Pack a “Punch” with New Bullet Line

Federal’s diverse budget-friendly choices for concealed carry check the boxes – even come in .22 LR.

Story by Phil Massaro, Photos by Massaro Media Group

Not all handgun bullets are created equal. My dad – Ol’ Grumpy Pants – still relies on a mixture of lead flat nosed bullets and military ball ammo to feed his .38 Special and .45 ACP, and while I certainly don’t want to be shot by either of the classic bullet designs, I am well aware that modern designs have a multitude of advantages.
While I also enjoy the full metal jackets and cast lead bullets – though I usually use them for target practice unless we’re talking about hard-cast hunting bullets – I rely on premium handgun bullets in my everyday carry guns. The majority of my handgun ammunition consists of Federal’s Hydra-Shok and HST, as the pair have proven to be the most consistent in the FBI protocol testing, and they shoot accurately in my handguns. But as wonderful as that pair are, they are expensive to produce and equally expensive to purchase. Maybe there is room for a middle-of-the-road choice that blends the best features for the citizen to carry in a defensive weapon – a bullet that will save your bacon yet both penetrate and expand reliably.

The Federal 124-grain 9mm Luger load is a great choice for a low-recoiling, short-barreled carry gun.
Federal checked that box with the release of their Punch ammunition line. Relying on the wealth of experience gained during decades of building what law enforcement considers to be the best handgun bullets available, Federal set out to produce a simple, effective and affordable handgun bullet for the masses. The goal was one that will feed properly when it has to, and give the necessary accuracy in addition to the blend of expansion and penetration needed to stop a threat. Assessing the Hydra-Shok, Hydra-Shok Deep and HST, and removing the costly features that the FBI and other agencies require to pass their protocols, Federal wiped the slate clean and developed the Punch bullet.

The Punch line includes many popular handgun calibers, including the beefy 10mm Auto. (FEDERAL PREMIUM)
THE PUNCH LINE is rather diverse, including the classic autoloading cartridge like the 9mm Luger, .40 S&W, 10mm Auto and .45 ACP, as well as the .38 Special in the +P guise and, much to my surprise, .22 Long Rifle. The projectiles designed for the centerfires all have common traits: they are copper-jacketed hollowpoints with the jacket skived to initiate expansion. The entire product line is loaded in nickel-plated cases for smooth feeding and long-term corrosion-resistance. My own hands, replete with acidic sweat, can tarnish a brass case quickly when I handle them often, and I appreciate the benefits of a nickel-plated case, whether on a safari in the heat of Africa or in my everyday carry gun.

“Concealed-carry permit holders, especially new shooters, need an uncomplicated answer to the question, ‘What ammo do I need for self-defense?’” said Chris Laack, Federal handgun ammunition product manager. “Things to consider such as function, reliable ignition, barrier performance, terminal performance, ballistics and other considerations are a lot to digest for most people. What consumers really need to know is it will function in their gun every time and that it will be effective stopping a threat as quickly as possible. Punch is our easy answer for them.”

Added Laack, “Punch is the first Federal Premium-branded personal defense line we made that was not specifically designed for law enforcement. Punch ammo was created based on what we’ve learned over 30-plus years of being the leader in law enforcement handgun ammunition.”

