ENERGY IS ONLY PART OF THE STORY

Many years ago I had a .22RF Martini action rifle converted to centrefire and rebarreled to .32-20 (more on this to come in another post).  In short, the reason for the build was to create a small game rifle shooting subsonic ammo through a suppressor that would still have generous knock down power on the very large European hares we have in NZ.  My load was a Lyman 311008 plain base, flat nose bullet of a nominal 115gr over 4.3gr of Unique for 1030fps producing 271 ft/lb of muzzle energy or twice that of a 37gr HVHP .22RF round.   Twice as much may sound impressive but 271 ft/lb is pretty tame when you consider a .22WMRF produces 324 ft/lb and a 7.62X39 1527 ft/lb.  Energy however is not always a true indication of how well a hunting load will perform.  Projectile nose profile, expansion or lack of said and momentum (velocity x mass) also play a significant role and those who shoot round balls from muzzleloading firearms will confirm this.  A large, blunt, lumbering projectile will drop an animal as convincingly as a super light screamer. 

A good, practical demonstration of this comes from an experiment I conducted a few years back.  Sourcing some discarded 25lb blocks of bakery margarine/shortening as a test medium I decided to compare the ‘wound’ channels created by .22RF hunting ammo and my .32-20 subsonic small game load.  The blocks were placed end on at 50 yards one round of each load was shot length ways into the shortening.  A thin mixture of plaster was then poured into each cavity and allowed to set prior to the blocks being cut open to reveal the end result.  these are as follows.  The top cast is the .32-20 and it should be noted the very end of the plaster broke off so the cast does not reflect the full 15 inches of penetration. 

plaster018_zpsdff7f0fb

It is easy to see that the non expanding .32-20 115gr bullet impacting at a slower velocity generated a much larger wound channel in all dimensions.  Though the beginning of the channel is not significantly wider the blunt, flat nose bullet maintains the channel for longer and further than the rapidly expanding and decelerating .22RF bullet. 

Seen below the .22RF bullet expanded in text book fashion to a diameter greater than the .32-20 bullet however in doing so it slowed up and stopped in approximately 6 inches whilst the .32-20 bullet ploughed all the way through the block. 

dscn4871

Three factors are at play here in making my .32-20 small game load the superb performer it is on hares.

  • An expanding bullet sheds velocity very rapidly as frontal area increases in size and resistance.  The result is a short wound channel.
  • Momentum; mass X velocity.  The .32-20 subsonic load has twice the energy but three times the momentum.  Energy relies on squaring the velocity.  Momentum does not.
  • Nose profile.  The work is being done by the transfer of energy from the flat nose bullet.  A round nose bullet would not have created such an impressive channel.  Indeed I have used RN bullets in the Martini with very poor results on small game.

A rather sobering revelation came from this experiment also in regards to over penetration.  Upon firing the subsonic and supressed .32-20 round I heard a distinct “TWACK” of lead striking wood.  A quick evaluation of the path of the bullet caused me to walk 100 yards beyond the test medium to discover the FN bullet lodged about 1 inch into a pine fence post.  To recap, the bullet departed my company at 1030fps, travelled 50 yards, went end to end through 15 inches of shortening, travelled an additional 100 yards and embedded itself a good inch into a pine post.  And that my friends is why we make sure there is a good back stop behind our targets!!

Another good example of what a soft lead bullet moving sedately can do is an experiment using my .310 Cadet rifle and wet phone books placed at 100m (110 yards).  The 120gr round nose, 40-1 alloy bullet left the muzzle at 1370fps, traversed 110 yards and penetrated a full 13 inches of wet telephone book. 

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Something to think about.

Keep your powder dry. 

Jeff

Posted in Ballistics, Handloading | 2 Comments

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY SMLE

It occurred to me recently that my Enfield manufactured SMLE (Short magazine Lee Enfield) .303 battle rifle was turning 100 years old this year.  The receiver is actually marked “Enfield 1917 ShtLE III” being a mark No. Mk III.  What is interesting about my rifle is that by 1917, as I understand it, the rifles were mainly Mk III* and without the magazine cut off.  Mine is not a * and most certainly has the cut off in place and full functioning. 

