Saturday, January 2, 2010


Barely an inch long and less than a quarter inch wide, and more than likely the first 'real' gun most of us shot, the .22 rimfire is the most used cartridge in the world- probably even more than BBs.
In the 'normal' world, .22 rifles held to the same basic configuration as 'real' rifles and pistols. If you bought a .22, it probably looked just like Dad's (or Grampa's) deer rifle. Just smaller. Well, kind'a, anyway. Bolt action, lever, pump, semi-auto and single shot.
After being around for half a zillion years in its current configuration, Idaho based CCI ammunition decided they were going to get on the bandwagon of 'hi power' and 'hi speed' .22 ammo and developed the MiniMag and Stinger series. And the race was on to see who could develop the 'best' .22 round around.
For my money, it's the CCI Stingers- not knocking the other makers, but Stingers really have some ZING! and they function in every .22 weapon I have, and that's a lot of guns!
Around 1960, someone decided to start using Mattel, Inc., to manufacture weapons and the era of plastic guns evolved, beginning with the Colt AR16. Every weapon manufacturer in the world jumped on this wagon and now produce millions of 'plastic' weapons yearly.
Today, these plastic (though not entirely plastic or Mattel Tinkertoy) have been made in every caliber imaginable- except one. You could walk into a gun shop or discount store (that sold guns) and purchase an AR15 in .223, .308Winchester, or half a dozen other calibers. You can even buy a barrel for your .223 that is chambered for .22.
But it was not not specifically a .22.
Guess what.
Last visit to the club's indoor range sure was an eye-opener as to what's happening in the world of the little .22. At the loading bench, where most people usually shoot pistols/revolvers, there was an array of M15 look-alikes. All chambered for .22.
Of course, they were all enthusiastic about displaying and handing around (keep the muzzle downrange!) their newest weapon for inspection. One een went so far as to allow 'moi' to shoot his Ruger SR22!
A little Internet action and an amazing discovery was made. Many manufacturers have caught on to the military look-alike .22, both American and European. (I'm imagining that much of this has to do with 'prepper-itis' and the vast number of 'prepper gurus' who advocate a .22 for survival, some even for self defense use. But I may be wrong. It might just have to do with how many people just want to shoot as much and as cheaply as they can.)

Smith and Wesson ( has come out with their latest creation, the M&P15-22, and they're pushing the envelope with an advertising campaign sure to ignite the hearts and minds of every small-arm shooter alive. Did I mention it's American made? MMMMM, delicious and, as the ad says, 'pure adrenaline'! And if it's like other S&Ws I've shot, it really will 'kick brass'. I couldn't find a price for it though I've heard it's on the lower end of the dollar spectrum for this style of rifle.
The first of the breed I have been allowed to play with, the Ruger SR22 ( ) is almost a whole new rifle, yet based on the 10-22 action. It handled well, balanced nicely and uses the same magazines as the 10-22, which is wonderful interchangeability. I liked the pistol grip configuration- a lot easier on my wrist, which doesn't like to articulate the way it's supposed to. Blasting off 35 rounds of .22 LR to the target downrange was nothing but fun. (Honestly, even more fun than blasting 35 rounds downrange with my 'regular' .22- which is a Remington 597.)Not to be outdone, or even left out of the game, Colt has come out with their M4-22LR. Nothing says "Black Rifle" like a Colt (BIG grin here), the 'original' Mattel gun. This is one rifle sure to catch on with aficionados of Colt and original M15 actions. Go to to see their catalogue.

Coming from the European market, but made in American factories, is the SigSauer 522. Right- it's a clone of big brother Sig515 series military weapons. Head to to view their offerings. (Special note: the Picatinny rails are compatible with components for all the 'bigger siblings' of these weapons. Flashlights, scopes, lasers, whatever your heart desires to throw on.)
I've tacked on an 'estimated MSRP' for these weapons, but as with any item in demand and particular locale, prices will definitely vary so check your dealer.
But now the really 'good news' for all those who really don't have oodles and oodles of cash to throw at getting their very own Black Rifle...
There are two companies doing quite a bit of advertising for their 'aftermarket' products. To whit: composite stocks that will turn your .22 into a true Black Rifle.

