First Look: Volquartsen Snake-Fluted Silhouette Stock .22 Rifle

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The Volquartsen has landed! I had the rifle shipped to a local tactical supply, and it didnʼt even make it out of the shop before the guys who work there and I tore into it like it was Christmas morning. Volquartsen sent the rifle cradled in a light but substantial black shipping case complete with chrome latches. Not that anyone dwelled on that detail for very long. Popping the case open, it was immediately obvious that the photos on their web site just don’t do it justice . . .

“This is laminated wood?!”, I asked. No one could believe it. Iʼve never been a big fan of laminate, but this Silhouette stock is something entirely different. I don’t even want to call it laminate. The workmanship is expertly done and the finish is lovingly polished.

Another feature, the Zeiss black and silver 4.5 x 14 scope, beautifully compliments the exotic snake-fluted barrel tipped with their forward blow compensator and accentuates the silver trigger. All in all, this is one good looking gun!

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When I first held it in my arms, I noted its balance and heft. Iʼll have to ask Scott Volquartsen the exact weight on this configuration, but Iʼd guess it’s around 10 lbs. It has a thick barrel, which is commonly thought to improve accuracy. Its weight and barrel thickness is more similar to my competition Anschutz than my Savage youth model Mark II .22.

If shooting in positions other than prone or bench, I believe this gun would be a good pairing with competition clothing rather than street clothes. A rifle that weighs this much will be more challenging to hold steady in an off hand position without a shooting jacket. It requires a modified competition stance (bone-on-bone only) and even then I have to engage some muscle.

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The Volquartsen’s trigger isn’t quite as smooth and light as my Anschutz, but neither is it as heavy and stiff as my Mark II. The instructions clear advise against messing with the trigger….but I wonder if there’s a way to smooth it out and reduce the pull weight. I’ll ask Scott and report back. The shot release is definitely smoother than most factory rifle triggers, but not up there with my Anschutz, or say a Jewell trigger.

The magazine design is hands down awesome. It holds 10 rounds, but loads in a circular pattern (from what I can gather) so it’s very compact (about an inch and a half). And that brings me to my favorite feature on the gun so far…a magazine that rides flush with the stock. That allows for the support hand to be closer to the body of the shooter which translates to more bone-on-bone contact. LOVE IT.

So did I shoot it? Of course I did. However, it was a windy day (what state in the west isnʼt windy?). It was breezy enough to make 50 yard accuracy testing difficult, but I took out four .22s including the Volquartsen.

The Volquartsen completly outperformed my 15+ year old youth model savage Mark II .22 and my fatherʼs Browning semi-auto, should-probably-be-in-a-museum-old .22. Then again, those two don’t really provide much competition for a gun like the Volquartsen. So I pulled out my iron sighted bolt action Anschutz for a better comparison.

I donʼt know if a bolt action to a semi-auto is a fair comparison, but this Volquartsen looks so good I just have to hope it shoots as well. The wind was whipping, probably 15-20mph at times, and of course I didnʼt have wind flags so I used grass and sage brush as a gauge. Another factor: the range is right next to a berm, which can make for some funky swirling effects.

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The Volquartsen shot some decent groups (inches?) but had some odd fliers. I wondered if I was just off my game, so I fired up the Anschutz. I shot a tighter group with my Anschutz, but in fairness it shouldʼve be smaller. The wind was definitely factor as my Anshutz group was in a diagonal wind pattern. I shot another group with the Volquartsen and had some great shots, but the fliers weren’t in a wind pattern. Again, swirling winds could account for this.

But first impressions are just that. Like meeting a person for the first time, it takes getting used to them and knowing them better before an overall assessment can be made. All in all, my first impression is that the Volquartsen with the Silhouette thumbhole stock is unlike any other .22 on the market. Iʼll keep you posted as we discover this rifle together.

61 Responses to First Look: Volquartsen Snake-Fluted Silhouette Stock .22 Rifle

  1. avatarPowers says:

    That is a really nice stock. I just have a basic 10/22, but I have been looking at some nice wood or laminate stocks. This one looks very nice.

  2. avatarensitue says:

    Nice, IF your right handed!

    • avatarLongBeach says:

      Once again, I am a lefty left wanting. That rifle looks awesome. Since my shooting isn’t as sublime as that of Ms. Weiss, I’m sure it would be more accurate than me for years to come.

  3. avatarJoe T. says:

    How much are these? Built a similar 10/22, but with an ER Shaw helical fluted barrel which ran at about 1/3rd of the price of the snake-fluted Volquartsen.

  4. avatarJacob says:

    dat butt.

    • avatarHasdrubal says:

      You may have missed the last month of posts by Ms. Weiss, but I think she deserves a bit better than that.

