Hey! I am looking to pick up a new .22 handgun in the next few months, for backyard plinking, handgun fundamentals practice, and a little informal steel shooting competition.
I want something that is number one reliable and long lasting, number two as inexpensive as reasonable, and number three, the function of which is as similar to a combat centerfire handgun as possible, meaning typical control locations, and preferably, not a super light and crisp trigger. Odd desires, I know. If I did use it for the local steel matches, numerous magazines would be a must.
Looking at S&W M&P22, love the M&P series, but this gun is kinda pricey and the mags are hard to get and expensive. Also Ruger SR22. How are these? Looks like the gun is a decent price but the mags are also hard to find. Simple choice would be 22/45, but I don't like Ruger MK series disassembly. Wouldn't be the end of the world. Anyone have any experience with those Austrian Glock lookalike .22s? Would a Chiappa 1911-22 last thousands and thousands of rounds? Another odd choice- how are the Taurus .22 revolvers?
I know most just suggest a Mk II, Mk III, or Buckmark. Not really what I want- before a hunter/competition gun, this will be a training/plinking gun. Also don't like the hard maintenance on these. I have some experience with an AMT Ruger clone- good grief! Also don't want a S&W 22A. Probably a good gun, but the weird mag release kinda hurts a lot of what I want here. Don't want a Beretta Neos either.
Anyway, thanks a lot in advance! So what have your guys' experiences with various combat handgun lookalike .22s been? And what am I leaving out?
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October 19, 2012, 01:36 AM
Here is a cut and paste of my first impressions of the SR-22p. For the record, I bought a Walther P22 right after they came out. that was one of the worst purchases I have ever made. While Walther has improved it a lot since then, they are still made of lesser materials and seem to still be very picky about ammo, where the SR-22 has reliably fired everything i have run through it.
Finally, last weekend I had the opportunity over two days to put over 400 rounds through the Ruger SR 22p.
Here are a couple pics just to keep it interesting and for those who have not seen it yet.
This was an interesting weekend to be outdoors, in a gravel pit, shooting. I live in close proximity to the Canadian border and luckily, the Abbotsford, BC Airshow was on this weekend. Try and imagine getting to expend over 300 rounds of ammo through a brand new handgun acquisition. The skies are as blue as can be, it is warm but not too warm and as you are shooting , there is a constant supply of military aircraft, showing off in the near airspace. Following the shooting session, getting to wander around on this beautiful, quiet day, hunting for the elusive spent shells of shooters before me, while getting to revel at the amazing sight of the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, some of my life long heroes. I can hardly imagine a more American moment.
Supplies for this particular shooting session included A 525 round value pack of Federal bulk .22 ammo, Federal Classic .22 ammo, PMC Scoremaster, CCI Velocitor, and Remington Thunderbolt .22 ammo.
I consider this gun more along the lines of a plinking gun as opposed to any sort of target gun so the majority of targets i brought along were plinking type targets. Everything from pop cans and milk jugs to tin cans of various sizes and small plastic juice bottles. Improvised targets included expended shotgun shells, clay pigeons and clay pigeon parts and rocks through out the gravel pit.
Initial impression? the plinkability of this gun is second to none, of any of the guns I have owned.I shot at targets anywhere between 10 yards and 100 yards away. When i got bored, easily hitting the larger cans, i moved onto the smaller targets, like setting up the shotgun shells on the ground or sticking them on plants. I was stunned at how easily I was able to dispatch these little targets at will.
I had found some unbroken as well as some larger pieces of bright orange clay pigeons and set them up at around 45 yards and even had some at 100 or so yards. It was very easy to hit the broken pieces at 45 yards as well as a small ammo box I had set there too. Then I moved on to the 100 yard target and was eventually able to hit that pigeon as well, though it took a few moments of surrounding it with suppressing fire for good measure before I zeroed in on it.
I also set up one paper target and was of course under-impressed with the group I got. I will never understand how i can hit small targets like shotgun shells at will but then put down horrible groups on paper.
The next day, I put another 100 rounds through the gun with some help from the wife. My wife, 7 year old daughter and I all went shooting. The wife wanted to send some rounds down range through her Walther PK380 and my daughter got to have her first taste of firing a real gun, which I will write about at a later date. While the backdrop on this day's shooting did not include the Thunderbirds, we did get a formation fly-by that included a P-51 Mustang and a Supermarine Spitfire. And a b-25 bomber.
The wife ahot the Sr22 and liked it as well as I do.
So, what do I think of the gun? Pros include the build quality, which is amazing, especially compared to the Walther P22. Also among the pros is the comfort and ergonomics. This is a very good feeling gun with really good sights. The plinking accuracy was stunning to me. It was like it made me a better shooter. It has a very good single action trigger pull but the double action trigger pull is fairly hefty with a bit of stacking, though I was usually able to hit what I was aiming at despite that trigger pull.
