Chiappa Puma 1911-22 Review


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mp510
January 26, 2010, 12:52 PM
I have had my Chiappa Puma 1911-22 for a little over a month now. I bought the pistol from Mid-West Hunter’s Outlet/TGSCOM for $253 plus shipping and transfer. It seems Buds has them in stock now for $256 including shipping.

After the first blurb I saw for the Chiappa in American Rifleman, I wasn’t impressed. I came out with the impression that it was a piece of junk – that it would be a nifty looking, over priced, Saturday Night Special.

However, I saw some online reviews that seemed to suggest the they were very reliable pistols and also very accurate- because of the fixed barrel. At the time, I was waiting for the GSG1911 to come out or considering even building a 1911 in .22LR. Because of the price point, I decided to give the Chiappa a try.

One complaint that I have read is that some of the Chiappas have an un-even finish. That is not the case with mine- the metal finish is very evenly colored. I did notice that wears kind of easy- but that is not a big deal. This gun is meant to be used not looked at. If it ever did looks bad enough, there are plenty of inexpensive products available to make it look pretty again. One aesthetic note- lose the laser cut checkering on the grips. I looks gaudy and serves no functional purpose. The Puma logo looks cool, but the checkering needs to go.

Despite being an alloy gun- it weighs in at 32 ounces. It has more heft to it than a Kimber 1911 that I had the opportunity to feel. This gun is supposed to mimic a GI pistol. Down to the sights, it does a very good job of that. Many people don’t like the USGI type fixed sights. I do. They level off and point naturally for me.

On this pistol, the rear sight is windage adjustable. Mine had to be drifted right a bit. To help it stay in the dovetail, there is a small set screw that needs to be undone prior to drifting. The manual says that these pistols should shoot 2-3” low at 25 yards. At first, mine seemed to be shooting lower closer. However, I have yet to get it on-paper again to really see what it can do, now that I am more familiar with the gun.

Out of the box, the trigger down-right sucked. It was crisp and 7 pounds, but it didn’t lend itself to good shooting. The first not I shot it, I believe that the horrendous trigger pull caused at least 1 flier per 5 shot string. Now, several hundred rounds later (and a lot of dry firing on an empty shell—NEVER DRY FIRE THIS GUN WITHOUT A SNAP CAP) , the trigger has worked in and is much less of a detractor. It’s actually not bad now. I haven’t put this gun on paper again yet- but I can easily go 6 for 5 shooting falling plates with it now (and still do well against similarly skilled competitors). I’m not sure if I’ll ever shoot it as well/ as fast as the HS Victor clone that I used in the past- but I think that in time, I’ll really be able to hold my own with the Chiappa.

This pistol has been very reliable. The first time I shot it was 3 hours after I bought it. I didn’t have time to clean it before shooting it. It shot about/maybe a little over 200 rounds before it had any malfunctions with various high velocity ammo (a couple of Mini Mags, American Eagle 40gr LRN, Fed Bulk Pack, Thunderbolts, Golden Bullets Winchester 555..even std velocity Dynapoints). Stovepipes at this point were expected. According to the manual more frequent cleaning is needed during the break in period. I swabbed out the bore and shot another few hundred shots before I had any more stove pipe problems. They stopped when I lubed the slide rails. I really should have stripped down and done a full clean/lube on this pistol way sooner than I did. When the last stove pipes occurred, I could feel the slide being retarded as it cycled. There was a thick sludge on the slide rails- probably a combination of factory preservative and powder residue. Since I did the full cleaning, it has yet to jam again.

