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Need Help with this Rifle

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by EthanAllen, Mar 31, 2016.

  1. EthanAllen

    EthanAllen Portland Area New Member

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    I'm wondering if someone can help me with this rifle I acquired from my elderly dad which he built back in the 70's. It's a 17-222 cal bolt action varment rifle with a 6x Banner scope by Bushbell. The problem is I don't know, and my dad can't seem to help, identify which ammo it takes as there appears to be more than one size of 222 case. He claimed he used a die on some ammo to neck the casings just right but not sure where the die is now. I can find different 17 cal ammo for sale but not sure which case it takes. My dad claims it shoots up to 3800ft/sec. Any idea how I find out what ammo it takes and approximate value?

    Thanks.

    image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg image.jpeg
     
  2. Dyjital

    Dyjital Albany, Ore Flavorite Member Bronze Supporter

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    Sounds like a .222 that's been necked down to .17, but I'm no expert.

    Pretty slick setup and it's a nice looking rifle.

    image.gif

    It's a wildcat cartridge. You will need .222 brass and neck it down to make your .17-.222 stuff.

    Since it's a wildcat, you will need to find dies that are already made or have some made. Reloading is the only way it appears to go for this case.
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2016
  3. MountainBear

    MountainBear Sweet Home, OR Well-Known Member

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    Well, first things first, you need to have a chamber cast poured. Hopefully it is standard dimensions (at least as far as wildcats go) and you can get a set of dies from RCBS or the like.

    It is a beautiful rifle. It's built on a 1903 Springfield, but in that caliber and from those pictures, I really can't tell exactly which 1903. It looks shortened (which is possible) and has a headless cocking piece, which are a bit hard to diagnose without the gun in hand.
    The value is likely to fall short of your sentimental value of the gun, as is often the case with sporters. Unless there is a well known name attached to it, the rifle is generally worth the sum of the parts. If the action is something special (which it might be, I cannot tell from the photos), then there might be some additional value.

    A ballpark estimate would start at $350 and could go up significantly from there.
     
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  4. EthanAllen

    EthanAllen Portland Area New Member

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    Well known name? My dads best friend's name was Bill Cody, (he went by Wild Bill) does that help :)? I think he shot it once or twice. I recall dispatching a lot of coyotes with it around Baker Ore.
    Thanks for info guys.
     
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  5. Dyjital

    Dyjital Albany, Ore Flavorite Member Bronze Supporter

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    Sucks when you write a post, go outside and an hour and a half later you are like "oh crap, I forgot to add that a chamber cast is needed...." Then you come back on here and realize Mt Bear has it nailed down.
     
  6. whiskeybill

    whiskeybill Battle Ground, WA Well-Known Member

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    That certainly is a beautiful little rifle!
     
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  7. thorborg

    thorborg portland oregon Well-Known Member 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    They are right, any unknown should start with a chamber cast. Use Cerrotrue a low melt point alloy metal available among other places at Midway. Do not be intimated. It is easy to do. The metal shrinks slightly when it cools for easy removal. look it up on line and find how to do videos.
    What fun!
     
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  8. PaulB47

    PaulB47 Hillsboro Well-Known Member

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    Huh, my wife and I used to own the Bill Cody Ranch, west of Cody, Wyoming. Established in 1925, and at some later point owned by Buffalo Bill's grandson Bill Cody, who renamed it after himself. Wonder if that's the same guy.
    http://billcodyranch.com/

    Nice looking rifle, but perhaps best used as a wall hanger, unless you want to get into wildcats which is pretty far into gun nuttery.
     
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  9. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    When you pour in cerrosafe to do the chamber casting make sure you don't pour in to much.. Fill up the locking lug area with it, and your in for a big job getting it all out.
    I made a Mistake once on a ruger number one.. Slipped as I was pouting it in and got some in and around the ejector and then down into the action..
    Took me days getting it all broken up and removed.

    I can do a chamber cast for you very at a reasonable price, that way you don't need to buy anything that your never going to use again!
     
  10. EthanAllen

    EthanAllen Portland Area New Member

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    Thanks for the offer Velzey, I might take you up on that considering what you think is a reasonable price. So what I'm hearing is, and it makes sense, that I need the chamber cast to determine the type of bullet this rifle takes. Assuming the casting tells me the right info is there then a chance that I can purchase over the counter ammo or would I still, even after the casting, be relegated to creating my own custom ammo? My dad was an avid reloader and hunter out of eastern Oregon so he probably loved playing around with this type of rifle but for 99% of us it's not very useful.
     
  11. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    image.jpeg I will send you a pm regarding price.

    Ammo will be very difficult to find for it.
    I load all my own custom wildcat cartridges and hunt with allot of them. I just prefer making my own and their uniqueness !
     
  12. thorborg

    thorborg portland oregon Well-Known Member 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    On GB today

    upload_2016-4-1_15-42-38.png
     
  13. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    You're dads rifle is a fine example of '70's ish gunsmithing! I have a pair that I would never part with. I hope that you can shoot yours soon!:)
     
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  14. EthanAllen

    EthanAllen Portland Area New Member

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    Thanks Whiskeybill, I recall it shoots straight and true. I just wish ammo was not so difficult for it. My dad wanted to create the perfect cyotee gun. We shot a lot of them around Baker Ore.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2016
  15. EthanAllen

    EthanAllen Portland Area New Member

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    This rifle is engraved with my name.
     
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  16. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Very cool thread!
     
  17. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Beautiful rifle.
     
  18. whiskeybill

    whiskeybill Battle Ground, WA Well-Known Member

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    Ethan, don't think of it as a difficulty. Think of it as a project and a learning experience. Once you have a chamber cast you can move forward with getting the required brass and forming dies. It's pretty darn satisfying.

    The first rifle I ever bought as a high school boy was a '93 Marlin in 38-55. At the time, there were no factory loads or even brass available. I did get a box of empties and the dies with the rifle, and the guy even gave me the Lyman bullet moulds. An old gunsmith friend told me I could just get 30-30 brass and fireform that to the chamber. It worked! That was my first experience with fireforming.

    Years later while in the Navy, I stumbled upon a 99 Savage takedown in 22 Savage High Power, at a gun shop in Seattle. They were asking a more than reasonable price for it just because it was a "wall hangar" and no way to shoot it. No ammunition made. Oh, you can make it alright! A project pretty similar to what you are looking at right now.

    Over the years I have accumulated a lot of books and articles from noted gun cranks of the past. From the period your rifle was likely built, and it was built in this neck of the woods, the case design might be one of P.O. Ackleys brain children. He was actually a proponent of the .17 caliber for varmint hunting. Just a thought, and perhaps a starting point for some research.
     
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  19. whiskeybill

    whiskeybill Battle Ground, WA Well-Known Member

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    Incidentally, once you have a chamber cast, you can send it to the folks at Pacific Tool & Die in White City. They can take the dimensions and compare it to any reamer drawings they have on file. Huntingtons (the specialty house of RCBS) might be able to help as well as they have a TON of dies and drawings for the strange and unusual.
     
  20. BillM

    BillM Amity OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Have to ask the dumb question. It's a wildcat, and it's been fired in the past---do
    you have any of that fired brass? Saving it to be reloaded again would make sense.

    Not as good as a cerrosafe cast---but it should give you an idea WHICH 17-222 you
    are dealing with.
     
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