CZ452 HMR proves it’s worth at long range on the Warren

March 31, 2022 at 12:49 pm

A brief spell of warm weather saw me back at the warren for an evening visit, armed with my CZ452 HMR in place of the Magtech 7002 semi auto .22, which had been giving good service taking close range rabbits around the burrows during daylight hours. Many of the burrows were now abandoned and the rabbits had migrated to the outer reaches of the field, where the banks of a dried up stream have provided a safer home. With the farmer ready to put her young Angus bullocks out to grass after Easter, it has been important to keep up the pressure to render the field free of burrows and safe for the cattle.

At the far end of the warren there were still a few active burrows and I got comfortable lying down with the HMR on the bipod, giving a clear view of the area a hundred yards away. The evening sun was bright beneath the clouds and after weeks of cold and rain it was a pleasure to be feeling the warmth on my face. My attention had been diverted to a group of roe deer the other side of the stream, trying to count them among the bankside foliage, when I looked back to see a pair of dark brown blobs close to the burrows. Through the scope, the blobs were transformed into a pair of  fat rabbits. I worked the rifle bolt to feed a bullet into the chamber, centred the crosshairs, breathed out and squeezed the trigger, in that instant watching the rabbit slump forward. Ten yards away, the second rabbit was undisturbed, still munching the lush grass, head down with it’s back to me. I had to wait for it to raise it’s head, or move, ideally side ways on. This was not a shooting gallery, this rabbit could decide to run off at any moment. There was tension, while I waited.

Another rabbit came out further down and began feeding. About a hundred and twenty yards away, it was still in range and facing forward at an angle. There was no wind, it was a better shot. The bullet had already been chambered and was on its way. The rabbit rolled over. The remaining rabbit did not give me a third shot, the crack from the supersonic HMR bullet passing by got it’s attention and it disappeared in a flash. I waited for twenty minutes and nothing more emerged, so walked down to pick up the harvested rabbits.

From this end of the warren, I had a clear view down to the dried up stream, but there were no signs of movement. The sun had dropped behind the trees and a cool breeze had started up. I decided to spend the time cleaning the two rabbits, while keeping an eye on the field. Rabbits can appear almost out of thin air and I looked up to see one sixty yards away close to the stream. The breeze was from the east blowing into my face at an angle to the rabbit, which should not affect the 17 grain bullet, but playing safe aimed for the chest area. Boof! The rabbit jumped clear of the ground and lay still.

Three shots and three rabbits for the freezer. A rewarding two hours spent in the fresh air, not in front of the TV. Walking back the light was fading fast and clumps of grass were imitating rabbits, one actually was one, but was gone before I could unsling the rifle.


Magtech 7002 semi auto .22 ready for the season at the warren

February 27, 2022 at 1:13 pm

After a winter of storms and frosts, I took the Magtech 7002 semi auto .22 to check out the warren this week. My last visit in November was after an attempt to fill in the burrows and flatten the land with a heavy tractor, the deep burrows making the land dangerous for grazing animals.

Passing through the gate I could see movement in the distance. It was rabbits chasing around well out of range of the Magtech and I kicked myself for leaving the CZ452 HMR in the gun cabinet. The CZ is a heavyweight compared with the Magtech, which is the ideal rifle for walking round, but with no cover, the rabbits were making themselves scarce once I came into view. The name of the game today was to reconnoitre the warren for new burrows and I did not have to walk far to discover the first of several.

This one even had very recent footprints exiting and entering the new burrow. Twenty yards further on there was another. The rabbits had been busy.

From this vantage point, I could see rabbits moving from the high ground of the warren, to the tree lined ditch further down the field. Once again well in range of the CZ HMR, but the Magtech was set on a 30 yard zero for shooting around the farm buildings.

I decided to set up a target to reset the Magtech zero to 50 yards, which would give me a better chance on the warren today. I walked to the far end of the field, which is bordered by a hedge line and set up a paper target fifty yards away, walking back to the rifle which I rested on my shooting bag for prone shots. A group of three covered a 25 mm diameter 50 mm below the bull, demonstrating the drop over the extra 20 yards of the 42 grain Winchester .22 subsonic bullet. I adjusted the scope turret, until a five shot group was placed around the bull, good enough to cleanly dispatch a rabbit at that range.

