Harking back to the days of good ol' boys and basic 22 repeaters, Pete Moore looks at the Taurus M62 pump-action rimfire
I don’t know about you, but one of my earliest memories of shooting was on the rifle ranges at the fun fair. It seems hard to believe these days that you could just roll up and shoot a semi-auto or a pump-action, the latter being the subject of this test, as it’s a copy of the old John Browning designed Model 62. The inclusion of a safety catch is the only deviation from the original and I have to say that Taurus have done well in recreating this great little rifle.
In comparison to today’s hi-tech and hi-capacity 22s the M62 is decidedly archaic, which to me is part of its charm. However, we must never lose sight of the fact that in their day, guns like this put a lot of small game on the table and were passed down the generations, which is a testament to their good design. I can recall seeing an original Model 62 a few years back that was a bit worn but still 100% operational, I somehow doubt if we could expect a modern semi-auto to be functional after that length of time!
Carbine or rifle?
The M62 is available in rifle 23” barrel (R) and carbine (C) 16” lengths and also in blued or stainless (SS) finish. Importer’s Edgar Brothers supplied the stainless rifle version; I have to say that personally I found this the least attractive in both looks and length, but that’s just my view, as mechanically there is no difference at all.
The layout is as follows – feed is from a fixed, tube, under-barrel magazine that loads from the front end. The action uses a T-shaped breech block that locks into the top of the receiver and at the rear is an external hammer. As we shall see ejection is straight up and back and as the action unlocks the block rises, so precluding the fitting of an optical sight. So without some re-engineering the M62 should be considered an iron sights only design. Taurus have included a simple, firing pin block safety catch on top, which is a sensible idea as unloading a live round from the chamber requires the hammer to be in its fired position and accidents can happen…
The stock consists of a slim, round, ribbed forend and straight hand butt, both made of a dark hardwood. Sights are classic with a blade in a transverse dovetail up front and elevator wedge/U-notch at the rear, both are adjustable with the front giving windage and rear elevation. One other unusual feature of the design is the fact it can be taken apart for storage, as the butt/lower action can be removed from the barrel/upper receiver by means of undoing a single screw.
A fixed, under-barrel tube magazine - though perceived as slow to load - does offer some advantages not found in a box-type. It can use any length/mix of ammunition from short to long rifle, as cartridge overall length (COL) is automatically compensated for by the feed system. To load you unlatch the spring/follower tube and draw it out until the loading port in the fixed tube is exposed and drop in the rounds (base-first) to a capacity of 14. This means no separate magazines to worry about as all you need is a pocketful of loose ammo, which offers the ability to be topped up at any time. For the hunter the down side is the fact that fitting a moderator, though not impossible, is a problem, as once in place it precludes the follower tube being pulled out far enough to expose the loading port, so would have to be removed every time you needed to reload. But in truth the M62 is what it is and should be used as such…
The action is short and fast and the trigger not too bad. What is initially unusual is seeing the breech block lift up into your line of sight as you cycle the action. Accuracy is as you might expect from what are basic iron sights, but good enough to roll over rabbits out to 50 yards (given your ability), or just for fun shooting on the range at 25 etc.
One unusual aspect of the design is the fact is has a slam-fire ability, identical to that other John Moses Browning classic - the 1897 Winchester, pump-action shotgun. If you keep the trigger depressed and cycle the action the gun will fire automatically as it goes into battery. Not a lot of use on a rimfire, as accuracy, as you can imagine is not good; but there it is…
One thing to consider is the safety catch and unloading drills. The safety takes the form of an L-shaped lever atop the breech lock; this rotates to SAFE and FIRE positions indicated by a red dot. Frankly the hammer, which offers both full and half cock positions, does a better job, as it can be set at ½-cock and thumbed back to fire far more easily. However, there is no separate action lock button that allows the breech to be opened with the hammer at full cock, so it must be lowered onto a loaded chamber. It’s here that the safety comes into play as a belt and braces system.
Initial firing showed a few feed problems with the bullet not presenting dead level to the chamber every time, which required a bit of a double shuffle of the forend to sort. However, I had a great time, as like many 22 rimfires it soon becomes addictive and the simple pleasure of shooting the rifle at different targets and practicing your iron sight skills was a lot of fun and also good practice. One thing though - the empty case come up and back and hit you on the head; so wear a hat…
For me it would have to be the blued/16” carbine version, as I prefer the look and also barrel length. The M62 makes a good plinker/trainer or basic hunter, however, in a world of scoped and moderated rimfires its basic nature also tells against it, as does its quite high price…
Classic 22 repeater
Problems fitting a moderator
Optical sights a no no
|Calibre||22 Long Rifle|
|Capacity||14 (22 LR)|
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