Disclaimer. This is my first gun. I have never fired a powder actuated gun in my life until this one.
So on September 11, having sat on my newly minted PAL for a whole 24 hours, I drove out to my nearest Bass Pro (Niagara on the Lake) and purchased a Savage 64 F (.22 rifle semi-automatic, iron sights), a 350 pack of Federal .22 Ammo, and a small pack of CCI subsonic (which the customer service guy said may not operate the semi-auto mechanism properly – it worked fine). The subsonic is for rats inside the barn – where ricochets would pose a safety risk. One of the reasons I chose this to start with is the fact that it was made in Lakefield, Ontario – Savage acquired the Cooey company which was an Ontario born and bred gun manufacturer. The gun came with an additional trigger guard (cable type). I thought that was a nice touch. The price was $169.99 Canadian (I was pleasantly surprised that it was basically the same as the US price properly converted).
Once home (by about 6 pm), I checked it out thoroughly. I was initially taken by how small and light it seemed. I somehow expected something heavier – more forbidding. I glanced over the manual, loaded up the magazine (sturdy metal) with 10 rounds, and went outside. I live on 34 acres, so no one is going to complain about a few gun shots. I tried the subsonics, and they were really quiet. Sadly there were no rats about to target. They have become harder to spot since we have less food about for the birds which we have been losing so fast. I plinked a few targets, and then loaded up some federal rounds. I set up a political lawn sign I had lying around against a heavy wooden backstop across the yard, and sighted the gun in. At 10 yards I fired two groups of 5 about 1 1/2″ across shooting standing and from the knee. I set up a board about 4″ across and hit that first time at 50 yards. I added a can and a bottle, hit the can first shot, the bottle with one miss both at 50 yards, so I can say the gun is pretty accurate – and I am not too bad a marksman when sitting with the gun resting on the balcony. The light was getting bad so I stopped practicing and put the animals away for the night. In all I used up 10 rounds of subsonic and about 30 rounds of regular ammo.
I have largish hands, so the safety was no problem using my thumb, although it is a trifle stiff. I expect it will ease up over use. The trigger feels really smooth and light – I have nothing to compare it with, but I certainly found it easy and predictable. There was no recoil at all, and the noise was minimal to me (although the horses were a little disturbed). The ducks and chickens didn’t seem to care. In fact my crossbow has more kick – I find it hard to follow the flight of the bolt from the crossbow, but I could see the impact holes of the .22 bullets on the target. The bolt catch was a little weird at first – but once I got the hang of just pressing it in at the right spot, it was easy to open the chamber to check or for cleaning.
The front sight is perhaps a little large and for me obscures the target a bit too much. The rear sight is a simple notch which has a little elevator piece for range setting. Easy enough to use, but I didn’t change it from point blank for now. At some point I may transfer the optical sight I have on an air rifle and see how that performs.
The cable type gun lock was a little stiff to pass through the chamber and out through the magazine slot, but I was able to make it work, and it provides a great way to protect the gun while it is out of the safe.
The magazine seems sturdy, and I was able to load it reasonably easily – a little stiff perhaps but it is brand new. Following the instructions I easily disassembled the rifle – the barrel comes off with two allen-type screws. I reassembled it in about 5 minutes and was good to go.
So far, so good. I have no significant criticisms of the rifle, and for value for money I give it 10 out of 10.