A day at the range

by B.B. Pelletier

This isn’t Part 2 to yesterday’s report, but it could be. Today, I got out to the range for the first time since February. And, man, did I need it! I took a bunch of guns that I’d never shot before and tried them all out.

1862 Peabody
This rifle was patented in 1862 as a breechloader for the U.S., but it was never ordered. However, three states did buy it for their militias, including Connecticut, which later returned all their rifles to the maker to be converted to .45/70. That is the caliber mine is, so I quickly cooked up 20 rounds of my Trapdoor Springfield load, knowing that the stronger Peabody falling block action would have no trouble with it.


Like a Sharps rifle only different, the Peabody isn’t as well-known as some of the other big bore single-shots. This one is a .45/70 made in about 1868.


The Peabody was the forerunner of the Martini falling block action. The difference is the Peabody has an exposed hammer that must be manually cocked. The rifling is Alexander Henry-type, and the bore on this rifle is perfect!


A good friend of mine takes a shot at the 50-yard bull.


Compared to a .45 ACP (bottom), the .45/70 rifle cartridge is huge and imposing.

I spent no effort making accurate rounds. These were just for function firing, and the bullets varied in weight by as much as five grains. Still, I shot a very decent first group with the rifle. Good enough that I’m now interested in seeing what it can be made to do. Anytime you get bullets landing near each other with a big bore rifle on the first go-round, you’re doing something right. I suspect this rifle can shoot into less than a minute of angle when everything is perfect.


While this is no screamer, it does indicate that the Peabody wants to shoot. Better sights, a refined powder load and finding the correct seating depth will all serve to tighten the group considerably.

This rifle recoils heavily with the test load, so I’ll have to load differently to reduce the felt recoil. The buttplate is narrow compared to other big bore single-shots such as the Trapdoor, and that magnifies the felt recoil. So, I stopped shooting after 10 rounds.

Single-Action Army
I then tried out my Uberti Single-Action Army, which was a homecoming gift this summer. All I had were light cowboy action loads, and the range was 50 yards, so although I did hit the bullseye, it wasn’t worth talking about. But the revolver certainly is! I really like the way Uberti copied the original Colt narrow grip profile, giving this replica the exact feel of an old black powder model Colt. It felt great, and recoiled with about the same energy as a .38 Special.


The Uberti SAA is a delight to shoot. The plow-handle shape of Colt’s grip makes the gun turn in your hand, absorbing most of the recoil. With the right loads, a 2″ five-shot group should be possible from a rested position at 50 yards.

I need to start loading for this revolver, because I know I can tighten those groups by quite a bit. And the cost per round will drop to about 7 cents. The only bullet worth loading in the .45 Colt is the legendary Keith 452424 semi-wadcutter from Lyman. Look for a more in-depth report on this gun in the future.

M1 Carbine
I recently scored a beautiful M1 Carbine in a large trade. It’s a 100 percent S’G’ gun, made by Saginaw Steering Gear at their Grand Rapids plant. Saginaw took over the plant when gun maker Irwin Pederson failed to deliver on their carbine contract. This builder of marine transmissions quickly organized the operation and began cranking out very acceptable carbines from the same machinery and using the same workers as Irwin Pederson. The difference was senior management. The Army was so impressed by their success that a second carbine contract was awarded to the company, plus they also made guns at another plant.


My new M1 Carbine. I’ve been searching for this rifle for 10 years!

My carbine is the most accurate M1 carbine I’ve ever owned or even shot. And it deposits the empty cases right in front of the shooter, instead of scattering them all over hell’s half acre. I really scored well on this trade!


This may not seem like a great target, but it’s the tightest group I’ve ever shot at 50 yards with a carbine. And this was just the first group!

The final tale
Last evening I did submit a bid for that David Lurch Primary New York crank airgun I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, but it was less than the reserve. So after my morning at the range, my friend and I headed over to the gun store where the Winchester 74 Gallery rifle was. I discovered that they knew what it was from reading the entry in the Blue Book of Gun Values. Because the book didn’t mention the Gallery model as such, the store personnel didn’t know what it was. And I’m sure it looked as garish to them as it does to me.


Like Marilyn Monroe, the Gallery Winchester model 74 looks better in pictures than in person.

So, I hemmed and hawed and danced around the store with the rifle in my hands, acting surprised when they told me that it shot only .22 Short cartridges. At one point, I passed on the gun at their price, and then five minutes later they knocked off $100 and ate the sales tax. Apparently, this rifle had been in their shop way too long.

And that’s the full circle of this two-day tale. I resolved the conundrum by investing in a rifle from which I know I can make good money.

104 Responses to “A day at the range”

  • Frank B Says:

    Well deserved,well done,and who is that skinny guy messing with that pistol we got you????

  • pete zimmerman Says:

    I just noticed that Scott Pilkington has a lot of FWB 150s available on the buy/sell/trade section of Targettalk.org. They’re trade-ins from Camp Perry.

    pz

  • twotalon Says:

    B.B.

    Ever shoot a Blackhawk with .30 carbine handloads and without ear protection? My brother used to load 110 gr half jackets pretty hot.

    All I can say is….PAINFUL!!!!! Once is enough.

    twotalon

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      twotalon,

      No, thats a round I’ve never shot in a handgun. But as powerful as it is, I can see what you mean.

      B.B.

    • pcp4me Says:

      twotalon,

      Been there and done that! But only once. I used to shoot a Ruger Blackhawk chambered in 30 carbine with 110 gr pointed soft point hand loads loaded hot in pistol silhouette. Though the state and nationals would not allow that round because most are fmj, my local club allowed it long as you used rounds with exposed lead tips.

