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Thread: Vintage Benchrest or Target Rifles

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    Vintage Benchrest or Target Rifles

    I went looking for a Lyman STS Scope and found one attached to a Sako Single shot Rifle in .222 Mag. So I got the whole package and it sparked an interest in what was State of the Art back in the 50's and 60's. Is there anyone out there that would be able to shed some light on them?
    Thanks, David
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  2. #2
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    Jun 2012
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    I believe the .222 Remington Magnum was Remington's entry for a military cartridge that lost out to the 5.56x45 Nato. There is much info about this on the Web. Many, including Mike Venturino of Rifle Magazine, believe the .222 Mag is the best of the lot. One that campaigned it in benchrest matches was Henry Christman, of Texas. He had some success in matches but his main claim to fame was his appearance in an ad for Nosler bullets with his handlebar mustache and cowboy hat.

    A friend of mine who is a retired ship captain worked with Henry when he loaded petroleum in the Houston ship channel. Henry sold him a .222 Mag on a Sako action with a beautiful birdseye maple stock. I can vouch that it is still a very good shooter. I have a hat band made by Henry. I was preparing an article on him for Precision Shooting when it folded. He was one of benchrest's true characters. Henry did shoot a little in the famous "Houston Warehouse".

    The .222 mag expanded to 6mm became the 6x47 Remington, which was the hot cartridge in Benchrest before the advent of the 6 PPC. They have nearly the same case capacity. I have a 40XBR in this caliber in great shape. I have not spent enough time with it to really wring it out, but it shows good potential.

    All of this can be explored in more detail on Google.Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #3
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    Jun 2019
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    Thanks for the Information. I just ordered some Brass and will as time permits see what works. Miss Precision Shooting as there was no B.S. in the articles. First on the list is a Chamber Cast. Them Squaring Up the Lugs. Interesting, whoever barreled it did not even face off the end before they chambered it. I still can see Stamping from the maker. Going to be a fun project! David

  4. #4
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    West central NH
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    I neglected to mention, but you've probably found out already, that the .222 Mag is also the parent for the .204 Ruger. In fact, if you can't find .222 Mag brass, you can easily make it from the .204. I think it comes out a tad short, however.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Poetry, Tex.
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    Some of us still have new 222 Mag brass.
    'On a side note, I have Mike Walker's Mod37 with the Lyman STS scope.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    132

    Old time benchrest

    N.R. -

    Howdy!

    I used to live in NE Indiana, and just a scant 5mi from Benchrest Hall-of-Fame’r Fred Sinclair.

    If memory serves, Fred had shot some world records in benchrest; using .222Mag.

    I was just getting into accuracy rifle use in the Mid -70’s, just as the 6PPC was comin’ on in 1975.
    Back then, the powders in-vogue for the Duece Mag were 4895, and 4198.

    The preferred bullet wt/style for use in a 1-14 .224” caliber benchrest rifle barrel was a 52gr HP; most often
    custom. Remington’s superb .224” cal 52HP was available. Sierra’s 52 and 53gr shot pretty well, too.

    Back in NE Indiana, my best friend and shooting buddy was NBRSA Rookie of the Year; his first year in
    Benchrest competition. He is still at it today, and always uses top flight rifles and equipment.

    We always were heavily into groundhog shooting, being the first ones around to use full-tilt custom rifles
    for shooting “Soybeanus Digestus”.

    My friend recently had a .222Mag assembled from individual components; for use as groundhog rifle.
    What a lot of people would refer to as a “walking varminter”, we call a “ditch gun”. That moniker refers to the location of a lot of local groundhog dens.... on the banks of area drainage ditches. He more often though, shoots from a fixed position.

    And while my buddy has spent large on top-tier benchrest rifles, his approach for his Duece Mag was different. He used an un-trued M700 and ( currently ) factory trigger, placed in -70’s M700 BDL stock;
    pillar bedded by Tom Meredith.

    My friend had been talking about having a Duece Mag built for some years. I took it upon myself to try and find a .222Mag take-off barrel.... not letting him know about the effort. I found a 27” SS 1-14 .222Mag M700 take-off on-line, and immediately committed the $$$ for its purchase. The barrel’s markings and dimensions seemed to suggest the barrel had originated from the Remington Custom shop!

    The barrel showed up on the FED EX truck, to his complete surprise. He had already ordered a custom no-turn neck chamber reamer for the project. The newly-arrived barrel screwed right onto his action, and the barrel’s chambering markings positioned right where you’d expect for factory Rem location. Even better....
    Remington .222Mag brass dropped right in to the chamber...... no need for using the chamber reamer!
    The heavy varmint Remington taper fit the stock’s barrel channel superbly.

    Scope bases, rings and scope, and he was in business!! Went from talking about it, to having a fully operable “new” rifle..... just like that!

    We are talking about a future PD trip out West, and a .222Mag would be a great rifle to have along.

    A Sako Duece Mag would make for a great “Ditch Gun”, and I wish you great success with yours!

    We have used Hornady’s outstanding 55SX on groundhogs for 40+ years, no matter what chambering they are propelled by. I think the have better terminal performance than the also quite good 50SX.


    With regards,
    .357Mag

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
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    10
    Still figuring out what this rifle will do. Thanks for the information. I am wondering if 62 gr bullets will shoot out of it. So far I have taken the mounts apart, packed with old hard grease. Brass hasn't showed up yet which is good cause I have other work to do. Still leaning on keeping it as is with some basic Tune Ups. David

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Tennessee
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    Very likely, 52 grain bullets will be the best and if you can find a custom bullet maker that makes 22 bullets get some of those.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    132

    Deuce Mag

    N.R.-

    Howdy, again!

    If your barrel is a 1-14, you’ll need enough vel to stabilize those 62s.
    If they are long-ish as well, it will be an even bigger challenge.

    Powders:
    These days, one has quite a few potential good choices. My benchrest shooting buddy is shooting N-133 in his Deuce Mag. No surprise, as that’s the powder he shoots in his PPCs.

    Scopes:
    Back when shooters were campaigning .222 Mags, Unertl’s and Lyman “Super Target Spots” were seen on the “line”. When we started into benchrest in the mid-latter -70s, High magnification Leupolds , B&L’s; and Weavers were in evidence.

    Brass:
    I’ve been snapping up virgin Remington-brand cases, whenever I can, for my buddy’s Deuce Mag.
    Norma likely makes the Euro-spec version of the .222Mag. I’ve had great results using there 7x64 brass for a wildcat of mine.


    With regards,
    357Mag

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Montmorency Co, MI
    Posts
    452
    Quote Originally Posted by n.r.davis View Post
    Thanks for the Information. I just ordered some Brass and will as time permits see what works. Miss Precision Shooting as there was no B.S. in the articles. First on the list is a Chamber Cast. Them Squaring Up the Lugs. Interesting, whoever barreled it did not even face off the end before they chambered it. I still can see Stamping from the maker. Going to be a fun project! David
    There was in the articles about the fancy cars that the author drove to matches.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Posts
    10
    So Murphy raised his ugly head. Brass won't chamber, and the extractor won't snap over the groove. Trying to pull the barrel as I can see where the extractor is rubbing on the end of the barrel and the damn thing won't budge. But considering it has been together for 60 years what was I thinking. Got it soaking and will just have to keep plugging away. David

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Down By the Cedar River
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    I have three triple dueces, built by Dowling on 700 actions for shooting dogs. 2 tight necks and one standard chamber. They shoot fine.

    Later
    Dave

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Posts
    10
    Got the barrel off last night after a week of coaxing. Now the fun begins! David

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