Somewhere around 1976 my grandfather taught me to shoot a rifle. I learned on a Remington Model 34, a bolt-action .22 with a tube magazine, not that I cared about such things at the time. To me it was just My Rifle.
After he had made sure that I wasn't going to kill myself or someone else, he gifted me the rifle. I used it at least once a week when school as in and daily during the summer. It wasn't uncommon for me to bring home rabbit or squirrel taken with the little .22.
One of the really nice things about the rifle was that it would feed any .22 rimfire ammo you put in it. It would handle .22 long, .22 long rifle and .22 short all at the same time! The tube magazine didn't care how long the cartridge was as long as it was the right diameter.
So when I got to be a better shot and realized that a .22LR was too much gun to take a squirrel, I switched to .22 shorts. Shorts were cheaper and worked great for plinking too.
I never really thought a whole lot about the rifle, other than knowing that it always worked even if I didn't keep it as clean as I now tend to do for my collection of firearms. Somewhere along the way it sunk in that it was a Remington but the model number never really mattered enough to me to bother memorizing . Today, with a few decades more of knowledge about many different firearms that kind of oversight seems painfully naive but I think that at the time I just cared that it worked and put food on the table and not much more than that.
Later when I moved up to shotguns and center-fire rifles I gave it back to my grandfather and he passed it along to another generation of shooters. At some point we lost track of it. Now owning a sizable number of firearms, many in .22 caliber, I've come to believe that the little bolt-action rifle of my youth was probably a better fit than any of the new-fangled semi-autos with laser sights. Nothing seems to point as well or as naturally. Now don't get me wrong, the couple of Remington 597s that I have are fine, reliable rifles. AKs, FALs, Remington center-fires, Enfields and Winchester lever actions are all great. I like them just fine. But I had never been able to shake the feeling that the little Remy I learned on was better somehow.
Of course I had been on the lookout. I'd done some research and found that it was a Model 34 I'd had so many years ago. I'd been to gunshow after gun show, checking all the consignment racks for a .22 caliber bolt-action Remington with a tube magazine. I'd been looking for quite a few years and was starting to think I wouldn't fine one again. I started considering trying the auction sites (even though buying a used gun over the Internet sight unseen gives me the screaming willies) or even trying to run down the family member that ended up with the rifle.
And then it happened.
My wife and I hit the Capital City Gun and Knife Show on Saturday, June 20th, 2009. We weren't really looking to buy anything. Of course that's when you suddenly find yourself filling out a 4473 and taking home something that you hadn't planned on. We'd sort of been talking about picking up some .22 caliber plinking pistols as our ammo habit was over $50 a week and only getting more expensive, but we really hadn't decided on anything in particular.
At the time Mrs. Knitebane found the then-new rash of pink stocks and grips to be amusing and we tended to drift buy and giggle at the pink stocked Ruger 10/22s and pink gripped Walther and Taurus handguns. We spotted a pink grip at one of the tables and drifted over. Sitting there were a pair of Beretta U22s, the new Neos plinking pistol. The one that had caught our eye had a 4" barrel and pink grips. The other had the 6" target barrel and grey grips. After picking them up we both commented on how good they felt and suddenly we were haggling price. After sitting through the paperwork we wandered on a bit and picked up some folding knives, something else we both needed but hadn't really planned on getting just then.
So, down about $600 for things we really hadn't planned on buying we decided to depart. They stamped our hands on the way out in case we wanted to come back on Sunday and we headed home.
After taking the Neos out of the box I decided that the front sight kinda sucked and it would probably work best with a red dot scope or holographic site. Some research turned up that one or the other shouldn't set us back more than $50 or so for one that worked on a .22 pistol and also realizing that she needed some carry rounds for her SP-101 we decided to head back the next day.
So we walk in cognizant of the fact that we spent more the day before than we had planned and we agreed that a cheap red-dot and ammo was all we were going to buy. We shopped around a bit for a UTG sight and found one, then started looking for ammo when I walked past a table with GI memorabilia and a rack or two of old guns.
