How to attach sling swivels to a Ruger 10/22

I’ve always wanted to learn gunsmithing and since my rifle needed sling swivels installed, I figured this would be a good beginner project.


I started by purchasing an Allen swivel set (#14420) from Amazon. The set includes a 1/2” forend screw, a 3/4” rear buttstock screw, and fine thread screw if your stock is hollow. All the hardware is metal (except for the plastic spacers) and seems to be well constructed.


Step one:     Disassemble the rife


Actually this step isn’t really necessary but I didn’t want to take the chance of over-drilling the front hole and accidentally hitting the barrel.


My Ruger 10/22 disassembled


Step two:     Tape off 1/2” on a 3/16” drill bit


This step is really important. You don’t want to over-drill this hole. The tape won’t stop you from going too deep, but it will show you when you should stop.


Marking the drill bit


Step 3:     Lubricate the drill bit


The instructions recommended lubricating the bit by pressing it into a bar of soap to limit the creation of small splinters when drilling. This worked pretty well and I highly recommend it. Some people recommend dish soap but the bar soap seems less messy and works just fine.


Lubricating the drill bit


Step 4:     Measure for the forward hole


The next step is to precisely measure where you want the forward hole to be located. The instructions are clear on where it should be located. In this case, I decided to drill the hole 1.5” from the barrel clamp. I marked the location with tape.


Measuring the for the hole


Step 5:     Drill pilot hole


The instructions didn’t mention this step but I thought it was a good idea.


Drill pilot hole


Step 6:     Clean up finished hole


The instructions also didn’t mention this step. I decided to take a small file and clean out any splinters still hanging on. You don’t want to remove any wood from the actual hole though as the screw won’t fit tight.


Drilled forward hole


Step 7:     Install the screw


The instructions recommended using a screw (or in this case, a screwdriver) to install the screw. Apparently, the swivel may break if you use it to install the screw. The instructions also mentioned lubricating the screw tip with a bar of soap. This seemed to work fine.


Installing the swivel screw


This is the installed forward swivel screw. I’m pretty happy with it.


Installed forward swivel screw


Installing the rear screw is essentially the same process with a couple of exceptions. First, you’ll need to re-tape your drill bit for 3/4” instead of 1/2” because the rear screw is longer. Second, the drill has to go in perpendicular to the stock, otherwise the screw won’t sit flush.


Drill perpendicular to stock for rear swivel screw hole



The installed rear screw.


Installed rear swivel screw


One other thing I had to figure out was how to get the hole centered. I knew having the sling off-center would be a Bad Thing, so this was a critical measurement. The way I determined this was to measure the circumference from the top of one side, along the bottom, to the top of the other side. For the rear hole, the measurement was almost 9” at the point I wanted to drill. So I marked 4.5” from either side and went with that. It seemed to work out fine.


Measuring for correct screw placement


And this is the rifle with both swivel screws installed. I have to say, I’m pretty happy with how this project turned out.


Installed sling swivel screws


Finally, the rifle all dress up and nowhere to go. The sling is a Levy’s Leathers 2.25” vegetable tanned leather Cobra design (SN26C-BLK) that I bought on Amazon. Looks like it should work really well. The next step is to get it out on the range!

Ruger 10/22 with sling swivels and sling installed

Well, that’s it for my first foray into gunsmithing. Take it easy.



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