Remington model 33 single shot rimfire: Part 2

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!

48 thoughts on “Remington model 33 single shot rimfire: Part 2

  1. B.B.,

    Very nice to see such oldies still looking great even after a lot of time has passed. Hope the new one shoots as well or even better than the previous one.

    Siraniko

    Happy New Year!




    • GF1,

      I solved the 2240 forend mystery that no one seemed to offer an answer for. I e-mailed a vendor of those type of parts and they responded that a forend on a stock 2240 will not work. The tube is 8 3/8″ and a 2250 tube is 10″. So,.. some 2250 parts are required. Tube, pierce cap, forend, clip, barrel band and misc. related screws are reqd.. Hopefully I can get these as I do want a fore arm. Just some FYI for you to file away in that ol’ noggin.


      • Chris
        You know what. Maybe you should of got you a 2260 and been done. They already have a steel breech. They are .22 and have a full stock.

        Plus if you wanted the 2240 pistol grip will go on it. Along with other mods and even the Maximus barrel.


        • GF1,

          Maybe, maybe not. The other way is to go a Custom Shop 2400KT. Or go as planned. Still weighing options and cost.

          The .177 vs .22 debate is up in the air again. After about an hour of skimming/reading HiveSeeker’s blogs again, the .22 is getting the same fps as the .177. The fps dropped at 20″ barrel length in .177. That however may have been with the weaker valve. Data supports the .22 format thus far. I do not believe that HiveSeeker tried a 24″ barrel in .177, without a re-check.

          At any rate,.. that is as far as I got today. I will pick back up next weekend. Back to the ol’ grind in the AM. 🙁


          • Chris
            Didn’t see no data about shooting a actual squirrel with either caliber.

            I’ll put it this way. Every 2240 I had with a .177 Disco barrel verses a .22 Disco barrel. It was lights out at 35 yards with a .177 Disco barrel. Not so with the .22 Disco barrel at the same distance. Without going in to details like I said. Lights out with .177.

            Now take my .22 Maximus it’s lights out at 50 yards.

            See something going g on here. Both .22 caliber with a long barrel. One works. One doesn’t for squirrel getting.

            And like Benji-Don said. The Maximus barrels are cheap enough from Crosman. Get a .177 and .22 Maximus barrel and see for yourself.

            Remember get out there and try it in the real world. Numbers help. But they don’t give the end results. Let me say it this way. Literally the (end results).


            • GF1,

              Yup. Well, at least I am learning a bunch of something I knew little about. From the re-read of HiveSeekers blogs,.. I will say that I do have a ton of respect for his work, persistence, thoroughness and excellent work on the topic. All compiled, it is quite monumental and the best I have seen after looking around.


  2. B.B.,

    Good to see the ol’ Gal getting revived and passed on. Schnabel ehh? I am a sucker for that stock feature. I agree with classic lines. With PCP’s, it’s a bit harder to achieve that with the air tube, but I thought that the Maximus came out looking very classic. On “classic lines”,.. I do find that thumbhole and pistol gripped stocks are nice, though I suppose that neither of those is considered classic in any way.

    Great news on Coduece’s spinners. I think he has got a bit better at welding as both of mine have very nice welds. Like you, I think mine will be getting a spray of fluorescent paint on the paddles.

    A happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to one and all,…. Chris


    • Chris USA,
      Good eyes, your very observant, B.B.’s Targets are preproduction prototypes. That’s when I was using flux core wire, I have since upgraded my welder and welding process. So if my prototypes are holding up after a torture test like this I’m feeling really good about the longevity of the targets I’m selling.
      Carl


  3. BB,

    You already know how I feel about the classic lines and simplicity. I would indeed be quite refreshing for a manufacturer to decide K.I.S.S. is the way to go. A touch of Victorian would be nice also. I am still wanting an open lock muzzle loading air rifle.

    A most Blessed New Year to all!


    • RR,

      Sad to say you will never get a muzzleloading PCP from any manufacturer that considers liability. If the air valve leaks and you load a bullet into the barrel in front of it, as the pressure builds behind the bullet you have a gun that’s eventually going to discharge on its own. It doesn’t have to be a common fault — it only has to happen one time and the game is over.

      Arrow-launchers are at risk from the same thing. They may be safer because they have more air volume behind the arrow than a loaded bullet, but all it takes is for a hunter to load in the morning and have the arrow launch sone time later.

      Could a safe design be made? Certainly. But who can guarantee that shooters will follow the safe loading procedure?

      I have talked with several manufacturers about this including Dennis Quackenbush and they are all afraid of the consequences. Now, some company that doesn’t care and their Chinese manufacturer? Anything is possible.

      B.B.



      • BB,

        Never considered that, but I can see where that could be an issue. I have been thinking/redesigning today and I am thinking more of the slide loading port that I have seen on some of the Korean and Barnes air rifles.


