The Knocabout Revisited:

Time To Revive The Concept?
1

Sheridan’s classic “Knocabout” was a simple, single shot .22 trail or “survival” pistol. The Garcia Bronco (above) played to the same concept. Why did the breed die out?

The Knocabout is a break-barrel, single shot .22 with an extractor. The safety cams
the hammer away from the firing pin. Note the rugged fixed sights.

I was casting about at a garage sale some years ago and my eye caught what I first thought was an air pistol of some sort. When I picked it up, I realized it was a single shot, break-barrel .22 with an external hammer and decent looking safety. When I peered at the name stamped on it I was surprised, as my first impression wasn’t far off. It said “Sheridan” — famous for their line of airguns, and the classic .20 caliber pump-rifle you likely grew up with as I did. As I recall, $20 later (“Oh that? It’s just a broken pellet pistol,” she said), I had my own “Knocabout.”

I soon found out it was “broken” in the sense it was missing a firing pin. I nosed around, found an idea of the shape online then made one (well, actually three, before I got it right), using my small lathe and a good nail. I scrounged a firing pin spring from a ballpoint pen and I was in business.

I started with shooting some low pressure Aguila “Colibri” .22 rounds, then moved up to shorts, then standard pressure .22 LR. No use pressing the issue. I found the little gun to have a good trigger, solid safety which cammed the hammer back, a reliable extractor and a strange but highly functional lever in front of the trigger guard to break the barrel open. The grip angle felt great and the fixed sights (on the barrel) were close to point of aim. I fixed this later with a bit of TIG weld on the front sight and some filing.

Frankly, it turned into one of my “funnest” shooters and the group in the picture is at 15 yards, just goofing off. It shoots like gang-busters and I think the single barrel, single chamber and fixed sights on the barrel help matters. According to my research, Sheridan made the guns from 1953 to 1960 and they made about 10,000 or so. Price when new was about $17, about $150 today, so it would still be affordable. At the time, the “new” Ruger auto .22 sold for about $37, for comparison. It seems Sheridan quit making them, though, when corporate policy dictated they just make airguns, not “real” guns — so that was that.

The barrel is 5" long, for scale, and the gun weighs about 24 oz. Note it’s held together with rivets so you’d need to drill them out to take it apart! They seem to go for about the $300 mark and you can find a pretty good one for that. I saw a minty one with box, instructions and all the fixins advertised at $800 though.

That’s a 1" group at 15 yards — until Roy lost his mind and pulled one. Who needs more than this
sort of accuracy from any .22, much less a stamped-out price-point gun like the Knocabout?

In the middle 1950s a Ruger .22 auto went for about $37 so the Knocabout was a bargain.

What Were They For?

Remember, at the time, camping, hiking, hunting and a general “outdoors” life was encouraged and the boon in trailers and campers had begun in earnest. While many campers weren’t really gun people, they still knew a handy .22 might be a good thing when fishing, hiking the trails, plinking or even taking small game, so the “Knocabout” (Sheridan’s spelling) was cheap, of good quality and actually worked great.

Out of curiosity, when I was shooting the paper target for the picture here, I took a few shots at my 80-yard gong. Damn if I didn’t get it dialed in and began to hit it easily. It’s a safe gun to use too. Rotate the safety on, pushing the cam between the hammer and the firing pin. This allows the firing pin to move back as you open the barrel. Load a round, snap the barrel closed, raise the gun, cock the hammer, take the safety off, aim and fire. Repeat as needed. No recoil, no magazines, no chasing brass around, no muss, no fuss.

All this still applies today too. Campers, hunters, hikers, fishing, farmers and ranchers, trappers, plinkers, new gun owners — and the list goes on and on. The Garcia Bronco single shot .22 in the pic is sort of the same idea. Cheap but good, it’s easy to shoot, tough as an old goat and lives in my truck. Need a .22 to handle some chore? There it is. There’s a couple of options today, like Chiappa’s “Little Badger” break-open .22 — a sort of cult-classic — but at around $300 is a bit much for the concept, if you ask me.

Let’s Do This

Why on earth did this concept ever die out? What if a company good with polymer — just about every one of them these days — drummed-up an injection molded frame with integral grips. CNC a barrel from a casting, stamp out the other bits and presto, you’d have a $150 trail .22 — and you’d sell a zillion of them. I’d buy the first three or four and keep one in each of my ranch vehicles here. Over the years I’ve discovered, for “working” guns, a single shot is fine, and safer than repeaters to boot. Heck, you could do them in .22 Magnum, .380 even, but just a simple .22 LR would do the job just fine.

Now’s the time to stomp your feet and write your favorite maker. Are you with me on this? I’ll do what I can at my end to shout and twist some arms. Consider the gauntlet thrown down, eh? Ruger, Springfield Armory, Mossberg ... are you guys listening?

Colt

Colt King Cobra .357

Under the “We told you so” heading comes an expansion of Colt’s revolver line. The new “King” Cobra uses the same user-replaceable front sight and “Linear Leaf” spring trigger as the rest of the new Cobra line. This new model is all stainless, has a 3" full-lugged barrel and six-shot capacity and wears Hogue over-molded grips. We couldn’t find a weight on the gun, but we’ll get one to give it a look-see soon. MSRP is $899. For more info: www.colt.com, Ph: (800) 962-2658

http://www.colt.com/

Bear Knives

Bear Knives

Iliked this sort of “both extremes” look of a recent group of Bear & Son Cutlery knives I got to look at. The Bear Ops is a bit more “tactical” (the two on the right) while the Bear Edge (left) is more “daily carry” for want of a better term. They offer autos, assisted openers, conventional folders and more than you can imagine. I liked the way the modest Abalone Mini back-lock sort of stole the photo though. A perfect dress-up knife — and they’re all made in the USA! For more info: http://www.bearandsoncutlery.com/, Ph: (256) 435-2227

Colt

Colt Rescue!

