Shopping for a .22 revolver


September 4, 2011, 03:06 AM
Looking for the usual reliability and accuracy, but also looking at value. Only have about $300 to spend. What's the best bang for my buck? I am not a bottom feeder fan at all.

If you enjoyed reading about "Shopping for a .22 revolver" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
September 4, 2011, 04:16 AM
I'm looking at the Charter Arms line of .22 mags for the wife as we speak. A little over $300, but half the price of a S&W and the Bulldogs I've had over the years were good quality.


September 4, 2011, 04:33 AM
What do you think of the Rugers? I am not a fan of their old west look (the Security Six I think), but I do like the interchangeable cylinders. I have seen the pics of their supposed new one that looks great, but it hasn't released and will not be cheap I don't think anytime soon.

357 Terms
September 4, 2011, 05:41 AM
The Rugers will be out of your price range unless you find one used. Heritage makes a cheap single action 22lr/mag. I am still looking for a decent price on a used Ruger SA 22 (Single Six)

September 4, 2011, 06:06 AM
Stay away from bargain basement shank cuts. They are not a bargain. For a non bottom feeder on a budget a Ruger Single Six is unsurpassable. You can get an excellent used one if you shop/bid carefully. Look at Gunbroker to get an idea.

Hopefully a Smith and Wesson model 17, aka K-22 is somewhere in your future if you like .22 revolvers.
September 4, 2011, 08:25 AM
Personally, if you are absolutely dedicated to a 22lr revolver.. I would hold out for a used Smith and Wesson DOUBLE ACTION... by this I mean stay away from the many Single action 22s of which Ruger is probably the most popular choice. I'm a Ruger fan and lots of people like the Single Sixes.... personally I don't .... the reason is they are a pain to load... iddy bitty rounds have to be pushed just right through the loading gate. It is much easier to load a double action with the cylinder swung out... still not easy with the little 22s but a lot easier than with the single actions...

September 4, 2011, 09:55 AM
AFAIK, the only people making double-action .22 revolvers right now are Charter Arms, S&W and Taurus. Of those three, a new gun from S&W is going to be the best, but they are at least twice your price point. You would need to find a really good deal on a used gun to get a Smith for $300 or less.

Of the other two, you can probably find a new gun at least close to your price point and you should easily be able find a used gun for less than $300. Between Charter and Taurus, I would probably chose to go with the Charter. There are a lot of complaints about QC on recent Taurus guns and I would be hesitant to pay good money for one.

September 4, 2011, 12:13 PM
Looks to me like you have the choice of an *o.k.* to bargain basement used double action, such as Charter, Taurus, H&R, Hi- Standard, Iver Johnson etc. etc. (some of which aren't bad if you aren't fussy about heavy triggers, and they will ALL have heavy triggers... they have to in order to light off rimfire rounds semi reliably)....Chances for finding a Smith , Colt or Ruger Double Action .22 used for .$300 will be a mighty tough proposition.


A kind of rough new single action like a Heritage Rough rider, or Chiappa Plinkerton


a decent quality used Single Action like a Ruger Single Six.

The best revolver for the money in that price range is prob the used Ruger Single Six, but some of the used off brand Double Actions can be fun guns for short money.. Just don't expect it to be a Colt or S&W at that price.

I have a fun little double action Iver Johnson that set me back about a hundred bucks, that's a hoot, BUT it's not anywhere near in the same league with my Pre War Colt Officers Model Target .22 or S&W 617.

I'd be more inclined to by a used H&R Sprotsman, or a Hi-Standard Double Nine over a new Charter Arms , Taurus or Heritage

September 4, 2011, 02:56 PM
I bought a used Taurus 94 for $200, and spent a few dollars on some aftermarket springs for it. The trigger pull is a lot nicer than how heavy it was in factory form, and it has been a terrific shooter for me. I don't experience any more failures with it than I do my Buck Mark (which means maybe 2-3 per box of 550 rounds won't fire)

Fat Boy
September 4, 2011, 03:07 PM
+1 on the Ruger Single Six. But there is this price issue...a local shop has a nice Single Six with an old leather holster (not sure of the brand; maybe a "Ranger?") Asking price is $425 and I don't think they are in the mood to negotiate too much. And on top of everthing else, this gun only has the .22lr cylinder; no magnum...