A federal Punch bullet recovered from bare gel; note the wide expansion. (FEDERAL PREMIUM)
Unlike Federal’s law enforcement bullets, which are designed to perform well when fired through a variety of barriers like steel and plywood, Punch ammo is a Federal Premium product designed specifically with the personal defender in mind. During the development of Punch ammunition, Federal’s engineering team set out to create a brand-new Federal Premium bullet that excelled in evaluations that were most relevant to typical self-defense scenarios, primarily bare gel and heavy clothing. They used what they’ve learned about jacket skives, which metals to use and other aspects of handgun bullet design, and applied that to engineering the optimum self-defense bullet.
“Many personal defenders think, ‘If it works for law enforcement, then it’s good for me.’ That is a great guideline and still our ultimate recommendation,” said Laack. “But that may add features not necessarily required for everyone’s daily carry.” What are the major differences between the premium designs and Federal’s new Punch? Well, due to the requirements of the various law enforcement offices, the HST and Hydra-Shok need to perform in a number of different mediums, including solid barriers, heavy clothing, auto glass and more, resulting in a stiff bullet with fantastic penetration.
Make no mistake, there is absolutely nothing wrong with relying on these bullets, but if you look at the most common defensive situations – those in which the goal is to either neutralize the threat or to get yourself to safety – this level of bullet may not be needed, and in some circumstances can result in over penetration.
The right and need to save one’s own life, or the lives of family and others, is undeniable, but the risk of hitting an innocent bystander should be a concern. And just as when using a rifle in a defensive situation, the risk of wounding or killing someone behind the perpetrator when using too stiff a bullet is a reality. The Punch is designed for the citizen who needs to use their handgun to save themselves or others, and it concentrates on that situation.

The frontal view of a Punch bullet upset, expanded to a wide diameter for energy transfer. (FEDERAL PREMIUM)
I USED A few different handguns to test the Federal Punch, including my dad’s Colt Officer’s Model Special .22 LR revolver, a Sig P938 subcompact 9mm, my Smith & Wesson Model 36 snubnose .38 Special, and my beloved Sig Sauer 1911 STX in .45 ACP.

Field results: the Federal Punch just plain shoots. I put targets out at 10 and 15 yards – further than the 7-yard standard – to assess the accuracy results, and came away very happy. Of the lineup, I spend the most time with the S&W .38 and the Sig Sauer STX .45 ACP, and the targets confirm that, though the other guns were more than accurate enough. In the autoloaders, there were no feeding or extraction problems at all, and the revolvers all ejected smoothly with no pressure signs whatsoever.

The Punch .38 Special +P load complements the classic snubnosed revolver very well.
What Federal has done is create a bullet unique to each cartridge, changing the geometry of the hollow point and jacket thickness to best serve each design. The six Punch centerfire options include a .380 Auto 85-grain offering with a muzzle velocity of 1,000 feet per second, a .38 Special +P 120-grain load at 1,070 fps, a 9mm 147-grain load at 1,150 fps, a .40 S&W 165-grain load at 1,130 fps, a 10mm Auto 200-grain load at 1,100 fps, and a .45 Auto 230-grain load at 890 fps.
All the ammo I tested hit the target at point of aim, with the sole exception of the .38 Special +P load, which hit a couple inches high from my gun. The .22 LR Punch load features a 29-grain lead-core bullet with a heavy nickel jacket – not plating – and a flat meplat.
The lead core is specifically engineered to perform well out of the shorter barrels of defensive handguns. “We’ve talked about making a .22 LR defensive load for some time,” said Dan Compton, Federal’s manager of shotshell and rimfire ammunition. “We finally decided that people are already carrying .22 LRs, so we might as well build a .22 bullet optimized for protection. We’re not trying to replace the 9mm. We decided that for a .22 defense bullet, penetration was more important than expansion.”

This Colt revolver gave consistent results
with the Federal Punch .22 LR 29-grain load.
Five shots from author
Phil Massaro’s Sig
Sauer 1911 in .45 ACP
at 10 yards in a tight
group builds all sorts
of confidence.
The 29-grain bullet out penetrated the .25 Auto with a 50-grain bullet and the .32 Auto with a 60-grain hollow point; the .22 LR Punch load gave a penetration depth of 13.75 inches in bare gelatin.
Federal’s Punch line looks at results in bare gel and through heavy clothing only; those are the parameters most closely associated with defensive situations. At roughly two-thirds to three-quarters of the price of the premium stuff, it can stretch your shooting dollar considerably without compromising effectiveness.
Considering the day-to-day rigors of carry ammunition – daily exposure to weather, heat, air conditioning, sweaty hands, etc. – the sealed primers and nickel cases of the Punch ammo will certainly show the advantages. As ammo hits the shelves again, thank goodness, try a box of Punch in your everyday carry gun. I think you’ll be happily surprised with the results.

Henry Rifle is the People’s Choice

Quality products, an expanding user base, a responsive corporate culture and hands-on ownership have Henry Repeating Arms at the Top.

STORY AND PHOTOS BY OLEG VOLK

Although the brand dates to the middle of the 19th Century, the Henry Repeating Arms company that we know of today was founded in 1996 by a father-and-son team. Originally located in Brooklyn, it started production of .22 rimfire lever-action carbines in 1997. Ten years later, the headquarters moved to Bayonne, N.J. Around that time, Henry added a large production facility in Wisconsin, having bought out a major parts supplier. The two factories together add up to over 400 employees on nearly 250,000 square feet of floor space. In 20 years, Henry Repeating Arms produced more than 2.3 million rifles. Today, they are the seventh largest domestic gun maker in the US. That kind of success doesn’t happen by accident.

rider on horse w 22

THE ORIGINAL HENRY RIFLE was an important technical milestone, but the brand itself lasted only six years, from 1860 to 1866. The manufacturer, New Haven Arms Company, became Winchester Repeating Arms and its 1866 “Yellow Boy” became a runaway commercial success. It improved on the original design by sealing the tube magazine from the environment, and made it more suitable to military use with gate loading through the side of the receiver.

The Henry brand name went unused until it was resurrected in style by Louis and Anthony Imperato. This wasn’t the first rodeo for Louis, who had resurrected the Iver Johnson brand back in 1973 and, for a time, produced commercial M1 carbines of good quality. With the Henry brand, production began with modestly priced .22 rifles of good mechanical quality but a cheap-looking finish, then quickly progressed to a much better fit and finish, and more recently to a vast variety of rimfire and centerfire models.

The mainstay of the Henry brand remains the original H001, with well more than a million manufactured. Originally introduced at about half the price of its Browning and Marlin competitors, this classic proved as accurate and as reliable. Produced in blued and brasslite finish, it set the visual pattern for most Henry models. More recently, a silvery weatherproof finish was added as an additional option for hunting rifles.


Almost all Henry lever-action models follow the same design, using a rimfire-style magazine with a removable follower. While slower to load than the King’s patent gate introduced on Winchester 1866, this style of loading doesn’t ding up bullets or catch fingertips in the spring-loaded gate cover.

Henry’s lightweight AR-7 Survival Rifle in .22 fits inside its own waterproof stock when disassembled.

The tube magazine is covered by a wooden forend, except on the commemorative “Classic” 1860-style model with the original external magazine follower latch. The 1860 model improves on the original in the metallurgy and caliber options – .45 Colt or .44-40 Winchester instead of the weak and less safe .44 rimfire – without losing any of the historic feel. Considering that only 14,000 original Henry rifles were ever produced, having an extra 11,000 made for history buffs in the past couple of years definitely makes them more accessible to modern shooters. Henry also produces improved variants of the semiauto AR-7 Survival Rifle, a kids’ Mini Bolt and a pump in .22LR and .22WMR. Most recently, box magazine lever actions, break-open and suppressor ready models have been introduced – Henry clearly has no intention of resting on its laurels.

IN MY EXPERIENCE WITH HENRY OWNERS, I’ve found that few possess just one. In fact, it’s extremely common even for modest collections to have multiple lever actions, often spanning all calibers from .22 to .45-70. It’s also common for a Henry owner to buy additional Henry rifles as gifts for family members. Of all current rifle brands, Henry appears to command perhaps the highest customer loyalty. So, besides the good quality manufacturing and great accuracy, what draws and retains people to and with this maker to the exclusion of competing brands?