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The condition of the rifle is very good.  Whilst the woodwork is far from stunning it is understandable as by 1917 all the good walnut had been used up and alternates had to be found.  The wood has couple of small armoury repairs but is otherwise as it was exiting the factory.  A MLE butt stock adorns the back end of the rifle as the length of pull of the older butt suits my arm length better. 

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The barrel is life new and is a 5 groove left hand twist (yes, the Brits knew about 5R rifling over a hundred years ago).  FTR’d in 1953 I suspect the rifle never saw much use if any prior to being sold as surplus and as a result it shoots very well with cast bullets being a regular 2 MOA rifle when the operator does his bit.  One of the best loads for it is a Mk VI ammunition duplicate pushing a 220gr cast bullet at 2000fps.

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Another lovely feature is the rear sight is the original windage adjustable model.  The rifle would be sighted with the rear sight centred on ‘0’ and the correct height front sight drifted to zero.  Once completed the rear sight can be moved left or right to allow for wind and set back to zero again with ease.  SMLE sights are some of the best open sights I have used with the square notch and blade arrangement. 

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So happy birthday old girl.  You don’t get a letter from the Queen but I promised to take you to the range soon and dust of the cobwebs.

Keep your powder dry.

Jeff

 

Posted in Rifles | Leave a comment

RETRO FITTING A NEW SPRUE PLATE

One size doesn’t fit all.  I talk from experience being 6 feet tall and 165lb wringing wet.  Trust me; I know about these things.  So when it comes to sprue plates on bullet moulds the same principle can apply.  Let me explain further if I may.

For the sake of mass production manufacturers like to have as many standardised parts as possible.  It makes sense.  Keeps inventory in check and bean counters quiet(ish).  Bullet mould sprue plates are a good example where one plate carrying the same size pouring holes and countersunk areas are used on all moulds regardless of calibre.  Where this gets a bit tricky though is when the diameter of the bullet being cast is close the to diameter of the aperture through which the lead is being poured. 

Case in point:  My first ever mould was an double cavity Lyman 225415, old version, that was purchased second hand and used with great success in the .22 Hornet I owned at the time and the .223 Rem that replaced the Hornet some years later.  The factory sprue plate has pouring holes that measured 0.16 inch (4.12mm) in diameter which does not sound very big until we commence to crunching numbers.  Let’s compare the pouring hole size to three different common size cavities; .225, .311, .459 inch.

Bullet dia GC shank dia Hole dia GC Shank area Hole area % of sprue hole
0.225 0.218 0.160 0.037 0.020 54%
0.311 0.284 0.160 0.063 0.020 32%
0.459 0.428 0.160 0.140 0.020 14%

Reading across the table we can see that the area of the pouring hole is a little more than 1/2 of the area of the base of a .225 bullet, approximately 1/3 of a .311 bullet but only 14% of a big .459 clunker.  What caused me to consider this was inspecting the bases of freshly cast 225415 bullets and seeing just how large the scar left by the sprue plate was in relation to the bullet and I got to wondering about the impact of this blemish on weight variations. 

As a test I decided to make a replacement sprue plate for the little mould and a friend in the aerospace sector supplied a couple of perfectly cut to size 5mm think pieces of 7 series aluminium alloy.  Using the original Lyman plate as template the new model was marked out and drilled with 2mm (0.078 inch) holes and countersunk with 1/2 inch/90 degree bit.  The material worked beautifully and machined very well as it is high quality and very hard by aluminium standards.  The finished piece follows:

225462

And the original for comparison:

replacement-sprue-plate-22-mould

The benefits are easy to see.  To begin with the sprue plate is much thicker allowing for a deeper countersink cavity generating a significantly larger sprue puddle and greater reservoir of metal for the cooling, shrinking bullet.  In addition the cut off scar on the base of the bullet is less than half the diameter of the original and only 1/4 of the area thus causing much less distortion and requires very little force to cut the sprue free.  The following photo shows bullets cast using the original plate (top) compared to those cast using the new plate (bottom). 

cut-off-marks

The gas check shank to pouring hole ratio of the new plate is 5/37 or approximately 13% so pretty much in line with the .459 example from the table above. 

