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.22 LR Plinking and Target Pistols

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by BlisteringSilence, Aug 21, 2007.

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  1. BlisteringSilence

    BlisteringSilence Member

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    After doing searches with multiple strings, I have come to the conclusion that this subforum needs a thread with some cohesive ammo on the myriad of choices of .22 plinkers/target pistols out there.

    I have chosen to start with the plinkers, because that's what I'm in the market for.

    First, let's do some definitions. I consider a plinker to be a pistol that is accurate out of the box to 25 yards or so, not terrible expensive (under $500), and easy to obtain. Moreover, I'm only doing production guns. If it's no longer made (and there are some awesome ones that fit this bill), I'll make another thread for it. So, with that out of the way, let's go to town.

    Next, a caveat. I am not an expert. While I have shot many of these pistols, I have not shot all of them. I hope to edit this original post with information that others suggest.

    Finally, the pistols.

    Beretta:

    Beretta offers one pistol in this class, the U22 Neos. It looks strange. Because of this, there are many people that don't like it. Owners seem to like them.

    It looks like this:

    [​IMG] or [​IMG]

    The Neos can be had with 4.5", 6", and 7.5" barrels.

    Prices new range from $200 to $300. If you pay more than this, you've been had.


    Bersa

    The Bersa offering, masquerading under the label of Firestorm, looks just like their Thunder .380. While I personally have never shot one, the reviews of this little baby are mostly positive.

    It looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    They can be had with barrels in 3.5" and 6."

    Price wise, this sucker's a little hard to nail down. You really shouldn't pay more than about $250 for one, and I'd be hard pressed to pay more than $175. That being said, they're kind of scarce, so negotiating your way into a good deal is more difficult than your average glick.


    Browing:

    Our friends at browning offer the buckmark. This pistol has been around the block more than a two-bit whore on times square before Rudy. Well, more actually. People love them. I love them. They currently come in 24 flavors (accoring to the website), and every one of them will likely shoot well.

    It looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    The varieties of barrels for the buckmark is amazing. Bull, target, tapered, in lengths of 4", 5.5", and 7.25."

    If you can find one new in the $250 range, snap it up. The upper end on these puppies is $800+.

    Ruger:

    Ah, yes. Ruger. Makers of the esteemable Mark III (and its predecessors) and the 22/45. Hard as hell to put back together after cleaning (it's always easy to take apart, isn't it?), they're tack drivers. Literally hundreds of thousands of handgunners started off with these beauties. And for good reason.

    The Mark III looks something like this:

    [​IMG]

    And the 22/45 looks like this:

    [​IMG]


    Rugers, like buckmarks, have tons of barrel options. Target, bull, tapered, fluted... It's like a salad bar. The Mark III can be had in lengths of 4.75", 5.5", 6", and 6.875". The 22/45 offers 4", 4.5", 5.5", and 6.875".


    Also just like with the buckmarks, there is quite the range in price for these babies. A Mark III will start around $250 for the base model. Expect to pay in the $400 range for a good one. The 22/45 starts around just north of $200, and there is no good reason to pay more than $400 for a new one. Unless it comes with things like extra magazines. Or a maid.

    Smith and Wesson:

    Our friends (we can call them that now, right? It's long enough after their pact with the devil?) from S&W have another popular offering, the 22A, and its friend, the 22S. I really don't know much about them, other than a couple of guys I know have them, and won't let me shoot them. I don't know why. Jealousy? Embarassment? Only time will tell. That being said, they have them and won't sell them, so they must not be too bad.

    It looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    It's available with 4", 5.5", and 7" barrels.

    These suckers are pretty reasonable, price wise. You get S&W's lifetime warranty to boot. They start in the $175 range, and top out around $300.

    Sig-Sauer:

    Our friends at Sig bring two different animals to the table. First is their Trailside. This little beauty is lots of fun to shoot, assuming it doesn't wear out after 1500 rounds. Allegedly, they have fixed the reliability problems. I don't know. I will attest to it's accuracy.

    It looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    Barrels available are in 4.5" and 6".

    These are getting harder to find new, but you can expect them to start out in the $350 range, and go up from there.

    Sig's other offering is the Mosquito. This puppy is probably the least accurate of the pistols listed here, but it is fun to shoot, and has the same features as the 230 line of sigs.

