I have owned two good semi-automatic 22 rifles, both were Remingtons. The first was the Remington 66 with the nylon stock. I was able to match Annie Oakley’s aerial trick shooting with this rifle as well as pick off many a running cottontail rabbit. To some now, that would be considered impossible shooting in this day and time, but to the kids I hunted with, between Magazine and Sugar Grove Arkansas, this was normal everyday shooting skill for several of us.

The Legendary Remington 552 Speedmaster

My first Remington was my M1100 12 ga I got in 1966, I still hunt with it today, no problems. I was spoiled to the Remington ergonomics, so by the mid 1980s I had to have a Speedmaster.

I was stationed at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, the home of the Black Tailed Jackrabbit. Guys like CSM Harry Harris, Harry Jr. and SSG Doug Hall (now avid readers of ODU Magazine) were my hunting partners. It was my best duty station of my Army Career, shall I say we shot a lot of jack rabbits. We bought 22 ammo by the Brick, and you could shoot it up in one day.

The only 22 that stood up to that kind of shooting 3 to 5 hundred rabbits per day, was the Speed Master. For that kind of hunting I used the Remington Yellow Jacket ammo as the big Jacks required a little more punch to put down, than a normal hollow point.

Some individuals that opposed to us shooting so many rabbits and not eating them, didn’t realize we were doing the environment and the soldiers who had to camp out among the rabbits, a favor. The rabbits were carriers of fleas that carry the bubonic plague so we couldn’t touch them. After a successful shoot on Saturday I went back Sunday for round two. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the live Jack Rabbits eating the dead ones. Finding out they were cannibals I never felt too sorry for them. We did make the coyotes pretty happy as they got slow being so fat…we shot them too.

You would not believe how good you get with a 22 shooting Jack Rabbits after a few times you are no longer spraying bullets and can pick them off with one or two shots on a dead run. My scope was a simple Bushnell in a straight 4 power.

My last duty station was Ft Polk Louisiana where a group of us like James Callaway, and Bob Baldwin (also readers now) started the Top Gun Challenge (World Squirrel Rifle Match). The Speedmaster was the first rifle to win high honors. Later we switched to the CZ-452 but this took nothing away from the Remington.

I gave that rifle to a good soldier that didn’t have a squirrel rifle and I hope he enjoys it. Chances are I will get another. It will fire shorts, longs and long rifle ammo, the only semi-auto that will do so. With the right ammo, the Remington, like the Henry lever action will match in accuracy, many bolt action 22 rifles.

It is one of those rifles that works right out of the box, and requires no after market additions, it is pure Hunter/Plinker of the highest order….Pass it on.

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