Bill Fuchs, owner and gunsmith of Spring Creek Armory, is known for working on the Colt SAA. One thing he noticed is at times it’s tough to remove the cylinder pin. Usually people take the gun apart, removing the hammer to get to the back of the pin to drive it out with a punch. Bill had a “Gee whiz!” moment and came up with the “Cylinder Pin Ejector.” You cock the hammer, place the small brass “punch” on the cylinder pin (concave side down), depress the cross-pin plunger (or loosen the screw) on the gun and snap the hammer. Do it a couple of times if needed and it sure ’nuff drives that pin right out. It’s $9.45 and $3.75 shipping. For more info: www.springcreekarmory.com/, Ph: (307) 431-9194

hunting

Cameron’s Deer

Young Cameron Akers turned 13 in Oct. of 2018 and was able to celebrate by taking his first deer! Using a Remington M7 Youth in .260 Rem. (modified by Uncle Ray, adding a muzzle brake and recoil reducer), Cameron traveled to Itasca State Park in Northern MN and was supervised by his dad. According to Ray (our own writer, Ray Fleck), Cam did the gutting and such, with his dad giving directions. Cameron used Hornady Fusion ammo and it worked just fine. A Handgunner “Hat’s-Off!” from the team here and to Cameron for a job well done.

Philadelphia Deringer

Philadelphia Deringer

Ialways get a great deal of delight to receive one of the Famous Handguns of the World series. This latest is a burly replica of the gun Booth used to kill Lincoln. It even comes with a real .41 caliber lead ball like the one used in the dastardly crime. The gun itself is 3" and is about half the size of the real version. Made of hardened zinc, it’s then silver plated and antiqued to highlight the detail. The small gold identification plate and nifty box rounds things out neatly. It’s $21.95, and if you’re not creating your own collection, it’s not too late to start as prior models are available still. For more info: http://www.firearmsassurefreedom.com/, email: [email protected]

Perma Color

Case Coloring — Kinda’

Ilike to “restore” old guns and many are beaters. Old broken .22’s, grandpa’s old .38, bolt action 16-gauge shotguns — that sort of stuff. I like to get them running again, swab some cold blue on things, a bit of Tru-Oil on the stock and hand it back with a smile. My friends always grin when they see their old family beater “new” again. Birchwood Casey’s “Perma Color” kit (about $30) gives you a chance to do a “chemical” finish roughly mirroring the general “look” of traditional case coloring. A quick glance will show it’s not “real” but it’s also a nice change from regular cold blue. On the receiver of an old .22, a barrel or other gun part it can certainly add a bit of pizazz. It’s easy, fun and sure to generate more of those all-important smiles! For more info: http://www.birchwoodcasey.com/, Ph: (800) 746-6862

Andy's Leather

Andy’s Leather

While “ballistic nylon” is rugged, affordable, versatile and perfectly great for everything it’s used for, sometimes you just want some leather. If you’re suited up in your finery, it wouldn’t seem quite right to sling your “nylon” bag over your shoulder for a business meeting or dinner date. Or is it just me? Andy Langlois must feel the same way as he offers (among other things, like “Ching Slings and assorted leather accessories), a line of what I’d call “Messenger” bags, but with a CCW holster/system built in. That’s a 9mm Shield there for size. I found this bag beautifully made and likely to outlast the buyer. Plus, it doesn’t cry out “tactical” as you stroll down the boulevard. For more info: www.andysleather.com/, Ph: (603) 630-4072

Turnbull

Turnbull Ruger Work

This is just too cool not to do! Send your Ruger LCP or LCPII slide to Turnbull Restoration and a $100 bill and you get your slide back treated to their magical color case hardening finish. I mean, just check out that photo! Who says your pocket-rocket can’t have that certain je ne sais quoi? Or even just look cool! And, since you’re not shipping a gun, it’s just a few bucks to ship it. I’m going to get mine done for sure, and I hope they extend this to other models. You can’t have too much beauty around you, and while it may not make you a better shot, it certainly adds some spice to that little .380 pocket protector! Thanks Doug! For more info: www.turnbullrestoration.com/, Ph: (585) 657-6338.

Taurus

Taurus TX22

Brand new from Taurus, the TX22 is basically an out-of-the-box custom-tuned pistol putting a competition-ready .22 auto into the hands of anyone with $349! A full-sized polymer gun, it has features you’re used to on larger caliber guns. The 16-round magazine pretty much leads the pack when it comes to capacity. From our quick tests (more later) it’s handy, feels great in the hands and has all the controls and such in the right spots. It’s a single action, striker-fired design, and the “Taurus Pittman Trigger System” (PTS) uses a short, 5-lb. trigger pull, delivering a short re-set too.

The polymer frame and anodized aluminum slide (and other lightweight components) means the “biggish” pistols weighs a lightweight 17.3 oz. There are various passive safeties and an optional ambi-manual safety. We have a feature pending on this cool new .22 and we’re sure you’ll like it as much as we do so far! For more info: www.taurususa.com/, Ph: (800) 327-3776

SIG Ammo

SIG NATO Ammo

With the victory of the M17 military auto contract, SIG is expanding the line to include 9mm ammo matched to the P320 “system” assuring 100 percent reliability for we civilian shooters. This is made in the USA, 124-gr. +P FMJ at a rated 1,198 fps. It can be matched to SIG’s 124-gr. V-Crown ammo for personal defense, assuring both loads shoot to the same POI and have identical reliability. The FMJ comes in 50-round boxes ($18.95) while the V-Crown rides in 20 round cartons ($20.95). For more info: www.sigsauer.com/, Ph: (603) 610-3000

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