The magazines are pretty nice, and easy to load. The gun is super reliable, with only three failures in two days and over 400 rounds fired. All three failures were failures to feed, and all three were with Federal ammo. Two from the value pack and one from the Federal Classic box.
Also among the pros of this gun is the ease with which it can be broken down for cleaning and reassembled.
Number one of the cons for this gun is the trigger reset. It is too far out and there is essentially no positive feeling of reset. It tends to hamper rapid fire shooting because you feel like you have let the trigger out far enough, only to pull the trigger and find out you hadn't let it out far enough.
Another con is that you must make sure you slam the magazine home and pull on it to make sure it is fully seated. It just seems to take more effort to seat it than it should. Once it is in there, it is solid and maybe helps give it the great reliability with nearly all ammo you fire thorough it.
The last con, at the moment is the backwards safety. I still do not understand why they couldn't figure out a way to make it normal. It wasn't a big problem to overcome, it just required a bit more concentration and is annoying.
So, there you have it. I love the thing and do not have that great sense of having made a big mistake like I did after the first time I fired my early build Walther P22. This is one solid, comfortable, fine shooting plinking weapon for a great price. It should be lots of fun for years to come. At least for the next 3,600 rounds.
To end the trip, we moved up to the border and sat in the shade and watched there airshow up close and personal. Just in time to see a heritage flight including a Canadian CF-18 and an A1D Skyraider, one of my favorite planes. This was followed by a performance by a US Navy F/A 18 Super Hornet, a truly powerful and astounding aircraft. And then the Thunderbirds. Just awesome!
On a side note, After I fired 320 rounds through the SR22 on the first day, I whipped out the Gen 4 G17 and fired 30 or 40 rounds through it. As much as I enjoyed the previous 320 rounds, the shots fired through the Glock were certainly more exhilarating and exciting. So, if 40 rounds through a 9mm is better than 320 rounds of .22, then obviously, I need a Gen 4 G20 in 10mm! I should only have to fire 10 to 20 rounds through that to really enjoy it. Sounds like a justification to me!
October 19, 2012, 09:35 AM
Why does everybody make a big deal about the Ruger MK disassembly? If you don't want to do it, then don't. Just take the grips off and spray the heck out of it. But after the second time it's not that bad.
Do you have a centerfire handgun that you could put a 22 conversion kit on? If I didn't already own an old Hi Standard that's the route I'd go.
October 19, 2012, 09:51 AM
Rugers are very popular.
Pros- accurate, lots of aftermarket support
Cons- stamped sheet-metal frame, awkward magazines, awkward takedown
(oft a jam-a-matic)
Pros- accurate, lots of aftermarket support
Cons- if you take it down it requires locktite to stay together (the top screws shoot loose)
If you want something to stand the test of time, get an old revolver from Colt or S&W.
I have a couple of K-22s from the 50's that are amazing and a Colt Officer's target special that may be the finest gun that I own.
October 19, 2012, 10:18 AM
I also don't think the Ruger Mark pistols are hard to disassemble and put back together. Just do it a few times. In fact one doesn't really have to remove the receiver from the frame. Simply remove the bolt and clean as best you can with it assembled.
With them together the bolt parts can be cleaned, the barrel cleaned from the breech end and then just put it back together.
My Ruger Mark II's are extremely reliable and accurate pistols.
October 19, 2012, 12:30 PM
Guillermo brings up a good point. These days, the .22 pistols available are either plinkers (with quality to match), or high-end target pistols. On the used market, you can find a lot of excellent mid-grade .22s in good shape - and at very reasonable prices.
October 19, 2012, 12:52 PM
Personally, I was between the P22 and the Ruger Sr22 not that long ago. I like the look of the P22, the OD, but I was very concerned about reliability so I finally settled on the Sr22 and it has never missed a beat. It's fun to shoot and shoots everything every time. the worst I had from it was once it got really really dirty the slide wouldn't close smoothly every time because of the dirty bulk 22s. Easy 15 minute clean and it was good as new.
Sent from my Transformer Prime TF201 using Tapatalk 2
October 19, 2012, 12:55 PM
If you want a 1911 style .22 I'd go for a GSG over a Chiappa hands down and by a wide margin. Chiappa is simply not as well made a gun in many ways.
For competition shooting you will want to look at the cost of the extra mags as this can up the cost of the package by quite a bit depending on the brand of gun you choose. Also you really want a gun which uses easy to load magazines. As in the style that has the sliding button to retract the follower in order to make it easier to load.
I know you don't want to hear this but the Ruger 22/45 has all the controls in the right spots and working the same way as a 1911 does. They are simply buttons instead of paddle levers. But they are all there. And your hands are holding a 1911 as far as they are concerned.
