Sunday, March 05, 2017


So yesterday I had a wonderful plan…was going to get out the door early, do my various and sundry errands, then spend the afternoon at the range. I'd gotten out my .22 Ruger American bolt gun and a brick of CCI Quiet to do some work off sticks and practice off-hand on close and medium targets. I was darned excited.

Of course the errands ran long, so on the way home I grabbed a turkey sandwich from a little sandwich shop I'd visited before and ate it on the way home. You know what's coming next, right? I'd just stepping into the house and set the groceries down when the cramps hit, and — YEHAW! — they put me on the freakin' floor! Needless to say, I didn't make it to the range…I was lucky I made it to the bathroom…almost.


Better today, but if you've ever been through a bad bout of food poisoning you know that it echoes for days. Just what I needed.

Tomorrow on the video portion of the podcast I'm going to be talking .22s. We (me and my shows) sort of drifted away from .22s during the Great Ammo Shortage…it didn't make sense to me to be heavily promoting a type of shooting that was — temporarily — out of reach. With ammo back in the pipelines, I wanted to come back to .22s and to the NSSF Rimfire Challenge, a sport I'm proud to have had a hand in founding. I would like to make the World Championships this year in October.

I'm hearing rumblings of changes in the Rimfire Challenge, and I'm 100% on board in any capacity they might need me.

I'm going to start working with the Mark III I built a couple of years back, the one with the Majestic Arms trigger and the Tac-Sol 6-inch upper. If you recall, that build was one of those "3 Little Piggies" builds where I couldn't get it exactly right. The final product, though, is the absolutely best .22 pistol I've ever shot…until

I was hugely impressed with the new Ruger Mark IV .22 (you saw it on SHOOTING GALLERY this season!). I was tremendously impressed with the 2 Mark IVs I shot — the Hunter and the Target — but especially the fluted-barrel Hunter version. I said on camera that the Mark IV Hunter I'd been shooting was the single best Mark-series .22 I'd ever shot…true. I'm very interested in the Competition model like this Gallery of Guns 100-year commemorative. The Ruger designers when down a similar path to my own…the longer (6 7/8-inch) barrel, but slabbed to reduce the swing weight.

I've got a Mark IV on the way and I'll shoot it against my Mark III. I'm also very interested in the Tac-Sol TLP-22, which I've handled but not shot. Chet, Dan, Mike, Ford and the whole crew at Tac-Sol were able to synthesize the lessons we've learned over the years of the Rimfire Challenge and translate them into a pistol (in the same way they built their X-Ring rifles). BTW, I am lucky enough to have a different sort of X-Ring in the works — on with the cocking handle on the LEFT side…heck, where it should be! I saw Mike Wirth's leftie X-Ring when I was out at Tac-Sol a few years back and put my name on the waiting list if they ever did another run. It's in the oven cooking up as we speak.

I am going all red dot this year, since I'm EDC'ing a Trij RMR. I will probably go back to the old Burris Speed Dot on the rifle…I love that sight! Was cheap, worked great…what can one say? Sort of like the old Tasco ProPoint, one of the first red dot sights I ever bought. The thing still works.

Not sure about the dot on the pistol. I have several options. Right now there's a Burris FastFire on it, but I'm considering a C-More.


Overload in Colorado said...

I've been thinking red dots on pistols again. I'm thinking larger glass dot fields, or whatever the size of the tube is called, might be an advantage as there's more area to not lose the dot. The trend seems to be towards micro red dots, but why not an MRO or Aimpoint Comp M4, etc?
In a related note, why aren't we seeing red dot design adapting to pistols? For example, less high battery compartment/ base. You can make them longer, just lower.

DamDoc said...

Any word on a threaded barrel Mark IV?.. Ive been shooting my Mark III 22/45 with a tac solutions ascent suppressor, and love it... also, the difficulty field stripping the III, i think, is way overplayed.. just a couple "tricks" (see utube), and it can be unassembled/reassembled in about 2 minutes conservatively... do it about 5 times, and you are an expert.... like the fluted barrel of the IV, but need a threaded barrell!