    They look like this:

    [​IMG]

    Here, you can get barrels in 4" or 5".

    You can expect for them to start at $300, and top out at $450.

    Walther:

    The boys at Walther (by way of S&W) offer their competetor to the mosquito, the P22. This weapon is functionally similar to the P99 (in the same way as the Sig), and is just as much fun to shoot.

    It looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    The barrel options on this one are pretty limited. You can get it in 3.4" or 5".

    These are similarly priced to the Sig, as well. You can expect to pay between $250 and $375 for one, and will be glad you did (assuming you have a P99)

    An interesting development of the P22 line is the SP22 pistol. Ostensibly the target version of the P22, it is priced nicely enough to make it onto our list here.

    Check out this pic:

    [​IMG]

    It's available with 4" and 6" barrels, and will set you back somewhere bewteen $250 and $350.


    Phoenix Arms

    The entry from our buddies at Phoenix is a nice little pistol called the HP22. I don't know much about this little puppy, so hopefully someone else can fill in some details here.

    It looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    It is barreled in 3" and 5", and is cheap. CHEAP. Did I mention it's cheap? You can expect to shell out less than $150 for one of these puppies.


    Olympic Arms

    The guys at Olympic Arms took a break from their AR clones long enough to restart production on a .22 plinker that looks, well, like a ray gun. From the 1950's. I'm not kidding about this. It really does. They call it the Whitney Wolverine.

    Anyway, it's a nice, inexpensive plinker. The design is classic, and the one guy I know who's shot a new one seems to like his. So, there you go.

    It looks like this:

    [​IMG]

    With the only barrel option being 4.625", this is not a gun you can trick out. It does look cool, though, and can be had for around $220.


    OK, that's all I've got for the moment. You all fire back, and lemmie know what's up.

    edited to include the Walther
    edited again to include the Bersa
    edited yet again to include Phoenix, Olympic, and put barrel length info in
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2007
  2. Trifler

    Trifler Member

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    Good thread.

    Others not on your list are the Walther P22, CZ 75 Kadet, and Kimber's 1911 Target and Super .22LR pistols. Taurus has .22LR pistols also, but only for concealed carry, so I suppose they don't count. Not sure if there are any other major names.

    I've heard people say the Berreta U22 Neos is one of the best for using a scope (the scope doesn't mess up its balance like most .22 pistols), for people who want to use one.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2007
  3. BlisteringSilence

    BlisteringSilence Member

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    Thanks for pointing out the P22. I left out the CZ 75 Kadet because I've never seen one in person. The conversion kits are widely available, but the actual built pistol is damn difficult to get ahold of.

    Similarly, I left out the Kimbers because they exceed my price range. I saw a target model for $700, and almost bought it because I thought it'd be a steal.

    Anyway, that's just my opinion. Updated.
     
  4. Docgmt

    Docgmt Member

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    Great idea for a tread! I have just started looking for a 22 for my wife to shoot, my M&P is a bit much for her taste.:) I have a Rugar single six that will put a single hole in paper at 25 yards all day long. The problem is it takes forever to load and remove the spent shells. This give me a start point, thanks for looking up the info.
     
  5. evan price

    evan price Member

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    No longer in production but still out there:
    Colt Woodsman
     
  6. Trifler

    Trifler Member

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    Not sure if you have them already or not, but a couple of speed loaders would help out with your revolver.
     
  7. FieroCDSP

    FieroCDSP Member

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    Get a couple of the revolvers on here and this would make a nice sticky. It's nice to know what you're looking at when you shop.

    BTW, that Beretta does look funky, but cool. I'd imagine it's pretty nice in the hand.
     
  8. Shear_stress

    Shear_stress Member

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    Don't forget the Beretta 87 and Firestorm (Bersa) FS22. It's a shame that we're limited to new production guns in this thread. There are oodles of no-longer-made plinkers out there (Astra Constable, Beretta 70/71/72/75/101/102/948, Bernardelli 60/80, Bersa 644/23, Browning Nomad/Challenger, Colt Woodsman/Huntsman, Erma/Excam RX22, High-Standard Sport King, Iver-Johnson TP22, Smith & Wesson 422/622/2206/2213/2214, Star F/FM, etc) and that doesn't include the numerous .22 LR revolvers that were out there. Seems to me that we're not living in the best of times for new .22 plinkers.