So, was it worth the effort?  Absolutely.  My weight variations per bullet dropped from +/- 0.5gr to +/- 0.1-0.2gr.  In addition the new, smaller diameter sprues, even when cast in linotype, can be cut using just a gloved hand where previously a tap on the plate with a thick dowel was required.  The experiment was sufficiently successful that the second piece of material was fashioned into an identical plate and fitted to the Lyman 225462 mould producing the same results.  I encourage others to give this a try though a word of caution; be sure to use top grade material.  After I succeeded with my plates I was asked by a fellow .22 cast bullet shooter to make an aluminium plate for him also.  I arrived on my doorstep with a very ugly piece of material that was very soft and awful to work with.  I was never able to make it fit the top of his mould perfectly as I had done with my ‘plane’ grade alloy and gave him my best effort accompanied by “That’s as good as it gets using scrap metal”.

Keep your powder dry.

Jeff

Posted in Casting, Moulds | 4 Comments

THE GUN THAT JUST WOULDN’T GO AWAY.

Guess post by Trey45.

First a little back story. When I was just a little kid my dad and I would watch Hogans Heroes every time it came on TV. He would always make sure to point out the various firearms portrayed in the show and tell me what each one was. Every single time a Walther P38 was shown he’d ooh and ah and proceed to tell me what a fine, fine pistol they were and that he’d always wanted one ever since he shot one and how he’d never find the one he wanted and etc etc. Listening to dad go on and on about those pistols built them up to an almost mythical status in my mind.

Flash forward many years, dad had passed away and never did find the Walther P38 he was looking for. JG Sales got in a bunch of Cold War era West German Police trade in Walther P38’s and had them on sale for $229 plus shipping. Well I had to get one, just to see for myself what the big deal was all about. Dad loved these guns and I had only seen them at gunshows and never wanted to pay the huge price they all seemed to want. Keep in mind I had built these things up to a status that was rivaled only by the Sig P210. The gun finally arrives at my FFL, we do the transfer and I head out to the range for some quality time.

p38

I set up at 21 feet first, just to get my feet wet. I was less than impressed. It’s accurate, it fits the hand well, it’s a single stack so it’s going to feel good regardless. The sights are typical U notch and the trigger is creepy on double action, but a clean break on single. I’m still not impressed. I think I had built it up too high all those years that I was simply disappointed by typical Walther P38 performance. I decided right then that I was going to trade/sell the gun instead of keep it.

A buddy of mine knew I was not attached to the P38 and offered me a KelTek PLR16 in trade. I swapped in a heartbeat! That KelTek was loud, obnoxious, blew fireballs the size of trashcan lids, it was JUST the thing for the firing line with my buds. I soon became bored of the PLR16 and traded it for a German AK47 imported through Interarms. Meanwhile my buddy who had the P38 had decided to sell it and offered me first refusal. I bought it back for $200.

A couple of years later a friend of mine who I had traded with numerous times before offered me a Beretta 92F for the P38. I traded, this was something like the 4th Beretta I had traded into with this same guy. Not too long afterwards he offers me first refusal on the P38, for $200. I buy the thing back.

This same guy who traded me the Beretta asks me a couple months later if I still had the P38, I did. He asks me if I want to trade it for a Gen3 (which was new at the time) Glock 17. I trade the P38 for the G17. I hated that gun. I had had a G17 Gen2 before (from the same guy) and disliked it, and disliked the Gen3 as well. It shot great, but it’s just not for me. Not too long later he calls me and asks if I want to trade back, I do!. That’s 3 times I’ve tried to get rid of the P38 and 3 times it came back to me. I’ve decided it’s a keeper now. I think I’m supposed to have this gun.

Posted in Handguns | Leave a comment

GRILL & SMOKER MODIFICATIONS

This past spring, my wife gave me a Masterbuilt 44 inch propane smoker for Father’s Day. I had a great deal of difficulty getting chips to produce smoke because of the design of the heat shield and smoke box. I had to crank the fire up far higher than I wanted to get smoke.

So, I set about making some modifications that would allow me to smoke at low temps. First, I gutted the smoke box bracket and the heat shield assembly.

