I picked up a Phoenix HP22 yesterday


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jrdolall
May 9, 2012, 05:37 PM
at my LGS. I have read a lot of horror stories here on THR about the guns so I decided it was worth $150 to see how the gun handled NIB. I took it apart and lubed everything well as I need to get aquainted with how the thing works. It was a bit of a pain to disassemble the first time but was easy after doing it once. I fired 220 rounds through the gun today in two different sessions. I used 3 different types of ammo. Remington bulk pack, Aguila sub-sonic and CCI stingers.

I first loaded up the mag with Remington and had a FTE on the first round. Rack and roll and I fired the next 99 rounds with no issues whatever. This was a partial box so I moved on to the Aguila after 10 mags. My thumb is a bit sore right now.

The pistol DID NOT like the sub-sonic rounds. The manual clearly states to use regular velocity .22 rounds so this was no surprise. I had 5 issues in 30 rounds using the Aguila. All were simple re-rack issues with no major breakdowns.

Stingers flew right out as expected with no problems. I fired 30 rounds with zero issues.

I finished the day's shooting later this afternoon with the remainder of the Remingtons and experienced no issues. I was not overly concerned with accuracy but I was able to put 48 of the first 50 rounds in a 3" circle at 10 yards or so. No big deal but I have no intention of using it for anything other than plinking. It mauled a beer bottle that made the mistake of laying around the area. I have NO idea how that could have gotten there.

Bad: I do not like that the safety must be on before I can drop the mag. Maybe that is because the gun is made in CA but I don't see any real advantage to that safety feature.

Good: Everything else. It is a single action semi and does have a hammer block so it can be carried cocked and locked. Trigger is adequate. Accuracy is adequate. It fired the cheap bulk ammo without problems which is a huge plus since shooting Stingers at $.10 per shell kind of defeats the purpose of using .22 ammo. Feels substantial in my hand and has more weight than you might expect for a low end .22.
I will be shooting it more in the next week and will make any additions that need to be made. My first impression was very favorable. $159 NIB out the door, handles well and shoots bulk ammo.

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MCgunner
May 9, 2012, 08:35 PM
Glue the stupid firing pin block up so it can't turn itself on. Get some spare recoil springs...you'll need 'em. Phoenix Arms has 'em. The one's from Numrich arms need to be trimmed about 2 coils and aren't as good.

I have put probably 3K through mine max. It peened the frame such that I had to open it up with a dremel to get it going again. That wasn't long ago. When I first got it, the slide cracked. I got a new one, a re-design, from PA for nothing, but had to send the old one to 'em. They gave me a free magazine for my trouble.

This gun is NOT a gun to put a lot of rounds through. When (not if) you wear it out, you can get a new one under warranty. The gun will shoot 3" groups at 25 yards off the bench and mine shoots POA with no adjustment. I got the 5" barrel and it cut groups down to 2" with Fed Lightening.

I kept mine around because of the accuracy, but I have a Ruger SR22 now for pocket .22 plinker duties. I'll keep the PA and probably not shoot it much anymore. the Ruger is just all around better, no question, obvious. It's a little physically larger, but fits in my Wrangler's front pockets just fine and weighs a lot less than the HP22 and it's zamak construction.

Don't be surprised when the gun stops on you. So far, I've not had to send mine back except for the busted slide which happened within 500 rounds of buying it, but it was down for quite a while due to my apathy until I finally figured out the problem with the frame battering. I'll keep it around, couldn't get much for it anyhow. It's accuracy makes it a pretty good "Kit Gun" to take along in rough environments. Not a gun I worry about getting salt water on and it shoots well.

I try to make lemonade out of lemons much as possible, but the HP22 has been a tough squeeze. Good thing, I gave dealer for it 20 years ago, 60 bucks with shipping. I'm not sure it was worth that, but hell, it's only 60 bucks. :D The 5" barrel and finger extension mag cost me 40.

MCgunner
May 9, 2012, 09:51 PM
BTW, you'll know the recoil spring has gone limp when you start getting misfires, click, no bang. The spring gets so limp it can't push the slide forward any further than the extractor who's spring keeps the breach out of battery. This is NORMAL about every 500+ rounds. the recoil spring reminds me of the spring out of a cheap ball point pen. :rolleyes:

Kiln
May 10, 2012, 04:05 AM
The slide cracking issue has been fixed with newer models. Frame failures, unfortunately are still common at around 3k rounds. A small crack will form on the left side of the gun at some point right next to the safety, as the metal there is as thin as a soda can.

