I have always liked the look of a Mannlicher stock. They just seem…old school, traditional, classy. I have read that the style originated from the need to use a longarm as a walking stick in the hilly parts of Europe.
Yes, I know that the barrel isn’t free-floating.
Yes, I know that the full-length stock might change the point of impact when the gun heats up.
Don’t care. Maybe it’s an engineering-centric preference, with the barrel being “protected” by the full-length stock. Or maybe it’s aesthetic, with no skinny barrel sticking out “unsupported” to offend anyone’s sensibilities. Whatever the reason, guns with Mannlicher stocks draw my attention, pop into my head for no reason, and make me dawdle at gun show tables. But I hadn’t pulled the trigger on one, so to speak.
I needed* an iron-sighted .22 rifle. My other .22LR rifles are all scoped, and I felt that an uncluttered iron-sighted plinker was a gap in my arsenal. It was on my long-term wishlist but not an itch that I needed to scratch ASAP. (I was thinking along the lines of a Savage, not sure if I wanted another of their bolt-actions or to try their semiauto version. Marlin wasn’t going to be a contender anymore, since their quality has tanked after being absorbed into the Remington Borg.)
So when I was prowling the aisles at Hoffman’s with Crapgame, sort of looking for a single-point sling for a tactical toy, I came across two Mannlicher-stocked 10/22s. One was blued (with a black-finished aluminum receiver), the other was stainless (with a dull-finished aluminum receiver).
So I picked one up, hefted it, shouldered it. It felt right; the length, the weight, the cheekweld. Not muzzle-heavy like my Target 10/22 (which I bought as soon as I saw the spiral-forged barrel). This one had a walnut stock, with checkering; not like the plain birch stocks that the basic 10/22s come with.
Normally, I am a big advocate of stainless steel guns. No finish to get messed up, far lower risk of corrosion. Some guns look terrific in stainless.
But in this case, stainless just looked…out of place. And the color of the aluminum receiver on the stainless gun was a much darker shade of metal, and the difference was jarring.
So I went with the blued gun. I am going to put a leather sling on it, to keep it looking old school. Because that’s how I roll.
* Yeah, that’s what I said. I can stop anytime I want to. Really.