The common manual of arms across most of the line-up is a true but minor point. The simplicity of their half-cock safety compared to the lawyer-mandated crossbolt “safety” of other brands (something that may be better termed a “disabling button”) is another small point in Henry’s favor. Another brand’s manual of arms was a rude surprise to me: pulling the trigger with the safety on produced what seemed like a misfire, with no indication that the safety was engaged, just the condition for dangerous game hunting! No such issues with Henry .45-70 or smaller rifles.

22plinkster, who goes by Dave Nash but withholds his real name, holds a Henry .22WMR pump.

Many new shooters who have tried lever actions alongside other types come back to the Henry rifles citing the subjective “fun of operation”, just hands-on enough to be interesting but sufficiently efficient for real-world uses such as hunting and marksmanship training.

Perhaps the more prominent reasons for the brand’s consistent popularity rest in the character of the company’s owner and employees. The slogan “Made in America or not made at all” speaks convincingly to people who prefer to see precision manufacturing jobs stay stateside. The lifetime warranty on rifles is another obvious argument for Henry. Since the defect rate is low, Henry has been able to honor warranties in a timely manner, and this sometimes includes completely replacing arms that have been damaged beyond repair by floods or fire.

Of all the current makers of firearms, the Henry company may have the most personally accessible owner. Deeply involved in the dayto-day operations of the company, Anthony Imperato remains reachable at trade shows and by phone or email. To Anthony, the reputation of the enterprise is a personal matter, and he tries to communicate to Henry customers as directly as possible. The personal involvement by him and other key members of the company have fostered an extensive and widely flung community of Henry rifle owners worldwide. As of this writing, the Henry Repeating Arms Facebook page has nearly 450,000 likes, an impressive level of popularity for a niche manufacturer selling a conservatively styled product.

Two Henry Big Boys on a safari, one in .45 Colt, the other in .45-70 Govt.
A Henry Big Boy in the classic .30-30 chambering.

As a student of commercial and political advertising, I must also note that when our previous president was snarking about people “clinging to their guns and their religion,” Henry print ads had a photo of a Bible in them. And while Henry doesn’t position itself as a “Christian” company, the manifested respect for its core constituency at the time when they were seemingly being beleaguered from the bully pulpit of the White House was a class act, and the attitude was noted and appreciated. Numerous tribute models celebrating public service and trade organizations – from the Boy Scouts to EMS – also added to the appreciation of the gun maker.


In the past two years, the number of models in the Henry line-up has nearly doubled. The expansion of its user base with less traditional owners has also accelerated, in part due to restrictions choking off more mainstream modern designs, and also to the quality and “non-scary” look of the rifles themselves. With a quality product, a growing user base, a responsive corporate culture and a hands-on owner, Henry Repeating Arms seems to be the poised to carry the old brand name far into the future with grander outlook than ever before. AmSJ

Even a 6-year-old can understand gun safety if taught correctly, and this Henry Mini Bolt is just the right size for her to practice what she has learned.

Contact: Henry Repeating Arms henryusa.com

Savage 22 Long Rifle

Everyone needs a Good .22 – The Savage A22 impresses with its Accuracy and Volume.

STORY AND PHOTOS BY LARRY CASE 

Dotzie was telling me to hurry. Treed at the base of a big white oak, my little mountain cur barked impatiently to inform me there was a squirrel up above that required my undivided attention. Out of breath from hurrying to her side, it took me several minutes to spot the gray squirrel pinned to a limb. Still a little shaky, I pulled a miss on my first shot and the squirrel darted through the upper limbs to begin his high-wire act.

I settled down by the third shot, and after I squeezed the AccuTrigger on the Savage A22, the bushytail tumbled out of the tree. I was happy, and more importantly, Dotzie was happy.

savage22 & dog

IN MY MISSPENT YOUTH, I knew an old codger who I thought of as my mentor when it came to rifles. He had survived Korea and a battle that took place in a location now called the Frozen Chozin. He had a house full of guns, and was always shooting, reloading, or doing something with a rifle. I tried to learn as much as I could from him, while staying out of his way at the same time.


