A few months ago, I had the opportunity to assemble a Ruger 10/22 pattern target rifle at home using a Primary Weapons Systems (PWS) T3 Summit action as the foundation of the gun. Overall, I was pleased with the accuracy of the finished rifle and the function of each of the various components.
However, the minor dimensional differences that existed between the components may have led to some fussiness with various magazines. I wanted to give the T3 action another test drive in a different platform. But instead of mixing up the components this time, the same receiver was sent back to the factory to be outfitted with nothing but PWS performance parts. The finished result was the handsome T3 Summit bolt-action rifle.
The original motivation behind the development of the T3 Summit action was to create a .22 rifle platform that was both compatible with other 10/22 components and utterly reliable with sound suppressors. The use of a manually operated bolt eliminates bolt noise along with the feeding issues that can crop up in semi-autos when pressure levels change or drop because a suppressor has been attached or reduced velocity ammunition is used.
The T3’s matte-black receiver features a milled-in 20 MOA Picatinny scope rail for mounting optics. To preserve quick bolt operation, a cammed action with a T-shaped toggle bolt handle is used instead of the traditional up-back-forward-down bolt configuration. Favored by Olympic biathlon competitors, this straight-back-straight-forward toggle can be operated easily with the fingers of the shooting hand while keeping the thumb of that hand hooked into the stock. The PWS interpretation of this bolt configuration is smooth, fast, reliable, and very enjoyable to work with. The T3 bolt is fitted with two extractors, instead of just one, to ensure reliable operation.
Although PWS does offer heavy steel .920 diameter bull barrels, this rifle was fitted with the company's light weight Tension Barrel. It consists of a narrow steel “pencil” barrel insert wrapped in a carbon fiber shell. The nut threaded on to the end of the steel insert holds the carbon fiber tube in place and is tightened to the point that it keeps the steel insert under constant tension to improve accuracy. The tip of the barrel is cut at a 1/2 x 28 RH thread pitch to allow muzzle accessories to be attached. A matching thread protector is provided.
While the T3 Summit's unusual bolt configuration tends to catch people’s attention, this rifle’s excellent adjustable trigger group deserves to be recognized as well. It's simply one of the very best production 10/22 triggers I've had the pleasure to press. The trigger travel is almost undetectably short and crisp. It seems to break with the use of mental telepathy instead of finger pressure. A set screw in the metallic trigger shoe shifts the overlap between the hammer and sear so as to adjust the trigger pull between 1 lb. to 2 lbs. 8 ozs. This particular trigger arrived from the factory with the trigger pull set at 2 lbs. 3 ozs. and I saw no reason to change it.
The push-button safety and magazine release are located where you would expect to find them on a 10/22. The ambidextrous polymer magazine release has a T-shaped extension that allows it to be operated with the tip of the trigger finger. It's a nice touch that makes swapping magazines a more pleasant process.
The rifle was completed with an ambidextrous laminated hardwood Raptor thumbhole target stock in a Voodoo Blue and gray finish. The fore-end is extended with finger grooves and a flattened bottom surface for improved stability when using sandbag rests. The smooth pistol grip fills the shooting hand to provide a stable hold. The raised cheek rest is comfortably contoured and just the right height for use with an optic. The polymer buttplate is fitted with a rubber recoil pad for added traction against the shooter's shoulder. This stock provides a 14" length of pull (LOP).
PWS does not produce any magazines for the T3 in house. Instead, they rely on the diversity of 10/22 aftermarket options to supply their customers’ needs. Because the rifle is patterned after one of the most popular rimfires in the country, finding magazines for it did not pose a problem. The rifle was tested with Ruger factory standard 10-round rotary magazines and 25-round "banana" magazines including the Black Dog Machine 10-22, HCMags HC3R, Tactical Innovations adjustable composite TI-25 and Ruger BX-25. All of the magazines functioned reliably in theT3 with all of the ammunition tested.
It was a sunny but windy day when the T3 was taken out to the range. Despite the gusty weather, the rifle produced tight groups at 50 yards from a bench rest. It was checked for accuracy with the same ammunition used for the home built rifle which consisted of Standard Velocity target loads. Using a Leupold VX-R Patrol 3-9x40 Firedot TMR scope, the T3 produced its best single group of 0.70" and best five group average of 0.80" using CCI Green Tag 40-gr. lead round nose loads. Wolf Performance 40-gr. lead target loads turned in an average of 0.94" followed by Remington 22 Target 40-gr. rounds at 1.07".
As much as I enjoyed the bench rest accuracy work, the real fun began after the formal testing was complete. Unlike some of the heavy-barrel target model .22s, the T3 begs to get off the rest and out into the field thanks to its lightweight carbon-fiber barrel. I went to war with the dirt clods running up the mountain side out to around 130 yards. I'm happy to announce that it was a decisive victory in our favor.
The Primary Weapons Systems T3 Summit bolt action .22 LR is a rifle that's left me with a big smile on my face. The toggle bolt configuration, top-notch trigger and accuracy make it a real pleasure to work with. Thanks to its compatibility with 10/22 components, there's a nearly endless supply of magazines and accessories to fit it. If you're in the mood to hunker down at a benchrest for precision rimfire shooting sessions, this platform will certainly do the trick. But unlike some heavy barrelbench rest models, this lightweight carbine is an ideal traveling companion for small-game hunting and long walks in the woods.
Specifications Manufacturer:Primary Weapons Systems Model: T3 Summit Rifle Action: Bolt Action Caliber: .22 Long Rifle Receiver: Ruger 10/22 Compatible Bolt: Dual Extractors Bolt Handle: Biathlon Style Toggle Barrel: .920 Tension Barrel, Carbon Fiber with Steel Insert Muzzle: 1/2 x 28 RH with Thread Protector Trigger: Adjustable Match Grade Stock: PWS T-Rex Laminated Hard Wood, Voodoo Blue Sights: None, 6.50" Integral Picatinny Scope Rail Magazine: None Barrel Length: 16.10" Overall Length: 34.50" Length of Pull: 14.00" Weight: 5 lbs. 10 ozs. Capacity: Accepts Ruger 10/22 Type Removable Magazines Twist: 1:16” RH Rifle Grooves: 6 Accessories: Owner's Manual MSRP: $799.95