Badger M22 Bullpup Stock for Marlin Rimfire Rifles
Oleg Volk 11.17.14
What do the Marlin 60 (above) and Marlin 795LTR (below) have in common?
They are both accurate rifles that require a bit of effort to hold steady due to their length. Recently, I had a chance to play with a very odd-looking bullpup conversion stock that converts either of these rifles or the take-down Pappoose carbine into a bullpup. I asked the rifle’s owner, Brian Smith of Homeland Guns in Ohio, to lend it to me for a review.
Before attaching the stock, Brian had the barrel shortened sightly, moved the front sight, and threaded the muzzle. The rifle is usable with the included iron sights, but the open rear sight is too close to the eye. If iron sights are your preference, use the excellent Tech Sight solution.
I preferred to use the optional optic mount that replaces the rear sight and installed a basic Primary Arms MD06 red dot sight. It also allowed a slightly more comfortable cheek weld. A Gemtech 22wmr suppressor I had on hand completed the assembly. In the future, I will add a light and a laser to the side rails.
The trigger is surprisingly decent, basically unchanged from the stock rifle. The cheek weld looks awkward but feels comfortable. Most importantly, the rifle is supported at the front as well as at the back, and so doesn’t wobble. So it is possible to shoot the rifle to the limit of its mechanical accuracy.
I tried it indoors with my elbows rested on a bench. CCI Mini-Mag HP ammunition gave a 1/2″ 5-shot groups at 25 yards. Gemtech subsonics cycled reliably and yielded 1/3″ 5-shot groups. After about 150 rounds, the rifle got dirty enough that only supersonics would cycle. After 200, it needed cleaning. With the suppressor increasing the amount of blowback, that’s not unusual.
Most surprisingly, the rifle remained as accurate off the bench. My model and I tried it at 150 yards from a “rice paddy” squat on a half-size steel silhouette and found that we hit with almost every shot with either ammunition. With 50 yard zero, subsonics required “top of the head” hold to hit upper chest at 150. Another friend stopped by, a three gun competitor. He did the same thing standing. Later, my model’s boyfriend showed up. Although a new shooter, he was able to do routine hits from standing on the same steel plate at 75 yards.
He shot the rifle left-handed, illustrating why the ejecting empties didn’t bother him. Between the unusual head position and the charging handle acting as a brass deflector, no casings came anywhere near his face.
The grip of the kit has space for a spare magazine so you can carry 20 rounds within the gun. Because of my experience with Keltec CMR30 and the Walther .22 Uzi, I kept trying to “load” the pistol grip. The buttplate snaps off to reveal a storage compartment for cleaning materials or more ammunition. Even though I am lukewarm on the 750 in stock configuration, the bullpup was so much fun that I wanted it for myself and convinced Brian to sell me his. If you want one of your own, quite a few options exist.
The black kit from Homeland Guns is only $99. Green and Pink kits are $115. All kits come with printed assembly instructions and a DVD, two side rails, and two sling mounts. The optic rail is just $15. If you prefer not to mess with the assembly process, a new Marlin 795 with Black kit is $279. Stainless 795 with Black kit is $339 (add $15 for Green or Pink kit). Marlin 60 in black is $309, stainless $369. Again, add $15 for Green or Pink kit. For comparison, the ZK-22 (Red Jacket) and the 90/22 (High Tower Armory) kits sell for about $300 without a rifle.