September 4, 2011, 04:51 PM
One of my LGS has a Single Six with just the .22lr barrel for under $300. I would place the finish around 85-90%. I don't care for it being SA only. I also don't really like the looks either. I haven't handled it though, will do that next week. I think they also have a Charter and a Taurus under the glass.

When I was in last, they also had a couple of nice .22 rifles. One in particular caught my eye, Remington 597. It need a good cleaning, but comes with a really nice 40mm scope and some high rings (that I wish were lower, but I think they came of a gun that still had the ironsites). They are asking pretty low for it, but the action looks like it is barely used.

So who knows. I was going to purchase a M36-2, even had it in lockup, but someone made a comment about checking the rifling and low and behold, the little 2" barrel has darn near none left. Eyeballing it, maybe .15mm left (the rifling looks drawn inside the barrel). Where it hits the forcing cone, completely smooth. I forsee little or no accuracy (consistent) with it.

September 4, 2011, 04:55 PM
Maybe your not into used guns. I love my Dad's H&R from the sixties. Its real accurate, if it's clean it shoots well, and I bey you could find one used for 200 or under.

September 4, 2011, 05:00 PM
I have never bought new. :) I only buy used.

September 4, 2011, 05:06 PM
I really do like mine. It is double single action, it holds nine rounds, and with its longer barrel and its old school blade sights it is as accurate as any of my modern pistols. I will say this about .22s. It seems likes if it is automatic .22 rifles or if it is revolvers or auto handguns, they all need to be cleaned very often and cleaned well or they jam. Check out the H&R, I have the model 99. Good look to you either way.

September 4, 2011, 05:29 PM
Hmm. I think the shop has ANIB H&R too. I will definitely look at it Wednesday. Happen to have a pic of yours?

September 4, 2011, 05:32 PM
I've got a Taurus 94 that had belonged to my father-in-law. Not the most accurate .22 in the cabinet, but it's a really fun plinker. I'd HIGHLY recommend it for your consideration.

September 4, 2011, 08:32 PM
Plus 100 on the Ruger single action. They last a lifetime and run and run and run. :)

$300 isn't much of a budget these days. Consider a Used Ruger automatic instead.

I like Ruger revolvers; just bought this one. It comes with a .22 magnum cylinder as well.

Talo birdshead .22 Ruger.

September 4, 2011, 09:44 PM
^^^ Awesome gun! I'd love to own one like that!

September 4, 2011, 10:45 PM

They last a lifetime and run and run and run. :)

My dad's Single Six is halfway through it's second lifetime.

Or save some more money and get a S&W K22 or K17.

September 4, 2011, 10:56 PM
If I bought a used Ruger revolver that should have come with 2 cylinders, but only has one, are replacements available? Do they have to be fitted to the gun? I am warming up to the idea of one, but still prefer one that can do DA too. With the SA Ruger, does the revolver checkout guide still apply? Is there anything I should look at that might not be there on the guide specific to the Ruger?

September 4, 2011, 11:01 PM
+1 on Ruger Single Six in stainless. Best 22 revolver made IMHO.

September 4, 2011, 11:18 PM
I picked up a Heritage .22/.22Mag single action at Academy Sports recently, list price $176. It worked a little stiffly right out of the box, but after some CLP on the moving parts, and a couple of hundred rounds fired off, it's smoothed out nicely. Shoots pretty accurately in .22LR, I haven't tried out the .22 Magnum cylinder yet.

September 5, 2011, 11:23 AM
I have both semi-autos and revolvers in several calibers, and shoot both types regularly. With several .22lr semi's, I wanted to add a .22 revolver to the cabinet. Quick market review brought me to the conclusion I could get a single action S&W for ~$600, a Ruger Single Six for ~$400, or a Heritage Rough Rider for ~$200. For household budgetary reasons, I went with the Heritage.
I could not be more pleased with the gun. Whatever other hand guns I take to the range (I rotate among the others) the Rough Rider ALWAYS goes with me. It really is my favorite handgun to shoot, and surprisingly accurate with the basic iron sights.

On a range day with some friends, we traded back and forth with their Single Six and my Heritage. I will acknowledge that the Ruger feels sturdier and better made overall. Nonetheless, it shot no better than my Heritage, and did not make me wish I had spent more for one. I still love the Rough Rider.

I have never shot a S&W SA revolver, so only hearsay and reviews add to my opinion beyond the cost.

So, if you are good with the idea of a single action and are on a budget, I really think the Heritage is a good choice.
Unlike the earlier poster, I rather like the "old west" look of the several SA guns mentioned in this thread.

