September 2008

22 LR Bolt Actions: We Would Buy the Remington Model 514

Accuracy and simple operation were the key factors that gave a used Remington plinker the edge over a similar Marlin Model 25N in a comparison of two 22-caliber beginner rifles.

Getting a greenhorn shooter to take that first step along the path of a seasoned shooter, whether the targets are at the shooting range or running around in a field, often starts with a 22-caliber rifle. Most of us old-timers have fond memories of our first 22-caliber rifle. Bringing home a mess or rabbits or squirrels; punching holes in tin cans; or just trying to shoot the smallest group on paper were all part of our marksmanship learning experience.

Some of us remember that the first scene of the Audie Murphy biographical movie To Hell and Back depicts a young Murphy using a single shot to bag a rabbit for his family dinner. Developing his shooting skills with a 22-caliber rifle proved to be very beneficial marksmanship training for the man who would become the most decorated U.S. solider of World War II.

With a goal of getting our hands on a couple of used rimfires that could fit the requirements for a beginnerís rifle, we checked out the used gun rack at Duryís Gun Shop (www.durysguns.com) and came up with a Remington Model 514 and a Marlin Model 25N, both with price tags of $200.

Although the Remington is a single shot and the Marlin has a seven-round detachable magazine, both rifles feature a basic bolt action loading access to the chamber; both have open sights; and both have been around long enough to have a few fans in the rimfire club.

The Model 514 was introduced in 1948 and was discontinued in 1970, while the Model 25N is a much newer 22-caliber rifle that was introduced in 1989, and was later renamed the Model 925. Remington acquired the Marlin operation in 2007 and continues to manufacture various models of 22-caliber rifles. However, our interest was in "experienced" versions of a beginnerís shooting tool and the two veteran models that would most likely be older than the beginning shooter seemed to be an appropriate match.

To maintain a level playing field, we utilized the open sights featured on both rifles, rather than install better optics preferred by veteran marksmen whose eyesight may not be as good as younger shooters.

To examine the shooting performance of the two 22-caliber rifles, we selected a variety of 22-caliber Long Rifle ammunition. Although the Remington is designed to handle Shorts, Longs, and Long Rifles, we limited our ammunition choices to Long Rifle loads in fairness to the Marlin. Our test ammunition included CCI Standard Velocity; Eley Super Silhouex; and Aguila Super SE Extra, all 40-grain solid bullets; and Punta Hueca 39-grain hollowpoints made in Argentina. The average muzzle velocity of each of the rounds is 1200 fps. Targets used in our test were the Birchwood Casey Shoot-N-C bullís eyes at 25 yards, with all shots taken from a solid bench rest.

Hereís our test report:

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