      That was a great silhouette gun because you could sight it dead on at the turkey targets and hold almost dead on for the other targets! Plus recoil was milder than the hot .357 mag loads or .44 mag loads.

  • Fused Says:

    Looking good B.B.! Glad to see you back in action.

  • Brian in Idaho Says:

    Good for you BB. I love the smell of gunpowder in the morning!

  • Fred PRoNJ Says:

    I could have sworn that was Tom Sellick without his toupe firing that Uberti! Good to see you out and about!

    Fred PRoNJ

  • kevin Says:

    This just isn’t right.

    No one but me should be allowed to have that much fun while working. Title to today’s article should be “A day at the office”.

    Amazing similarities to shooting firearms and airguns for the first time. What ammo/pellet will wring the best accuracy out of this gun. The dimension that exists for firearms that doesn’t for airguns is (IF YOU RELOAD) that you have total control over the ammo recipe. No greater satisfaction than cooking up the perfect load for your specific gun.

    kevin

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Kevin,

      You and I understand that about reloading. I’m hoping we can inspire Wayne and Matt to come over (to the dark side?).

      Reloading is what makes shooting firearms worthwhile for me. I know I can always cook up a load that will be better than anything I could buy, plus it will also be much less expensive. I love shooting big lead bullets that cost next to nothing, and seeing them impact downrange.

      But now I have another conundrum. Because of their accuracy, I am sorely tempted to put a vintage Malcom-type vintage-looking scope on either my .43 Spanish Rolling Block or the Peabody. I know it will reduce the collector’s value of the gun I put it on, but dang! With such accuracy potential, shouldn’t I try for the best? According to a survey I recently read, about 25 percent of all Sharps were scoped back in the 19th century.

      B.B.

      • kevin Says:

        B.B.,

        Reloading is stepping into the light. Yes, I’m goading matt and wayne into reloading.

        Could never justify the cost, even back in the day, for a william malcolm scope. I put a leatherwood 6x on my sharps 1874 and never went back to the sights. In my opinion it didn’t diminish the value since many of us out here still want to hunt with these guns and want them to be able to perform their best. I don’t know the original cost of your spanish rolling block or peabody but I remember reading that the malcom scope doubled the cost of a sharps 1874 when new (it was an option when ordering a new 1874).

        http://www.opticsplanet.net/leatherwood-wm-malcom-32-inch-long-telescopic-riflescope-w-mount.html#

        kevin

      • Wayne Burns Says:

        B.B. & Kevin,

        I’ve already made the move to the “light”, but my buddy Bob is doing the reloading for me. He has his favorite “recipes” and I’m pleased with his “cooking”. I just tell him what I’m after, and he cooks it up for me. His experience in the mixtures would be hard for me to match, and he has all the gear already. The 300 gr. hollow point .45lc he cooked up for my marlin 1894, should drop a bear or elk at close range, by the way they shoot… He says they will be fine in my Ruger Blackhawk revolver too, but I’ll only do that in an emergency. I much prefer to carry the lever action carbine now in the woods.

        And for “walking the can” and other such fun, the light cowboy game loads he makes are like shooting a .22lr.

        So, I’m in… sort of:-)

        Wacky Wayne

      • Matt61 Says:

        I’m already converted. If for no other reason, I need to load my Garand with the 4064 powder it was tuned for to realize its full capabilities and stop the jams I get every 50 rounds or so. The question is timing with my vast list of hobbies. I need a block of time give this project the attention it deserves and to get through my reloading manual. So after my next few helicopters and planes and possibly a piano that I have in mind, it looks like next summer. The time will go fast.

        Matt61

  • KidAgain Says:

    BB,

    It’s good to see you at the range. I love that breech loader, and carbine. I have my eye on a carbine that isn’t available yet. Brand new, still in original storage lube/slime.

    I also found a savage 99 this weekend in 300 savage. been looking for the right one for a couple years. This one is also not quite yet available. going to have to keep you posted, if you’re interested.

    Gotta go, opening day waits for no man.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      KA,

      Yes, of course keep me posted on your upcoming acquisitions! I will be showing off my carbine in a future report, too. And there is a companion Erma .22 rimfire carbine that I didn’t mention, but which put ten rounds into a 1.25-inch group at 50 yards yesterday. I’ll talk about that one, too.

      Finally, I determined from the serial number that my Winchester 74 Gallery Special was made in 1939–the first year of production!

      B.B.

      • KidAgain Says:

        The #’s on the savage 99 tell me it’s made in 1940. He said I can use too! Can’t wait to shoot it.

        KA

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          KA,

          I’m very interested in the Savage 99. Of all the modern lever action centerfires, I think it is my favorite. And the .300 Savage is roughly equivalent to the .308 Winchester.

          Please keep us posted.

          B.B.

  • Mr B. Says:

    Morning B.B,,

    That Uberi SSA sure looks good in your hands. We’re all glad that it’s living up to your expectations. If you were going to carry it a lot, would you have ordered a shorter barrelled model?

    Kevin is absolutely correct about the joys of developing THE LOAD that meets your requirements.

    Bruce

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Bruce,

      Yes, if I were carrying the Uberti holstered I would have opted for a 4-3/4-inch barrel. But I knew this gun would be traveling in a pistol rug all the time, and the longer barrel helps with the sighting.

      I can’t wait until I have enough .45 Colt brass to begin reloading for the gun. I already am in search of a mold. Load development is a pure joy. As Kevin notes, it’s like searching for that one perfect pellet.

      B.B.

