Well I got some rings & mounted an old Redfield Widefield 3-9 scope in low rings and sure looks sleek! The rear sight tucks just behind the objective. I managed to find 7 or 8 different loads and made my way to the range.
I tried to not have any pre-determined opinions one way or the other about the round, but my personal experience has been less than stellar - albeit admittedly limited. I also know that going at it with a $200 fifle as opposed to a $500 rifle, might make a difference!
First the gun:
Fit and finish are actualy quite good. A great little laminated stock and very well done blueing all over. Excellent wood to metal fit. The magazine is a stamped metal unit that rides a little rail up into the magwell... it edges are sharp and unforgiving. And the spring is pretty stout, which makes loading it a little tricky until you get the hang of it. It has a medium heavy barrel with open sights (that I won't use) that is very well finished.
The bolt on this little 882L feels like is was cut out with a hack saw. It is without a doubt THE roughest bolt I have ever had. It is badly in need of a polishing, which I will take care of alongwith the trigger. The trigger has zero take up and minimal overtravel. It breaks quite cleanly, but at something in the neighborhood of 6 or 7 pounds I am guessing. I will have to do something about that! With a sporter type forend, I really had to concentrate on the trigger pull
The safety button is on the right side and is a push/pull type. The button itself is fine, but the movement is so rough, it is difficult to tell where it is without looking at it - it did not make for confident handling!
This little gun needs a lot of polishing! Another idiosyncracy is that the rear of the receiver is very sharp and I have yet to be able to move my thumb up and hit the safety button... it always lands on the edge of the receiver and I have to LOOK to see what I am doing becase the button seems to be a little too far forward. Hopefully that will change with some trigger time, but before I do anything else, I will be polishing some parts.
One other odd thing I noticed was the color of the patches. Where they usually come out black or dark gray they came out with a brown tinge all the time. I have no idea why. There was absolutely no rust anywhere on it and of course I cleaned everything before firing a round.
It may sound like I am complaining, but I am not really - this is a handy little rifle with good lines and a classic feel... not too heavy, but it gives the feeling of a 'real gun'. For what it is, I like it a lot and am just hoping that it will be as accurate as some of the other WMR folks around here talk about.
My shooting consisted of 5 shots/clean for 50 shots, then 10 shots/clean for the balance of my time there. I am guessing somewhere around 140-160 total shots were fired. After shooting 3 x 5 shot groups with each load, I reshot several more to reconfirm my findings.
Of the 7 or 8 loads (I'm sorry I don't remember exactly and didn't write them all down) I found two that will shoot into around 1/2" at 50 yards - but no better. All of the others hovered around 3/4"+ with the exception of the CCI Maxi-Mag+V, which spread them around 2" every group. #2 Was the Winchester Supreme load and #1 was the Remington 40gr HP; oddly the cheapest round I had.
Now that I have a solid 100+ rounds through it, I will try to get my hands on more different loads to find it's 2 absolute favorites, then I can start doing some 100 yd shooting, but I didn't want to do that during the first shoot. Once I find what it likes I will try to put a bigger scope on it and get into that 200 yard shooting vs. the VQ 9/17 and we'll just see what happens.