And there it was. It was a bolt-action with a tube magazine. Check. It was a .22. Check. And it was a Remington. I squinted at the writing on the barrel and it said "Model 37". I had found it.
"Pick it up and take a look," the man said. Gee, thanks mister. See, I knew one of two things was going to happen. Either I was going to pick it up and get one of my fondest memories murdered, or I'd have to find an ATM machine because I wasn't carrying much cash.
So I picked it up. I closed my eyes, flipped it up to my shoulder and somewhere in the back of my mind a chorus of trumpets declares that this is THE ONE. I cracked open my right eye and focused on the front sight I saw that the front sight is right where I pointed it and framed precisely in the gap of the rear sight.
I look at Mrs. Knitebane. I guess it was written on my face because she asks, "So, how much"?
The price on the tag said $295 but I guess the guy didn't want to pack it back up because I walked out with it for $240 cash. Hurredly we picked up her ammo and beat feet out of the building before something else jumped out and begged me to take it home.
I got the Remy home and took it down. A bit of surface rust here, some pitting there but the bore was clean and bright, the stock had some grubby places but for a gun that went out of production in 1935 it was basically flawless. A few drops of RemOil and the bolt was like silk. I loaded up the tube magazine and cycled the bolt. It loaded and ejected 22LR without issue.
On our next range day I took it to PDHSC, sent the target out to the maximum 20 yard line and proceeded to put a tube of .22LR into a two inch circle from a rest. From standing I put five rounds into the two inch target next to it. It felt like an extension of my arm.
If it can be said to have any flaws they would be the rough sights. A tiny blade in the front and a buckhorn rear are archaic by modern standards and my eyesight isn't what it used to be. But for all that it still shoots remarkably well. The only other issue is that reloading the tube isn't a very fast process. There are some rapid tube reloaders out there but compared to simply popping in a new magazine it's slow.
Not that it matters as a hunting rifle. If I have to expend more than a dozen rounds at squirrels or rabbits I need to go home and practice, not reload. The tube magazine just keeps it from being useful for events like Appleseed.
But for that I've got my other Remington, the 597. I don't have the same instinctive shooting ability with it as I do with the old Model 34 but that's no surprise. I grew up with a 34 in my hand.
The 597 is a tool, the 34 is a friend.
Hey Baby I don’t know how to fix them, I just drive them! Gear Review: Remington 597 vs. Ruger 10/22
I own two Ruger 10/22 rifles. One is a stainless model with a black plastic stock. The other is a more traditional blued model with a wooden stock. The stainless model was bought because way back when we didn't have a semi-auto rifle for plinking and thought we needed one. It mostly sat in the closet as we lived in an apartment and had few chances to shoot.
The second one I got when I bought a bunch of guns off of a guy that was sending his daughter to college. He needed the money and his wife said the guns had to go. I told him that they'd get a good home. He named his price, I said okay and I went home with several guns including two .22LR rifles. One was the blue 10/22.
Most of my history with .22LR rifles has been with bolt action guns. My grandfather taught me to shoot a Remington Model 34. Running one of those is pretty simple. You put rounds in the tube, crank the bolt and pull the trigger. It goes *BANG* until you run out of rounds. Lather, rinse, repeat. Once every six months or so you spray down the round carrier with Rem Oil.
So when I got the stainless Ruger 10/22 I expected the same kind of experience. Put 10 rounds in the rotary magazine, cycle the bolt and pull the trigger. It goes *BANG* until, well, sometimes until the magazine is empty. Sometimes until it double feeds. Sometimes until it fails to extract. Sometimes until it fails to eject.
So I researched the problem.
"All you need is a Volquartsen extractor!" says one Internet guru.
"Don't stop there!" says another, "Get a target hammer, disconnector and sear too!"
"Be sure to add a firing pin and spring," opines another, "you wouldn't want to continue having issues, you know."
"Oh and an adjustable trigger too!" adds a friendly poster.
"And an automatic bolt release! That will fix that pesky issue of not being able to close the &%$^*#&$&^ bolt when you want to just shoot your $*%^&$**&$ rifle."
