Best overall trail .22 pistol


February 3, 2005, 12:29 AM
Looking for ideas for the best overall .22 trail pistol. Essentially, this would be a hiking, fishing, general outdoors recreation pistol for the pack. I'm interested in hearing your suggestions for the pistol with the best tradeoff between weight/length and accuracy, reliability and durability, fit and finish etc. etc. I've owned a Smith 317 2" but hated the reliability. I've owned a Ruger MKII 6" bull but hated the weight. What is left? What are your thoughts on the Sig Trailside? Help me out guys if you care to comment.


If you enjoyed reading about "Best overall trail .22 pistol" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
February 3, 2005, 12:59 AM
Ruger MkII 4 3/4" non-bull barrel. Fairly inexpensive, accurate, and upgradeable.

February 3, 2005, 01:34 AM
I would suggest a Ruger 22/45, with a Pac-lite upper reciever.

February 3, 2005, 05:01 AM
For field and stream, the Ruger 22/45 with stainless barrel in 4 3/4" length is likely the best compromise between size, weight, capacity, reliability, accuracy and being forgiving of the elements.

February 3, 2005, 07:25 AM
I've heard a shot-show report that S&W is reintroducing the model 63 (stainless jframe 'kit-gun') w/a 5" barrel and 8 shot capacity later this year. That'd be the trail/woods 22 to beat, IMHO.

February 3, 2005, 08:19 AM
Ruger SIngle Six or 22/45


February 3, 2005, 08:37 AM
Browning Buckmark Camper?

February 3, 2005, 08:48 AM
I favor the Ruger Single Six.

February 3, 2005, 09:00 AM
Thank you for the replies so far. Right now, I'm considering the following:

1. Wilson adjustable .22 conversion for my CQB
2. Sig 6" Trailside Target
3. Ruger Mark II or Mark III with 4"-5" Bull Barrel in stainless.

Anyone have experience with these? I love my Sig 228 but am hesitant to spend $400+ on a .22 backwoods gun even if it has a great fit and finish.

BTW, in typing my initial posting, I meant to say that I didn't like the 317 because of the accuracy, not the reliability. How the hell can a revolver not be reliable? Sorry for the late night rambling/typo.


February 3, 2005, 09:22 AM
I have both Ruger MKII and Single-Six. For Fun Gun Shootin', I like the Single-Six. That being said, if you are concerned about the elements, i.e. rain, getting spashed while fishing, etc. or want more than 6 rounds before a reload, I would say the MKII in stainless.

There is something about the new Ruger MKIII with that 'loaded chamber indicator' that bothers me...I haven't taken one apart, but it almost looks like the LCI is sitting on the rim of the 22 cartridge....NOT a good idea.

Nothing wrong with the Smiths or Brownings mentioned, I'm sort of a Ruger fan.

{Although my first .22 handgun was a previously owned 'pre-model number' S&W Kit Gun...maybe it was called the 22-32 Kit Gun}

February 3, 2005, 09:26 AM
You might try looking for a Smith and Wesson 622, adjustable sight 4" semi-auto.
Discontinued but not real hard to find on the used gun market.

SiG Trailside is made by Hammerli and would be a very decent choice too.

In my mind the option would go to the 422 just because it is less expensive and uses the same magazines as the S&W Model 41.
The magazines won't be any cheaper than the SiG magazines, just easier to find.

February 3, 2005, 10:05 AM
A Browning Buckmark or a S&W 617 in 4" would be my 1st choice. I think the Buckmark is a "best buy" in pistols.

Dave Markowitz
February 3, 2005, 10:09 AM
Ruger Single Six, stainless if it'll be in a really harsh environment.

Brian Williams
February 3, 2005, 10:24 AM
Find a S&W 35, 34, 43, or 63
I have a 35 and it is a 6" barreled J frame, light, accurate, No mag to get lost or bent.

February 3, 2005, 10:38 AM
Ruger Single Six SS

February 3, 2005, 11:47 AM
A used S&W M63 4".


