Jan 20, 2014

Miss Mossberg of 1948...

(...or so)

Hardly anyone sets out to collect Mossberg .22 rifles. Among firearms aesthetes it's declasse, like acquiring a hoard of museum quality Vegomatics.

I think that's a shame, though I concede that Winchester, Remington, and Browning made prettier rifles for the 1930-1950s mid-price market, good shooters, light and with finer "feel" and more graceful lines than the slightly cheaper Mossies.

O.F. Mossberg and Sons hardly ever played the anorexria game. Steel was cheap, and what are a few  more ounces in a tool designed to contain explosions and deliver energy precisely and consistently?  So some of them could look a bit clunky, like the 144ls or the 151.

I have a near-ugly 151* on the rack, seldom cleaned and never treated to spa day. It sometimes goes afield when the population of dirt clods gets out of hand. It kills them quickly and reliably, hardly ever bitching about the kind of ammunition it is fed.

Trading off the 144 ls was one of my all-time great errors. In the 70s I was mildly interested in four-position, 50-foot bullseye shooting, and it yielded nothing to Winchester 52 shooters (although I often did).

The other one I love is the fake Tommy Gun. I've mentioned I picked up a nice one recently to replace another I gave to a nephew. She's been my companion on the two marginally decent plinking days of this evil January.

Mossberg 152. Not for sale. Or trade. Or gifting.

I may even waste time rooting around in old gun magazine for paper copies of contemporary ads.

This one is from late in the 1948-57 production period.  The flipper became plastic about 1954.

Even in those calmer days you had to cut ad writers some slack. While the 152 was about the size and heft of the M1 Carbine, the forearm made it a Thompson to its target demographic -- imaginative 12-year-kids.

Minor geekery: The same flip-down marketing ploy was used on the bolt-action Model 142. The 152 came with a "peep" sight, the 152 K with opens.  The scoped option never sold well.  Most retail prices were a  few pennies under $30. Factory magazines held seven rounds, and they are now hard to find. Triple K aftermarkets hold 10 and cost $42 with shipping. Mine required tinkering with a file to even seat, then a little more to feed -- which is still does only about two-thirds of the time. After that dreary drill I ran across an OEM.


*The 151 and some others reflect a period in O.F.'s history when it had a serious love affair with Mannlicher stocks and Monte Carlo cheek pieces.  If you like retro-Kraut look, fine. If not you wonder, "what the hell? It's a ,22."

No comments: