EAA Bounty Hunter .22lr/.22Magnum
A few years back my brother worked a nifty deal with an elderly land owner. This old guy had this BEAUTIFUL waterfront property out on Hood Canal. It was about 30 acres of private wooded gorge and hill forest winding down to a cleared section of low bank waterfront with an old 1920's-ish delapidated house down there. It had once been a vacation get-away for some rich shipping tycoon from the East, and there had originally been several outbuildings as well, but they were all fully or mostly gone by this time. Anyway, the old fellow agreed to let my brother use the place as a picnic get-away, and a place to camp, and harvest oysters and clams, etc. In other words, my brother got to utilize the full merits of this wonderful paradise without paying a penny for it. All he had to do to earn this duty, was clear some brush, and keep the road clear of fallen trees. In other words, a very light caretaker.
This arrangement went on for some time, and was mutually beneficial for everyone. Being brothers, it didn't take long for me to ask him if I could get in on this deal. He checked it out with the property owner, and he had no problem with it as long as we respected the place, and worked to keep it clean.
One weekend I was down there with a woman I was "dating", and we found this wonderfully big Cougar track right there on the beach. This place was secluded and right in the shadows of the Olympics, so it really wasn't too surprising to find it, I just never thought of a cougar in the area while we were there. It was a fresh track too as it was below the high tide mark on an outgoing tide which wasn't too far below the tracks. Kitty had definitely been close to us, both geographically and temporally.
This served as an excellent excuse to buy a new handgun. Never mind that I had plenty already. You just can't have enough. I made up my mind right there on the beach that I needed a .22magnum to carry around when ever I traipsed into the woodlands. I went back home and priced the varied examples from the different manufacturers and realized these things weren't as cheap as I thought they'd be.
There was a gun show that weekend, and I headed out to search for various wants and desires. Then I found this pistol. It was one of the ones I had read about, and seemed to fit the bill nicely. It was full sized, had the proper balance and heft, came with both a .22lr and a .22magnum cylinder, and was priced right. I bought it and hauled it home. I took it out shooting the next day and was quite satisfied with its performance.
Deercamp came a couple months later and I drug the little pistol along for any plinking I might need to do up there. An occasion presented itself and I shot it, and let several friends shoot it. Everybody was impressed until I went to eject some spent shells and the ejector lever broke off in my hand with minimal force. I was shocked. It was made out of some sort of cheap cast iron or something and just broke right off. All my pals laughed. That stung. I went home and wrote a letter to EAA and they sent me a new one right away. However it broke within a month as well. Then part of the internal cocking mechanism broke. I was getting pretty pissed now. I swore off EAA and went and ordered equivalent parts from Cimarron. The Italian parts needed a little filing here and there, but fit without too much hassle, and have worked perfectly ever since. Needless to say, I never carried it as a defensive arm again. Total cost of repairs was about $30.00 retail. You can't tell me that EAA couldn't have put higher grade parts in there and raised the price point a little to make a better firearm. Let's see, I think I paid about $225 for this piece of crap. If they had used better grade components and charged $250, or even $275, I would have bought it, and saved myself lots of grief, had a fine little pistol, and spared them the last ten years of me telling this story. Let that be a lesson!
After replacing the ejector lever and cylinder stop with the Italian parts, it's been a dandy little pistol. It shoots well, is reasonably accurate, and has been quite reliable...after that servicing. Would I recommend it? Not for what I paid. If you could find one for $150 - $175 it might not be a bad deal, but considering I bought it to fight off giant cougars, and spent the extra $100 over the bargain basement pieces of junk anticipating better quality and reliability, I think the money might be better spent on something with a little better track record. As for the cougar? Never ran into him again, which is nice for both of us, because I'm not sure what I was thinking about engaging an apex preditor with a .22 when I have so many more efficient choices.
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