Serious Surprises In The Shootin’ And Cuttin’ Department
By Payton Miller
How hard do you really push a piece of gear to discover its capabilities? I don’t think most of us do, which is too bad because there are often interesting surprises. Recently I had the chance to really see what two items would do at the outer reaches of their presumed performance envelope. No — nothing on the level of an Indy car or a jet — just a .22 rifle and a folding knife, although both proved they belong at the top of their class, respectively.
For a “fixed-position,” low-noise varmint rig, Ruger’s Precision Rimfire would be ideal.
A high-end Leupold variable, an unconventional Ruger .22, bulk-buy Remington ammo and a pretty fair 200-yard group.
Making The Shot
Anyone who’s ever hunted or plinked with a .22 on a regular basis can probably spin yarns of successful extreme-yardage, Hail Mary shots on ground squirrels or tin cans. Punching a semi-respectable group at 200 yards on an unforgiving paper target, however, is another matter entirely.
I tried it with a Ruger Precision Rimfire rifle on the enthusiastic recommendation of His Editorship Roy Huntington, who’d sent me pictures of remarkable 50- and 100-yard groups he’d gotten with one. The RPR was designed — in part — to replicate a 1,000-yard centerfire rifle, except at a more reasonable 200 yards. The reasoning being at 200, the .22LR pretty much dupes the trajectory curve of 1,000-yard centerfire favorites.
However you slice things, though, it’s a big old arc. Now, 200 might not seem like all that much yardage if you’re fooling around with your .308, but it sure as heck is when you’re dealing with a 36- or 40-gr. rimfire bullet hovering close to the sound barrier.
If your mental image of a super-accurate .22 is a vintage Winchester Model 52 from your 50-ft.-prone Boy Scout days — or a high-end Anschutz rimfire sporter — the RPR is going to be something of a shock. It’s a functional but decidedly industrial-looking chassis gun, incorporating many AR-styling cues, except for its unapologetic bolt action. It’s got an adjustable buttstock, MLOK handguard, short, heavy barrel, threaded muzzle, optics rail, pistol grip and not a sliver of wood — anywhere. And yes, it feeds from the company’s bombproof rotary magazine.
As you might imagine, a first-rate scope is called for. So we took the liberty of sticking one on the rifle — a 30mm Leupold Vx-3i 8.5-25x50mm, featuring side-focus. The other essential item of course, is the excellent Ruger Marksman adjustable trigger.
At 200 yards, point of impact differences between various types of .22LR ammo —which may have been minor at 25 yards, moderate at 50 and semi-major at 100 — can be, in presidential terminology, “yuge.” My best result — after some serious wind-waitin’ and rasslin’, was four shots into a hair under 2″ with the fifth breaking my heart by dropping nearly 4″ below the nice cluster. I could whine about the wind. After all, it did change velocity and angle several times on the way out to the target, but who’d care?
I used “bulk buy” (out of a 500-round tub) Remington 36-gr. “Golden Bullet” HPs. Could I have done better with serious target ammo? Maybe. At 25 and 50 yards, Aguila Match edged the Remington stuff. But the Golden Bullet HVHPs — having a somewhat less pronounced trajectory curve — hit reasonably close to my POA at 200 and I didn’t have as much time as I’d have liked to spin knobs and chase bullet holes.
A few days ago I saw the RPR on sale at a sporting goods chain store for just under 400 bucks. That’s an unconventional price for unconventional performance. But if you’re going to shoot real long, rest assured a proper optic is probably going to cost you more! Next issue, our rimfire authority Holt Bodinson is going to be giving the Ruger Precision Rimfire a thorough wring-out.
Smooth, refined, tank-tough: The ZT folder’s flip side is titanium.
The premium Zero Tolerance 0462 slices, dices and folds.
Making zthe Cut
Years ago I recall marveling at a video clip of a custom knifemaker slicing sections of a free-hanging hemp rope with one of his latest creations. The blade in question looked to be 10″ or 11″ Bowie with a price tag well on its way to four figures. The rope was about 4″ or 5″ in diameter and looked stout enough to secure the USS Constitution to the dock. The guy put his whole body behind each swing and the blade cut off sections of it as neatly as if it were an overcooked strand of spaghetti.
My experience didn’t involve rope or a fixed-blade monster. What I had was a high-end folder from Kai/Kershaw’s premium Zero Tolerance line, the Dmitry Sinkevic-designed 0462. Billed as an oversize (8.9″ open OAL) version of the previous 0460, it features a distinctive curved handle and a 3.75″ upswept 20CV blade, fairly beefy along the spine. What caught my admittedly non-metallurgical attention wasn’t all that technical. It was simply the wickedest out-of-the-box blade I’d ever seen on any folder. It was arm-hair shaving sharp and then some.
Other features included a scaled, two-tone carbon-fiber handle with a titanium back, a frame-lock KVT ball-bearing system and integral flipper. Plus a fairly impressive $300 sticker price. I’d had very favorable opinions of the various Kershaw folders I’d seen previously, although none of them had been this upscale in terms of cost.
I began my “road test” by cutting a few pounds of ham off the bone for an industrial-size batch of navy beans, then sliced up an unconscionable amount of Polish sausage into paper-thin medallions to add in, along with several measuring cups full of sliced-up onions, carrots, garlic cloves and celery. As I expected, the blade literally glided through everything with barely any pressure on my part.
Opting next for a sterner test, I went outside and sliced up a leaky worn-out old garden hose into short sections to fit into the properly color-coded trash receptacle (so as not to violate the Southern California Recycling Ethic). It wasn’t until about the seventh or eighth section that I really had to start increasing the pressure to get a clean bite into the plastic/polymer 3/4″ diameter hose. No, not as sexily photogenic as a hanging rope, but I was impressed. Would a straighter Wharncliffe-type blade configuration been better suited to the task? Maybe. But the ZT folder was arguably superior in fine, boning-type applications, despite its somewhat thick spine.
Most of my serious cutting afield when I was younger generally involved an Opinel folder or a fixed-blade Kabar — both carbon steel, both capable of taking a very good edge. But not capable of holding it through an abusive slice-fest anywhere near as long as this ZT number. Yes, push it hard and you’ll still have to touch it up with a DMT Diamond Sharpener. Push it harder and you’ll have to resort to a professional-size Arkansas stone. You just won’t have to do it as often.
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