Nostalgia (and late night Interweb surfing) Got Me

  • Back in the carefree days of my misspent youth Sunday mornings were frequently spent in the company of similarly semi-solid citizens of a certain solidly Christian college town doing a certain amount of civic service, ie., shooting prairie dogs on the municipal golf course during church services. A number of disparate opinions amonst my fellow ne'er do well associates as to which of the hotrod centerfire 22 caliber cartridges was best suited to efficient and equally importantly, spectacularly gory termination of this invasive varmint. Being a hard working and frugal Scot, I settled on a Remington 722 chambered in 222 Remington because, well because. A set of Weaver rings and an El Paso Weaver K-6 and a military surplus M1907 sling provided some assistance in the aiming department which was likely counteracted by the dancehall libations of Saturday night. Nevertheless, a little side betting on the outcome of each shot would inevitably escalate to pretty stiff side betting as the range increased and the less steady shooters were simultaneously culled from the firing line. All in all, pretty good fun for those of us on the High Road to Perdition. The one inviolate rule was that all brass be policed and shooters off the course by 11:30, because the Baptist church up the road let out promptly at 12:00 and the golf course parking lot would be completely full by 1:00 and there could be no fresh corpses lying about when the golfers arrived.

    Much to my dissappointment and dismay, I eventually graduated from college and found it necessary to seek employment in my field of study rather than continue as a construction worker. This necessitated a change of venue to Ft. Dix, NJ which was a mighty rude shock. The majority of my earthly possessions, including my beloved 4X4 pickup and most of my firearms, were not allowed to make the transition since I would have no place to store them and being newly inducted, no money to make payments. I eventually got over most of the culture shock and managed to retire without lost time in the stockade.

    I replaced the pickup after I retired and moved back to my ancestral home. A few carefully selected, and quite a few not so carefully selected, firearms have become prisoners in my safe in the ensuing years. But, to the point of this tale, I was home alone without adequate supervision a few weeks ago, up late and binge watching my favorite YouTube channel when an alert from an auction bot flashed across my screen. A Remington 722 in 222 Rem was due to sell in mere minutes, actually turned out to be nearly 10 days, but you know how putting a time limit on things motivates people, especially sleepy ones. I put in a bid and decided to call it a night. By the following morning all that had transpired the night before was forgotten. Fast forward about two weeks and I have an invoice in my email for a purchase from the company that built a pasture fence for me earlier this summer. I had to follow the link to see what I'd purchased. Well, glory be! I've bought my old prairie dog shooter! Somehow, the invoice coming from Intuit got conflated with the invoice from the fence company! Now, it isn't the same gun, just one like it, in far better condition for not having ridden around in my truck all its life. A range report and photo should be on the way soon if the weatherliar will quit threatening to drown all our frogs.

  • @rr2241tx 222 rem is a pretty special little cartridge. A great many firearms with historical significance are chambered in it. I can't wait to see pics.

  • Finally, some sunshine! So, here are some pictures and a little blather. The Remington 722 was brought out in 1948 to replace the pre-war Model 30 and 720 which were more expensive to manufacture. The 721(long action) and 722(short action) were intended to compete as a lower cost alternative to the Winchester Model 70. Production was halted in 1961 and the replacement Model 700 commenced in 1962.

    As you can see from the EXX code, this rifle was manufactured October, 1951.
    Caliber is 222 Remington:
    Bog standard straight grain walnut with anodized aluminum buttplate and stamped steel bottm metal closing off a blind box magazine. Weaver rings hold a 3-9X40 Bushnell Banner II scope which was pretty good glass back then.
    The bolt is polished, coin finish and the very plain handle terminated with a smooth ball. The rear sight has been replaced by a blank which was not filed to match the profile of the mounting dogknot in the barrel. Again, very typical of the period as is the retention of the front ramp and blade.
    The 222 Remington was a newly designed cartridge that filled a niche between 22 Hornet and 22-250 wildcats. It quickly gained a reputation as an excellent target and varmint round. The adoption of the 223/5.56 by the US Army in September, 1963 essentially killed the 222 as the go to medium power target and varmint round. Ammo is still produced, usually once per year around the opening of hunting seasons it can be found briefly on retail shelves but the price is inordinately high compared to the vastly more popular 223/5.56. This is the ammo I made. 21.0 grains of 4198 propelling a 50 grain thin jacketed bullet is a classic load. You will recognize the Hornady Z-Max bullet as the kitchy marketing version of their V-Max varmint bullet that was clearanced at fire sale prices the year after introduction.

  • That's a nice rig. I traded my Grandfather my 30-30 Marlin for his Savage 340 222 when I was in high school. He carried it around in his truck and shot coyotes and other varmints with it and several deer. One nice buck he killed he had a simple horn mount done. The only one he ever had mounted as a matter of fact and killed with a dang 222. He wasn't much of a horn hunter. When I got his it had a four power Weaver on a side mount scope base and it still does only I upgraded to a Bushnell six power. The stock on yours is really nice, the Savage has a plain yellowish beech or birch stock and a sheet metal trigger guard and magazine well. Somewhere down the line he got someone to saw the stock off so he could shoot out of the truck so it's a bit short. Bless his heart. It was getting hard to find ammo a while back but I stumbled on a pretty good stash of brass a guy had for sale not too far from here so I bought it. All once fired and still in boxes and I have some new Winchester as well. Mine shoots pretty good and I killed a couple of deer with it. Strictly neck shots and not too far. Looks like fun, hope it shoots good for you!

