Posts Tagged ‘Ruger Mark II Target’
by B.B. Pelletier
Isaiah Garrison is this week’s BSOTW.
It’s uncommon for a firearms manufacturer to make an airgun. Many of them put their names on airguns made by someone else, but not many bona fide firearms manufacturers actually produce them.
Even rarer is when an airgun manufacturer makes a firearm. It does happen, but it gives us cause to stop and wonder.
In 1952, Sheridan, the airgun maker from Racine, Wisconsin, began offering the Knocabout single-shot .22 long rifle pistol. When it was first produced, this unique pocket pistol retailed for $17.95 at the same time that the model A Sheridan air rifle was selling for $56.50! What a turnabout that was!
Today’s report was requested by blog reader Robert of Arcade, who has waited patiently for this for several years. As most long-term readers know, Robert is an old-school hunter and trapper from upstate New York. One thing about the Knocabout that must appeal to him is its utility on a trapline for administering the coup de grace to any trapped animal. Of course, that’s not its sole purpose, but it’s one of the big attractions because of the gun’s budget price.
Knocabout is right
Before I continue, let’s get something straight. Knocabout is the correct spelling for this model. I’m aware that it’s not the right spelling of the actual English word. That would be knockabout. But Sheridan must have had their reasons for spelling it differently. And speaking for Pyramyd Air, we have no room to comment.
One of my little strategies for finding Sheridan Knocabouts on gun auction sites is to enter the word both ways. I often find that the seller spells it incorrectly in his caption of a photo of the box lid with the correct spelling!
The Knocabout is made in the most cost-effective way possible for the time, without stepping over the line into cheap. The barrel is a steel casting that also contains some of the features required for the breech. If it were made today, the barrel would be a thin liner pressed into an outer shell; but on the Knocabout, it’s a single, solid piece of steel with several machined areas that serve different functions.
The pistol weighs 1 lb., 7.30 oz. The barrel is 4-3/4 inches long and the overall length is 7 inches.
Two steel side plates contain all the action parts, riveted together into a working assembly. It’s not a very maintainable way to build a gun, but it sure avoids a lot of manufacturing steps. The best part is that it works very well! It’s not a minimal design that barely functions. It’s reliable, consistent and easy to operate.
You’re looking inside the grip frame at the mainspring that drives the hammer.
The pistol is upside-down, and you’re looking at the metal plates that hold everything together. The barrel release and triggerguard are at the right.
The floating firing pin sticks out of the breechblock when the hammer rests against it.. When the safety is applied, it cams the hammer slightly back, allowing the firing pin to be pushed back by its spring. For the sake of safety, you should always apply the safety before opening the gun.
The grip is comprised of two plastic shells that are screwed to the sides of the sheet steel grip frame by two sheetmetal screws in each grip. When they’re removed, you gain somewhat better access into the action for cleaning with cotton swabs, though no other parts can be removed because they’re all retained by the seven rivets that hold the sheetmetal frame halves together.
The hammer is exposed and must be cocked manually. Then, open the breech by flipping the barrel up. Do this by pressing in on the lever sticking through the front of the triggerguard. The safety should be on when you do this. I found it best to load a cartridge, close the breech with the safety still on. Cock the gun and then release the safety when the muzzle is pointed toward the target. The instructions that are printed in the lid of the gun’s box tell you to do it this way.
The trigger-pull is single-stage and releases with 2 lbs. of pressure. There’s very little felt creep, and this trigger rates as a very good one!
The sights are cast and machined into the barrel casting. There’s a crisp, wide rear notch and a thinner front post that stands out clearly against a target with bright light falling on it. They’re non-adjustable, of course, but I admire how finished they appear to the shooter.
I’m sure you want to know how the Knocabout shoots, so I took it to my local gun club and shot it on the 15-yard range. I used a rested two-hand hold and a 6 o’clock sight picture. The targets were 50-foot timed and rapid-fire pistol targets, and I was at 45 feet, so they were ideally sized.
I tried the Sheridan with a lot of different ammo.
I shot the pistol with high-velocity .22 long rifles, standard-speed rounds that are listed as subsonic and two types of CB capsbecause they’re made for guns like this. As an afterthought, I also included some inexpensive Russian standard-speed long rifle ammo that has proved mediocre in some of my other .22s. Who knows if they would somehow shine in this pistol?
This is a single-shot pistol that takes a lot of time to load, so I went with 5-shot groups for this test. I’m not going to show you every target I fired, but I’ll give all the results. I’ll show only the worst group and the best. The first target, however, I mis-counted and shot 6 rounds.
