.22 Target Pistol Comparisons


January 26, 2004, 08:17 PM
I have seen so many 'different' articles about .22 pistols. However I have a very specific request, as I am in the search for a .22 target pistol.

I am familiar with Ruger MK II, but know that there has to be a 'better' gun for the money (which i also realize that personal preference plays a huge aspect).

What my concerns are:
1.) Accuracy
2.) Look/Feel
3.) Price

Here are the guns that I have been made aware of (with scores per http://www.ssaa.org.au/OFFICIALREVIEWS/22lrpistol/22targetpistol.htm )

Smith Wesson 22S - or 22A - 16 out of 20
Ruger MK II - 16.3 out of 20
Beretta U22 Neos - NO SCORE
Browning Buck Mark: 17.5 out of 20

I favor the design of the Beretta the best. Is this a target class pistol? Are there any of the above scores you disagree with? Can you add any to the list - FYI most are $250 price range.


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January 26, 2004, 08:43 PM
Don't know about the Beretta, but the Ruger Mk.II and Browning Buckmark are really good .22's for plinking and general target practice.

But out of the box, they won't perform up to the specs of a serious target pistol like a S&W M41 or a Walther GSP.

January 26, 2004, 09:59 PM
Shot this with my MKII a few weeks ago - one handed , bullseye style. Of those you mentioned the MKII is my pick. Is there a better gun for the money? Not for the $225 I spent. I hear a lot of good things on the Buckmark though I have never shot one. I also have a Smith 41 which is somewhat expensive but an excellent out of the box pistol.

January 26, 2004, 10:33 PM
The Buckmark is the best out of the choices. Several shooting buddies had Rugers until they shot my Buckmark for a couple weeks, haven't seen a Ruger since. I shot a Neos and to be fair I only tried it with one kind of ammo. It was OK, felt great in the hand, but the trigger sucked bad and the accuracy was only so-so. The S&W is a clunker, worse than the Ruger even.

Paul "Fitz" Jones
January 26, 2004, 11:29 PM
I have sold thousands of .22 pistol grips from the Ruger to the High Standard and Smith 41.

I feel the Ruger is an excellent choice for a beginner and even a more experienced shooter. My first Ruger was #55255 a long time ago. Today the Rugers need the investment of an improved trigger according to my old customers. I ceased production in 1979 but have a half dozen grips left for the MK1 models for before and after 1972 and a couple of MK 2's. Check at your shooting range for a shooter who can advise you about the source of the better trigger. Other than that I feel the Ruger is an excellent buy.

My company was from 1921-1979 and we invented the thumb rest and palm swell plate for advanced shooters. In my personal collection I have several extra grips for the High Standard Model 102,3,4 and the Smith 41 that could make someone happy. My last ones for the Ruger I got talked out of by several Bullseye list shooters.


January 26, 2004, 11:36 PM
The New Neos DLX Model, has an adjustable trigger, which may be the solution. The feel of the gun is what got my attention.

January 27, 2004, 12:03 AM
If you really want a *target* pistol and not just a .22 plinker, you might consider the IZH-35m it is a Russian target pistol with fully adjustable trigger. Very accurate. They dominate the local smallbore shooting club. Even outshooting the High Standards.

I have an older Browning Medalist made in Belgium. Picked it up for $375, but it was missing the box and the front wood piece. Most go for a lot more.

Used to have a Ruger Govt. Competition MKII. Very nice, but stock trigger left a bit to be desired. There are literally tons of aftermarket parts for the MKII though. I will probably buy another Ruger at some point. I like the design.

May also get a Buckmark if the price is right. And a Kadet kit for my CZ-85.........and a ...???

Did I mention I like .22's!!

- Good Luck,


January 27, 2004, 12:16 AM
Check out the Sig Trailside (http://www.sigarms.com/products/trailside.asp) as well. I've never shot one but I hear they are nice.

