Looking for .22lr trail gun


March 1, 2010, 08:42 PM
So I feel as a gun owner its almost a requirement to have a .22lr pistol, and I really miss having one since I sold my P22. It was just too small to hold properly with the same grip I use on my other pistols.

Im looking for something that isnt too spendy ( less than $400), shoots all kinds of ammo, easy to clean, reliable and has a decent trigger. Im just not willing to buy an ugly pistol.

I havent owned a revolver so I have been sort of attracted to the taurus tracker's. I also like the ruger Mk III's and 22/45's.

Any good suggestions?

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March 1, 2010, 08:48 PM
See if you can luck into a used Smith and Wesson 34 or 63. These 'kit' guns are perfect for your needs. A Ruger Single-Six would also work well.

7.62 Nato
March 1, 2010, 09:44 PM
The "kit" guns are getting harder to find and are commanding a higher price. I have a Taurus model 94 that is 6 shot. From what I can tell it's the closest alternative. The newer 94s are 9 shot and I believe have smaller grips.

March 1, 2010, 09:53 PM
If you can find a Ruger MKII they're easier to tune the trigger on than a MKIII.
My old MKI digests anything I feed it. Takedown is a bit tricky for the first time or two though.

March 1, 2010, 09:56 PM
I love my tracker. 9 shots and I shoot colibri indoors with no ear protection.

March 1, 2010, 09:56 PM
For a trail gun, in known woods, I prefer the smaller Bearcat. Mainly, for old and good memories.

I've also been known to carry a S&W 622 or a 4" 66.

March 1, 2010, 11:14 PM
I'm a Ruger .22 guy but I supposed this thread wouldn't be complete unless someone recommended a Buckmark.

March 1, 2010, 11:32 PM
You could also consider the Taurus 941 22 magnum. I think it is an 8 shot revolver, with a leeeeeetle bit more ooomph.

March 1, 2010, 11:42 PM
Myles, I like the idea of a bearcat, but they are just too dang small for my hands. I also think I want a DA/SA if I go the revolver route.

lions, I have seen a few buckmarks, but never talked to anyone that has owned them.

March 1, 2010, 11:58 PM
ruger 22/45 feeds everything I put through it (not counting the 300-400 round break in period)

March 2, 2010, 12:04 AM
lions, I have seen a few buckmarks, but never talked to anyone that has owned them.
I'm sure some owners will chime in soon, they must all be sleeping. My brother and father both have a Buckmark and they both like theirs. Good guns, just not my style.

You did say you want a gun that is easy to clean and you will hear all the horror stories about taking apart a Ruger but I honestly don't think it's that bad. It can get confusing if you just read the directions and play monkey see, monkey do. But once you realize why you are doing what you are doing, it becomes really simple.

I have a MKII and a MKIII 22/45, I took all the lawyer junk out of the MKIII and they both run like champs. Ruger obviously gets my vote.

March 2, 2010, 12:10 AM
Well, to be honest, the Bearcat is small for my hands too; it's the nostalgia - my first handgun, way back.

I'd suggest checking your local pawn shops - I've seen some older S&W marked ridiculously low, on occasion. bhk had it nailed with finding a nice used S&W model 34 or 63. You may have to hunt, but you can still find some bargains. A friend recently picked up a beautiful 34 for under $300. Then again, he was dating the shop owner's daughter at the time. She was in the same sort of perfect condition as the revolver. Nice deal for him.

March 2, 2010, 07:13 AM
I have a little of most, buckmark,Mark II, Single-Sixes & some others. The semi-autos are fun but for simplicity of cleaning you can't beat a revolver. With a single-six you can shoot 22s,22mags, & the WRF ammo. Not that you have to break down the semi-autos after every outing but there take a little more to do so. I also have a Ruger SP-101 with a 4" barrel that is a fine revolver.