You might be able to prevent this by replacing the recoil springs every 1k rounds or so, they're cheap and if you bought the gun new Phoenix will send you some free most of the time.

I sent mine in to the factory because of the frame crack issue even though the gun still actually worked fine...I just couldn't stand having a cracked frame when I had a lifetime warranty. They sent me a brand new gun and an extra mag, the new gun also works extremely well.

They're a gun that works really well if you maintain it and make sure to change out springs often. You do have to accept that they have a limited lifespan compared to higher dollar guns but hey, if you look at the reports of Walther P22's and Ruger SR22's giving out before that round count and which cost over 2x the price you might feel pretty good about the little "junk" gun.

Still love mine despite the issues it has.

jrdolall
May 10, 2012, 08:30 AM
Thanks. I bought it to give it a shot as a gun to put in my pocket while walking around the farm and just for killing the occasional stray can or bottle and I do not have really high expectations. As long as it goes BOOM(okay CRACK) I will be good. I have seen used ones for $75 but wanted to get one NIB.

I own a Buckmark and MKII already. The Browning really only likes Stingers so I don't shoot it al that much anymore.

The warranty was a requirement before I purchased the gun. I will order some new springs today and make the change if I start getting FtFs. I will also keep an eye out for cracks and other structural issues every time I take it out. Just another .22 to add to my collection really. This makes 21 assorted pistols and rifles I think.

MCgunner
May 10, 2012, 03:39 PM
but hey, if you look at the reports of Walther P22's and Ruger SR22's giving out before that round count and which cost over 2x the price you might feel pretty good about the little "junk" gun.

Too early to say anything bad about the Ruger. The thing is barely on the market. I have about 1200 rounds through mine. By this time I'd gone through two recoil springs and a slide on the HP22. I am QUITE happy with the little SR22, far superior gun to the HP22, not even any close comparison. I'm sure it'll need service someday, don't know if I'll live long enough to see it. And, I do have a Mk 2 for just shooting, but it don't fit in a pocket. It's my squirrel pistol, well, one of 'em, anyway. I have a scope on that one.

Thanks. I bought it to give it a shot as a gun to put in my pocket while walking around the farm and just for killing the occasional stray can or bottle and I do not have really high expectations. As long as it goes BOOM(okay CRACK) I will be good. I have seen used ones for $75 but wanted to get one NIB.

I think for your uses, you'll be quite happy with the gun. You seem to be aware that it WILL need service. The GOOD thing about the gun is it is accurate enough for field use, VERY accurate for such a small pocket pistol I was quite astounded by that accuracy and it's why I will keep the gun. I don't get rid of accurate guns, no matter how cheap or crappy, if they're otherwise reliable and the HP22 feeds rather reliably when it's not broken. LOL I also loved the fact that, being a cheap zinc gun, it was HAMMER fired, not striker fired. That's pretty unusual. I do notice on mine some wash board wear under side of the slide where it over rides the hammer. I figure that won't last forever, either, a wear point.

But, for your use of the gun, and I mean it ain't like it costs much, and with the good customer service i've gotten from Phoenix Arms over the years, I think you'll be quite happy with it. I just got tired of it going down all the time, LOL. Well, this last episode with the frame battering where the slide hits each shot, it caused the recoil spring to bind more and more. I couldn't figure it out for a while, just would change the recoil spring. Wasn't long before that didn't fix it, then I figured out what the problem was and used a dremel to open up the inside of the front of the frame where the battering damage was where that little spring guide sits on the take down catch. Now, it's working great, so I've set it aside in the plastic box that my Kel Tec P11 came in. I keep it in there with a spare mag and the 5" barrel and there's several spare springs with it.

I own a Buckmark and MKII already. The Browning really only likes Stingers so I don't shoot it al that much anymore.


Your Buckmark is ammo picky? I was going to get a Buckmark as my next .22. Well, it is going to have to wait a while, but they're quite affordable at Academy. I have the Mk 2 and it eats about anything as well as does my SR22. I like beiing able to shoot bulk pack Federal, cheap, and it actually seems to be the favorite load of the SR22. The HP22 likes it. It shoots REALLY well with Stinger in the 3" barrel, but I don't know if Stinger might be a little hard on the gun, the little bit more recoil force, could account for the frame battering I described, not sure, but can't be GOOD for the gun. But, this is the reason I started getting fed up with the HP22. I mean, how many guns do you have to worry about frame battering that are chambered in .22LR? :rolleyes: That's usually a concern in 1911s firing +P and stuff. They make recoil buffers to stop that in 1911s.