I'd already added a Weaver rail and a red dot along with an extended magazine release to replace that stupid little recessed button thingy. I need more stuff to make the gun reliable? When the hell did people start selling guns that require you double the amount of money you have in the gun before it will simply shoot? This isn't some $3000 race gun, it's a flippin' .22LR!
So I put it in the closet and leave it there. It's not really worth the effort.
When I got the aforementioned great deal on the bunch of guns I was happy that I had another Ruger 10/22. I figured maybe someone was pulling my leg and THIS rifle would at least just shoot a few magazines without a problem.
Same problems, same suggestions to fix it.
So in the closet it goes too. At this point I'm thoroughly jaded on semi-auto .22s.
Eventually we moved and start regularly going to a local range. The range most convenient to us is pistol calibers only and mostly we just shoot our carry pieces. Eventually, though, another attendee announces that he's going to be running a .22LR steel target competition and would we like to compete?
Well yeah! Only, we don't have a .22LR pistol. So the research starts. Not wanting to spend a lot of money on something that we may not like (did I mention I was jaded on semi-auto .22LRs? I did? Ok, just checking.) we pass over the Ruger Mark IIs and IIIs, the Browning Buckmarks, the Walthers and the High Standards. We finally settle on a Beretta NEOS, a new (at the time) polymer framed .22LR pistol that runs about half the price of the other .22LR pistols.
It's cheap, it's plastic and it eats up rounds and comes back for more. When it starts to malf you just clean it and it picks right back up. So we shoot a season of the steel match and notice that our .22LR cheap plastic toy runs as well as the high-end custom Rugers and *LOTS* better than the out-of-the-box Rugers. The only people that have better guns are a couple of guys with the 1911 .22LR conversions and one guy with a Browning Buckmark. (We own a Buckmark now too.)
So we ask the guy that runs the event why his Ruger is so reliable. "Well," he says, "All I did was replace the trigger and sear and hammer and extractor and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah."
What the hell? Why doesn't Ruger just sell a bare receiver and let Volquartsen provide shooters with parts that actually work? Why can't RUGER sell a gun that actually works? They make fantastic revolvers, what the hell is wrong with the parts in the semi-auto rifles and pistols?
What's that you say? A lot of the serious 10/22 shooters DRILL A HOLE IN THE END OF THE RECEIVER JUST SO THEY CAN CLEAN THE GUN?
But now I know it's not a .22LR semi-auto issue. It's just a Ruger issue. And my mind strays back to that OTHER semi-auto rifle I bought when I got the second 10/22. The one I tossed in the closet because, hey, it's just another generic semi-auto .22LR and we just know those things can't be reliable, right?
So I pull out the Remington 597 that I had abandoned to the closet grues. I clean the dust out of it and take it to the range.
300 rounds and zero failures later and I'm kicking myself for getting sucked into the 10/22 hype. But after about 6 months of shooting it I start having problems with it. It starts not wanting to feed properly. So I do some research.
"Yeah, it will do that eventually. Just spray a little Rem Oil inside the receiver." they say.
I do it. And it works.
When the opportunity to attend an Appleseed shoot comes up, we buy the Mrs. her own Remington 597. It runs the same. A little lube and occasionally clean the magazines. I'm old and blind so I put a scope on mine using the built-in 3/8" rails on the top of the receiver. She gets Tech Sights. We both get GI slings to attach to the provided sling swivel studs.
It was recommended to me that if I don't know how many rounds have been through the gun I should replace the extractor. So I do. And instead of the stock Remington part for $4.49 I get a Volquartsen extractor for almost $20. How WILL I survive the financial stress?
At the shoot, we run through around 700 rounds and we found that only one thing causes a Remington 597 to not go *BANG*: When it runs out of rounds.
Well, I did have one dud round. Pulled the trigger and *click*. Waited for a bit and cranked the bolt. Yeah, it's got a divot from the hammer but it didn't go off. But other than that it just runs.
I'm keeping the Rugers, though. Some day I may need to teach someone how to clear malfunctions.