Best .22 for target, plinking, practice?


December 17, 2007, 09:04 PM
Hey everone, I was looking for opinions on the best .22 auto for target, plinking, and practicing. I currently am a multiple Glock owner and am open to the AA Conversion Kit but also open to a whole 'nother pistol. I love shooting a Ruger Mark II but haven't had to clean it yet (brother's and he shoots my Glocks so we are even) but I hear they are kinda a PITA. Other brands/models are not out of consideration but accuracy is important. Gotta love that Ruger! Thanks! Steve.

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December 17, 2007, 09:33 PM
It's hard to beat a good .22 revolver, namely the Ruger Single Six.

Or, if your on a tight budget take a look at the Heritage rough rider revolvers.....Not as nice as the Ruger in fit & finish, but mine shoots just as good.

December 17, 2007, 09:33 PM

December 17, 2007, 09:54 PM
What are you using it to practice FOR?
The conversion kits should be great to practice handling, pointing and siting your centerfire.
I have a 35 yr old High Standard I bought new for Bullseye shooting. It has a competition trigger and got a great trigger/spring job. It is really accurate and dependable (many thousands of rounds) as long as you shoot match-grade or low-velocity rounds. It's not fond of Winchester ammo.
On the other hand, I bought my son a MarkII and it shoots anything that will fit in the pipe and is very accurate and reliable. It is not as easy to break down as some, but its not that bad. (Your finger will get callused eventually:))
Most anything out there with a bull barrel, good sites, from a reputable company can provide tons of accurate plinking fun.

December 17, 2007, 09:56 PM
Woodsman? Not Beretta or Remington?

December 17, 2007, 09:57 PM
I have 8 .22 rimfire hanguns - 5 of them are Ruger MKII's in various configurations.

They come with directions, and I would think you have opposable thumbs, so get over the take-down phobia...that's all it is.

December 17, 2007, 10:00 PM
Ruger 22/45 MKII. Do not go with the MKIII. Find a nice used one with the bull barrel. They will put out 2" groups at 25 yards with cheap ammo.

December 17, 2007, 10:10 PM
I have noticed the 22/45 doesn't seem to bring as much $ as the MK II and III. I don't much care either way. Use will be rabbits, practice, plinking, poisonous snakes, and knockdown plates occaisonally. I bought the G-17 for this but I REALLY like to shoot so maybe a .22 will save me a little/lot of $ :). I only wish I could get a .22 with more than a 10 rnd. mag. and great accuracy, w/o being a rifle-got a 10-22 already but would rather shoot pistols.

Is there or would there be a market for a bigger cap. mag. for the AA conversion? Is accuracy close to the Ruger? Steve.

December 17, 2007, 10:13 PM
Blarelli, why not a MK III?

Ala Dan
December 17, 2007, 10:19 PM
I'd have to agree, the Colt Woodsman or Smith model 41 would be excellent
choices; but for most of us in the rim of reality, a Ruger or Browning would
be most likely. With that said, my vote goes to the Browning BuckMark~! ;)

December 17, 2007, 10:45 PM
Smith & Wesson Model 41

You won't regret it!

If you buy the Ruger pistol, the first time you dissassemble it (to clean it), you will wonder. . . .
"Why didn't I listen to that old guy, on THR?"

December 17, 2007, 10:52 PM
Blarelli, why not a MK III?

Taking one apart is just absurdly hard due to the magazine safety, and the magazine safety alone is a reason to not get one. The MKII variants are much easier to pull apart, and only have the conventional safety.

December 17, 2007, 10:54 PM
How much you looking to spend? I own a Sig Trailside, Ruger 22/45, and a Browning Buckmark. Accuracy is T-side, Buckmark, then Ruger for me. T-side cost me over five bills (Competition model), Browning cost me over three bills (NRA model), and the Ruger cost me two bills exactly (bought it off a friend who prolly had less than 500 rds. through it). Also have the AACK, which is the least accurate of the lot.

If price is no object, I'd go with a S&W 41. If you're looking to spend under three bills, I'd go with the Buckmark. My two cents.

December 17, 2007, 11:03 PM
If it is still there I almost bought a Buckmark 40 days ago and did not. (kicking self in ass-3 bills used:what:).

10+ rnd. mags? Anyone?:confused:

Location is everything! :D Hope it is still there! Going tomorrow! Thanks, Steve.

December 19, 2007, 11:21 AM
Huntsman, Woodsman (MT if you can swing it), SW41.. No rugers, not for me but maybe for you.. Nothing else floats for me for automatics.

Revovler? - Ruger Single Six, no question..

