Back in the day, Steves made target rimfire rifles that competed with Remington and Winchester. The Model 416 is one of those.
Like most of the vintage rimfire target rifles, this one is quality all the way. They just don’t make’em like that anymore. That’s a saying because its true.
I spent the day shooting this one to give it a good working over. Ammo used was a few different types of Eley match shot at 50 yards.
Yea yea, the bottom left target was used to zero on. The rest are five round groups shot at 50 yards. How much more accuracy can really ask for ? Vintage heavy barrel target .22 rimfires are a treasure and should be given a serious look if you run across a deal on them.
After talking with Brady the other night about buying a few of his guns, we got talking about one of the guns he owns, an Al Freeland BSA Martini. This gun isn’t just one sold by Freeland to Brady, it was one of Al’s personal guns. To make a long story short, Brady had sent in 1000 dollars to buy one of the BSA Martini’s after seeing them in various publications. After a year passed and Brady had no gun in his hand he called up AL and mentioned he was getting a little worried when he had nothing in hand after sending off 1K back a year ago. Brady said Al responded by telling him what the hold up was and promised to send him one of his guns and Brady could keep it for 3 days for inspection, if he didn’t like it send it back and Al would refund his money or he could keep it. Brady got the gun and was beyond pleased. It was a much better gun than the one he originally ordered. The Freeland personal gun having an Eric Johnson barrel. Hopefully I can get a few pictures of it for you when I go over there in a few days. Brady told me he found a website with photo’s of Al’s personal rifles and in one of those photos is the gun that now belongs to Brady. I been trying to find it but I’m having trouble locating the website. If memory serves Brady has an autographed copy of Al’s book shown below.
Anyway. Here is a RIAC Blog post about Uncle Al’s wonderful rifles. by Joel R Kolander
When it comes to competitive target shooting, a name that one finds frequently is Al Freeland. He was known as an accomplished rifleman, but also as a respected major supplier for others who strove to be as serious about their competitive shooting as “Uncle Al” was. How serious was he? He won numerous small bore championships and set several world records. Furthermore, he custom designed many of the rifles he used. Beginning with BSA Martini actions, he would assemble custom rifles capable of surgical precision.
Freeland made his own barrels, modified receivers, made and bedded his own forends (hand-checkered of course), and used his trademark 3-position aluminum buttstock which would become a standard feature on later BSA Martini target rifles. Seemingly never satisfied, he even designed and sold many of his own accessories including a rifle case that became a standard for many a target shooter in the 1950s – 1980s. It was exactly this type of serious involvement and expertise that had BSA engineers reaching out to Uncle Al to personally discuss his recommendations and ideas. In return, they gave him sole importer rights until his passing in the early 1980s.
The name of Albin Freeland is one that deserves to be remembered among firearms enthusiasts. He was passionate about shooting, firearms, and quality. Equipment made decades ago still serves its purpose today. For a more complete look at the man’s life and his contributions to the shooting world, the biography Uncle Al: The Life and Times of Inventor/Marksman Albin Freeland is highly recommended.
Rock Island Auction Company is pleased to have several items that were the property of the late Uncle Al in our May Premier Auction. Those with an affinity for winning target shooting matches or had a love and respect for our shooting heritage should certainly take notice.
Al Freeland’s Prototype BSA Martini
First on the list is this prototype crafted in part by Freeland himself. It comes only one buyer removed from the Freeland estate and is believed to be the basis of the “Mark Series” by BSA. The list of custom features and modifications is extensive. Of significant note is the “8 star” Eric Johnson barrel, who was one of the premier target rifle makers throughout the 1940s-1960s. 8-star represents his highest level of quality and is almost never seen. Prototype components and a barrel as rare as moon rocks all combine to make this a supremely rare and historic BSA Martini single shot rifle.
Al Freeland’s Custom Hand Built Martini “Super Rifle” – One of 21 Ever Made
Before the BSA Martini “Mark Series” of rifles was developed, Freeland was making his own designs off their modified actions and marking them “Super Rifles” – a remarkably appropriate name. 21 such rifles were produced by Uncle Al, and this one bears the serial number 019. Like the previous gun listed it also bears an Eric Johnson barrel and was purchased directly from Freeland’s estate. This beautiful, hand-checkered custom rifle can be found on pages 129-130 of his biography and remains in excellent condition.
Al Freeland’s Personal World-Record Breaking, Championship Winning Rifle, “Mariah #2”
This is Al Freeland’s personal target rifle that he used for over 25 years to win most of his small bore championships and set world records from the mid-1950s through the 1970s. Built on the BSA MkII target rifle action, the remainder of the rifle is hand built and earned the nickname “Mariah #2.” The cool factor is through the roof on this piece of firearms history. But be forewarned, if you can’t bust a 10-ring with this rifle, you will be left with zero excuses.
Al Freeland BSA Martini Mk II Target Rifle, “Mariah #5”
You’ve already met Mariah #2, so now meet Mariah #5. Also discussed in his biography, this is a mostly standard BSA MkII with the exception of two things: a custom, deluxe wood foreend installed by Al and a small paper tag still attached to the rifle that reads, “Not for Sale, personal Property of Ted Freeland Mark II.” Ted was Al’s eldest son. It’s in great condition and links directly back to the Freeland family.
Custom Winchester Model 52B Target Rifle with A. W. Peterson Barrel
Now for something completely different. Well, not completely, but is the only non-BSA Martini rifle of the Freeland items being offered in this sale. Shown here is a Winchester 52B target rifle that been given a custom stock, handmade by Freeland, as well as an original, custom barrel by A.W. Peterson of Denver, CO. Peterson. Peterson is also a well-known name in his own right, learning his trade from a line of highly respected barrel markers – namely George Schoyen, who in turn learned from the famous Carlos Gove. That’s a lot of clout in one Winchester.
Late Production BSA Martini MK III 22 LR Target Rifle
If you want all the innovation that Freeland provided, but at a price that doesn’t involve his direct provenance, this lot is for you. It’s a BSA Martini Mk III in excellent condition with the fully adjustable trigger and over travel. This is the exact style of rifle that has been used by top smallbore match shooters at Camp Perry and other notable competitions across the country. It’s a tack driver just waiting to hit the range again.
Five 22 LR (BSA and Remington) Target Rifle Barrels and Uncle Al Freeland’s Autobiography Book
Looking to begin your own target rifle build? Our May Premier even has a lot with five BSA & Remington target barrels in 22 LR that were originally obtained when Freeland’s Gun Shop closed in the early 1980’s. If they were carried in his shop, you can be sure they’re of a quality that Al wouldn’t have been afraid to use himself, and that’s as gleaming an endorsement as any. In case you need additional inspiration for your own target rifle build there’s even a copy of Uncle Al’s biography thrown in for good measure.
While I knew that Uncle Al was based in Rock Island, Illinois, a fun fact I discovered while writing this article is that the location he used to hold shop was less than half a mile from where I attended college. I had ordered pizza from across the street and eaten breakfast at the greasy spoon across the intersection, yet had no idea the firearms heritage that was in my very midst. It’s the kind of thing that makes you wonder what else is out there and deserves our respect.
There is no shortage of target rifles in our May Premier Auction, but few come with the prestige, provenance, and proven excellence rightly associated with Uncle Al Freeland. All the rifles and items shown here will be offered this Sunday, so there is still time to place a bid on these high precision machines and their proud heritage.
After months of development and a research cost of $16,500, Remington announced a new small bore bolt action rifle. It was advertised as a moderately priced alternative to the Model 37 rifle. This was the model 513 T Matchmaster target rifle, one of the 500 series family of rifles. It was ready for delivery in May 1940 for the price of $29.99. Originally it was referred to as the Model 513TR rifle.
The rifle features a heavy straight no taper 26 3/4 inch semi floating target barrel. a full target style pistol grip, walnut stock with target beaver tail forend, an adjustable front sling swivel, Redfield globe front sight with 7 interchangeable discs, a new Redfield No. 75 micrometer rear sight, adjustable trigger stop, short firing pin travel, and a 6 round magazine that was detachable.
Remington offered the rifle without sights for 5 bucks less and two sporter versions.
Factory documents indicate that accuracy of an out of the box Model 513T was 1 inch and 3/4 at 100 yards. Impressive for a moderately priced target rifle from the 1940s. I can say from first had experience that it is not capable of that accuracy in its standard factory off the shelf condition. Not with modern match Rimfire ammo anyway.
