Friday, November 18, 2011

32 Caliber ponderings

As if I needed more proof that I should "never say never" in the last year no less than three 32 caliber firearms followed me home.  It's just one of those things I didn't think I needed, now I wonder how I lived without them.

The first was the Marlin Cowboy Carbine.  It was originally in a friend's collection and I wanted it from the first time I saw it.  The cosmic mysteries being what they are made it available through unforeseen circumstances and now it resides in my safe.


The next came about as a result of handling an older Marlin 1894 in 32-20 and again was struck by instantaneous smittendom.  I had to have one of those and I knew that one wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.  I came across just what I was looking for on GunBroker and after some research and a number of phone calls to the seller, placed my bid and won it.

1905 vintage Marlin model 1894

Upon its arrival I was disappointed with the condition of the bore.  To say the seller's description was optimistic would be an understatement.  Knowing that ugly bores sometimes still shoot well I gave it a go.  I tried a variety of weights and sizes of bullets on up to .316" and many would keyhole.  A .314" 115 grain Lyman 311008 shot the best but even that was marginal ~4" at 50 yards.  It did reach and ring the 400 yard dinger on the first try though...


I REALLY like the aesthetics and feel of this rifle so I have sent it off to be re-lined.  I hate waiting for it, but hopefully next spring (or sooner) it'll come back and shoot well.

Not long after acquiring the 1905 vintage Marlin another of more recent manufacture, the uncommon 1894 CB in 32 H&R Magnum, came onto my radar.  The price seemed very reasonable to me but I didn't have the cash handy.  I tried a trade but before we could agree on a deal another feller closed the deal ahead of me.

While I researched the 32 H&R Magnum I came across numerous glowing reports of the Ruger Single Six chambered in that caliber.  The Single Six 22lr is one of my longest owned and most used firearms, so I was intrigued by the prospect of another in 32 H&R Mag and set out to find one.  It didn't take too long, I knew I wanted a 5.5" barrel length with the help from a friend located one and purchased it.
I'll detail in another post my experiences with the new Single Six which once again makes me wonder how I ever lived without it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle

On December 30th of last year I drafted a post - but didn't publish until today - about the Ruger Gunsite Scout rifle.  Shortly there after I put one on order at my local gun monger's and it didn't take long before I had it in my hands.

This was my first Ruger bolt gun.  I've owned a few of their autoloading rimfire rifles and pistols, and I their revolvers are among my favorite guns (more on that later).  Anyway my first impressions were mostly favorable.  I like the "scout rifle" concept.  I've always liked peep sights on a bolt gun, probably because I grew up shooting a Remington 511P  - a magazine fed, peep sighted, 22lr with perhaps the worst trigger of any firearm I've ever owned.  My next rifle was a 1903 A3 and was my only centerfire rifle that received any attention for about 20 or so years of my life.  I still use it regularly in CMP type matches and it always delivers. 

Back to the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle (GSR).  It is diminutive.  It feels lighter than the scale reads.  The 10 round magazine that comes with the rifle is too big.  The sights are better than I expected.  The front sight is a bit thick but it works well.  The bolt is not as smooth as my Remingtons, CZ or 1903 A3 but has smoothed out with many manipulations. 

At the range the as shipped sight setting shot point of aim with most ammo I tested at 50 yards.  My early trips to the range I fed it a variety of ammuniton.  Everything from cast bullets (115-170grs and more recently 210 grain bullets) as well as Jacketed SP & RN (150 - 175 grain FMJ & JSP, FB and BT).  The preferences appear to lean toward the 165 grain jacketed bullet over IMR 4064 or Varget pushed over 2500 fps.


Cast bullets are proving to be accurate as well at both sub and supersonic speeds.  A load that seems to be very accurate with 115 - 210 grain cast bullets is a splash of W231 under any cast bullet.  The velocities range from a mere 550 fps up to 800 but inside of 25 yards it shoots POA and the POI is right where the front post was when the trigger broke.  The report is greatly reduced and the recoil is none existent. 


For higher cast bullet velocities Unique seems to produce the best results.  It gets real good over 1350 fps.  2400 seems to work well at velocities in the 1800+ range.

I did not hunt with this rifle this year but I did carry it in the field.  It carries well and was deadly on cones, knots, paper targets and soda cans.  A real pleasure to shoot.

I removed the provided spacers (three) and the rifle now in its shortest configuration.  The recoil pad is sticky which is good for running the bolt from the shoulder but a bit catchy on clothing when bring it to the shoulder.

Through their website Ruger offered 5 round magazines and I acquired two shortly after the rifle arrived.  More recently Ruger has poly mags in 10 (shorter than the original offering), 5 and 3 (flush mount) varieties.  I will be buying  at least two more 5 round poly mags as well as a 3 and probably two more 10's for the bug out bag.

I've tested dozens of loads and have still just scratched the surface.  The bullets that show the most promise are the Hornady 165gr JSP interlock at full power loads and cast bullets at subsonic levels.  My current favorite cast bullet is the Lyman 311041 (170gr) which is most commonly used in the 30-30.  It feeds well when the OAL is 2.520" and shoots accurately at velocities as low as 559 fps on up to 1800 fps.

Long Absence

It has been too long since my last post.  Lots to update.  I'll post as quickly as I can.  I've been having some computer problems and a lost a bunch of pictures.  I'm not technically savvy enough remedy every issue I need to but at least I can re-access and update this blog.