December 19, 2007, 12:27 PM
Ruger Mark II. Great reliability, decent accuracy, and not too ammo sensitive. Not as hard to reassemble as you think once you have done it a few times. My family has three of these, and my thirteen year-old daughter can take hers down and reassemble it with no issues.

December 19, 2007, 12:33 PM
I have a Sig Saur Mosquito Target pistol for the complete feel of the normal to compact sized pistols that I shoot. Easy to clean, shoot, load, etc...I bought it to break the habits of pushing, trigger pull (was shooting slightly to left of target) and just to plain save money while accomplishing all those before firing my .45 acp, 10mm, .357 sig, etc...ammo. It worked!

December 19, 2007, 12:59 PM
Ruger Mark II. Love shooting them.

December 19, 2007, 01:51 PM
I'm seeing Browning Buckmarks around here NIB for $250. They come in different variations and, therefore, different prices. You can either buy by feature or by price!!!

I have the longer barrel (6", I think) slab-sided version; paid $300 for it 4 years ago at the only gun shop in that sleepy East Texas town. The round-barrel "camper" is cheaper. Unless you're looking for an absolute beater (throw in the toolbox kind) I wouldn't recommend the fixed-sight one.

Know that scene in one of the Lethal Weapon movies where Mel Gibson shoots a smiley face in the target? I can do that with my Buckmark at 10 yards.

And, yes, 10-round mags are the norm. And, I believe, are also fairly expensive (compared to, say, a Marlin or Remington rifle mag).


December 19, 2007, 02:58 PM
Browning Buckmark

Then when you're ready add a Weigand rail (***8705***11684***) and/or a TacSol barrel (, then do the Heggis spring flip ( maybe an overtravel adjustable trigger.... and do all of the work yourself without a gunsmith.

The Rugers are nice, I used to have a MkII and liked it alright but it did seem to have lot of “jams”. FMM, unless you like shipping your pistol all over creation or are going to be happy with a bone stock gun, the Buckmark is an easy choice.

This gun is not mine, but it's a nice picture...

December 19, 2007, 04:29 PM
I really like the Ruger MKII goverment model. Accurate, feeds anything I put in it and low cost. I have never had an issue with breaking down to clean. Minor PITA, but really, how many times do you really take a 22. apart to clean.

Glocks have nothing on a good 22. for shooting and never cleaning.

But, the Smith Model 41 is THE 22. to own. I had one that went a long time ago and I still regret that trade. Guess I know what my next pistol is going to be.

But, if you are wanting a 22. to practice what you carry one of the conversion units is a great idea. Only you can decide what works.

You would not go wrong with any of the three options.

December 19, 2007, 10:27 PM
I like my MkII's and my BucKMark but my favorite by far is my S&W 41.

December 20, 2007, 01:33 AM
I bought the G-17 for this but I REALLY like to shoot so maybe a .22 will save me a little/lot of $

Why not just get a conversion kit??? Cheaper and you will be a master of the Glock after a few 550rd boxes of .22.

December 20, 2007, 02:35 PM
Woodsman? Not Beretta or Remington?
Remington was never really in the .22lr handgun market and although a lot of people like the Berettas I never really cared for them. I think the Woodsman is the better all around, do most anything .22lr handgun. Of course this is just my opinion and I'm quite sure others have their own ideas on the subject.

December 20, 2007, 03:34 PM
I have a MkII slabside that is indeed a nice pistol and shoots quite well, but it is a pain in the butt to clean. So much so that I really don't like shooting it very much. I just bought myself a Beretta .22 conversion upper for my M9 though and I absolutely love it. Nearly as accurate as the MkII, just as reliable if not more so, MUCH easier to clean.

My advice.....get the conversion for your Glock.

December 20, 2007, 04:09 PM
I am interested in this topic also. The S&W 41 is out of my budget league so it seems to be between the Browning and the Ruger as a lower cost 22 target pistol. It appears to me the Browning has an edge given the Mark III is more finicky about ammo and harder to clean? Recently introduced "features" of the Mark III makes it less desirable than the II?

December 20, 2007, 04:13 PM
I would have to say yes. If you can find a Mk. II or an older 22/45 w/o the "upgrades," then go for it. Otherwise, check out the Buckmark Camper. You'll be pleasantly surprised by how accurate they can be.

December 20, 2007, 04:31 PM
I've got a 6" buckmark slabside and a 6" bull barrel MkIII 22/45. Both are accurate, reliable (with the right ammo), and fun. The buckmark is simple to break down, but requires an Allen wrench. The MkIII is 'tool free', if you've got strong thumbs. Neither one is overly complicated to take apart or reassemble, but the Ruger is a bit 'twiddly', especially with the magazine disconnect (which is supposedly easy to remove... I'll be doing so soon). A can of break-free, a toothbrush, and a bore snake takes care of my cleaning for the most part. I might break one down and really give it a good cleaning once every 6 months or so.