February 3, 2005, 12:35 PM
I would not suggest a semi-auto for a trail gun.
If for some reason, you lose the magazine, you have a single shot. If that pistol has a magazine disconnect, you have a club.
A revolver is by far the better choice.
I'd suggest a double-action (easier to load, especially with HK speedloaders), adjustable sights and 4-inch barrel. Carry it in a shoulder holster with a thumb break, not a spring clamp, for greater security.
However, if you're carrying a small pack you'll have to carry it on your hip to avoid the pack straps. Or you can wear a small fanny pack on the front but this often gets aggravating as it wants to pull your pants down when used with a pack. Suspenders may help.
A revolver with function with all kinds of ammo: .22 BB, .22 CB, Shorts, Long, Long Rifles, Long Rifles with heavyweight bullets (Aguila makes `em) and so on.
Semi-auto .22 rimfires can be persnickety in their functioning. Know why John Browning invented the .25 Auto cartridge? Because he recognized that the .22 Rimfire with its comparatively large rim caused feeding problems. So, he created the .25 Auto and made it semi-rimless for better feeding. He wanted a round that would be very reliable, especially important in a last-ditch defensive gun.
Also, a revolver will tell you at a glance if it's loaded. With a semi-auto, you have to remove the magazine and pull back the slide to check.
Whichever type or brand you get, you should know that of all the cartridges out there, the .22 Rimfire is probably the most persnickety when it comes to preferences.
A brand that shoots well in one gun may be woefully inaccurate in another.
I have a Charter Arms Pathfinder .22 with 3 inch barrel and adjustable sights that proves this time and again. With CCI ammo groups are lousy. It improves a bit with Winchester. It clearly prefers Remington or Federal ammo.
After buying your .22 (rifle or pistol, by the way) you should buy a box of every kind of ammo you can find. Then fire at least 10 rounds at a REAL paper target (not a tin can or knot in a piece of scrap wood) from a benchrest at a measured distance.
I sight in my .22 pistols for 25 yards, my rifles at 50 yards, and always from a benchrest. When I find the best load, I stick to that.

February 3, 2005, 12:55 PM
How about a SP101 in .22LR???

Double action

February 3, 2005, 01:36 PM
ruger single six in stainless. converts .22lr to .22wmr easily, so one cylinder in the gun and one in the pocket has you covered just in case........... :-)

P. Plainsman
February 3, 2005, 02:39 PM
I really like the Buck Mark, but I too would lean to a stainless revolver for woodsy applications. Ruger Single Six is a classic. Haven't read the greatest things about the newfangled lightweight S&W 317s, which dovetails with your experience.

From the comments above:

I've heard a shot-show report that S&W is reintroducing the model 63 (stainless jframe 'kit-gun') w/a 5" barrel and 8 shot capacity later this year. That'd be the trail/woods 22 to beat, IMHO.

Sweet. As long as the trigger is decent and it looks like an old 63 (i.e. not some weirdly styled "revamp"), I'm sold.

Roland of Gilead
February 3, 2005, 03:00 PM
I personally chose a Ruger MkIII 512. However, I agree about a revolver being preferential due to reliability, ammo diversity. On that note:

H&R made a 9 shot double action revolver with various barrel lengths. I have shot a approx. 5" and approx. 9" revolver like this. Very accurate when shot SA, maybe not quite as accurate as a Ruger Mk or a Buckmark or Woodsman, but still plenty capable of popping bunnies at 100+ feet. I have seen used guns sell for less than $200, some for less than $150.

Steve F
February 3, 2005, 03:30 PM
What nero45acp said ;) S&W M63 4'',I picked one up for $100 :D

February 6, 2005, 10:50 AM
MTM 22 caliber ammo wallet. The first is my Ruger Bearcat in 22LR a neat little fast handling pistol and my Ruger Single six as well for a slightly heaver sixgun. For DA fans I have a 6 shot Stainless Rossi 511 and a blue Steel 9 shot Taurus model 94. Any one of these would be perfect for trail use and have been. The Ammo wallet(I carry shot loads, solids, and hollow points in there) carrys plenty of ammo for a day afield as long as a plinking sesion is'nt planned, if thats the case its easy to add 4 boxed of LRs to the fanny pack.

Highland Ranger
February 6, 2005, 10:58 AM
In order of preference for a trail plinker:

1. Stainless 22 revolver

2. Trailside or Buckmark

3. 1911 conversion kit (3rd, but may be first if you think about cost of holsters and accessories, plus you could carry the 45 slide barrel and ammo and have two guns at your disposal)

Not a fan of Ruger to begin with, but I have heard that thier quality on the MK series 22's has been spotty lately. They stand behind the product, but you may not get a good one on the first round.

