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STORY: Dave Anderson LoNG Live the .22! A A family’s generations with rimfire rifles. round 1918 my grandfather, with help from neighbors, built a big hip-roof barn on the family farm. Grandpa was a highly skilled carpenter. There was no “contractor” involved. He wouldn’t have known what a contractor was. together seamlessly. Nails were driven with hammers, not nail guns, and you’ll look long and hard to find any “owl eyes” around the nail heads. A decade ago, when it came time to reshingle the barn, my wife and I decided to spend the money once and use steel. When the contractor had finished the installation Dave didn’t really plan it this way, but the family’s .22 rifles he said, “That is the cover the gamut of action types and include (left) the Savage straightest building we’ve 1914 pump, acquired by his grandfather around 1920, an ever roofed. We didn’t Anschutz 64 bolt action Dave’s dad gave him in 1965, Browning have to make a single BL-22 lever action bought for Dave’s wife Simone in 1975 and adjustment as we went the Browning semi-automatic bought in 1978 and given by Dave along, and the last sheet to his daughter some years later. lined up as perfectly as the first.” While Grandpa was building his barn, workers at the Savage Arms factory in Utica, N.Y., were making a Model 1914 pump-action .22 rifle. Their skills were different, but their approach was the same. “Do it once — do it right.” It was how they did things back then. The triggerguard, for example, is machined in one piece with the receiver. Both inside and outside surfaces of the guard are gracefully radiused. Why didn’t they just machine it straight and flat? It would have been easier and cheaper. The walnut buttstock is hard, nicely figured, carefully fitted, and with a steel, grooved buttplate. Trigger break is crisp, clean, nearly motionless. Around 1920, my grandfather bought the Savage rifle. In the ’40s he It’s just another barn, not at all unusual for its era, but to take a closer look at the quality of materials and workmanship is to marvel. The rafters are of seasoned fir, straight as a rifle barrel and about as hard. Wood joints (all hand cut, there was no electricity on the farm then) fit Dave bought this Browning BL-22 for his wife in 1975, a couple of years after they were married. The BL-22 is still available from Browning in a variety of models, including a dainty little youth model with 12" length of pull. The BL-22 is one of Dave’s favorite lever-action .22s, along with the great Marlin 39 and the discontinued Winchester 9422. gave it to my father, and in due course Dad gave it to me. Like the barn and house it has been part of the farm for 90 years. It’s been used to shoot rats around the barn and grain bins, ground squirrels in the hay fields, crows, magpies, skunks and weasels trying to steal baby chicks. During the lean years of the ’30s, when the farm was on the brink of foreclosure, it put game meat on the table. It was used when the time came to butcher steers and hogs. 12 W W W. G U N S M A G A Z I N E . C O M • O C T O B E R 2 0 1 2

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