Hello and welcome back to another edition of The Rimfire Report! I’ve got great news for rimfire enthusiasts: It’s finally here! The OpenTop 11/22 receiver. Those that have followed Sebastian for a couple of years will know that he’s poured his blood, sweat, and probably tears into this project and it has finally come to fruition. For those that don’t know, the OpenTop 11/22 receiver was a project started by Sebastian Unger back in 2017 in his uncle’s garage near Vienna, Austria. The project basically sought out to take the 10/22 design and modernize it to include an integrated Picatinny rail and best of all, allow for easier cleaning of the rifle without complete removal from the stock and the trigger pack.
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Sebastian submitted his OpenTop design to Ruger but the company didn’t buy it so he decided to go it alone and seek out an American-based manufacturer to bring his invention to life. Fletcher Rifle Works has brought Sebastian’s production version of the 11/22 to life and for the last several weeks, I’ve had the opportunity and the pleasure of putting one through its paces and today on The Rimfire Report I’m happy to share my experiences with you.
The Rimfire Report: Fletcher Rifle Works 11/22 OpenTop Receiver Review
Okay, But why?
So why have readers here at TFB and myself been excited about the 11/22? Cleaning a stock Ruger 10/22 isn’t particularly hard or complicated and if all you’ve got is time then I suppose this isn’t a big deal for you. Personally, I shoot my 10/22 a lot and after a few hundred rounds of mini-mags, the receiver gets pretty filthy and the 11/22 makes cleaning the whole rig much faster.
So really the main driving force behind Sebastian’s innovation and the biggest advantage it offers is to simply create a 10/22 receiver that made it much easier to field strip and clean without the removal of the stock. Over several years, Sebastian listened to feedback from a number of critics as well as the commenters here at TFB and eventually went through three iterations to get the final result. The 11/22 is now 100% Ruger parts compatible. So how does the real thing stack up compared to a standard Ruger 10/22 receiver?
Specs and Price
- Name: OpenTop 11/22 Receiver
- Weight: 1lbs
- Dimensions: 12x4x4-inches
- Finish: Clear or Black Anodizing (Type 3 Hard Coat)
- CNC Machined from sold billet aluminum
- Stainless Steel pins, springs and detents
- Price: $250.00
The bottom line with the 11/22 here is that the receiver set is meant for those that are going to be putting their 10/22 platform to work frequently and need a reliable and simple way to clean it. Another advantage the 11/22 offers are the fact that it is made from much better materials and has a much more durable finish that doesn’t wear away as easily. Below is a photo of my own OEM 10/22 receiver and you can see that it is very scratched up and missing nearly all of its protective coating. A final note here before we get into my experiences, the receiver is designed in such a way that it can accept 1″ bull barrels without any modification or fitting, as long as your barrel uses the standard Ruger V-block you’re good to go.
Installation and Reliability
Installing the OpenTop 11/22 receiver is very straightforward and simple. No visit to the gunsmith should be required for this installation and as long as you don’t lose any pins or parts, you don’t need to purchase any additional hardware to swap out your stock 10/22 receiver for the 11/22 OpenTop. Simply remove your barrel, trigger assembly, bolt, charging handle, and pins and swap them all over to the OpenTop and you’re good to go.
My first trip to the range with the 11/22 was flawless. Right from the get-go, I wanted to test out Sebastian’s claim that the OpenTop made the 10/22 platform more reliable but I also wanted to get the gun as dirty as possible in the shortest amount of time. After mounting a Crimson Trace CT-1000 red dot, my Form 1 suppressor, a FAB Defense Gradus reduced angle pistol grip, a simple sling, and installing my Franklin Armory BFS-III 22C1 binary trigger, I felt I was ready to put the 11/22 through its paces.
I started my reliability testing right at the end of August and I’ve gone through probably 1,300 rounds of mixed .22LR ammunition. Most of the testing was done using CCI MiniMags, followed by CCI Standard Velocity and then of course a mixed bag of bulk and subsonic ammunition. Aside from the occasional magazine or ammunition issue, the OpenTop has thus far been very reliable with no cleaning.
I didn’t exactly precision test the 11/22 since I was running with an 8″ barrel but I found that the rifle was predictably accurate using standard velocity ammunition at 100-yards giving me about a hand-sized group. My main goal as stated above was to get it as filthy as possible and to see how reliable the new receiver is. The binary trigger really helped out in this regard.
The biggest advantage of the OpenTop 11/22 is the ease with which you can clean your gun. Removing the top is as easy as pulling the small retaining pin out and to the left and then removing the top cover. For my exact setup, I had to disconnect my sling to give the cover enough clearance to slide out but even with the FS1913 brace, there was still enough clearance to remove the top. After the top is removed, the removal of the bolt and charging handle is quite easy and you don’t even need to remove the cross pins to do this. Describing the exact method by which to remove and install the bolt and charging handle is kind of difficult so if you watch the video that Sebastian has produced below (start at 8:17) you’ll have a good idea of the best way to remove and install the bolt/charging handle.
After the bolt and charging handle have been removed, you now have access to the internals of the receiver including the trigger pack. I noticed that when I had removed the top cover to clean it, some of the anodizing had worn away slightly. Aside from that, after a quick wipedown of the interior of the receiver, I found that there were no other wear marks. The anodizing of the receiver seems to be holding up much better than the coating on my stock 10/22.
The rear of the receiver also features a small hole where you can run a cleaning rod and patches through and the removal of the bolt and charging handle also give you access to the fire control group as well for cleaning or maintenance, without the fear of losing any of your cross pins. This is such a great advancement in simplicity that I’m not exactly certain why Ruger chose not to pick up this design from Sebastian.
You haven’t seen the last from the 11/22 from me. I plan on purchasing this receiver and using it long-term as a continued test bed for all manner of 10/22 experiments and tests. If there were one thing that I could change about the OpenTop 11/22 it would be to have more room for rail space up top. Perhaps in the future, Sebastian and Fletcher Rifle Works could release more variants of the OpenTop receiver to include ones that offer an extended rail space at the top or maybe even a full-length top rail.
At the end of the day, I feel like what has happened to the 11/22 is great. A man with great passion decided to build something in a small garage and found a way to bring it to market. In a way, this is how a lot of the bigger firearms manufacturers in this country started out – they saw a problem or an opportunity and wanted to share it with others. I want to personally thank the folks at Fletcher Rifle Works, and of course Sebastian Unger for finally bringing the 11/22 to market.
For me, the 11/22 represents a logical progression for the 10/22 platform and a clear example of innovation being made even after decades of the 10/22 platform already existing. Let us know down below your thoughts on the 11/22 platform and what you think of it. As he is a frequent reader of TFB, I’m sure Sebastian will be right down in the comments to answer any additional questions you guys have for him about the OpenTop 11/22.
If you’re interested in purchasing a Fletcher Rifle Works OpenTop 11/22 receiver there might be a bit of a wait, the receivers are currently on backorder but you can still reserve yours today by visiting this link. Thanks as always for reading The Rimfire Report and TFB, see you next time!