I know I did. At least until I moved where I could shoot anytime I wanted on our land. What I forgot was how much fun shooting .22s were. Especially — single shot .22s. Think about it. Your first rifle was likely a single shot .22. And yes, you probably shot a gazillion (a real number, maybe) of .22 shorts, longs, long rifles, CB caps and anything else you could scrounge. Nothing was safe from the “great hunter” with his trusty .22. Squirrels and rabbits were “big game” to me, crows something that might have fallen once in a very great while to my trusty iron sights; and man-eating grasshoppers, toads, scurrying field mice and no end of inanimate targets of opportunity, all met their match. It taught me gun safety, trigger press, how to coax as much performance as possible out of the rifle at-hand, and built a framework for a lifetime of interest in firearms of all sorts. Sorta’ like you, I’ll bet.
Do you remember now?
But … when was the last time you unlimbered “Old Betsy” and had some fun? Years? Decades maybe? Does your Remington Model 514 (my first .22) sit gathering dust in a closet? It’s okay, maybe even good, if you’ve passed it on to a deserving family member or kid you know. But why didn’t you get another? All that “stuff” fun 20, or 30 or 50 (!) years ago is still fun. I think, actually — it’s more fun now.
Even though most of us can afford to shoot just about whatever we want, the cost, recoil, noise and general fuss of shooting “big” guns can sometimes take the edge off the fun. If the fact you’re spending 50 cents or a buck every time you pull the trigger nags at you, then the fun quotient drops fast. It sure does for me.
At the NRA Show last year I was visiting with old buddy Bill Dermody, who handles the marketing chores at Savage. Of all the really cool things they showed (and there were lots) what caught my eye the most was their new single shot youth rifle called the “Rascal” — in six different colors! I asked Bill if I could borrow one for a quick look-see and he sent one out. I opted for the bright yellow version (they also come in real wood, pink, black, green, blue, orange and red versions). I thought if I was teaching a kid gun safety and he or she was afield with me, I really liked the idea I could easily see the rifle and where it was pointed.
I found the Rascal to be useable even for an adult (scrunch-up some and you can shoot it just fine), and the adjustable rear aperture, “Accu-Trigger” (mine broke at just under 3 pounds) and easy-to-load ramped chamber were geared toward first-class fun. I’ll confess I was more excited to shoot the Rascal than I generally get with even some of the fancy guns we test. Reliving my youth maybe?
I loaded up with CCI Mini-Mags (who doesn’t shoot ‘em?), their Green Tag target ammo, CCI CB caps and shorts, and some Remington HPs I had. A quick zero had me on target at 25 yards and then the Rascal proceeded to amaze me time and time again. The Accu-Trigger broke crisply and the aperture sight gave me a clear sight picture. Soon the targets were covered with 1″ groups! It almost didn’t matter what load — the Rascal shot like a laser. The CCI Mini-Mag HPs actually did the best, which surprised me as they often tend to be in the middle of the pact when it comes to accuracy. Every group broke the 1″ barrier if I behaved. And, perhaps oddly enough, the CCI Short HPs shot about the same, and to virtually the same point of aim.
The .22 CB caps grouped around 1.5″ and were quiet enough I didn’t need ear protection. They sounded like a soft “bap” and I could hear the bullet hit the heavy cardboard. I’ve used my share of CB caps around here popping grey squirrels who get pushy and crowd our deck. They work just fine if you’re close. The Rascal shoots ‘em great too.
What’d I learn? There is simply nothing like spending an inordinate amount of time enjoying plinking, target shooting or small-game hunting with a single-shot .22. In actual ammo fired, I’ll bet I didn’t spend five bucks, and I spent a relaxing hour and a half simply doing nothing but having fun. And the Rascal? I’d have to call it a “perfect” first rifle for a kid. It’s safe, accurate (which means it’s rewarding to shoot), has “real” rifle features, and fits a kid’s frame. But even an adult would like to own one because it’s also a near-perfect truck, ATV or “.22 by the door” rifle. The fun quotient for the Rascal is off the charts!
Dig out your old “first-best gun” you have and enjoy it. Chances are you’ll have such a good time you’ll think seriously about adding to that all-important part of your rifle lineup — .22 single shots. Have some fun, would you? For more info: www.americanhandgunner.com/savage-arms, (413) 642-4262
By Roy Huntington