Choosing a .22 Autoloader


March 7, 2007, 01:08 AM
I'm looking for a little insight regarding .22 autoloaders. I want to introduce my kids to handguns in a safe an simple manner. This is to reduce if not remove the fear and social stigma that the public schools and others have been pushing. I have been doing quite a bit of looking, probably to much, at .22 autoloaders. I'm dealing with 8, 10 & 13 year olds, so size and weight of the firearm are points of concern. Also, two are left handed and one is right handed, if this makes a difference. This is not meant to be a serious target shooter, but rather a "plinker" that is a fun learning tool that is easy to maintain. I have looked seriously at the Walther P22 due to its grip size and weight. The local dealers have told me that early on this gun had some bugs, but they have all been resolved. I have also recently come across the Beretta Neo which is very cool looking and has a nice sized grip, however it is quite a bit heavier. The Buckmark, MarkIII, Sig trailside & misquito grips are to large for the kids in my opinion. Are there other's that I should be looking at? If anyone has experience with both the P22 and the Neo I would be very interested in your findings.

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March 7, 2007, 01:26 AM
Hello, and WELCOME TO THR! :D

I think it's great what you're doing. Dunno much about .22 autos with smaller sized grips--wish I could help you there, but I can't. I've only owned the Ruger 22/45, Sig Trailside, and CZ Kadet, and they're all fantastic shooters.

Why not a revolver? Fairly straightforward operation, available with smaller frames and grips, and great teaching tools (you can load every other cylinder to test for flinch).

Anyways, good luck in your search. Can't wait til my two year old is old enough! :)

Ragnar Danneskjold
March 7, 2007, 01:45 AM
I've got a P22, and have put about 2500 rounds through it of varying brands and types, and they have all worked fine. I used mostly the bulk Federal Classics from walmart. I would call my P22 very reliable and a lot of fun to shoot. I know others have had issues with certain types of ammo. If you do get one, buy a couple 50rd packs of a bunch of different brands and try them out to see what works best.

And no matter what others tell you the P22 itself is not "crap" or "junk". Yeah some people had some issues in the past, but that's mostly due to ammo choice. and there are just as many people, like me, who's P22s have worked great.

March 7, 2007, 01:51 AM
While at first glance the P22 would seem to be the best as far as size, I just can't get past all of the bad things i've heard about the gun.

I would go for a Ruger 22/45, then they'll be ready to step up to a real 1911 down the road.:D

March 7, 2007, 02:09 AM
Out of the two I prefer the P22 because it looks more like a "real" gun. Most of the problems I have seen with the P22 are ammo related. For whatever reason the Remington bulk ammo seems to cause more problems than other types I've tried. I have not had any problems using CCI Minimags or Federal bulk packs.

March 7, 2007, 09:30 AM
I can only tell you of my experience.

The P22 I purchased is long gone, because____

It was too ammo sensitve for my taste.

Accuracy was mediocre at best.

The front end was constantly loosening up.

It just felt more like a toy than a gun in my hand.

Northslope Nimrod
March 7, 2007, 11:07 AM
I have these:
1. P22 - Fun great....but not built to last forever IMHO. I had a hammer spring break but S&W fixed it within 10 cost...not even shipping. It is quite loud.

2. Buckmark Micro - Should work with small hands fine. Great shooter. Not that heavy.

For kids, I like LONGER BARRELS. The shorter the barrel, the more likely they are to point it in an unsafe direction. Even three inches makes a difference in my opinion.

I think a slightly heavier gun will be more pleasant for them to shoot. Check out the smaller Brownings.

Claude Clay
March 7, 2007, 11:30 AM
S & W 422 adjustible rear sight, 6 inch , shares mags w/ the model 41 , standard or light weight & around $200 used in vg condition. very well made & accurate. also 4 inch but i like 6 for the longer sight line.

March 7, 2007, 12:48 PM
I just bought a P22, and I love it. About 500 rounds through it with CCI Minimags and Remington Golden bullets, no problems at all. I currently open carry it until I can get a bigger gun in the fall (I know, you shouldn't use .22 for SD, blah blah blah). It accurately reflects in function many normal centerfire autoloaders. I don't think it's very loud, but my last gun was a ported XD-9 (huge difference when I went shooting with the guy I sold it to).