  • Wayne Burns Says:

    B.B.

    Praise the Lord and pass the ammo!

    The day we’ve waited for has arrived! It’s soooooooo goooooooddd to see you at the range again.

    I’ve been on the road to the NW FT championship and a nieces’ wedding. Great to be home and read the great news about you at the range. I came in third in international class and fourth overall. I “woood a done betta” if I hadn’t missed so many:-) ended up with a 49/60. My buddy Brent, won IC class with 52/60 and Rick, the guy who helped get our club going, 51/60. Top 20fpe open class score was Noel Vaughn with 55/60. The 12fpe international class took the next three overall places. It’s always great to shoot with friends in the old growth. It’s a great feeling to sit down at the trunk of a 400 year Dour Fir:-)

    Next trip is to Arizona state match on Sept 17th/18th and the Calif. state match the following weekend. Not many shoot IC class in that part of the world, so I’ll be getting out USFT #6 and practice at 20fpe, even though I don’t use a harness yet, I’ll shoot open class the rest of the year I think. I’ll really get my butt kicked there:-), but I’m learning and getting better all the time.

    Getting together with the new friends I’ve met and the bonding were doing is the real prize! The scores don’t really matter…. right?

    The AAFTA BOG must be crazy, they nominated me to be on the Board of Governors…

    Wacky Wayne,
    Match Director,
    Ashland Air Rifle Range

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Wayne,

      From asking questions about field target to the AAFTA Board! You have come a long way, my friend!

      B.B.

      • Wayne Burns Says:

        B.B.

        I just got nominated…. No one in their right mind would vote for me:-)

        We’ll find out how many have lost their minds, at the nationals this Oct. 17th when the member club votes are counted…. anyway I felt honored to be nominated, but, I don’t expect to get voted in.

        Kevin & Volvo

        Thanks, but it’s not anything that can’t be done by anybody. Just takes a little desire to practice…. listening to the veteran next to you… and a commitment slog through the low scores and newbie mistakes in the beginning.

        I’m totally convinced that one doesn’t need to spend a lot of money on their outfit. A Marauder or AAs400 and a Leapers 8-32×56 will get you in the game with the chance of winning from the start. I’ve seen some amazing scores and those outfits tied or beating $3,000 outfits. I’ve also been impressed with the 850s converted to HPA. That’s a real low cost, but accurate way to go.

        You can’t buy your way to the top of this game, it takes hard work no matter what your gun is. Bob Pont is a inspiration to me. He started out with his .22 cal Marauder adjusted down to 19fpe. That is really a challenge, since the trajectory in not flat at all, but he continues to shoot 80 to 90% right along with the top veteran shooters with their $3,000 – $4,000 outfits. He’s only been at it about 6 months now.

        Yep, it costs way more to travel to the events, than the money you need to “get into the game”. So if you are lucky enough to have a club close to you, there is really no reason not to join in the fun. Before you know it, you’ll be traveling all over the country… like me:-)

        Wacky Wayne,
        Match Director,
        Ashland Air Rifle Range

    • kevin Says:

      Wayne,

      Congratulations! You just keep making us mere mortals proud.

      kevin

    • Brian in Idaho Says:

      Wayne, who will you shoot with in Calif? Tim McMurray and the CASA bunch or???

      I am just (now) getting hooked in with the PANSAL guys over here in So West Idaho, do you know any of them? (their site and blog is hosted on the Pomona Airguns site)

      Brian

      • Wayne Burns Says:

        Brian,

        Do you know Ash Covey & David Read? They were there at the NW regionals last weekend. David makes the life size FT targets.

        Yes, I’m sure Tim, LD and the CASA gang will be at the Cal. state Championship on the 25th & 26th and the AZ state match the weekend before…. and many others from N Calif and AZ. Both matches will have close to 50 shooters I’d bet. Great folks, great courses, great fun camping and shooting the bull at night. I’m really looking forward to this journey!

        Wacky Wayne

  • Volvo Says:

    B.B.,

    Looks like it was a great day. Love that smell and no airgun has it.

    Wayne,

    Congratulations. You proved the journey of a thousand miles and 300 airguns starts with a single step, or a comment on a blog.

    Kevin,

    Yes, I still have the .20 caliber R7 and it continues to amaze me, I did get lucky on that one. Somehow it manages to shoot about as fast as the .177 version.

    After I finished up with the Cyclone last night I pulled out the R7 and put 3 shots in one of the 1/2 inch circles just as well as the PCP does indoors at 40 feet. It almost seems possessed.

    I know the R8 won’t be earth shaking, but I am thinking I keep the two I have now and rotate a 3rd spot with the thought that at some point a rifle may replace one of then, however unlikely that may be.

    I think the old quote is “fear the man that owns just one Springer and one PCP.”

    • kevin Says:

      Volvo,

      That is a special .20 cal R7. Meant to tell you that I installed a home made depinger in the cyclone. You may want to take it out since you have real ones.

      kevin

      • Volvo Says:

        Kevin,

        I did notice she lost her “ping” but shot count and accuracy are still fine so I will leave well enough alone until I get bored.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Volvo,

      I think the quote is, “Fear the man who sits in the watchtower with one rifle and a case of ammunition.”

      B.B.

      • Volvo Says:

        B.B.,

        Yes, that is true for humans, but quote is said to a favorite among crows. Now that you are getting back to the range, I need to get those .22 Hornets to you. I know they can’t ship via UPS and need to go FedEx – but I wonder if the Kinko\ FedEx place qualifies?

