.22 LR Options for range use


June 27, 2012, 01:04 AM
I'm shopping for. .22 LR revolver and could use some help. I have several other pistols but no 22s. I enjoy my S&W model 10, but as I get tired towards the end of a range trip, I'd like to finish out with 50 rounds of 22

Flip out cylinder
Double Action
At least 4 inch barrel.

I have my eyes on a S&W 617, S&W model 17 or a Ruger SP101.

Are there others that I should be considering for under $750? Has anyone enjoyed any of the three mentioned?

I have posted this on another forum but hoping to get some high road feedback.

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June 27, 2012, 01:40 AM
Colt MKIII Trooper. Full sized gun.

General Geoff
June 27, 2012, 05:47 AM
S&W Model 63.



June 27, 2012, 06:06 AM
About a year ago I was looking for a DA .22LR revolver for use as an instructional/range gun for a friend of mine who had never fired a handgun before. I came across a LNIB S&W Model 34 with a 4" barrel and round butt grips. I added a Hogue finger grooved Monogrip in Goncalo Alves and had the perfect gun for what I was looking for.

June 27, 2012, 07:16 AM
S&W Model 63.

Very nice.

June 27, 2012, 10:01 AM
I'd invest in a Dan Wesson .22, full size goodness with the ability to change barrel lengths in under 10 minutes. If you're lucky you might find a kit complete with 2 maybe 3 barrels for $750.00 or so.

Although the Smith models you mention are good guns as well. I've no experience with the Ruger SP model you mention but they should fit your requirements quite well. Buying a .22 for a little more trigger time is a wise decision and it may help your center fire shooting as a bonus.

June 27, 2012, 04:04 PM
Has anyone enjoyed any of the three mentioned?

I have a 4" Model 17 from 1987. In addition, I have a 4" Model 18 from 1958. Functionally, they're almost identical, only a slight difference in sights. Love both guns. They're a joy to shoot.

June 27, 2012, 04:56 PM
Purchase a 4 inch S&W 617 and don't look back. I have almost 15,000 rpouinds through mine. A real fun gun to shoot.

June 27, 2012, 04:59 PM
If you run across a used one, I can highly recommend it. No longer in production....Rossi 511 Sportsman.

Of the 3, I'd get the Ruger. I'm a Ruger fanboy, though. A good used M17 would be SWEET, but I might not be able to afford such down here with what old Smiths tend to go for. They're sweet shooters, though.


June 27, 2012, 06:31 PM
Look hard and find a Smith & Wesson 22 Combat Masterpiece/Model 18.

This one is from 1953, and wears the post war matte finish. Later ones show the more expected Smith & Wesson bright blue.


Probably set you back less than a new 617. I paid less than $500.00 for this one about a year ago.

June 27, 2012, 08:27 PM
I too paid $500 for this Model 18 a year and a half ago. I put the Ahrend's grips on it. I love it! I would really love a 10 shot 617 someday.


June 27, 2012, 08:54 PM
The S&W model 17 and 617 have always had an excellent reputation. The action and accuracy out of the box is as good as it gets without custom work. For many years I had the blued 17s but now have the 617 in 4" and 6". They also maintain their value very well.



June 28, 2012, 07:52 PM
Thanks for the replies. I'm putting off the .22 for a while. Got a great deal on a Spartan III on gunbroker so my firearm fund has diminished once again. Funny how that happens.

Before I emptied my wallet, I had settled on the 617 like many have suggested, but it still felt too heavy in my hand for end of the range trip fun. The only older models I could find were all on gubroker and I have a hard time committing to a used 22 without seeing it in person first. I found one Rossi, but felt it was overpriced.

Perhaps this will become my excuse to go to every gunshow around.

Thanks for the responses.

General Geoff
June 28, 2012, 11:42 PM
The 63 is a J-frame and thus will be lighter than the 617. Just something to think about.

June 29, 2012, 06:35 AM
Yeah. Handled a 63. Didn't feel right.

June 29, 2012, 07:13 AM
The OEM grips on my two recent 63s and older 651 weren't to my liking, so I tried the S&W Accessories $43 '60 Pro' grips. Great improvement. Here are the 3" & 5" 63s sporting those grips - and my 4" 617 sporting cocobolo Ahrends retro target grips:


Without a doubt, the new 4" 617 was my best purchase for a range .22. It was first, too - and left me with a deep regret; "Why did I wait so long??". Yes, it was expensive - as much or more than a K-frame .38 of the time - at least as difficult to make, so the price then was fair. I had just turned sixty - and had owned everything from .32-.454 in a revolver. The .22 revolver added the 'frugal & fun' factors. Two years later, my new 3" 63 would cost me more! Night and day difference - the 4" 617 is a dedicated range gun - the 3" 63 is a great plinker/toter. The 3" 63 has stolen the show since it arrived here - it is that much fun. The '60 Pro' grips really helped. The 5" 63 is an anomaly - I bought it from a friend's estate. The trigger of a J-frame will never be as good as that of a K-frame, and the 5" 63, despite spring changes, proves that. Oddly, the stock 3" 63 had a lighter DA pull (I use DA ~80% of the time.). The longer sight radius does help it's accuracy a tad over the 3". It is my least favorite rimfire revolver, however - but it has a home.


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