Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Ah, the tormenting of friends...

Also a range report

As mentioned before I wasn't able to make the NoR shoot(forgive me, K, for I have sinned), but there was a, ah, slight compensation. Which leads to the 'torment' above.

There was a small gun show I went to. Didn't know it was small until I got there, but a nice one in any case; found some things I needed/wanted, including the item in question here. I mentioned to Og what I'd found, he replied "!!*%#! Not a .22?" I said yes, and he called me unkind things, some of which referred to my family and parentage.

What I found was this, an Enfield training rifle:

Looks just like a standard #1 Mk3, except it's bored for .22 long rifle. One of the interesting things about the Enfield series is the two-piece bolt, body and head. With a standard rifle, if excess headspace developed a larger(longer) bolt head could be installed to correct it. In this case, a standard bolt head had an insert fitted to the inside with an off-center hole extending through the face. A firing pin was placed in the hole; the standard striker was cut off in front of the wide section near the front, so when you pull the trigger the striker hits the pin and bang. The extractor was modified to reach and hold the rimfire cartridge, and there's no ejector; the magazine is just the shell, and when you pull the bolt back the empty is pulled out of the chamber and falls into the mag body. So you have a rifle that is slightly heavier than the same rifle in .303(more steel left in the barrel), same sights and all, so you could start trainees off with a fairly quiet arm with virtually no recoil. A friend of mine got hold of one of these a couple of years ago, and it's a fun rifle to shoot, so when I ran across this one I was quite happy.

What caught my eye originally, though, was one of two unusual things about this one. In the rack it looked like another #1 until I saw this:

That is the rear sight from a Ross rifle. The Ross is a straight-pull bolt design, so what was that sight doing on it? Then I found that it was a .22 and... You'll notice in this picture the other oddity: that sling swivel in front of the magazine. It's not on my friends' rifle, or on a standard #1. The swivel base is part of the trigger guard, and if it was welded on it was a damn nice job; I'm thinking it was forged this way originally. I'd seen this third swivel on the WWII sniper rifles, but not on anything else. So it's a training rifle with the standard front and rear sights, with this bracket mounting a Ross sight on the receiver and a third swivel. Which information caused Og to say more unkind things about me, the brute, because these indicate it's one that was set up as a match rifle.

But the big question is, does it shoot? Yeah, yeah, collectable, blah blah. If it won't shoot well, I don't really want it. There are things I would make exception for, but a .22 that won't hit anything? So today I hied myself and it off to the range. Being short on time I went to the indoor range(H&H) where I mostly practice handgun. They have a 30-yard rifle side, and you have a rest for the forend, so I wasn't trusting to my somewhat wavering offhand style. The following four targets were:
First, with the Ross sight removed(pull one screw and it slides off the base) and the standard rear sight, using Eley Sport ammo:

This one was the same ammo with the Ross sight:

That high one was a called flyer.

Third was some of the Sellier & Bellot ammo that's on the market:

Last was shot with my favorite: Federal Lightning(now Champion):

Low shot was called flyer.

So yeah, it shoots. When I can I'll put it on a solid benchrest at 50 and 100 yards and see what it'll do, and I think it'll do well. This is about the same accuracy I get with this ammo and the Martini match rifle under the same conditions, so I'm quite hopeful of the results.

It doesn't make up for missing the shoot, but it's very nice anyway. A fine rifle, a variation of an already hard to find piece, with some undoubtedly interesting history behind it, and I get to care for it for the next however long.

Steam, Og. Mwahahahahaha!

Additional: The Eley Sport ammo seems to be very good stuff, it's one of the two most accurate in every rifle I've tried it in. And while the top-grade Eley Tenex runs about $11/box, the Sport can be had for $1.50 or so. And I remain amazed by the results from the cheap(pricewise) Federal ammo. In several rifles, from a Remington bolt to Martini match to Marlin semi-autos, it's consistently shot at least equal to and in most cases more accurately than anything else, including some $5/box match stuff. No, I'm not spending fifty dollars to get several boxes of the Olympic-grade stuff to test, not when these two give such good results. If you're shooting serious matches, it may well be worth it to you; it ain't to me, not now.

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