March 2, 2010, 07:35 AM
short of extraordinary good luck, don't count on the S&W kit gun variants for $400 (though worth $500-$600 if inclined to stretch it that far), although the new model 63 strikes me a a tad too much barrel for an ideal kit gun

revolver best bet in your price range, Ruger single six, real easy found
(Bearcats are nice, but pricey, and some folks find them not as accurate as hoped for)
pistol best bets, Buckmarks or Ruger MKs, any of them with shorter vs longer barrels for a "kit/trail" gun
(intended to be a user friendly suggestion, purely optional, leave the tube empty for casual woods carry, don't depend on the safety button alone, not likely to shoot 'ol Grizz with 'em anyhow, they ain't Desert Eagles)

the Taurus 94/941... read up a LOT on those before committing your hard earned dollars to one.. (places like rimfirecentral discuss 22s a whole more than we do here, and those particular model Taruri do have a... "reputation" on many such forums)

March 2, 2010, 07:55 AM
Though I think they're OOP now, a used Phoenix HP-22, especially with the 5" barrel, is very inexpensive, surprisingly reliable and astoundingly accurate. Though small, it's pretty comfortable to hold. My wife loves hers, and it fits her Kel-Tec P3AT's holster. Myself, I really like the 22/45 with the short bull barrel, though I wouldn't mind a 3" bbl Phoenix for pocket carry in the woods...

March 2, 2010, 11:57 AM
Lots of good choice spring to mind: Ruger's Mark series, Browning's Buck Mark series, some of the Colt offerings (Woodsman or Challenger, for example), even some of the S&W models would fit the bill. +1 on the Ruger Bearcat, by the way. It was my first gun purchase as well, and I still take it to the range from time to time. It has been a great little companion through a lot of years.

The bottom line is to get the one that best fits your hand and eye -- and your wallet, of course.

March 2, 2010, 11:59 AM
Ruger MK II or Browning Buckmark. I've got three Ruger MK II's of different barrel lengths and a MK II series 22/45 with 4 in bull barrel that is my trail gun. I like the lighter polymer frame for the trail although I will also carry the steel framed guns.

March 2, 2010, 06:54 PM
Ruger Single Six.....Bought used at local gun shop for $250 in like new condition.

March 2, 2010, 07:07 PM
the ruger will only shoot .22LR. I'm not sure what you meant by "all kinds of ammo".

I also have a S&W 22a pistol and that shoots .22LR and .22Long. It's also dead on accurate out to 30 yards with my cheap little red dot scope I have on it. :D

March 2, 2010, 09:02 PM
I like my 22lr/22mag convertible:

March 2, 2010, 09:14 PM
If you can score a good condition used S&W 422 or the stainless 6022 version then you'd have a lightweight, compact, and thin trail buddy that has a grip that fits full sized hands well. I absolutely love my 422. It's more accurate than I am and is tolerant of all the hi velocity 36 and 38 grn rounds I've fed it. Oddly enough it acted up with CCI standard velocity now and then. But that certainly leaves many options to choose from.

March 2, 2010, 09:24 PM
I love my firestorm .22 PPK look alike, cheap cool nice size and a lot of fun to shoot. Revolver wise High Standard Sentinals are reasonable price 200-300.00
Good quality DA police style revolvers.

March 3, 2010, 01:04 AM
Another vote for the Ruger MK autos. I prefer the bull bbl version in stainless. Owned a bunch of them over the years, will always own one. I currently have a MKII, I like the redesigned front sight and 1911 style mag release on the MKIIIs, but all that lawyerproof crap keeps me from trading up.

March 3, 2010, 12:02 PM
Try to find a primo Rossi 511. I had a S&W 63 that was stolen, and I bought a 511 to replace it. It has an ejector rod protector and is every bit as accurate as the 63 and a rear sight that's actually better than the one on the 63.

I now have two 511s and am thrilled with them, though I dearly miss my old 63. Had it not been stolen, however, I never would have found the 511, which was about half the price. I'd rather have the two Rossis than one S&W, but I'd still like to cut some body parts off the guys who stole my 63! (They were caught, and had traded it for drugs. It was never recovered.)

The Ruger Mark II/III is an astoundingly good .22 and is infinately better than any other auto on the market.

