The latest version of the Chinese Norinco, the Puma Hunter, has received an upgrade with better finished stock and bluing.
Norinco rimfire rifles are made for plinking and small game hunting, not as a showpiece for the gun room. Initially characterized as being utilitarian and rather crudely made, they nevertheless turned out to be robust, reliable and accurate. The Puma Hunter is a classic bolt-action rifle made in China, but marked on the receiver “Puma Rifles Hunter .22LR”, the hardwood stock is stained to give the wood a walnut-like appearance. It’s innocent of any checkering and the comb appears to have a bit too much drop at heel. Evidently, it was designed for use with iron sights, but in this respect it’s no worse than my old Brno Model 2, and I don’t have any trouble using both rifles with a scope.
Highland Sports attached a Nikko Stirling Mountmaster 4x42 AO scope in high rings which just cleared the rear sight. I checked if it would be possible to fit a scope with lower rings, but the bolt handle wouldn’t have cleared the eyepiece. However, the rifle balanced well and handled responsively. The forend is well proportioned and rounded to fit comfortably in the hand and the grip is slim and nicely curved. The grip cap and buttplate are black plastic and a pair of fixed sling swivels are fitted. All things considered, there’s little to criticize about this budgetary rimfire.
It’s well known that the JW15 action is a “poor man’s” copy of the Brno (CZ 452) action and has most of the desirable features of the Czech rifle. It cocks half on the uplift and half on the down turn of the bolt, and has dual locking lugs. The root of the bolt handle engages a notch in the receiver and a second lug on the left side of the bolt sleeve engages a matching recess in the left side of the receiver, forming a very uniform locking system. Bolt travel is smooth enough and while the Puma is a relatively cheap gun, it is sturdy and businesslike being constructed of high quality materials in the traditional way.
This story was first published in the March 2012 issue of Sporting Shooter > March 2012.
Letters to this department reveal that one of the more serious problems that handloaders have to contend with is case separations. I’ve often detailed how to set the full-length sizing die and devoted a chapter to describing headspace in the 9th edition of my Practical Reloading Manual. But how is headspace actually determined?