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New .22 Rifle
Discussions related to Guns and Firearms

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SingleShotLover
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Location: Illinois

PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:29 am    Post subject: New .22 Rifle Reply with quote

Quite a few years ago I had the opportunity to work with a Ruger 77/22 that a friend loaned me. He was just getting into the sport of .22-caliber silhouette shooting and had purchased it for this purpose. I was immediately impressed with the overall feel of the rifle and its accuracy was very good. Since there were few truly adult sized .22s available at the time, I filed away the thought that someday I would have to add one to my collection. Time went by without me acting upon this idea and it sort of got filed in the back corners of my mind. With the renewed interest my wife recently showed about shooting and her wish to claim one of my existing .22 rifles as her own, the old idea popped back to the forefront of my mind and I decided it was time to act.

My criteria was pretty simple; the new rifle had to be .22 LR, substantial enough to feel like it had been made for an adult, be a bolt action and have a reputation for being accurate. I have nothing in particular against semi-autos, but I already have two and the two bolt-action .22s I have (a 1940s vintage Remington 510 and a Daisy 2202) are too light and don’t really fit my frame.

Naturally the first rifle that crossed my mind was that Ruger 77/22 of years ago, especially since I have always been a big fan of pretty much any Ruger product. Doing an extensive search of the internet was discouraging. Opinion was sharply, and often bitterly, divided as to the accuracy of this rifle. Even looking at the blogs and forums predominantly populated by diehard Ruger fans revealed that my friend’s rifle wasn’t necessarily the norm. Now there are always spoilers on any forum that delight in telling tales to dash the hopes of other posters, but the story was too consistent from forum to forum and from a multitude of posters to ignore. The idea of the Ruger was laid to rest.

One rifle that kept popping up on all of the forums was the CZ 455. There was a great deal of support and very little negative chatter on this rifle. Accuracy seems to be considered exceptional in the majority of cases and there were few people complaining about anything but the trigger. A big plus to the budget-minded is the fact that the 455 sells for roughly half what a Ruger costs. The Varmint version drew my eye and I was just about ready to make the plunge and order one when a random comment from one of the guys that works for me set me thinking about a rifle that I hadn’t even considered; the Browning T-Bolt. Research on the internet found high praise for accuracy with the only complaint being the trigger which, though adjustable, will only go as low as around three and one half pounds. Figuring that I might still better that, I decided to make a call to my friendly gun shop and have one ordered. These are good people and only charged me their cost and a few bucks for their trouble. Added to the fact that Browning is having a promotion this month where they refund your sales tax up to 8% of the purchase price, it was a winning proposition.

The T-Bolt I bought is of the Target/Varmint configuration. This means that the barrel, at 22” in length, is of a heavier contour than the sporter version. Not a lot; more of a medium contour, but enough to add just a little more weight out front. The muzzle is cut to a recessed flat target crown with no hint of burrs. All metal work is finished in an attractive blue and is well polished. The chamber is advertised as being “semi-match”…more on this later. There are no sights and the receiver is tapped for scope mounts, but neither mounts nor rings come with the rifle. Mounts were ordered when I placed the order for the rifle. The safety is of the sliding, tang-mounted variety and is very positive while being easy to use.

The bolt body is finished bright with the rear and the bolt handle polished and blued. Action of the bolt is directly rearward and forward. When in the forward position substantial twin locking lugs protrude into matching holes in the receiver body behind the ejection port for an incredibly strong lock up. Drawing the bolt to the rear activates twin toggles that draw the lugs into the bolt to allow movement. Removing and re-installing the bolt is a bit tricky, but once you have struggled through it once or twice it all becomes clear, easy and logical. All bolt travel is in a linear manner with nothing rotating. It is relatively logical for one to make the conjecture that the lack of turning or camming coupled with minimal tolerances might well contribute to accuracy.

Browning changed from the original 5-round magazine to a newly designed 10-round one. It is roughly like a Ruger magazine but much sleeker designed. The company calls it a “helix” design that is rotary in function but when seen from the front or back gives the impression of a figure “8”. To facilitate loading rounds, a thumb-operated notched wheel rotates the magazine follower for each cartridge. Loading is quick and easy once you get the hang of it and ejection of the magazine from the action is positive – almost too positive! If you don’t keep the palm of your hand under the magazine when ejecting it you will be picking it up from the floor. Function during my limited initial shooting period was flawless.
The stock is of dense walnut in a Monte Carlo design which is perfect for me using a scope. With a forearm that widens into a semi-beavertail toward the front, it is both easy to grasp and sandbag friendly. A plastic butt plate is fitted to the rear and all action and barrel channel inletting is clean and precise. The receiver is glass bedded in key areas and the barrel channel is cut to free-float the barrel but not to an extent that it appears “hogged” out. Sling swivel studs are installed. The checkering is utilitarian but effective. The overall finish is a satin finish that approximates oil. The whole thing is a package that weighs in at a nominal five and a half pounds (without scope), only about a pound more than the sporter version, and balances very nicely with a very slight muzzle-heavy feel, just as I had hoped.



When I got the rifle home I thoroughly cleaned all traces of packing/shipping oil from the surfaces and bore, installed the scope mounts and adjusted the trigger to as low a setting as possible. On this rifle, that figured to be just barely less than three pounds. I had picked up a Weaver Kaspa 4-16 scope with the side-mounted parallax adjustment (Yes, I know, WAY too much scope for a .22, but what the heck.) and sorted through my drawers of rings to find a set that gave enough clearance to the objective that I can install Butler Creek flip-up covers later. Bore sighting the scope; I was ready to make some noise.

