Which semi-auto .22LR Pistol?


May 31, 2011, 11:15 PM
Hi everyone!
I am a student who will be starting gunsmithing school this Fall.

I would really like to have a .22LR pistol to take with me. I am leaving all the expensive/sentimental firearms at home with my dad and will only be taking my new Ruger 10/22, an old single shot .22LR rifle, and hopefully a .22LR pistol.

My main problem is that as a student, I am usually broke. It has gotten to the point that I can't even really afford to keep buying reloaded 9x19mm ammo. This is problematic because I would like to be able to maintain, and hopefully improve my proficiency with semiautomatic handguns while I am at school.

I have been asking questions at the range, and seeking advice from professionals I trust and the general consensus is that the best pistol to get is a Smith & Wesson Model 41. Great gun! But also way outside my price range.

The next thing I hear is that a quality used Ruger, Browning Buckmark, Colt Woodsman, or High Standard is the best bet for my meager price range. And I mean meager. Embarrassingly meager.

I turn 21 just after school starts, so if I want to buy a pistol my choices are private transactions or having my dad buy it and I'll buy it from him in for a couple months.

If anyone has something sitting around that they're not terribly attached to and would like to sell to a good home... My only real requirement is "Functional" and even that is negotiable for the right price (I love projects.)

But getting back to the main topic:
Do you guys have any suggestions on makes/models? And where I should be looking?

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May 31, 2011, 11:16 PM
Ruger MK I or MK II gets my vote.

Doubting Thomas
May 31, 2011, 11:28 PM
Well, I started out with a Ruger Standard Auto in 1959... I foolishly sold it but here I am 50+ years later with one just about like it. Had some others in the interim but this one was a good fit. Actually, it was a real beater that I rehabilitated. The fixed sights are all you need, really. The only mod that mattered was a trigger job I did; got lucky and it turned out great. It's still one of the ugliest guns I have but also the best shooter and most useful. Can't beat them for the money.

Used ones are around, but if you have to get a new one, rest assured that it will outlast you and anything else you will ever own.

May 31, 2011, 11:35 PM
If you want a sweet shooter, you cant go wrong with a Ruger Mk something.

If you want a fun project, try a Walther P22. Many start a little rough but with a little light gunsmithery you can make them run well. And they are a blast to shoot.

May 31, 2011, 11:56 PM
I second the Ruger Varieties! They are IMO the best 22 Auto on the planet!

However the Walther P22 is a strong consideration for carry or car carry!

I recently bought one off my son, I really do not like the tactical/polymer type pistols, but he was going to sell it, (and selling guns is not what i do anymore) so I bought it off of him and threw it in safe!

Then I took it out to range for a afternoon of plinking! It was very accurate and performed very well with everything I fed it from bulk to CCI Stinger.
It is the 3.4 inch barrell version, resembles the P99 and I actually have carried it over 12 hours in a high rise pancake holster for a 99...perfect fit! and it is very carry friendly.

It has aprox. 2500 rounds through it now without a hitch! I have seen some internet reports of problems, but this one is doing fine! I do not have the supressor?? .... a cute conversation piece I suppose?

Now I want the Supressor!!! http://youtu.be/U7chrgtPYDY

June 1, 2011, 12:08 AM
Ruger Mk series

June 1, 2011, 12:10 AM
The Smith 41 is a great pistol but it's still second string when compared to the Olympic European pistols so you would still be at a disadvantage if you are trying to be a top shooter.
Anyway, get a Ruger 5.5 inch bull target model and that will get you as far as you can get until you at the very highest level.

Thanx, Russ

June 1, 2011, 12:11 AM
Before this starts out too lopsided, I'll throw in a vote for the Buckmarks.

These threads most always seem to come down to a popularity contest/ preference for the Ruger MKs or the Buckmarks. Both are fine pistols.

I shoot 1911s, and the Buckmark felt more familiar and comfortable to me when I was comparing the two. I think there is a MK version that was intentionally made to mimic 1911 grip angle, but I'm no MK expert and I'm sure someone else will chime in on that.

There are lots of aftermarket parts available for each that should satisfy your gunsmithing urge to tinker. I'm no gunsmith, and have not worked on MKs, but the Buckmarks are easy and forgiving to tinker with. From experience as a non-gunsmith, I can say there are several mods you can do to the Buckmarks with no aftermarket parts and limited tooling (e.g. the "Heggis Flip" for a nice ~2 lb trigger).