If you particularly want a SA/DA .22 revolver, I have to step back from the bar and let others comment.

September 5, 2011, 01:27 PM
How fussy are you about your trigger? How much tinkering with the guns do you mind doing or paying to have done to achieve the sort of trigger you like? The guns that $300 will buy are not going to be bottom feeders but they won't be far from it. And they will all be the guns that folks buy only to sell later when they "upgrade" to a S&W, Dan Wesson, Colt or Ruger. The reason those four names keep coming up and why they command the used prices they do is because the guns are truly superb to shoot thanks to their excellent trigger designs. And they will last for many hundreds of thousands of rounds without even breathing hard. This makes them good value despite the higher purchase price.

I don't admit to having tried a huge number of .22 revolvers but I quickly came to the conclusion that paying more to get the best was money well spent. I got an H&R Sportsman and shortly after a Hi Standard Double 9. Both not bad guns at all. But niether could hold a candle to the S&W Model 17 that I got when I came across a bit of a deal from a buddy. A year and a bit later I found an older mid 60's Ruger Single Six three screw that was tight but worn a bit for $150 and the debit card hit the counter again in a blink.

Despite some tinkering to make it better the Double 9 went to a buddy. It would have taken a LOT more tinkering than what I did to make the trigger on it match the Ruger. And with the design of the double action system there was just no way to make the double action pull in any way become tolerable for target shooting or even basic pop can plinking. The H&R is still with me and I'm going to continue to tinker with it because it's the top break model and I like it for this particular feature. But it can't hold a candle to the S&W 17 for double action feel although the single action trigger is already very nice. And again due to the nature of the double action system in the H&R I doubt it'll ever become near as nice as the Snith.

I've seen lots of mixed reviews of Taurus 94's. If you're lucky to get a good one or don't mind the trip or two back for warranty and then tinker the trigger to get the feel you want they seem to be good after that and last a long time. But it seems like a higher percentage than normal need to go back for one thing or another and from reviews that the trigger out of the box can't match the S&W (or Colt .22 if you can find one for a decent price). Given that there's this gamble for getting the trigger to feel like you may want it may or many not come out the other side of the work costing less than a nice used S&W.

I can't comment on the Charter arms models as I've never had a chance to shoot one or even read many reviews of them since they are rarely sold up this way.

I may be in for a lot more tinkering to get what I want but I'm likely going to throw the debit card down again for the new Ruger SP101 8 shot .22 when it comes out.

Anyhow, the moral of this "story" is to see if you can try a few of the guns first. In the case of the S&W 17 or 617 you may not be able to try one of them but if you can get to shoot one of the .38spl K frame guns then it'll feel pretty much the same but with less kick :D At least dry fire a K frame gun so you know what the trigger will feel like to compare to the other options.

If you're looking for a single action plinker the one option I'd suggest despite being untried is the H&R 9 shot models where you pull the cylinder arbor pin out each time to drop the cylinder and load it externally. It may seem cumbersome at first but as long as you've got a range table and a mat to do this it's actually quicker than single unloading and loading with a typical single action gun such as the Ruger Single Six. And if you can make up a block of wood with 9 brass rods in it to eject all the empties at one stroke it becomes very quick. You just need to shoot in situations where you can have the loose parts laying around. So it's not that good for field plinking. For such use you're better off with a regular single action type or a break top or a swing out cylinder.

September 5, 2011, 04:29 PM
BCRider, thank you for the post. I have been thinking about the new SP101, but it will be out of my price range for a while. I have had both K and J frames, so I am used to their trigger pull. I have had to sell my guns for bills, but want something I can shoot for cheap. Once out of my hole, I can start saving again for something better; be it a pistol or rifle in .22.

September 6, 2011, 01:29 AM
Well, that sucks. I can see now why you're looking for a low cost but decent option just to keep your hand in.

Although I badmouthed them a bit the H&R and Hi Standard Double 9 are not bad options. With the D9 I just treated as the SA only gun that it resembles and forget that it even has a DA mode. Then it's not all that bad at all.

And I get much the same results from the H&R if it's used more as a SA gun in order to avoid the heavy DA pull.

There may well be other options as well but these are the two budget guns that I've personally shot.

I'll leave it to the others to offer up other "good bang for the buck" options. Then it's time for you to go into "hunting" mode to find something.