When I was doing research for my first .22 pistol I checked on the S&W :barf: , the Buckmark, the MkII, and the Sig. I went with the MkII because...well, I just liked it best. The S&W was never really a consideration because 1) it's butt ugly and 2) this was right after they signed the treaty with Satan. I couldn't afford the Sig :(

January 27, 2004, 12:51 AM
I have. :D

Friend of mine went whole hawg on a Ruger Mark II, with the Volquartsen alloy upper, Volquartsen trigger kit, freestyle grips, red dot sight, you name it. I loaned him my Buckmark one evening for his session at the local indoor range. The Ruger is now for sale, the proceeds of which will help him purchase his own Buckmark. ;)

January 27, 2004, 08:33 AM
Beretta offers the Neos as a plinker; the 87 Target Cheetah (http://products.berettausa.com/frame_tabellaprodotti_2002.asp?sgmt=32&Model=87 Target Cheetah#) is their target pistol.

January 27, 2004, 09:01 AM
The Ruger and the Browning are both nice pistols. I had a S&W 22A for awhile, very nice pistol with a grip like a 2X4 and no way to fix it. Tried out the Neo, but the trigger was terrible (to be fair it was a range rental gun). Any of them will work for a good plinker and probably last longer than you do. But for a few dollars more you can buy a competition grade pistol that already has the features on it that you'll have to pay to add to a plinker. My favorites are the Hi Standards, mainly because of the trigger. You can adjust it down to practically nothing, not a good thing on a field pistol, but great on a range pistol. I just had to buy a Mitchell Trophy II for nostalgic reasons, but looks like I have to buy another. The wife just bought a set of left handed grips for it,m and put them on MY pistol. Boy that woman has alot of nerve.

January 27, 2004, 09:22 AM
"If you really want a *target* pistol and not just a .22 plinker, you might consider the IZH-35m "

According to my view, the Ruger MK2, the Beretta 87 or the Neos, SW 22 etc are _good_ plinkers or club-grade target guns.

But the <b>real bullseye target</b> guns are the IZH-35, the SW 41, Hammerli 208, 280, Walther GSP, Feinwerkbau AW93 and so...

IZH-35 (in Walther costume):


Link for more pics:

January 27, 2004, 09:42 AM
You listed -
What my concerns are:
1.) Accuracy
2.) Look/Feel
3.) Price

Since price is last and you want a target pistol I'd suggest you expand your list to include the already mentioned Baikal IZH35M, it's about the same price as the Ruger. A fellow I shoot with shot a 100 rapid fire target with one Sunday. You can read about here http://izh.petebrunelli.com/

Other guns to look at are the Pardini SP. Don Nygord imports them and has a picture of one here http://www.nygord-precision.com/22pistols.htm You could call him and discuss these guns with him, or ask here - there are a couple of people using them that post here.

Another one is the discontinued Hammerli 208S. I recently saw a used one sell for about $1200, which looked like a good price. They are considered by many to the best .22 target pistol made. Larry Carter imports Hammerli and sometimes has leads on used ones. You can contact him here http://www.larrysguns.com/hammguns.asp

A good source of info on this is the Bullseye Encyclopedia http://www.bullseyepistol.com/ Lots of info there.

You can turn the Ruger into something resembling a target pistol, but by the time you're done you'd have spent as much as one of the guns above might cost. There are "kits" that facilitate these conversions.

Ala Dan
January 27, 2004, 10:00 AM
Wonder how come no one has mentioned the famed
Colt Match Target Woodsman ? Excellent target
pistol, for precise work; this weapon is a tack driver
for sure. It has long since been discontinued, and it
is a bit pricey! I bought one NIB years ago, and it
never let me down. Another one I wish I had back.

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

January 27, 2004, 10:21 AM
Ok: if i choose a browning, is the buck mark camper sufficient- does it shoot as good as a ruger MKII?


January 27, 2004, 10:31 AM
Here is the neos as mentioned: I would love to find someone that has purchased one. No one yet has said that they have actually done a field report. I have read a few and see that many are happy, some are not. These field reports are strickly of the NEOS non DLX model. The DlX does have adjustable sights and ADJUSTABLE trigger. The main complaint of the neos from people is that they dont like how it looks: to each his own! I favor its looks- it looks 'different'.

Has anyone shot a Neos, and more specifically, has anyone shot a DLX and done a field report on it. What is the range of adjustment of the trigger. The few reports i have seen are on the standard model and the complaint being that the trigger is stiff.