I should probably add a summation and make some sort of point. In all I am impressed with this pistol. As much as there is times when I would have taken solace in doing so, I don’t think that I could bring myself to sell it off to the lowest bidder or throw it down my driveway in anger. It’s a decent quality gun at a value price. It feels great in my hand and is plenty reliable. Some people would probably say buy a Mark III- maybe a 22/45 if you don’t like the slant grip. However, this gives me a warm feeling that no Ruger ever could (yes, I am very “racist” against Ruger .22 autoloading pistols) I love the fact that I can shoot it without damaging HV ammo in it. It was well worth my money. It is a great 1911 trainer. If Chiappa ever came out with a similarly priced (traditional) double action combat type pistol that was as well made and reliable- I would probably buy that too.

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ReloaderFred
January 26, 2010, 05:21 PM
I looked at the Chiappa .22 pistols at the SHOT Show last week. They looked well made, but they were factory new, and as you noted, the triggers were stiff. In talking to the guy who function fires them for the factory, he said it's extremely rare for him to have a malfunction, and he fires hundreds of them.

I was impressed, especially since the whole gun cost less than a conversion kit for a 1911.

Hope this helps.

Fred

HisSoldier
January 26, 2010, 06:53 PM
Despite being an alloy gun

I read that the "alloy" these gun is made of is Zamak, which is 96% zinc. That would account for the weight being close to a real 1911.

mp510
January 26, 2010, 07:46 PM
I read that the "alloy" these gun is made of is Zamak, which is 96% zinc. That would account for the weight being close to a real 1911.
The alloy is proprietary and is known as "Chiappalloy". According to the manual, it is supposed to take blueing (I haven't tried that myself). I was able to stick an earth magnet to the frame and slide, so there may be some amount of steel in there. Supposadly, there is also Aluminum, magnesium and copper alloyed into the gun as well. From what I understand, it does not pass the melt point test that a few states have.

Jonah
January 31, 2010, 05:45 PM
Got my Chiappa yesterday. Fired it 125 times in the shop. It functioned just fine with Federal Auto Match, Federal Champion, Federal 550 Value Pack, Winchester Wildcats, Blazer and also 4 each Remington Sub-sonics. It did not like the Winchester Xpert HV, It had 2 stove pipes and 2 FTE with the Xperts.

wally
January 31, 2010, 06:21 PM
I've got the Chiappa Model 1911-22, not sure what if any difference this is besides the slide marking from the Puma.

Mine has a "lock" that is kind of like the Walther P22 safety in that it blocks the hammer from hitting the firing pin -- it should be safe to dry fire with this in place, but the manual doesn't seem to say.

Same complaint. Trigger is heavy but crisp on mine, but the long reset makes any of my other .22 pistols a far better choice for steel plate speed shooting.

Too bad they screwed the pooch with the trigger as it really feels like a "real" 1911 otherwise.

The slide rubs on the barrel and frame on mine leaving scratches. It may be a feature not a bug as the barrel is fixed to the frame and the sights are on the slide and the slide is a loose fit to the frame. So the "rubbing" may be designed in to get a more consistent slide barrel alignment.

I found spare mags on-line for $19 at:
http://www.atafa.com/sports/products/Chiappa-Mag-Lr-Rd-Blue-Chiappa-320913.html

They shipped exceptionally quickly -- ordered on Saturday got them on Wednesday. Still $19 is pretty steep for an all plastic (except for the spring) magazine that feels like it goes with an AirSoft gun.

The slide locked back on the last shot every time. I had a lot of stovepipes, but all our .22s (my wife was with me) were stovepiping, I think we got a bad lot of bulk pack from Wal-Mart. I hand no failures of the next round to enter the chamber with the 1911-22.

I can live with the heavy pull since its crisp, but the long reset makes it a disappointment overall for me so far.

--wally.

HisSoldier
January 31, 2010, 07:04 PM
I found this about the alloy, sounds like it is a zinc based alloy;

Chiappalloy is a die casting alloy developed by Chiappa Research and Development engineers and has been in continued development and application since 1987. Historically, zinc alloys have been an economic approach utilized in firearm production for over 50 years. However, this application was not without limitations. Typically alloy casted components are limited to the quality of metal finish with high porosity and were usually either plated or painted. Most alloy casted firearm components are limited to low pressure ammunition and are usually best suited for rimfire calibers.

