- July 7, 2018 at 8:11 am #68592GoodsteelKeymaster
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I’ve been on the quest for a serious semi-automatic 22LR for many years now. It all started when I was a kid, and my uncle Ken drove to Arkansas from Arizona to visit us. He took my brother and me to K-mart and surprised us by buying a Marlin model 60! I couldn’t wait to get that rifle home and try it. It pointed so naturally and was light and intuitive in comparison with my dad’s 10-22 and Remington 552 Speedmaster.
We had several bricks of ammo to try and we set up some targets at 25 yards. Ken was going to shoot first, so he loaded up the tubular magazine and took a bead on the target. I still remember the excitement and anticipation! Crack! Crack! Click……… The gun jammed. Ken dug around in it for a minute and out fell a mangled piece of brass. Crack! Crack! Crack! Click……. jammed even worse. FInally got the gun loaded back up and it went Crack! Click…….
Ken was frustrated and took the rifle back to K-mart and that was that. The first in a long string of events that led me into my current trade.
Ever since then, the semi-automatic 22 has been a bit of a sore spot with me. It’s something I desire greatly because a good one gives you that instant feedback and you’re so detached from the cost of the shooting that you just…shoot…and shoot a lot.
My first 22 was a Ruger 10-22. Stainless with the plastic stock, I bought it because it was reliable, affordable, and slimmer than the average blocky 10-22 rifle with the birch stock (which I absolutely abhorred). I believe I put several thousand rounds through that rifle when I noticed the receiver had cracked on that little strip of metal under the bolt. Fairly cosmetic, true, but I couldn’t stand it, so I sold it.
The next one was a Winchester 290, which honestly, was a voodoo magic witching stick and began my decade long love affair with the big red W. The 290 never jammed, never broke, and had iron sights that complimented my young eyes very very well. I could shoot the whole magazine into 1/2 at 50 yards with iron sights (which I couldn’t do now if you paid me to). The finest hour I had with that rifle was when I parked on a flooded bridge and methodically shot these little 1″ balls of some sort hanging from a tree over the water at 75-100 yards. I couldn’t miss. Unfortunately, I had no respect for what I had, and I gifted that rifle to a good friend who I cared very much for, who very shortly destroyed it by allowing it to be rusted due to neglect in a humid house. (Good news is we’re still close friends here 25 years later but DAM IT!)
Next, I bought the 10-22 special eddition with the 22″ barrel from WalMart. I knew about Walmart guns, but that long barrel was such a tempting carrot!!! That rifle shot like absolute garbage and had that same old blocky Ruger feel that ruins everything I love in a sporting rifle. I swear old Bill Ruger made the prototype by sawing a stock profile out of a 2X4 and beveling the edges and they just never thought to improve much on it. The 4″ 50 yard groups left me cold. I gave that rifle away.
Next, I bought a Marlin 22 magnum stainless. This rifle also was plagued with accuracy problems. I had a Nikon Pro series scope on it, and I tried every ammo they made and couldn’t get less than 4″ at 100 yards. I killed a passel of squirrels with it, but it tor them up so bad, and ammo was too expensive so I sold it.
Next, I bought a CZ 452 Ultra Lux with a 28″ barrel. Fantastic rifle. Easily shot nearly to the potential of 22LR with ten going into 1/2″ at 50 yards. Magnificent!!! However, the sights did not work for me. They were very well made and very poorly designed. I made a peep-sight for it which helped tremendously and I was happy as a clam. However, when I bought my milling machine, a friend of mine who runs a tree service donated his time and equipment to get me moved in to the old shop. I knew this fellow had 7 (count em) SEVEN boys and I didn’t want them to have the same horrible experiences I had with crummy rifles, so I made sure that rifle was under a towel on the back seat of his truck before he left. That’s one I don’t regret losing because it went for a good cause.
Next, I bought a used Remington 552 Speedmaster, remembering my dad’s and remembering the amazing shots I had made with that rifle (squirrel in the head 75 yards away etc etc). I really thought I had finally arrived, but over the past 2 years I have shot the living hell out of that rifle (I can’t even count how many thousands of rounds!) and I see the cost cutting measures Remington used on this rifle and they have taken their toll. Seems what Remington couldn’t cast, they stamped, and what they couldn’t stamp, they MIMed. Now, that said, the rifle shoots lights out, and I would have no qualms about competing with this rifle in smallbore silhouette matches. It shoots 1/2″ for fifteen shots at 30 yards with CCI AR-Tactical ammo, and will produce 2.5″ groups at 100 yards for ten shots. That’s all in the world I need!!!! However, knowing what I know about machinery, and firearms, every time I crack this thing open to clean it, the thought crosses my mind that this was a cheapened up version of something else. It’s just SO OBVIOUS.