Tim the student
June 1, 2011, 12:15 AM
I was deciding between the Buckmark and the Ruger, and I went with the Buckmark. It just felt so much nicer in my hands.

June 1, 2011, 12:25 AM
Great choice! You will be happy!:p

Prince Yamato
June 1, 2011, 12:33 AM
I second the Buckmark.

June 1, 2011, 01:43 AM

Ruger :D

I'm not biased at all ;).

June 1, 2011, 02:02 AM
I would check the syllabus for your gunsmithing classes to see if there is a particular make or model 22lr semi auto pistol you might need for the class to work on. If that isn't a factor, I like the Ruger Mk semis and I also like the smith revolvers. Both are great choices. Another option would be to get the 9 mm pistol you like, want and then get a 22 lr conversion kit.

June 1, 2011, 03:35 AM
Thanks for the advice,
The only pistol specifically listed is a 1911.
However, there will be side projects, and I will need opportunities to demonstrate what I have learned.

Does anyone have any good leads on one of the pistols mentioned?

Or a place to start looking?

I check the paper daily, and have been browsing the local pawn shops, but I haven't had much luck.

June 1, 2011, 04:14 AM
Buck Mark or Ruger, whichever feels best in your hands. I think you'll find the Colt Woodsman to be a rare bird these days, and the older High Standards too.

Where to find? Any good gun shops near you? I got a nice used Ruger MK II (stainless, fixed sights, tapered barrel) for $200 at my local gun shop. Or even a big box, like Gander Mountain or Bass Pro? There's always Gunbroker:



(I hope these links will work for you -- I'm clueless on Gunbroker's ".aspx" search results.)

June 1, 2011, 09:00 AM
I'm a Buckmark guy.

June 1, 2011, 10:56 AM
That sure is a pretty Buckmark!

The gunsmith/reloader I volunteer at gets a lot of Buckmarks and Woodsmans in for detail strip/cleaning and I really love the smoothness of their action and the nice lines they have. But the Rugers have SO many accessories and custom parts available.

It's a tough call. It'll probably come down to afforability

June 1, 2011, 11:37 AM
Since you mentioned it, the Buckmark does have a really nice trigger. I've never owned the Ruger but have heard nothing but good things about them. I've also heard that the Browning is a little easier to take down and put back together for cleaning though.

June 1, 2011, 11:56 AM
I've had a Ruger Standard model for about 30 years. It has been abused and neglected, occasionally cleaned and disassembled only one time (never again!). Mine feeds anything I load into the magazines and only has a rare failure to feed or eject. It's a fun gun but it's heavy and big for a .22LR. But it was never designed as a pocket pistol anyway.

Since you're planning on attending gunsmith school, you might consider the Ruger just because of it's reputation as "the gun that you can't put back together again after disassembly". Of course, you can reassemble it but the process can be a real head scratcher.

June 1, 2011, 12:02 PM
Ruger Auto assembly is about as simple as it gets, once you figure out the hammer strut has to go back inside the mainspring housing to get it to work.

Who knows, it might be a good thing for a gunsmith student to learn how to do, as lots of other guns including the Colt Woodsman, and to a certain extent, the 1911 go together pretty much the same way.

When I had a Ruger Auto years ago, I could put it together blindfolded with one hand if I had too.


Jim NE
June 1, 2011, 12:13 PM
"quality" + "meager budget" + ".22 pistol" = Smith and Wesson 22a

I paid $199 for mine NEW 6 months ago. I shoot it more accurately than I do my other handguns. It hasn't jammed on me yet.

June 1, 2011, 12:27 PM
I really like my new GSG 1911 in .22lr

June 1, 2011, 01:09 PM
I've had my P22 since Jan, I've put a lotta rounds through it, only had a few problems which I traced to a particular magazine. Runs great with pretty much everything I've thrown at it so far. Cleaning is a bit of a pain but not the worst I've experienced.

June 1, 2011, 06:54 PM
Which ever you choose I'm sure you will like it. I'm on my second Mk III hunter. I did some mods on it and it runs great! There are many aftermarket parts for it.

The Mkiii is very accurate! I friend of mine has an older High Standard that is very accurate as well.

The Mkiii is manageable for cleaning and breaking down once you learn it.

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