March 3, 2010, 02:40 PM
The High Standard "Sport King" .22 auto with the 4.5" barrel makes for a nice trail gun. You can still find nice ones for around $400.00. They're well-made accurate pistols but finding parts and magazines isn't getting any easier or any cheaper. :(

Old Shooter
March 4, 2010, 11:26 AM
Ruger Mark II or III. Once you learn how it's done, cleaning them is no harder than tying your shoes. I clean mine every brick or so and have had no problems with any of them yet.

March 4, 2010, 12:51 PM
I gave up on the 22 Trail gun. I have a four inch M -34. It never goes anywhere.
As I cast and reload for 38spl. A alloy 38/.357 work fine.
Most anything I need to shoot needs somthing bigger then a 22LR.

March 4, 2010, 02:25 PM
I have a Marvel conversion that is a tack driver but wanted a revolver. I was looking at the used S&W kit guns but didn't want to spend that much. I found a H&R 949 at a local shop for only 150.00 out the door. It might not pass your eyeball test but it's also very accurate. It looks like a single action but is actually a double. Good size grips too. May get a S&W someday but this will definately suffice for now.


March 4, 2010, 02:43 PM
+1 for the Browning Buckmark Camper

March 4, 2010, 03:00 PM
These two S&W revolvers work great for trail, camping, and trapline running where legal.
S&W M 317 Airlite
S&W M17, big heavy, and easily replaces the .22 rifle.

March 4, 2010, 03:05 PM
I think for a "trail gun" it's pretty hard to beat a single-action. They just feel "right."

Bearcat and Single-Six.


March 4, 2010, 09:28 PM
Thanks for all the tips and advice guys. I will be doing some more research and keeping my eyes out for good deals.

Al LaVodka
March 4, 2010, 10:15 PM
NAA Mini Master

This'n's a 5 shot 4" 11 oz. .22 Mag. They have smaller bird's head grips and also these in .22 LR, as well as other models. My backpacking gun. Check 'em out...


March 5, 2010, 04:29 PM
My vote for a Ruger Bearcat.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
March 5, 2010, 05:09 PM
I prefer a revolver for the woods, so that I can select regular, shotshell, or colibris from among my 9-shot mag, and also not have to pick up brass. This is a Taurus 94.

Having said that, I love the Buckmark pistol, but it's mostly just for range plinking.

Cajunbrass, what all different barrel lengths does the bearcat come in?

Nico Testosteros
March 5, 2010, 05:24 PM
I backpack and chose a S&W Model 317 Airlite kit gun with the 3" barrel as my woods gun. The double action pull is WAY heavy and I only shoot in single action. It's quite accurate. And light, which is why I chose it. I'm not skeered of bears or other critters.

I understand the spring can be replaced with a Model 60 spring to lighten the double action pull. I may get that done some day.

March 5, 2010, 06:55 PM
I have a Tracker in 22 mag with 4" barrel. Keep the first chamber loaded with snake shot. 22 mag will be a better choice. It has the power to kill a ferral dog if you need to. I'm sorry but the 22 LR is for assasins and squirrel hunters.

March 5, 2010, 09:00 PM
I don't think anyone has mentioned it yet, but my choice for the last 30 years has been a Beretta Model 70S. After having a problem with the factory blued finish, I had it hard chrome plated by Metalife and it's been good to go ever since. Along with its nice, clean single action trigger and adjustable rear sight; this gun has provided outstanding performance, both in terms of reliability and accuracy everytime I use it. All of this in a pistol not much larger than a Walther PPKs, makes this the perfect "kit gun" for me.

March 6, 2010, 07:01 PM
Cajunbrass, what all different barrel lengths does the bearcat come in?

As far as I know Doc, the 4" barrel is the only one offered.

March 6, 2010, 07:19 PM
I tend to prefer revolvers for woods-carry, believing they are a little more tolerant of the inevitable grit and elements. For .22LRs, I have a eight-shot S&W M63 5" and a nine-shot Taurus M94 4". I actually prefer the feel of the Taurus. My wife prefers the S&W 63, because she finds the Taurus' heavier trigger and hammer-pull uncomfortable enough to be a real turn-off for her. Also worth noting is that holsters for small-frame revolvers with 5" bbls are hard to find. If you buy a M63 5", plan on spending some bucks for a holster from one of the custom hand-makers.


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