June 23, 2020
Vudoo Gun Works turned the rimfire world on its ear about three years ago when they unveiled the V-22 action, a full-sized rimfire action that had a Remington 700 footprint and accepted AICS-pattern magazines. Taking a high-quality rimfire action and enabling it to accept the most popular and ubiquitous aftermarket accessories was like throwing gas on a fire. Precision rimfire shooting sports exploded.
Now Vudoo Gun Works has introduced a magnum version of the V-22 that can handle the .22 WMR and .17 HMR. These are longer cartridges than the V-22’s original .22LR chambering, and with that length comes speed and power. The rifle seen in this report is chambered in .17 HMR, and it brings a whole new level of ballistic horsepower to the precision rimfire community.
The V-22M action has longer bolt travel and a slightly larger bolt face. Where the bolt-face diameter measures .288 inch on a .22LR, it measures .302 inch on the .22 WMR and .17 HMR. Manufacturers must also account for rim thickness differences between the two families of cartridges. Where a .22LR can have a maximum rim thickness of .051 inch, the .22 WMR/.17 HMR can have a rim as thick as .056 inch. The difference in rim thickness matters for the extractors to work effectively.
Making a little bigger bolt face and giving the extractor a little more room didn’t take much time, but Vudoo has been busy finding ways to improve this new action over the original. One of the ways they improved this new bolt body was to create more positive cartridge ignition by ensuring the firing pin experienced minimal drag as it moves through the bolt body to fire the cartridge.
Ensuring the firing pin hits the case rim with enough force to strongly ignite the priming compound is an essential component of rifle accuracy. Paying close attention to how hard the firing pin hits the primer doesn’t really matter on centerfire rifles until the shooter is really good or target distances get beyond 1,000 yards. However, rimfire rifles are finicky, and a 300-yard shot with a rimfire rifle is every bit as system-taxing as a 1,000-yard shot with a centerfire rifle.
Vudoo is synonymous with precision, so they take cartridge ignition seriously. Instead of having the firing pin and bolt shroud thread onto the back of the bolt body (like the original V-22 has), the V-22M has a series of recesses and lugs that fit together and eliminate the threads on the bolt shroud.
Without putting too fine of a point on it, threads suck when you’re trying to keep one part centered in another. There has to be some slop in the threads, otherwise one small speck of dirt would lock the threads up tight. Slop in the threads means the firing pin winds up somewhere other than dead center, based on its location when the two threaded surfaces contact shoulders.
Placing the firing pin body off-center makes it drag on the firing pin channel in the bolt body, and that drag decreases ignition energy. Weak ignition energy makes for large groups at 100 yards and beyond. This is one of the reasons why inexpensive rimfire rifles struggle and custom rifles like the Vudoo don’t.
The next time your buddy says his cheap rimfire shoots just as good groups as your expensive rig at 50 yards, stretch it to 200 yards and beat the pants off him. You’re welcome.
The firing pin in the Vudoo rifle is well-designed and has a larger section that does an excellent job of staying centered in the bolt body with an eccentric pin protrusion that hits the cartridge case rim at 12 o’clock. The large center portion absorbs the blow generated by dry-firing, so the owner can dry-fire this rifle with no fear of damaging it.
The other major rede17;s bolt stop worked by having a cantilevered lever impact the back of one of the bolt lugs to arrest rearward movement. Having the steel bolt stop collide with the steel bolt lug (on a surface that alsosign that Vudoo did on the V-22M compared to the original V-22 was the bolt stop/release. The V-22R sits against the receiver’s lug abutment) is not optimal.
The precision-rifle crowd likes to really tug on the bolt to speed-cycle the action, and that’ll beat the brakes off a recoil lug if the bolt stop impacts against it. Any burrs or deformation of that lug will inhibit good, even contact with the lug abutment when the action is closed. This is why Vudoo did a bolt stop redesign. The old design works just fine, but in the .001-percent chance the user is farm-boy strong and caveman smart, the new bolt stop is better at handling the abuse.