While lying there reloading the ten shot magazine, a rabbit popped up twenty yards to the left of the target and I quickly fitted the ten shot magazine back into the rifle, flicking the lever back to shift a bullet into the breech. The rabbit  trotted a few yards, then sat up. The cross hairs were on and I aimed for the upper chest, squeezing the trigger and feeling the recoil, as the rabbit backflipped and lay still. Got it! A clean dispatch at sixty yards.

Rabbit casserole this week.

No more came out and I walked back to the centre of the warren, with an oak tree behind me to break up my outline on the horizon. With the Magtech on my shooting tripod, I could cover much of the warren and waited for something to show.

Apart from a couple of rabbits along the far tree line, nothing stirred  and soon the cold north wind persuaded me to call it a day. Next time I will bring the HMR on a warmer afternoon. Even rabbits don’t like the cold.

Weihrauch HW100T .22 versus rabbits in the veggie patch

August 7, 2021 at 1:13 pm

Over the last couple of years my brother in law has been troubled by rabbits feeding on his garden vegetables, while I have been happy to keep down their numbers with my air rifle. He has had no problems this year, as his veggie patch now resembles Fort Knox, with netting and wire mesh keeping them safe from the bunnies.

For years Neale has been providing his next door neighbour Dianne with surplus produce, but this year she has ambitiously planted up an area at the bottom of her garden with lettuces, runner beans, chard and courgettes (zucchini). Dianne was dismayed to find the chard and lettuces were being cropped to the ground. Thinking that it was wood pigeons, she spoke to Neale, who provided netting to put over them, but he was quick to point out the tell tale droppings scattered around. Rabbits. Like Neale’s, Dianne’s garden backs onto a wood, the source of his rabbit problem. Once the courgettes began to disappear, along with a complete plant, it was time to give me a call, although with flowers and shrubs obscuring the vegetables, Dianne had not witnessed any rabbits, just the evidence.

I arrived later on a dull evening. It had rained heavily earlier, rabbits don’t like the rain, their fur is not water proof and I doubted whether they would be out. I had brought my Weihrauch HW100T as it had a full charge of compressed air, the .22 air rifle deadly on rabbits out to 30 yards. Unlike Neale’s garden, there is no clear line of sight down it and setting up my tripod in the cover of a laurel, I sat down to wait for movement coming down the path from the wood. Nothing appeared.

A cup of tea and a piece of cake later, I was fearing more rain from a threatening  black cloud and considering my options, when I looked back to see a big rabbit by the raised beds. Where did that come from? It took seconds to place the rifle in the V, but the rabbit had moved from view. More movement. There were two of them, one a juvenile in full view, but just an angle on head shot for the adult. Ping! The silencer is so efficient, but the Thwack from the 16 grain pellet hitting the adult’s skull panicked the juvenile into action, while the deadly accurate Weihrauch slumped the large rabbit forward.

Another adult rabbit jumped down from the courgette bed. Was this the one that I had seen earlier? How many were there? I had expected them to come down the path from the wood, but they had a safer way in. I could see movement through the runner beans and waited before creeping forward for a clear shot around the side. They saw me first and were gone through the bushes. I picked up the rabbit and carried it up to Dianne at the house. “Good shot!” she exclaimed, “Got anymore?” I shook my head.

Where had they got in? We went back to the gate and the wire fence, finding a scrape hidden by ivy. This was the way in. Neale still had some two inch square mesh and we spent the rest of the evening plugging the gaps. That should stop them for the time being.



CZ 452 HMR Varmint and Magtech 7002 .22 semi auto share the rabbits

July 27, 2021 at 3:35 pm

A call from one of my landowners, that rabbits were taking over her paddock again, saw me make an early evening  visit this week, armed with my .22 Magtech 7002 semi auto and the CZ452 HMR Varmint rifles. She had said that her son had counted 13 out there that afternoon and decided that it was time for another cull.

I have history with this paddock. Several years ago the whole farm was overrun with rabbits and from this paddock alone I had shot 14 on my first visit, starting off close in with the Magtech, then taking over with the HMR to mop up the stragglers that made it to the far fence. Further visits had decimated the rabbit population, allowing the grass to grow and livestock to fatten up in the area. Then a thriving warren existed thirty to fifty yards out from the fence, running back to the righthand hedge row, but today that warren is just a few burrows.

A couple of trips back to the van and I was ready. Knowing that I had the garden fence to contend with, I brought my Fiery Deer Gen 3 tripod to give a rock steady gun mount, the fence not the ideal shooting platform in the past. There were no rabbits visible when I arrived, but I did not have to wait long, as a rabbit emerged from it’s burrow just forty yards away. Picking up the Magtech, I worked the bolt to load a Winchester 42 grain subsonic into the breech, settled the rifle into the tripod V, sighted and fired, knocking the rabbit down.

The thud as the bullet struck home, brought a reaction from further down the field and white tails flashed, with their owners rushing headlong to the safety of the nettles a hundred yards away opposite me. Picking up the HMR, a Hornady 17 grain ballistic tipped bullet was shifted into the chamber and the heavy rifle rested on the tripod. Scanning the far side a large doe was sitting up reviewing the situation. At x12 magnification I went for a head shot and the rabbit did a backflip. Two down. Swinging the rifle round to the right a few yards, a head was just visible in the grass and sighting behind the eye, I squeezed off another shot. Spot on! The rabbit clawed the air and sank from view into the grass. Three.

Ten yards to the left another rabbit was making tracks for the nettles and I followed it on the tripod waiting for the bunny to stop. What the!!! Several sheep ran into the line of fire. Where did they come from? Kirsty had said nothing about sheep in the field. They had been startled by the crack of the HMR, but were now grazing contentedly in front of me. I rang her. Full of apologies, she explained that they had some rare breed sheep penned at the far end a few hundred yards away, that were free to roam the paddock and did not expect them to be a problem. While the sheep were rounded up with the aid of a rattled bag of pellets, I stepped out to retrieve the closest rabbit, seeing that it was in perfect health.

The entertaining interlude had put the rabbits down for now and I switched to full magazines and topped up the used ones while I waited.

A pair of rabbits appeared together at the nettles and jumped out into the paddock, trotting round before stopping to feed. Sighting on the nearest, it fell to the HMR, but the other one was spooked and leapt back into cover. Oh well, I had hoped for more than four and decided to give the session another ten minutes, when on time another rabbit cautiously came out alongside the pig enclosure, the head on shot throwing it backwards. Five.

I waited another 15 minutes, but nothing came out. Taking my ammo bag and the lightweight Magtech, just in case, I walked out into the paddock to bag up my harvest. Half way across it was Sod’s Law that another rabbit came out and decided to stare me down. Too far for a shot to hand, I needed to shoot prone resting on the ammo bag. With nettles and thistles under foot, I side stepped into a clearer section of grass and lay down, expecting the rabbit to be gone, but no, it was still there sitting upright. At least 50 yards away, these are the best shots for a .22, as aiming at the head, the bullet will drop down into a vital part of the chest. Pop! The rabbit jumped and fell. Number 6. With a decent silencer, a .22 subsonic round is quiet compared to the supersonic .17 HMR, the crack being the sound of the bullet after it leaves the barrel.

Walking back to the gate, Kirsty was waiting. “How many did you get?” “Six” “Oh, I thought that you would have had more” “I would have if it hadn’t been for the sheep!”

“Don’t worry, I’ll be back.”



Fiery Deer Gen3 Tripod Review rabbit stakeout with the CZ452 Varmint HMR

June 15, 2021 at 12:55 pm

A cold wet spring, followed by high temperatures, has seen a spurt in undergrowth this year, no less on a rabbit warren, that I have been trying to clear for the land owners. Evening visits had become less productive as the grass grew and I opted to buy a Fiery Deer Tripod to allow me to spot and shoot rabbits over the top of the vegetation from a kneeling position.

A week later and it was even worse, but standing instead of kneeling still allowed clear shots.

Next to this field is one currently grazed by horses, which have cropped the grass and this week I decided to concentrate on the rabbits in that field until this one is cut. I was not the only one looking out for rabbits, a fox was sitting out waiting for movement, allowing me to walk up to take a photo, only running off when I pushed my luck too far. Yes, I could have shot it, but he is doing my job for me, catching rabbits.

Further along there is a dead tree, which I used to use as a base in pre covid days and I set up my tripod there and waited.

I moved the tripod forward so that I could sit on the tree, adjusting the height in seconds due to the trigger mechanism. The CZ452 Varmint hanging safely on the rubberised V mount by it’s Harris bipod. What a contrast between the two fields.

The Fiery Deer Tripod has obviously been designed with the deer stalker in mind, but it is perfect for smaller game, such as rabbits and rats. When not in use the light weight allows it to be used as a walking aid over rough ground. On this warren the nettles and grass now cover the many burrows, but the tripod can be used to test the ground ahead.

