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Thread: Finicky old semiauto .22 rifles

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    Finicky old semiauto .22 rifles

    Anyone else have a soft spot for old .22 rifles? Even finicky old semiautos?

    I have an old H&R Leatherneck. My grandpa had one so when I found this one fairly cheap I had to have it. It doesn't like cheap ammo though, likes to jam up pretty regular. I've tried Fed Automatch and Thunderbolt and a couple others with minimal success. It does like Minimags! Gobbles them up without a hitch.

    I finally bought a box of 1k Winchester M22 rounds the other day and tried out a few today- 30 rounds downrange without a problem. Looks like pretty good ammo for the old gun.

    The other one I have is a Mossberg 151 semiauto. My grandpa had one of these too, in fact it was this one! It's a neat old rifle, love to shoot it, but it's also very picky about ammo. I found that it doesn't seem to like hollowpoints. I'll have to try the M22 rounds in it next time I'm out.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Artful's Avatar
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    Minimags seem to be the ultimate for most 22LR - I have not tried the M22 but will keep an eye out - you have to remember when the older guns were designed there were limited choices in 22LR bullet shapes.
    je suis charlie

    It is better to live one day as a LION than a dozen days as a Sheep.

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  3. #3
    Boolit Master



    atr's Avatar
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    I have an old HighStandart Sportking semi-auto that is also fussy about the ammunition used. But I also have a very old bolt action Mossberg that doesn't care what you feed it.
    Death to every foe and traitor and hurrah, my boys, for freedom !

  4. #4
    Boolit Bub
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    I have a soft spot for just about any of the old firearms. Very early .22 semi-autos depended on greased ammunition to function reliably. I've had a few older semi-auto .22s in the shop that wouldn't function simply because they were so fouled with carbon and old grease. I had an old bolt action that wouldn't go into battery because of the fouling in the breach area. Clean these older guns well, but gently, and they can be lots of fun to shoot.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Mr Peabody's Avatar
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    I bought a Savage 6A. These are pre second war. They feed LR,L,S manually. LR as a semi-auto. All it sings with is greased 40gr RN. Wonderful full sized rifles.

  6. #6
    I have 2 10-22s, both will foul out at some point and stovepipe an empty, pull the bolt and clean it and the inside of the receiver, spray in some graphite lube and they're cured. No idea what the round count might be between cleanups.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    MiniMags like Artful said. And a clean gun.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I have the earlier version of your leatherneck known as the Reising model 65. Take that action apart ( it comes apart like a reising sub machinegun). Clean and oil everything including the bolt, firing pin, extractors, hammer, inside the reciever, action bar, spring and guide rod. Oil the section of the receiver that the action bar can rub on. Clean the chamber well and see if any coorision is evident from firing coorisive 22 shorts in the chamber. Then try what ever ammo you want to test. In short, my Reising will work with almost all ammo if cleaned and oiled.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master





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    Clean the gun by detail. If you are unable to take it to a gunsmith and have a total clean and lube job.

    Never expect cheap %%% ammo to make it function.

    Then buy CCI Mini-mags only for it. All cheap ammo has to be disregarded for sure function in any semi IMHO.

  10. #10
    Boolit Bub
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    I have 2 older 22 autos a Mossberg 151 M(A) and a Stevens 87 D. They both shoot CCI Mini Mags very well. The 151 has the 4 different flip up front sight posts and peep sight, at 25 yds I can pick off the thumb tacks used to hold the target up. They need to be cleaned often or they do jam up on me.
    I have a few old bolt guns to, I surely do have a soft spot for the oldies.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master


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    I have an old Rem 551 that came to me with a problem handling 22LR. After a brass brush session on the chamber (removing a carbon ring from 22 shorts) she will handle everything I feed her.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
    Chev. William's Avatar
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    Both Remington and Winchester Made Early Auto Loaders that Do NOT Work with 'Standard .22 RF Cartridges' as both needed Smokeless Propellant loads When .22 RF was Mostly loaded with Black Powder.
    If I recall; Both companies came out with Custom .22 RF cartridges of slightly Larger diameter so the standard 'fair' could not be accidentally used in their auto-loading firearms.

    Best Regards,
    Chev. William

  13. #13
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    90% of the time it is fouling that causes problems in the 22 auto loaders. Very few guys do any
    thing other than the bore and wipe the outside of gun. There are a lot of people afraid to take the
    gun apart, some never bother to clean them. With the invention of Spray, like WD40, they clean
    the bore and spray out the action. This dissolves crude to run down into action where it solidifies
    and causes problems. This build up has to be overcome by force, that is why they will continue to
    function with Mini Mag type ammo. A lot of these older semis were made in the days when the
    standard velocity 22 ammo was "standard". In fact some of the early models should not be used
    with any HV 22 ammo. They can go metal to metal and eventually cause breakage. These old 22s
    have springs that become fatigued over the years and actually should require less force to cycle.
    The older 22s that were machined have closer tolerances than the new stuff, so they are less
    forgiving when it comes to crud buildup. Complete tear down and cleaning will usually take care
    of these problems. The best product I have found to cut the crud is Carborator cleaner. This should
    only be used on gun when torn down, it will ruin stock finishes.