    • avatarArdent says:

      Surely you’re referring to the finely made and highly polished stock as displayed on the target rifle in the top photo, yes Jacob?

    • avatarBDub says:

      Yes, we ALL noticed, but the decent thing to have done was to know that and just not mention it.

      • avatarWilliam Burke says:

        I’m down with silent appreciation myself. There’s no one here you need to prove your heterosexuality to. Except yourself, maybe! ;)

        Oh, and I’m winking at someone else.

  5. avatarLayne says:

    So you’ve never seen a 10/22 magazine before? Ingenious yes, but they’ve been around since the early 60′s. They even make a clear plastic one so you can see what’s going on in there.

    • avatarKirsten says:

      I addressed this question below in this thread.
      I haven’t, however, ever seen clear 10/22 mags! I’ll have to look those up.

  6. avatarRandallOfLegend says:

    I can shoot 1-1.5″ at 50 yards groups with my Marlin 795 and a cheap Barska 4×32 scope off a Caldwell front rest only. I can’t say what the wind conditions were, but it was raining pretty hard. I would hope a $1200 rifle and a $500 scope could do a bit better than my $160 rig. Like the way it looks though! What ammo were you shooting? I have had some nasty flyers from Federal Spitfire.

    • avatarmark_anthony_78 says:

      I’d love to have these beautiful guns simply as pieces of artwork…

      However, my $200 Savage Mark II-G with cheapo $79 Pine Ridge (Cabela’s) 7x scope will consistently shoot +/- an inch or so at 100 yards using nothing but lowly Remington Golden Bullets. (I forget which brand, either CCI Blazer or Federal, I’d have fliers off in the weeds).

      Can’t ask much more than that for off-the-shelf performance at a bargain basement price. The additional $1000 premium for some of these guns buys a lot of ammo (or other guns).

    • avatarKirsten says:

      Agreed. I was shooting Lapua ammo, so the ammunition is no excuse. However, unless I do lot testing for this particular barrel, it might not be capable of shooting groups that look like one shot at 50m or at least a tight little group in the 10 ring (like my Lapua lot matched Anschutz). I hope it can hold the 10 ring though, with only the occasional 9 (it is a semi-auto afterall). I noticed some thick grease in the chamber yesterday, so I’m wondering where that came from and if that is opening the groups. The barrel could need a little more breaking in as well.

      • avatarShaun L. says:

        I don’t know much about the Volquartsen rifles but one thing I check on 10/22′s are the two allen head screws through the V-block that secure the barrel. I had a problematic 10/22 that wouldn’t group near as well as the other 2 I had at the time, after quite a bit of frustration I found that one of the screws had come loose. Lock-tite, an allen wrench and 10 minutes and the rifle was shooting MUCH more consistent groups. I seriously doubt something so simple would be the case on a rifle in that price range but stranger things have happened due to human error. You can also get grit, carbon or other buildup in the hole where the barrel slips into the action(?) on a 10/22 that can affect accuracy over time. It can cause the barrel to “loosen” in the V-block when the debris gets compressed. I have multiple 10/22 rifles all set up differently and have had both of these specific problems happen to me in the past.

        I would like to know…. Since the volquartsen is based on the 10/22 platform, are the parts assembled the same way or did they work some other magic under the stock and inside the action?

      • avatarRandallOfLegend says:

        I appreciate the review. This rifle is unobtainable in my home state of NY, it’s considered an assault rifle. I am sure it would be nice to do a part 2 under less windy conditions :D, Volquartsen obviously assembles good rifles.

  7. avatarKCK says:

    In a way, all wood is a laminate, the tree rings are the layers. The difference is that a plywood laminate has no radius. The outer rings of a large tree have a large radius, nearly flat. The thickness and color selection of each layer can be made to appear like the thin dark winter line and light thick summer growth of a natural tree.
    As a baseline, we are used to seeing the gaudy flamboyant purple/gray and even red layers in a lot of laminates so this does look more natural. Of course the object of a laminate is so there is little to no warping in the stock because of the perpendicular cross grain layers.
    This stock on the VQ does a wonderful job of imitating the natural wood grain structure.

    • avatarMatt in FL says:

      This is the first laminate stock I’ve seen that I’d actually want to own. I hate those gaudy multicolored abominations.

      • avatarShaun L. says:

        Matt, have you seen the salt/pepper laminate on the Ruger gunsite scout?

        • avatarMatt in FL says:

          Yeah, that one’s not horrible at all, but it still basically gets to me to “meh.” This one is actually attractive.

      • avatarjwm says:

        Laminate stocks are sturdy(heavy) and they are less affected by weather variations than a solid chunk of wood. But, yeah, they ain’t all that attractive. Same with synthetics, fully functional and long lasting, but meh on the appeals factor.