Remington Historian, H.J Swinney recalled seeing a number of 513Ts chambered for the experimental .267 rimfire cartridge. Remington never offered them for sale to the public and no surviving example is known to exist.
During the war the US Gov purchased 59,964 model 513Ts for marksmanship training and another 1,300 during the Korean war.
Following WW2 Remington resumed production of the Model 513TR in early 1945, and the model 513SP the next year. Remington last offered the 513TR and TX target rifles in 1968. In total Remington produced the rifle for a 29 year period from 1939 to 1968.
Knights Armament Match Trigger Group SR-25 Two Stage Black #25926
Many companies offer “match” triggers for the AR15.
I tend to hear about Geissele line and the LaRue MBT the most for fighting firearms. The Armalite, RRA, Timney, Gold, and any number of others for bunch or competition guns.
Some of the triggers, like the Timney, can provide an awesomely light trigger for benchrest or competition shooting. But they can be too light for a fighting rifle. Others like the Armalite are nice to use, but have had issues with breaking in the past. That is why they are not recommended for a fighting firearm.
The Geissele SSA is my favorite, but the price of it has gone up multiple times since I last bought one. The Larue MBT is probably the best for the dollar value. The SSA is not twice as good as a MBT.
Well at over three times the price of a MBT, I bought a KAC 2 Stage Match Trigger.
Why? Because I felt like it. I wanted something that would look like a USGI trigger and I (mistakenly) thought the KAC trigger was unmarked.
I purchased this one from MidwayUSA for $321.30. I received it about a week after ordering it.
KAC offers two versions, one appears to be completely matte chrome, the other (as pictured) has a black (likely parkerized) trigger.
The parts appear to be either cast or metal injection molded. There is a dimple on the right side of the hammer that appears to be from hardness testing. It comes with a little pin to hold the disconnector in place for installation making installation easier. It also comes with the two interchangeable hammer/trigger pins.
The KAC trigger has a trigger pad similar to a USGI trigger. On this new trigger, the finish makes it feel rough and grippy, but I don’t expect that feeling to last long.
I wasn’t able to get a clear picture, but there is a little KAC text on the side of the trigger.
I’ve read that the increased mass of the KAC hammer gives it a longer lock time than the Geissele. I don’t know if it is true or not, but it seems plausible to me.
Installation is straight forward, nothing special required. The trigger assembly is short enough that you can install it with out removing the safety.
Here it is sitting it its new home.
Someone some years back reported that in the military the KAC two stage triggers would lose their first stage when they got dirty. Also that they had to be replaced more often, around 5000 rounds. These stories are about the older KAC two stage trigger design. This newer design is not suppose to have those issues, and is reported to have a 50,000 round life span.
Personally, I am not impressed.
My cheap trigger pull gauge measures this trigger pull at between 4.75 to 5.5 pounds with most of the pulls being round 5 lbs.
When I first installed this trigger it felt gritty. The cleared up, and it is an improvement over the USGI style trigger. I just don’t think this is worth the cost over the Larue Tactical MBT which sells at $80.
Growing up I was fascinated with the precision rifles that came about in the Cold War. Rifles like HK PSG1, a rifle with mystical abilities in an era where your average semi auto did 4 to 6 moa and 2 to 3 moa was considered damn good.
A G3 in spirit that was taken to the end of its ability with mechanical accuracy. A rifle that claimed 1 moa standard with good ammo. It was an expensive beast that was a heavy SOB. Had a special tri-pod, and one specific special scope for it. But in the late 70s and early 80s. It was this or a customized M1A.
The only option was to build yourself a M21 clone and spend an ungodly sum of money and still dream of that solid 1 moa consistency. But now we live in an age where even the less popular rifles can do 1 moa and do it for under $1,000 easily.
The FNH FNAR is under a grand and it does everything the PSG1 did, but better and is a constant 1 moa gun. And that is nothing. Right now for under $400 without even trying, a new shooter can get a factory sub moa bolt gun in 6.5 or .308 and do 1,000 yard shooting with good glass for under $1,000 total. Hell, I see Thompson Center guns in 6.5 Creedmoor for under $300.
Guns like the Ruger American blow guns like a Remington 700 VLS out of the water.
What an amazing time we live in. I love my FNAR, it is absolutely everything I love about the PSG1, but better and cheaper. And the bolt guns coming out today make guns like my 700 VLS seem like the old muskets of yore.