    • RR,

      With CNC lasers and engraving, a lot could be done to dress up a gun. Deep relief stamping would also be another way, but would require a stamp to be made. Sometimes that “eye candy” can make a real block buster. Just as long as they don’t try to gouge the consumer just because something looks fancy. With todays processes and cost reductions, I think that the average consumer could see right through unreasonable cost increases. Add $5 worth of work/part and ask another 150+ is not going to fly, at least not in my book.

      The quality of CNC wood stock engraving and carving these days is utterly astounding.


      • Chris,

        Engraving and such is not going to do it for me. When you handle a few of these antique air rifles and pistols you first realize that there is real steel and wood in there. Then there is how well everything fits together and how smooth they operate.

        Once upon a time I talked at length to Gary Barnes at the 2005 Roanoke Airgun Show. I was going to have him build me a Bison air rifle. I think that I insulted him by saying I did not wish to have any embellishments, but wanted the quality of the construction to speak for itself. I did not realize it at the time, but Gary Barnes is not an air rifle manufacturer. He is an artist who uses air rifles as his medium. Do not get me wrong. I do indeed covet one of his air rifles, but now I know better how to deal with him.


        • RR,

          All good points. Something may look like “it”,.. but it’s not “it” (replicas). Maybe when it comes to the quality of yesteryear,.. it is just that. Not to be replicated again without much cost. Thanks for the added insight.




  4. BB,

    Happy New Year all!

    Ridgerunner, I agree with you, but also with BB. The only way to go is build it yourself or buy a jezail or brown bess. Those have style.

    Regards,

    August



  5. BB

    “preparing to go to the S.H.O.T. show” How does one do that,exactly? By rubbing your palms back and forth against each other saying ” Goody, Goody, Goody “, stopping only to occasionally wipe the drool away? Gun writers have all the fun!

    Is the new gun’s stock…eh…stock… or do you think it once looked like your first gun’s and was customized by whittlin’ it into it’s current shape by a previous owner? From what I can see in your pics, the fact that the stock-retaining screw on the forearm sticks out further and the way the finger grooves taper away towards the front of the stock make me think it has been reshaped. I haven’t seen a lot of schnables, but the ones that I have seen didn’t have finger grooves as a feature. Usually had checkering or engraving to go with the “fanciness” of the schnable shape. Maybe the factory just reworks a standard stock into the schnable shape.


    • Halfstep,

      I wondered the same thing. Officially the Remington had two different stocks. The first ones had slim forearms like the one on my new gun, but they didn’t have the finger grooves and they lacked the schnable. They were too slim for a schnable to be added. The later ones were just like my older gun.

      I just examined the stock closely and I’m almost certain the schnable was done outside the factory. It’s a very good job, but there are small clues that Remington didn’t do it.

      B.B.


      • B.B.,

        I wondered about the finger grooves, my old model 33 does not have them. The stock is also much thinner than yours looks in the pictures. I don’t have mine at home so I can’t count the number of parts. There are very few making it about as simple as it gets.

        I also shoot ammo that are duds in my other guns the 33 fires them almost every time.

        It will be interesting to see how the two guns do.

        Don



  6. Hi B B and all
    Wishing you a very Happy, Peaceful and Blessed New Year. BB may the Good Lord keep you in excellent health & hope you get your eyes fixed soon so you can work better. Thanks for the wonderful articles!
    Errol


  7. Mr. Gaylord:
    Here is hopeing you have a happy and prosperous New Year.

    It look like your models 33 has a a pull to cock bolt rafting as the safety. Is this a common feature of the time. I know that it’s on todays keystone cricket and chipmonk rifles. But on ôther youth rifles, like the savage mark 1, it seems that the trend is toward cocking when the bolt is opened with a separate safety.
    Respectfully
    Wm. Schooley
    Rifle Coach
    Crew 357
    Chelsea, Mi


    • William,

      I never saw the rafting until you mentioned it. That’s what a good proofreader I am! 😉

      Yes, starting in 1900 and lasting until around 1960 it was common for single shot .22s to have a separate cocking knob on the bolt. It was considered a safety feature that caused the new shooter to think about what he was doing.

      I didn’t mention it, but this bolt also has a safety built in. If you pull it out farther and twist it to one side, it will lock in the open position and will not fire when the trigger is pulled.

      B.B.


      • I purchased a JC Higgins (Sears) bolt action single shot .22 and 4X scope my senior year in high school in 1962. That was all I could afford with my paper route job. Long story short, it has the same pull back “safety” as Tom’s rifle. The good news is that it is still sitting in my closet and is also still an accurate little plinker. It has no real value based on my research ($75) but is priceless to me for the memories.

        Bob
        A happy and prosperous New Year to all.


      • That brings back the memorys, it was too hard for me to pull and twist when I was little. If i remember correctly if it was not cocked and the cocking knob was hit it would fire. I think this is the one Dad told me not to load until I was ready to shoot. I can’ t remember for sure but I think it was the model 33.

        Don





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