  14. #14
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    Take it apart. Blast it with brake cleaner over and over until it runs clean. Soak the action in Acetone for a few days. Give it 100 strokes with a bronze brush dipped in special 22 bore cleaner (Amazon.com), repeat brake cleaner, spray down with Rem-oil (never let WD40 in the same room with a gun !), let it drain dry, wipe down, good to go.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldon View Post
    Take it apart. Blast it with brake cleaner over and over until it runs clean. Soak the action in Acetone for a few days. Give it 100 strokes with a bronze brush dipped in special 22 bore cleaner (Amazon.com), repeat brake cleaner, spray down with Rem-oil (never let WD40 in the same room with a gun !), let it drain dry, wipe down, good to go.
    Eldon is right, WD40 causes a built of of film that will attract crud. One other thing to avoid is over
    oiling. Excess oil will end up soaking into stocks and damaging wood. The biggest cause of stocks
    splitting.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Every 22 I have picked up over the years with jam problems has been from dirty inerds... detail clean to the best you can.
    Most of my poor old 22s I have saved where filled with over lube and powder fouling. It makes for a crusty mess.
    Graphite does not play well with guns and can actually eroded aluminum.
    Ammo plays a huge role. Shoot **** expect ****. I have several semi auto that function on 22 shorts and when most people at the range ask how I made it work with shorts I just laugh and say...cleaned it.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    I have an old French semiauto .22 that is as finicky as it can get. It looks good and handles real nice, but it only shoots for gunsmiths. I gave up at 3. I watched two of those test fire the rifle and they watched me get nothing 2 out of 3 tries with the same box of ammo.
    Back in the land of boolits.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    Just for the record, my old guns are thoroughly disassembled and detail cleaned. Neither the Mossberg nor the H&R will function totally reliably with cheap bulk ammo, with the exception of the Winchester M22.

    My very first .22 semi-auto rifle I learned how to carefully take apart, clean and lightly oil. I actually use WD40 for cleaning at times. It's not as harsh or smelly as carb cleaner and it cuts through the residue pretty good. I then wash or wipe away all the WD40 before oiling with a light gun oil. I found out the hard way long ago about dry WD40 residue.

    The old Leatherneck has a heavy bolt and maybe it needs a new spring. The malfunction that it has with cheaper ammo is the striker doesn't catch so the firing pin follows in the bolt and jams the feeding round. It seems that the occasional round is under-loaded so that it doesn't have the power to blow the heavy bolt back far enough. Yes, it does this when it's spotless detail cleaned and properly oiled. With the Mini-mags or M22 it's 100%.

  19. #19
    Boolit Man oldhenry's Avatar
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    With the mention of the Mossberg 151 I had to chime in. My 1st. .22 autoloader was a 151K: a beautiful rifle with some figure in the wood. From time to time it would require cleaning (not just spraying some oil based liquid into the receiver opening). I'd remove the bolt & give it a good cleaning with a tooth brush & mineral spirits (this was in the '50s) + the inside of the receiver especially around the ejector/extractor cut & where the bolt meets the barrel. I also found that the stock around the feed end of the magazine tube collected carbon particles. I'd clean that + the feed end of the magazine tube. After that it would be 100% reliable (if the ammo had priming in the rim). Unfortunately, I traded that 151K & recently replaced it with one that has a plain (but walnut) stock.

    I also have 4 (yes four) Mossberg 152 & 2 Mossberg 142A (1 with the T bolt & 1 with the round knob). My wife has a 152 (separate from my 4) that looks better than new & is extremely accurate. She can shoot it & when she gets enough of the squirrels disassembling pine cones in her flower beds. she'll send them to the next world. The 152 seem to require less attention than the 151K (I think most of the carbon dumps out the bottom into the magazine & a tooth brush across the top of the magazine prevents any problems).

    My High Standard "Supermatic" does not like ammo with wax on the boolit. We just accept this shortcoming & rub each cartridge against out pant leg before loading into the magazine to remove the wax & it feeds OK. My Ruger MKII digests anything.

    My other .22s are Remington bolt actions (old ones: 511,512,512P & 521T) & have no feeding problems: but........I clean their bolts from time to time with a tooth brush.
    & "Breakfree CLP".

    Most of our shooting is with the cheap stuff usually bulk (formally 550 to box, then 500/box & lately 333 & 300/box). I have my own range & a large extended family (they shoot) & my guns burn a lot of ammo.

    Henry

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    When my boys were still home in school I would buy them cases of 5K during the summer months which usually lasted them about 6 weeks. I bought whatever was cheap for them, mostly wildcat I seem to remember. They had a Rem Nylon 66 of mine they shot, I don't ever remember a failure to feed or fire with that rifle, or cleaning it. I would go to work and they would shoot all day.

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