A few days ago I was looking around at a gun store with 400 dollars burning a hole in my pocket. I handled lots of guns and decided to make a pro/con list, sleep on it and do more research on the models I liked.
As it stands I don't own a firearm, and this would be my very first. I'm looking for a reliable .22lr with good sights and accuracy for target practice every weekend. I would prefer a semi-auto but not taking revolvers off the table just yet. My limit is ~600$ but would like a buffer zone for magazines, range time, and ammo.
Browning Buckmark Contour 5": This was my first pick, and the gun I had been drooling over on the internet. When I held the pistol I felt like it wasn't as well balanced as the slabside buckmark. The trigger felt decent, but not as nice as I remembered on another buckmark.(Will trigger improve after use?) For me, the biggest con to this pistol are the sights. I don't like black on black, and as far as I know the only replacement sights are being handmade by a guy on rimfirecentral. Another con for me are the screws for dissassembly. I am no stranger to loctite, but I would have LOVED to have seen something comparable to mauser k98 locking screws on this pistol.
Ruger MKIII: When I held this pistol I felt the balance was okay, the trigger was okay, but didn't like the target grips, and liked the regular grips even less. I have studied the takedown on this pistol, and while I love the fact it doesn't require screws or tools, I wouldn't say that's a big enough plus for me. I like simplicity and I don't much care for the multiple lawyer features and safeties on a gun replacing common sense. That said, I'm sure in time I could grow to love an accurate reliable pistol regardless.
Taurus Model 941 or 41: While I cant quite remember the name, I LOVED the grip of this revolver and the balance was EXCELLENT. I remember not having to line up the sights at all, when I checked they were dead even. The SA triggerpull is nicer than the buckmarks, but the DA is hideously atrocious, even comical. Pulling the hammer back even requires a master veteran of thumb wrestling. I liked the gun overall, but I would like a nice consistent trigger on a pistol that doesn't require me to change sight picture.
Sig Mosquito: I would rank the grips on this gun better than the Taurus, and the balance was also excellent. Sights were not exactly to my liking, with lots of air between the front sight. Trigger was decent, a little bit better than the buckmark but not by much. This was the cheapest gun of the lot, and I think this is because it requires the expensive CCI ammo, and wont feed much else. Way too many people complain of FTF, FTE and even people that dremel polished the feed lips and chamber say they need to clean every few hundred rounds. As a newbie I think this would be last on my list.
I could go on and on but these are my top picks. I don't expect you guys to make my decision for me, that would be silly, but perhaps share your experiences with the particular models and give pointers on what to look out for, or possibly any recommendations in my price range.
To recap, my priorities are first reliability, accuracy, balance, and good sight picture. I would like to be able to feed it cheap walmart ammo, and clean every 2k rounds. In previous range time I have burned through ~600 rounds with my dad, and would like to spend more time shooting than cleaning.
Thank you for your time!:D
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December 21, 2009, 03:43 PM
Lets see, I did this recently.
Browning Buckmark Contour 5": Never felt good in hand for me and I passed on the unscrewing to clean part.
Ruger MKIII: I went home with this one. The lawyer features have only made a difference for me as far as the magazine safety with disassembly/reassembly. I skip the trigger pulls through most of the reassembly though (use Bic pen tube to manipulate the hammer) so I only have to pop the mag in once. I chose the 22/45 because the grip felt better to me than the all metal variety. This is just my opinion.
Taurus Model 941 or 41: Shot too many Smith .22lr revolvers so the Taurus felt second rate to me. Again, my humble opinion.
Sig Mosquito: My brother bought one and it was terrible out of the box. It barely functioned. He did the old fluff and buff to make it only ammo sensitive. It seems to like Aguila but he does need to clean it often. Also, the SA trigger is incredibly squishy. He has handed it to people who thought a safety was engaged because it seemed like it had traveled to its stop and not fired. Really would advise against it.
You should also check out a MkII (tradional or 22/45). Less lawyer features.
December 21, 2009, 03:59 PM
Oh yeah, I don't clean my ruger often and it works just fine
December 21, 2009, 04:13 PM
The Ruger and the Browning are excellent choices. See if you can try one of each out first, either by going to a range that rents guns or by inviting your friends who might own one or more along for the ride. Then select the one that best fits your hand and eye. I'd steer clear of plastic guns with zinc (pot metal) slides.
December 21, 2009, 04:44 PM
A second vote for a rental range trip.