February 6, 2005, 11:15 AM
My .22 trail gun is a Ruger 22/45 with the 4 inch bull barrel. Its light, accurate, reliable and a balst to shoot. I have a lot of other .22's, but that's the one that goes with me on my hikes in the woods. The other would be the standard Ruger MK II with the short tapered barrel. I have one, but its the Anniversary model, so its never been out of the box, and yes I'm tempted, but with so may other .22's...., but ya never know.

February 7, 2005, 09:06 AM
"What nero45acp said S&W M63 4'',I picked one up for $100"

There's gotta be a story there...

Any of the S&W J-frame .22s, esp. the alloy ones. I'd carry one in the pack for small game hunting, with a S&W M-329 on the belt or in a shoulder holster in bear country.

February 10, 2005, 12:12 PM
I must be getting old.
Perhaps it is because I have been Officially dubbed Grasshopper 1st Class by Old Fuff. <---inside joke. :D

I really like the .22 rim fire. I think they are a 'must have'. Inexpensive ammo, fun, accurate, everyone should have one.

I know the original thread asked about a .22 trail gun. I happen to agree with The K framed Model 18 and the J frame "kit guns". Single Sixes are good. I like the Semis...for some stuff and have my druthers there as well...

That said:

Get a Used Model 10 snubby and use for a trail gun. Yeah I know the .22 lr ctgs won't work in it...gotta use .38spls.


Finding a good DA Revolver , like and OLD Smith or Colt is damn near impossible, folks tend to hold on to these and when you do find one - expensive.

My Preference to teach new shooters with a .22 Revolver is known...and I catch hell for it.

Using a K frame [ Model 10] with light loads I can do the same thing. Granted the ammo is a bit more. I am more interested in Safety, Correct Basic Fundamentals than money.

The "best" all around is a 3" RB K frame...I mean concealed is concealed, whether CCW, trail, on a range out by yourself shooting other stuff, fishing...

Used Police trade in Med Frame 38spls by Smith, Colt, Ruger - Just work. From shotshell loads to target wadcutters, to something with a bit more punch.

State Regs require I use a Min of 4" of bbl to handgun hunt. Taken many critters handgun hunting with a dedicated .38spl like a model 10.

My model 64 3" RB HB has too....shush don't tell...stainless must make that bbl "look" shorter than it really is.... ;) :D

The cold weather makes a J frame model 37 taking rabbits look small too. :uhoh: :p

Think about it. A used dedicated .38spl.

Too many backpacks, boats, canoes, and fishing tackle boxes have proven its worth...

Black Majik
February 11, 2005, 04:25 AM
Get a 1911 with an alloy frame (like the Kimber tactical) and put on a Marvel .22 Kit on it.

Very light, accurate and its a 1911! Cocked and locked .22! :D

February 12, 2005, 08:11 AM
Why not a .22 magnum?

The Single Six comes with both .22 LR and .22 mag cylinders.
Then again the Bearcat is small enough.

Interesting thought on the old 38's though, have to contemplate that one awhile.


February 12, 2005, 10:30 AM
RE: .38spl.

Consider a new Ruger SP01 in .22lr is ~ $400 .

A good used medium frame dedicated .38spl can be found for ~ $200 and up. Depends on Brand , finish, wear...and how nice a gun in you want for the trail.

I was thinking of Police trade in Model 10's , 4" bbls for the ~$200 figure. Stainless will run more. .357s will run more...gets you into another area - kinda / sorta.

Just something to consider is all. Trail gun for the money and the flexibility.

I like .22 lr handguns. I have used for trial guns....but I had something bigger in the event I needed Enough Gun.

February 12, 2005, 12:47 PM
Anybody like the Walther? I haven't tried it but I sure like the looks of em.

February 12, 2005, 06:27 PM
4 inch S&W Model 34.

February 12, 2005, 09:56 PM
i've had a sig trailside for years and have been quite happy with it.

February 13, 2005, 12:47 AM
Ruger Single Six 6.5" Blued.

minnesota oldie
February 13, 2005, 02:01 AM
I have a 101,a buckmark, a Smith 617, a Smith 22A, a Berreta NEOS, a Smith 41, aSmith p99 and a sig trailside. The rest sit in the gun safe and I shoot the SIG.

February 13, 2005, 06:11 AM
I'm going to go with the 4" model 63. Accurate, handy not particular about ammo.

- Pat

If you enjoyed reading about "Best overall trail .22 pistol" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!