IMG_4929I then removed the two burners, installed a cut to fit piece of old rack from an old smoker and reinstalled the burners, trapping the rack section in place.

IMG_4930If I want to cold smoke, I can simple place my AMNPS on the burner rack without the burners lit.

IMG_4931If I want to hot smoke, I place a stainless steel cafeteria food pan full of chips on the burners, light the burner(s) and adjust for desired heat.

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A coupla’ years ago, my wife gifted my with a Kenmore stainless steel five burner grill. I can’t imagine having one any better.

Wanting to be able to barbecue (250 to 350), I made some modifications that enables me to do that as well as grill at higher temps.

I found that I could remove the center rack, the three fire shields over the number two, three and four burners and put the rack directly on top of the burners.

IMG_4933I then built an elevated rack using expanded metal, angle iron and some hardware. The new rack is six inches higher and the grill hood will shut over it.

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If I want to bring smoke into my barbecuing, I can set the stainless steel smoke box of chips or chunks on the rack over the center burner. With that one burner on low, I can control the cabinet heat down to 250 and generate plenty of smoke. If I want less smoke, I can place my AMNPS on one of the original racks off to one side. The AMNPS also gives me the option of cold smoking in the grill.

With these modifications, I can cold smoke, hot smoke, barbecue and grill. Life is good. Jim’s a happy boy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in RECIPES | Leave a comment

MINI 14 KABOOM

There was a horrendous incident a few months ago at my club.  Every Tuesday evening is ‘public’ night where the club makes its 100m range available, for a fee, to non members.  A non member attended and took his place in bay 4 with one of the two Ruger Mini 14 rifles had brought along to shoot.  Unbeknown to the range officers the shooter encountered a stoppage whereby the first rifle would not cycle.  He informed no one and reached for the second Mini 14 he had.  On the second round the rifle blew up in his face sending shards of metal in all directions, the barrel 15 feet forward of the firing bay and the bolt into his forehead. 

Mini 14 1

Fortunately the shooter and all others survived the incident.  What was established during the club investigation later was as follows:

1) The shooter, not surprisingly, was using handloads.

2) The handloads were loaded with varying amounts of Winchester W540 powder.  The club range convenor pulled the ammo down and found the charges varied wildly from 9gr to 20gr or more.

3) The shooter had bought w540 mid/slow burning pistol powder thinking it was Vihtavouri N540 rifle powder that has a burn rate close to H4350.

4) The first Mini 14 failed to cycle as the bolt had split lengthwise.

5) The second Mini 14 suffered a catastrophic failure of the receiver shattering the mid section into small pieces, breaking the stock in two places and ejecting the barrel out the front of the firing position.

6) The threads in the receiver and on the barrel were intact indicating the receiver had stretched sufficiently that the barrel was able to slip out with the threads engaging.

7) The shooter successfully destroyed not one but TWO Ruger Mini 14 rifles in the space of about 2 minutes.

The shooter received first aid and was taken to emergency services and discharged.  It is the understanding of the club that the individual not longer holds a firearms licence due to additional factors.  In discussions after the event the shooter was adamant that .223 ammunition was only every loaded with pistol powders though given the likely state of shock he would have been in this could be discounted.

Mini 14 2

Mini 14 3

After the event the shooter took what pieces he retained of the two rifles to local gunsmithing shops with the desire to build one ‘good’ rifle from the ruins of the ill fated pair.  He was not successful.

Keep your powder dry and CORRECT.

Jeff

Posted in General, Handloading, RANGE REPORTS | 3 Comments

REMINGTON NYLON 66, THE PLASTIC FANTASTIC.

Rifle

Synthetic stocks are nothing new to us in this day and age but to many shooters a stock made of any substance other than wood is considered a fairly recent occurrence. My first experience with a ‘plastic’ stock was in the early 1990’s when Ramline aftermarket synthetic stocks were all the rage and one took up residence on my 8X57 Mauser owned at the time.  The idea of a stock impervious to the weather conditions and not subject to warping and bending at the whim of humidity was an attractive prospect not to mention the light weight and stylish black colour.  It seems remarkable now that the idea of Ramline was so captivating but what is more remarkable is that the concept of a synthetic stock was already 40 years old.