January 27, 2004, 11:43 AM
Since price is the last consideration you can eschew the MkIIs and the Buckmarks, leaving them for the unwashed masses and go straight to a Sig Trailside, a Model 41, a HS or as Ala Dan said, a Target Woodsman. If your groups are not up to snuff then at least you know it ain't the gun.

OR: Go to rimfirecentral.com and ask the bullseye shooters there what they use.

January 27, 2004, 12:26 PM
My first pistol was a S & W 41 purchased used in 1994. I had no idea of the number of rounds through it but the wood and bluing were in very good condition. I put thousands of rounds through it and had a lot of fun shooting .22 9 pin and pin tops. I sold it last year to raise cash for more then I paid for it. I doubt that any gun on your list could be sold for more then you paid in the future. My wife has a Buckmark, the 41 is far superior.

January 27, 2004, 03:34 PM
What about basic maintanence, ease of takedown between the Ruger and the Buckmark. Thanks

January 27, 2004, 03:48 PM
-Ummmmmmmmmm-----the Beretta NEOS looks cute, but it is most certainly NOT a target gun!
-I will also suggest the IZH35M: its ergonomics and trigger are definitely better than the Mk II Gov't Target 6-7/8, which I also own (which is stock, except for Volquartsen target grips). It is a "real" target pistol and comes with a fully-screw-adjustable match trigger (mine came at about 2/2.2 lbs), and you will have a hard time finding anyone on the web complaining of its lack of accuracy. The biggest problem you may have is if you are left-handed or simply cannot bear the factory (right-hand only) grips--there are better grips available but they cost $150-$200 (but then again, real match-grade grips would cost that much for any pistol, and other guns still wouldn't have the low boreline that the IZH has). About the only other problems are that the action is rough out of the box (you can fix this yourself with just a flat riffler file) and there are three screws that tend to come undone that need to be changed out with hex-head screws (this cost me fifty-eight cents, plus I had to cut the screws down with a Dremel tool).
The "main" IZH customer-info site: http://izh.petebrunelli.com/
...in particular, read through the "scrapbook" page. Also note that this gun has gone through several small improvements since it was first available back around 1997-1998, so some of the features and problems people mention there are no longer present.

January 27, 2004, 06:43 PM
I gotta try the IZH. There's too many people who say it is the real deal for a cheap competition gun.

I probably spent too much on the 6 7/8 Mark II Gov model with VQ guts & grip but it shoots a MUCH tighter group on a rest than I can do off hand. I want to add the SoLow mounts and an Ultradot scope, (Homer Simpson "beer tone" here) ... yummy.

The reviews on the Neos and the Baretta all speak of them as plinkers, not target shooters.

Standing Wolf
January 27, 2004, 07:26 PM
The best of all my best .22 caliber pistols is this 1978 High Standard Trophy. There's nothing wrong with the original fluted barrel, but this one now sports a Volquartsen barrel and mount, an Ultra Dot red dot scope, and Nill Grips stocks.

I finished the painting just this morning, in fact.

January 27, 2004, 08:16 PM
The Ruger is MISERABLE to take down and clean, the worst out there in the class. The Browning has screws in the top strap that come loose unless you use a dab of nailpolish, but it takes down VERY easily.

I just cannot understand why anyone would own the Ruger after trying a Buckmark, and if the Buckmark takedown was shown to a Ruger owner it would get traded off. I have had both....

January 27, 2004, 08:53 PM
I like my Ruger MKII's. Take down is fairly simple as is reassembly once you've done is a few times. The main problem is managing the hammer while reinserting the mainspring housing. OnTarget guns has a slick trigger sheild that will make cleaning very simple. After I installed that, all I've had to do was use a boresnake and wipe down the bolt and chamber face.



Chris Rhines
January 27, 2004, 09:43 PM
Between the Ruger MkII and the Buckmark, I greatly prefer the Ruger. The Ruger tends to have the better trigger out of the box, and the three Buckmarks that my old club had, well, they would shoot themselves apart on a regular basis. They had many reliability problems.

The club that I shoot in now tends to heavily favor MkIIs and IZH-35Ms on the low end, and Smith M41s and Pardinis at the high end (of price; at least one High Master shoots an IZH-35.) I've never seen a Buckmark on the line.

My personal Ruger MkII, with the half-shot-out barrel and scrubbed chamber, will shoot 1-inch ten-shot groups at fifty yards. Accuracy isn't going to be a problem.