Rugers aren't that hard to take down and rebuild, the whining and complaining is mostly first-time attempts ... if you are the type to try for 5 minutes and then whine online about how "impossible" a procedure is, steer clear of the Ruger line. Once you understand the function of the internal parts, Ruger mkIII maintenance gets fairly easy, and if you're not mechanicaly inclined, then at least you don't have to clean them too often!
Don't worry about assembly method (beyond quality materials), all that matters is how much you enjoy shooting the pistol.
For any further opinions on "what handgun to buy" the poster will be required to supply X-Rays of both hands, with a scale reference, plus photos and full hand-prints for ergonomics considerations.
December 21, 2009, 06:09 PM
You forgot one, an original Whitney Wolverine. I do see them online, priced within your budget. I've bought two for $325 and $375. Unless one is talking about an expensively souped up Ruger or something, Whitneys shoot just as well (or better) as any of the above and, IMO, have a way better trigger. Plus, they're just so cool looking.
I think that there's one on GunsAmerica with scratches for $325.
December 21, 2009, 11:08 PM
You can't go wrong with the Ruger or Browning semi autos. Both are excellent guns. Your choice is an excellent one. I think all new shooters should start with a .22. There are a number of reasons but little recoil and inexpensive ammo are two of them.
Odds are in your favor to become a much better shooter than people buying the typical centerfire handguns I see them buy. You can practice a lot and have fun all you want without consideration of ammo cost. Best wishes on your endeavor. It is fun.
chris in va
December 22, 2009, 03:34 AM
No mention of the uber reliable CZ Kadet. Hmm.
December 22, 2009, 08:09 AM
+1 for the CZ Kadet. I have the Kadet conversion for the CZ 75b. It's as accurate as my Ruger MkII competition pistol, or darn near, and much easier to take down. I got it because I couldn't pry the Ruger out of my wife's hands. Now we just swap between them. Accuracy and marital harmony is a good thing. :D
December 23, 2009, 11:45 PM
I grew up on Ruger semi-auto .22's, but I love the ammo choices I have for my Taurus 990. My co2 bb gun is louder than .22 Colibri.
December 24, 2009, 12:01 AM
I have more 22 pistols that the average joe, but I don't have any that are very new. I commonly carry a Colt Woodsman hunting, and shoot it a lot, and I would say it is probably my favorite.
When the weather is bad, I carry my old faithful Ruger single six - whaich was built in 1958 and has been back to the factory twice over the years.
I have never owned a Ruger semi auto 22, but I have always wanted one. Of the ones you listed I would go with that or the 22/45. I've almost bought one several times over the years, but I have a decent supply of Woodsmans, so I always talk myself out of it.
I recently shot a brand new Ruger single six at the range, and I was very impressed with it. It is much nicer than my old beater.
December 24, 2009, 07:05 AM
If you go with the Sig Mosquito, you might plan on sending it here from the get go to have it worked
If I had known, back when I had mine, I might still have it.
Another option you may not have looked at is the Beretta M87. It's fed everything I've run through it, and only slows down when I get it really dirty.
Pic shows target with about 250 rds through it, 15 yds.
December 24, 2009, 09:12 AM
I agree regarding a NIB/LNIB Ruger Mark II. I found my NIB 50th Anniversary for $199.00 about 2 years ago. The only problem is, I never get to fire it. It has become one of my daughter's favorite handguns. :(
December 24, 2009, 10:02 AM
I agree about the Ruger Single Six, I keep the Mag wheel in mine almost all the time. It is accurate enough for squirrel, and other varmints at reasonable range and so much fun to shoot.
December 26, 2009, 02:30 PM
Of the auto pistols mentioned the Ruger and Browning would be my choice. The Ruger Single six or a used S&W m17 (k22) or M18 are great revolvers. The S&W 422 or a M41 are also excellent as is a Colt woodsman. If you want to shoot Bulls eye a heavy gun is a better choice. A good used S&W,Ruger or Colt can be a good choice as it takes a lot of shooting to wear one out.
December 26, 2009, 03:40 PM
I'm pretty sure Walther also recommends CCI Mini Mags in their P22. I have had the Mosquito for a while and it's a great gun as long as you shoot Mini Mags. The gun also feels great in my larger than normal hands, is very accurate, and looks like a 226 unless you stare at it for more than a couple seconds.
It is true that Mini Mags are a little more expensive, but $6/100 hopefully isn't a bank breaker. If it is, you seriously need to give up the gun addiction...
December 26, 2009, 04:38 PM
I have more 22 pistols that the average joe, but I don't have any that are very new. I commonly carry a Colt Woodsman hunting, and shoot it a lot, and I would say it is probably my favorite.