In the post war years of the 1950’s America was enjoying the wonders and luxuries of modern living. Televisions and refrigerators were becoming common place as was the extended use of synthetic or manmade materials the likes of nylon.  First developed prior to World War Two nylon was used for such items as ladies stockings, tooth brushes and parachutes and was a wonder to behold.  Move over silk and Bakelite; nylon has come to stay. Enter Remington onto the scene.

The DuPont chemical company had control of Remington from 1933 and when the design team at Remington wanted to develop a cheap, light and modern looking semi-automatic .22RF rifle they asked the DuPont engineers to supply a suitable material for the stock work. DuPont came back with structural ‘Zytel 101’ which was the DuPont trade name for one of the polymers from the Nylon 66 range of material.  Structurally sound, inexpensive and with a melting point of nearly 270 degree Celsius (no one wants their rifle to droop in the heat after all) the good old boys at Remington were onto a winner and with the help of designers Leek, Morse and Young the Remington Nylon 66 was born and for released to the market in 1959 for the grand sum of USD49.95 with production maintained through to 1989 in during which time over one million were made.

My first encounter, albeit a paper one, with the Nylon 66 was browsing Remington catalogues of the late 70’s and early 80’s. At a time when pretty much all rifles in this country work wooden furniture to a young and impressionable soon to be rabbiter the 66 was very exotic looking.  Of course common sense, availability and economy dictated my first rifle was a timber trimmed bolt action .22RF and only a chance visit to a favoured gun shop in recent years finally put a 66 into my safe.

The Nylon 66 during its time was a novel and futuristic looking rifle that delivered on what Remington offered. During the introduction launch a Tom Frye, a Remington field rep, used four Nylon 66 rifles over the course of 13 days to shoot 100004 wooden, air tossed blocks missing only 6 of the total 100010 thrown.  The rifles were cleaned 5 times only during the shooting demonstration.  The original test rifle was fired 75000 times with a failure rate of only 0.005%.  Produced in green, black and brown my 66 is the latter and the bare rifle weighs a remarkable 4lb or 1.8kg.  Complete with the Lyman 2.5X scope it came with the unloaded rifle weighs in at a scant 4.75lb or 2.16kg; that’s about the same as a 2 litre bottle of milk.  Stocks were made in two halves and fitted together by Feed by a tubular magazine in the butt stock, much like the old pump guns, the rifle will hold 14 rounds of .22RF which is cycles as prescribed and without flaw.  Barrel length for all models was 19 ¾ inches or 502mm and are held in the stock by a bracket that pulls down under bolt tension into a mortise cut in the top of the barrel forward of the chamber.  It’s a rather rudimentary system and at first glance does not appear very robust however the chamber end of the barrel butts into a stout seat in the stock and combined with foreend pressure the projectile directing tube stays exactly where it is supposed to.  The steel bolt runs along a pair of horizontally opposed channels moulded into the stock and featuring a spring loaded, stout extractor the bolt is not about to leave a spent case in the chamber.  Immediately behind the bolt is the striker which upon release of the sear plunges horizontally forward running on a piece of light weight tubing striking the back of the firing pin as it lays mounted on the top of the bolt body.  Attached and hinged to the top front of the bolt is a stamped piece of steel that serves as a guide to assist the transit of cartridges out of the magazine tube and into the chamber.  Ejection is accomplished with the aid of a piece of light gauge steel bent at a right angle protruding through the plastic action sidewall into the action and serves a dual purpose of working in conjunction with the cartridge guide in directing fresh cartridges into the chamber.  All the workings of the action are contained and constrained by a stamped steel ‘U’ cross sectioned cover that slides down over the stock/action section and is tethered by a pair of slender bolts.  A leaf spring mounted on the inside top of the cover applies downward pressure to the cartridge feed guide as it slides home against the barrel.  The action cover mounts a windage and elevation adjustable ‘U’ notch rear sight and has a 3/8 inch dovetail for scope ring attaching.