Doing a little research and talking with people in the know, I started looking at the Remington 550-1. I’ve reblued these guns, and they are a magnificent PITA to put back together, triggers are decent, but feel a little muddy, but they have a good feel to them. A buddy at work let me borrow his and I really put it through it’s paces and found it could hang right there with the speedmaster, but was all steel with very few stamped parts. Built to last. That’s when I decided that I was going to keep my eyes peeled for one of these that I could own.
Yesterday was that day! I bought one that was totally complete, lightly used, and hardly any rust at all. I’d put it in 90% condition, circa 1950 (there are no scope grooves which were added in 1954). I’d guess it had maybe 100 shots through it, and it was covered with dust and oil that had turned to varnish. I cleaned it up and found that it runs even better than the later models I’ve reblued and test fired in the past. It has a 4lb trigger, and a 24″ barrel. I was shooting yesterday and even with the atrocious iron sights I produced a very tight group at 30 yards. I could hit the T-post at 100 yards, 7 out of fifteen times offhand. That’s purdy accurate.
Long story short, I think I’ve finally got the 22 I’ve been searching for. I’m going to replace the sights, and fabricate a new stock for it from a magnificent piece of wood of some sort (the design of the stock will make inletting an absolute walk in the park).
This rifle may be supplanted by an early Winchester of some sort (the model 63 and 74 are on my short list) but that’s probably not going to happen for some time.
I do think the Remington model 550-1 is the finest and most available semi-auto 22 to be had for the money.
- July 7, 2018 at 3:02 pm #68598Rattlesnake CharlieParticipant
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I’ve only owned one .22 rimfire semiauto rifle, a Ruger. I bought it off a friend who needed money when his wife fell off a horse and broke her arm. I never fired it until my grandson came down to spend some time with me in the summer of 2012. It does not look too boxy. This one I believe is an early model. It does eat every flavor of ammo you feed it. The TruGlo red dot is something I had in the shed. Bought it at a LGS in Walsenburg, CO. She could not move it. It is for a turkey shotgun. Has a ring that represents 24″ at 30 yards. Turns out to be very handy to pick up your target. I think I paid $39. I have never put the gun on target. It was plinking for a month straight down on the crick. He wanted me to get a 50 round magazine. I told him he could get a job and buy the magazine and ammo himself. At 16, the goal is to unload that magazine as fast as you can. I gifted him the rifle when he graduated from the 8th grade.. There is the condition that if he is ever to sell it, it is only back to me.
I’ve been trying to upload a photo of the rifle without success. It kept coming up with incorrect orientation. Now, I get a message saying “412 ErrorYour request got filtered out due to possible security issues.One or more things in your request were suspicious (defective request header, invalid cookies, bad parameters)If you think you did nothing wrong:try again with a different browseravoid any evil characters inside the request urlIf you are the owner of the website, you can consider revising the rules of the mod_security module or turning it off from your Web Hosting Control Panel.” Arghhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- July 7, 2018 at 3:39 pm #68599Capt45Participant
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I musta been all of 14~15 YO when I bought my first 550-1; wasted brick after brick with that rifle until I was tempted to trade for a Ruger Mark 1, still regret that decision. However, 2 yrs ago I got another off Armslist and she shoots better than I can aim. Still my favorite 22 semi auto. Love the way I can mix the rounds between shorts, longs or LR’s and never a hitch. Has something to do with the “floating or recoiling Chamber”. When I bought this rifle I noticed some gouges in that piece and bought a replacement from Numrich.
- July 7, 2018 at 7:47 pm #68601kensParticipant
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I had a Marlin 60 also, I thought it was just me , just me personnally not liking it,
I kinda glad someone else dont like it, makes me feel better.
I recently got a CZ 22mag auto, trigger is not great, but the rifle as a whole works fine.
- July 12, 2018 at 12:15 pm #68630GoodsteelKeymaster
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I’ll give you guys some information on the 550-1 that you are not likely to find anywhere else.
The barrel is hardened on the tenon. Inside and out, the receiver portion of the 550-1 barrel is glass hard inside and out. They did this to make it so the floating chamber didn’t wallow out it’s seat with use.
I discovered this the hard way (pun intended) when I dismantled the rifle to it’s pieces and unscrewed the barrel to have a better look inside. Scoping it, I found the throat of the rifle to be lacking, so I pulled out my 22LR reamer and tried to dress the chamber a little to cut a proper throat in there. The reamer was ruined in just a few turns. I managed to knock a slight bevel on the entrance to the rifling, but that’s it. Obviously, this perplexed me, so I tested the underside of the barrel with a file to figure out what was going on. Sure enough, it was locally hardened over the chamber area.
- July 26, 2018 at 8:10 pm #68685Rattlesnake CharlieParticipant
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Success at last posting a photo of my grandson Sean’s rifle. It appears the difficulty in posting is if I manipulated (rotated) it using Microsoft Picture Manager. Using another program, no problem.
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