Same here. Mine was made in 1938 and is the most accurate pistol I own. I have a Ruger MK II but hardly shoot it.
A good used Woodsman will go a bit more than $400, but not much more. Here's one from www.gunsamerica.com:
Colt Woodsman 22LR (GA Number: 926219481) Classified Ad
Colt Automatic Pistols (22 Cal.)
Very nice Colt Woodsman 22. Has honest wear on the blueing, but overall 90%. Shoots extremely well and has no rust at all.
Seller: Kevin_deals $425.00
December 26, 2009, 05:25 PM
I'd vote for the Buck Mark of the ones mentioned but you can't go wrong with the Ruger. Williams makes a great set of fiber sights that I have on my Buck Mark. I'm waiting for Natchez to get them back in stock for my SR9. Sure helps these old eyes.
December 26, 2009, 08:54 PM
Browning Buckmark is a fine gun (as is the Ruger), if it fits you hand it would be my choice. Try to handle a Beretta NEOS -I bought one for my Wife, it fit her hand perfectly, its a great gun (one of my favorites)- I "borrow" it all the time :D !!
December 27, 2009, 02:07 PM
still love my Neos for cheap shooting. Got it for $250 or so, has a good trigger, super easy to strip and clean, and is more accurate than I'll ever be. CDNN also carries magazines for it for $10 a piece. $400-250= a lot of extra money for ammo.
December 27, 2009, 02:08 PM
Part of your choice should or will be driven by the grip angle. The Ruger is a sweet gun to shoot but the grip angle is rather extreme if you switch over to a more vertical angle later on. That's one big plus for the Ruger 22/45.
There's another budget option, the S&W 22A. It's a nice gun that shoots well and doesn't seem to have any overly fussy habits on what ammo it shoots.
And if you're looking at used as an option there's the S&W 422/622/2206. I've got the mid length 422 and it's a keeper. A very nice gun to shoot. And with the grip angle it fits right in there with my other semis so it's an excellent practice gun for learning proper technique. In fact I often shoot a magazine or two through it then switch to the center fire right away while the positive elements are still fresh in my muscle memory.
December 28, 2009, 11:44 AM
Thank you for your informative posts and time, everyone! I was really surprised when I got back to this thread after finals and Christmas with the family, I really appreciate you guys trying to help me get the most bang for my meager bucks!
It looks like I have much more research to do, and a lot more guns to molest at the store after the holidays :D
I see now I have a lot more options than I thought I had, and I assumed I had examined a pretty representative cross-section of pistols at the gun store. :eek::D
I don't think I'll buy anything off the internet quite yet, because I would need to inspect condition and hold the thing in my hand but I'll have a better grasp on prices.
To be honest, a certain part of me wants to save my earnings and jump in the deep end once I saw the high-dollar AR-15's, but I can't eat polymer or brass, ( but believe me I tried to convince myself I could use it to keep myself warm ;)) and I need that kind of money for text-books.
I will take your guys advice and stick to trying out other kinds of pistols at the rental range before I invest, and I'll probably spend more than a few nights "sleeping on it" before I make up my mind. Again, thank you for sharing your experiences, recommendations, and finding me deals, I really appreciate the effort and thought.
Hope your Christmas was merry, and I hope you fellas have a prosperous new year!
December 28, 2009, 06:36 PM
I have had a MKIII and a MKII for a long time. Great guns, just a bit of a struggle to field strip till you get used to it, and they feel nothing like a "real" pistol. Recently, I went with one of Sig's P226 .22 rimfire guns. It is definitely superior to the Mosquito, and later on you can upgrade the slide to 9mm/40/357.
Here is my full review on this Sig 22.
December 29, 2009, 03:20 AM
+1 on the Beretta M87. Also, don't miss out on all of the old High Standard
22LR pistols out there. They probably won't be at your local gun store but you can see them at www.gunbroker.com or www.auctionarms.com. Good luck on you adventure!
December 29, 2009, 09:59 AM
The Buck Mark and Ruger are both top-notch choices. You won't be dissappointed with either one. The other in-production .22's might be good, they might not. I think both the Sig and the Walther have undergone minor design changes to improve reliability issues with the first gens. Might be one or the other though, I haven't been looking for one. Anyway, you might end up with a bargain, or you might end up with a loud paperweight.