“Boy,” he told me, “everyone needs a good .22 rifle, if for nothing else than just to shoot.” By “just to shoot” he meant target practice, can plinking, hunting small game, pest control, and anything else a body would need a rifle for in a caliber below a .3030. To him, a dependable .22 was a tool much like an axe or a wrench; and when you needed one, it had to work and work well.

Long known for their brand of no-nonsense firearms, Savage Arms (savagearms.com) has returned to the forefront in recent years with high-quality rifles that work well when you need them to. Savage wowed the rimfire world a couple of years ago with the introduction of the A17, the first high-performance semiautomatic rimfire specifically designed for the .17 HMR cartridge. They followed that success up with the A22 in .22 WMR (Winchester Magnum rimfire). Now, Savage is adding another new model to the A series: the A22 in (you guessed it) .22 Long Rifle. Here are some thoughts on this nifty little rifle, and why I think my old long gun mentor would approve.

Like the A17 and A22 Magnum, this rifle features a thread-in barrel with zero-tolerance head space, much like Savage builds their centerfire rifles. The barrel is “button” rifled and recessed on the business end, which is going to save on accuracy over time by protecting it. This is important if you are as hard on guns as I am, hauling them around in vehicles, getting knocked around while carrying them and the like.

The A22 comes equipped with a Savage AccuTrigger that outdoes many triggers in the centerfire line. No pulling the trigger housing or disassembly required. A small, simple tool, supplied by Savage, is inserted through the trigger guard and turned one direction to lighten the trigger pull, and  the other to make it heavier. This could easily be done in the field if necessary. The trigger is the most important element of any rifle and the AccuTrigger is a good one.

The A22 is equally at home on the range. (SAVAGE)

The A22 has a smooth-cycling, straight-blowback action that reliably feeds a variety of .22-caliber ammunition from the magazine to the chamber. This little rifle ate every kind of .22 ammo that I fed it, including CCI Mini Mag, Federal Hunter Match, Aguila Sub Sonic and Super Extra, and Remington Gold Bullet and Target rounds. The A22 chewed them all up and spit them out without fail. That in itself is no small feat for any rimfire autoloader.

With a weight of just over 5.5 pounds, the A22 is an easy-carrying rifle for all manner of small game.

COMPANY LITERATURE TELLS US that Savage engineers did some exhaustive factory testing, and it appears they were successful across the board. The 10-round rotary magazine reliably fed the rounds every time the trigger was pulled. The magazine is flush mounted, and two other hunters besides myself who carried the A22 liked this feature.

For those times when you may want more ammo on hand, Savage also partnered with shooting accessories supplier Butler Creek (butlercreek.com) to increase the rifle’s ammo capacity by creating a 25-round, spring-fed aftermarket magazine. I haven’t got my hands on one of these magazines yet, but that is definitely my plan.

At the risk of sounding like the typical prattling gun writer, I must say I was very impressed with the A22’s accuracy. Hole touching groups did not seem to be a problem out to 50 yards, which I deemed far enough for squirrel shooting. The rifle comes equipped with adjustable open steel sights, so it’s ready to shoot right out of the box, but it is also drilled and tapped for scope mounts, allowing shooters to easily add their favorite optic.

The ten-round, flush-mounted rotary magazine is another fully functional design feature on the A22.(SAVAGE)

The rifle I tested had a Bushnell 3.5-10x A22 Rimfire Optics scope mounted on it, and at first I thought this was too much scope for a .22 rifle. But after shooting this rig for a few days I really began to like it. This optic has a turret calibrated for high-velocity .22 ammo, and you can have a lot of fun with this system out to 125 yards. You can check out more info on this particular scope and many others by visiting bushnell.com.