- Chris

Mr Jody Hudson
January 27, 2004, 09:57 PM
For an actual target pistol, equally or more accurate than most good rifles; you will do best, from my experience, with the IZH-35 or the SW 41.

Although some of the others will satisfy you until you start wanting to keep your shots in a dime at 50 feet or more...

I found the Neos to be slightly more accurate than I am with rock throwing, not much more accurate though. I found the Trailside to be a rude example of something with Sig on the side and more in line with a Ruger. Old Rugers by the way were phenomenal, newer ones not at all - in comparison.

January 28, 2004, 09:02 AM
If you want something a little nicer than the IZH-35, look at a Benelli MP95. It is designed purely as a Bullseye targe pistol and is very accurate. Its a little more money than the IZH-35. You can proably find them new for around $700.

January 28, 2004, 09:11 AM
I think that the IZH-35 is what i was attempting to discover. Are there other 'sleepers' out there that shoot great but havent gotten the attention.

ALSO: Everyone seems to like the Ruger MKII - What about the 22/45. It seems to be a good value at $219 at my local Galyans!

Can anyone compare it to the MK II?

January 28, 2004, 09:12 AM
"a Benelli MP95"

And this modell is convertable to .32 SW Long WC caliber.
"large caliber" (aka centerfire) competition caliber in ISSF.

January 28, 2004, 09:48 AM
Ala Dan posted one of my old favorites, The Colt Woodsman.

Standing Wolf Posted another , The High Standard.
BTW SW, VERY nice painting sir!! Thank you for sharing.

January 28, 2004, 10:17 AM
---Who distributes the Benelli pistols in the US? They are not even listed on the US site at http://www.benelliusa.com/ , they are still listed on the Italian site however....

January 28, 2004, 11:09 AM
Someone posted "About the only other problems are that the action is rough out of the box (you can fix this yourself with just a flat riffler file)"

I've helped get 4 of the Baikal guns working right, the newer ones don't seem to have the roughness that the early ones had - for example, when taken apart they weren't gummed up with metal shavings from manufacture. The one problem I've seen with them is they like ammunition that is a little fast to function reliabily. I forget what the velocity cut off was, but anything under X FPS and the guns wouldn't feed. I do recall Wolf target ammo as being very accurate in them, but too slow to work the action.

Something that is often overlooked when selecting a target pistol is ammunition. Most of the guns mentioned shoot better with one type of ammo. Not all .22 ammo is created equal. I'd recommend when you figure out which handgun you're going to get, buy a couple of boxes of as many different brands/types of ammunition as you can afford. If you know someone with a rest - use it to test your ammo - if you can't find a rest, bench testing will work. Target 22's shoot better and last longer using standard velocity (SV) ammo. Some of the recognized names for good .22 SV ammunition are Eley, RWS, Wolf, Lapua and Aguila. Some people shoot Winchester and Federal - in your gun they might work. A good example of different ammo in one pistol was done by the Oslo pistol club; they tested various ammo in a Pardini pistol using a bench vise (!). The pictures/text is here and is worth taking a look at http://www.oslopk.com/ammo_test.htm

January 28, 2004, 09:35 PM
I put a Simmons Red Dot on a MKII slabside target, with an out of the box trigger, and put a sub-inch 10 shot group in the paper at 50 yards from the bench. The MKII will outshoot the vast majority of shooters. With a drop in trigger and a red dot this will be a very competitive club gun.
As for breakdown and reassembly, I hear a whole lot of whining about how hard the MKII is to put back together. Driving a stick shift is tough too, 'till you learn how! No magic involved, just reassemble the way it was before you started...of course that assumes you understand how it should go together! If you don't know that much, stick to the automatic drive...
If you still have trouble, take it to a smith & let him/her do a detail cleaning. I charge $30, strip it completely, relube, resight and give you a test target with a written opinion on the guns condition, including measuring the trigger pull. Such a deal and your local smith will appreciate the business!
Just my slant.....

January 28, 2004, 09:35 PM
ALSO: Everyone seems to like the Ruger MKII - What about the 22/45. It seems to be a good value at $219 at my local Galyans!

Can anyone compare it to the MK II?

