Whenever I handle an old gun — and I mean an old gun — I wonder what firearms I’ll leave to my kids and grandkids. Will they have the same charm and unique nature as a truly old gun? How cool is an AR when there are tens of millions of them?
I don’t think an in herited AR will have the same kind of old school cool as the Remington 241 Speedmaster. The 241 is a John Moses Browning design, and the Browning SA-22, which is still sold, is nearly identical to it. This rimfire rifle is chambered in .22 LR and is a semi-automatic design.
The 241 replaced the older Browning-designed Model 24 and was considered an improved variant. It also accommodated more cartridges than .22 Short. Over 100,000 rifles were produced, and this particular model was built in 1936.
Believe it or not, the Remington 241 saw some military service. Sort of, anyway. Remington sold several thousand rifles to the military as training rifles during World War II.
This particular model belongs to my girlfriend’s 99-year-old grandfather, and it needed a good cleaning, oiling, and some love to get it back into fighting shape. The top photo shows the owner’s great-granddaughter holding it.
The rifle had gained a level of surface rust, and a gooey combination of gun oil and thick dust was gumming up the action. When I received the Remington 241, the trigger, charging handle, takedown nut, and safety were all stiff and hard to move. With some Hoppe’s No. 9, some very fine steel wool, an AP brush, and an old T-shirt, I dedicated an afternoon to cleaning and learning about the Remington 241 Speedmaster.
Remington 241 Breakdown
As the words ‘takedown nut’ reveal, this is a takedown rifle, as are the Browning SA-22 designs. The big difference between the two rifles is how you adjust the barrels to fit with the receiver. These devices are necessary due to the takedown design.
The Browning design used an adjusting ring at the base of the barrel. The Remington 241 uses a double-sided nut. This particular model had a nice tight fit, so I left the screw well enough alone. I’ve messed up plenty of good things trying to make them better.
To take down the Model 241, you pull a tab down and twist the barrel and forend. It pops right off. Well, it pops right off now. After some oil and scrubbing, it’s relatively smooth and pops on and off with ease.
The same could be said for the takedown nut. It hardly moved and took a lot of force, oil, and work to loosen it up.
The Rimfire Remington
The Remington Model 241 was produced in both .22 LR and .22 Short. This example is a long rifle variant. The design is slick and slim and it’s hard not to be charmed by it.
There is no side charging handle or ejection port, and no beneath-the-barrel tube magazine. The rifle is very smooth. The charging handle is more of a tab and is placed at the bottom of the receiver.
This area is also the ejection port. The magazine tube sits inside the stock, and you load the gun through the stock. The rifle can hold ten rounds of .22 LR.
The 241 is very slim and weighs a mere six pounds. Admittedly you can make a .22 LR rifle lighter, and many have, but old school cool means old school weight. Real wood and a conspicuous lack of polymer mean the gun feels very gun-like.
The real wood stock and forend feel, look and even smell good. Years of oil, use, and love have given the rifle’s furniture a distinct patina of scratches gouges that give it a certain charm. This is no plasterboard stock we see on cheap “wood stocked” guns today. This is real wood, and you can feel the difference.
The Speedmaster’s barrel is quite long at 23.5 inches, and it gives you a nice long sight radius. The Remington 241 is topped with a set of open iron sights and a very fine and thin front sight. There doesn’t seem to be a means to attach an optic, and I would consider no such action even if there were. The sights aren’t exactly the high visibility, quick-on-target sights you’d want on a combat rifle. They are small, thin, and perfect for precise plinking shots.
Bootin’, Scootin’, and Shootin’
Speaking of shooting, the gun functioned perfectly. The semi-automatic action cycled through all ten rounds as fast as I could squeeze the trigger. In short, the gun lived up to its Speedmaster name.
While it seems silly during an ammo drought to waste gun food, you only live once, and I knew my time with the Remington 241 Speedmaster would be short. I fired nearly an entire box of Federal Automatch, and the gun worked without issue.
As you’d imagine, this sleek rifle handles like a kitten. Recoil and muzzle rise were that of any .22 LR. The sights are small, but they make it easy to hit your target. I popped off at paper targets, steel targets, and, of course, soda cans. The little Remington 241 proved to be plenty accurate, and I felt even better about leaving the adjustment nut alone.
The length of pull feels a bit long compared to most .22 LR rifles, and it’s about 13.5 inches long. The forend feels short, as I’m used to a more forward grip. However, as a .22 LR, none of these problems are real issues. The gun is effortlessly shootable and a lot of fun on the range. Loading is simple, and the tab charging device is odd but usable.
The Remington 241 would most certainly bring home plenty of small game to a hungry family, train kids how to shoot, and is an excellent working gun. I love old guns and my time on the range with this one. It’s easy to say Remington sucks these days, but it’s a lot harder to say anything bad about a Remington rifle built circa 1936.