This 6-shot group measures 6.5 inches across — from the outside of the two holes farthest apart. It was shot with CCI CB Longs, a round that did well in my 6-part report on CB caps versus pellets. In the Knocabout, however, it was dead last.
Winchester Super-X high-velocity .22 long rifle rounds made a group that measured 5-3/8 inches across the two widest holes. Aguila Super Colibri made a 5-1/8 inch group. Then, CCI subsonics turned in a group that measured 2-3/8 inches across. That sounded very good in light of what had gone before. But, then, I tried the Russian Junior ammo. Amazingly, they struck the center of the bull and gave a group measuring just 1-7/8 inches across. The pistol really could shoot, after all! I only needed the right ammo.
This group of 5 Russian Junior rounds was astounding after what had gone before. It measures 1-7/8 inches across!
Two other guns
Someone who doesn’t know me might think that I don’t know how to shoot, so I thought I would shoot two other .22 handguns to put these results in perspective. One is a very early Ruger Single-Six with the flat loading gate, and the other is a nondescript Ruger Mark II Target pistol. I didn’t shoot as many different rounds in either of these guns as I did the Knocabout, but I shot enough to show that I can shoot.
This Single-Six is an older one.
Five Winchester Super-X rounds from the Ruger Single-Six made this 2-3/8 inch group that’s well-centered in the bull.
Ruger’s Mark II Target pistol is mundane, but highly accurate.
This target made by the Ruger Mark II with 5 CCI subsonic round measures 15/16 of an inch across the outside.
Compared to what?
I’ve said many nice things about the Knocabout. It probably sounds as though I think it’s almost a free pistol. The truth is, it’s a long way from that. But compared to the other inexpensive single-shot .22 pistols made at the same time, I think the Knocabout might just be the pick of the litter. It’s certainly much better than a Wamo Powermaster; and from what I know from examination but without shooting one, a Savage 101. I know there were a double handful of other cheap single-shots in the ’50s, and I’m going to guess that the Knocabout is probably better than all of them. Of course, what do I know? I haven’t tested any of them. I’m saying that based on what I see in front of me and what I know about Sheridan’s reputation at the time.
With the grips off, you can see what the pistol looks like underneath.
The barrel flips up for loading.
by B.B. Pelletier
Adrian Cataldo Beltran is the BSOTW.
This is the second time I’ve used this title for a blog. The last time was a blog I did back in July 2007, almost five years ago. In that report, I was mostly addressing the expectations of accuracy that new airgunners have and how they relate to reality. Today, I want to look at something different.
Today I want to look at our secret hopes — those unspoken agendas that push us and direct us toward gun purchases that can sometimes disappoint us. I had one of these happen to me just this week.
When I was a boy back in the 1950s, I loved the Winchester model 61 slide-action .22 repeater — what we kids called a pump gun in those days. I loved it because every time I got to shoot one, which wasn’t that often, the rifle spoke to me. It was just the right size, with a slick action that seemed to bespeak rapid-fire accuracy. Since I never shot at anything smaller than a soup can, I don’t suppose that real accuracy ever came into question, but that gun just SEEMED accurate to me.
As a young adult in the middle 1970s, I had the opportunity to buy a 98 percent model 61 that had been produced in 1953. It still had the original box and cost the exorbitant price of $250, but I knew it was worth every penny. I didn’t actually shoot it that much, but I shot it enough to know that my childhood imagination had amplified the rifle’s true capabilities. It was accurate enough for what it was, but it was no tack-driver. Anyhow, the day finally came when I was forced to sell it before I apparently fulfilled my fascination for the gun — because a couple years ago I had a chance to buy another one in very good shape (call it a 75-percent gun) for just $550. This time I could afford the gun, but I didn’t act quick enough and the opportunity passed.
Last week I passed the pawn shop where I had seen the model 61 for sale, and once more the same childish thoughts flashed through my mind. And here’s the point of what I’m telling you. I now own a Marlin model 39A that is even slicker than the Winchester, and a Remington model 37 target rifle whose accuracy can embarrass almost every other .22 on earth. So why does my heart still yearn for the old pump gun that I know can’t compete with the guns I have? I think it’s that eternal desire to return to my childhood!
I had the exact same experience with a Daisy No. 25 slide-action BB gun, only this time I actually acquired nine of the things — all in beautiful, collectible condition. Owning them for over two decades allowed me to purge the demons from my past; and a couple years ago, I started quietly selling off that collection. The void in my heart had been filled.
