by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Remington 33
Remington’s model 33 single shot .22 was their first bolt action rimfire.

Part 1

A history of airguns

This report covers:

  • The new desire
  • How accurate?
  • Start point
  • 30 minutes later
  • Differences
  • Summary

Happy New Year! May 2018 be a blessed year for each of you!

Today will be a short report, if you don’t mind. No — I didn’t stay up that late on New Year’s Eve. I wrote this last Friday, as is my custom of staying a little ahead of the blog. I am getting ready for the 2018 SHOT Show and a lot is happening, so I’m trying to stay ahead.

Yes, this is still an airgun blog. If you read Part 1 you’ll discover that this report started with a friend from church who had a pest problem. I tried solving it with an airgun, but he was ahead of me and solved it himself with a shotgun. But it got me looking at my old Remington model 33 single shot bolt action .22 rimfire, shooting CB caps. Read Part 1 to catch up. I’ll wait.

The new desire

Shooting my tired rusty old rifle again and seeing how accurate it is with Aguila CB caps, I took the rifle over to Otho’s house for a shooting party. Otho has been feeling poorly and I thought getting him out to pop come caps might cheer him up. We used Codeuce’s spinner target exclusively, which means we shot his target with 20-grain and 29-grain lead bullets. Some of the caps we fired were CCI CB caps.

How accurate?

I’ll tell you just how accurate this rifle is. We were sitting in chairs 25 feet from the target. We got so good that we started trying to nick the edge of the smaller paddle on top of each spinner so lightly that the paddle only rotated one time! You know how easily Codeuce’s spinners rotate. That was a challenge, but I managed to do it 15-20 times, at least.

Remington 33 spinner
We plastered the Codeuce spinner paddles hundreds of times with no bending of the paddles!

Otho brought out a couple Mossberg .22 bolt action rifles — one a single shot and the other a repeater. Both of them had horrible problems feeding, extracting and setting off the ammo. They jammed more than they shot. My scabby old Remington 33, in contrast, was almost 100 percent reliable. I even let Otho shoot it, though I could not get either of his Mossbergs to work for me. I have had many Mossberg rimfires in the past and always found the bolt actions to be troublesome in these same ways.

But you can’t stop that tired old Remington. And, it’s reasonably accurate, which is surprising since it’s hard to see any rifling in the bore.

So, I bought myself a Christmas present. I found a very nice Remington 33 on Gun Broker and won it. It arrived yesterday and is even better than the description. This one has a great bore. My eyes can’t see it well enough to rate it, but the rifling looks shiny and perfect.

Remington 33s
The new rifle (top) is in much better condition than the old one.

Remington 33 differences
Here you can see a few differences between the two rifles.

Now, I don’t need two of the same rifle, and Otho hinted that when this one arrived he might be interested in my old one. So, I’m thinking of making him a happy boy! But not before I do some testing! I won’t do that today, but I will clean the bore of the old rifle for the first time in the decade I have owned it. I estimate 500-750 rounds have gone through it since I picked it up, and most of them were rounds I picked up off the ground and out of the discard buckets at my private range. Many of them had a firing pin indent in their rims when I got them. Very few failed to fire in this old girl!

Maybe 150 of those shots were the CB caps Otho and I shot (we went through about six 50- and 100-shot boxes of cartridges between us in all the rifles). Is it any wonder I can’t see any rifling? I will therefore put on my best reading glasses, look at both ends of the bore before and after I clean the barrel. Then I will report to you what happened. Since this is a single shot bolt action rifle, there really isn’t a lot more to it than cleaning the barrel. I will clean out the action and the bolt, but that’s a quick job. The barrel is where the work is.

Start point

When I began only the hint of spiral scratches appeared in the dusty-road bore. The inside of the barrel was black with burned powder.

30 minutes later

After half an hour’s work that concentrated on the bore I was able to see good rifling at the front of the barrel — maybe a 5 out of 10 for the rifling height. That’s well-worn but still sharp and able to stabilize the bullet. At the back by the chamber there is a lot of roughness and deep pitting that’s never going to clean away. Just ahead of the chamber the bore is poor.

After the black gunk came out, the bore revealed a coat of gray lead that had to be removed. This was mostly wire brush work, with a little help from some chemical cleaners. In time the gray came out and now the bore is down to bare metal again.

The bolt was surprisingly easy to clean. It wasn’t very dirty to begin with, and the design has open access to the parts.

Differences

There are subtle difference between my two model 33s. The new one has a slimmer forearm with a schnable tip, where the old one is straight, thicker and rounded. The new rifle’s cocking knob is slightly different, as well, and the rear sight elevator has a finer set of steps.

Summary

This is such a simple rifle to evoke so much interest, but I think simple is at the heart of good guns — whether they be firearms or airguns. Someday the manufacturers will discover this and we will start seeing fresh designs with a retro look and feel.

My plan is to test both rifles against each other, using just the Colibri CB caps. This will be at 10 meters and I may only have to shoot one target each to make the determination of which is more accurate. We shall see!