My eight year-old daughter had never fired a (non-Nerf, non-water) gun before today. She’s expressed interest in shooting before, but she’s so petite that any standard or ‘youth model’ rifle was far too long for her to shoot even from a bench. I recently picked up an ATI VK-22, a mil-spec AR lower mated to a .22lr flattop upper, and we discovered that it fits her arms perfectly when the stock is fully collapsed. This morning I gave her the gun safety lecture for the umpteenth time and then hovered behind her as she diligently blasted tin cans at ten yards. And then the rifle’s bolt carrier tore itself to pieces.
My daughter was wearing hearing protection and a brand-new pair of safety goggles, but there was no explosion or hot gasses or (thank God) anything else to hurt her or frighten her away from the sport forever. The rifle simply stopped firing, and when I pulled the bolt my wife noticed that a big piece of it had fallen out of the receiver.
I’d taken a picture of it just yesterday, so I’ve got some pretty stark ‘before and after’ pictures to compare.
This is what the bolt assembly is supposed to look like.
Even though my daughter walked away from this merely puzzled and frustrated instead of injured or terrified, I still feel bad for her. She’d been shooting amazingly well for a first-timer (gotta love red dot sights) but the VK-22 was the only rifle I’ve got that even remotely fits her; her shooting day was over.
And aside from that, what are the odds of a brand-new rifle, and a .22 at that, tearing itself apart after only 250 rounds? I’ve already contacted the manufacturer, so watch this space for more details and (eventually) a full review of the VK-22.
It was running great while it was running.