Offgrid Gear SB Tactical SB22 as a Survival 10/22 Chassis: Backpack Game Changer
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The Ruger 10/22 is a decades-old, highly proven design that belongs in the safe of every red-blooded American. The 22LR cartridge has been used to take a wide variety of game and provides a reliable, lightweight, sometimes inexpensive plinking round that can be carried by the hundreds. The 10/22 is supported by an immense amount of aftermarket part manufacturers, and we were lucky enough to get our hands on SB Tactical’s new SB22 fixed 10/22 chassis for review.
First, let’s beat the dead horse of how great the 22LR is as a survivalist cartridge. Carrying a brick of 22LR takes up little space and provides the shooter with several hundred rounds of ammunition for squirrels and such. We can all agree, however, that 22LR wouldn’t be our first, or even fifth, choice for a defensive cartridge. But for small and possibly even medium game, it’s a decent choice. In the not-so-distant past, when ammo flowed freely, the venerable rimfire cartridge was plentiful and the shooter had plenty of options to tailor the equipment to the mission. The shooter could carry a mixed bag of hollow points, heavy subsonics, shotshells, and even match ammo that’d give them different capabilities when it came to hunting and, in a pinch, defense. The 10/22 design is generally very reliable in feeding and functioning with these different loads, so in the lucky instance you come across a less-common load, you can feel confident it’ll run in your gun.
Outlining all the needs for a rimfire build would make for a long list, so we looked at what we’d want if we were carrying a 22 rifle or pistol as more of a secondary role — not as a primary defensive gun, but to supplement the primary for hunting. Ideally, this would be kept in a go-bag or a vehicle where it takes up little room but doesn’t scrimp on features or capability.
Enter the SB Tactical SB22 kit. This company’s offerings have become an industry-standard in braces for a wide variety of firearms over the past few years. The SB22 kit builds on their product portfolio, representing one of their first ventures into a brace-type product for non-pistols. The kit comes in two varieties, the fixed for your standard 10/22 or 10/22 charger and the SB22 Takedown for takedown 10/22s and Chargers. The 10/22 chassis was developed in collaboration with Unity Tactical, another awesome outfit bringing unique and needed items to market.
Above: The contents of the SB22 Chassis kit. The two top covers are a nice touch.
The SB22 fixed kit is lightweight at 16.4 ounces with the Picatinny top cover. Two top covers are included, one with a Picatinny rail and one smooth, giving the user some mounting choices. The included grip is the Reptilia CQG Grip, which in our opinion is a nice touch over the Mil-spec AR-15 grip we all have a drawer full of. Besides including a great grip, SB Tactical incorporated an ambidextrous QD socket for your sling. This is part of the aluminum insert that also houses the grip mount and the increasingly common 1913 Picatinny rear mount for your choice of brace or stock. The vertical 1913 Picatinny piece allows the user to install a variety of braces and stocks, most of which fold. The handguard portion of the 10/22 chassis has M-LOK slots on both sides and the bottom for more attachments.
Above: What could’ve been a weak link is strengthened by an aluminum insert.
We began setting up this little guy with a Brownells BRN-22R receiver. This had the added bonus of a Picatinny rail machined into the receiver for solid optics mounting. The bolt is a factory Ruger part, as well as the internals and charging handle. The trigger is Ruger’s BX-Trigger, which offers a 2.5- to 3-pound pull over the factory 5.5-pound. Fitting the receiver to the 10/22 chassis took a little more effort than other stocks. Full disclosure: We used copious amounts of elbow grease and a mallet to get it to fit. It eventually did, and the upside is that there’s now zero movement within the receiver.
We opted to keep this receiver as a pistol for maximum compactness, although a registered SBR would be equally awesome. The SB Tactical FS1913 brace was an easy choice because of its simplicity and the built-in folding mechanism. Affixed to the brace is an ITS Tactical Mini Nylon Zip Bag. Inside is one 10-round Ruger magazine (loaded), 40 rounds of 22LR ammunition, and an extra optic battery. There’s a little room left for other small items, limited only by one’s imagination.
Above: The Picatinny top mount fits flush and is topped with the Streamlight TLR RM 2 for 1,000 lumens.
The barrel was a small hurdle in this build. As of this writing, the firearms industry is in an unprecedented time of demand, so sourcing some parts proves more difficult than others. In this case, finding a 10/22 barrel shorter than 16 inches was difficult. We were fortunate to find a new old stock 9.75-inch Primary Weapon Systems tension barrel at a local shop. This barrel is a bit heavier and longer than we would’ve liked, but it came threaded and should prove to be plenty accurate for its short stature. Ideally, a 6-inch barrel would’ve been used to keep overall length to a minimum, but in this market we won’t complain. Adorning the barrel is a registered JK Armament MST 155R kit in Flat Dark Earth, set up in a short configuration. With subsonic ammunition, it doesn’t take much to tame the report of the rimfire, and this will certainly do it.
Above: The folding brace makes for a great backpack gun. A shorter barrel would’ve made this even better.
The Picatinny top cover aligns perfectly with the receiver and is home to a Streamlight TLR-RM2 Laser. This is a light/laser combo that features 1,000 lumens on high and a 640nm red laser — plenty of oomph for seeing critters in low light. It can be used ambidextrously at the 12 o’clock position, and your hand can control the settings with a simple thumb push. Lastly, for accuracy, a Primary Arms red dot is mounted. The optic sits just high enough for the top-mounted flashlight to not be a hindrance to its field of view.
The SB Tactical SB22 Fixed 10/22 Chassis kit is a great place to start a build or retrofit an existing firearm. It’s well built, plenty strong, and has included features that are very desirable for a rimfire. The build we put together will act as a game-getting gun and a fun plinker. The 10/22 is a proven package and very reliable as a survival rifle. With a shorter barrel and the folding mechanism, this serves as a great backpack or under-the-seat gun.
MSRP: $125 (chassis only)
Parts and Accessories Featured
Brownells BRN-22R receiver: www.brownells.com
JK Armament MST 155R Kit: www.jkarmament.com
Streamlight TLR-RM 2: www.streamlight.com