I do herby proclaim the A22 to be a shooter, both in accuracy and proficiency of putting rounds down range. At a suggested retail of 281 American dollars, I doubt you can find a .22 rifle that is this much gun for less money. I think my old rifle guru would approve. AmSJ

Chiappa 1873 10-Shot Revolver

The Short And Long Of It All –
A Look At Chiappa’s SAA 1873 10-Shot Revolvers

The Chiappa 1873 10-shot represents an effort to bring an affordable single-action plinker to the market. Using a cast zamak-alloy frame, they look and feel like the old .45 Colt Peacemakers without being as expensive to buy. Depending on the model they retail anywhere from just under to just over $200. These revolvers are available in the US and come with either a 4.75-, 5.5- or 7.5-inch barrel, the last with adjustable target sights.

PHOTO 2 fanning_hammer_1970-min
The Chiappa’s short barreled (4.75-inch) revolver can be reliably used for point shooting, but aimed fire would require a bit of Kentucky windage.

To me, the main appeal was practicing with inexpensive rimfire ammunition and enjoying the light recoil – in style! To that end, I obtained a highly decorated belt and holster set from Old El Paso Saddlery to ensure I had the complete package. I also obtained belts and holsters from El Paso for the kids and adult shooters which looked great functioned flawlessly.

Single action revolver grips are usually fairly good fit for smaller hands, their triggers don’t require much reach, so I also planned to use them for teaching new shooters. To that end, I also got a more utilitarian set of holsters – one each long and short in left and right hand configuration – and adult and child size gun belts with cartridge loops. This way, a person can run the more precise long gun with the string hand and the lighter, shorter gun with the weak hand.

Check out these Cool Gun Safes Click HERE
to Check it out.

aiming Chiappa Revolver
The Chiappa 1873 10-shot revolver represents an effort to bring an affordable single-action plinker to the market. Using a cast zamak-alloy frame, they look and feel like the old .45 Colt Peacemaker without being as expensive to buy.

Known principles

SSA22_5377hires-minSingle-action, gate-loading revolvers are among the most hardy repeating gun designs. Sequential ejection enables the use of imperfect ammunition and brings the full impact of the ejector to bear on one empty casing at a time, and since the ejector rod goes into the casing from the front, even rimless ammunition can be used. With the cylinder fixed in the frame, alignment with the barrel usually remains good, even after a steady diet of hot loads. With rimfire ammunition the guns should last for many generations. Single-action triggers are generally quite decent, but loading may be slower than with break-open or side-swinging cylinders. Recent models, like this pair of Chiappa SAA1873s, hold 10 rounds each, which should be sufficient for a fairly high rate of fire for a short time.

girl w Chiappa Revolver
Single-action revolvers grips are usually a fairly good fit for smaller hands, and their triggers don’t require much reach, so the author plans to use them for teaching new shooters.

old_el_paso_holster_1634-min

The Test

I headed to the range with high hopes and a brick of Federal 40-grain ammunition. The long-sight radius and crisp trigger should produce good practical accuracy, and the longer models with a 7.5-inch barrel should yield a very respectable velocity. Normally, the 40-grain CCI Velocitor manages about 1,250 feet per second and the 33-grain CCI Stinger zips out at 1,350 fps.

The shorter revolver with fixed sights was test fired first. I discovered that the substantial gap between the cylinder and the forcing cone caused a louder than expected report. Despite good balance and a decent trigger, the best groups I could get were well over 2 inches at a distance of 25 feet. The problem with these entirely acceptable groups was their location – 3 inches down and one to the left of the point of aim. With a groove in the top strap for the rear sight and a fixed blade for the front, there was not much that I could do to reconcile the point of aim with the point of impact. The front sight could be filed and repainted to raise the point of impact, but I wouldn’t try to bend the casting for fear of breaking it. This revolver can still be used for point shooting, but aimed fire might require a bit of Kentucky windage.

The longer model with the 7.5-inch barrel shot much better. A minute with a flat-blade screwdriver adjusted the target rear sight to correct zero. At 25 feet, all 10 rounds shot consistently and fit into a 1-inch circle. Success?

