The Essence of Life

The Essence of Life

Friday, May 29, 2015

The "Machinegun"

The Mossberg Model 152

A long, long time ago, when I was a very young boy (probably five or six years old) I went with my father a lunch that was part of some gathering or celebration at the home of Sabino Nogueira. Sabino operated the sawmill of Fazenda Perobas, that at one time belonged to my great grandfather and is the place where my father was born.

Sabino's home was just steps away from the sawmill, and it had an enclosed courtyard, shaded by old trees, and several tables were set there. By the way, this is the same place where I was once bitten in my left hand by Sabino's pet monkey, but that is another story.

On this ocasion, one of the visitor's was my my father's older brother, José Reginaldo, and he had with him one or all of his three sons. Sometime during lunch my uncle asked my father where was his "Winchester". At that time in Brazil, any twenty-two rifle was called either Winchester or Flobert, and many people would say that they had a Winchester made by Remington or Browning. (Browning was also a synonym for any semi-automatic pistol.)

My father said that Sabino had the "Winchester", and he produced it in no time and my uncle showed it to his son or sons and explained that this was an automatic gun, with a detachable box magazine and that the forearm could be hinged down to form a forward grip. "You only have to press the trigger and it shoots like a machinegun", I remember he saying.

And without any cerimony or other consideration my uncle told one of his son to out the machinegun in the car so they could take it home to the jungles of Mato Grosso. And I never saw or heard about that gun least until yesterday!

I stopped at Great Guns ( just to brouse on things that I don't need but couldn't live without and found an unfamiliar twenty-two rifle at the used gun rack. As I handled it and started to explore its operation I traveled back in time four decades to my first encounter with a "machinegun". Of course I could be mistaken, but I could not find an autoloading twenty-two with a hinged fore grip made by any company other than Mossberg.

The gun I had in my hands was a Mossberg Model 152, a semiautomatic 22 LR carbine, with 7 shot detachable box magazine and 18 inches barrel, weighting 5 pounds. The stock is Monte Carlo styled with a pistol grip and includes a forearm that hinges down to act like a hand grip, with sling mounted swivels mounted on the left side of the stock. The cocking know or charging handle acts as safety when the bolt is moved back less than a quarter of an inch and the know is depressed against a slot in the receiver, almost like the safety of a Sten Gun.

The Model 152 was made from 1948 to 1957 and as was common before the 1968 Gun Control Act, it has no serial number. Its successor, the very similar Model 352, was made from 1957 to 1959.

The early ones had wood forearms, later ones have black plastic.

This particular carbine has an S-106 Ramp Front Sight which has four reticules, thin, thick, pin and ball aperture. All reticles pivot on a shaft and can be easily selected by pressing a small latch in the front of the ramp (make sure that the gun is unloaded before switching front sights as you will have at least yor hand in front of the barrel).

The rear micro click S-130 peed sight mounts on the left side of the receiver with two screws and is fully adjustable. The graduations on the elevation and windage screw knobs with corresponding clicks, represent 1/2 minute adjustments, equivalent to 1/2" change of bullet impact at 100 yards, 1/4" at 50 yards or 1/8" at 25 yards.  It is well to remember to move the rear sight in the direction in which it is desired to move the bullet on the target.  If the bullet shoots low, raise the aperture by turning the elevation screw to the left, marked "up" on the elevation nut, or counter clockwise.  If the rifle shoots high, turn the elevation screw to the right, or clockwise.  If the rifle shoots to the left, move the aperture to the right by turning windage screw to the left, or counter clockwise.  If the rifle shoots to the right, move aperture to the left by turning windage screw to the right, or clockwise.

I believe that the sights alone set this little rifle (or carbine with you prefer) apart from the run of the mill guns, and if made nowadays the sights alone would be more expensive than the average current production twenty-two rifle.

Since yesterday I put almost ten rounds of Aguilla's Super Colibri's through my new Mossberg Model 152 (the Super Colibri will not cycle the semiautomatic action, but it is the only safe alternative for my basement range), and at thirty feet it has not yet missed an empty 12 gauge shot shell. I will have to bring this little carbine to Neverland to shoot "full power" loads and see how it works.

Am I one hundred percent certain that the 152 is the same model gun that my dad had and that was lost after I saw it for just a couple minutes forty years ago? No, not one hundred percent, but I am convinced enough to have this machinegun as connection to a very distant past.


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