  • @bigfoot My Dad had a Stevens 325 in 222. It was the economy model of your grandfather’s gun. Accurate as a laser but a teenager could do pull ups on the trigger. It was UGLY too so a few years ago I tore it down and cleaned 53 years of abuse off of it for him. He’d lacquered the metal and stripped the finish off the wood then drowned it in Tom’s 3 in 1 which was full of dirt. There had never been any attempt to clean the bore. All cleaned, oiled and a couple of coats of Tru-oil it was transformed into an overweight beauty. Bishop once made walnut stocks for those guns that slimmed them down into real nice looking rifles, but who would spend $20 on a new stock for a $16 rifle?

  • @rr2241tx
    Oh yea, I took Gramps rifle and stripped the stock down to bare wood and did a polyurethane finish on it, no stain. I made a grip cap out of some smoke lexan we had in the machine shop and made redline and blackline spacers between the but plate and the pistol grip cap. Kind of spruced it up a bit. I even put some sling studs on it with spacers. I took the sights off and need a dovetail insert for the back one but found some screws for the front one. I took it to a gunsmith and he did a little smoothing up on the trigger but it still reminds me of a cheap cap gun, and yes you can about do a pull up on it with lots of over travel. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say this rifle was bought at either Montgomery Wards or a Sears catalog store in Pearsall. Not too many people around that have ever heard of Montgomery Ward.

  • Monkey Wards was one of my favorite stores. We used to go to Monkey Wards and Sears in Austin to get catalogs for the thunder boxes. Sad situation that neither managed to survive. They had good American products and were basically the go to source for rural America. There’s a bunch of Craftsman Houses in Lockhart and Lytton Springs. Straight from the Sears catalog, ready to build on your land. Damned good houses compared to most modern houses.

  • Well, the 722 got to go to the range yesterday afternoon late following a two day Schuetzen match. Winds were light and gusty half value. Lightning was partly cloudy to heavy clouds. Shooter was about shot out. But so much for excuses.

    The crosshairs are close to 1 MOA and it should have been obvious that I needed to settle the target in the angle instead of under the hairs. Should have been butthat didn’t come to mind until I went to bed. So my carefully crafted ammo only managed about 1 MOA over 20 rounds.

    The original Walker trigger could benefit from a good cleaning and adjustment. It breaks at about 12# now.

    Cartridges don’t feed from the magazine for shit. The follower gets bound against the folded metal insert that forms the blind box if more than 2 or 3 cartridges are loaded. This likely explains why a 67 year old Rifle has been used so little that the bolt and crown were still factory fresh.

    Both problems are easily addressed and I’ll hang a tag on the sling to remind me to lay the target against the crosshairs rather than beneath them.

  • Rainy day here today and David, my gunsmith buddy, invited me over to see if we could figure out why the 722 wouldn't feed from the magazine. Very quickly verified that the magazine stacks 3 on the right and 2 on the left. Left cartridges feed just fine as does the bottom one on the right. #1 will usually jump right out of the action and #3 jumps high enough that the cartridge is atop the bolt head. My loads are 2.177", which barely fit in the mag box but are as short as my dies will go. Maybe OAL is the problem, so I retrieve a sealed box of Remington 222 and they misfeed just the same as the ones I made. In desperation, I retrieved my son's Remington 700 BDL 222 and we tried his mag box and follower in my rifle. Feeds like a teenage boy! We discover that the 700 mag box is ever so slightly narrower than the 722 box and it is boxed off internally at 222Mag length with a longer follower. Might be a clue in there somewhere, but where? Eventually, having wasted about 6.5 hours on the problem, we decide to have a beer and let it sit until inspiration moves us. About two swallows in, David removes the magazine blanking piece from the 722 and begins trying to file it narrower. That's hard metal, so in short order he's off to the belt sander and removes about .005" from the width of the blanker which makes it a noticeably easier fit into the magazine. Three cartridges (2 from the right side) feed perfectly! Five cartridges (full magazine) feed flawlessly! 67 years to the month from the date of manufacture and no one has thought to improve the fit of the magazine blanker to eliminate misfeeds. I got an essentially unused rifle for cheap because it didn't feed from the factory. Now I'm off to see if I can call in a coyote while coated in mosquito spray!

    Oh, BTW, the WalMart in Raymondville is out of bug spray, but we're not going to complain about finally getting some rain.

  • @rr2241tx ... It's been getting down to the mid to high 20's here for the last week.

    Our mosquito's are 86'd until next season. :)

    Glad you're rifle is working well.

  • @rr2241tx
    I bought a 700 Adl .223 Remington from a pawn shop years back and completely restored it. It had been used pretty hard but no rust just lots of bluing gone and a faded stock. Before I started the restoration I tried shooting it and it was a single shot only, just wouldn't feed at all. I took it to a gunsmith buddy (seems we all have one) and he found the problem in about ten seconds. The .222 stamp on the barrel was x'd out and re stamped .223. I never noticed it but a new follower fixed it right away. My old friend that had a full time bluing shop did a real fine bead blast on the barrel and receiver and hot blued it and re coated the trigger guard and butt plate just like the original. The stock got a full makeover with an oil finish, I even sharpened up the checkering with a scraper I made and glass bedded it. Like a fool I traded it, end of story. :( frown
    On a side note: There's a hurricane in the gulf, we have been in the 90's with a heat index of 100 most of last week and next Tuesday the high is supposed to be only in the 60's. That will be a shock. Raymondville, man I haven't been out that way in years. My mom and dad lived on the Kleberg when it was part of the King Ranch before I was born and he talked about that area a lot.