Unfortunately, two issues plagued this sample. First, it actually jammed during loading. To load, the hammer should be placed at half cock, which enables the cylinder to spin freely. Opening the loading gate exposes the chambers. Half way through this process the cylinder would stop rotating. To get it to rotate further, I had to put the revolver on full cock, carefully lower the hammer (sometimes on a live round) and only that would free up the cylinder for the completion of the loading procedure. The other problem was the amount of misalignment between the forcing cone and the chambers. This caused lead shavings during firing. Outdoors, this could have been overlooked given the excellent accuracy, but indoors I found small chunks of lead hitting the lane dividers, which bounced off into my face. Though not very fast by the time they reached me, these bits were annoying.

It’s possible that minor gunsmithing would resolve these issues, but the cost of that would quickly add up. My reluctant conclusion is that the budget single-action revolvers are hit and miss in terms of quality. ASJ

The 1873 with a 7.5-inch barrel comes with an easily adjustable target sight, and shot a 1-inch group on a 10-round test fire at 25 feet.

Story and photographs by Oleg Volk

Gun Review: Keystone Adds Rounds With 722

[su_heading size=”30″]Seven-shot Rifle Comes In Sporter, Classic, Varmint Models[/su_heading]

Review And Photographs By Oleg Volk

[su_dropcap style=”light” size=”5″]K[/su_dropcap]eystone Arms has long been known for single-shot .22-caliber bolt-actions for kids. Last year, they introduced a very unique repeater bolt action, which was released during the rimfire-ammunition shortage that happened not long ago. This gun came out with no fanfare and made very little impression in the gun industry. The Model 722, named for its seven-shot capacity and caliber, comes in three variants: the simple $262 Sporter, the more refined $315 Classic and the $340 heavy-barreled Varmint. They share all parts except the barrel and stock.

The bolt has a locking lug opposite the handle, which acts as a second lug, and the short length of the action permits a 20-inch barrel.

THE SEVEN-SHOT MAGAZINE is genius. The thick stainless-steel lips are smooth to the touch, and all seven rounds can be loaded quickly and effortlessly. Since all of the external edges are smoothly radiused, a handful of these mags can be carried in a pocket with no worry of them scratching each other.

You won’t find a magazine catch on this gun. The magazine is retained on both sides by a springy mag well. The magazine locks in solidly until the shooter pulls down on the magazine with moderate effort, and they cost around $22 each. Even though I have several, I found myself just reloading the same one in the field because the process was so quick and effortless.

The action is smooth and easy to run, and the symmetrical design operates with only a 50-degree throw, easily clearing even the largest scopes.

The seven-shot capacity is dictated by the curve of the ammunition stack. If there were more than seven, the cartridge would have to curve forward even more, requiring a more complex magazine body shape.

ALL VARIANTS OF the Model 722 come with a crisp 2-pound trigger with an overtravel adjustment. The bolt has a locking lug opposite the handle, which acts as a second lug. The action is smooth and easy to run. The symmetrical design operates with only a 50-degree throw, easily clearing even the largest scopes. The short 1.5-inch cycle distance makes for very quick loading. The short length of the action permits a 20-inch barrel on a very light and compact gun. The 13.25-inch length of pull makes it feel even smaller. The safety is a lever – forward for fire, back for safe. It clicks very positively, but the angle of throw is fairly small, so it’s sometimes hard to tell at a glance if it’s on. On the left side of the receiver there is a spring-loaded bolt retainer. The bolt does have to be cycled briskly for reliable ejection.

There isn’t a magazine release on this rifle. The magazine is retained by a springy magwell.

KEYSTONE ARMS’ SISTER company is Revolution Stocks, a premier aftermarket manufacturer. It’s no surprise that the stock quality for all three variants is superb, with a tight wood-to-metal finish. The decades of metalworking experience behind the Crickett brand also make for excellent action fit. Keystone didn’t skimp on the manufacturing process – even the trigger guard is a nicely machined part.

Just push the magazine in until it locks solidly into place, and pull down with moderate effort to remove.

