January 4, 2013, 07:13 AM
Hey guys, I'm in NSW Australia and am currently going though our tough and restricted pistol licence process. I've never had much experience with firearms.

I am sure there has been ALOT of threads asking "which .22 pistol would you buy" if you started from scratch (in AUS we are limited to a .22 for a while...). So it will be my first purchase.

Money is not an issue either, so if you think it's good and can tell me why, I'd love to hear.

I am looking to be involved in sport/target shooting at ranges.

Any info or advice is appreciated, thank you.

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January 4, 2013, 08:12 AM
Ruger MkIII with a 5 1/2" barrel would be my first choice due to price and availability. Second would be a S&W Model 17.

January 4, 2013, 08:12 AM
Welcome to THR!

For .22's, I've always liked the S&W 617 revolver for plinking/target work, if you can stand the stiff trigger pull.

But, for semi-auto, I like my Browning buckmark, or my Beretta Neos.

January 4, 2013, 08:22 AM
Since money's no issue and you'll be target shooting...

Among semi-autos, I'd recommend the S&W Model 41. More exotic semi-auto target .22s include the Walther GSP/SSP, Feinwerkbau AW93, Hammerli SP20 and Pardini SP1. If all these are too expensive, I'd go with the Browning Buckmark, or the Ruger MkIII.

In DA/SA revolver, one of the S&W Model 17 or 617 variants. Or their granddaddy, the K-22 Masterpiece. I understand both Korth & Manurhin made a outstanding .22LR revolvers, too, but they're likely to be very tough to find and priced accordingly.

In SA (i.e. "cowboy") revolver, look no further than Freedom Arms.

January 4, 2013, 08:55 AM
Ruger MkIII with a 5 1/2" barrel would be my first choice due to price and availability. Second would be a S&W Model 17.
Are you sure? The S&W Model 17 is a .22 revolver. I'd recommend a GLOCK Model 17 for outback defense.

January 4, 2013, 09:09 AM
I'd recommend a GLOCK Model 17 for outback defense.

Read the OP before posting, please. Pinghat clearly asked for .22 pistols recommendations for sport/target. Nothing about centerfire pistols or "outback defense" was mentioned.

January 4, 2013, 09:48 AM
Most Glock fanboys answer everything with G something without considering the topic.

Ruger and Walther both make a great semi-auto .22LR pistol. Won't be as accurate as a pistol designed for target shooting such as a Ruger Mk III but they are accurate enough and they are much more ergonomic and easier to take apart. Of the Ruger SR22 and the Walther P22 I would lean more towards the Ruger since the frame mounted safety is a little easier to reach than the slide mounted one on the Walther.

January 4, 2013, 12:43 PM
My first choice would be a Ruger MKII with a 5 1/2" bull barrel. For me the barrel length and configuration gives a great balance to the gun. Add a set of target stocks and you'll be ready to go.

January 4, 2013, 01:46 PM
For basics, nothing beats the slow and steady rhythm of a Single action revolver, but it can be a little slow for some people. (which is kind of the point ;) ) My eldest's first pistol is a Ruger Single Ten. You might consider as well a single Six convertible .22 and comes with the magnum cylinder to swap. Well made, very accurate, not too expensive.

Unless you can afford the above-mentioned Freedom Arms. 22, I'm turning green with envy at the thought.

Other than the go-to Ruger Mk II/III, In Semi-Auto, Bersa makes a solid .380, and the .22 version is essentially the same gun if you compare the schematics.

Welcome to THR Neighbor!

January 4, 2013, 02:29 PM
Some of the brands and models mentioned so far may not be available down in Aus.

I'll echo the thoughts on the S&W Model 41 for semi auto and 17/617 for a revolver. Superb shooters that don't look like something from a Sci-Fi movie.... :D But none of the other options mentioned are at all bad either. And in truth unless it turns out that you're rather a gifted and natural shooter it'll be some time before the superiority of any of the better guns shows up as tighter groups anyway. But if the money isn't an issue then go for the best now instead of later.

If your clubs host action shooting events of any sort then you may want to get one of the more compact guns for that. The 41 is a lovely gun, but it's a trifle long and front heavy for swinging rapidly between targets without a little muzzle overshoot of the sights picture. For that sort of activity a Browning Buckmark or Ruger 22/45 with a moderate length barrel is going to fit the job description a trifle better.

There's some lovely older guns around as well. WHile I've got a modern Ruger the pride of my rimfire handgun fleet is still my S&W 422 and 2206 combination. They've served me well for reliability and are accurate shooters. So if some of the older stuff becomes available see if you can do a little research ahead of time. You might just find something a little on the classic side which does the job admirably.

January 4, 2013, 02:31 PM
Ruger MK II with bull barrel. Everything you need and nothing that you don't.

January 4, 2013, 05:48 PM
Thank you all for your info, I have a few months before I can proceed to obtaining a firearm, but I am sure all the information and models mentioned in this topic will help me choose wisely.

The S&W41 seems attractive at the moment as : I hear nothing but good things about its accuracy, it's been around for a long time and it looks pretty damn nice. Ruger probably my second choice (not because its good or bad, just my interpreted research)

Anyone had a "bad" experience with the 41?

January 4, 2013, 06:39 PM
I went with the S&W 41 as my first expensive target shooter. Problem is I am more accurate with my Ruger Standard I grew up with. So as mentioned earlier the front heavy 41 messes with me. For true balance add a Hogue grip to a Ruger MK II and you truely have a shooter worthy of years of service. My 41 just sits on the shelf in the safe. I would recommend a vacation to a US range that rents guns to try as many as you like, and see for yourself what fits you best.

January 4, 2013, 06:47 PM
I also suggest the S&W 41 for a semi or the 17/617 for a revolver. These have a very long history and track record for accuracy and durability. I just don't think you get better out of the box 22s.

January 4, 2013, 07:45 PM
A vacation sounds good to me!

The only downside is I could probably buy 6 or 7 pistols for the same cost, hehe. Probably couldnt keep them due to laws, though...

The 41 does look heavy, but I guess I need to try some at a range. No point in buying a particular pistol if it feels terrible to me...

Would a beginner buy those euro target pistol as a first? They look pretty Olympic looking, hehe. Would I be the laughing stock at the range? (Nube with all the best gear)?

Thanks again everyone for the info, keep it comming as I said, I got a wait before I decide, thanks.

Sam Cade
January 4, 2013, 07:54 PM
I'd recommend a GLOCK Model 17 for outback defense.

Under current NSW law, being in possession of a pistol (even if legally owned) of will get you YEARS in prison.

126 Non-commercial transportation of prohibited firearms and pistols—prescribed safety requirements

(cf 1997 cl 101)

(1) For the purposes of section 57 of the Act, the following safety requirements are prescribed:

(a) the firearm must not be loaded with any ammunition while it is being conveyed, and it must be kept separate from any ammunition,

(b) while the firearm is being conveyed:

(i) it must be rendered temporarily incapable of being fired (eg by removing the bolt or the firing mechanism or by using a restraining device such as a trigger lock), or

(ii) it must be kept in a locked container that is properly secured to, or is within, the vehicle being used for transporting the firearm.

January 4, 2013, 08:20 PM
If 22WMR falls under the category of 22 pistol, then I would highly recommend any of the Ruger Convertible Single Six revolvers. Get the Hunter model for the best accuracy, as it can easily mount a scope. The convertible with the 4 5/8" barrel length is very handy. The Single Ten holds 10 rounds of 22lr only, and the Single Nine holds 9 rounds of 22wmr only.

22wmr is significantly more powerful than 22lr. Also, it has a much more satisfying "bang" than 22lr. Cost of ammunition for low end 22wmr is similar to the highest quality 22lr.

January 4, 2013, 09:21 PM
You did not mention what is available to you--that is a significant detail. If we recommend "X" and "Y", and you cannot own either, how much have we helped you?

Next, do you have any preference between single action or double action revolvers...or semi auto pistols? You said that your experience is limited, but most people can at least look at several different types (and they really are quite different in both looks and feel, as well as method of operation) and be "drawn" to one or another. Although I have never driven a Bentley or a Ferrari, I know that I would prefer a Ferrari. :)

If there is a range (or shooting club) where you can join, look around, and perhaps rent several different things, you will very likely figure out what you like pretty quickly.

If you are contemplating competition, there will be rules that determine what you may shoot in what class (barrel length, action type, etc.)

There are a lot of positives to a .22LR--ammo is dirt cheap compared to anything and everything else. The recoil is minimal, so you can focus on fundamentals. Same with the noise--no distraction from deafening report. The handguns themselves are (generally speaking) very reasonably priced, so you can own one of each type (providing your laws permit this).

Some people allow their ego to intrude with common sense and logic, and sell their .22s when they "move up". Others hang on to their .22s, shoot frequently and keep their skills sharp without breaking the bank... :)

If you want some light reading, try:
Tons of info and good, knowledgeable folks.

January 4, 2013, 10:36 PM
Thanks for the link, I'll definately have a read.

As far as me knowing what's available, I don't know, as far as I can tell I can only get a .22 that fires no more than 5 rounds. After 6 months of a probationary license i can get 2 CF or 2 RF but not a combination of both. I'm still reading into it.

I am also unsure of how I limit a 10 round pistol to be no more than 5???

Bloody laws. Hehe.

January 5, 2013, 03:50 AM
Magazine fed handguns are easy to limit. Revolvers? I have no clue.