Either will serve you well.

I'd _love_ to have an S&W41, but I simply can't see spending that kind of money on a plinker. The Neos is an interesting looking critter, but not really my thing. Everyone I know who has one loves their Walther P22's, if you want a 'combat style' .22 plinker.

December 20, 2007, 04:45 PM
I'm fresh out of Woodsman's at the moment, but usually have 2 or 3 2nd series... Here are my three favorites

Average Joe
December 20, 2007, 05:13 PM
Ruger MK III

December 21, 2007, 03:08 AM
I LOVE my MKIII 22/45 - it shoots straight as a string, goes bang every time, and costs $200. My only beef, of course, is re-assembly. I bet I've broken it down 25 times, and I still need the manual to put it back together :)

December 21, 2007, 03:33 AM
I am a big fan of the Ruger MkII, but in general it's hard to go wrong with any of the little .22's on the market. Someone earlier mentioned that good sights and a bull barrel are important, and I tend to agree with that. I have one MkII with a bull barrel and one with the regular old tapered barrel, and there just isn't enough weight up front for me. The difference in accuracy is fairly small, but there is a difference. Now, I will say that is something of a subjective opinion, but I don't think it is any mystery as to why most of the manufacturers either build a bull-barreled gun or a bigger gun than is strictly necessary for a .22. bought a Beretta 87, and while I personally won't be abandoning my MkII's for it anytime soon, it sure is one fine pistol.

December 21, 2007, 05:22 AM

The Ruger MKII can be a pain to detail strip and reassemble the first time you do it. Doing so is not really necessary though. Some owners never clean their MKII's! The little plinkers just keep chugging along using the powder residue as dry lubricant.

I use a bore snake on mine, along with a patch sprayed with BreakFree on a pair of hemostats to clean the breechface and boltface. I wipe the outside with an oily chamois rag, and I'm done. I use On Target triggershields to keep my action clean. OnTarget is out of business now, but you can make your own trigger shield by following these instructions ( Otherwise, simply remove the grips and spray the trigger area with brake cleaner every once in a while if the trigger gets gritty. I might detail strip one of my MKII pistols every couple of years or so, if I'm bored, or if someone wants to bet me I can't have it apart and back together in under five minutes.

If you simply must detail strip your MKII, here ( are some decent instructions.

The Ruger MKII is durable, reasonably accurate, and it holds it's value if you buy it used (the only way you can get one now anyway......). the button safety is an afterthought, and it does have a heel magazine release. Most folks will not be attempting speed reloads with the pistol though.

The advantage of the Ruger MKII, if you are a Glock afficianado, is the grip angles are similar. On the MKII below, I have grips installed that change the grip angle back to a 1911 type angle.

Colt Woodsmen are excellent .22 pistols, but they are becoming scarce. The grip frame is a bit small, parts are expensive, and I do not find them to be any more accurate than a Ruger MKII or a Browning Buckmark. They are excellent for teaching new shooters with small hands.

December 21, 2007, 08:06 AM
I recently purchased a S&W 22A and have been very pleased with it's accuracy and function. It has a nice adjustable rear site, a built in Weaver rail and feels like a full size auto. I also know that if there is ever a problem, S&W will fix it on their dime including shipping. For me that's a big plus for a gun that's going to get shot quite a bit.
The pricing is also very competitive (read "cheap")

December 21, 2007, 09:10 AM
Hey everone, I was looking for opinions on the best .22 auto for target, plinking, and practicing. I currently am a multiple Glock owner and am open to the AA Conversion Kit but also open to a whole 'nother pistol. I love shooting a Ruger Mark II but haven't had to clean it yet (brother's and he shoots my Glocks so we are even) but I hear they are kinda a PITA. Other brands/models are not out of consideration but accuracy is important. Gotta love that Ruger! Thanks! Steve.

First off let me say I can't give much of a total opinion on this yet because I don't own one yet. But I've been out shopping for a .22 auto loader myself this last week. For fit and feel alone, not taking anything else into consideration, the Sig Mosquito is HANDS DOWN the best feeling gun in my hands. The stories about it being picky with ammo and failures are keeping me away at this point. It's also considerably lighter than the rest of the ones I've looked at. Man, I really want to like this gun!

I won't be buying the Ruger because they felt the worst. From past experience, I know I'll avoid a gun that doesn't feel good to shoot. The higher priced models with wider grips felt better, but still not great.

