Remington has been through the wringer as of late. I love the history and the idea that Eliphalet Remington believed he could build a better gun than he could buy and started Remington Arms. As you probably know, he succeeded, and Remington went on to become one of the biggest American firearms companies. Unfortunately, after a rather tumultuous time under the ‘Freedom Group’ Remington went bust. However, somewhere in between their birth and bust, they created the Remington Speedmaster 241.
The Model 241 or Speedmaster 241 is a semi-automatic rimfire rifle designed by John Browning. Browning’s original design was called the SA-22, and the weapon was produced by FN Herstal. Browning’s SA-22 served as the first semi-auto rifle chambered in .22LR. Remington licensed the SA-22 and created the Model 24.
Remington’s Speedmaster 241 replaced the Model 24 in Remington’s lineup. The Model 24 was a bit dainty in design and delicate. The big difference is the 241 is a tougher rifle with a different barrel tightening method.
Remington began production in 1935, and the rifle was produced until 1951. The Speedmaster name came from the semi-auto design. The rifle came in .22 Long Rifle or .22 Short. This variant is the long rifle model.
Remington produced over 100,000 Speedmaster 241 rifles. Remington applied the Speedmaster title to the Model 552. When someone says Speedmaster, it’s wise to make sure you check the model number to make sure you’re on the same wave.
Remington Speedmaster 241
Breaking Down the Model 241
Rimfire rifles are often associated with kid’s rifles and plinkers. They are often made at a low price point. The Speedmaster 241 didn’t meet that definition. Remington produced an exquisite rimfire rifle built to last, clearly, since the one in my hand is from the 1930s. The rifle has a charm that comes from a mix of metal and wood, years of use, and gun oil that gives it a unique smell and feel.
Like almost all rimfire semi-auto guns, the gun uses a simple blowback action. In a .22LR, the blowback downsides aren’t really noticeable. Recoil will almost always be super soft and controllable. It’s also reliable and fairly simple and keeps the gun lightweight and simplistic.
Beyond being well made and blowback, the Speedmaster 241 is an odd duck, at least it’s odd compared to modern rimfire rifles. Like the SA-22 and the Model 24, the 241 is a takedown rifle. The barrel separates from the receiver with the press of a button and the twist of the barrel.
Unlike the SA-22 and Model 24, the Speedmaster 241 uses a different barrel tightening system. Remington went with a dual-sided nut sitting in the receiver of the gun. Adjusting this nut determines how tight the barrel will fit the receiver. Too loose, and you’ll have cycling issues. Too tight, and you’ll have a tough time removing the barrel. When you get it just right, you have good accuracy, reliable action, and an easy takedown.
It Gets Weirder
Oh, that’s not the only odd thing about the Speedmaster 241. We also get a very interesting magazine design. Is it a box mag? Nope. Is it a fixed tubular mag underneath the barrel? Nope. The 241 sports a tubular magazine in the stock of the rifle. Users twist a small tab and remove what’s essentially the magazine spring and drop rounds into the tube. Replace the tab and spring, and you’re ready to go.
This odd magazine gives the gun that sleek appearance. As does the charging handle. If you look at both sides of the gun, all you see is a sleek, slab side design. It’s beautiful. Browning placed the charging handle and ejection port on the bottom of the gun. A small tab allows you to ready the Speedmaster 241.
Overall the design of the little gun is downright gorgeous. It’s smooth, thin, and is best described as lithe. It’s really neat and a weird-looking weapon in this day and age. Not weird in a bad way, just odd and interesting.
While the weapon provides shooters with a lightweight rifle, it sure is a big one. It’s fit for adults, not for kids. The length of pull is fairly long, and the barrel is 24 inches long in total. It’s not a short and sweet carbine but a real rifle. The overall length is 41.5 inches, and for comparison, the M1 Garand is 43.5 inches overall.
At the Range With the Speedmaster
That long barrel gives the Speedmaster 241 a fairly long sight radius, but the accuracy is limited by the open sight design. The sights are fairly small, so you don’t get the speed of open sights or the precision of tang sights. I have a big head, and maybe that’s the reason I have a hard time getting a good sight picture. I feel like the comb is too high, and it’s hard to get behind the sights.
Once behind the sights, the rifle proves to be fairly accurate. Ringing the little 4-inch gong is easy because the small front sight makes it easy to see the smaller targets, plus that sight radius isn’t for nothing. You can put a lot of lead exactly where you want it with the Speedmaster 241.
If I needed to headshot rabbits or squirrels for stew, the little Speedmaster 241 wouldn’t be challenged in doing so. The trigger is very light, with a short travel that’s awfully sweet and likely worn in from the years of use.
Recoil is nothing. It’s light, sweet, and soft. Speedmaster works as a name because you can dispense lead quickly, accurately, and without control issues. No big surprise from a six-pound .22LR rifle.
Even after nearly 100 years of use, my old Speedmaster 241 worked like a clock. It went bang over and over without issue. I got a few fails to fire as you do with cheap, bulk .22LR ammo, but no other issues.
One small issue with bottom ejection is the fact the shells will be coming straight down. Smaller shooters will likely have their arm under the ejection port. It’s an easy way to get burned by hot casing if one gets stuck on your arm. Avoid that, and you’ll be good to go.
The Speedmaster 241 is an awesome rifle that holds up after decades of use. It’s impressive how long these old guns keep kicking. Do they make them like they used to? I can’t answer for sure, and maybe it’s survivorship bias, but damn, it doesn’t seem like it.