The rifle as tested came directly from Vudoo Gun Works. Part of my reason for wanting to test this rifle was to see what was possible with a .17 HMR. Having a custom-built gun in my hands gave me a chance to see what kind of groups I could get with this speedy cartridge. The results speak volumes.
The best group measured .24 inch for five shots at 50 yards with Hornady’s 17-grain V-MAX. There were several groups across a couple different loads that measured in the .3-inch range. This is extraordinary accuracy for hunting ammunition.
As part of the autopsy to find out what makes the rifle tick, I separated the barreled action from the stock. What I discovered was no bedding compound. This demonstrates the .17 HMR doesn’t generate enough recoil to need it and assumes the barreled action fits the stock well. In this case it does.
The stock on the test rifle is the Grayboe Ridgeback, a composite stock with M-LOK rails integrated into the forend. What I like about the stock is the flat forend that rides bags well but is also comfortable in the support hand. It also accepts ARCA rail systems.
The ARCA system cannot be beat for any rifle used in positional shooting. The ability to easily and quickly relocate a bipod or tripod makes it possible to rapidly build a stable shooting position. The Ridgeback is the least expensive stock I’ve found that has this capability.
The Ridgeback has an adjustable length of pull thanks to a spacer system and has a quick-adjust comb. Having these two adjustments on the rifle ensures it will fit a wide variety of users. The adjustable comb also means the shooter doesn’t need to worry too much about scope mounting height because they can just adjust the cheekpiece higher if they need to see through the scope.
The test rifle came with TriggerTech’s new two-stage trigger with a pull weight set at just under 2 pounds. The pull weight was light enough that it didn’t inhibit accuracy, but it’s heavy enough that I wouldn’t worry about an accidental discharge.
TriggerTech’s two-stage trigger is a true two-stage in that the first stage actually moves trigger internals to set up a light let-off in the second stage. Most two-stage triggers just have some slack built into the first stage, but it does nothing to enhance safety. This new trigger allows the owner to beat on the trigger with no fear of the sear spontaneously disengaging since the internal safeties connected to the first stage function effectively.
Vudoo’s own bottom metal came on the rifle, and it is an excellent product. The front of the magazine well is flat and works as a barricade stop. The magazine release allows for two different types of actuation. The magazine release lever extends down behind the magazine well and can be hit from under the triggerguard by pressing a small tab or by touching a raised knob that protrudes through the triggerguard. The control layout is thoughtful and well-placed.
Since this is a magnum rimfire action, the bolt has more travel than the .22LR model, and that additional travel requires a new magazine. The magazines used in the 22M action are machined from 7075 aluminum and appear to be extremely durable. I would expect the magazine to undergo continuous updates once the V-22M goes on sale.
I did everything I could think of to assess the performance of the V-22M in .17 HMR, and the rifle excelled at each metric. I even went so far as to check extractor tension by loading one round in the magazine, chambering the round, removing the magazine, and then slowly pulling the bolt rearward to see if the extractors could hold an unfired round to the bolt face with no support from the magazine. They did so easily. Since the ejector is fixed, this test told me both extractors were doing an excellent job of holding onto the case and that there would be no ejection trouble anytime soon.
Vudoo’s V-22M in .17 HMR represents the top of the food chain in the .17 HMR world right now. If you have a problem with varmints and want a high-quality rimfire rifle with tremendous aftermarket support, the V-22M is the rifle for you.
Vudoo V-22M Specs
- Type: Bolt-action repeater
- Cartridge: .17 HMR
- Capacity: 10+1 rds.
- Barrel: 20 in., 1:9-in. twist
- Overall Length: 38.5 in.
- Weight: 10 lbs., 8 oz.
- Stock: Grayboe Ridgeback
- Length of Pull: 13.5 in.
- Finish: Cerakote, matte stainless
- Trigger: TriggerTech two-stage
- Sights: None
- MSRP: $2,800
- Manufacturer: Vudoo Gun Works, vudoogunworks.com
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