As someone who started out with a basic Cricket .22 rifle, I know firsthand how rewarding this hobby can be when you start customizing and upgrading your gun. The “ole Cricket” has a reputation for being an excellent beginner’s rifle that’s affordable, lightweight, and crazy accurate right out of the box. But where this rifle really shines is its huge potential and versatility when you start adding accessories and mods.
Now I can deck out a Cricket blindfolded, but I’ll admit my early modification attempts were total fails! When I first got my Cricket, I immediately ordered a cheap scope and rings from Amazon. After struggling for hours to mount them, the rings snapped and the scope went flying! I also grabbed a wooden stock on eBay without checking dimensions. Of course, it was totally incompatible and I had to modifying it with a saw and rasp to force it on.
Through trial and error, I learned to thoroughly research parts compatibility, only buy from reputable brands, and take things slow. Don’t be like past me who rushed into upgrades willy nilly! Take your time choosing each accessory purposefully to create your ideal customized rifle. Those early lessons were valuable for developing my approach today of carefully planning each upgrade and mod to maximize my Cricket’s potential.
Captian Hunter’s Key Points
Before we dive in, here are the key lessons I’ve learned about upgrading a Cricket .22 riffle:
- Research before buying – Verify dimensions, specs, compatibility
- Invest in quality parts – Avoid cheap knockoffs that can damage your rifle
- Enhance precision with triggers and optics first
- Customize ergonomics with stocks and grips
- Improve performance with barrels and muzzle devices
- Add versatile accessories like bipods and slings
- Work slowly and safely – Don’t rush modifications
Ok, with those tips in mind, let’s get into the fun stuff – mods and accessories!
Upgrading the Barrel
One of the best ways to enhance your Cricket’s precision and power is upgrading the barrel. The factory barrel is decent for an entry-level rifle. But switching to an aftermarket barrel can provide noticeable improvements in velocity and MOA. Here are my top barrel upgrade options:
- Tactical Solutions Performance Barrel: Now priced around $350 to $400. This barrel uses top-tier stainless steel and a 1:16 twist rate ideal for .22 LR rounds. The fluted design reduces weight while increasing rigidity for sub-MOA accuracy. It drops into the Cricket in minutes and even uses the factory sights.
- Whistle Pig Barrels: Prices start as low as $189.00. They provide great accuracy along with options like fluting and threading for muzzle devices. Whistle Pig also has 12″ barrels to turn your Cricket into a compact powerhouse.
- Volquartsen Barrels: The starting price is approximately $368. At the premium end, Volquartsen’s carbon fiber wrapped .920 barrels deliver unmatched performance. They require professional installation, but you won’t find a more accurate .22 barrel.
Adding some type of muzzle device can reduce noise and recoil. I’m a big fan of the Dead Air Mask HD suppressor, which drops the decibels dramatically even on a bolt action .22. For less restrictions, try a thread protector, compensator, or muzzle brake from brands like Strike Industries.
Swapping the factory plastic stock for a custom one made my Cricket feel like a whole new rifle. With an upgraded stock you can enhance ergonomics, aesthetics, and add rail mounts for accessories. Here are some stellar options:
- Magpul Hunter X-22: Prices range from $75 to $144.95. This adjustable stock provides better cheek weld and length of pull customization using their tool-less design. It brings a tactical look while maintaining strength and reducing weight.
- Boyds Pro Varmint: Prices range from $140 to $199. For a more classic stock without sacrificing performance, Boyds makes several great laminate and hardwood stocks for the Cricket. Their Pro Varmint option provides a higher cheekpiece and wider forend but retains the classic wooden shape. Looks gorgeous and improves stability.
- MDT LSS-22 Chassis: The price starts at US$399.00. On the premium end, the MDT LSS-22 rimfire chassis lets you build a truly specialized stock with adjustable LOP and comb height plus AR-pattern grips and M-LOK slots galore. It offers a level of customization beyond any factory stock.