Stripped Ejector Barrel retainer Acton without cover

Rear sight Grip cap Mag azine Catalogues

Everything about the Nylon 66 screams budget.  I am not going to call is ‘cheap’ purely and simply because the word cheap is all too often associated with items that don’t function or last well and neither applies to this rifle.  It’s an intriguing piece of work and while die hard firearms fans most likely would view the 66 with nothing but disdain and disgust I can’t help but like it and really like it.  What rings my bell is the rifle is cleverly designed around two requirements; to be inexpensive and light and it did both of these at the same time while remaining slick and smooth.  One feature that is brilliant is the way in which cartridges are released from the magazine tube and fed into the chamber.  Protruding up into the action is a steel tab that loops down under the magazine tube and projects a small ‘stop’ into the tube to catch the rim of the forward cartridge and hold it in place.  As the bolt travels backwards either on initial cocking or cycling during firing the bolt depresses the tab which in turn depressed the ‘stop’ and a cartridge is released under spring tension into the action where the ejector and cartridge guide direct it straight into the chamber.  It’s a thing of beauty really.  The entire cartridge does not chamber until the bolt slams home but the spring launch is enough to deliver the projectile and forward part of the cartridge directly into the chamber for subsequent loading in full. The following cartridge in the magazine has its upward movement stopped by the presence of the bolt and is then snagged by the ‘stop’.  Everyone can do budget but not everyone can do budget and clever.

Disassembly is not difficult and begins with cocking the action of the unloaded rifle, sliding out the magazine tube and removing the bolt handle by pulling it directly out of the action sideways. Removing the pair of bolts on the side of the action allows the action cover to slip upwards and off the rifle.  At this time the ejector will fall out of the back side of the action so it is best to catch this prior to it dropping onto the floor of your workshop and under your bench.  With the workings exposed unscrew the bolt that draws down the barrel retaining block; the bolt head is on the underside of the stock in the usual position.  Unscrew the bolt enough only that the retaining block will slide upwards and clear the mortise in the barrel allowing the barrel to be extracted forward out of the stock.  As the barrel is removed the bolt is allowed to slide forward and stop on the barrel retaining block (see why we left in place?) which when lifted out of the stock (upon final unscrewing of the bolt) will clear the way for bolt extraction.  With the bolt will come the operating spring and its plunger leaving the striker in place.  Holding the striker and releasing the trigger will allow removal of this final section of strike, guide tube and spring.  I don’t advise going beyond this stage into trigger group disassembly unless you have a very, very good idea of what you are doing as the trigger group is a hornet’s nest. Reassembly is simply accomplished by reversing the order of the above.

Likes and dislikes of the 66.

Likes:

Personally I am not a great user of safeties of firearms and prefer to operator with open actions but when it comes to semi autos we are compelled to use them.  When forced to use a safety I prefer like tang mounted.  Given the position of the shooters thumb around the wrist of the stock it just makes sense to mount a sliding safety on the tang of the rifle and that is exactly where Remington put it on the 66.

The butt stock tube magazine is a bonus in my opinion as it allows for 14 rounds on tap without having a tube dangling under the barrel playing with the harmonics or a box mag poking out the bottom of the action catching on clothing and flora.  The magazine follower is bright orange and when in sight clearly displays an empty tube and there is no way around can hang up in the action or mag without detection given peace of mind.

A removable barrel on a semi is bonus from the stand point of cleaning as few self-loaders can be cleaning from the breech end resulting in worn and damaged crowns that tend to ruin accuracy.

“Self lubricating”. The 66 does not require any form of lubricant to be applied to the action area as the Nylon material is slick by nature.  No lube means no residue build up.

Rudimentary sophistication.  Yes, I appreciate that is an oxymoron but it is relevant to the Nylon.  Simply clever.

Dislikes:

It’s a bit light for my liking.  My offhand shooting tends to benefit from a rifle with some weight and even slightly muzzle heavy.  At a meagre 4lb the 66 is a feather weight though this could be a bonus for youth shooters.

The trigger is reasonable by semi auto standards and probably no worse than my BRNO 581.  Factory break is reported to be around 4lb but the trigger is a creepy and would be a nightmare to try and tweak due the design, certainly at first glance and it is not a task I am about to rush into.  All this aside however the trigger is very workable and with regular use I doubt a good shooter would not find it a handicap.

