Although intended for adults (It’s right there in the name), I got my Chipmunk Adult Hunter pistol with kids in mind. This single shot, bolt action .22 rimfire from Keystone Sporting Arms is a great trainer. First, it’s inexpensive to shoot, accepting .22 short, .22 long, and .22 long rifle ammo. Next, it’s very safe in its operation. No magazine, each round is loaded one at a time. After closing the bolt, it’s a second operation to cock the firing pin. Third, unlike some semi-autos, it requires very little hand strength. And with all this simplicity comes a nice set of Williams Fire Sights fiber optic sights. Oh, and I paid about $200 for it. What more could you want for introducing kids to recreational shooting?
The Crickett Alloy® Model 6061™ Rifle Chassis!
Yes, a tiny chassis for a bolt action rimfire pistol or rifle. It’s anodized 6061-T6 aluminum, as the name implies. It works with their pistols or rifles, left or right hand bolt. So even wrong-handed shooters can use it. And as far as customization goes, it accepts a standard AR-style receiver extension (buffer tube) along with AR-style grips. As long as the grip doesn’t have a beaver tail. In my case, a sharp knife solved that problem. Keystone even tapped and threaded it for the polymer Magpul MOE rail sections. Both sides, and the underside. Lights, lasers, bipods, and rocket launchers can all be mounted with ease.
The correct answer is probably “Why not?”, but there is more to it. As much as I like the factory walnut furniture, it’s actually small for my hands, and probably big for little kid hands. And the wood furniture does not come with a bipod stud. Yeah, I know it’s no trouble to add one, but compared to this project, where’s the fun in that? Also, I am known for having fun with all sorts of custom projects, and I would hate for my nieces, nephews, and my friend’s kids to miss out on that.
Is a pistol safe for little kids?
Statistically, I’m sure shooting this pistol is far safer than giving your kid a bath. Or having them as a passenger in your car. From the factory, it has an overall length of 17.5 inches. That includes a 10.5 inch threaded barrel. This isn’t something that’s easily swung around and pointed in the wrong direction. Being a single shot bolt action as opposed to an auto-loader, it’s theoretically less likely to be unintentionally loaded too. Probably the biggest contributor to safety is that we have two adults per child shooter. That’s two adults well versed in firearms safety.
Did you say threaded?
Yes. Yes I did. Threaded for a muzzle device. Maybe a brake, to tame the massive recoil of those 29 grain CCI shorts. Are you being trolled? Yes. Yes again. Threaded for a suppressor! Because if you’re introducing someone to shooting for the first time, regardless of age, nothing beats a suppressed .22 rimfire. And with the extra six inches for the suppressor it will be wearing, it’s practically as long as some rifles. Which is also a bit of a safety bonus. I always bring some other pistols and rifles, but for the little shooters, this is the way.
Back to that chassis. Here’s the build:
A single screw is all that needs to removed to free the Chipmunk Adult Hunter barreled action from the factory stock. It should go without saying that before doing so, check the chamber to make sure it’s free of a loaded round. Then just leave the bolt open. Unscrew, drop in chassis, screw. Done. Sort of. Run to ACE Hardware for some 10-24 x 1/2″ screws to mount the rail section I found in my spare parts box. Mount UTG TL-BP78Q Picatinny bipod with quick release. This is the 5.9″-7.3″ model. Heck, it even offers a few degrees of swivel.
Being a pistol, we can’t mount a stock. Well, I’m not building a two-stamp Crickett. No offense to Keystone, but I have my limits. So back to the spares box. SB Tactical FS1913? How to mount it though? There’s a “Problem solver” adapter for this exact situation. Thread that into the back of the chassis, tighten it down, and attach the brace. Things are really coming along now. Ergo grips are kinda smallish. Dig one out, cut off the beaver tail, and attach that next. Done! Oh, and the grip might actually be used for Skittles storage in this case.
Dr. Frankenstein would be proud
Let’s take a moment to add this up. If my wife is reading this, know that everything was donated by various companies. Maybe. Base Chipmunk Adult Hunter was $200. Brace has an MSRP of $199, but we know you can find them for $159. Chassis retails for $99. MCX/MPX adapter is another $55. And I only paid $30 for the bipod. Don’t even know where the grip came from. So the total is only… Well, never mind the total. Teaching kids marksmanship, safety, and responsibility is priceless. Or around $550 in this case. Round up to the nearest $1,000 when including the suppressor. Then add the cost of the stamp.
Thoughts on this project
At full retail, and with the suppressor, this is basically a $1,200+ single shot rimfire. So am I suggesting that parents build one for their kids? Nope. Sure, if you have the means, do it. Or even put something together with whatever parts you have lying around. Anything that allows you to safely teach new shooters is fine in my book. This was just meant as a fun project. And to anyone that might question the functionality, don’t worry. The chassis angles down just perfectly in the back. With the brace, it’s easy to get a cheek weld and line up the really bright fiber optic sights. The Chipmunk Adult Hunter performed admirably all summer in its original configuration. As soon as it warms up a bit, we’ll go test out the new layout. It should be better for kids shooting off the table now.
I’d like to acknowledge Keystone Sporting Arms for offering a line of reliable and affordable firearms that make is easy to get involved in the sport. And I’d like to thank them for providing their Crickett Alloy® Model 6061™ Rifle Chassis for this project. It’s going to be used by plenty of new shooters. Ideally, we’ll find a sweet deal on one of their rifles, and use the chassis to create a fully adjustable rifle that can be sized for smaller shooters as well.