The Savage 87A
It was a Savage 87A, and the cooling vents surrounding the bolt intrigued me. "Damned fine rifle, that is...." ventured Pop. I turned the heavy rimfire rifle over in my hands, noting the knurled bolt screw at the rear, the bolt knob with concentric circles cut into it, the dovetailed front sight with a brass bead. The serrated trigger was light. The walnut stock was in decent shape, well oiled and polished, although the usual nicks from a life afield were present. The barrel still had the brownish tinge of bluing long gone, with a few blood spots near the muzzle. Testimony of a rifle used to put wounded game down once they were located. I asked Pop how much he wanted. "Sixty-seven dollars, plus tax," he grinned.
Now I don't know about most folks, but it's difficult for me to walk away from a sub-hundred dollar gun. This rifle had the option of shooting .22 longs, .22 shorts, and the option of locking the bolt to use it as a bolt action type rifle. I paid the money and thanked the man. That night the Savage received the first cleaning it had experienced in years.
The next day I took my old rifle to the range. It was decently accurate, but failed to feed often enough to frustrate me. When the 75 year old Savage did cycle, it was a strange experience compared to newer 22 rifles. The old girl chambered the next round in a slow motion ker-chunk that you could chronograph with a stopwatch. One of the old gray range hands informed me "That's an old one. It's supposed to cycle like that boy." I diagnosed the feeding problem as the shell lifter, and ordered another one from Numrich.
I fitted and installed the new part, and the feed problem improved but never totally disappeared. I still keep the rifle. I'm reluctant to trade off an unreliable rifle without informing the recipient. I also enjoy shooting it occasionally. For $75, I figure that's enough reason to keep it around.