The legs are held in a clip at the base of tripod, one permanently fixed to a leg, while the other two are free to be released and swung out to steady the tripod on its rubber feet. There is a more expensive, near identical tripod on the market, without the clipped legs, the other having a lanyard and plastic feet, instead of rubber, which in my book make the Fiery Deer a better buy. A friend, who has the more expensive tripod, has to look down to free the lanyard, while the plastic feet slide on concrete, when shooting rats in a barn.

The comfortable rubber hand grip has a trigger, which can be unlocked by releasing a catch on the side, which then allows the legs to release and the V rest to be adjusted to the desired height.

The trigger and dual catch, which is both sides of the trigger, are shown here, flip up to release and down to lock. The V rest rotates through 360 degrees for panning shots. I was amazed at how rapidly the tripod can be deployed, giving an immediate solid base to shoot from.

Unscrew the V rest and choice of two camera mounts are available, a 3/8 inch by 16 TPI thread, sitting over one of 1/4 inch by 20 TPI. Clever.

Well engineered, the tripod head pulls out of the legs from one metre, ideal as a hunting/walking staff, to 1.8 metres, just right for taking a shot while standing, the leg spread is also variable and adjustable to suit any ground, or slope, just mount the rifle, release the ambidextrous catch and trigger with your free hand, position the rifle at the chosen height, release the trigger to hold the position and lock with the finger catch. This takes a lot longer to explain, than do.

It wasn’t long before a pair of rabbits broke from the cover of the long grass opposite, chasing around, before disappearing back to where they came from 80 yards away. Another ten minutes later they were out again, stopping to feed. The HMR was already on the V mount and the rabbits in the cross hairs. A quick working of the rifle bolt and they were ready to collect.

CZ452 Varmint .17 HMR back at the rabbit warren

May 13, 2021 at 6:51 pm

Making my third visit to a local farm in a week, my tally was at seven rabbits and the population of a massive warren were already showing signs of getting skittish, diving for cover as I approached, some running down to a ditch lined with willow at the end of the field. I decided to bide my time waiting from a vantage point in the cover of the warren to see if anything would venture out.

The evening sun was low over the field and the wind was from right to left, not ideal for the HMR with its lightweight 17 grain bullet, but there were no targets yet. A slight movement got my attention, the scope picking out a pair of ears behind undergrowth, stopping, disappearing, then reappearing further along. I could have chanced a shot to where the rabbit’s head should be, but wanted a clear shot. It hopped out into long grass raising it’s head and I aimed at the snout, allowing for the wind and squeezed the trigger. Crack! The report from the rifle echoed back as the rabbit stood up clawing the air, then dropped out of sight. I was sure that I had killed it, but settled back, working the bolt to clear the chamber and pushing it forward to load another bullet from the magazine, picking up the ejected brass case and putting it in my pocket.

Another 15 minutes and there was more movement. A pair of rabbits emerged from beneath the willow ahead and began trotting back toward the warren. Aiming for the one on the left, I let it run into the crosshairs and fired, tumbling it. The second rabbit swerved away and I snatched a shot, but missed. Working the bolt, I fired again, the rabbit crouching as the bullet passed close by, then speeding to safety further down the warren.

With no action ahead among the willows, I got up and walked forward to look for the first rabbit, finding that I had shot it through the back of the head side on, the wind having blown the bullet four inches to the left. The second rabbit had no apparent wounds. I carried them back and began taking the loins and back legs, while scouting down to the far end of the warren for movement. I spotted a rabbit close to the end of the warren, but could not see it through the scope due to the nettles and grass, waiting for it to move into a clearer area, but in got lost amongst the greenery.

The CZ Varmint hangs on the tripod V, conveniently ready for a shot.

The odd head popped up gopher style, but they were not visible through the prone scope. I had my new shooting tripod with me and lowered it with the legs out to a comfortable kneeling position and scoped the area. From the extra height I could now see the original rabbit and two others moving about and feeding. I fitted a full five shot magazine and adjusted the scope parallax to 130 yards on 12 magnification. There was still a slight breeze in my face and I aimed at the narrow rear outline of one sitting up, holding the tripod grip for stability, but then another rabbit moved close to it side on and I aimed high on its chest, breathing out and squeezing the trigger. It slumped forward. At that range with the breeze, there would have been no crack from the bullet and the other two continued about their business. I was pleased with the shot and scoped round to the one on the right sitting up. I fired and missed, and it moved forward a yard by which time I had reloaded. Aiming between the ears again it dropped into the long grass around the burrow. I now swung round to the third, but it had made a quick exit down a hole.

