by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Remington 33
Remington’s model 33 single shot .22 was ,made in the 1930s.

A history of airguns

This report covers:

      • The cobbler’s children have no shoes!
      • Barn gun
      • Lightbulb!
      • The question
      • Remington 33
      • Success
      • Addictive
      • Why not an airgun?
      • CB caps are quiet…
      • … and not that powerful
      • Super Colibri
      • Summary

    Hey there, BB — you’re talking about a firearm in an airgun blog?

    Sure am! I do it from time to time to attract new readers like Kevin, who joined us years ago from my comments about Roy Weatherby. The shooting sports is full of guys who just like to shoot, and I lure them in with these occasional excursions off the beaten path. And, there is a very strong tie-in to airguns in today’s report, as you will discover. Let’s go!

    The cobbler’s children have no shoes!

    It all started when a guy at my church needed something to kill a bobcat that was raiding his chicken coop! I immediately suggested an airgun — my “go to” Talon SS. But, when I located it, there was no scope mounted! Oh, no! I found a scope and mounted it quickly and then discovered that my tackdriver air rifle now puts five pellets into one inch at 25 yards. That’s terrible for this rifle. Looking down the bore told me the reason — dirty barrel! That will be the subject of an upcoming blog.

    On with the story. So I grabbed my .25 caliber Marauder. ONCE AGAIN — NO SCOPE!!! I mounted a scope and sighted it in. By this time two days had passed and the guy had already shot the cat with a 12-gauge loaded with buckshot.

    Barn gun

    So I’m sitting on my toadstool, drinking ambrosia and pondering the meaning of life when it dawns on me — what this guy really needs is a single-shot .22 rimfire he can keep in his chicken coop! He needs a barn gun.

    He is also overrun with rats, which are attracted to chickens, and possums that are likewise. He has a .22 but it’s a cheap 10-shot semiautomatic that doesn’t fire half the time. So I gave him an old single shot I had, and set him up with a box of Aguila Colibri CB caps. They have the power to turn a .22 rimfire into something that very much resembles a pleasant airgun.

    Lightbulb!

    Then came my epiphany. I don’t have a “go-to” .22 I can grab for all my own little emergencies. I can give them away, but what happens when I need one? I have .22 rifles out the wazoo, but they are either scoped or they are target rifles or they are repeaters that cannot easily be loaded with a single CB cap. But, all is not lost.

    I rummage around my gun closet and find my old Remington model 33 single shot. I bought it for $75 at a gun show years ago. It’s so rusty you need a tetanus shot just to hold it. I bought it to shoot up the .22 rounds I pick up off the ground at my range. I always have hundreds on hand and, though I have shot several hundred over the years, somehow I never get around to shooting them all. But I have the gun, if I ever get the time!

    Remington 33 22 cartridges
    I pick up .22 rounds that have fallen to the ground at the range. I have several hundred at any time.

    Would this old beater shoot CB caps? You long time readers may remember back in 2011 I wrote a 6-part report on the subject titled, Are CB caps as good and accurate as pellets?. While it was not exhaustive, I did discover a few things, such as the fact that CB caps do have gunpowder in them, despite what you may have heard. People think they run on priming compound, alone, and that may have been true at one time, but not today — at least not the ones I have taken apart. But that’s not the question before us.

    Remington 33 Ammo
    Various CB caps. From the left — CCI CB short, CCI CB long, RWS CB cap, RWS BB cap, Aguila Super Colibri, Aguila Colibri.

    Remington 33 Ammo disassembled
    Despite what you may have heard, CB caps do have gunpowder inside. At the top is a CCI CB Long pulled apart. Below is a CCI Green Tag long rifle cartridge. Pulling bullets from rimfire cartridges is dangerous — don’t try this at home!

    The question

    The question is — are CB caps any good in my junker Remington model 33? In other words, can I count on them the same as I can count on several of my airguns? I told Matt, the guy with the bobcat problem, that he needs a barn gun. That’s a reliable .22 he can leave in the chicken coop to use when he needs it. Most folks who have kept critters are familiar with the barn gun concept. But, is this Remington 33 my barn gun?