Chiappalloy has been developed to improve the strength, wear resistance and creep properties in the zinc alloy family. The alloys included in our unique blend include aluminum, copper, magnesium, and iron. This allows Chiappalloy to maintain casted components that are easily machined and finished to a bright level of polish with minimal porosity. Due to the high luster polish that can be obtained, Chiappalloy’s plating properties are enhanced, yielding beautiful Nickel & Gold (color) plated components.
Chiappalloy can be black finished that matches well with conventional blued & black anodized aluminum components. This black finish is much more durable and appealing than that of zinc casted components that must be coated or painted. The black finish when applied to Chiappalloy is very durable and can easily be touched up with most commercially available “Cold Blue” gun products.

In addition to the machining & finish attributes of Chiappalloy, this unique alloy has been developed to accurately replicate the weight of the replica firearms produced by Chiappa Firearms. For example, the Model 1911-22 feels very similar in weight and balance to the original 1911 chambered in .45 ACP.

mp510
February 1, 2010, 04:22 PM
Here is a picture:
http://img140.imageshack.us/img140/1289/p1100627.jpg

mp510
February 1, 2010, 04:28 PM
Mine has a "lock" that is kind of like the Walther P22 safety in that it blocks the hammer from hitting the firing pin -- it should be safe to dry fire with this in place, but the manual doesn't seem to say.
I did dry fire with the lock on once. I decided that using a spent shell is better--I can't forget to unlock it that way ;)

I've got the Chiappa Model 1911-22, not sure what if any difference this is besides the slide marking from the Puma.
AFAIK, there is no difference. My understanding is that the ones distributed by Legacy sports (mine was) are marked Puma.

The slide rubs on the barrel and frame on mine leaving scratches. It may be a feature not a bug as the barrel is fixed to the frame and the sights are on the slide and the slide is a loose fit to the frame. So the "rubbing" may be designed in to get a more consistent slide barrel alignment.

Mine has some rubing as well. Slide/frame, though. I don't worry about it too much. This gun is for shooting, not looking at.


Same complaint. Trigger is heavy but crisp on mine, but the long reset makes any of my other .22 pistols a far better choice for steel plate speed shooting
The reset is a little long. However, I have a lot fo other things to remedy with my technique before that becomes my excuse.... I can more or less hold my own in B class. I might eventually be able to do ok in A someday with it as well...I would hold myself back worse than the gun. But, you are right--there a lot of pistols that are better suited for spped competitions.

Taurus_9mm
February 1, 2010, 09:38 PM
Thank you for the review. I've been mildly curious about these since I first became aware of them. For the price it doesn't seem like you can go wrong.

Jonah
February 2, 2010, 06:58 AM
Wally;
How have the extra magazines you ordered worked? If the picture shown on the atafa site are for the Chiappa, they don't look the same in the picture as the magazine that came with the Chiappa.

Motodeficient
February 2, 2010, 08:36 AM
Does anyone have the link to this gun at buds gun shop? I dont see it on their site.

mp510
February 2, 2010, 11:23 AM
Does anyone have the link to this gun at buds gun shop? I dont see it on their site.

http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/59751

wally
February 2, 2010, 09:04 PM
The mags I received were exactly like the one that came with the gun which looks like the mag in the photo from the one side shown.

Didn't get to try them yet, my shooting opportunity got rained out :(

--wally.

mp510
February 4, 2010, 11:16 PM
The slide rubs on the barrel and frame on mine leaving scratches. It may be a feature not a bug as the barrel is fixed to the frame and the sights are on the slide and the slide is a loose fit to the frame. So the "rubbing" may be designed in to get a more consistent slide barrel alignment.
I didn't notice it before, but on my barrel, I do have rub wear at 2 and 5 o'clock (left side).

mp510
March 21, 2010, 12:43 AM
Just to update everybody:

I put the Chiappa on paper again today. I didn't really shoot for groups- just off hand plinking with Federal AE. I shot about 65 shots. I had my first stove pipe in a while. Only had one- .22s do that every now and then. I finally got to try this gun at 25 yards. It shoots pretty well for a fun gun. I need to drift the rear sight to the right just a hair more. It was also obvious that it really does shoot low out of the box. But, it was really fun tos shoot. The trigger is breaking in nicely.