After another ten minutes, I picked my way carefully through the maze of burrows down to the target area and found the still warm bunnies, a buck and a pregnant doe.

The light was now going and I still had a trek back to the van, bagging up these two, thankful that I had cleaned and quartered the other pair, reducing the weight to carry. With rain forecast for most of next week, I’ll rest the warren before I hit it again.

CZ452 Varmint HMR begins post Covid catch up

May 6, 2021 at 10:26 am

Covid restrictions meant only a few visits to most of my shooting permissions last year, and now into May it is time to begin catching up on lost time. One of my first targets of the year has always been to clear a large warren of  rabbits, before the farmer puts out his cattle to graze. My time limit is the end of April, when he runs over the area with a small excavator filling in the burrows, but unfortunately his untimely death has meant all at the farm was on hold for months. His daughter has now taken over and called me in to do what I can to clear the rabbits, which have multiplied unchecked, digging fresh burrows deep enough to snap a cow, or horse’s leg.

Heading north toward the farm, I could see a massive black cloud creeping over the land in my direction, driven by a bitterly cold wind. I was quick to unload my gear, climbing a pair of gates before I could reach the field, the warren sitting in the middle surrounded by stinging nettles.

This is just a snapshot of the area, 50 yards by 300 yards long, with some interlinked burrows having collapsed leaving 3 foot deep craters. As I approached a rabbit emerged from the ground, ran ten yards and stopped when it saw me. It was about 60 yards away, an easy shot with the HMR normally, but a gusting side wind was blowing the rifle off target on the bi-pod sticks and even a body shot missed. I could see heavy rain advancing across the adjacent field in my direction and just made the lee side of an oak in time.

I stood and watched a rainbow glow in the sky, before it faded when the rain eased, using my time to scan the area with the scope. Rabbits don’t like rain, or cold winds and I had both in Spades. There was nothing about until the wind dropped and the low evening sun came out. A head appeared, then ducked down, another bounded like a gazelle from one burrow, then ran a 100 yards to disappear again.

I decided to invest my time on a raised area of burrows, with a clear view down the bottom half of the warren, having caught sight of movement among the nettles. Extending the legs on the HMR’s Harris bipod, I got myself comfortable, pulling up the hood of my jacket over my cap to keep out the still gusting wind plucking at my body. The movement was increasing, with flashes of fur, or twitching ears, but nothing worth a shot. Increasing my scope to 12 magnification, I saw that a rabbit had left the sanctuary of the nettles to feed on the nearby grass. The rifle was already in my shoulder, the cross hairs were on and the rabbit jumped clear of the ground as the .17 ” bullet struck home. One down. With the wind almost directly behind, the shot was spot on.

15 minutes later a pair ran out of cover close to the first about 130 yards away and I easily tracked them through the scope, but they would not stop trotting around. One of them turned back to cover. It was now or never, taking the shot as it turned toward me. Number two crumpled.

The other rabbit turned to join it’s friend, pausing to sniff the air, the impact causing it to jump clear of the ground. I waited for twenty minutes, but there were no more positive shots and I went down to collect my prizes, scattering another unseen pair as I concentrated on my footing, burrows being everywhere.

Walking back, another black cloud was beginning to block out the sun. I had intended staying until dusk, but more rain was in the air and I bagged up the rifle, making my way back to the van, only to see a sitter in my path, but maybe next time.

Th following day the rabbits were quartered to two loin backstraps and a pair of back legs each, ready to join the freezer as bunny burgers.

Chopped red onion, apricots and garlic were placed in a pan and lightly browned, then added to the minced rabbit, chorizo and pork lardons, liberally dusted with mixed herbs and a couple of tablespoons of Worcester Sauce. A couple of  slices of ground seeded brown bread with a beaten egg to bind and I was ready to fold it all together. The last job was to get out the burger press, laying out 14 on trays for overnight freezing.

The best part of rabbit pest control. Tasty food. Click on the Recipes page of this blog for more.