THE CLASSIC IS lightweight at just 4.6 pounds, and feels even lighter, thanks to the good balance. The Varmint is a couple of pounds more, but the sculpted thumbhole stock makes

steadying it off-hand quite easy. The Classic comes standard with Williams Firesights, fiber optic front post and semibuckhorn rear that adjusts for windage and elevation. Picking up the front is very easy in any kind of light, but the bright fiber optic pipe on the front sight obscured at least 2.75 inches of the bull’s-eye, making precise alignment difficult. At best, my groups were 2 inches at 25 yards. After trying several kinds of ammunition, I gave up and scoped it with the dedicated Primary Arms 6x rimfire BDC scope in low rings and tried again. The results improved greatly: From prone at 80 yards, the CCI Green Tag ammo grouped at 1.25 inches, or about 1.5 minute of angle. Ammunition quality matters. Bulk .22 gave me 3MOA at best. Even with bulk Federal ammo, the BDC reticle made hits on pop cans placed 50 yards downrange routine. Shooting off of a lead sled indoors, without wind, produced 1.25MOA with Aguila Match, 1MOA with Aguila Super Extra subsonic and 2MOA with Federal 550-round bulk pack. I am guessing Green Tag would have come in at about 1.25MOA as well.

THE REAL ACCURACY testing was with the Varmint version. Prone at 25 yards produced a single seven-shot hole scarcely larger than the bullet diameter. Topped with the superb 6-24x Weaver with an adjustable objective, this rifle made extreme accuracy the default result. The slim 1-inch tube with a 40mm objective permitted low rings and thus minimal sight height over bore. The mildot reticle provided for drop compensation, and the focusable objective made for a crystal-clear view of the bull’s-eye obliterated by precision fire. Both CCI Green Tag and Aguila Rifle Match grouped near 0.6MOA, and Eley Match was right at 0.5MOA at 50 yards – a great performance for any rifle, and even more so for the budget-priced 722.

The Classic comes standard with Williams FireSights, fiber optic front post and semibuckhorn rear that adjusts for windage and elevation.

One exception to the versatility of the Varmint model comes from its match chamber incompatibility with the CCI Stinger hypervelocity round often used by actual varmint shooters. The Aguila equivalent works fine, as does the Winchester, but neither hypervelocity load equals the standard velocity loads in outright accuracy under controlled range conditions. In the real world with wind drift and imperfect range estimation, the faster loads perform almost as well as the match bullets.

Twin forend studs allow for simultaneous installation of a bipod and a shooting sling. Despite the greater weight, I consider the Varmint version the best of the three models not only for rested shooting but also for field hunting. The exception would be left-handed shooters, who would have to stick with the ambidextrous Classic stock design.

All variants of the Model 722 come with a crisp 2-pound trigger with an overtravel adjustment.

OTHER THAN THE QUICK but imprecise iron sights, Classic is a strong competitor to CZ455 Military Trainer. With optics, the 722 Varmint gives up nothing at all to the competition. Overall, the rifle is just fun to use. Its operation is so transparent that it feels like a natural extension of the marksman. ASJ

Editor’s note: For more info, go to keystonesportingarmsllc.com.

WATCH: .22 Gatling Gun Made From Scratch

[su_heading size=”27″ margin=”0″].22 Gatling Gun Made From Scratch [/su_heading]

What do you get when you add a little bit of ingenuity to a Ruger 10/22 semi-automatic rifle and some spare parts?

Well, one answer is YouTube user Alex Smyth’s Steampunk-inspired creation. Alex designed and built a very impressive little gun and shows it off in the video below.

 

Projects like this should never be attempted without the proper knowledge and ability, but Alex makes sure to explain the steps taken to keep his gun completely legal and safe to fire and use.

Ammo in any .22 rifle doesn’t usually last very long and that holds even truer with the rotary firing mechanism on the gun in this video. It sure does look like a blast to shoot!

Original article by WideOpenSpaces.com. Click here.