    Remington 33

    The Remington model 33 is a youth rifle. It’s 41-3/4-inches long with a 24-inch barrel. The pull is 13-1/2-Inches. the rifle weighs 4.5 lbs. and though it may look large in the picture, you can wrap your hand around the entire stock and barreled action. It’s a light handy weapon.

    The trigger is as simple as the latch on an outhouse door. I doubt there are more than 25 parts in the entire gun, though because of the timeframe when it was made, the stock is American black walnut.

    The barrel looks like 20 miles of rough road inside. If I saw one like it for sale I would pass. I only bought this one to shoot up junk rounds that I pick up off the ground. So — is my 33 accurate?

    You know me and accuracy. Normally I would bench the gun and shoot at paper 10 times, then measure the group down to the thousandth of an inch. Not this time. Barn guns aren’t tested that way. You test barn guns by shooting them at things and seeing if you can hit them. And that’s what I did.

    I went out to Otho’s house out in the country and invited him to shoot with me. I needed a handy target and Codeuce’s spinner was available, so that was what we used. Even though the cartridge’s power is very low, the bullets spun the spinners easily. That’s the benefit of Codeuce’s spinner over all others.

    Success

    And, it worked. Otho dragged out an old Mossberg single shot that he could not remember ever testing and I had my trusty model 33. The Mossberg was a real can of worms — nothing worked as it should. To add insult to injury it has an automatic safety that goes on every time it’s cocked! First time for Otho, and he let me know how unhappy he was. Being an airgunner, I am used to such travesties.

    On the other hand, my Remington is about as complex as an anvil. Heck — my rifle doesn’t even cock when the bolt is worked. After loading a cartridge you have to pull back the cocking knob to cock the gun.

    Addictive

    Otho and I found ourselves entranced by the fun of shooting shot after shot at the spinners. There is something relaxing about a single shot .22 caliber bolt action rifle. It’s like eating peanuts — you don’t want to stop!

    Why not an airgun?

    Why did I recommend CB caps in a firearm to Matt and not an airgun? Well, my initial reaction was to recommend an airgun, but while addressing the problems I mentioned, I had time to think about it. Matt wants a gun to kill pests in his chicken coop. Sure, he likes to shoot like most of us, but he shows no signs of becoming an airgunner. Each airgun I would recommend as a barn gun for him required some training up front. The .22 rimfire required nothing — he already owned one, though it wasn’t right for what he wanted to do. It was an unreliable semiautomatic when what he needed is a dirt-simple single shot he could pick up and use. A guy writing a grocery list doesn’t need a dissertation on how pencils are made!

    CB caps are quiet…

    I picked the Aguila Colibri CB cap for Matt because it is extremely quiet. It’s even quieter than a silenced .22 shooting subsonic rounds. In fact, after he shot it the first time he turned to me an said, “That’s it?” The same thing happened when I shot with Otho. He fired a shot that I heard hit the target and he said, “Did it fire? I didn’t hear anything.” Now, Otho and I are both old enough that our hearing isn’t exactly factory-fresh, but Matt is a young pup in his mid-30s.

    …and not that powerful

    According to my data from 2011, Colibris deliver their 20-grain bullet at an average 391 f.p.s., which is 6.79 foot-pounds at the muzzle. That’s Diana model 27 territory!

    Super Colibri

    There is also a Super Colibri cartridge. It’s the same size (long rifle case and pointed 20-grain bullet) but it’s much louder than the Colibri and produced 16.8 foot pounds when I tested it back in 2011. In my opinion you lose the primary benefit of the cartridge, which is pellet-gun performance in a .22 rimfire rifle.

    Just have to know!

    Well, the cat’s out of the bag now! I have to go on and test this rifle and cartridge all the way. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it — right?

    Summary

    So, you have been thinking about getting an airgun but you don’t know which one to get. If you own a .22 rifle, you can use these CB caps to get started . Your investment is low and you won’t disturb the neighbors. In my 2011 test I showed that CB caps can be pretty accurate out to 25 yards, or so. That’s all you need for a chicken coop, basement or attic.

    As for the power and accuracy of my Remington 33, well, that’s coming!