As for accuracy, I'm sure it's not as great as the Mark III or Buckmark, but it was pretty good for me. I hit paper pretty decently at 15 yards (I'm still not a great shot, so I think it comes down more to shooter error).

The P-22 also has many accessories, like the optional 5" barrel, the laser, two different types of mags (one regular, one pinky extension), and a scope mount. The fobus holster's pretty good for it too, which I use, and it has retention.

I can't say if it's the best for kids, because neither of my two daughters are old enough to shoot. So I have no experience in that aspect. But if you do get a P-22, use high velocity ammo only.

March 7, 2007, 01:48 PM
I would recommend a short barreled Ruger 22/45 (light weight and there is one with fixed sights) or a short barrel buckmark. Kids grow up fast and they will want something that lasts and that they can grow into. Also, it will get used alot, which is great, so you want it to hold up and kids can be rough on guns. Also they will get discouraged if it is a jam o matic.

Nomad, 2nd
March 7, 2007, 02:01 PM
Revolver... Ruger Bearcat.

Ideal size.

March 7, 2007, 02:28 PM
I taught my son with one of these.......and I still have it but I may give it to my son as I now have 4 grandkids that will learn to shoot when they are old enough.

March 7, 2007, 02:33 PM
I really like the Buckmark or 22/45. I don't yet own one, but it's on my list. I currently own a S&W 22A (I had to choose between the BM and the SW and I wanted the rail) and I've had endless problems with it, none of which I could fix myself (for example the firing pin is only replaceable at the factory). I know for a fact that the Buckmark is easily serviceable. Most .22 Pistols aren't built to last, so serviceability is my only real gripe...

March 7, 2007, 02:37 PM
I've fired a friend's P22 extensively. Even though I was prejudiced against the thing - I hate plastic, it's ugly and feels like a toy, semi-auto .22's are generally of dubious reliability - I wound up loving it. Total reliability, good accuracy, nice trigger, fits all sorts of hands, excellent sights, and absolutely fun to shoot - a perfect starter gun, if you monitor the kids carefully. The comment about about short barrels, especially on lightweight "toy" guns, has to be taken seriously.

March 7, 2007, 02:42 PM
I think thats great.

I would suggest starting them on air rifle to teach them basic safety and fundamentals like sight alignment and trigger pull.

Once they master the fundamentals, try air pistol.

Once they are able to master holding a pistol without the recoil you can try them on the .22 pistol and or rifle.

March 7, 2007, 03:24 PM
Check out the Olympic Arms Whitney Wolverine if you can find one in your area.

I have an original in Nickel from the 50's and they are very cool guns - way before their time, should have a nice WOW factor with your children. Plus they are light weight and with a nice sized frame.

Aside from that maybe you could consider a Ruger Single Six. I know it's a revolver but it will be more lefty friendly, cannot be fired without pulling the hammer back first and has the Cowboy factor going for it if your kids like that kind of thing. When they are ready to graduate to a little higher performance you can keep the same gun and change it over to .22 magnum for free.

March 7, 2007, 03:56 PM
Have you thought of involving your kids in the decision? They might tend to be more interested in it if they help pick it out.

Are you planning on taking all three shooting at the same time? If so you may want to invest in a second pistol in order to decrease the down time for the ones not shooting as their attention may wander more (and they may become bored with the idea quicker) if they're spending most of the time not shooting.

March 7, 2007, 04:37 PM
I love my P22. Over 1000 rds in 3 months, and no issues using bulk Federal ammo. It has many of the same features as other semi-autos. The only thing I don't like about it is the magazine disconnect, which could potentially lead to bad safety habits.

At approx. $250, it's similar in price to the Ruger MKIII and Browning Buckmark, both of which are fine choices as well.

I have a big smile on my face every time I use it. I just shot a steel plate match this past weekend with mine, and it performed perfectly.

March 7, 2007, 06:29 PM
At approx. $250, it's similar in price to the Ruger MKIII and Browning Buckmark, both of which are fine choices as well.

Having never owned a Buckmark, I can't voice an opinion on it, but I have however owned two Ruger pistols and a P22 and I can say from experience that the P22 is no Ruger.

March 7, 2007, 07:36 PM
I can see why you're thinking of the P22 for kids, it's grip size is definitely "kid-friendly" but was too small for me (I'm not a kid.). I also like the idea of a semiauto for kids, let's them focus on shooting and have more fun. It's a decent gun, go buy it for them, just stick with the 4" barrel; the longer barrel extension is worthless.