MCgunner
May 10, 2012, 03:51 PM
Oh, btw, to temper my previous criticism of the HP22, I have bought WORSE pistols. I have 11 .22 caliber handguns of one sort or another. My worst was a Ramline Exactor. OH, how the zines thought that was the future of handguns when it came out. :rolleyes: Whadda worthless waste of hard earned money! Well, it wasn't THAT much dealer cost, had a dealer FFL at the time, but the plastic magazines and constant force springs were short lived in that gun and it bankrupted Ramline, can't get parts anymore. Phoenix Armis is still alive and well and with all the problems I've seen with the gun, none were quite as bad as that Ramline. If Ramline wouldn't have gone under, I probably would fix the thing or have them fix it. The warranty is only good if there is a company to honor it. I don't think Phoenix Arms is going under like that at this point any time soon.

Ramline shoulda stuck with crappy aftermarket magazines for 10/22s. :rolleyes:

Robbins290
May 10, 2012, 04:27 PM
I have one. Never had a issue soo far. About 4-5k with the original recoil springs. Paid 130 new for it. I agree with glueing the firing pin saftey. I never realy looked for cracks tho. I will check that put when i gt home

danez71
May 10, 2012, 08:49 PM
You do have to accept that they have a limited lifespan compared to higher dollar guns but hey, if you look at the reports of Walther P22's and Ruger SR22's giving out before that round count and which cost over 2x the price you might feel pretty good about the little "junk" gun.


I havent heard of the SR22 having a frame crack yet.

MCgunner
May 10, 2012, 08:53 PM
The only thing I've heard about the SR22 is that the barrel nut can loosen and make accuracy erratic. Mine's tight after 1200 rounds. If it loosens, I'll drop some loctite on it and retighten it. Easy job, it's an allen nut.

skt239
May 10, 2012, 10:26 PM
The Ramline never seems to make its way into the "ugliest gun" threads. How is that?

jrdolall
May 10, 2012, 11:58 PM
I took my Buckmark apart today and did a complete detail for the first time in a while. I do not like that I need an allen wrench to break it down and I nearly lost one of the lock washers when I coughed while getting ready to put it back together. I will give it a diet of bulk pack ammo this weekend and see if the cleaning solves the problem. I really like the Buckmark. It feels great and is very accurate. I don't remember when I bought the gun, maybe 1992 or so, and it has 1000's of rounds through it so I may try a new spring if I still have issues. The spring seemed to still be in good shape with plenty of pressure. It is amazing the difference in the Buckmark spring and the Phoenix spring. You are correct in that the Phoenix spring resembles a ball point pen.

Kiln
May 11, 2012, 01:14 AM
Not a frame crack but a takedown assembly failure. Basically one of the sides of the takedown lever sears off and sends the SR22's slide assembly and everything contained within flying forward onto the ground. In essence the gun is totally useless at this point until the lever can be replaced.

The failures have been recorded on Youtube and users claim fairly low round counts (less than 2k) before this happening.

jrdolall
May 21, 2012, 04:10 PM
Shot the Phoenix again today around 100 rounds with no issues. Blazers and Remington bulk.
I shot the Buckmark maybe 100 times after breaking it down last week and it fed Blazers and Remingtom bulk with no problem. It did not like the sub-sonic but I can live with that as long as I don't need to shoot stingers all the time.

MedWheeler
May 21, 2012, 09:38 PM
I have the Phoenix. Great little shooter. I also had one of the Ramline (or was it Jamline?) mags for my 10/22 back in the eighties. Looked cool; never fed more than two rounds in a row, however. I got another extended-cap mag several years back that actually did work, but I can't think of who made it. I just remember that it had a metal follower, while the Jamline's was plastic.

Kiln
May 22, 2012, 02:54 AM
Lol, my dad's buddy had a Ramline pistol that he called the Jamline. Worked fine at first but started giving him problems shortly after. As far as I know he still has it.

To OP: Glad your HP22 works well. There are much better .22 pistols out there but not for $120.

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