Rustic pigeon pie

December 4, 2020 at 1:31 pm

Having been gifted a brace of fresh wood pigeons, I knew what I wanted to do with them, make a pie. The meat is dark and rich in flavour, having the texture of beef when cooked, benefiting from the addition of a beef stock cube to complement the flavour. This pie is ideal for using up any vegetables in the kitchen and is ready for the oven in under an hour.

Not pretty , but very tasty.

Removing the breast meat

Removing the breast from the pigeon is quick and easy, only requiring a sharp knife, a bowl of water and kitchen towel. A bowl of water? Pigeon breast feathers are soft and sticky, the water being handy to dip your fingers and knife into, cleaning your fingers on the towel, while separating the meat from the breast bone. Stage 1, cut, or twist the wings off and lay on it’s back. Stage 2, pluck a few feathers from the crown of the breast to expose the skin. This is where the bowl of water comes in handy to unstick the feathers. The exposed skin is very soft and can be peeled away on either side, revealing the meat, while saving the mess of plucking the whole breast. Stage 3, take your knife and follow the line of the breast bone each side, allowing the bone to guide the blade, front and back, until each half is released and able to be lifted out. If doing this in the field, grass is a convenient cleaning cloth! The rest of the pigeon can be bagged and discarded.

The above ingredients is enough for two pies.


4 halves of pigeon breast

2 small potatoes – diced

1 carrot – diced

1 medium onion – chopped

2 sticks celery – chopped

4 mushrooms – peeled and chopped

100 grams pork lardons or fatty bacon

1 TBS of cooking oil

1 beef stock cube

1 TBS of flour

1 pack of ready made short crust pastry


Tenderise the breasts. I use a steak mallet. This also flattens out the meat, allowing it to be diced into 20 mm cubes. Put to one side.

Put the diced potato and carrot into a small saucepan and par boil on a gentle heat. When easily pierced with a knife, remove from the heat and drain off into a cup, breaking up the stock cube and stirring in to make a stock.

While waiting for the diced vegetables to boil, using a large frying pan, add the oil and brown off the onions until transparent, add the celery along with the lardons, stirring until lightly browned. Being fat free, the pigeon will cook better in the pork fat. Now add the pigeon to the mix,  turning over and lightly browning the meat, not too much, or it will toughen. Now add the diced vegetables, the mushrooms and the stock, bringing to a boil, while stirring in the flour to thicken the stock.  Leave to cool.

In the past I made pastry the way mother used to, a pinch of salt, self raising flour and butter rubbed gently between the fingers in a bowl, until a crumbly mix was formed, then milk added sparingly, while working the dough into a dry ball. Cover and leave in the fridge to cool for 30 minutes. This helps the fat in the pastry to cool, for rolling. Works every time.

With a Tesco supermarket just around the corner however, it was convenient to buy some ready made short crust pastry, as I wanted to enjoy the fruits of my labour that evening for dinner, while the other was put in the freezer for another day.


CZ 452 Varmint .17 HMR bolt stripdown and Lockdown maintenence.

May 25, 2020 at 12:19 am

The easing of the UK Lockdown for fieldsports, including fishing and shooting, took most of us by surprise, at least expecting limited mileages to be maintained, putting a block on many activities, but no, we are free to roam and able follow our sporting passions without the fear of a fine from the authorities.

Assuming that I still had a week or two to get round to my final rifle in the Lockdown maintenence series, I had left my CZ 452, 16 inch barreled Varmint .17 HMR rifle until last, but a phone call from one of my farmers to say that he was cutting the spring growth of grass around a large rabbit warren this week, soon had me changing my plans.

The Varmint is a heavy rifle due to it’s barrel, which tapers up from 16 mm up to 26 mm, the purpose being to absorb the heat generated from the tiny 0.17 inch plastic tipped magnum round, which produces 245 ft lb of energy and a velocity of 2,550 feet per second at the muzzle. At a hundred yards, the 17 grain bullet still carries 137 ft lb of energy with a velocity of 1,755 FPS, being dead on accurate at this range. Firing from the bipod on a windless evening, I once decimated a rabbit warren at ranges varying from 90 to 140 yards, taking over twenty bunnies in ten minutes, the two, five shot magazines needing to be reloaded at intervals being the only limiting factor. My rifle above, equipped with a Hawke 40 x 4-12 parallax scope, Harris HB25CS bipod, extending from 13.5 inches to 27 inches and the Swift silencer, bring the overall weight up to 9.6 lbs, a bit of a lump to carry around the fields, but the weight also gives stability for those extra long shots well beyond a hundred yards.

