"Rimfire Race Guns" - An Excerpt (Draft)
I've been thinking for some time about writing a book to document all the stuff I've come across and figured out to make the rimfire pistols run reliably for competition. Between keeping my own stuff working, my friend's stuff working, and developing various improvements for an assortment of .22 pistols, I've got a fair amount of stuff to put into a book. Some of the things I've already shared in previous blog posts, but a lot of things haven't found their way to the blog at all. A little research shows that there isn't too much out there as to books along these lines.
Here's a draft from the first part of the book, sort of setting up the premise for the rest of it:
"Sure, I enjoy doing a little plinking with my .22 pistol, but I'm not really interested in competing with it. I just shoot for the fun of it. Why do I need to know about making it into a race gun, whatever that is?"
Actually, the requirements of a good rimfire race gun and a good plinker are just about the same. What exactly is a rimfire race gun? A rimfire race gun can be just about any .22 caliber pistol that has been modified, or "tuned" for use in shooting competition where accuracy is important, but the amount of time it takes for you to make the required number of shots determines winning or losing.
Head-to-head matches, such as falling plates or bowling pin matches would be an example, as whoever shoots his plates or bowling pins first wins. Other good examples are Steel Challenge, and a number of other similar steel matches, generically referred to as "Fun Steel" matches, where typically five steel targets are shot against the clock. Usually each shooter will shoot the five steel targets, often referred to as plates, five times, and the slowest time is thrown out. Steel matches will usually have from five to ten sets of targets set up, called "Stages", and each shooter will shoot every one of the stages five times. The shooter's final score is the total of the four best times from each of the stages for the day.
So what makes a good rimfire race gun? First, it has to shoot reliably, as the saying goes, "The gun has to run!" The time lost clearing a jam, misfire, stovepipe, or misfeed can ruin your scores for the day. For the casual shooter, clearing and resolving gun problems are just a pain in the neck, but it's no fun at all tinkering with the gun all day instead of spending your time shooting. The first requirement, and possibly the most important, is that the gun has to feed, cycle, and shoot all day long without having to tinker with it.
The next most important requirement for a rimfire race gun is that it has to be accurate. How accurate is accurate? There's no simple answer to this, but all the accuracy you can get without diminishing your pistol's reliability or totally demolishing your wallet is a practical goal to achieve. Most production rimfire pistols are more accurate than most shooters anyway, so accuracy isn't usually much of a problem.
Part of the fun of shooting comes from actually hitting what you are shooting at. Assuming you have decent fundamental shooting skills, one area which can make a huge difference is the type of sights you fit to the pistol. The traditional "Notch and Post" type of sights work well if your eyesight is reasonably good, but as we age our eyesight degrades, and eventually it becomes very difficult to use these types of sights. Fortunately for those of us in the latter category, some clever folks came up with a type of sight called a "Red Dot" sight. The red dot sights not only allow us older shooters to shoot with accuracy, they also have proved to be so much faster at target acquisition that in matches they are usually put into a class by themselves.
Finally, a good rimfire race gun should be comfortable in your hand and easy for you to shoot. Properly set up it should become, at least with practice, almost an extension of your hand. The angle of the grip, they size and shape of the grip, the slide release, and the other controls should be easy for you to work. The trigger should be smooth and predictable. The right pistol for a shooter with large hands may be completely different from what would be comfortable for a small-handed shooter. A person with small hands may have trouble pulling the slide back to cock the hammer. Sometimes something a little easier to grab, like a "Slide Racker" may be the solution.
So a good rimfire plinking pistol should be really reliable, reasonably accurate, and fun and easy to shoot. If you can achieve all of this without breaking the bank, even better.
Sounds just like a rimfire race gun to me!
What do you think? Is this something that there would be a market for? I'm not in the least concerned about being a "Published Author" at all and "Vanity Press" is out of the question, but a publisher who works with subjects and topics like this has expressed serious interest and encouragement. If the feedback is positive from the initial chapters, I may put some serious time into getting it written this Fall and Winter.