Given that Steve Prater had a long-standing commitment to officiate at a wedding yesterday (and there's a story behind all that I mean to tell some day), I took his absence as an opportunity to test possible rifle configurations, using my other .22 Mag boltie (a Marlin 882 SS model in black composition stock, identical to this current offering with the addition of adjustable open sights with hooded front sight as shown here).
In preparation for same, on my way home from work the previous night I stopped in at my friendly neighborhood Walmart Super Center (no, really, it's literally right around the corner from my apartment and accesses the main thoroughfare I have to take to the factory, which itself is only another mile down the road) (commute? What's that? :)). Along with admiring the predictable collection of mildly-toasted post-party college girls giggling their way down the aisles (reason enough for a casual wander about the store on a Friday night in and of itself), I stopped in the sporting goods department long enough to put one of these Shooters Ridge model 40853 in the shopping cart, which is a regularly stocked item at this particular store. At $38.95 (plus the governor's gratuity), this 9" to 13" bipod didn't seem too unreasonable a price for essentially a one-time test for applicability. And in fact, between 10" and 11" proved to be the right height above the shooting surface for me at my present notch in the girth strap. I further discovered that an integral swivel may well be an absolutely neat-o feature, but not one I'm willing to pay extra for. I am, however, quite sold on the desirability of notches in the bipod legs. A .22 mag doesn't have any serious recoil issues (although firing off anything much over 50 rounds or so will cause a mild degree of tenderization in the applicable shoulder joint), but does generate sufficient vibration between potentially moving parts in and on the gun to make them prone to spontaneously doing so. This can be quite disconcerting when the thumbscrew on one bipod leg isn't quite as tight as is the one on the opposite leg. So, leg notches - and thank you very much for that info in comments Kevin; right again.
After firing off 75 rounds of CCI (Maxi-Mag, 40 grain Total Metal Jacket @ 1875 fps), I had Ken Lottman (click on "Our Staff") order this Harris Bipod, which should arrive at the store by weeks end.
As for a sling, I've settled on the Butler Creek Quick Carry model, in black for the fashion conscious, which should also arrive as part of the same order (both items were "in stock" at the time of the phoned-in augmentation to the routine weekly order) (I'm such a special guy!). As it turns out, I already had one example of this sling in my closet at home. While it was nice not to have to buy a sling for this experiment, the thought of transferring the one I had back and forth between two different rifles was just too silly to contemplate.
I like to pretend I'm thrifty, not flint-ass cheap.
At least two items remain as yet unresolved ...
First is that I'm simply going to have to have Steve do a trigger job on this rifle as well. The weight of the gun and bipod will cause the trigger to break, but without the bipod requires a little jiggle to help things along. Not an insurmountable condition (I managed a couple of 7 round, 3/4" groups at 25 yards), but not something to put up with for any longer than necessary either. The point of all this is to make shooting an enjoyable test of my skills don't you know.
The other item is that I find myself less than impressed with the Simmons Blazer 3-9 x 40mm fixed objective scope currently mounted on this rifle.
In this particular - and quite limited - setting, at least.
Don't get me wrong, Simmons makes a perfectly fine product, and upgrading to a different scope isn't in my near-term plans, but the optical difference between the two guns is appreciable. It may be that the Simmons scope will prove the better (or at least a perfectly adequate) model in an outdoor/field setting. I certainly hope so, since I also have this same model Simmons scope mounted on a different, larger caliber, rifle as well. Much more shooting with these two rifles will be required to make that judgement.
Like that should come as a surprise to anyone. :)
Another good day at the range. There can be a bad day you know; that potential is part of the inherent challenge of the sport, after all, and one of the more atavistic aspects that makes for so much discomfort in non-participants, I believe.
A topic for another day, perhaps. How was your day?