The main job today was to dismantle the rifle bolt, basically the engine of this extremely reliable weapon.

In line for carbon blowback, when each bullet is fired, carbon builds up around the firing pin and more importantly the ejection claws. The bolt slides forward and is locked in the breech by a cam action, when the arm is pushed forward and down. Lifting the bolt arm activates the cam that unlocks the bolt, allowing it to be drawn backward over the top of the spring loaded magazine. Pushing the arm forward again causes the bolt to push a bullet forward into the breech, pushing the arm down activates the cam lock, pulling back the firing pin, while the spring loaded claws in the bolt are then forced over the rear of the bullet, clamping over the rim. When the trigger is pulled, the firing pin strikes the side of the bullet rim, igniting the powder and sending the bullet on its way. The bolt absorbs the full reactive force of the bullet. When the bolt is raised and drawn back, the empty case is pulled from the breech by the claws. The right hand claw has a sharp gripping edge, while the left hand claw has a radiused edge, which tilts the case to the right as it is drawn back, the effect of both spring loaded claws being to eject the case out of the gap between the bolt and the breech. Considering that this all takes place in parts of a second, it is important that the bolt mechanism is kept clean and oiled.

To gain access to the firing pin for cleaning, the bolt is removed and the bolt arm rotated to ease the cam on the spring loaded firing pin. The thumb lever shown is held in position by the force of the firing pin spring, a pin on the lever passing through the bolt. To remove the thumb lever, the black hardened button has to be pushed in against the force of the spring and the thumb lever pin pulled out through the the hole.

To ease the spring, I use a 1/4 inch pin punch with a shrader valve dust cap fitted over the end. This allows a better grip than metal to metal contact. I have the scars to prove it. The punch is held firmly in a vice, the bolt is gripped in the left hand, while the button is located over the dust cap and forced downward. As the button is forced upward, the thumb lever becomes loose and can be pulled away by the right hand. Care must be taken to ease the pressure on the button once the thumb lever is removed, gently releasing the firing pin and it’s spring to avoid parts being scattered.

These are the parts that make up the firing pin mechanism, all held in by the thumb lever pin.

At the other end of the bolt are the case ejector claws. These fit into holes in the sides of the bolt and are held in place by a C clip. The clip is easily levered out of position using a small instrument screwdriver.

I sprayed WD40 into all the holes and surfaces of the bolt parts, the residue clearly visible in the container. Each part was individually cleaned and wiped down with absorbent kitchen towel. The container was emptied and cleaned, before the parts were sprayed by WD40 again and left to drain.

Reassembly is the reverse of the strip down. Care must be taken to fit the sharp ejector claw on the right hand side of the bolt, as fitted to the rifle, the rounded claw on the left. See the image below.

Although WD40 has lubricating properties, all parts of the bolt were sprayed with Bisley Gun Oil on assembly. While the bolt was out of the rifle, I lubricated the front wire brush end of my .17 HMR Boresnake and dropped the brass weight through the bore from the breech. Once through, I turned the rifle round to face me, pulling the cord and and the cleaning brushes through in one stroke, avoiding putting pressure on the crown at the muzzle. Without oiling the brushes, I pulled the Boresnake through again for good measure.

With the bolt and a full magazine fitted, I checked that the bullets were loading and that the ejectors were working perfectly. The Swift silencer was screwed back on and the rifle is ready for another busy season.

Magtech 7022 (Mossberg 702) .22 semi auto rimfire rifle Lockdown maintenance

May 10, 2020 at 1:22 pm

With the UK Government getting ready to ease the Covid-19 Lockdown, I took the Magtech 7022 .22 semi auto out of the gun safe this week for a preseason check. This rugged composite stocked rimfire rifle has served me well since I bought it brand new a dozen or so years ago.

Removing these two cross head screws allows the plastic stock to pull away, exposing two 5 mm pins, that hold the trigger mechanism in place. Pushing these through allows the complete trigger assembly to pull out. Looking inside to the underside of the receiver, the spring loaded bolt, which slides on a guide pin, backed by a nylon buffer can be seen. It is a very simple assembly, which can be pulled out with your fingers, without special tools in the field if necessary. I have done it several times to clean out the carbon blown back, when the spent bullet casings are ejected, but only on my workshop bench. I decided not to attempt it on this occasion, as the bolt and trigger are working perfectly, since my last full strip a year ago.

