To gun collectors, .22-calibre rifles are fascinating yet still fairly inexpensive to acquire. As a baby boomer, I especially like the models from my youth, and a good example is this Mossberg 142-A. When I was a kid, Mossbergs with a folding-down forearm were considered very cool indeed.
Manufactured from 1949 to 1957, the Model 142-A is a bolt-action rifle with a detachable, seven-shot magazine that accepts .22 short, long and long-rifle cartridges. It seems to have been somewhat influenced in design by the M1 Carbine, as it has an 18-inch barrel, aperture rear sight, winged protective front sight and sling swivels on the left side of the stock. This is an early-production model with a wooden folding forearm; later models had the folding section made of black plastic.
Like most Mossberg firearms, this isn’t a fancy, highly polished rifle. It is, however, well made using quality materials, as are all Mossbergs. This rifle has served three generations of the same family, both on the farm for pest control and for hunting small game. It has been reliable for going on 70 years, and it’s still regularly used. The value of a Model 142-A in this condition is $150 to $200; if it were in near-new condition, the value would be $350 to $400.