At one time, I had the itch for a Colt Woodsman .22 pistol, because as a youngster I shot my uncle’s gun and did very well with it at 25 yards. From the prone position with a two-hand hold, that pistol grouped like a fine .22 rifle! But I’ve owned several Woodsman pistols over the years, and the experience has filled that pothole in my character. I know now that a Ruger Mark II can be just as accurate and just as reliable for one-quarter the price.
The longest itch I ever had was for the M1 Carbine, because I still have it even though I own one! I have owned several, and all have been good shooters — if not terribly accurate. But something about the little semiautomatic action that’s still impossible for gunmakers to build (no semiautomatic rifle has ever been made that was as light and powerful as the M1 Carbine) turns me on! I cannot pass one by. It’s as though I need to own them all, even though I have whittled my own “collection” down to just one good gun.
The strangest itch I ever had was for one specific gun. Years ago, I acquired a Trapdoor Springfield rifle that was in NRA antique good condition. It wasn’t anything to look at; but the bore was great, and it was fun to shoot. But I tired of that hard-kicking rifle after many years and eventually traded it away. Then, seller’s remorse set in. A year later, when I saw it up for sale, I bought it back. And I had it for several more years until I traded it away a second time. Then, a couple months later, I learned that the new owner intended selling it because the barrel was too long for him, so I traded for it, again. I also own a really accurate scoped .45-70 rolling block that I shoot all the time, but apparently I cannot stand to not also own this tired-looking old Trapdoor. Like a prized horse that’s been put out to pasture, I guess this one will remain with me until my estate sells it!
The point of this report
What I’m driving at today is that all shooters carry some baggage. For me, it’s the Winchester 61 and the others I’ve mentioned; but for you, a Browning Auto 5 may light your fire, or perhaps you find Lugers fascinating! I know that Mac has a soft spot for any shotgun in .410 caliber. Somewhere on the path of life, we have an experience or even just a fascination, and it starts the pot inside us brewing with lust.
Old B.B. Pelletier still has a couple voids left in his soul besides the Winchester. One would be a beautiful blue H&R model 999 Sportsman .22 revolver. There’s just something mystical about that break-open design that fascinates me! I have the good sense to know that I couldn’t possibly shoot it any better than any other top-quality revolver, but something about it still haunts me. I have never even fired one shot from a 999, so of course the thing is really buried deeply under my saddle! I fantasize about breaking open the action and watching those nine empty cases extract from the cylinder, as if by magic. It’s not a healthy wish, but this one’s on my bucket list.
For some asinine reason, I’m fascinated by the Johnson semiautomatic battle rifle of World War II. They’re all selling for way over $2,000 these days, and good ones go for much more; so this is an itch I don’t ever expect to scratch — but it’s still there. I would probably be underwhelmed by one if I shot it, because I’ve shot the Garand (another itch that has been satisfied many times!), but I guess you want most the things you can’t have.
Oh, and for some dumb reason, I find I cannot look away from an 8mm Hakim battle rifle. I know it’s because I’ve owned so many of the air rifle trainers, but the phrase “the poor man’s Garand” has sunk its hook firmly into my lips. I’ve come very close to pulling the trigger on several fine-looking Hakims in the past but was always put off by their poor bores that resulted from firing corrosive 8mm military ammunition.
In airguns, my secret desire is to own another Sheridan Supergrade multi-pump pneumatic. I owned one years ago and learned that it was no more powerful nor more accurate than a simple Blue Streak, but something about the robust styling of the gun still attracts me. Years ago, I was forced to sell the one I had for economic reasons, so the fascination was never completely satisfied. And I sold it just after the prices began to rise. I told myself I would buy another one when I could, and then I encountered the super-inflationary price increases of recent years.
A couple years back, I had the chance to buy a nice Supergrade at the Roanoke airgun show and I even (momentarily) had the money to buy it! But something inside stopped me from forking over the cash. And that was two weeks before I made the landmark trade for my Ballard rifle — so I guess the still small voice I listened to was the voice of reason that time! I had to use the cash to buy several things that were used in that trade, so it was either the Ballard or the Supergrade.
To quote Minnie Pearl, “I’m done playin’ now!” I want to spend the rest of this weekend reading about what turns YOUR crank!
by B.B. Pelletier
First, for those who don’t read the comments, the organizer of the Roanoke Airgun Expo, Fred Liady, passed away three days ago. Fred has been seriously ill all year long and in and out of the hospital. His wife, Dee, was taking care of him at home for several months.
Fred sold his airgun collection to Robert Beeman several years ago, but he continued to run the Roanoke show out of love for his many friends who attended. He’ll be missed by thousands of airgunners whose lives he touched over the years.
