Bolt-Action Choices: 7.62x39mm Rifles

As part of my desire to pull back from longer-distance shooting — perhaps “desire” is the wrong word;  “forced by crap eyesight” is longer, but more accurate — comes the need to look at a rifle which would suit my purpose better than those I already have.  Here’s one such example of a gun currently sitting in Ye Olde Gunne Sayfe, a CZ 550 (6.5x55mm Swede), topped with a Meopta 6-24x56mm scope:

As any fule Longtime Reader kno, I love me my 6.5×55 Swede cartridge, and I love equally the gorgeous CZ 550 Mauser rifle with its sweeeeet single set trigger.   To replace this beauty would require ripping out a piece of my heart;  but, at the same time, it has become too much rifle and honestly, would better suit someone who could actually use it to its full potential.  I’m not that person, anymore.

But if I were going to replace this paragon of excellence, the new bolt-action rifle would need to fill several criteria:  reliable, accurate, and chambered for a cartridge which would not require me to spend almost as much on new ammo as on the rifle and scope.  Something like the 7.62x39mm Russian (of which I have a ummm  modest supply already in Ye Olde Ammoe Locquer).

There aren’t too many of these extant, but here are a couple, with their comparative features side by side:

Given my long and affectionate relationship with CZ rifles, one would think that the 527 would have the inside track;  but I have to tell you, that stubby little bull barrel of the Ruger looks very tempting. I’m not too concerned about the difference in barrel length, because as it is, the 7.62x39mm works just fine in an AK’s 16.5″ barrel, and the shorter barrel would make the Ruger less unwieldy.

And I know that the Ruger’s standard trigger isn’t as good as the 527’s set trigger, but given the price disparity between them, a drop-in Timney (about $150) would still bring the Ranch Rifle’s price in below that of the CZ 527, and if I set it to a sensible 2.5lb pull, that would be more than adequate.

I hate the Ruger’s plastic stock material — or is it a painted laminate? either way, it’s awful — and of course the CZ’s walnut is exquisite by comparison, albeit somewhat heavier.

As for glass:  the 24x Meopta is much more than I need when my likely (and preferred) shooting distance would be somewhat around (and probably less than) 200 yards.  Something smaller (and lighter, as a bonus) would work just as well on either rifle, and I’d be looking at something like a Leupold 3-9x40mm 3HD, a Leupold 2-10x42mm VX-5HD, or else the Minox 2-10×50 ZX5i (all with illuminated reticles, to help my pathetic eyesight):

I have a long and satisfying association with both Leupold and Minox scopes too, so this would not be short-changing myself at all.

One more thing:  I’m not a huge fan of rail scope mounts such as on the Ruger, because they do raise the scope high off the action.  Low scope bases (lower even than on the CZ 500 pictured) would definitely work better for me.

As I said earlier, all the above is certainly food for thought, and I will be considering the whole thing carefully for a while before I drop the hammer, so to speak.  I hate selling guns, but if I’m replacing one that I can’t shoot properly for one that I can, it does make the process easier.

Gratuitous Gun Pic: S&W Mod 25-2 (.45 ACP)

As I was meandering through the Gun Dork Forest (as I do occasionally), my eye was caught by a couple of rather fine-looking older guns from Messrs. Smith & Wesson.  Here’s the first, the lovely Model 25-2:

Now for those who are unfamiliar with this creature, or those who are perhaps new to this corner of The Gun Thing, you might ask:

“But Kim:  how can you chamber a rimless cartridge into a revolver cylinder?  Don’t the boolets just fall through and out onto the floor?”

Indeed you might think so, Grasshopper, but there are these things called “half-moon” or “full-moon” clips:

I’m not quite sure what brand those cartridges are, but let’s go with “G.I.” (Gay Issue).  (I know I know, it’s really inert ammo shuddup.)

Back in the day when I owned one of these wondrous guns, I always preferred the full-moon clips because I found them easier to load, less likely to bend than the half-moons, and of course it’s a one-step reload.  (Another benefit:  when you slam the ejector rod on a full-moon clip, you don’t have to spend the next five minutes scrabbling around on the floor picking up expended cartridge cases.)

My particular model wasn’t the Mod 25, but the stainless 625 Version:

And if that doesn’t make your trigger-finger itch, I don’t want to talk to you anymore.

Anyway, there are several good reasons to own a Mod 25/625 in .45 ACP, chief among them being that if you already own a 1911 pistol thus chambered (and you should), it means that you won’t suffer from Caliber Proliferation Syndrome in your ammo locker by having to buy .38 Special and / or .357 Magnum ammo.

Finally, of course, there’s nothing wrong with using .45 ACP in your revolver (especially if it has a 5″ barrel), because duh it’s John Moses Browning’s .45 ACP.

Gotta say, though, that blued Mod 25 above sure is pretty, because this is Kim speaking — and blued steel over wooden grips always looks better than bling steel over rubber.

It’s at Collectors, of course.

Next week, I’ll be talking about the other lovely guns I saw there.

Point / Counterpoint

Apparently some professor in Vermont has caused all sorts of issues by refusing to kowtow to the “racial equity” scam, asking:  “Would you please stop reducing my personhood to a racial category in your teachings?”

Predictably, calls have gone out for him to resign:

A petition calling for the resignation of Kindsvatter has earned over 3,400 signatures. The authors state that Kindsvatter’s statements are “harmful to our campus’ community of color.”


A rival petition — which has garnered over 4,400 signatures — asks that Kindsvatter assume control of all diversity measures at the University of Vermont.

I think the will of the people should be obeyed.

And in an increasingly-rare show of testicular fortitude, our guy has refused to resign.