I practiced some draw/shoot/move type drills with it as well. This pistol fills that niche very well and would be great for anybody that carries a 1911-type or uses one for combat shooting (IDPA, 3 gun, etc....)

BHP FAN
March 21, 2010, 01:20 AM
Well I wish they'd put one on the Ca approved list [or get rid of the list] I want one!

mp510
March 27, 2010, 12:10 PM
Just wanted to note that I had a (1) double feed malfunction with it last night.

larryflew
March 27, 2010, 05:51 PM
Chiappaloy melts at less than 800 degrees which puts them in the no go for every state that has Saturday night specials. Tried to work with them last year to get that changed but they where unable to make it go. MN SNS is 1000 degrees.

wally
March 27, 2010, 06:05 PM
I didn't notice it before, but on my barrel, I do have rub wear at 2 and 5 o'clock (left side).

I wouldn't worry about it, but mine is still stovepipe city. Averaging 5 or 6 per hundred shots :(

I may be sending mine back as it seems something is wrong with the extractor, I recently noticed it doesn't eject unfired rounds which I consider a potential safety issue.

--wally.

mp510
March 27, 2010, 07:04 PM
I may be sending mine back as it seems something is wrong with the extractor, I recently noticed it doesn't eject unfired rounds which I consider a potential safety issue.
That's not too big of a deal. A lot of .22 target guns have that problem. It's not too big of a deal. Every now and then, mine will do that too. When it does, I will drop the magazine and fire out the round in the chamber. [then recheck for clear].

I wouldn't worry about it, but mine is still stovepipe city. Averaging 5 or 6 per hundred shots
How many rounds do you have through the gun? What ammo are you using?
Have you made sure that the chamber is clean? Have you made sure that the slide rails are cleaned and lubed? -Just things that you want to consider.

mp510
June 19, 2010, 11:57 AM
UPDATE:

My Chiappa needs to go back to the factory. I'll update again after I talk to a CS rep on Monday. I find this interesting, since I was just reading that new Chiappa's are going to have steel FCG parts rather than Chiappalloy.

The trigger mechanism has stopped working.

Also, the disassembly bushing will no longer come out either,.

wally
June 19, 2010, 03:46 PM
I'd like to hear what they have to say, and if you need to pay shipping to send it back.

My trigger is most definitely not getting better with more shooting and the stovepipes persist had 2 in 60 rounds of CCI mini-mags last time out, which is not cheap ammo :(

Not had a feed failure or failure to lock back on the last shot yet, but the stovepies are a real drag :(

--wally.

Vanfanel
June 20, 2010, 12:21 AM
I have had mine for about a month now. it does tend to stove pipe about once every 25-30 rounds. and about once every 50 I will get a double feed.
but I also feed it the cheapest wallyworld ammo I can find.

mp510
June 21, 2010, 06:13 PM
Chiappa never returned the voice mail that I left on Saturday.

I called the toll free number again today and again hit a voicemail. I contacted Legacy Sports, who distributes these pistols, and was able to get another telephone contact. After two attempts I got to speak with somebody. I described the problem. I replied that it will need to come in for warranty repair. (no surprise) I am responsible for shipping to them:mad:

wally
June 21, 2010, 10:32 PM
Since it can easily cost a non FFL $50 to ship a gun back (FedEX and UPS require overnight, USPS will land you in jail), could be a case of throwing good money after bad :(

--wally.

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