Friday, March 12, 2010
My first gun post will concern the pictured Izhmash Biathlon Basic 7-2. It's a Russian sporter produced, not surprisingly, at the Izhmash factory. Aside from my horrible photographic skills (really, it's in focus in real life) it is a photo of one of the least known but best values in the gun world today, IMHBCO.
If I could only have one firearm, this would be in strong consideration for that singular honor (not counting family heirlooms, of course.) It's not perfect, but it's close. Allow me to elaborate. Oh, it's my blog, what I should say is, "I'll elaborate if I damn well please!" And I do please.
Although details are hard to tell from my picture, it is a bolt action chambered in .22 long rifle. However, instead of the standard bolt action it is equipped with the Fortner straight pull bolt. If you watch the Olympic biathlon competition, the competitors were using rifles with this style of action. Whereas they were using $4000 Anschutz model 1827's, the BB goes for around $350.
On most target rifles having a 'heavy barrel', the barrel measures about .920" in diameter. Although not 'always' more accurate, the heavy barrel does allow greater stability and disperses more heat when firing several rounds in a relatively short period of time. They are typically quite long to increase the sight radius which helps aiming but also makes them very heavy. It's rare when a sporter rifle can shoot with a target rifle...but the BB can.
The BB barrel is a medium heavy barrel of .720" in diameter and I believe 18" length. (My memory is fuzzy, but the length is in that neighborhood.) It gives the accuracy of some target rifles while maintaining a light enough weight to be an excellent hunting rifle. It's possibly the perfect squirrel rifle, if that's your thing. Personally, I don't have the patience for squirrel hunting, but I'll have a great aptitude for squirrel eating if you have any extra. I'll even bring beer. And BBQ sauce.
Moving right along, the thing is stupid accurate for what it costs. The limiting factor is the "nut behind the bolt" in shooter parlance. I basically suck and I've gotten 1/2" groups at 50 yards. But put it in the hands of G.I. Jenny or Range Officer Ralph and it's a damn laser beam. They all go through the same hole.
There are only two possible downsides. One, there are no iron sights, but that's not really a problem, because a rifle like this begs for a scope anyway. Two, it's too damn short...the buttstock that is. Why is that? Are Russians mutated runts who can't handle a full size rifle? No. Do they have major differences in their shooting styles mandating a short length of pull(LOP)? No. Is Siberia so fucking cold that they have on eight layers of clothes adding two inches to their shoulder padding? Ding ding ding! We have a winner! So, in places where we have seasons other than Winter and Almost Winter the LOP needs to be extended. You can tell from the picture that I added a spacer which I just cut out of scrap wood and painted black. It's not necessary, but at my height (approximately 6'6") (It's the internet, I can be as tall as I want) it just made it even better.
One other incredible aspect of the BB is the trigger. In short, it's phenomenal. It came under two pounds and I adjusted down one turn so it's probably in the one pound range. I don't have a trigger pull gauge to verify, but suffice to say, you don't get trigger pulls like this on many hunting rifles.
If you ever find yourself in the ass end of nowhere, stop by and I'll be happy to take you to the range and let you try it for yourself.