    • avatarKirsten says:

      This is why I like TTAG, you learn something new every day. Thanks for that

    • avatarWilliam Burke says:

      Good points. And I love the look of that stock. I don’t care that it’s laminated; as long as the construction is good, it adds a lot to the eye appeal of the…. oh – the rifle!

  8. avatarSD3 says:

    Ahhhh,

    *Now* I know what to do with that extra $1000 burning a hole in my pocket.

  9. avatarAccur81 says:

    That is a beautiful gun. For the price and optics, I sincerely hope it can put some tighter groups.

    • avatarHasdrubal says:

      I still kick myself for selling a CZ452, thing gave half the group size of my current 10/22T (factory heavy barrel) at half the cost, with a better trigger out of the box.

      • avatarCyrano says:

        I picked up a CZ452 Varminter and haven’t looked back to my previous rifles.

        That snake fluting is the absolute cat’s meow!

        BTW 10/22 fans, I have shot many 22s and never a 10/22. Last time I was at a IR50 competition, the 10/22s had all the problems. Something about rim thickness.

      • avatarjwm says:

        I have a Winchester Wildcat which is a contract made Russian Toz .22 rifle. It has a heavy barrel with a recessed crown and it shoots a lot better than I am capable of. I put a cheap Barska scope on it and at 50 yards it truly is a marvel. I haven’t used it past 50 but it’s a much tighter shooting rifle than my 10-22.

    • avatarConrad says:

      Ditto, it’s beautiful in the pictures. I assume once the barrel rifling breaks in, the accuracy will improve…

  10. avatarTom in Oregon says:

    I’m a huge fan of Volquartsen. My converted 10-22 is just a machine at making great groups like you experienced.
    Looking forward to more on this rifle. Please let us know what ammo you’re using?

  11. avatarShaun L. says:

    I’d like to see a comparo of the V against a 10/22 deluxe(hardwood stock, longer barrel) and a factory 10/22 heavy barrel just to see how they all stack up on the accuracy side of things. Doing the comparo on the same day would eliminate some conditional variables as well.

    I’d also like to see a Farrago/Weiss comparo/shoot off with the V just for fun. Different shooters, different styles…. may be interesting.

    P.S. Grow up Jacob.

  12. avatarJeffR says:

    Are the magazines different than the standard 10/22 magazines?

    • avatarc4v3man says:

      I was thinking the same thing. I understand (and even appreciate) that not everyone who writes for this blog are firearms experts, but still… Suprised they were able to find someone who has never shot a 10/22 before…

      Enjoy it… for a plinking firearm, 10/22s are fantastic. Comparing it to an Anschutz or Feinwerkbau is a bit unfair, although at $1000+ I can understand why you’d expect it to perform at that level. I think 10/22′s are better suited to action shooting like the “Great Outdoor Games” that ESPN killed off a few years ago, shooting a dueling tree or other small steel targets in rapid succession, something which a bolt action rifle with globe sights may not be as well suited for.

      • avatarKirsten says:

        You are right that I’m not a “gun nerd” as the fond expression goes…(unless you consider ballistics nerdy uh oh haha) My preference is to spend my time shooting (and usually getting very familiar and attached to favorite guns) more than it is to learn the technical ins and outs of *every* firearm available and brand specifications. I really admire guys/gals who can rattle that stuff off like they’re the google of guns though, and I’m learning a lot just from the TTAG crowd here. As far as the 10/22 please see my comment below

    • Standard mags. It’s basically just a 10/22 type gun with a scope mount built into the receiver and much much tighter tolerances, lightened and polished action, bull barrel with a different shaped fluting and a nice stock

    • avatarJeffR says:

      Thank you for the responses. I was befuddled and could not believe this goddess of firearms — not meant as sarcasm, she’s awesome — perhaps had not encountered a 10/22 magazine before.

    • avatarKirsten says:

      No. I’ve just encountered most semi-auto rifles (and even my mark II bolt action magazine) with protruding magazines, so thought it was worth noting this is not only flush (10/22 magazine style) but balanced well for the support hand to rest below it. Not everyone knows what a 10/22 translates to, so I try to describe things as simply as possible (not always the simplest task, ha). I should have been more clear that I enjoy the 10/22 magazine design being flush with the stock in general, but the balance of this particular rifle is perfect for putting the support hand directly underneath and still maintain that balance. Thanks for the question

  13. avatarRalph says:

    All Boyd’s Gunstock laminated stocks look that good. I really like them.

  14. avatarPaul says:

    If you want to try a different trigger, look at a kidd 2-stage trigger. Best trigger I’ve ever seen on a 10/22.

  15. avatarmike says:

    Dang, $1200 base msrp price. Only goes up from there with options. I love 22LR, but not THAT much.

    • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      I love .22′s that much – and more. I guess I just don’t “get” Volquartsens. For the price of their Ruger Mk-x clone pistols, I could own a S&W 41. For the price of their rifles, I could buy an Annie 1903, and once one starts really pouring on the options, one could own a Annie 54-receiver rifle. In both cases, you’ll have a .22 with a far better trigger.

      That’s where I just have to sit, scratching my head. Once the price of a excellent implementation of a cheap design gets to a certain point… it crosses into the territory where I could spend that money on a different (usually older) gun with excellent design and implementation.

  16. avatarmashashin says:

    Was that Wyoming tactical supply in Cody? A friend said they had an awesome 22 cow thru

  17. avatarLeo338 says:

    Personally I like the I-Flute Barreled design a lot more than the snake fluted. I have been wanting one of these rifles for a few years now. Thank you for the great review Kirsten!

    • avatarKirsten says:

      Why do you prefer that? Just looks or is there a function preference over the snake-flute that you’d rather have?

      • avatarLeo338 says:

        I just like the look of the I-Flute and I agree with RKBA, I don’t care for the snake design. I know it’s silly but just a personal preference. I was looking at their site and I really like the Fusion. It’s a breakdown rifle that comes with a carbon fiber barrel. You can purchase other calibers for around 300 bucks per barrel. I might go with this one even though I really like the design of their other rifles.

    • avatarRKBA says:

      I don’t care for the snake flute either. All my fluted barrels are just plain jane “I-flute” design.

      I have no idea if one particular style is any more advantageous than the other, I just don’t like the swirly snake look :)

  18. avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Never understood the drive to pour money (and time) into trying to make a 10/22 (or clone) into a target rifle.

    To me, it’s somewhere on par with gluing feathers and a P&W J-58 engine onto a pot-bellied pig and calling it an “air superiority fighter.” In this case, the feathers are the fluting, and the J-58 is the Zeiss glassware.

    For the money that this rig costs, one could own any one (and possibly two) of a number of older, high end .22 target or sporter rifles that will shoot at least as well, but several of which will appreciate considerably in value over time. eg, Start with a Winchester 52 in a sporter configuration and proceed from there.

  19. avatarJustSomeGuy says:

    As I understand fluting there are two reasons for it 1: increased surface area to keep the barrel cool and, this is where style of fluting is important, 2) increased barrel ridgidity for a given weight.

    Any style of fluting will help keep it cool, but only straight grooves will confer any sort of stiffness. In the same way an I beam (big metal support used in rather tall buildings) can support a lot even though it isn’t a solid rectangle of steel a fluted barrel can support more even though there is material missing. So the ridges act by reinforcing the barrel by having a continuous section of material along a place where you might get some bending.

    So it can approximate a bull barrel in stiffness but cool much faster.

    • avatarKirsten says:

      This might help clear up snake flutes, it’s straight from Volquartsen’s website.

      “There’s more to Snake Fluting than its exotic looks. The Snake Flute is not a spiral or helical flute, nor is it a conventional straight flute, but a unique method of cutting flutes. Snake Fluting is a set of flutes that are positioned around the barrel to provide unsurpassed rigidity and longitudinal stiffness. The Snake Flutes also increase surface area (even more so than conventional straight flutes) to help cool the barrel during long, rapid fire strings.”

      • avatarMatt in FL says:

        “…to provide unsurpassed rigidity and longitudinal stiffness.”

        We discussed this back in the original thread on this rifle, and I never did see any backing information for this claim. I suppose I can believe that they cool (incrementally) better than straight flutes, because there’s (incrementally) more surface area. However, I have issues with the claim that snake flutes provide more rigidity and stiffness than straight flutes, or than no flutes at all. I think their explanation of snake flutes is snake oil. The whole point of fluting a barrel is to retain the strength of a heavier barrel profile, but at a lighter weight. I don’t believe it magically confers additional properties to the remaining steel.

        • avatarTom in Oregon says:

          Agreed. Otherwise we would see the afore mentioned I-Beams for building look like snake beams.

      • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        Where I’m still unclear is how one can take a bar of steel and increase the Young’s Modulus by removing some of the steel in the bar. The best that could be hoped for is that it doesn’t decrease. What can be said is that a fluted barrel of a certain weight is stiffer than an unfluted barrel of the same weight. An unfluted barrel will have to have a smaller outside diameter to achieve the same weight as a fluted barrel.

        This is one of those places where engineers grumble “TANSTAAFL[*]” and then start tormenting the people in marketing who are peddling such claims.

        [*] TANSTAAFL – From Heinlein’s “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress,” meaning “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”

  20. avatarDave says:

    Not Shure which looks better, the rifle or the shooter. I like both. :)

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