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The life of a Cooper Rifle

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by HowieG, Dec 24, 2020.

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  1. HowieG

    HowieG Member

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    I picked up the Cooper M54 22/250 down in Cruces in November of 2011 when I was home for a few days from Iraq. It was my reward to myself for being shot at for an entire year and not dying. I was going to buy a red Corvette for $110,000, but after my wife told me she would break the car in, I changed my mind and got the rifle.

    Because of the vagaries of my nomadic existence the next few years, I didn't fire the gun much. It sat in the safe the entire year of 2012. I fired the first rounds through it on 3/5/13 and took it out for a total of five days that year. It certainly didn't meet my expectations for magical performance. It didn't leave the safe again until October of 2015, which is when I was forced to retire.

    Use in 2016 was fairly heavy as I took it out for a total of 17 days during the year. It sat out most of 2017 although I did take it out once in October. I took it out 7 days in 2019. It sat for most of 2020, and I just started working with it again this week.

    I now have 364 rounds through it by my records although a few went unaccounted for. Over 9 years. That's barely broke in in some circles.

    During my ownership, this rifle has been more like a project gun to me than a finely tuned custom instrument. I polished a ridged circle off from around the crown. Cases would stick in the chamber with moderate loads. I flex honed it for that. In 2016, it went back to Montana to have an ejection issue ironed out. On the periphery, my scope acted up and I sent it up to Leupold for a look see and repair. My original chronograph started going wonky, so my data got skewed. That took a while to recognize. It was only 25 years old after all....

    Suddenly, in December of 2019, the gun decided that it was finally broke in and had no more problems, and I finally figured out what made it tick and it started shooting. It is even apparently shooting the hated Hornady bullets now, by the looks of the last ladder tests I shot this week. Got to know how to hold them and how to load them. It took me a while to get the gear and gain the knowledge to load the match ammo tailored to what this gun likes.

    Now, maybe it will be the coyote gun I bought it to be in the first place. Has it been interesting? Yep. Worth the money? Nope, probably not.

    Cooper.jpg
     
  2. Ru4real

    Ru4real Member

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    Nice story and I’m glad you made it out alive.

    You have a fine, valuable Cooper rifle that’s still worth most of what you paid.

    That $110k Vette? Not so much, but I’m sure you know that. :)
     
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  3. mokin

    mokin Member

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    Nice story. I think you're better off with the rifle. Like someone else said, that rifle will depreciate a lot less than a car. Hopefully you can take your wife out and let her have some fun with it too. There is a lot of space to enjoy a flat shooting rifle in your part of the world.
     
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  4. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    Neat rifle and story.

    I never had much spare money while in the military because I....was an idiot.
     
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  5. HowieG

    HowieG Member

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    Oh I am sure the wild one I am married to would have wrapped the car around a pole in relatively short order.

    I am pretty sure the way guns are selling, that I could get more than I payed for it. Cooper is charging several hundred dollars more today than what I paid back in 2011. The Leupold VX II that's on it has also held value extremely well if Ebay is any indication.
     
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  6. HowieG

    HowieG Member

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    Most of us were idiots when we were young troops. Played too hard and drank to much. I still don't think I have much spare money.
     
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  7. HowieG

    HowieG Member

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    She has a rebuilt shoulder so she doesn't do rifles. She likes to kill golf balls with a revolver.

    This is my second 22-250. My first is an original Ruger M77V. Dogleg bolt and tang safety. Bought it back in 1973 for $170 dollars if memory serves. The owner's manual is 7 pages long and all of it is in English. Times have changed just a bit.
     
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2020
  8. Nature Boy
    • Contributing Member

    Nature Boy Contributing Member

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    Beautiful rifle Howie
     
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  9. HowieG

    HowieG Member

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    Thanks, brother. Nothing beats a nice wood stock. Nature's bounty. Apologies to the black rifle crowd of course.
     
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  10. 792mauser

    792mauser Member

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    Wonderful looking rifle.
    Glad ya made it home.

    Sometimes with a rifle, its all about the journey and not the result.

    Or sometimes the journey is short and angry and full of profanities to the pawn shop or lake.
     
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  11. MartinS

    MartinS Member

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    Good to see that photo, the real result of the qualities of patience and faithfulness of purpose. Or maybe you're just bullheaded. Whichever, well done and thanks for letting us in on it. If you have an adventure with it, come back
     
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  12. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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  13. HowieG

    HowieG Member

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    I had another adventure with a Savage 99 that had been someone else's project gun when I got it. I learned a lot working on that one, but we did not part as friends. Not impressed at all.
     
  14. HowieG

    HowieG Member

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    The stuff about Dan Cooper is true enough. Multiple sources reported on it at the time. Frankly, I am surprised they didn't have to change the name of the company after he was gone. We gun people are pretty darned intolerant at times. That kind of reminds me of the left. Being a gun guy and acting like an antigun guy is almost an unforgivable sin in the "WE LOVE GUNS" book. The same thing happened to Jim Zumbo in 2007 when he axe murdered his career by calling assault rifles terrorist weapons and saying they should by banned by hunting departments.
     
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  15. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    Did Dan Cooper go or did they just say he did?
     
  16. Sniper66

    Sniper66 Member

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    Hey HowieG, I admire your patience. A quality I have resolved to improve. However, my efforts are not working. Yours is a good story. Glad you finally have gun that shoots to your satisfaction. Ditching a gun is my historical reaction if it doesn't shoot. I've often come close to buying a Cooper, but have heard too many stories of disappointment. A guy at my range bought one with all the upgrades and the gun is truly gorgeous. BUT, shoots no better than guns costing much, much less.
    You appear to have skill along with patience and perseverance, which will be a useful assets in the gun business. Oh, and BTW, I've bought 2 used Anschutz rifles with no issues to be resolved.
     
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  17. mshootnit

    mshootnit Member

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    60 gr. partition. Knock em stem-windin', keep em down.
     
  18. HowieG

    HowieG Member

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    Happy New Year! Thanks for the admiration for my patience although I am not sure it's warranted. The key for me is if I like the gun or not. I have a Remington Mohawk 600 that I have been improving upon since 2005. I really like that gun for some reason. It carries nice. Over 15 years, I think I have figured it out...sort of. Other guns that I haven't liked that much haven't gotten that kind of love. As far as custom (or semi-custom) guns go, I think we spend the money on them for aesthetic reasons. Some things are just beautiful in their own right. Maybe they won't out shoot that out-of-the-box Savage, but they sure are better looking and they usually shoot just fine for ordinary uses. Less face it, most of us aren't going to shoot that trophy Egyptian Wombat at 1200 yards so having a gun that will do so is not really necessary.
     
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  19. MarshallDodge

    MarshallDodge Member

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    That's a beauty.

    Cooper makes stunning rifles and I hope I can find one someday in 223 for a reasonable price.
     
  20. HowieG

    HowieG Member

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    Good luck. Actually, there is a 223 on gunbroker right now for $1700. Is that reasonable?
     
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