It is essentially the MKII with a different grip frame - made of plastic although the gun companies like to call them polymer frames these days. It's plastic to me. The 22/45 grip -molded in the basic shape of the 1911 , fits some shooters better than the MKII angled grip. I owned one in addition to my MKII - a great shooter but I just preferred the MKII more and sold the 22/45. Also, the 22/45 has the magazine release in a more conventional position.

My current MKII has displayed excellent accuracy as shown in the targets, all shot from a rest, all 10 shot groups.

1- 50 meters , 2X Simmons scope in fairly breezy conditions , using relatively cheap Rem. Target ,on an actual 50 yard NRA bullseye target this should be X ring accuracy. Pistol would undoubtedly do better with a more powerful scope , trying more brands of ammo and definitely shooting in calmer conditions.

2- 25 yards CCI Green Tag , 2X Burris scope.

3- 25 yards Winchester T22 , 2X Simmons.

4- 50 ft , Win. T22 , Tasco Pro-Point shooting from a semi-solid rest.

For the price the MKII delivers superb accuracy.

January 29, 2004, 12:58 AM
Hey all. New to the board, first post.:) Here's my MKII slabeside out of the box groups (I did change grips and added a scope) at 25 yards off sandbags. Group on the left is Federal bulk. Group on the right is CCI Pistol Match ammo. Group in the lower middle is my Single Six. Can't wait to do a trigger job and tighten up the groups!:D



Hey YodaVader, good shooting!

And when I die let me die
With a dream in my mind
A smile on my face and no trouble behind
And no cross on my grave
To show my restin' place


January 29, 2004, 12:52 PM
Model 41 and MkII, and have done a fair bit of target shooting with Hi Standards and Hammerlis. They're all great guns, but in my experience their accuracy is about the same. It's the fancy ergonomics of the high-end guns, making them easier to shoot up to their potential, that you pay for.

That said, I can't imagine a better way for a shooter on a budget to get started than a MkII. I put a set of Pachmayr neoprene grips on mine, and years later had a trigger job done, which didn't cost much at all--$70 if I recall-- and the smith also put in a trigger overtravel stop and a sear-engagement adjusting screw. I can shoot it just as well as my beloved Model 41. Other than avoiding the 22/45, which doesn't have the steadying heft of the other models, I have no criticisms of the Mk II.

Don't believe the "too hard to strip/reassemble" crowd. There's nothing to it if you can read and follow directions. It's simply the best buy on the market.

Eskimo Jim
January 29, 2004, 04:12 PM
I really like my Ruger Mk II Govt Target Model. It holds 10 rounds and has a 6-7/8" barrel. I can easily shoot under 1" at 50 feet with a two hand grip and leaning on the table that is in the shooting stall. I bought it used years ago for about $250.

The only extra I bought is a collar that goes around the magazine for reloading. This allows you to hold the magazine like a syringe which makes reloading the magazine much easier.

I would suggest putting and oversidezed slide release on it. The heal magazine release takes some getting used to.

You can alwasy trick out one of these handguns with better trigger or red dot sights.

If money is no concern, go for a hammereli etc.

Good luck.


January 30, 2004, 12:22 AM
I just love the trigger on this one, shoots pretty dern good too.

January 30, 2004, 01:50 AM
I have a Beretta Neos and could not be happier. It only failed to feed once, and did not shoot one dud round (tried three times to get the round to fire with no luck) So far 1500 rounds without complaint. It is said to shoot any ammo reliably from cheap bulk (what I use) to the super high velocity stuff.

You can easily take out the creep, over travel, and reduce the trigger pull to around two pounds. You have to put a drop of blue or green loc-tite on the rear sight so it does not fall out. The finish is great, very easy tooless take down and put together. Three choices of barrel length, colored grips and sights, and soon there should be a carbine kit.

I have a half written article up on my website about the pistol. www.dustin.o-f.com

www.rimfirecentral.com is a great source for information on any .22 pistol.

January 30, 2004, 05:30 AM
I just got around to looking at this,
an interesting tidbit of info on the link given in the OP:
If you scroll down to where it says "Walther KSP 200" you will see that it was named "Best Overall", over the S&W 41 and the Ruger slabside.
The Walther KSP 200 is the same gun as the IZH-35M!
Walther buys the rough pieces from IZMASH and does the refinishing themselves, somewhat nicer. They also add a different magazine latch, different grips and a different bolt hold open. For that they add roughly $300 onto the $450 price of a regular IZH-35M. This information is stated on the Pete Brunelli site.