These images were taken straight from the Mossberg 702 Plinkster Manual, which gives a full, image led description of the strip down and rebuild of the rifle. The Mossberg is a straight copy of the CBC Magtech 7022 and parts are still available.

The bolt can be held back by pushing the cocking lever in, when in the fully open position. This allows gun oil to be sprayed inside for lubrication. Holding the rifle vertical helps the oil to travel back to the spring and trigger sear. To ease the bolt, pulling the cocking lever back releases it again to slide forward into the ready to fire position.

In this position, the rifle is ready to start the firing cycle. With a loaded magazine in place, the cocking lever is pulled back to the most rearward position, cocking the action; the bolt is allowed to spring forward, collecting a bullet from the magazine and pushing it into the barrel. The trigger is pulled and the hammer released to strike the firing pin within the bolt, the pin hitting the rim of the cartridge to ignite the powder, forcing the bullet out of the barrel and blowing the cartridge back, forcing the bolt to overcome the spring pressure, as it does, the cartridge case glances against the slanted ejector plate and exits the now open receiver, the bolt continuing back to recock the rifle. The cycle continues with another bullet being collected as the bolt springs forward again, pulling the trigger firing the rifle, etc, until no bullets are left in the magazine, the red magazine follower now holding the bolt open. The bolt lever should again be pulled back and pushed in to hold the bolt open, before the angled button behind the magazine and ahead of the trigger is pushed forward to release the magazine.

I was informed by one of my readers recently that he bought a pair of Mossberg 702 magazines for his Magtech 7022 and they did not fit properly. When I bought my Magtech, it came with the magazine on the left and later bought two more pattern ones, those on the right. As you can see, the left hand magazine has a larger locating lug in the top left than those on the right. The original is a firmer fit than the other two, but all cycle bullets perfectly. I have seen images of Mossberg magazines and they all have a large lug similar to the original Magtech. Any comments would be welcome regarding these magazines to pass on to other owners. By the way, I did not spill my nail varnish accidentally on the left hand magazine, I used some of my wife’s to mark which one carries the high velocity bullets, the others carrying Winchester 42 grain subsonic rounds.

This shows the other side of the magazines, those on the right being a weaker design with one long slot at the rear, while the original has three slots.

One important bit of maintenance on the magazines, is to slide the bottom plate forward to give access to the inside for cleaning. The spring is an elongated shape to give an even pressure on the follower and I have never removed the spring before, as it could prove difficult to get back in, while attempting to slide the bottom plate across. Partly open, it allows carb cleaner to be blasted up inside to remove any bits of grit, that may have found its way in, stopping the smooth action of the magazine. The magazine should not be oiled for this reason, allowing grit to collect. This view shows high velocity Remington Yellow Jacket bullets, which extend the range on the same scope setting by twenty yards.

Over the years I have done a few improvements to the Magtech 7022. In its brand new state, the trigger was gravelly in feel, which I refined by removing the trigger mechanism and applying valve grinding paste to the sliding parts, spending hours working the trigger, while watching TV, until it felt smooth to operate. A thorough a blast through with carb cleaner, WD40, then Bisley aerosol oil, left me with a consistent pull of the trigger.

Another modification that I did, was to relieve the plastic stock around the barrel, as on hot days the plastic would soften, allowing it to rest against the barrel enough to cause a miss. Having fitted a bipod, this had been magnified, when swinging round to follow a rabbit, the stock would push against the stock. Filing a good clearance around the barrel stopped this from happening. Today a stiff card can be passed between the stock and the barrel.

I found that the rifle butt tended to slide against my hunting jacket, when taking a standing shot, so I glued a strip of soft neoprene to the butt, which cured the problem. Looking at this image, it is about time that I renewed the neoprene.

Due to the light weight of the Magtech, being only about 5 lb with the scope, I found that it often suffered from trigger twitch, when taking a standing snap shot in wooded areas at moving rabbits. Fitting a Jack Pyke tactical sling, when adjusted to the exact length, gave a very firm, steady aim on moving rabbits and spot on shots at static ones that appeared in front of me. This involved drilling the butt and stock to suit the coarse thread of the sling mounts, having measured the sling mount positions from my CZ452 HMR rifle.

Although a very cheap rifle to buy, the Magtech 7022 and the later edition of the Mossberg 702 Plinkster, the Plinkster title not doing it justice, this is an extremely accurate and reliable hunting rifle, which has put hundreds of rabbits on the table.