Long Live The .22!

A family’s generations with rimfire rifles.

Around 1918 my grandfather, with help from neighbors, built a big hip-roof barn on the family farm. Grandpa was a highly skilled carpenter. There was no “contractor” involved. He wouldn’t have known what a contractor was.

It’s just another barn, not at all unusual for its era, but to take a closer look at the quality of materials and workmanship is to marvel. The rafters are of seasoned fir, straight as a rifle barrel and about as hard.
Wood joints (all hand cut, there was no electricity on the farm then) fit together seamlessly. Nails were driven with hammers, not nail guns, and you’ll look long and hard to find any “owl eyes” around the nail heads.

A decade ago, when it came time to reshingle the barn, my wife and I decided to spend the money once and use steel. When the contractor had finished the installation he said, “That is the straightest building we’ve ever roofed. We didn’t have to make a single adjustment as we went along, and the last sheet lined up as perfectly as the first.”

While Grandpa was building his barn, workers at the Savage Arms factory in Utica, N.Y., were making a Model 1914 pump-action .22 rifle. Their skills were different, but their approach was the same. “Do it once — do it right.” It was how they did things back then.
By Dave Anderson

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One thought on “Long Live The .22!

  1. Mack Missiletoe

    I consider my Ruger Mark III Target to be high quality. It is a fairly new model. I should check its build date, I seem to have forgotten.

    The original Ruger Standard pistol originated in 1949. The Mark III is a modern Target version with a bull barrel and a few, often annoying, safety features. The mag release position of the Mark III makes up for the annoyances in my view.

    I have not finished testing my Mark III Target, with only a few hundred rounds shot from it so far. I ‘need’ to check the extractor slot after hearing a horrid rumor of a possible too-close cut towards the chamber. I doubt this to be a problem but plan to check anyways as well as make sure the upper is centered.

    So far my Mark III has functioned great with about 3-4 jams in about 200 rds. This is with mostly cheap bulk .22lr cartridges–Federal 550 Bulk 40gr hi-velocity.

    I am also interested in the Smith and Wesson Model 41 which I would consider to be a step up. It is a .22lr Competition autoloading pistol with it’s design originating around 1947.

    In its defense the Mark III (or II) can be accurized quite competitively. All I really plan to do for my Mark III, however, is add some nice classic style wood grips. Like the brown ones that remind me of a corn cob after the corn has been bitten off.

    You know I used to consider .22lr rifles as ‘beginner’ or ‘cheap’ rifles but as time has gone by I’ve come to the realization that there is a bit of high quality .22lr ammunition out there as well as some very high quality .22lr rifles and pistols.

    .22lr or .22 rimfire firearms are quite powerful. Naturally a 9mm or .223 would most likely serve as a better defensive tool, but hi-velocity .22lr cartridges discharge bullets at about the same speed as 9mm. Let that simmer on your mind for a while!

    In addition I must add that I enjoy .22wmr even more in a rifle such as my bolt action Marlin 25MN. It is of course more expensive (though still not too bad) so I do not shoot it as often as .22lr.


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