Michael Bane said...

Overload, it usually just the opposite…the larger the window, the harder it is to find the dot. Not an issue on a rifle, which indexes pretty solid and is usually designed for an optic. That's why I don't mind a tube-type sight (older Burris or ProPoint) on a .22 rifle…as soon as I "cheek" it, the dot is there. Still, I was hugely impressed with the Hartmann RDS and it's huge window…but you pay for that in weight.

On a pistol finding the dot has to be freaking NAILED into your head…it's why I favor BUIS…you already know how to get a sight picture…it's handy to have the dot there. Dots are getting smaller (the Shield, from the people who make JP's optic), but I think they may be up against a hard limit…e.g., they have to stand up to a brutal recoil wave as well (why I have a Trij RMR on my EDC and a inexpensive PA on my "play" .22.

Dam…threaded barrel is coming. ALL .22s should come suppressed!

And yeah, once you get the trick of it it's easy to put a Mark series back together…until you don't do it for a few months and realize that you've FORGOTTEN EVERYTHING!!!

Ruger just notified me that my Mk IV is in route…I really tried to to not get a Mk IV, but it is such a good gun. I'll have photos of the version I am getting as soon as Ruger says "Go!"


Anonymous said...

And may the Mark III just evaporate into forgotten history.

I have a Mark II "Target" and am very satisfied. The Mark III was a weak attempt at being politically correct with the loaded chamber indicator and other "fluff". I will say that the Mark IV is a good evolutionary step forward from the Mark II.

I have a Burris 2-7 "Variable" Scope on it and it shoots like a pocket-rifle. It's my go-to varmint gun.

Life Member

Will said...


I have heard that no fluting or slabsiding of a .22 barrel is feasable after the bore is formed, as the dimensions of the bore won't remain tight.
I've got a Mk II Gov/Target that is boringly accurate on a 40yd range, but too heavy for most people to use. I was thinking of firing up the mill, but don't want to ruin it. Your thoughts?
[ Might be able to get it out of the X15 rig easier if I slab it :) ]

Anonymous said...


Many, in fact most gun barrels are finish-turned and/or machined after the rifling is broached in. So are cold-formed barrels. As an old toolmaker and machinist then manufacturing engineer, I would recommend that the blank on any item requiring precision machining be roughed-in all over before finish machining anyhow. In this case, the bore is drilled and the rifling is cut after this all-over roughing process. This approach releases residual stresses left from the forming of the raw metal. Note that the raw material is also pre-heat-treated before any machining in order to achieve the desired hardness AND tensile strength. Then the outer contour can be machined. If you do the finish machining on the "ID" and then rough and finish say the "OD", then you release the stresses and cause the material to as we say "move".

Recently, one of "the shows" featured an AR manufacturer who described just such a process for their barrels. The comment was something to the affect that "most of the material is machined away after rifling".

As a last example, I offer-up the many WW II Mausers that were sporterized by re-stocking and re-contouring the barrels. Most remained "tack-drivers" after the re-cutting on the outside.

As for your "Mark", I just wouldn't go crazy with "slabbing" or fluting. I'd only remove less that 30% of the thickness for either process. Also, avoid using any method that causes the metal to heat up. Heat also causes distortion of the metal and sometimes it's permanent. Your "Mark" is probably stainless steel and that makes even milling difficult and heat producing. Take it slow, use sharp tools and flood with coolant.

Life Member

Will said...

Life Member:

Thanks. My dad had one of those sporterized Mausers. The barrel had about 7 steps in the profile. Beautiful gun, and accurate. Huge scope on it, more than needed for PA forest hunting. One of his many trades in the '50-'60's.

Did Ruger do blackened SS? It's a late 80's blue looking Government Target Model.