Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"A Kid's .22: 54 years later" by JayPee

Here's the story of the .22 rifle I've now had for 54 years. I hope you enjoy it.

This is the Remington Model 511 Scoremaster my dad bought for me in the Spring of 1956 at the Montgomery Ward store in Ventura, California. It has a bit of history with it -- shortly after buying it for me, my dad loaned it to an uncle who managed a citrus ranch. The uncle was a bit of a shade tree gunsmith who proceeded to file the trigger sear, which gave the rifle a totally unsafe trigger pull and ruined the safety. In fact we had an accidental discharge into the back floorboard of an uncle's 54 Chevy one night when I released the safety while spotlighting jackrabbits.

To add insult to injury my dad stashed it under his house for the three years I was in the Army, which ruined the bluing and the stock finish outright. When I returned in 1964 I was so sick about it I just put it in a closet and tried to forget about it. Six years later, in 1970. I was trying to decide whether to keep it or junk it and took it up to the local range with a pocketful of every type of ammo I had accumulated in my kidhood. I test fired it, bad trigger and all, from a picnic bench off of a folded up blanket and It put 15 rounds into a nickel-size group at 25 yards with a fogged-up three dollar .22 scope on it, and boy I was royally hooked.

A gunsmith buddy sent off and got me a new trigger and safety for the outrageous sum of $2.85, then put a beautiful blue-black blue job on it for $10. I added a pachmayr recoil pad for extra length, did a Tru-Oil finish job on the stock, then added a folding Marble rear sight and a new front blade on a Williams Shorty Ramp, then finished it off with some sling swivel studs.

During it's 40 years in California it busted a zillion ground squirrels and will probably still be sending rabbits to Rabbit Valhalla long after I'm gone. Right now I'm using it in our Club's .22 silhouette matches, which uses small animal silhouettes at ranges from 25 yards to 100 yards. The little rifle doesn't give up a thing to the high dollar rifles it shoots against, either.

These guns were made from 1939 to 1963, before they started putting serial numbers on .22 rifles. Some are seen with a garish ten shot curved magazine sticking out of them, but I always preferred the old-fashioned five shot magazines they came with. And what the heck, as accurate as these guns are, you just don't need ten shots. And to answer a question you didn't ask - it cost $35 brand spanking new.

That beautiful Tru-Oil finish job is now 40 years old, which says a lot for the product, no?


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