While the name Volquartsen might not be as iconic as Remington or Colt, there’s no doubt that this is one of the most exciting brands on the market. The company – founded in 1974 – is famous for producing some of the best lightweight rifles you can buy in America today. And its Ultralite Modshot Rimfire doesn’t disappoint.
As experienced readers will already know, rifles are by far the best choice for hunting. You want a weapon with superior accuracy that you only need to fire once to make the kill. There’s a problem, though: rifles are heavy. Lugging them through the woods as you follow deer tracks can be an ordeal.
Volsquartsen, therefore, is trying to solve an important practical problem – how to give hunters both a deadly weapon and something they can carry all day.
While the likes of Remington and Colt focus on quality, going light is very much in Volquartersen’s DNA. According to specifications released by the company, the .22 LR with Modshot is the lightest rimshot configuration firearm the company has released to date – and probably on the entire market. The gun’s approximate weight is 3 lbs, 3 ounces, which put it in a league of its own. The trigger pull is a reassuring 2.25 pounds, and it uses a type III hard-anodized black receiver.
The weight saving comes from the aluminum chassis primarily. Volquartsen takes a single piece of billet metal for the barrel and then uses CNC machining to slowly remove material until it produces a perfect, flawless chassis – a technology borrowed from the bicycle industry. The result is a light and strong unit compared to barrels manufactured using traditional methods.
Volquartsen also saves weight in the Modshotbuttstock, too, using carbon fiber and aluminum. Despite its lightness, the component manages to absorb a significant percentage of the recoil, making it the sort of gun you can use for all-day target practice.
The Ultralite mounts into the company’s lightweight receiver, meaning that owners get cross-compatibility. If you want to swap the barrel out for another, you can. Just unscrew the ½ x 28 threads, and you’re ready to go.
Built To Order
Please note that this is a specialist gun and not a generic product you can get delivered the next day. Volquartsen makes all UltraLite 22 LR rifles with ModShot Stock to order. As such, this rifle is somewhat exclusive and unusual. While it offers excellent machining and technology, it is also a rare breed – something for the specialist.
When it comes to optics, you have several options. The receiver comes with the standard Picatinny rail mount, which means that you get an enormous degree of compatibility right off the bat.
Volsquartsen also says that you can drill and tap the Rimfire to accept standard C-More optics. This mod helps shooters who want to get their optics as close to the gun’s barrel as possible.
Hunters are the group most likely to want to use the latter option. It is perfect for shooting at range. Ideally, you want to achieve lethality in a single shot instead of clearing up after the fact.
A Note On Costs
Of course, you don’t get all this innovation and technology for free. A specialist rifle like this manufactured to order necessarily comes with a hefty price tag.
Currently, Volquartsen is quoting $1,769 for the gun on its website [September 2020]. The majority of the cost is due to the time it takes to machine a single aluminum billet. Then there is the additional cost of handcrafting and fitting the carbon fiber damping elements to the stock.
Volquartsen is a less well-known brand than many of the others that we regularly cover here. While it makes guns in the USA, that is by no means a marker of quality. Only adequate long-term testing in the field can determine the merit of a rifle. Merely claiming that something is handcrafted is by no means a guarantee of quality.
With that said, there is no reason to doubt Volquartsen’s work here. While this rifle is ludicrously light, it is also made from quality materials using the best available methods. Furthermore, because every gun is made to order, traceability and quality control are as good as you’ll find anywhere,
Are There Any Gripes?
If you typically use heavy rifles, then the Volquartsen Ultralite Modshot Rimfire will take some getting used to. If you’re not used to light firearms, it can feel like a curiosity.
Some people may not like the resistance on the trigger, either. The 2.25-pound pull is factory-set. You don’t have to commit to a shot to the same degree as you do with many other 22 LR rifles.
The Ultralite also faces competition from Volquartsen’s own range. Hunters, for instance, might prefer the VM-22 – a gun fitted with the Magpul X-22 Hunter Stock. The setup makes the rifle great for offhand and bench rest shooting. It’s also lightweight and comes with the same Picatinny rail.
The IF-5 is also another gun that buyers might want to consider instead of the Ultralite. The I-Fluting reduces weight, offers enhanced barrel rigidity, and increased surface area.
Volquartsen is keen to prove that it is ready for the big time. It is, therefore, trying to inject a little high-tech into its lineup. The company uses digital gauging equipment to ensure that all of the barrels that it makes comply with its internal testing criteria. And it is also experimenting with new machining techniques in a way that many of its rivals are not.
The brand isn’t as well known as many others out there. But the Ultralite offers something unique – rifle levels of accuracy and range but at a much lower weight. That’s certainly a unique selling point that makes this gun worthy of your consideration. Sitting around for the company to actually make it for you could feel like lost time, but you know what they say – all good things come to those who wait.