Might as well start some discussion.
I think I want to buy a rifle. It's for sport shooting at the range, practicing, plinking, and occasional vermin control (possum, coyote). Range out to 50 or 75 yards is sufficient (as the terrain here is very hilly). Low cost of the rifle would be good, as would be reasonably low cost of the ammo. Small and light are good, as it might make a good practice rifle for our kid in a few years, and it means I can take it into the woods (we own a dozen acres, and have access to hundreds of acres of our neighbors). It should be accurate enough that one can hit a critter with it, and that shooting it at the range is fun. And it shall be very safe when being carried around (don't want to make any extra holes in friends and family). Note that it is not intended for whitetail, elk, and even much less for lions, tigers and bears; also not for self-defense, so no larger caliber is required.
After reading around, I think I want:
- Semi-auto: much more convenient than bolt action, can shoot faster when following a running coyote and missing.
- Caliber .22 WMR: Still cheap enough, yet powerful enough to take vermin at that distance. Also shoots nice and straight.
I think this means that I'll get a Ruger 10-22 magnum. Probably bring it to the gunsmith for fine-tuning the action, and trick it out with a better hammer (VQ?), new ejectors, bolt buffer to tame the mechanical shock of the bolt, better scope base to hold the scope down (maybe the Weigand base), and a small scope to be able to hit very accurately at these distances (does a 3x-6x at 30mm sound right).
Now the questions:
First, I'll obviously go to a store and try the fit and feel of various guns before deciding. But I think in .22 WMR there is really no other choice than the Ruger 10-22.
Is a bolt action really much less convenient or slower? The nice thing is that a bolt action would really open up the field to many other makes and models.
Does the above package make any sense? Are the accessories reasonable: do they really help, or are other things needed? If I'm interested in reasonably accuracy (say 2" groups at 100 yards), do I need a replacement barrel? Would a heavy barrel help reduce recoil significantly, or is recoil already so low that it doesn't matter?
I've heard horror stories that the 10-22 in magnum really doesn't like to feed reliably, in particular with particularly slow or hot ammo. I've also heard that a good action job and aftermarket ejectors can make that problem go away completely. I've also heard that the 10-22 is already perfectly reliable before any upgrades, and never stovepipes (not all these stories can be true). What's the scoop?
What type of scope would people recommend, and how to mount it reliably? I've heard horror stories that the very violent bolt shock of the 22 magnum rounds tends to really rattle the scope rings all the time, and even outright break many scopes (if you tighten the rings good enough that the scope doesn't keep falling off, then the scope itself will break. Rumor has it that a bolt buffer (what kind?) will cure this.
I'm just trying to start an interesting discussion, and have people do my homework for me
Have at it ...