Advanced Technology International, an American company based in Milwaukee,WS. (, has been around quite a while. When the original issue stock went out on the .303 British inherited from Dad, I had visions of relegating the rifle to a wall decoration. Chance, and common cruising the aisles of a local sporting goods/gun shop, my eye fell on an "ATI Enfield Stock". At the lowly price of $59, I felt it was worth the cost just to be able to shoot the old Enfield. It definitely was, and is.
True to their claims, ATI customer service is excellent. (I discovered this due to not knowing the model .303 I had - I know: put "DUH" face here!- but a phone call to the company and they squared me away, no cost. Their stocks are guaranteed, period. No questions. Pictured above is the ATI stock for Marlin Model 60's- and it fits all model 60s. Remove your old stock- save the screw- drop the action in the new stock, put in the screw you saved, and go have fun scaring the local Sarah Brady club with your new Black Rifle.
For those who love their SKS's but hate the stock, ATI has just the thing for you, too. The new, light, lifetime guaranteed SKS Fiberforce stock. Check their site- you'll be amazed at what they offer and for very reasonable prices.
The rifle carried behind the seat of my truck is a Remington 597 with plastic stock. (Not really 'plastic' plastic, but the same thing.) I like the durability and consistency of the stock, the fact that it won't warp when wet or humid or rot due to same. But I do have an bone to pick with RemInc. about it. They told me I can't put a sling on it. If I do, I void all warranty expressed or implied. And at my age, a sling is not a toy, it's necessity. So I've been kinda grumpy about it.
Enter Notice above the stock configuration for the Remington 597. Will my 597 soon sport such Black Rifle appearance? (Grin.) At $199 (suggested from site), it may be a while since that's more than the rifle cost, good as it is and as much as I like it. But that bayonet mount is appealing...

The Marlin 870 has been my Squirrel Rifle for decades. It's my go-to rifle for nearly everything small bore, even survival. It's the only rifle in which I've spent more for accoutrement's than the rifle, and I baby this baby. Being the tack driver it is, I don't mind and for silhouette shooting I love it. (I remove the bipod, though rules don't specify I have to, I just can't use it.) Because of wrist problems, I'm in search of a thumbhole stock for it as well. Perhaps one day ATI or ProMag will make one.

Junior has a Ruger 10-22 and it's not babied at all. A really great rifle and probably the most recommended by survivalists and the most revamped rifle on the market, there are more after-market products for the 10-22 than most hot rods.
But it comes from the factory with a birch stock- sturdy and serviceable, but it is wood and the Kid's has tendency to "warp and weft" as soon as he sneezes.
Once again, wandering through the local gun store, the eye made its second ATI discovery (and the reason for this post). ATI made a stock for the 10-22 and it actually looks good. The price was right- again, $59- and it made the change-over from wood another simple "save the screw", drop in the action, and replace the screw.
And it does make the Ruger look like a Black Rifle. Being lighter than the SR22, the rifle handles wonderfully and the thumbhole/pistol grip configuration is heaven to the wrist. The rifle is even light enough to hold pistol fashion.
The Simmons 4x scope, made for the SKS, adds a Black Rifle appearance- he had an Aimpoint Red Dot on the rifle, but batteries tend to die and the Kid decided to make a change. Wise move, in my opinion. I much prefer the scope- and the Red Dot will go elsewhere (grin again). For magazines, he uses RamLine 30 rounders that give the banana clip appearance. A bonus to using the banana mags is the mag-release button is easier to hit with his thumb while grasping the magazine and pulling it out.
Not that I'm trying to sell weapons or stocks, and sure ain't getting a kickback from anyone for ads... but if you'd like to have a Black Rifle in .22 caliber, odds are you can find one to suit your wallet. Even if you have to drop the action in yourself. From the initial shooting of Ruger's SR22 to shooting the Kid's ATIRuger, I'm convinced there's not only a market for either product, but a big market.
And, as you can tell, this 'kid' has gone from being one who "doesn't need" a "Black Rifle" to one who will probably have one- if for nothing else but to harass Sarah Brady.
Bless God, God bless.