tandemkross Game Changer compensator noticeably reduced the muzzle flip, and redirected the muzzle blast away from down. Normally not a problem with a pistol since you are not shooting with the barrel just inches above dirt, but I did notice it when shooting off a snow-covered rest.
Rubber On Road?
So how does all this B.O.L.T. kit shoot? Like a dream! The flow from presentation to trigger pull to bang (or muted pihfft) is a scary reminder how little weight and effort can change the game. Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber) lived in a cabin just a few miles upstream from my favorite fishing hole. He was known for quietly poaching deer by shooting them in the eyeball with a .22 rifle. Where long guns differ from handguns is mostly in sight radius. The reason a pistol would ever need a long barrel is not necessarily to give the powder more burn time, or more spins on the bullet as it zings down the pipe, but in fact to hold the front sight further away from the rear peep. But a red dot sight negates all that sight radius stuff since it makes no difference anymore. So a four inch barrel is as useful as an eight inch one. The red dot sight used here makes accuracy not an issue of front post on target, but red speck on topic.
Holding the gun steady is the issue, not keeping the dot on prey. Painting the target is easy. Pulling the trigger while the dot is where it needs to be becomes the challenge. But that is a good problem. Plus, you can hand the gun to anyone and it will be obvious that the red dot means kill. Nobody would second-guess the operation of a red dot sight where irons take understanding.
At 15 yards off a rest this B.O.L.T. gun easily makes one ragged hole in paper with CCI ammo. Well, most of the time. Enough of the time. Out to 50 yards, it’s possible to keep the pistol on a dinner plate since the Holosun red dot sight couldn’t care less if it was on a handgun, rifle, or Sherman tank. A single point of red light has no sight radius. But if one restricted the target size to the orbital cavity in a deer skull, anything under 25 yards could be considered ethical…in a SHTF sort of way.
In the end what one needs in a bug out tool gun is a reliable machine that can deal with day-to-day chores as society rebuild itself for too long we’ve tried to find the perfect gun for all situations but in the end what you really need something that can live a few grains of lead downrange and dispatch the furry or feathered food with precision simplicity and elegance. Although the B.O.L.T. gun is not THE perfect solution, it is A perfect solution for an imperfect world.
All Photos By Doc Montana.