Difficult takedown? Replace the magazine disconnect with one of the easily installed bushings available from a few folks and you suddenly have a gun which is easy to field strip for cleaning and where the mags fall freely when released. Removing the mag dosconnect along with a couple of hints also makes re-assembly almost a piece of cake once you've done it a couple of times. It's all in how you hold the gun during the main spring housing going back in. And it's simply not that hard to learn. So do not let strip and assembly fears prevent you considering a Ruger 22/45 since it fits in with your other requirements ideally and for a price which is well under most of the center fire like options.
But if it's simply not what you want then it's not what you want.
What about the Ruger SR22? Seems like a reasonably priced gun which suits most of your requirements.
October 19, 2012, 01:13 PM
the bursa thunder may qualify.
October 19, 2012, 01:17 PM
If you're interested in CZs, check out the Kadet kit. Very easy to get a lot of practice in with the .22 slide in place, then switch back to the 9mm slide.
October 19, 2012, 02:31 PM
Just got a 22 kadet for my CZ75. I'm looking forward shooting it. I'll let you know how the first range trip goes.
October 19, 2012, 03:58 PM
Since the OP wants something as close as possible to a centerfire defensive pistol, I'd suggest getting a centerfire defensive pistol and a .22 conversion unit for it. I got an Advantage Arms .22 conversion for my Glock Model 22 for about $300 off eBay, and it's proven to be quite accurate with .22LR, as well as providing cheap practice with the same grip and trigger pull as the original .40 caliber upper.
October 19, 2012, 04:15 PM
The CZ75 (I believe I have the model right) 22 comes to mind as a possible good choice. It is just kind of expensive.
I would probably choose the Ruger 45/22 with a heavy 5" barrel since it has the same grip style as the 1911. It is on my to buy eventually list. I have a Mark II and like it a lot. Taking it apart? Never have yet, but I clean it as best I can without taking it apart. I simply don't want to take it apart.
The Ruger SR22 P is a very good plinker. It is no target gun, but I really enjoy shooting it and it has been totally reliable so far. It is a gun I might choose for a walk in the woods these days but I rotate between revolvers and semi-auto 22's.
Some of the old High Standards are excellent plinkers as well as target guns. You just have to find one. I have a Victor and like it a lot. I won't mention Colts. But they are there as a possible choice.
I have heard good things about the new Colt 1911 style pistol. But I have no experience with them. Not a good target pistol however. As a plinker, I am totally satisfied with the Ruger SR22 pistol.
October 19, 2012, 04:44 PM
I didn't mean to imply I was totally against a 22/45- more so against a Mk II or III. Like I said, I have some experience working with an AMT Ruger clone- I'd prefer a combat pistol type take down, but if a 22/45 is the highest quality, IE longest lasting and most reliable, has a low price, and has plentiful $20 mags vs hard to find $30 mags, it sounds like a win. If I wasn't on a minimum wage job, I'd be more interested in a .22 conversion for a centerfire I don't have ;) Price is one of my biggest considerations here.
October 19, 2012, 05:55 PM
Dollar for dollar, I think your best choices ae the Ruger 45/22 or SR22 pistol.
October 19, 2012, 06:13 PM
I have a 4" Ruger 22/45 with fixed sights and a slab side barrel. Obviously it won't win you any metals but it is super reliable, durable, light enough to pack as a camping or trail gun. I used to have a bull barreled 22/45 and just didn't need the extra weight and adjustable sights for what I wanted to do. Sure, I wish I had an older Smith and Wesson K-22 or 617, whatever, but a Ruger .22 autoloading pistol is another great gun that will serve you for years, unless you don't like them.
October 19, 2012, 06:45 PM
GSG 1911 in 22 is a great gun for a great price
October 19, 2012, 07:48 PM
marvel unit 1 conversion
October 19, 2012, 10:34 PM
October 20, 2012, 05:28 PM
I am fond of my Browning 1911-22.
October 20, 2012, 06:05 PM
Since you said "handgun", you weren't limiting the choices. I suggest a Ruger SP101 in .22 LR.
Revolvers are always the most reliable, and Rugers are the most rugged affordable ones. The 4" version is so sweet as to be almost unbearable. The manual of arms for a revolver is embarrassingly simple. And no safety to ever get in the way.
October 20, 2012, 06:14 PM
To the OP -Seriously, your wants and perceptions are so narrow and decided, I'm really not sure why you are asking for help at all.
October 20, 2012, 06:19 PM
I have found a 6"bbl S&W Model 617-1 to be most satisfying. YMMV.
October 20, 2012, 06:50 PM
I have several .22 LR handguns but the one that has been ultra reliable without a doubt has been my Ruger MKII Slabside. I purchased a TacSol upper receiver which I am currently using.