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          Volvo,

          I guess I forgot about those Hornets. When I ship FedEx from Kinkos I’m never asked what is in the package. But I don’t want to get you in trouble.

          Do you know anybody who will be attending Roanoke this year? I will be there and could get them then.

          B.B.

  • J-F Says:

    It’s really great seeing you at the range and I can only imagine how great YOU felt.
    Congrats.

    J-F

  • Jim K Says:

    Glad you are back “home on the range.”

    Best wishes for continued recovery.

    Jim

  • Jim in KS Says:

    B.B. -

    Great post this morning. I’ve actually shot a .45-70 Peabody, myself. Wish I could have bought it.

    I particularly enjoyed the visual image of you hemming and hawing and dancing around the gun shop acting surprised. “Mr. Spielberg, I’m ready for my close-up now.” Maybe someday we’ll all be blessed with a post relating a few the finer points of negotiating a good deal… the B.B. Pelletier way.

    BTW, if the healthy look is just an act, you’re an even better actor than I thought.

    Regards,
    Jim in KS

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Jim K and Jim in Kansas,

      No, I really do feel good. Yesterday was tiring, but so fulfilling. All those days of lying on my back and wondering if I would ever get to pull another trigger were put to rest yesterday.

      As for my negotiating skills, I only asked what they would take and got no answer. Then I really walked away. But my friend, who was the guy shooting the Peabody, asked to take a last look at it before they put it away. They had to put another tie-wrap around the trigger because they had cut it off for me to examine the gun, which is why it was still out of the rack.

      Then the guy just popped up and said to me, “You can have it for $100 less and we’ll eat the tax.” That was luck, not skill. I think the rifle had been there a long time and they really wanted to move it.

      B.B.

  • Mike Says:

    Hello Sir,
    Glad you made it to the range. Those long dry spells are hard to endure. I like your rifle rest. What brand is it and approx how $$$.Take care of yourself and thanks for all you do.
    Mike

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Hi, Mike,

      That rifle rest is from MTM, and is the best value on the market. It’s not as heavy and stable as a Caldwell Lead Sled, but it does the job. It’s all plastic and should retail for about $40-50. I’m trying to get Pyramyd Air to carry both it and the MTM shooting bench you see in the pictures. That’s another great bargain.

      B.B.

  • Matt61 Says:

    B.B. a long-awaited and most welcome picture. And it’s great that everything behaved and you had no microscopic screws bouncing around the shooting point like me. That’s a pretty cool rest you have. What’s the brand? Do you really think you can get sub MOA out of that breechloader without a scope? That would be something. I had wondered about that curved grip on the Uberti but I guess it is functional.

    Kevin, the way you describe fishing makes sense to me. As a matter of fact, most of the fish I caught had the hook through that thin skin around the mouth but the one that was gut hooked really freaked me out. Yes, I can see that the communion with nature and the various skills involved are something to prize. I know that people who are in to fly fishing can become really fanatical. I’m even getting a bit of that with the radio controlled flying. I even have prey in the form of birds. They like to swoop around my planes, so I’ve got an active form of bird watching. I’m looking forward to the day when I can meet them on their own terms by getting on their tails, snap-rolling to evade and so on, but that won’t happen for awhile.

    Wayne, congratulations. Don’t overlook the harness.

    On the general subject of body position in shooting. I find that my feet hurt if I don’t move them in the course of firing 60 shots with the 10m pistol. Anyone else have that problem?

    How about this? I’ve read for some time, especially in connection with M14 rifles, the debate on the virtues of forged vs. cast receivers. Casting I understand easily enough as pouring metal into a mold. But forging I associate with a blacksmith hammering away on an anvil and I don’t see how you could make a precision-machined piece of metal out of that or any other hammering process. The casting is cheaper, but the forging is supposed to have quality on its side. Exactly how is not made clear. However, I recently read that destruction tests were used and the forged receivers made it to 475,000 shots while the cast ones got to 450,000. That’s 45-47 replacement barrels worth. Not much of a difference in my view. Incidentally, I suppose those are rough estimates for the shot limit of firearms receivers. I’m guessing with the lower pressures involved that the metal for airguns is cast. Is that right?

    Matt61

    Matt61

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Matt,

      That’s an MTM shooting rest and an MTM shooting bench that you see. I’m trying to get Pyramyd Air to carry both of them.

      As for the groups I can get, the military sights are a liability on all my big bore rifles. That’s why I mentioned wanting a vintage Malcom-type scope. With one of those I think I can get to an MOA group. Going smaller is somewhat iffy with these rifles, but it can be done.

      B.B.

    • Wayne Burns Says:

      Matt61,

      AAHHH the harness…

      I’m not over looking it. I SEE them kicking my butt all the time:-)

      I’ve considered it, but I don’t need it for comfort or back support like some of the older and injured shooters.. yet.. so I’ve been holding off.

      Yes, it’s true that many of the top younger shooters use it for improving their score, not just to keep them in the game longer. I haven’t gone there YET.. but I could be on my way next year. I’m gonna see how I finish this year “naked”.

      I keep switching back and forth between 12fpe IC class that allows “lock you down jackets”, but no harnesses, (I don’t do a jacket thing yet either), and 20fpe open class with all the hooks, knee stands, harnesses and gadgets a guy could dream of, allowed. Yes, it’s hard to compete naked in that class:-)… but really my scores are not a big thing to me….(if you believe that…) but If I do somehow manage to bump my game up a notch or two “naked” I’ll feel real good about it… So why not try.

      Also, IF I were to start using a harness, then it might be hard to shoot 12fpe IC class when I took it off. A harness would basically force me to choose 20fpe open class forever…. And I’m not ready to go there….

