Desert Tech is well known for making some of the best bullpup center-fire semi-autos and bolt action rifles on the market. In an interesting turn for the company that seems to reinvent everything, Desert Tech didn’t make a bullpup rimfire gun. Instead, they came up with the Trek-22, a simple clamshell chassis solution for America’s favorite rimfire rifle, the Ruger 10/22.
Compared to one of my basic Ruger 10/22 carbines, the Trek-22 dramatically shortens the overall length of the gun. The Trek-22 brings my factory carbine’s total length down to just 27″. That makes it only 6.5″ longer than my 16.25″ barreled backpacker model when that backpacker model is disassembled. The Trek-22 makes the old carbine far more portable and maneuverable.
That short overall length opens up a whole bunch of storage and carry options for the Trek-22. It now fits in all sorts of travel bags, backpacks, behind and underneath truck seats…all over. Since it includes a rear grommet, it slings on the back for very low-profile carry. And unlike the Backpacker model, there’s no reassembly time.
The product itself couldn’t be much simpler. It’s a glass-reinforced polymer clamshell design. There are two halves to it. You pull your barreled action in your current 10/22 out of its standard stock — trigger pack and all — and set it into the left side of the Trek-22 chassis. Make sure the shift linkage aligns, push out the trigger pack pins, put the right half on, and then screw it all together.
Desert Tech includes all the hardware, including the wrenches. There are installation instructions included in the box, as well as several videos to walk you through the installation. If you need a video to explain the installation, firearm ownership might not be for you. It’s really that simple.
For the Trek-22, changing the magazine — rotary or stick — as well as clearing any malfunctions, happens fastest using the left hand, canting the gun 45 degrees with the receiver angled down and to the right.
This is pretty much the only way to activate the bolt catch while manipulating the charging handle at the same time. It also allows you to manipulate the safety and the magazine release. It eventually gets pretty quick, but it’s likely different than all of your other guns.
Beyond the compact format, a big advantage of the Trek-22 over my old factory wooden stock are the M-LOK slots. There are four on each side and five underneath. For those of us who love to smack varmints at night, it’s now super-simple to add a light or IR torch, as well as to mount any night vision optics on the top rail. It’s now also very easy to add a bipod or ARCA rail of your choice.
The Trek-22’s trigger linkage doesn’t actually replace any of the parts of the 10/22’s trigger pack. It’s purely a slave trigger in front of the actual trigger shoe with a linkage to the forward Desert Tech shoe.
I assume it’s just because there’s a bigger lever to pull on the 10/22’s factory trigger shoe, but the Trek-22’s trigger linkage system dropped the overall trigger pull weight a full pound. Unfortunately, whatever weight was shaved off was counteracted by an increased overall travel and a good deal of plain old squish.
The Trek-22 chassis free-floats the barrel. You might think this would have a significant effect on the precision of the little gun, but in this case, it didn’t. There was no measurable difference in accuracy with or without the chassis, at least in slow fire from a rest. I suspect that might change a little with a better barrel.
In addition to the magazine in the receiver, you can also mount two spare 10-round rotary magazines in the rear of the stock.
My biggest complaint with the Trek-22 is that, for all the modularity it provides, it eliminates the factory iron sights. No, you don’t have to remove them, but the front is now well below the sight line and the rear sight is tucked away inside the clamshell chassis.
You can add rail-mounted iron sights to the 1913 top pic rail, but the total sight radius would only be about nine inches. Of course, the whole point of that top rail is to mount an optic, but that’s one of the very few advantages the stock 10/22 had over this chassis.
At the end of the gun, toward the muzzle, you’ll find plenty of space around the barrel to mount the rimfire silencer of your choice. If you haven’t suppressed any of your .22LR rifles yet, get right on that. You’re in for a treat. Considering the length reduced by going with the Trek-22 chassis, you’ll never notice the extra length of the can.
This standard 10/22 rifle wasn’t ever worth getting a new threaded barrel, but now with the Trek-22, I can see using it enough to swap out the barrel for a threaded model, and probably a longer one.
I don’t dig losing my irons, but there’s no denying the increased modularity and functionality the Trek-22 brings to the 10/22 carbine. What’s even better is the incredible difference in size and portability, without losing any barrel length.
Specifications Desert Tech Trek-22 Ruger 10/22 Chassis
Chassis colors: tan, grey, or green
Weight: 20.8 oz
Width: 1 3/4 inches
Height: 4 1/2 Inches
Length: 26 1/4 inches
Trigger :Straight Blade
Mounting System: M-Lok Compatible
Sling Stud Attachments: Yes, 1 rear
Length of pull: 14″
MSRP: $299.99 (about $289 retail)
Rating (out of five stars):
Overall * * * *
For such a simple design, Desert Tech’s Trek-22 provides a lot of additional options for the standard Ruger 10/22. Beyond that, the small format opens up a whole new world of maneuverability, portability, and storage options. For this price, I’d like to see an option that does more than just slave the factory trigger shoe to a transfer bar.