March 7, 2007, 08:25 PM
This is the only .22lr handgun I own and I love it. Firestorm FS-22.....Kid friendly............

March 7, 2007, 08:35 PM
Take your pick:

Ruger MKII
SiG Trailside
Browning Buckmark

I wouldn't buy a SiG Mosquito or another Walther P22 with your money... :barf:

Buyers remorse is a PITA, especially when for just a few dollars more you can have a quality piece...I speak from experience...

March 7, 2007, 08:44 PM
I have about 8,000 rounds through my Neos and it's still going strong. The extractor broke shortly after I purchased it, but I've had no further issues after sending it back for a replacement. A great gun, IMO. FWIW.

March 7, 2007, 08:46 PM
Ruger, Browning, Colt, and High Standard, I think have the best grip size and angle for kids in that age range to use.
I'm ready to start my daughters(7 & 10) on my H-D Military that is identical to the one I learned with when I was their age. And I still love shooting it.:p

March 8, 2007, 07:45 AM
+1 Ruger Bearcat.

Only problem with the Bearcat is that Dad always wants to shoot it first!

March 8, 2007, 08:40 AM
Thanks for all the input. Some where it was mentioned that a longer barrel is a good idea because it will not be as loud. Can someone quantify the difference in sound volume between barrel lengths? I understand why, but how much difference will it make on a .22?

March 8, 2007, 10:14 AM
Hard to quantify but...

I have a Ruger 22/45 with a 3" Pac-Lite barrel that is uncomfortable to shoot outdoors without ear protection.

I have a few .22's with 6"+ barrels that I can comfortably shoot outdoors without ear protection.

Of course, you should always wear ear protection ;)

March 8, 2007, 04:08 PM
. 22 cal handguns are the best thing going. Fun, cheap to shoot, and not scary to beginners. I have / had the folowing when the kids were young. I split up the collection between me, 3 kids and 6 grandchildren. :)

I found they enjoyed a Colt Woodsman or Huntsman the best. Smaller grips and lighter for them. You can still find them at shows, on line auctions, and shops. Ok here is a list they shoot................

H&R 922 4"[ 9 shot double action]
Colt Huntsman 4" and Woodsman 6 "
Colt SAA .22
S&W model 18 4", three model 317's two 4" one 2".
Two Colt single shot .22 short blackpowder replica's, the two youngest girls [ 5 & 7 ] really like these cause they're so small
High Standard Citatation 6"
Ruger mk 2
Ruger Single Six convertible.........two..... one blue one S/S
And the best for last A S&W model 63 kit gun. My grandson told me when he was 9 yrs old, "Grandpa this pistol is too small for your hands, I'll just keep it for you". He's 18 now and I still miss that little guy. [both of them] :D

March 11, 2007, 01:06 AM
I took my kids to the Store today. I had each one of the guns on my short list put into the hands of each child. MKIII, Walther P22, Bersa FS22 (380 actually, but it's roughly the same physical size). The votes were cast and counted. It was unanimous. We brought home a new Walther P22, in Nickle finish. I'm still going to get a Bersa FS22 at some point. Thanks for all the wisdom that was shared.

March 24, 2007, 11:35 PM
S&W 22A problems.

Lots of problems (

But S&W solved all.

Fun dealing with S&W employees!

March 28, 2007, 07:28 AM
Walther PP, preferably a pre-war Zella-Mehlis.

It will outshoot everything except the best bullseye 22s (Walther GSP, Benelli, Feinwerkbau). Groups around 1-2" @ 50yds are not uncommon. And that being from a pocket size pistol.

Maybe these are hard to come by in the US? Over here we have tons and tons. A good one is about $150-250.

March 28, 2007, 09:48 AM
Another vote for the P22, mine has about a heck of a lot of rounds through it (I shoot it everyday). Other then it being picky about ammo I have had no issues with it.

So far I have only found four ammos that work regularly:
Fiocchi 40gr High Velocity (very dirty ammo)
CCI Mini-mag CRN
CCI Mini-mag HP JHP
CCI Stinger

Federal Champion LRN 40gr doesn't work with the P22, nor does Wolf, or CCI Blazer. Today I am going to try the Winchester Bulk pack and the Federal HP Bulk Pack both from Wallys World.