Don't be afraid to ask when you see other options too. I walked into one of my LGS's a couple of months back to find a well used but well cared for older 3 screw Ruger Single Six for just $150 with the .22LR cylinder only. It was an estate sale and priced to move quick. Here and there you come across such things and just need to be ready to jump when it happens.

September 6, 2011, 01:49 AM
Yeah. The LGS I like (great owners and staff, they are a much smaller shop though and their prices are a tad higher) did have a Single Six without the Magnum cylinder. I don't remember the cost... They also had an H&R, NIB I believe that was complete, also don't know the cost. They also have quite a few semi-auto's too. I am just not a fan, but reading in that forum is slowly making me rethink things... The LGS I don't like (tons of inventory, type of store that won't give you the time of day unless you walk out spending over $1000, they are your best friends then) had a bunch of the Rugers, ranging from beat to hell to BNIB. Their prices are somewhat better too. There is a third LGS near, but they cater more to the LEO's in the area, not a single .22 pistol of any kind in the store, unless its one of those AR/AK types.

My wrists usually don't cause me any issues, but it doesn't take much if the force is applied in the right spot. I went bowling once and one tiny bone in my wrist was out of whack for nearly a year before going bowling again and the bone re-centered itself. The J-frame I shot made my wrist sound like rice-krispies with recoil. It didn't hurt, but in a panic situation, it would be a very bad thing to happen.

September 6, 2011, 10:26 AM
How about cruising Gunbroker et al for an H&R 676 DA convertible? I have one with a 7.5" barrel and it's a true tack-driver. You can pick a nice one up for $200-$250.

Some folks will poo-poo H&Rs because of an alleged heavy trigger pull but my experience has been that they have a medium pull, no worse. Also, H&R had different models with more or less finish quality. The 676s, 949s, etc are the better ones while the 922s were the economy models.

September 6, 2011, 12:08 PM
I will look into those as well. Sucks living in CA, cannot do an FFL transfer on an off roster pistol. Makes shipping a nightmare.

September 6, 2011, 06:07 PM
Keep this in mind about the triggers on guns like the H&R, Hi-Standard etc. No, they won't be up to the level of a good S&W or Colt.... BUT........ and this is important IMO....

IF you get good and practice a lot with one of those revolvers, and master the heavier double action trigger, you'll find your shooting will likely be much improved when you grab a hold of a more premium double action revolver.

My little Iver Johnson is GREAT for that... When I grab my Colt Officers Model Target, it's all that much easier to shoot well.

Something to think about.

September 6, 2011, 06:42 PM
Being as this is the revolver forum and how much we obviously love our wheelguns I still have to say that your budget will buy a much nicer semi than it will a wheelgun. And.... I know I'm showing my dark side here :D.... semis can be fun too. Trigger time is trigger time. And if you look around I'll bet you can find a club that has some sort of action match events that include .22. If not then why not jump in and offer to organize such an event? Most clubs are just itching for folks to step up and run such things. And if it means you end up with a bunch of like minded folks that enjoy their .22's then you may just find that having to "settle" for a .22 isn't so bad after all.

My local club does a Speed Steel match each month. It allows entering all handguns other than full on Magnums (hard on the targets) along with handgun caliber carbines. Included are classes for rimfire semi, revolver and Open (any gun using a red dot or telescopic sight). It's hellish fun to shoot in and leaves me feeling quite satisfied and at Peace With The World at the end of the day:D The day is split into two matches before and after lunch. Each of the 5 stages involves 5 steel targets to keep things revovler friendly. 1, 2 or 4 white targets to be shot with 4 shots in any order (obviously 4, 2 or 1 hit each respectively) and a black "finisher" to end the string. Often the finisher is set up in close proximity to a white to test the shooter's accuracy. Hitting the finisher ends the string with penalties for any "misses" on the whites. The shooter shoots each stage with a total of 6 strings of shots with the worst time being a throw away. The other 5 being added for a total score for that stage. Misses don't count, only hits. So revolvers have ONE grace miss shot. Makes a bloke concentrate a little more when one goes astray... :D

There's no lack of very nice semis to be had. In my case I found a S&W 422 that I really liked the feel of. A couple of years later I tripped over a short 4.3 inch barrel 2206 version of the same gun in stainless. I've shot thousands of rounds through these two guns and neither has had a single failure that I can remember other than the odd FTF which seems to be endemic to .22 bulk ammo. And even those are rare with these two guns. They both shoot better than me and both have nice triggers. I may have gotten lucky as I find the odd thread on forums saying that these older S&W's were problematic. But such "information" seems to show up rarely enough compared to the legions of happy owners that I'm not at all worried. If you find a nice condition 422 or 2206 in either barrel length you will likely find that you will have found a nice shooting .22.