January 30, 2004, 07:43 AM
"Walther buys the rough pieces from IZMASH and does the refinishing themselves, somewhat nicer. "

No refinishing. The example of "Walther" KSP200 I tested was almost as crude, as a Kalashnikow:-))
But it is really more accurate...

cracked butt
January 30, 2004, 08:01 AM
The MkII target that I have actually shot tighter groups than the scoped remington 597 I used to have from sandbags. I'm a terrible shot with it offhand, and I doubt that I'll ever shoot to its potential.:banghead:

January 30, 2004, 09:55 AM
It seems as though I am leaning more towards a IZH-35M. This seems to have the best review web-wide for the 'buck'. I am still hoping to find just one person who has purchased the NEOS DLX.

Here is my ranking so far

1. IZH-35M.
2. Ruger MKII
3. NEOS DLX (based on assumption)

I will likely field test all 3 guns. I have a MKII government available and can find an IZH-35M used for less than $350 (i am working on a deal in the 200's range that is likely to follow thru)

Next on the list:
Can anyone give an opinion on the Leopold LG-35. I have one on the way that i purchased 'like-new' for $115 shipped.
1.) is leopold the best brand?
2.) is tasco or any other a consideration at all?

January 30, 2004, 10:03 AM
There is an article titled "Facts and Figures about dot scopes", it's here

It's got some good info in it on the subject you recently posted about.

January 30, 2004, 11:49 AM
Your selections are great plinkers, but fall far short of a true Target pistol. Others have listed various models to consider. YOu need to attend matches or read of them to get an idea of a true target pistol.

January 30, 2004, 12:13 PM
The IZH is a true target pistol. At a recent Bullseye match here locally almost all were shooting the IZH. A couple had Hi-Standards, one was shooting a 1911 with a conversion kit, one old guy had a Ruger MKI, and there was one European model with the mag forward of the trigger guard. Didn't get a close look at it. The IZH's hold their own against all at that match.

For plinking they only have 5 round mags, so that might be an issue.

January 30, 2004, 02:30 PM
...The MkII target that I have actually shot tighter groups than the scoped remington 597 I used to have from sandbags. I'm a terrible shot with it offhand, and I doubt that I'll ever shoot to its potential.... - cracked butt
-Well, (assuming you were using good match-grade ammo!) that's because the ergonomics are bad.
-You can't take any pistol, add a long heavy barrel and target grips and have a good-shooting gun--it just don't work. The reasoning behind this is that the short-barrel gun flips too much--so then they add target grips and a longer heavier barrel to add stability--but then the offhand balance ends up way too far forward. That's what's "wrong" with trying to use a field/plinking pistol for target, and it can't be fixed.
---Previous to the IZH, the Mk II gov't target or slabside would have been my choice.
-And if you're wanting to try air pistol inexpensively, the EAA/IZH46M air pistol has also quickly become THE entry-level 10-meter gun. For its $260 price tag, there is simply nothing else that compares in overall performance.

cracked butt
January 30, 2004, 08:37 PM
I agree, the ergonomics of the MKII are just short of terrible. The odd grip angle just doesn't feel natural to me.:(

January 31, 2004, 08:53 AM
DougCxx wrote:

"---Who distributes the Benelli pistols in the US? They are not even listed on the US site at http://www.benelliusa.com/ , they are still listed on the Italian site however...."

My MP95 was distributed by EAA , but Larry's Guns now distribues them. See this website for info and pricing.


At one time it was Heckker & Koch and the Benelli guns came in with H&K rollmarks not Benelli, but clearly the exact same pistol.

The MP95 does not seem to be a very common gun anymore as you really have to look for them, but they are out there. I like mine, have had it for about 9 - 10 years. Larry's prices seem to be in line with ones I've seen in gun shops.

May 12, 2008, 04:07 PM
Hi, Anybody knows where to buy NEW spare magazine for IZH35M?
EAA gun parts does not have them and not planing to bring any more.
Please reply to j_m_ru@yahoo.com

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