      YET:-)

      Wacky Wayne

  • kevin Says:

    Frank B (and anyone else who gives a hoot),

    Here are the photo’s.

    http://s444.photobucket.com/albums/qq167/klentz4/browning%2022%20take%20down%20in%20case/

    kevin

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      kevin,

      I give a hoot! What a find! I once for a short time in Germany owned a Browning grade 1 .22 rifle, but I never had the case. What a super find!

      And the packaged Vortek muzzle brake ain’t too shabby, either!

      B.B.

      • kevin Says:

        B.B.,

        You sly fox. You don’t miss a thing.

        Should have known that at one time you owned a browning .22. I have a soft spot for these little gems. They’re the diana 27′s in the .22 semi auto world.

        kevin

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          Kevin,

          In college I dated a girl who owned a Browning auto. We went plinking once–me with my Winchester model 90 shooting .22 WRF and her with that beautiful Browning. I think that’s what drove me to own one later on.

          I now own a Remington model 24, which is a licensed version of the Browning. It’s more angular and not as svelte, but every bit as accurate and reliable. Love that Browning!

          B.B.

    • Frank B Says:

      That’s the stuff right there!!You don’t need me to tell you,but man what a find…factory installed original glass is way too cool.I’m sending all my personal info for the Will :)

    • Mr B. Says:

      Kevin,

      A wonderful find! Thanks for the pictures. I forgot that decades ago I passed on a case for my Browning .22, purchased used in 1970/1971. A wonderful woods walker and surprisingly accurate.

      Bruce

    • Mr B. Says:

      Kevin,

      Can you point me in a direction to date the manufacture of my gun or perhaps your vast pool of knowledge contains that info for serial number 4T87178. Thanks

      Bruce

      • kevin Says:

        Bruce,

        Decoding your browning serial number 4T87178. 4=1964 (date of manufacture), T=Long Rifle caliber vs. E which = shorts.

        You’ve got a good one. Don’t care for this gun in .22 short and don’t care for the japanese versions that started in 1974.

        Browning Autoloading Takedown .22 Rifle History
        The production of the 22 Semi-Auto rifle began in 1914 and was officially imported by Browning in 1956. It is still in production today.

        Date Historic Information Serial Number Info
        1914-1955 F.N. began production of the 22 Semi-Auto Rifle. No serial numbers are available.
        1956-1967 In 1961, the codes for caliber were changed:
        T=Long Rifle Caliber
        E=Short Rifle Caliber
        Example: 8T1000 = A 1968 22 Long Rifle Caliber Semi-Auto Rifle with serial number 1000. T=Long Rifle Caliber
        E=Short Rifle Caliber
        1969-73 1969 started using two digits for the date of manufacture: type of Auto-5:
        T=Long Rifle Caliber
        E=Short Rifle Caliber
        This was then followed by the serial number beginning with 1000.
        Example: 69T1000 = A 1969 22 Semi-Auto rifle in 22 Long Rifle Caliber with a serial number of 1000. T=Long Rifle Caliber
        E=Short Rifle Caliber
        1974 In 1974 production of the 22 Semi-Auto was moved to Miroku, Japan. The order of the serial number code was changed to:
        1.Serial Number which started at 1000 for each year.
        2. Two digit year code
        3. Rifle type code:
        T=Long Rifle Caliber
        E=Short Rifle Caliber

        Example: 1000T74 = A 1974 22 Semi-Auto rifle in 22 Long Rifle Caliber with a serial number of 1000. T=Long Rifle Caliber
        1976-1997 In 1975 Browning standardized its serial number identification which it followed until 1998.
        1. Serial Number
        beginning with 01001
        at the start of each year.
        2. Date of Manufacture
        is a two digit code Z=1
        Y=2
        X=3
        W=4
        V=5
        T=6
        R=7
        P=8
        N=9
        M=0
        3. 22 Semi-Auto Type 146=Grade 1
        246=Grade 2
        346=Grade 3
        646=Grade 6

        Serial
        Number Example:
        01001RT646

        This would be n 22 Semi-Auto Grade 6 rifle, manufactured in 1976 with the serial number 1000.

        1999 In 1998 Browning redid the standardization of its serial number identifications to work with its new data base program, Oracle.
        1. Serial Number
        beginning with 01001
        at the start of each year.
        2. Date of Manufacture
        is a two digit code Z=1
        Y=2
        X=3
        W=4
        V=5
        T=6
        R=7
        P=8
        N=9
        M=0
        3. 22 Semi-Auto Type 212=22 Semi-Auto Rifle

        Serial
        Number Example:
        01001NN212
        This would be a 22 Semi-Auto Rifle, manufactured in 1999 with the serial number 01001.

        kevin

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          Kevin,

          I am speechless!

          And I thought you made your living on looks, alone.

          B.B.

        • Robert from Arcade Says:

          Kevin: What a great find! Another thing to watch out for with the Brownings , especially the .22 bolt actions, is the saltwood stocks. Browning used salt to speed drying of their stock blanks back around 1967 to 1974 or so. These blanks when used for stocks ,cause the gun’s actions to rust away ,due to contact with the wood in the inleting. It was as big a blunder and as bad a time for Browning as Winchester’s post 64 guns were. It is reported that they burned car loads of stock blanks, Robert.

        • Mr B. Says:

          kevin,

          I’ll just be stunned–past, way past, impressed. Thank you sir!

          Bruce

  • DaveUK Says:

    BB:
    Brilliant! back out and about :)
    A great blog on so many levels.
    DaveUK

  • twotalon Says:

    B.B.

