Petzal: On Barrel Life and Women Shooters

In 1988 I got a varmint rifle from Ultra Light Arms in .22/250 with a stainless barrel. I shot it at groundhogs, and prairie dogs, and tested ammo with it, and I noticed recently that it was not grouping as it had. My best loads when the gun was new went into .365 (five-shot groups at 100 yards) and now about the best it would do was .650 and change. So I stuck in the borescope and beheld a scene of horror. The bore was alligatored right up to the muzzle. So it is at the gunsmith now, where it will get a new Hart implant. But 21 years and God knows how many rounds is not bad. Take care of them and they last a long time.

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I've long believed that women make better rifle shots than men, and learn faster, and in the past two weeks I got a demonstration of that. Two weeks apart, I pulled targets for a Ladies' Day match, and then for a Father/Son shoot. It was all .22 rimfire, prone, at bull's-eye targets. The ages of the boys ran from 12 to 18, and the ladies, 12 to 40 plus. Having scored every one of the targets, I can tell you that the ladies outshot the boys by a mile. Oh my goodness, it was not even close, even allowing for the fact that some of the women had been at it for years. And one of the two best women's scores--a possible by 4X--was shot by a girl who had never picked up a rifle before.