Friday, October 08, 2004

.22 rifles

I love old .22 rifles. Bolt, semi-auto or single-shot. Most were made as serious tools with few frills, some were dedicated target pieces, many you find are downright nasty looking at first. Rusty barrels & actions, beat-up wood, grunge all over.

But if you look inside, often the bores are good, and you can tell that if you clean & lube them up, they'll work just fine. And some are amazingly accurate.

A while back a friend of mine bought a BSA Martini model 12. This is a tilting-block single-shot built as a target rifle, with Parker-Hale match sights. The outside looks terrible; not just some surface rust, but a lot of serious pitting, worst on the barrel along the top of the forestock. The rear sight was stuck, though some oil loosened it up. The bore was spotless, and the action itself was in fine shape internally.

So far he cleaned the bore and wiped off the worst of the surface crud, and sighted it in. With Aguila subsonic ammo, at 50 yards you can break a clay pigeon, and then break the pieces large enough to aim at. Hasn't seriously tested with different ammo on paper, but I imagine it will group very well.

I just love those old firearms.

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