    With home made spring compressor I tore down the 48 and did some work on it.
    Had been worried about numerous reports of Dianas being pretty dry from the factory. Some reports of damage due to dry assembly.

    Cleaned up all the oil and dirt in the frame and compression chamber. Cleaned the oil out of the trigger assy ( I had oiled the heck out of it). Compression chamber was smooth but showed some signs of varnish or something. Piston seal had a tight fit.

    Honed the inside of the comresssion chamber just enough to give it some texture. Polished the rear of the piston a bit. Moly on front edge of piston and seal. Ran it in and out a few times to spread it into the textured chamber. Added some more, and put some on the rear edge of the piston. Polished the ends of the spring. Moly applied. Moly on the guide and guide washer. Moly between the sear plates and on the trigger. Moly on the cocking handle hinge pin and washers.

    5 shots over the chrono with 16 gr Exacts…762, 762, 758, 764, 764. Pellets were straight from the tin….not sorted in any manner. No lube.

    Did you know that the spring grows an inch while you do all this stuff?

    twotalon

    • Frank B Says:

      Twotalon,what awesome consistency!! Very impressive indeed.What did you use on the cylinder??A brake hone? If so which grit?

      • twotalon Says:

        No idea what grit. It was a 3 stone brake cylinder hone with the spring tension set all the way down (NAPA). Also brand new. I really should have given it some wear on a piece of pipe or something first so it would not be quite as rough.
        It would have been cheaper with a dowl and some 400 grit. I only needed to scuff it up enough for the moly to work in.

        twotalon

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      twotalon,

      What were the numbers before your tune?

      Congrats on a successful job.

      B.B.

      • twotalon Says:

        I don’t remember what my original numbers were with Exacts. The boxed CP’s were running in the 820′s.
        I have shot a bunch of assorted pellets, but mostly CP to get it broke in and get a feel for it. I have been recently shooting mostly the Exact because they shoot good and I like the way that they fit when loading. The CP seem a bit loose for a good seat. Don’t like the RWS Superdome or HP at all for fit or accuracy. Thick skirt does not seat well.
        Need to get another tin of FTS. Seem to fit right, but do not have enough to play with.

        Will probably need a little breakin again. Trigger needed a bit of adjustment. Very slight buzz, slight ping.
        Feels good.

        twotalon

    • Fused Says:

      Wow twotalon, that is remarkable consistency. You must have done it right, hopefully mine will turn out as well.

      • twotalon Says:

        If you hone the chamber, be careful. You only need to scuff it up just enough to hold some moly.

        Now I will have to shoot a bunch more to see how it’s going to do after some use in this different condition. It had been slowing down between shots of silicone chamber oil. Tight seal and smooth chamber…a little sticky when it gets dry?

        Plinking time tomorrow.

        twotalon

  • AlanL Says:

    B.B.,

    My brother-in-law, who is a passionate reloader and even studies his bullets under a loupe, enjoys shooting his rifles and pistols so much that air guns have lost their appeal to him. I notice that at the first opportunity that you were able to get back to the range you entertained yourself with a variety of powder burners, and not airguns. Do you too feel that once you’ve experienced the joy of firing “real” guns airguns no longer satisfy?

    -AlanL

    • Volvo Says:

      AlanL,

      Not answering for B.B., but most of us shot powder burners first. Airguns are real also. If in doubt, shoot your foot for proof. (disclaimer – don’t really do it, this is a play on words since you sort of did with your statement)ouch

      • AlanL Says:

        Volvo,

        Ha! I knew the question was controversial. But I too feel this compelling desire for ever more power out my airguns (while delivering quiet control of course) and can well imagine that shooting chemically propelled projectiles must, at some level, deliver more satisfaction (from the oomph at least) than air propelled ones. I keep dreaming of a three claw device (made of tantalum?) that will trap the piston (like the dog tooth on a gear) at the point of maximum compression to prevent the loss of energy from the bounceback. This would also reduce many of the scope-shattering vibrations experienced by air guns. But I am not engineer enough to convey my thoughts to the drawing board.

        But Volvo– admit it: you enjoy shooting a fine powder burner more than your best airgun. True?

        -AlanL

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          Alan,

          I can’t answer for Volvo, but more power isn’t the reason I reload. I reload to get less power and more accuracy. In fact, I have a number of reduced-power loads that do just that. And once someone tries my loads and sees how little they recoil, yet how accurate they are, I make another convert.

          Reloading for more power is a waste of time, in my humble opinion. It’s the way guns blow up.

          B.B.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Alan,

      When I shoot firearms it’s a sort of busman’s holiday. I shoot airguns all the time, so feeling the recoil and smelling the powder is a refreshing change. I return to the office with my batteries charged.

      B.B.

      • twotalon Says:

        I love the smell of burned powder in the quiet woods on an early fall morning. It smells like dead tree rats.

        twotalon

  • Fused Says:

    I’m excited today. I’m finally in a position to buy the JM kit and seal for my 34! I’m going to order it tomorrow along with a spring that is supposed to fit my dad’s RS2.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed on the RS2 spring – I’m ordering the E9870 spring that others have said fits the rifle. The ID matches, but it’s 1 1/2″ longer. Hopefully it will work as they say, and JM makes no promises – he comes across a little curt, but from what I gather manufactures the best parts.

    But I’m really excited about the 34 kit, I’m looking forward to getting the Princess back in action and better than ever (I hope.)

  • duskwight Says:

    B.B.

    What a fine revolver!
    I always dreamed of two revolvers – SAA 1872 and SW mod.27 – I don’t know why, but I like their look. They must feel good too, especially when fully loaded and aimed down the range ;)

    From all the guns I shot, I met SAA only once. That wasn’t SAA actually, it was 1902-made .38-40 Colt Bisley model. A wonderful piece I must say. Tremendously precise, fits one’s hand like it was made for it and fun to shoot, despite quite a powerful round.
    And I must say – men, you’re living in a great country – you are free to have and collect these gorgeous machines!

    Jealous

    duskwight

    • kevin Says:

      duskwight,

      I’m a colt bisley guy. Let me know if you come across one in good shape for sale. I’ll make it worth your while.

      kevin

      • duskwight Says:

        kevin

        I’m afraid the guy in Switzerland who gave me an opportunity to shoot his Bisley won’t sell it for another thousand years, as he’s a Bisley guy himself :)
        And if a Bisley gets into Russia it automatically becomes a cultural piece, so it’s nearly impossible to export it.
        So thanks for your offer, but…

        duskwight

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Jealous diskwight,

      Man, do we ever know how good we have it! Some people are trying to take the good away all the time, but it’s still a great country to live in.

      I used to stunt fight with a Colt Bisley. The lower hammer was easier for my short thumbs to reach during a mock gunfight. And I had the gun modified so I could fan it, which gave me an even chance against the other guys who were really much faster than me.

      But a true SAA feels even better than a Bisley. It feels perfect! And the one in the picture is a beautiful example.

      B.B.

      • Mike Says:

        BB, you said, “The only bullet worth loading in the .45 Colt is the legendary Keith 452424 semi-wadcutter from Lyman.”
        You may find that your Uberti SAA likes the 250 gr. Round Nose Flat Point as far as accuracy goes. Try 8 grains of Unique (New Version) for a near duplicate of the old black powder load. You also may find that your accuracy is better if the barrel does not touch the rest.

        Neat Carbine, I have an Inland, 1942 and still with all the early features.

        Mike

      • duskwight Says:

        B.B.

        I always tell people – “You won’t know how good it is to seat after a day of walking, unless you walked all day”. People tend to take for granted something that was conqurered for them and given for free. Most times things are to be struggled for to be worthy.

        Of all other Colt revolvers I shot Colt Navy 1861 model. It closely reminds SAA by overall shape of the grip, hammer and trigger, so I think I can understand the feeling. It really feels like it grows from your hand and you just point it like you point with your finger.

        duskwight

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          duskwight,

          You are exactly tight. The 1861 Navy has practically the same grip as the SAA. Isn’t it a wonderful pointer?

          We gunfighters used to shoot live ammo with bullets at a plinking range, just to see how good we were. With an SAA with the long barrel like mine, we could hit inside a 12 inch circle at 20 yards, shooting from the hip. That gun just points so naturally.

          B.B.

    • J-F Says:

      I second that, it would be awesome to be able to have these as easily as in the US.
      Then again I would probably be close to broke and living alone in a shed or industrial complex somewhere with a lots of guns and a few dogs and I’d probably end up eating the same thing too LOL.
      Guns are kinda available here but lots are considered restricted and you have to be a member at a shooting range but since so little people have firearms shooting ranges are few and far between and since there so little guns on the market the prices go way up for most of them, especially handguns. Most guns I see for sale here are expensive but they’re also almost new and it’s the reason most are sold… people are just fed up and abandon the hobby because it’s so much trouble and I suppose it’s the point behind all the regulations to slowly get rid of the most firearms as possible.

      J-F

      ps : English isn’t my daily spoken language so I’m always happy to see the little “no misspelling found” when I’m done writing something.

      • duskwight Says:

        J-F

        So where do you hail from?

        duskwight

        • J-F Says:

          I’m from the eastern mostly french speaking part of Canada.

          We are so close yet so far from gun heaven and as if getting a firearm wasn’t hard enough all airguns above 500 fps are considered firearms too. So a lot of them end up never being imported and that’s why I’m so happy to have discovered PA and I buy most of my airguns in the US while traveling there and bring them back with me.

          J-F

          • rikib Says:

            J-F,
            Are you talking Quebec? Most of my family lives just this side of the border. Couple miles east of the Awkesasne Reservation.

            rikib

            • Anonymous Says:

              You guessed right my friend. Born and raised here. I almost went to work in the Florida keys (I’m not a big winter fan, it’s too cold to go shooting outside) a few years ago, had found a good job and all but since my wife doesn’t speak a word of english it didn’t pass. But now I’m glad to be here and wouldn’t move for all the guns in the world… Well for ALL the guns maybe I would reconsider ;) .

              JF

              • rikib Says:

                Long story how I ended up down here in southwest Georgia when I retired from the military. Someday I hope to be able to afford to move back near my family up north. My parents are about 5 miles from the border.

                rikib

  • bubba Says:

    B.B. This is my first comment. I am glad to see up and about. I have been following your medical problems and I know that you thank your Heavenly Father and your doctors for your health. Also have you any opinions on the Hatsan air rifles? I am hoping to get a Model 95 my shelf.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Bubba,

      Thank you for your sentiment. The Lord did indeed have more for me to do.

      Hatsan air rifles are iffy. They have accurate barrels, but sometimes they let the quality slip in the manufacturing process. They don’t have to. Hatsan is an old, respected gun maker. But the current management hasn’t yet discovered how critical the airgunning community is about manufacturing quality.

      Good luck with your purchase and please let us know how it goes.

      B.B.

