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Leone Development R2 Barrel

If there’s one thing we love more than cans on guns, it’s integrally suppressed guns. When we heard about Leone Development’s R2 suppressed barrel for the Ruger 10/22, we were intrigued.

Instead of a traditional baffled core welded to the end of a shortened barrel and covered with a tube, the Leone Development R2 has a set of 26 small holes at the chamber end of the barrel to port gas into an expansion chamber that surrounds and runs the length of the barrel. The expansion chamber is made by covering a ported pencil barrel with an outer 0.920 diameter tube that’s compatible with any stock that accepts a 10/22 bull barrel.

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Russ Leone, the R2’s inventor, says he starts out with high-quality, rifled barrel blanks, profiles the barrel, pilot drills the ports, then carefully bores the ports out in a precision machining operation.

While we weren’t concerned with the lower pressure of the rimfire rounds producing gas erosion like we’d see on a semi-auto centerfire gas port, we wondered if the boring operation left any burrs on the inside edge of each, or any, of the 26 gas ports that might engrave a passing round. After all, most 22LR bullets are soft enough that they’ll deform by mere exposure to a Ramones album. And, that deformation produces uneven aerodynamic drag, which reduces accuracy.

The R2 barrel is the same O.D. as a 10/22 bull barrel. Swapping it in for the stock barrel was just messing with a few screws and remembering to flip the barrel tray on our Magpul Hunter X-22 stock.

CLOSE SHAVE
“We determined that it does nothing for us to try to time the ports to the rifling, or rifle the barrel after the ports are drilled,” says Leone. “As long as it’s done with modern quality machining, the porting process has no effect on accuracy, reliability, or longevity.”
It’s our job to call BS when we can, so we did our own inspection of the ports with a bore scope. We found slight streaking on the edges of a couple of the ports, but we couldn’t tell if it was from carbon inclusions in following gases or lead shaved as the bullet passed a burr. So, we captured a few bullets in gel for inspection. We saw evidence of slight lead shaving on our Eley Match bullets (which have a thicker neck diameter under the crimp), but none on the CCI Select or Lapua Center-X. So, YMMV. For best results, find an ammo that shoots accurately and stick with it.

IT’S QUIET
Compared to every other model of rimfire can we have on hand, which is 11 others, the R2 sounds great. Its sound suppression is on par with any suppressor out there with one big, added benefit: the R2 produces nearly zero first round pop. We haven’t tried every combination of ammo and environment, so we feel duty-bound to qualify that statement, but we had no FRP with the CCI, Lapua, or Eley ammo we shot.

The base of the R2 silenced barrel features an O-ring just ahead of the V-block and another O-ring on the muzzle end (left) sealing the barrel shroud that creates a large expansion chamber.

MADE FOR EASY MAINTENANCE
When comparing the Leone Development R2 to a traditional 10/22 integral barrel such as Gemtech’s Mist-22, it’s much easier to clean. The early Mist-22s had a penchant for filling its outer tube threads with carbon and seizing it in place. It also didn’t help that the inside surface of the outer tube gets coated with gunk and prevents it from easily sliding past the baffle stack if you let it build up.

The way the R2’s outer tube threads to the barrel means neither of these things is an issue. The threads are at the muzzle end of the barrel far from the flying carbon coming from the bleed ports. The chamber end of the outer tube slips over the base of the barrel and chokes down on an O-ring that holds it in place and prevents gas from escaping. No chamber-end threads to fill with crap and seize up.


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And, since there’s no baffle stack, there’s nothing protruding from the bore to catch on the inside surface of the carbon-laden outer tube. Cleaning the R2 after 600 to 800 rounds was easy; unscrew the tube by hand, scrub the barrel surface with an abrasive pad, run a big brush through the outer tube, and screw it back on the barrel by hand ’til snug.

Despite looking like a heavy barrel, the R2 is much lighter than it looks and complements the easy handling nature of the 10/22 nicely.

ACCURACY
The interesting thing we noticed in testing the barrel was how it affects velocities of different kinds of ammo. We found supersonic ammunition ran more consistently through the Leone barrel than subs; even more consistently than high-quality, match-grade subs. The standard deviation (SD) on our supersonic CCI Select ammo was lower than we got from both Lapua Center-X and Eley Match.

Practically speaking, this means accuracy suffers with subsonic ammo, but it improves compared to a stock 10/22 barrel when using supersonic ammunition. We saw this phenomenon when comparing the SDs of subs versus supers. The SDs for each of the subs climb when switching from a stock barrel to the Leone, but the SD for the super drops when switching from the stock barrel to the Leone.

Near as we can tell, the higher pressure of the super fills the Leone expansion chamber while still providing enough ass to continue accelerating the bullet through the rest of the barrel past the bleed ports (remember, the ports are all at the chamber end of the barrel.) We propose the lower gas pressure from the subs doesn’t fill the expansion chamber as quickly, and, as a result, the bullet is fighting the friction of the rifling and already decelerating slightly, and erratically, before it leaves the barrel.

If you’re looking to eke the ultimate in rimfire accuracy from your 10/22, the R2 isn’t your barrel. But, if you’re looking for an easy-to-care-for integral with no first-round pop and the ability to maximize the accuracy of supersonic ammo, the R2 is it. In fact, the beauty of the Leone Development R2 is that the barrel ports slow down cheap, full power ammo to subsonic speeds, making it just as quiet as more expensive subsonic ammo.

Leone tells us the R2 is the proof of concept vehicle for his patented technology. He’s looking to apply the idea to centerfire carbines next, and we’re excited to see (and hear) the results.

Leone Development R2
Caliber: 22LR
Barrel Length: 18 inches
Barrel Diameter: 0.920 inch
Weight: 28.7 ounces
MSRP: $599
URL: leonedevelopment.com


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Disclosure: These links are affiliate links. Caribou Media Group earns a commission from qualifying purchases. Thank you!

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