The Buckmark feels pretty darn good to me depending on the model, and more than likely this is what I'll end up with, that is, once I find someone around here who has the model w/the options I want. (probably after the holidays) Some of the Buckmarks have "tabs" on the back end of the slide that make it real easy to get your fingers on and some models don't. I have more free time this time of year, so I tend to shoot more in the winter when I have gloves on, so a model with these "tabs" (or whatever they're called) is a must.

The S&W 22A felt ok. The plastic parts kind of turned me off. One thing that bugged me about was the sights dig into your fingers when you pull the slide back. Why didn't they narrow the sights? Still it's CHEAP.

I'm holding out for someone around here to get a CZ Kadet in stock. None of the dealers I've checked with around here have one. I like the look and have heard great things about them. Yeah, they're pricey, but whatever I buy I'll keep forever as long as it works properly and feels good to hold and shoot. Besides that, they're not that much more than the higher line models of the others.

Bill B.
December 21, 2007, 07:22 PM
I want to add a comment about the S&W 22A. A friend just purchased one and after a range session that he ran over 500 rounds through his I will have to say I was impressed! Accuracy was close to my Hi Standard target models. There was no issues with jams using several versions of bulk ammo. It basically ran like a top. Downside is the plastic parts do make the auto look cheap. Where it will hold up over the long haul I guess he will have to take a wait and see approach. For the price I think you could do much, much worse for a starter .22 auto.

December 21, 2007, 10:39 PM
I have a MKI,II,III. Of the the 3 I love the MKII target the best, even though I have close to 80,000 rds through my MKI. I like the 10 rd magazine, the 6" taperred barrel, and the same breakdown I am used to is awsome.

December 22, 2007, 01:50 AM
If you want to stay in the $250-$450 price range then the 22A, Rugers and Buck Marks are all good choices. Each has strong points. The 22A is the simplest of the group to field strip and reassemble. There isn't much in the way of upgrades (grips, barrels). The Buck Mark may have the best trigger out of the box. Overall, Rugers appear to be the best made and have the best after market for tweaks and mods.

The Rugers can be challenging to field strip and reassemble the first couple of times if you don't read and follow the instructions. This site has some really good instructions:
Although the Buck Mark is technically easier to field strip than the Rugers, I'd rather field strip a Ruger than fiddle around with the sight base screws on the Buck Mark.

All are accurate, well-built and reliable. The "best" one is the one you like best and fits what you want to do with it.

My menagerie:

22A (w/5.5" and 7" barrels)
MKIII Hunter
MKIII 22/45
Buck Mark Standard

All are fun to shoot.

December 22, 2007, 03:47 AM
i have a buckmark camper, 5.5" -- i really like it a lot, but from all of the fans of the ruger mk ii/iii i have somewhat of an interest in those. i got my buckmark for ~$220 NIB and a couple extra mags for ~$20 a piece at the time. when i got mine, the buckmark was *substantially* lower in price than the ruger, and that definitely helped make the decision. that being said, even if the prices were close today i'd have no problems making the same decision for the buckmark... it's been a joy to own and shoot.

2nd 41
December 22, 2007, 03:09 PM
I just sold my TrailSide and Mosquito to buy a S&W 41.
Please do not buy a Mosquito unless you enjoy aggrevation.
The Trailside is a quality pistol

December 22, 2007, 03:28 PM
I'm very happy with my Mark II 22/45. It's the only Ruger I've ever liked.

December 22, 2007, 03:35 PM
I have three preferences: (Edit)

Contender .22LR MATCH

Ruger Mark II

Kimber Warrior with a .22LR upper

December 22, 2007, 06:02 PM
Hi Standard, anything made in the two Ct. factories, you will be buying used and they are a bit more expensive but worth it. My daughter has already asked for mine.

December 22, 2007, 07:04 PM
+1 to all of those who like the Smith and Wesson model 41. Just be sure to feed it a good 40 grain bullet. Mine likes CCI Stingers:D

December 23, 2007, 10:18 AM
I like mine, Beretta Cheetah 87:

December 23, 2007, 10:24 AM
I have two Ruger MK II's and a 22/45. I like the MK II's better, but the little 4 inch 22/45 is lighter and also fun to shoot, better for packing in the woods. I don't like the thin grip of the 22/45 though, but its OK. It needs a bit more palm swell for my large hands. My 5.5 inch bull barrel MK II has had a Volquartsen triger installed and that made all the difference in the world for trigger pull. It is very accurate. I also have a 50th Anniversary MK II, the little standard 4 inch with the tapered barrel and fixed sites. I've kept it NIB for collector purposes, but am thinking about shooting it because it looks like so much fun and guns are for shooting to me, not investing.

Love that little Beretta M87 in .22. Need to pick one up.

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