- Varmint Kong - The Laminated Target Stock Career(October 2003)
Varmint Kong - The Laminated Target Stock Career(October 2003)
by Jock Elliott
Reprinted by permission from Accurate Rifle magazine
Varmint Kong - The Laminated Target Stock Career The .22 Career 707 air rifle enjoys a richly deserved reputation as an excellent air rifle and particularly so for varminting.
It's not surprising because the Career has so much going for it. To start, it is a 42.5-inch, 7.5-lb. precharged air rifle. There are two tanks beneath the barrel that hold approximately 380cc of air at pressures up to 3,000 psi. You fill up the tanks with a high-pressure hand pump or a SCUBA tank, and then you're good for a number of shots without the need to cock a spring, work a pump on the front of the gun, or replace CO2 cartridges. A pressure gauge, which lets you know how much air is remaining, is visible through an opening in the forestock.
The new stock features an extended forestock with flat bottom and a buttstock with raised cheekpiece.
In addition, the Career offers adjustable power. There is a wheel underneath the receiver, just forward of the trigger guard, that has 13 click-stops that allow the shooter to vary the power from 8 to 80 foot pounds. That means that velocities can go from around 400 fps with light pellets to 1,200 fps with 30+ grain swaged pellets. The number of shots you get per fill depend, of course, on the power level that you've set.
At the rear of the stock is an adjustable buttplate with rubber pad.
The power adjustment wheel can be reached with a screwdriver or allen wrench.
The muzzle report will also depend on the power level you choose. At the lowest level, it sounds like someone whacking a board with a light hammer. At full-out, Maggie-bar-the-door power levels, there is a pronounced BOOM. If you are planning on shooting at full power, this is not a gun for suburban neighborhoods.
The cocking lever is now curved to accommodate the new pistol grip.
What's more, the Career is a repeater. On the left side of the receiver there is a long, thin slot that accepts a pencil-like magazine. Loading requires pulling a spring-loaded slide full back and locking it in place. Pellets are then loaded butt first into the magazine until it is full. The capacity of the magazine depends on the length of the pellets. The magazine is then slipped into the magazine slot and the spring slide is released so the spring pushes the pellets forward.
Pellets are loaded into the barrel and the action is cocked simply by working the lever action. The only tricky part of the Career is that the pellet shuttle - which accepts the pellets from the magazine and transports them to the barrel - must be adjusted exactly to the length of the pellets that are being used. So, for example, if you are shooting Beeman .22 Kodiak pellets, the shuttle will require a different setting than if you are shooting .22 Crosman Premiers. Otherwise, it is possible for pellets to misfeed and jam.
Single pellets can be loaded through this port on the right side of the receiver.
To adjust the pellet shuttle, you must remove the upper half of the receiver. This means de-mounting the scope and undoing a couple of screws on the top of the receiver. Once the top of the receiver is out of the way, you can easily adjust the length of the pellet shuttle. The good news is that once it is properly adjusted for a particular pellet, the Career will feed round after round flawlessly. In addition, if you want to experiment with other pellets, you can feed them one at a time through a port on the right side of the receiver.
The thin magazine slips into this slot on the left side of the receiver.
Accuracy is where the Career really shines. I personally have shot sub-MOA groups at 55 yards, and I have received reports of groups barely over an inch at 100 yards. This is one outstandingly accurate air rifle that is capable of killing varmints at rimfire ranges and then some.
But there are problems with the Career in its original configuration. Most of these stem from its design as a rifle for the Korean market primarily set up for open sight shooting.
For example, the rounded forestock is short, and it sticks out from both the receiver and the air tube ahead of it. As a result, it is difficult to find a good position for shooting off a rest. In addition, I found that when I was shooting off my knee in a sitting position, sometimes my knee would inadvertently rotate the power adjustment wheel. I used a piece of masking tape to keep that from happening.
The buttstock is well designed for open-sight offhand shooting: the cheekpiece is low, and the pistol grip comes straight back. But when Americans mount scopes on the Career, the cheekpiece threatens to become a chinpiece, and the hand position can be awkward.
The new laminated target stock Career changes all that. The forestock is much longer, has a flat bottom, and extends nearly all the way back to the trigger guard. This makes it much easier to find a position to plant the forestock on a rest or your knee.
The longer forestock also solve another problem. The power adjustment wheel is now "protected" by the forestock. Both the power wheel and the air gauge are visible through openings in the forestock. If you want to adjust the power, you can reach and manipulate the wheel with a screwdriver or allen wrench, or you can undo a single screw, remove the forestock, and make the adjustment with your fingers.
The new laminated buttstock is excellent. The cheekpiece is high enough for proper positioning of the eye behind a scope. There is pronounced drop in the pistol grip which improves hand position, and the cocking lever is now curved to accommodate the new pistol grip. Finally, at the rear of the stock there is an adjustable buttplate with a rubber pad.
Having "drunk in" the beauty of the new stock, I could hardly wait to see how it handled. I popped a BSA 4-16 x 40 Mil-Dot scope on top and headed for the range. I hunkered down at one of the benches using an old ammo box as a rest. In the lingo of the sports car magazines, "the controls fell readily to hand." Everything seemed to fit just right. My eye was right where it should be behind the scope; my shoulder was in perfect position, and my hand was comfortable and relaxed. I could even work the lever from my ersatz rest.
After a couple of dozen rounds, I found myself grinning. The .22 laminated target stock Career is a superb air varminter. It has the accuracy to easily make headshots on squirrels at 50 yards, the power to terminate woodchucks at well over 100 yards, and a fast, reliable lever action. And with the new target stock, everything fits just right.