Monday, July 28, 2008

New Household Appliance

There has been a serious deficiency in our household for the past couple months.

For the past few years, I've had a lovely little Marlin 880sq; a heavy barreled target .22 boltie, with a low powered fixed scope, and a reasonably comfy synthetic stock.

Sweet shooter, if a little muzzle heavy; as you would expect with a heavy barrel and synthetic stock. Of course that just made it more stable; and it was very nice off a rest or a bipod.

I say was, though that is inaccurate; it still IS a sweet shooter, but it's no longer MY sweet shooter.

Really, it was only temporarily mine in the first place. A few years ago, Kim was selling off some of his guns, and I bought it (and a 625) from him; with the proviso that whenever he felt like it he could buy it back.

Well, in March or April, he dropped me a line to say "hey, whenever you can arrange it, I'd love my marlin back"; and in May, I sent it on its way to him.

This unfortunately left us without any kind of .22 rifle; a critical household deficiency indeed.

This weekend, we corrected that deficiency, with one of these (Big 5 had them on sale for $60 off list):

Yes yes I know, everyone and their grandmother has a 10/22... which is kind of why we got one actually; because they are so popular, there's so much stuff for them. Everyone has parts, everyone makes accessories, everyone knows how to use them, work on them etc....

Fact is, there isn't a semi-auto .22 out there I'm particularly fond of and the boltie I want is a bit steep at the moment (a CZ452 lux, at around $400, plus optics, a new barrel, and trigger work). Since there is no particular model that meets exactly what I want, out of the box, and the 10/22 is the AR of the rimfire world, might as well have a go. Want a better barrel, done. Trigger, a snap. Stocks? Whooo boy do they have stocks.

In fact, I've already started customizing... Right now, there's already optics on the gun. Bass pro had a nice price (same as SWFA actually) on the Nikon Prostaff scopes, so I grabbed a set of QD rings, and this:

It's the Nikon Prostaff 3-9x40; in matte black, which I think looks better in contrast to the stainless, than a silver would matching it.

Honestly, it's more glass than I need, even if I put a match barrel and trigger on the rifle. The problem is, trying to find a decent, reasonably priced, fixed power scope of medium power and medium size these days, seems damn near impossible.

I wanted more than a 4x... I was hoping for a 6x42 actually; but other than expensive tactical scopes, and pistol and muzzleloader specific scopes (who needs a fixed 6x pistol scope?), I couldn't find one.

So, I made what I hope was the next best choice, and went for the 3-9x40. It's nice and clear and bright up through 7 power; with just a LITTLE bit of light falloff at 8-9 power; but it maintains good sharpness throughout.

Now, one of the reasons I also went with the 10/22, is because I've already got an E.R. Shaw threaded 10/22 barrel on the way (through Tactical Innovations); and I didn't have to pay an outrageous amount for it, or wait three months (have you tried getting a gun smith to do any small work lately? Best of luck friend). My barrel should be here before the weekend; and I hope to be able to take it out next weekend to test with my .22 suppressor.

Believe me, there's not much more fun to be had shooting, than with a semi-auto .22, heavy subsonic rounds, and a suppressor.

I've also ordered the standard extended mag catch, bolt buffer, and automatic bolt release; now I just need to pick out a stock, and decide what I want to do with the trigger.

I'm not sure exactly what I want yet, and basically everybody makes 10/22 stocks; but I'm kinda thinking something like this one from Clark Custom (the top one):

I may even splash out on one of Clarks barrels; though they DO have an eight week minimum lead time if I want one threaded (I called and asked), and they charge $75 on top of the $225 for the barrel... which is quite frankly a bargain considering you're getting a really great barrel, worked PROPERLY. Besides, Lilja, Volquartsen and Shilen want even more for their barrels (unthreaded); and I'm not convinced you're getting more.

Now the trigger... I'm really not sure. Volquartsen, Clark... lots of other for that matter; all do trigger, sear, hammer etc... and a couple do drop in triggers (Kid, JARD, others). At this point, I'm really not sure who to go with.

The factory trigger isn't totally awful, it's pretty crisp, without any creep or stack; but it has a distinct step or hitch in the pull just before release that I really dislike (it's typical of Rugers machining though). Also, I'd estimate the weight at 6lbs; though I haven't had a chance to get my trigger scale on it. For a .22 rifle, I'd consider anything above two pounds excessive.

Anyway, I'll have pictures and a review up as soon as I pick out and fit the rest of my parts; because after all, who needs just another 10/22 review? At least my review should be of the stuff that makes mine slightly different.