March 28, 2007, 05:54 PM
I would get him the buckmark. Kids grow fast and that is an excellent gun.

March 28, 2007, 05:59 PM
Another vote for the P22, mine has about a heck of a lot of rounds through it (I shoot it everyday). Other then it being picky about ammo I have had no issues with it.

So far I have only found four ammos that work regularly:
Fiocchi 40gr High Velocity (very dirty ammo)
CCI Mini-mag CRN
CCI Mini-mag HP JHP
CCI Stinger

Federal Champion LRN 40gr doesn't work with the P22, nor does Wolf, or CCI Blazer. Today I am going to try the Winchester Bulk pack and the Federal HP Bulk Pack both from Wallys World.

PPGMD, how did the "Winchester Bulk pack and the Federal HP Bulk" Work?

March 28, 2007, 06:08 PM
I guess I'm out of my mind but I let my grandkids & nephew's kids shoot my kimber 22. It is light enough for them and has the same size of the 1911. The only problem I have is that it is sensitive to ammo. You have to use good ammo or it has a tendency to jam. I like to run a mag of cheapo stuff for them just to see how they handle the situation. I like to see if my safety training has paid off with them. Also, the gun won't lose it's value like some of the other models have. But above all, I like to see them shooting & having fun with it.;)

March 28, 2007, 06:50 PM
On second thought. If just introducing to handguns I would (my opinion) start out with a wheel gun for safety issues. Once they have a good respect for an auto go for it or load the mag 1 round at a time.

Again just my opinion. That is my intention w/ my kids. That second follow up shot with an auto for beginners has always made me nervous.

Or maybe it is because that is how dad broke me in on handguns.

March 28, 2007, 07:13 PM
Looks like this is a dead horse as the original poster made his decision.

However...I have one of the retro Olympic Arms Wolverines that I got on a whim--having missed out on the originals back when. Wouldn't recommend it. Not particularly kid-friendly and it has had continual feeding problems even using the specified ammo. OK as a show-and-tell but unless they got their act together I'm not too impressed with it.

I have a real old-timer that would actually be pretty good for a first plinker--a 1960s Sheridan "Knockabout .22 single shot tip-up pistol. It's a bit heavy on the trigger but dirt-simple, light, and quite accurate. Fun, too (remember fun?).

We have pretty well standardized on the old plain-vanilla Ruger standard autopistols around here, usually with the short light barrel and a trigger job. Once zeroed they are pretty nice little guns.

March 28, 2007, 07:45 PM
PPGMD, how did the "Winchester Bulk pack and the Federal HP Bulk" Work?

Federal HP Bulk worked fine, and it was a rather clean ammo, no worse then Minimag. I had one or two failures, but nothing major.

March 28, 2007, 08:02 PM
I have a 6-7/8 Ruger Mk III. Long sight radius, eats everything, accurate. For comparison, I have an old High Standard B. I really don't shoot it anymore.

If you already have a 1911, consider a .22 conversion unit.

March 28, 2007, 08:50 PM
Repeating the "dead horse" sentiment, I just wanted to toss out one more vote in favor of the Buckmark. I've been playing with both a Buckmark and a Mark III lately, and while both are fine mechanically and plenty accurate, the trigger on the Buckmark is dramatically better than that of the Mark III. Neither of them can hold a candle to the trigger on a Smith and Wesson M41, but then, you could by both and still come out less than the price on the M41.

I would mention that I only use CCI Mini-Mags in my Buckmark. Last time I tried Federal bulk-pack, I was getting some jams. The gun was dirty, and probably had <500 rounds through it, so there might be some excuses there, but when I went back to Mini-Mags, it went right back to 100%. But damn if she ain't a tackdriver with them...

Next step (and I think this is a great one for kids and adults alike): Advanced Armament Pilot ( Protect your kids' hearing, use a can.

March 28, 2007, 09:37 PM
I've got a Walther, and it's an excellent pistol for kids. Bought mine about a year ago and it's run perfect with both of the supplied magazines. I also have a friend with an 11 year old that we taught to shoot last year, using the dads Neos. Both are good guns, the Walther seems to fit smaller kids hands better, so consequently he shot better with it, the Walther seems quit a bit lighter to me, although I'm not sure what the real difference is.

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