    • duskwight Says:

      bubba

      Guess I’ll second B.B. From what I’ve learned myself, heard and read from my friends, Hatsan has some serious problems with quality and security.
      Older models without Quattro trigger are prone to accidental shooting, as sears are made unsatisfactory and tend to wear out very quick. Barrels are a lottery – one may be quite ok, but another looks like grater and shoots accordingly.

      duskwight

  • Fused Says:

    I just heard the 2nd part of an amazing 3 part story on NPR. It is about the USS Kirk during the last days of the Vietnam war. What a heroic story.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129484369

    These are the kind of stories that should be covered more.

  • kevin Says:

    B.B.,

    So you’re not a fan of leatherwood? Bad experience like burris?

    kevin

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Kevin,

      I don’t follow. Leatherwood?

      B.B.

      • kevin Says:

        B.B.,

        My suggestion to your question earlier this morning. My second comment that is toward the top of this page.

        kevin

        • B.B. Pelletier Says:

          Kevin,

          I did a search on leatherwood and see that they make a Malcolm-type scope. I had been looking at other brands and was unaware of this one. I have bookmarked their website. IO fancy the 6X by 18″ scope, as it wouldn’t be as dim as the longer one.

          My problem has been finding a good gunsmith who can mount the scope. I don’t want to trust the job to a first-timer.

          B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Mike,

    Yes, that was a posed photo and the barrel shouldn’t have touched.

    Thanks for the load. 250-grain round nose flat point? The 8 grains of Unique is pretty standard, but I have no experience with that bullet.

    B.B.

    • Mike Says:

      BB;
      The 250 grain flat point is popular with Cowboy Action Shooters that want to approximate the old ammo. It also works well in rifles and carbines of that caliber. It is easy to find as a cast bullet on the market. Also, Lee makes a very nice double cavity mould in this weight for around $20.00. Now if you want a real “Gamer” load (Very Light Recoil) try the Lee 160 grain flat point with 4 grains of Bullseye. I also use a corn meal filler with this one to keep the powder back at the primer. This one shoots like a .38 special for recoil. It groups well too.

      Mike

      • B.B. Pelletier Says:

        Mike,

        I like you! Are you a CAS competitor?

        I will get one of those Lee molds, but I will look for the six cavity mold first. They just go faster.

        B.B.

        • Mike Says:

          BB; Thanks for the kind words. Yes, I have been shooting CAS since 2000. Often shoot a Uberti .45 Colt like yours and a Uberti Schofield also a .45 I do real well at our local club but if I went to a big shoot, my skill level would be middle of the pack……….on a good day. But, since this is done for fun, it doesn’t matter! I really enjoy the comments and information here on airguns. I have been shooting them for years but am no expert at all. I enjoy the older stuff, FWB 124, Sheridan C, RWS 52. The 124 has been real hard on the local Red Squirrel population. I also like the comments and information from those in other countries, like those from duskwight. Hope your health continues to improve.

          Regards;

          Mike

  • Robert from Arcade Says:

    BB: Just got to the blog,so good to see your shooting again. On your Uberti .45, what does the barrel measure compared to the cylinder throats ? Also watch out on Lyman molds for the Keith bullet. They vary quite a bit is size, depending on when they were made. You might end up buying more than one mould.
    What about taking your .45-70 to Doug Turnbull if you travel to Crosman again. Bet he could mount your scope or suggest someone who could, Robert.

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Robert,

      The Uberti is a .452 bore, the same as all modern .45 handguns. That’s why the Lyman bullet I mentioned was the 452424./ Back when I shot first-gen. Colts I used the 454424 mold, as those guns had .454 bores. And some old Smiths were even larger.

      Turnbull is an idea, but I have Lone Star right here in Texas and they make Rolling Blocks. I was just hoping for a less expensive gunsmith.

      Thanks for the suggestions.

      B.B.

  • CJr Says:

    Been traveling for over a week now. I’ll never get caught up now.

    BB,
    All I can say is Awesome!!!!!!
    Awesome guns and awesome you’re back on the range! You’re making a lot of people happy with both.

    Anyone,
    I haven’t seen an answer to Matt’s question about forged vs cast yet. I’m interested in the answer, too.

    Just heard that the CMP is all out of M1 Carbines and will probably never have any more. I’m sad they’re out but glad they went to so many homes (except mine, boo hoo)
    -CJr

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      Chuck,

      The CMP wouldn’t be out of carbines if the Obama administration hadn’t just reversed a decision to let South Korea sell over 700,000 carbines back to us. It was a Brady-backed decision that the anti-gunners support because the carbine can accept magazines of large capacity. That despite the fact that the M1 Carbine has no reputation for use in crime.

      B.B.

  • A.R. Tinkerer Says:

    Hi BB,

    Glad you’re feeling well enough to get out to the range! I’m sure you’re looking forward to getting that tube out as well as your gall bladder!

    AR

    • B.B. Pelletier Says:

      AR,

      The gall bladder may come out in a few weeks. I’m hoping to lose the tube this month, too, but I don’t have any backing for saying that. It’s something that shouldn’t have been done, as once done you have to wait months or even longer than a year for it to dry up.

      B.B.

  • Malcolm Wrathmoore Says:

    Ahhhh…..Love this kind of article.

    I wish i’d been reading the blog this week.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Bisley Shooting,

    I did a search on the term Bisley shooting and came up with nothing. Can you tell me what is special about Bisley shooting? Does it refer to a certain type of long-range match?

    B.B.

  • B.B. Pelletier Says:

    Bisley Shooting,

    I did a search on the term Bisley shooting and came up with nothing. Can you tell me what is special about Bisley shooting? Does it refer to a certain type of long-range match?

    B.B.

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