Sights or more to the point, sight mounting.  The rear sight is mounted on the action cover, the front sight on the barrel.  Having them on difference plains unlikely to benefit accuracy and consistency and the news gets no better for scope totting shooters either as a tele sight is mounted on the action cover also.  Only ongoing use would identify if POI shift was a problem.  Certainly allowing the stock to get very hot would not help the situation as flexing will likely occur.

Accuracy and function:

The 66 was tested on a February evening with all seven different brands of .22 rimfire ammo available from my inventory. Eley standard velocity, PMC target, CCI Subsonic, Remington Thunderbolts, Winchester Power Point, CCI Velocitor and Highland High Impact (formerly Sterling).  Blow back semi auto .22RF rifles can be picky when it comes to such a wide range of fodder however the little rifle cycled fully all brands with only one misfed on the PMC ammo; no mean feat.  I was strapped for time as daylight was failing so all accuracy testing was done at 25m with only one five shot group from each brand.  Three fouling shots were fired to begin with to ensure the barrel was seasoned with the individual brand of ammunition then five shots fired for group.  The rifle presently wears a 2.5X scope with a post and cross hair reticle with the post being held six o’clock on the 2 inch bull for consistency.  Results are as follows:

Brand 25m group size Comments
Eley standard velocity, 1977 5/8 inch Vertical stringing
PMC target circa late 1980’s 15/16 inch One round fail to feed
CCI subsonic HP ¾ inch 4 touching in 3/8 inch
Remington Thunderbolt 13/16 inch Post manufacture hollow pointed
Winchester Power Point ¾ inch 4 in 7/16 inch
CCI Velocitor 11/16 inch Slight vertical string.
Highland High Impact 9/16 inch 4 touching in 5/16 inch.

Though a small sample the accuracy is a fair representation of what the Nylon 66 is capable of. The Highland (formerly available as Sterling) produced the best group of the evening and this came as no surprise as this budget brand has performed very well for me in the past in my semi custom No.4 Remington rolling block.  Next best was the CCI subsonic HP.  Extrapolated the groups translate into 1 ½ inch groups at 50m with the exception of the PMC target ammo that would score closer to 2 inches.  All in all this provides easily for ‘Minute of rabbit’ accuracy out to 75m which is about as far as I like to take on bunnies with the .22 rimfire these days.

Groups

One idiosyncrasy of the evening was a very large point of impact (POI) change depending on where the foreend was rested on the front sandbag. The groups were all shot with the sandbag under the foreend just short of the halfway point, IE: nearer the action end where the stock is structurally more robust.  When the sandbag was moved out the very close to the tip of the foreend the groups at a mere 25m moved up 4 inches and left 2 ¼ inches!!!  I suspect this is a factor of the way the barrel is held in the stock and the flex of the nylon material and an extremely undesirable feature.  For practical usage an astute shooter would keep this in mind and be sure to hold and rest the rifle on the same area of the foreend every time and a matter of course and necessity.  Not ideal but not life and death either.

Variations:

In addition to the Nylon 66 in green, brown and black Remington also made a very limited quantity of gallery model rifles chambered exclusively for .22RF short ammunition for use in shooting arcades. There was also, for a brief period between 1960 and 1962 the bolt action magazine or tube fed models 10, 11 and 12 and model 10SB being a smooth bore for rimfire shotshells.  Then there was the model 76, a lever action tube fed rifle and the model 77, a variation of the model 66 but with a removable ‘box’ magazine in place of the butt stock tube.

My model 66 was a spirit of the moment, ‘that’s a remarkably good price”, interesting one for the safe purchase. I don’t even recall having taking into the field at this time but I am glad I bought it when I did as these rifles are becoming increasingly rear due to natural attrition and as so few landed in our neck of the woods.  The light weight also makes for a handy shooting iron for the girls to tote should they wish to in the future.

ALSO PUBLISHED IN NZ GUNS & HUNTING.

References: J Gyde & R Marcot, American Rifleman, Aug 2009. Nylonrifle.com, Remington Arms.com, Remington Arms catalogues 1977, 1983.

Keep your powder dry.

Jeff

Posted in Rifles, Rimfire | Leave a comment