The fate of the Roanoke show is yet to be decided. We can’t press Fred’s widow, obviously, so no decisions have been made. However the show has so much momentum that it may well continue. When I get some facts, I’ll share them with you.
Daisy No. 25
Well, let’s begin Part 3 with my Daisy No. (not model) 25 guns, because this is a funny one. The gun is the pump-action BB gun designed by Fred LeFever in 1913. He agreed to work as a consultant with Daisy for six months to get them into production and wound up staying with the company for 44 years!
When I was a lad in the 1950s, I briefly owned a No. 25. It was a beautiful wood and blued steel gun that I bought for $5 with paper route money. But nobody told me you have to oil them to keep them going. When the power dropped off after a couple of days of shooting, I took the gun halfway apart to try to fix it. That turned it into a basket case. I then sold the parts to a friend for a quarter, just to get it out of my sight. He got his father to assemble it and brought it back to rub it in my face. He chided me for not knowing that old BB guns have to be oiled.
So, I have a thing for Daisy 25 guns made in Daisy’s first plant at Plymouth, Michigan. I own eight of them, though I have parted with a No. 325 target set, which is the engraved 1936 No. 25 in a box with lots of target paraphernalia. Here’s the funny part. I’m almost over my childish fixation, and was toying with bringing a few of them to Roanoke to begin the great selloff. My illness this year has reoriented how I feel about possessions. It’s funny, because I recently saw an American Pickers television episode in which the person they were picking had been involved in a major traffic accident and was now selling off all of his collections.
These are my four oldest No. 25 guns. The top gun is from 1913/14. It was originally black nickel, but all that finish has flaked off and now the silver nickel underneath shows through. This gun is so old that it has a soldered compression tube that Daisy stopped making in 1915. The next gun is from around 1916. It has the adjustable front sight and the short throw pump lever. Gun three is from around 1925 and has the fixed front sight and long lever but still retains the penny-sized takedown screw. Bottom gun is from 1930-1936 and has the stamped metal triggerguard and case-hardened pump lever. These four guns are a collection unto themselves.
Don’t worry, though. I’m not getting morbid on you or saying that I’m quitting airguns or anything like that. It’s just that these old No. 25 guns no longer hold the fascination they once did. I’m still quite fixated on M1 Carbines and Garands. Can’t pass by a carbine without examining it.
Sheridan Blue Streak
I bought my Blue Streak in 1978 and have kept it until now. That is something of a record for me, because I go through guns and airguns pretty fast. But the Blue Streak has stayed with me. When our house in Maryland was infested with mice that our cats insisted on playing with instead of killing outright, Edith learned how to use the Sheridan and it became her air rifle. She also killed nine rats with it when they moved from a neighbor’s mulch pile into the planter underneath our front porch in Maryland. Too much sentiment there to part with.
This rocker-safety Blue Streak is from 1978. I’m the original owner and there’s no plan to get rid of it. It’s still Edith’s go-to gun when if she has to dispatch small rodents.
Crosman model 101 pneumatic
I’ve owned a good many of these 101 guns, including several marked as 1924 guns. But this one I will keep, as it works well and I’ll always need a vintage pneumatic to use for airgun projects. I had it resealed by Dave Gunter, and it shoots very well. Every so often I like to take it out, just to reconnect with the past. I store it with a pump of air, and it always exhausts the air when shot, no matter how long it was stored.
A fine vintage multi-pump, the Crosman 101 dates back to 1924.
Air Arms TX200 Mark III
I once sold a TX200 Mark II. But that was because I had just acquired the Mark III I now own. I didn’t need two TXs. However, I will always want to have one around.
This TX 200 is a Mark III with the old-style checkering. I’ve owned it since the model came out, and I have no desire to sell it.
Walther PPK/S .22 LR
This is an uncommon firearm. There weren’t that many made, and this one is made in Germany, rather than France, where many of them were made. I don’t really love this gun, but I’ve never been able to part with it.
This Walther PPK/S is unusual because it’s chambered for .22 long rifle instead of .380 ACP. It’s a delightful pocket pistol.
Ruger Mark II Target
This is not an uncommon gun, or even worth a lot of money, but I’ve fitted this one with an adapter from Dennis Quackenbush to accept my legal silencer. I’m keeping the pistol because it fits my silencer and I don’t want to take the adapter off. It’s accurate, reliable and, with the silencer in place, very quiet.
The perfect platform for this Pilot silencer, because the tall Patridge target sights are visible above the can.
There are more, of course, but not today.