Magtech 7022 (Mossberg 702) .22 Semi Automatic Rimfire

December 7, 2012 at 8:51 pm

The Magtech 7022, or Mossberg 702 “plinkster” as it is known in the US, was my first rimfire rifle. I’ve seen this rifle for sale in the children’s section of sporting gunshops in the US and sells for well under $100 USD. I paid £100 in the UK for mine, although by the time I’d added a scope and a couple of spare ten bullet magazines with 500 Magtech subsonic hollow points, the price was nearer £200. The rifle is very light, around 4 lb, which has pros and cons. The plastic stock and pistol grip give a confident feel to the little semi auto, but the trigger pull is very long with little feel and I have found myself thinking of the trigger, without concentrating on the target and missing, or due to it’s light weight, pulling to the right. This can all be cured with plenty of target practice, while a shooting stick, or bi-pod help.  I also glued a strip of neoprene rubber to the butt to prevent it slipping against my shoulder.

To improve the feel of the trigger, I removed the trigger assembly by pushing out the two 5 mm pins and pulling it out of the bottom of the rifle.  Looking down from the top with the trigger released, you can see the ground trigger catch plate, part of the bolt hammer. On my rifle this appeared quite coarse and with a thin screw driver, applied a smear of fine valve grinding paste to it, then cocked and released the trigger. The grinding paste is wiped off by it’s mating part, when the trigger catches. I also added paste to the arm that lifts the hammer to release it, this being a rough stamping and adding to the gravelly feeling of the trigger. An hour of constant cock and release (can be done in front of the TV) of this mechanism produced much smoother surfaces on these parts and a noticeable improvement in the feel of the trigger pull. Afterwards I washed the assembly out with white spirit and gave it a good spray with carb cleaner before oiling.

The Magtech subsonics were not ideal in this rifle, probably due to inconsistent loading of the bullet charges. Some would not fire at all, while others were zingers. With a semi auto a good charge is needed, or the firing pin will not be returned fast enough to miss the new unfired bullet entering the chamber, which will then jam the mechanism. These could usually be cleared by  working back and forth with the cocking lever, but sometimes the fresh bullet would bend and need to be prized out with a small screwdriver. Not a safe operation. Despite regular stripping and cleaning, all these problems were solved by switching to Eley subsonics, a much cleaner bullet, that did not leave the same gritty deposits of the Magtech bullets. I did side by side range tests with these bullets at 70 yards, the Magtechs producing an elongated oval top to bottom, showing a variation in power, while the Eley subs gave a more circular shape. At that range the circle was about 30 mm dia with a few outside, possibly down to the shooter. Firing a 40 grain bullet, this is enough to stop any rabbit in it’s tracks, the target area switching from head to chest area, a big target at that range. If you do miss, you’ve got another nine shots to go. 

 A negative feature of the 40 grain subsonic hollow point bullet, with it’s low 1030 ft/sec velocity, is it’s looping trajectory, when shooting at range, rising around two inches at fifty yards to drop into it’s target at 75 yards. I’ve used this to my advantage several times, when long grass obscures all but the twitching ears of a rabbit. A shot aimed into the grass below the ears, will see the bullet rise over the grass initially, before dropping with a smack into it’s head. A bit like using a catapult. A 3 – 9 x 50 scope is fitted to the Magtech and gives a clear image in low light and when hunting in darkness with a lamp for rabbits and foxes. For foxes I have a ten round clip with Remington high velocity Yellow Jacket hollow point cartidges, which I have marked with bright yellow paint for quick, easy identification.

 This rifle decimated a warren that had ruined acres of  land belonging to one of my farmers. The warren was in discarded slabs of tarmac and concrete on council land adjacent to his field, the rabbits passing through the fence onto his land to feast on his crops and dig up roots. The first I saw of it was at twilight and as I entered the field, the ground ahead became a moving mass of grey making for the exit, tumbling over themselves at the fence. I had some success, but the farmer came up with the winning plan. He dumped a long line of composted straw, parallel with the fence  30 yards out, about 4 ft high, which gave me cover when entering the field from the lower end, from where I could pop up and start firing. Point and fire chest shots had a 60% instant success, another clip and more fell, the last clip to finish off. At this time I had two butchers and a couple of pubs to supply, while friends were also filling their freezers. A local resident complained that it sounded like the Wild West. To me it was a one sided OK Coral. That field now has virtually been cleared over the years, what was left of the warren moving on to safer pastures. The economics of that field no longer add up for me, but I return a couple of times a year to mop up survivors, as a good will gesture.