Linda realized that with her most recent purchase she now had a couple of guns she had yet to fire, so we packed up and went off to Champion Arms this afternoon- but things really started earlier this week.

I had been missing having a .22 rifle for some time, in part with the intent of teaching the wife to shoot long-guns, so Linda and I had gone to Pinto’s to look things over. I found a very nice Montogmery Ward’s Westernfield Model 37. These are bolt-action repeaters made for Ward’s in the mid-1930s.  While I was looking that over Linda became enamored of a Winchester Model 270 Deluxe pump-action rifle.  Since the two rifles were, respectively, $90 & $100 we purchased them both.

Also along for the ride was Linda’s Colt Jr. 25 auto. We loaded it up with some Fiocchi ball and tried it out. She found it quite fun and, as she said repeatedly, adorable.  I tried it also, and it’s a very pleasant little gun to shoot, and not at all difficult to produce reasonable groups at short range.

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Linda’s 5-yard group with the Colt Jr.- not bad at all!
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My group at 7 yards- I like this little gun!

Next Linda gave her Astra Police a go. She found it quite enjoyable to shoot but with heavier loads my grips (which were mounted on the gun so she can try them out) were rubbing the ball of her thumb uncomfortably.  We’ll try the Hogue Monogrip that came with the gun, and after we see how she likes that I’ll make a custom grip for her. She’s looking forward to practicing with this gun more.

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Linda’s 7-yard double-action groups

Linda also shot her Taurus TCP .380. This little gun is double-action only, firing from a locked breech. It is very light and flat as befits a gun made for concealed carry, and has been absolutely reliable. She likes the trigger and is accurate enough with it, but finds it a bit brutal.  Not that it matters much on a purely defensive pistol, but she might replace it with something more pleasant to shoot.

TaurusTCP
Reliable, accurate- but a bit brutal

Next she wanted to try her new rifle. She’d never fired a long-gun before but wanted to learn.  The Winchester Model 270 was a modestly-priced slide-action rifle made from the mid-1960’s to mid-1970s. The Deluxe Model has a machine-turned finish on the bolt and impressed checkering on the stock.

Winchester_model270

No one online seems to have any idea why these weapons weren’t more popular- they are light, handy, attractive and reliable and seemed to have been priced competitively. Linda had a little issue with getting her glasses to work with the sights but she quickly got the hang of it.

The group on the left is her first-ever group with a rifle, shot at 5 yards. The middle picture was shot at 10 yards, and the picture on the right was shot at 15 yards. All groups were fired standing-unsupported. She loved shooting the new rifle but tired quickly. ‘Different group of muscles,’ she said. I pointed out that when we went to an outdoor range she could shoot from a bench-rest. ‘But won’t I be shooting unsupported in the field- shouldn’t I practice that way?’  She’s right of course, but I assured her that both kinds of practice were useful.  She is now really glad she bought this rifle as she had an absolute ball shooting it. I think we can count Linda among the converts to rifle-shooting!

I wanted to try Linda out on the .32 New Police Detective Special, and we rapidly discovered I had not brought target loads, but rather my defensive loads which are rather stout. Oops… While she found them unpleasant to shoot she did produce a rather nice group at 7 yards. I shot two groups myself, one at shorter range and one at twenty-five yards. Nothing to be ashamed of in either case.

 

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Rapid-fire at 7 yards- not bad at all!
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Double-Action, standing-unsupported at 25 yards- dammit, there always has to be a flyer! The tape covers the 7-yard group I shot with the Colt Jr. .25

Linda also tried out the Sheriff’s Model .45- she was accurate and the recoil was manageable, but she simply doesn’t care for single actions. I, on the other hand, care for them very much, thank you! I only had about twenty rounds with us, and after peppering a ten yard target I reeled it out to twenty-five yards. Not one of my better efforts, frankly-

MeSS25yd
Not an entirely disgraceful group for a 3″ barrel at 25 yards- except for a pesky flyer that missed the paper entirely. Bugger.

Which brings us, last but not least, to the Westernfield Model 37.  Word is that it is was made by Mossberg based on their Model 30, which makes very little sense as this was a single-shot with a different bolt.  Regardless it is a simple and entirely conventional bolt-action with a removable 5-shot magazine.  It has no manual safety of any kind; apparently one was simply not supposed to pull the trigger unless one intended to fire the weapon. Novel concept, that.  The weapon is relatively light. It has simple sights, the rear of which is range-adjustable for close, medium and long range. The trigger-pull is excellent and the wood of the stock is surprisingly pretty, although the blonde finish does not show this to it’s best advantage. I may refinish the stock; we’ll see.

Westernfield_model37

Age has not affected this rifles ability, or the joy of shooting it. There’s something very pleasant about a nice bolt-action .22; I’m not sure exactly what it is.  It might be that they are very simple and purposeful- and the bolt action encourages a relaxed pace. Whatever, I very much enjoyed this old rifle.  Firing standing-unsupported I cannot say I was laser-accurate. I shot targets at ten, fifteen and twenty-five yards (the maximum range available at Champion Arms.)

The target on the left was shot at twenty-five yards, the right shot at ten yards. Obviously I need a lot of practice.  I’ll need to spend a lot more time on the range… Uh, darn?  I think this is what I refer to as ‘a tragedy of a limited scope.’

Altogether it was a great afternoon at the range, made all the better for Linda joining me. As for her, she had a great time, and thinks her new rifle may well become her favorite thing to shoot!  She’s now talking about heading to the skeet range to try out her Remington 20-gauge auto… It looks rather like a membership to a range or two is in the near future…

Micheal Tinker Pearce, 22 April 2018

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