My local Rent-A-Gun range has a brace of Ruger Mk II and III's and recently added a few 22/45's. The Rugers do see to be like the Energizer bunny in that they just keep on shooting. The odd time they'll begin to complain when they've shot so much that they scared away the last traces of oil on the slide. Two or three drops of CLP later they are as happy as lambs in a fresh field with butterflies to chase. Get the one with the grip angle that suits your needs and I suspect you'll be a happy camper. They have a rep as a great gun because that is exactly what they are. There's a "trick" to stripping them and re-assembly. But from all accounts it's not all THAT hard to learn to do it easily.

From my own playing around I found that I prefer the Luger like swept angle for single handed target shooting and the 1911 like grip angle for two handed "action" shooting. Each seems to just click with the respective shooting styles. YMMV on that count. We are very adaptive creatures.

Whichever way you go all the best on finding a nice shooting gun to carry you through this tight spot with a smile on your face.

September 6, 2011, 07:25 PM
Thanks for all the help everyone. I really appreciate the specific model numbers to look at, helps me shop.

BCRider, I see you over on Rimfire Central, thanks for your insight and the time you took to write me some "books"... Really appreciate it.

Hitting the LGS tomorrow, will see what they got and I will report back with my findings.

September 7, 2011, 01:54 PM
You're most welcome.

Being able to type with all 10 fingers really helps me spit out the long ones before I even know they've gotten long... :D

Be patient. The "right" one for you may not be out there just yet. It may take a couple of months to find a gun that hits the pocket book just right and that "fits" you. I know that when I picked up my 422 it was more than "this seems decent for the money". There was something about the feel and look that I knew was just right for me that hasn't been there with a lot of other guns. Take your time and "cop a feel" on as many as you can find and somewhere the "right" one will pop out of the woodwork.

September 7, 2011, 02:51 PM
I'm in the same boat; trying to find an affordable .22 LR revolver. I have a Taurus 94 which in the process of selling - too many issues to list (but it DOES go bang).

My summation; wait and buy a new SP101 or a new S&W. The used ones are too close in price to the used ones - so for another $100 bucks you can get a new one.

Personally, I'm leaning towards waiting for the SP101 in .22LR.

September 7, 2011, 03:56 PM
I do like the look of the new Ruger for sure. I will be out at the LGS in about 2 hours. Hope they have something workable for me.

September 7, 2011, 04:33 PM
Jerry Miculek did a 200m+ shot (230 something yards?) with a Smith 617 6" and a red dot held upside down --and fired DA using the pinkie. Shot a balloon. I have a 317 snub though, and I can't hit anything with it and neither can my wife or army buddy. The trigger HAS to be getting close to 20lbs. I hate it, but she won't let me sell it.

The 617 is supposed to be closer to the 686, and I LOVE that revolver. Doubt you'll find one for $300 though. Might be better to save up and get one you'll love rather than just any old .22 revolver you can afford now.

I sure wish my wife would have done that before picking up that 317.

September 7, 2011, 05:18 PM
I picked up a K22 for 290 last month (20 S&H, 10ffl)

Incredibly accurate and easy to shoot

Take your are out there

September 7, 2011, 07:08 PM
Well the LGS was a bust. They had a Rough Rider complete in box and that was it. When I looked at it, the SA trigger was quite nice, but one of the cylinders was damaged (oval shaped instead or round like the rest) so I passed on it. They had a bunch of th Ruger Mk 1-3's and they felt very awkward in my hands. They had a Walther P22 that looked really nice, but it also didn't fit my hand well.

I went ahead and picked up the M36-2 I had in "jail" and am going to give it a go. The one I got to try had stock grips, the one I have has an enormous set of Houge Monogrips. They should help with recoil. I took a look at the rifling again and at first it looked like lands were worn down level with the grooves. We ran a bore brush through and it turned out to be heavy leading. Now that it's clean, looks totally good. I will give it a shot (tee-hee) and if it kills my wrists, I can always sell.

If you enjoyed reading about "Shopping for a .22 revolver" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!