Naturally the day was windy averaging 18 mph and gusts up to 30 or so, but I wasn’t about to wait for a perfect day. Setting up my bench in my garage to keep me out of as much wind as possible gave me a clear shot of 35 yards to my backstop. Grabbing a box of Remington bulk ammo and stapling up a target, I was ready to shoot.

Nestling the rifle into the sand bags, I aligned the crosshairs on my target and squeezed off a round. Of course the resulting bullet hole wasn’t where the crosshairs were centered, but at least it was on the target. I learned a long time ago not to just chase bullet holes when sighting a scope, so trying to judge the wind gusts, I proceeded to fire four more rounds. As I watched each round appear to go into the same hole, I started to get a little excited and failed to catch a break on the wind for the final round. Bottom line is that the first four shots measured .236” on centers with the fifth round opening the group to .349”. Subsequent shots while fine-tuning the scope and trying to read the wind averaged little more than the first group.



As to the “semi-match” chamber; match chambers are usually cut so that the bullet nose is jammed firmly into the rifling for better alignment and supposedly accuracy. When chambering the Remington rounds and then extracting them in my T-Bolt, the bullet noses showed a hint of rifling marks. Different brands may engrave more or less depending on actual configuration, but if that is a help for accuracy, I’m all for it. Obviously this is a keeper and I am just waiting for a better day to see what it can really do as well as try other ammunition brands.

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:05 am    Post subject: Re: New .22 Rifle Reply with quote

SSL, beautifyl rifle with beautiful results! I'm sure you will be using it for a long time. Thanks for sharing.

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Elvis
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 1:10 pm    Post subject: Re: New .22 Rifle Reply with quote

very nice.thanks for report,enjoy yourself out there and dont forget photos of the first lot of game to fall to her.

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Gil Martin
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:04 pm    Post subject: Re: New .22 Rifle Reply with quote

I bought the same rifle about a year ago and have not shot it. Maybe now I will. Good choice. All the best...
Gil

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gelandangan
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:30 pm    Post subject: Re: New .22 Rifle Reply with quote

Well, I got a 77/22 that I used to shoot rabbits quite regularly.
I have not yet discover a reason to complain.
IMHO Ruger's 10 shot circular magazine is definitely awesome.

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SingleShotLover
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:00 pm    Post subject: Re: New .22 Rifle Reply with quote

Gil Martin wrote:
I bought the same rifle about a year ago and have not shot it. Maybe now I will. Good choice. All the best...
Gil

One of the forums I checked out was Shooter's Forum...unless there is another Gil Martin, your comments helped play a part in my decision. Get out there and shoot that rifle!

Gelandangan - Don't get me wrong, I still love Rugers, which is why I own so many and will continue to buy more. I have no intention of "trashing" them as a product. It's just that when I find so much varying opinion even on a Ruger forum I had to weigh the odds. My friend's 77/22 was amazingly accurate, as were others mentioned in forums, but there were as many or more who were less than satisfied. Luck of the draw.

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gelandangan
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:09 pm    Post subject: Re: New .22 Rifle Reply with quote

SSL
No big deal mate, I am not locked to a brand, nor am apologizing for Ruger's shortfalls which is plenty..

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MacD
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:33 am    Post subject: Re: New .22 Rifle Reply with quote

This came at the perfect time. I just started looking for a. 22 bolt action. I was narrowed down to a Savage MK2 BTVSS, the CZ452, and the T-Bolt. After reading your review the T-Bolt definately rise to the top.

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SingleShotLover
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:27 am    Post subject: Re: New .22 Rifle Reply with quote

All are good choices. As I mentioned, the CZ seems to rate very well. Many think the 452 is marginally better than the 455 but the 452, replaced by the 455, might be harder to find. The only real drawback to the CZ for me is the 5-round clip that protrudes so far below the stock. The T-Bolt does slightly, but not to the same extent and holds 10 rounds. Not really a big deal. I love my T-Bolt so far but tastes have every right to differ. Whatever you choose, have fun!

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If you can't hit it with one, you probably can't with two either!

The biggest problem with a closed mind is that it never seems to come with a closed mouth.

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Gil Martin
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:08 am    Post subject: Re: New .22 Rifle Reply with quote

SingleShotLover,
That was me on the other forum. I have acquired so many guns at very low prices that I cannot get to them in a timely manner. All the best...
Gil

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MacD
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 11:03 am    Post subject: Re: New .22 Rifle Reply with quote

Okay call me fickle but I got a call from the guy I contacted reference a CZ452 and he told me he has a CZ455 FS in. 22 in stock and said I could have it for a good price. I fell in love with the full stock. I rejected the 455 earlier as I also wondered about accuracy in an interchangable barrel rifle. Now the looks of the FS model have me drooling. Darn decisions, decisions, decisions.

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Pumpkinslinger
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 11:33 am    Post subject: Re: New .22 Rifle Reply with quote

Buy 'em all, sort them out later!! Wink

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SingleShotLover
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2014 12:20 pm    Post subject: Re: New .22 Rifle Reply with quote

Nice problem to have. Pick what you like and enjoy.

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If you can't hit it with one, you probably can't with two either!

The biggest problem with a closed mind is that it never seems to come with a closed mouth.

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dhc4ever
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:05 pm    Post subject: Re: New .22 Rifle Reply with quote

Mac,
I have a cz 453 varmit, the 455 has superceeded the 452 and 453 and by most accounts people are happy with the accuracy and fit and finish.
Have a read here it covers most models of cz;

www.rimfirecentral.com...y.php?f=18

Im now currently waiting for the new Lithgow 101 crossover to hit tne market.
Have fun deciding.
Cheers

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