Buy one of these
Then attached a Can so it looks like this
October 20, 2012, 10:41 PM
I bought a used GSG 1911-22 recently because it was cheap...$200. I wasn't expecting much, I was more curious than anything. I have to say it has been a better gun than the price would indicate. I've tried about 6-7 different ammo brands and speeds, all functioned well. As far as I can remember it's been nearly 100%, I was surprised. It's not super accurate, but for plinking and steel it's acceptable, the sights are decent. I'm shooting blazer at the moment. It has the same aproximate size as a 1911, but it is half the weight, I don't particularly like that, but my daughter does. Check out You Tube videos for take down instructions and decide for yourself about that. I don't have any info on buying extra mags, but I have read that the importer is pretty responsive to owners.
if you want a nice 22 handgun just get a Browning Buckmark, first gun i bought last gun I'd sell.
October 21, 2012, 10:34 PM
Buckmark or Single Six.
October 21, 2012, 10:35 PM
Takedown procedure should really not be a factor in your decision. Each gun is what it is for takedown. Instead you should be looking at grip angle, if you're looking towards compatibility with future center fire guns, reliability and cost of accessories like mags and holster.
From that perspective the GSG could be a contender depending on mag cost. On the other hand Ruger and Browning are the most often recomended .22 handguns for a number of VERY good reasons. Both are well deserved classics in their own right and both will continue to be major players in the field of .22 handguns for many years to come. And more importantly for you both come in models that closely replicate the grip size and angle of the majority of center fire handguns.
October 26, 2012, 07:29 PM
A nice Llama .22LR is also a good choice. It's controls are 1911 like and they are just fun to shoot. They also break down like a 1911. They have become very popular these last few years as the new 1911 crowd hasn't been tainted by the Llama bashers yet. They go for about $300-$350 now.
Colt Cadet or High Standard might be worth looking into.
October 26, 2012, 09:54 PM
For the use you described, the S&W M&P 22 sounds logical. It's the size and feel of a full size duty pistol. The P22 and SR22 are much smaller guns. The only downside to the M&P are the price of extra mags, and it only comes with one. For the record I own an M&P 22, P22, and Mark III.
October 26, 2012, 10:15 PM
I think I Have tried about everything and have quite a few different ones from Ruger 22/45 Comp Targets to Jim Clark tuned 617 Wanted to find an all around 22 to have my two sons become familiar with and enjoy plinking etc . My sons now each shoot S&W 63-3, no lock. Not cheep but they can hand them down to their grandchidren
October 27, 2012, 08:09 AM
I have several different .22's, my daughter loves my Buckmark and can't for my demise :uhoh: to get it. I love to carry around a little Beretta Tomcat in my front pocket about the property, but when I want to fun shoot, a Taurus Tracker is always with me. A great target revolver, I have found I can regularly hit 6" targets, at rest, from 70yds. Though it is DA/SA, I shoot it pretty much only as a SA. One of my sons has been trying to "trade" with me for years to get it, but I think I'm going to hold on to it. I'd recommend it to anyone as a great pick up although, I think they now come std. with two cylinders, one .22 and one .22 mag. Still I wouldn't trade my old one (for my son who'll read this!).
October 27, 2012, 08:58 AM
If I were going to get a .22 these days it would be one of:
The ones being made currently aren't bad, it's just that it's so easy to find something so much better.
October 27, 2012, 10:19 PM
I have an AA .22lr kit and a .22lr P229R kit. Both work very well. I prefer them. Practice is directly transferable other than recoil.
October 27, 2012, 11:10 PM
Only one comment for the Bersa Thunder 22, so Ill add another. Its an excellent value, and a wonderful pistol.
October 28, 2012, 12:44 AM
I went for a MK III 22/45 when looking for a .22 LR gun and I'm very happy I decided to get it. It has the 5.5" bull barrell, adjustable sights, and replacable grip panels. The take down was a bit of a pain the first couple of times but its really not that bad. There are lots of resources on the web to help you out if you get stuck. The gun was great out of the box but a few simple mods made it a real shooter. Good luck with whatever you decide to go with.
October 28, 2012, 02:13 AM
I have a walther p22q and have had no problems with it while following ammo recommendations. It is a little small but I got used to it very quickly. I'm not sure if I've just been lucky, if the newer "q" model has improved over the older ones, or if most of the people who speak poorly of the p22 just don't know how to read manuals.
Good luck with your choices.
October 28, 2012, 03:51 PM
The question about Taurus handguns was brought up. I would stay away from their automatics, but their revolvers are much better made IMO. I got a .22 Mag., Model 941 with a 4" blr. .So far it has been a great purchase. I just hope nothing happens as Taurus has a horrendous reputation when it comes to C.S. Dept. I still will take a chance on their Rov.s. I believe that they are built by what used to be Rossi FireArms. But not sure, Someone here should know. I have had no problems with the ones I have owned. These are good to learn both double or single action shooting. Just my 2 cents. Good luck!
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