One other handgun popped in my head, the Baikal MP-35M

This handgun is on my Bucket list. My problem is that no one is currently importing them in the US. :(

January 5, 2013, 08:25 AM
Read the OP before posting, please. Pinghat clearly asked for .22 pistols recommendations for sport/target. Nothing about centerfire pistols or "outback defense" was mentioned.
Oh. now I see. The poor guy is limited to a .22LR

January 5, 2013, 03:12 PM
Yep, poor me.

January 5, 2013, 04:28 PM
Ya'know we can apply to obtain a firearm for sport, recreational hunting, vermin control, primary production, pest control, rural property, security industry, animal welfare, collecting, etc.

Just not self defense.

Isn't self defense a popular reason for obtaining a firearm in the US?

A little off my original topic, but just thought I would throw it out there. Thanks.

P.S I think my earlier comment regarding "no more than 5 rounds" may only apply to rifles/shotguns...

January 5, 2013, 05:04 PM
For me it doesn't get better than a Browning Buckmark.

January 5, 2013, 07:47 PM
The Buckmarks seem pretty popular also...

Is it important to purchase a pistol with optional future attachments? I notice ALOT of newer pistol can have 1001 possible combinations (grips, scope, etc)?

1911 guy
January 5, 2013, 09:10 PM
There are some responses already that far exceed my limited knowlege of .22 caliber handguns. However, I can give you firsthand impressions of three of them.

My wife owned a Browning BuckMark for some time. It was a well made pistol. The trigger was decent, the sights were better than the average .22 handgun and it wasn't too bad to strip and clean.

I owned a Ruger MkII years ago. It was built like a tank. Trigger was decent, but nothing to write home about. Sights were average for a .22 handgun. It was a real PITA to strip and clean until you got the hang of it.

A friend has a S&W Model 41. Better trigger, better sights and not hard at all to clean.

January 6, 2013, 04:08 AM
What's the main difference between a 5" barrel vs a 7" barrel? Accuracy?

January 6, 2013, 04:09 AM
What's the main difference between a 5" barrel vs a 7" barrel? Accuracy?

January 6, 2013, 04:10 AM
Thanks for info and experiences guys.

What's the main difference between a 5" barrel vs a 7" barrel? Accuracy?

January 6, 2013, 02:52 PM
The longer the barrel the longer the baseline length between the front and rear sights. That SHOULD give YOU a chance to be more accurate. As for the bullet? It really doesn't care since tests have shown that it's as stabilized as it's going to get by the time it's passed down the first two inches of the bore.

Someone mentioned looking into your local clubs and attending the various hand gun events as a spectator. I'll echo that as being a GREAT idea. First off it gives you a peek at the event and an impression of your intrest to get involved. And likely as not when folks hear that you're in the mill to get your first gun you'll get a half dozen offers to try theirs along with some hints on how best to hold them.

It sounds like you're in the same situation as I am here in Canada. Namely the guns are only legal to shoot at a properley certified club range and have to be boxed and locked for transport. As such the club(s) you become affiliated with will be as important as the gun itself. So check them out and attend their events as a spectator. And any club will also welcome you as a visitor to their monthly meetings. Likely you'll be asked to introduce yourself and say what sort of shooting you want to get involved with. And I'd be amazed if you don't get a couple of the folks from those intrest groups walking up and talking to you at the end of the meeting.

So don't wait for the gun to arrive. Get out there now and get involved in finding a club that suits you.

1911 guy
January 7, 2013, 12:47 AM
BCRider is correct about barrel length. A longer sight radius will allow you to "fine tune" your sight picture, but the bullet really doesn't care. This is why rifles are more "accurate" than handguns. Mechanically, they are more similar than most would realize, but a longer sight radius makes one infinitely more refined (refering to sight picture, not quality) than the other.

January 7, 2013, 08:53 AM
Well, if you are limited to .22, I'd get a Ruger Standard Mk II pistol and load it with CCI Stingers. Ten shots of the 32gr JHPs ought to take care of most problems. ;)

February 3, 2013, 04:51 AM
Thanks for all the info! much appreciated, I learnt today that I don't have to limit myself to a .22, I misread the pages of red tape and licence info.

I cant get any pistols in the first 6 months, but after that I can get 2 of:

Centrefire up to .38
Rimfire up to .22
Air Pistol up to .177
Black Powder

But not a centre and rim together..

I also cannot acquire another pistol for another 6 months..

So in saying that, with the above restrictions "what would you recommend a beginner" or is it still a good idea to get the .22? ... Will the .22 become boring over 6 months? Is a 9mm too much to start with? All target shooting by the way...

February 3, 2013, 06:42 AM
I think its still a good idea to start with a 22LR.. Ive had some for 35yrs and have yet to become bored with them.

Up to .38 opens the doors quite a bit to almost anything under the sun though...

