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Old 12-12-2009, 09:54 AM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Leavenworth, Kansas
Posts: 48
Ye olde Mossberg 351CB

Don't know that I posted this one up here yet; I did at the other two forums I (in)frequently visit.

This here is the insta-classic little gem I picked out of the Used rack at our local Cabelas, with a shoddy 4x BSA plastic-tube scope on it, for the princely sum of $119. (Do note that the sling shown did not originally come with the rifle; it's something I had laying around and will probably be replaced with a USGI sling. Also, that's not the crappy BSA scope on it; it's the 3-6x Weaver V-22A that was originally on my Romanian M-69. Which is an outstanding scope, by the way.)

And here is the original, 15-round target, shot just after getting the Weaver zeroed on this dandy thing. This is a 25-yard target, shooting Federal red-box 36-grain CPHP bulk-pack junk, shot kneeling braced against the bench with the Weaver on 6x.

Not even a week later, I was back out at the range, this time at the 50-yard line, checking to make sure that I had (relatively) the same zero on the scope, after I had to pull it off to mess with the irons. 50 yards, kneeling, braced off the bench. 40-grain CPHP CCI Mini-Mags. Oddly enough, after having shot 200 Mini-Mags through this rifle, I've found that it seems to shoot better groups with the crappy bulk-pack ammo.

Another 50-yard target, again the CCI Mini-Mags, and again, Kneeling supported by the bench, at 6x.

And finally, the big surprise of the day, 15 rounds shot prone supported (Don't know why I put unsupported on my target; think I confused this target with the actual unsupported target I shot with Mini-Mags.) off a .50-cal ammo can, sitting on top of my spotting scope's hard case, with two full 50-round 9x19mm cardboard boxes to make up the rest of the height. Not the best rest by far. 36-grain Federal red-box CPHP's (the same red box that the very first target was shot with).

I had it out one other time since then, at 100 yards, but didn't actually manage to hit my targets even one time, although I use the excuse that at the time it was in fact spitting rain/snow, was right around 33 degrees out, and there was a 10-15mph gusting cross-wind on the 100 yard range. I forgave little Mary Beth for not hitting the target, as even my SKS had trouble keeping it together at 100.

Considering that when I went into the Cabelas, the original intent was to pick up a NIB Ruger 10/22, which they had advertised for something like $230, and I got out of there with this classy thing for under $200 (considering there was a box of Federal Champion .22lr's, a box of Golden Sabers for the Ruger P89, and two bottles of Hoppe's #9 because I was starting to get a little low), I think I did pretty well. It certainly shoots a heck of a lot better than I'd have given it credit for, especially considering I feed it the cheapest, crap ammo I can get my hands on. I'm seriously tempted to pick up a box or two of "Match" .22lr's just to see what she can really do.

The only two problems I'm having/have had with her, are her seemingly incurable problem of jamming up on the last round in the tube, and when the little knob-thing on the end of the magazine plunger broke off. I'm begining to suspect that the jams are in fact caused by my use of HP ammo, and the compression of having the magazine plunger's spring fully-compressed pushing it forward is deforming the tip of the round, such that it hangs up almost without fail on the last round of every tube, until you've put about 300 or so rounds through it without cleaning or lube, at which point it becomes an infrequent issue. My guess being that the crud just builds up at the end of the tube and makes it easier for the deformed rounds to get sprung up into the action.

The other problem, the broken knob, was a pain in the butt at the time; I had to rotate the plunger with my trusty Leatherman, which sort of killed the fun. We (Dad and I) fixed that problem by drifting the pin out of the brass tube which holds the plunger & spring in, removing the broken part of the (plastic) knob, then finding a suitably sized old bolt out of a bucket of salvaged car bolts. $5 and a trip to the hardware store later, we had the appropriately sized drill bits, drilled a hole in the bare shank of the bolt, measured the appropriate length and then cut off the threaded end, and then re-assembled the plunger, re-set the pin, and it's been perfect since. In fact, the hexagonal bolt head is somewhat easier to use than the plastic knob was, and is certainly a more rugged solution. It originally bothered me a little bit afterward, seeming somewhat like I was defacing the rifle. Then I got over those feelings, coming to the conclusion that, when this rifle was new, sometime back between '65 and '71, if the original owners couldn't (or wouldn't) pony up the $2.50 (in '65-'71, mind you) for a new magazine plunger assembly, they would certainly come up with a solution like mine, or something easily more ingenious.

Y'know, back in the day of my father's generation, when (At least it seems to me) the solution to many a problem wasn't "Just get a new one, they're cheap." as much as it was "Can we make it work with what we've got?"

Certainly, this rifle has become my instant favorite, and I'm actually more fond of it than my first gun. It's a rugged, accurate little thing, light (at around 5.5lbs, un-scoped) and quick to point. And it has a wonderful trigger, considering the admittedly rudimentary construction.

It'll be my pleasure to pass this rifle on to my children. If they can pry it away from me.
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