The whole movement of the pump-action is less than 2in, making it very quick to cycle
By Bruce Potts
Friday, 26 February 2010
Remington Fieldmaster BDL .22LR review: Bruce Potts enjoys testing a versatile, fastshooting, all-American pump-action rabbit rifle.
This unusual pump-action rimfire rifle is quintessentially American, with a design that dates back to 1954. Several useful features include the ability to shoot .22LR (long rifle) long and short cartridges. It is 40in long and light at 5.75lb, and its sleek lines make it quick to shoulder. The stock is comfortable and practical for vermin control despite its highly lacquered finish.
Barrel, action and sights
With its swept back profile, the action shares its design, layout and many of its controls with the Remington range of 870 pump-action and 1100 semi-auto shotguns. It is made in aluminium with a tough black-painted finish, which is sensible for what is essentially a rabbit gun. A small ejection port to the right of the action deflects spent cases away from your face and the bolt system is cycled by a short pull of the fore-end, which operates the guide rods
attached to the bolt. The whole movement is less than 2in, making it very quick to cycle.
I was expecting lots of jams, but the cartridge cycling and ejection was surprisingly smooth via twin claw extractors and I found that a faster pump caused fewer problems than a more deliberate action.
Unusually, there is a crude set of open sights with a ramped adjustable rear sight. Though they work, they are redundant in today’s world, as you would always fit a scope. For this purpose twin dovetails are cut into the top of the action, but at 4in your choice of scope may be restricted.
Magazine, trigger and safety
Though the rifle is chambered for a .22LR cartridge, the Fieldmaster is capable of to the tubular magazine sited below the barrel. Unlike the standard rimfire dedicated box magazine, it can handle any cartridge length. In .22LR you can load 15 rounds of .22LR, 17 of the long and 20 of the short. To load the rifle, you first twist the magazine end cap to release the bayonet fitment, then you pull out the tube to expose the loading port. After filling the tube with rounds, you lower it and refasten the end cap. This applies pressure to the cartridges, feeding them up a ramp into the action as the bolt is cycled. Despite its old design, it works very well.
The barrel does not come threaded because the tubular magazine makes it difficult to fit a sound moderator. However, it is possible to fit one if you choose a slim model. The trigger unit is a modular group attached to the action via two cross-pins. If you punch these through, the trigger mechanism drops out as one. It has a single-stage pull and was a touch heavy at more than 6lb, but it breaks cleanly with a typical Remington cross-bolt safety catch sited behind the trigger-blade in the trigger-guard itself. This blocks the trigger and makes the rifle safe. There is also a bolt release catch in the front trigger-guard, which releases the bolt after the last shot by pushing it up into the body of the action.
Stock and fore-end
The fieldmaster is an elegant looking nimble rifle with deluxe woodwork, which comes as standard in the BDL trim. The wood grain has a good pattern and depth of colour. The typically American highly lacquered finish is too gaudy for me, but there is no doubt that it is weatherproof. The stock is made in two sections. Though the Monte Carlo comb has no cheekpiece, it is a good height for scope use and the slightly slippery thin plastic buttplate can be replaced if necessary. The small fore-end is nicely rounded with a firm grip for the pump-action.
There is machine-cut chequering on both the butt and fore-end sections, which provides good grip and the 13.5in length of pull is in proportion to this size of rifle.
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