22 is substantially cheaper here for target/plinking... not sure of your location

Bullet Bob
February 3, 2013, 07:00 AM
Well, since money isn't an issue and you're limited to a gun that holds 5 rounds, I would buy a Pardini, Walther, or Unique target pistol, in that order. Personally I would stay away from the electronic trigger versions, but nobody has accused me of being a world class competitor either. :o

I'd really like to have a Pardini, but I'm trying my best to quit buying stuff; I need to get rid of a few guns since I don't shoot much anymore, maybe then I can talk myself into it.

February 3, 2013, 09:38 AM
I'm a former NSW IPSC (practical pistol) state secretary, among other things.
Which club are you in?
Do you have a preference about the comps you shoot?
Does your club restrict you to a rimfire for the first year or can you go straight to centerfire?
Get back to me and I can probably point you to what's available in OZ.

February 3, 2013, 03:36 PM
No preference as I am so new to it all, I like the "look of" service pistol and metallic silhouette. Being so new I haven't into IPSC, but it doesn't mean I won't prefer that either.

I don't believe there are club restrictions on calibre.

Still figuring out what I like.

I read in Handgun magazine that a 9mm parabellum is "the writers" recommendation for a first gun to buy, as buying a .22rf may restrict us in comps for 6 months. But I read ALOT on .22 being a perfect gun to buy, cheap ammo, good for basics.

February 3, 2013, 04:04 PM
I don't know Australia laws. I believe semi-autos are limited to 22's. I hope you know better since you are there. The S&W M41 is excellent but expensive. I personally have been very content with a Ruger Mark II or III with a 5" bull barrel. If you prefer the 1911 grip style, then the Ruger 22/45 should do nicely and it comes with a 5" bull barrel as one of its versions.

The Browning Buckmark is very good. It is one of my standard recommendations for a semi-auto 22.

If you decide on a revolver, the S&W M617 is hard to beat and it will last a lifetime. The old M17 or M18 has a 6-shot cylinder.

February 17, 2013, 07:33 PM
Sorry for the delay in replying.
Service pistol is basically a revolver match, you are restricted to 9mm, .38 super, .357 Sig, .38 Special or .357 Magnum.
Look at a S&W 686. is the distributor.

Metallic Silhouette can be a .22 match or a centerfire match. For the .22 the S&W 617 is the most common, for the big bore match most use it as a reason to get a permit for a .44 magnum. S&W 460 or Model 629 will be the most common guns, the Ruger Redhawk also gets a look in. is the Ruger distributor.

For the .22 Olympic style matches Pardini and similar are the winningest guns. I don't shoot rimfire competitively, Grycol for Pardini, for Hammerli.

For IPSC standard Dvision an STI 2011 in 357 Sig is the best option, but ammo is very expensive.

For IPSC Open Division a .38 super STI Grandmaster.

For IPSC Production Division a CZ 75 SP01 Shadow is the bees knees. is the CZ distributor.

The Glock 17A is also a very popular gun for club level comps, and cheap. Expect to pay $750 for a new one.

You can get .22 conversion units for some 9mm handguns, ranging in quality from poor to excellent. Avoid the Ceiner conversions. You can purchase a centerfire handgun and a .22 conversion unit on your probationary license, they are considered spare barrels and not firearms. has good pics and pricing for most of the guns on the OZ market.

Hope this helps.

February 17, 2013, 07:49 PM
If money is no issue, buy a Ruger Single-Ten AND a Ruger Mark II or III with a 5" bull barrel.

February 18, 2013, 02:51 AM
All those attachments are only useful for defensive shooting or if you're old and half blind like some of us older shooters.

If you're still semi keen of eye then just use the sights that come on the gun and enjoy that ability for as long as you're able to manage effectively. Soon enough you'll reach the time where you need to resort to "aids" such as red dots and handgun scopes and *shudder* bag rests for handguns to make up for the erosion of old age to our frail physiques. In the meantime enjoy your handguns the way they were intended to be enjoyed with plain iron sights and shot with one or two unsupported hands. And just say NO! to the junk that is added by the Tacticool squad or the old guy aids needed by some.

I say this as an old guy in training that is likely going to need some of these aids to keep shooting decently well in about 10 years from now.... at least I HOPE I make it to 10 years before I need that "stuff".... :D

I gather that down your way that they put a limit on how often you can buy and expand your collection. 6 months isn't a bad time to wait for a center fire gun if you can have a rimfire to learn and practice with in the meantime. A rimfire will give you a chance to learn the basics with little or no flinch issues and serve you well when you get to buy and begin using a center fire when allowed.

February 18, 2013, 03:10 AM
Further clarification. You are restricted to 10 round magazines for handguns, 10 round detachable magazines for centerfire rifles, 5 round magazine if you have a lever action, pump or semi auto shotgun or semi auto centerfire.

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