Colts, High Standards, and Wolverines all have their appeal as well. I wouldn't mind getting one, but there may be an issue getting parts (Or maybe not, I've never had to order any) due to being out of production. I wouldn't mind getting one myself, but I have a stable of back-ups in case something breaks and I have to wait a while for a new part to get it up and running again.
December 29, 2009, 08:05 PM
Although I don't have experience with a large variety of .22 LR's, I'll say that in no way have I been disappointed in my Rugers -- a Mark III target and a Single Six.
December 29, 2009, 10:32 PM
I'm very much a fan of the Ruger Mk anything up to III. Currently though, I've got a little smith and wesson 22A? I think that's what it's called. They come with either a stainless bull barrel which is heavy as all get out, or a stainless milled (flat sided) barrel, not as heavy, but still hefty. Plastic grip which seems to be pretty solid, nice trigger feel, rear site adjustable for windage and elevation, optics rail for the entire length of the gun, and quite fun to shoot. Blew a couple of dozen shots today out in the snow with mine. Just another option to look at.
December 30, 2009, 02:11 PM
For me, I like the feel of the Browning. I used this pistol to start my daughter shooting and now she does better with it than me.
December 30, 2009, 02:38 PM
I have a Browning Buckmark Camper that eats anything and is pretty darn accurate. I just picked up a Beretta 21A Bobcat the other day that seems well made and fit and finish is good. I will probably grab a Ruger Single Six convertable tomorrow. Try them all and buy whatever fits you and your budget best. Good luck.
January 2, 2010, 10:22 PM
Sig Hammerli Trailside.
Olympic-level accuracy. Great balance, feel in the hand, easy to disassemble, clean, reasssemble. It always goes to the range with me and I have to fight my shooting partners for it. It's also my Numero Uno Six-Legged shooter. Many a locust and wasp has fallen to it.
January 2, 2010, 10:59 PM
a used S&W m17 (k22) or M18 are great revolvers
First, I admit I am very biased in favor of the S&W K-22 models.
Second though, your budget is $600, correct?
The out of production K-22s are among the finest .22LR caliber handguns, revolver or auto, ever created. They used to be much more common, but people are finding out for themselves how great these guns really are, and they are being snatched up in quick fashion.
And the prices are climbing pretty rapidly, though you should be able to find one within or a little under your budget. But I fear they won't be that way for long. At the current rate of price escalation, a typically S&W Model 17 or Model 18 K-22 will be fetching north of $750 a few years from now. The Colt Diamondback in .22 LR is a good example of this; I've never actually seen one, and I believe that when they do turn up they fetch north of a grand.
As long as the Ruger Mark and Six Series, Browning Buckmarks, S&W 22As, Berretta Neos etc are still in production, their prices will be stable. In other words, you can pick one up at any time. But their are only so many older K-22 Model 17s and 18s to go around, and people are tending to hold onto them once they acquire them.
The K-22 line adopted S&W's now familiar model numbering sequence in 1957. These guns are built on the ubiquitous and highly successful S&W K Frame, which includes such guns as the .38 Special S&W Model 10 and .357 Magnum Models 19 and 66, just to name a few. The S&W Model 18 / K-22 Combat Masterpiece was only offered with a 4" barrel. The Model 17 / K-22 Masterpiece was most commonly offerred with a 6" barrel, but others were sold with 8 3/8" tubes and more recent guns (from '86 onwards) were also offered with a 4" barrel, once the Model 18 was discontinued. Both were sold with a blued finish, though there are some VERY rare factory nickle finish models floating around. The 6" Model 17 / K-22 is the most common of the K-22s, and is therefore generally the most affordable. 4" Model 18s generally command a $100 or more premium.
I own a M17-0 (made in 1959) and it is a joy to shoot. I bought it more than 2 years ago for $430. This same gun would probably sell for $550 today. Perhaps even higher, as I do have the original Diamond Magna wood stocks for it (first two pictures). These stocks can fetch $200+ all on their own. These guns are finely crafted, with excellent workmanship. They are exceptionally accurate, and with care, they should last several lifetimes, especially when considering the fact that the K-Frame on which they were based is also used for .357 Magnum handguns.
Still, at $550 it would be a great bargain, when you think about it. For me, it is nicer than it's successor, the stainless steel S&W 617, since the 17/18's no lug barrel balances better in my hands. And even at $550, it still costs less than a NIB 617. And though S&W is now producting the Model 17 "Classic" again (as of just recently), they are even pricier than the NIB 617s.
My K-22 nearly always comes to the range with me, and it is always a big hit with everyone who tries it, from novices to old pros alike.