Scoping a Romanian M69 22LR Trainer
I bought a Romanian M69 22LR Trainer for $100. My eyes are not what they used to be and I want the best possible group shots at 50 yards. I decided to drill and tap the rifle, for a scope. The receiver groves on top of my 1985 made M69 are not for scope rings. Many claim to have good luck with 22 scope rings that work. I decided to install a weaver scope base. I googled the internet for advice and encouragement.
I did not get much information other than:
- Don’t do it. Take it to a gun shop.
- Go for it. I did it.
I contacted two of the oldest gun shops in San Antonio for a drill and tap quote.
- Gun shop “A”, quoted they will drill, tap, install base, install rings, scope, and bore sight for a low $155.
- Gun shop “B”, quoted the same service for a bargain low price of $85.
I told them I would take the bare receiver barrel (disassembled) and all I wanted was drill and tap. Both gun shops refused.
I was discouraged by their response. There are a couple of other gun shops in San Antonio, but decided not to call.
I had to make a decision.
- Is the M69 worth investing $85 plus dollars?
- Can I do it?
I like working with my hands and like working with tools, so I decided to go for it.
The purpose of this write up is to provide information only and to share my failures and successes. I would not have attempted to do this if I was scoping a collector or an expensive rifle.
I don’t have a drill press but that’s OK. As I said, I like working with tools. This is a great excuse to buy a small drill press. Some people would say, “It would be cheaper to take it to a gun smith.”
I will not argue the point. My response to that would be, “It would be much cheaper to buy fish at a grocery store than buying a rod and reel, tackle box, bait, fishing license, spend money to drive to a river, lake or the coast.”
I have most of the tools for my drill and tap project. I've read on message boards many have been successful drilling the receiver with a hand drill. I was going to try it also but I've been wanting a small drill press so this was the perfect excuse to go and buy one.
- Harbor Freight Mini Drill Press— 5-Speed, 1/3 HP on sale ........................ $59.99
- Drill and Tap from Midway USA 6-48 Thread 6-48 Thread ...........................$9.49
- Center punch
I don’t know if all Romanian M69 trainers have the same receiver, but the top of the receiver on my 1985 M69 trainer is not flat. It is slightly rounded. It looks flat but it is not. I used a Ruger 10/22 1-piece scope base made by Leupold. The Leupold base is higher and allows the scope rings to sit higher than the standard Ruger base. The bottom is slightly rounded which is what I need for my 1985 made M69 trainer.
I bought a Leupold 1-Piece Scope Base Weaver-Style Ruger 10/22 Matte #56506 ....... $7.99
Note: If the top of the receiver, on my M69 trainer, were have been truly flat I would have used the following 1-piece scope base. The base uses slight larger screws and requires the 8-40 drill and tap set.
Weaver Top-Mount Scope Base #63B (has a flat base) .............................................. $6.79
Weaver Drill and Tap Set with #28 Drill and 8-40 Thread Tap ...................................... $9.29
I used a set of 1-inch high scope rings, I had in my goody spare parts box. I’m not sure of he brand. The rings worked, BUT when the bolt is moved rearward the bolt handle barely clears the rear scope ring. I have no problems cycling the bolt and rifle shoots great.
I will replace the rings with the following set. These scope rings have a slightly more narrow base and will not interfere with the bolt. (Weaver #49042)
Weaver-Style Rings Matte Extra-High ...................................................................... $18.99
Prepping the Receiver:
I removed the receiver/barrel from the stock then removed the bolt and trigger assembly.
I covered the area on the receiver where I planned to drill with “white-out”; the stuff you use on paper when you make a mistake. I used white-out so I could mark the receiver with a pencil.
I measured the width of the top and drew a line the length of the base with a pencil.
I placed the mount on the receiver and marked the holes. I used a center punch to mark the center of the holes.
After marking the holes I used my new drill press to drill out the holes.
I drilled the rear two holes thru the receiver.
The front two holes took more care drilling the holes. My enexpensive drill press has a dept stop to prevent from drilling too deep. I used one of the scope mount screws as a gauge. The screws that came with the Leupold 1-Piece Rifle Scope Base are short.
After drilling I tapped the hole using the 6-48 thread tap.
NOTE: If I had used a hand drill, I would have used paper white-out on the drill bit to mark how deep I would drill.
I removed the paper white-out using gun oil and rubbing with #0000 steel wood.I made sure I cleaned the holes and installed the scope base.
I installed the Leupold 1-Piece Rifle Scope Base (#56506) is designed for a Ruger 10/22. The scope base came with a set of hex screws. I can still use the iron sights with the scope base installed.
The Bushnell Banner Scope 4-12x 40mm AO barely clear the rear sight on the rifle. The Leupold base and the medium rings were gave enough height.
I have a Bushnell Banner Scope 4-12x 40mm Adjustable Objective on my Remington 581. I have been so impressed with the scope I ordered another one for my Romanian M69 Trainer.
Ted Mayo - August 31, 2010
There are, enough of these Romanian M1969 .22 cal rifles, out there that someone may find this information useful. First, I looked at what others have done. I didn't see anything that could be done without modifying the rifle in some way.
This is how I solved the over travel of the trigger. I made a small plate, the same width and shape of the plate that fits under the trigger guard. The length is the key to solving the over-travel. My finished length is just right to stop the trigger just after the sear releases. Yours may be a tad different, so make your plate a little long then little by little, shorten it, till it stops the trigger where you want it stopped. Go slow taking off metal, you can't put it back. I've included some pics. First without the over-travel stop, than with, than I peeled the parts off so you see how it all fits together. This worked for me. If you choose to try it, the good news is, no matter what, you are not going to mess up the rifle.
It's important to note, when you remove/return the action from the stock, you'll want to make sure the action is pushed to the rear while tightening the action screw, so the relative distance between the plate and the trigger remain the same. Of-course, this is good practice with any rifle.
I have been very pleased with my Romanian M69 Trainer. The rifle is not as refined as a CZ, Remington, Winchester, Savage, Marlin, or most of the other makes, but I really like the rifle. I don't know why. Maybe because it is a little rough and looks old military. I made the decision I would buy one or two more. I've also had great personal satisfaction working on the rifle. The investment is low so if I screwed up I will not cry too much.
The past six months I've visited gun shows and gun shops and have not been able to find another Romanian M69. Last month I went to a gun show at the San Antonio coliseum, on Saturday, and Yahoo! I found three M69 trainers. Two of the M69s looked used and a little neglected. One for $129 and the other for $139. The third M69 looked unfired. It had cusmolean residue all over the trigger, bolt, and receiver. The tag was $169. Since I paid $100 for my M69, I thought these rifles were selling a bit too high. I went home and figured I would sleep on it. I also visited a few gun forums and read that the Romanian M69 trainers were getting hard to find. The next day I decided to go back to the gun show and buy one of the M69s. I figured I could do a little haggling and get the rifle for $20 to $30 less.
The three M69 trainers were gone. I have no idea what they sold for. All I knew is that they were gone and my search for another M69 will continue.