Improving the Trigger
Out of the box, the Cricket’s trigger pull is okay but a little mushy. Upgrading to an adjustable target trigger makes a world of difference in feel and precision. Here are two phenomenal options:
- Timney Calvin Elite: Now priced at $299.99. The lightweight trigger breaks like glass with zero creep or overtravel. Adjustment range goes down to just 1.5 lbs. At around $130, it’s a worthwhile upgrade for serious marksmen.
- Kidd .22LR Trigger Kit: Prices range from $127 to $285. If you want the absolute best aftermarket trigger, the Kidd 2-Stage Trigger Kit is unmatched but pricey. The crisp second stage breaks at a mere 2-8 oz. Next level performance for any Cricket.
A lighter, smoother trigger pull helps you squeeze off shots with pinpoint precision. Treat your Cricket to an upgraded trigger for that custom rifle feel.
No Cricket is complete without topping it with quality glass. The open sights work fine, but a nice scope takes your accuracy to the next level. Here are my picks for optics:
- Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×40: The MSRP is $199.99, but it can be found for as low as $149.99. This budget-friendly scope from Vortex still delivers clear, bright optics and dead-on adjustments. The fast focus eyepiece gets you dialed in quickly.
- Bushnell Banner Dusk & Dawn 3-9×40: Known for its clarity and low-light performance, priced around $90-$110. For a little more, the Bushnell Banner shines with its Dusk & Dawn multicoated lenses that excel in low light. Waterproof/fogproof construction.
- Leupold VX-Freedom Rimfire 2-7×33: Offering excellent optical quality and durability, with prices typically around $200-$250. For ultimate precision, Leupold’s VX-Freedom scope provides a bright, crisp sight picture and repeatable finger click adjustments. The illuminated reticle is ideal at twilight.
No matter your budget, a quality optic helps realize your Cricket’s full accuracy potential. Ditch the factory peep sights for a top-tier scope.
Beyond core upgrades, accessorizing your Cricket .22 unlocks new capabilities for different scenarios. Here are some must-have add-ons:
- Harris Bipod: The Harris 6-9″ S-BRM model is priced around $116.89 to $134.99. For stable shooting position, a quality bipod makes a big difference. The Harris S-BRM retracts neatly and provides panning action while resisting lean.
- Magpul Sling: The MS1 Sling is available for around $24.95 to $39.95. Sling attachments on your stock let you easily carry your Cricket in the field. Magpul makes exceptional slings that adjust for various carry positions without tangled mess.
- Tactical Picatinny Rail: Prices for Cricket .22 Picatinny rails range from $26.99 to $28.50. Adding an extended picatinny rail to your receiver gives ample mounting room for optics, grips, lasers, you name it. Barska and UTG make lightweight aluminum rail kits that install easily.
With a few bonus accessories, you can build a Cricket .22 tailored for your specific shooting scenarios. Don’t limit yourself – deck it out!
Upgrading your Cricket is super rewarding, but don’t rush it! Here are my closing tips:
- Research parts thoroughly before buying
- Use a gunsmith for barrel swaps and trigger work
- Clean and lubricate after each new accessory
- Test fire extensively after modifications
- Upgrade in stages instead of all at once
Take your time and enjoy the journey! Having patience and doing your homework pays off with a fully customized Cricket that feels like an extension of yourself. A factory Cricket is entry-level, but a modified and accessorized Cricket becomes your own specialized rimfire masterpiece.
Happy upgrading! Let me know if you have any other questions – I’m always happy to talk Cricket mods and accessories with fellow enthusiasts. This rifle has brought me years of joy, and I hope you have the same experience tailoring your own perfect plinker. The “ole Cricket” has tons of life and fun left with the right upgrades. Now get out there and start customizing!
Captain Hunter is a seasoned hunting mentor with over 20 years of experience in the field. His passion began as a young man on trips with his father and grandfather in the Colorado mountains. Today, he shares his unmatched skills in survival, tracking, and marksmanship through his website CaptainHunter.com. When he's not volunteering with youth hunting programs, you can find Captain Hunter providing expert hunting tips, gear reviews, and answers to your most pressing questions. His decades of experience make him the trusted guide to help any outdoorsman master the sport.