    The Single-Six is single-action and has a loading gate.
     
  9. MP5

    MP5 Member

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    Not true. I have a Mk. II 22/45 that's simple to take down and reassemble--it only takes a few seconds. It might be hard the first time or if you don't read the manual, but otherwise it's a snap.
     
  10. BlisteringSilence

    BlisteringSilence Member

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    I'm down. Though, I don't know beans about .22 revolvers, outside of the little bearcat I shot when I was but a young pup. Not to mention, this is the Autoloading subforum, I think the including of revolvers might get us a tad off topic. And I don't want to upset any mods.

    As much as I'd like to include the woodsman, they're almost impossible to find new, and the vast, vast majority of them exceed the price limit for a plinker.

    As does the Beretta 87, no matter how sweet that baby shoots.

    The Bersa should make the list though, no doubt. I'll get it edited in.

    While I agree to a point, I don't know that we're not living in the best of times for the venerable 22. Most of the pistols you mentioned have been out of my price range the whole time they've been around. They were relegated to the guys that shot in nothing but the rimfire matches at the range, and saw the utility of paying $800 (or $500 in the early 90's) for their fun guns.

    Now, there are a number of inexpensive, fairly accurate .22's out there. And you and I both know these are the guns you use to introduce people to shooing. My .40 is intimidating. My .357 is even more so. My shotgun, well, kicks like a 12ga.

    But a nice little 22/45, and a 10/22, can make a shooter for life.

    My girlfriend is the perfect example. She DID NOT want to go shooting, that was a stupid boy thing. Well, eventually I convinced her to come out to the farm and watch, and then to shoot the pistol. She LOVED it.

    Now, I have to convince her I need to work, and can't go to the range. Though, she did make me start wearing gloves when I shoot. She doesn't approve of calluses.

    Besides, you can still find the older .22 plinkers. They're so overengineered (for the most part) they won't die.
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2007
  11. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Mine was made in 1938, I got it for $225, it regularly shoots 1 3/4" groups at 25 yards with Wal-Mart Remington bulk-pack from a modified Weaver grip, has accounted for a pot full of squirrels and it ain't for sale.:neener:
     
  12. Shear_stress

    Shear_stress Member

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    Not sure which guns you're talking about. With the exception of the Beretta 87, practically all of the guns on my list can be had for south of three bills. I know this from personal experience as a USDA-certified, degenerate .22 plinker addict. Even the M87 can be found for reasonable prices if you are patient. We're talking Iver-Johnsons and Astras here, not Walther GSPs.

    Also, don't forget to add the FEG AP-22 or SMC-22 to your list.
     
  13. greener

    greener Member

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    Shot one in the early 70's. Didn't know a handgun could shoot like that. I put getting one on my round tuit list. Got distracted and have regretted not buying one. My brother-in-law has the pistol, in the original box, with the original papers. When he is feeling mean, he lets me look at the box.
     
  14. greener

    greener Member

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    I have the 22A, MKIII Hunter, MKIII 22/45, Buck Mark Standard and P22. The 22A, Rugers and Buck Mark are fine shooting pistols. Each has its good points and bad points. I'd put the P22 a step below the others.
     
  15. BlisteringSilence

    BlisteringSilence Member

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    These don't qualify, as they're not available new here in the US. Or, if they are, I've never seen one.
     
  16. Schwebel

    Schwebel Member

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    Nice thread, if you do start putting up wheelies, dont forget the Ruger Single/Six, and Beasly, also Taurus makes some in different barrel lengths. And my personal favorite the Rough Rider 22lr/22mag combo that sells for about $125.
     
  17. joplinsks

    joplinsks Member

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    A target pistol is one with a relatively long barrel. You want to consider the Browning, Ruger, and Sig-Sauer Trailside. Have heard negative comments about the S&W and U22 Neos.

    Personally, I prefer the Browning Buckmark. To me it's a finely balanced semi auto that feels good and shoots great. The Ruger is a close second, but to me it feels more like a "toy" compared to the Buckmark.

    The Buckmark "Camper" as pictured in this thread can be found occasionally on sale for $209-$219 at various large sporting goods chains. Awesome value for that price.
     
  18. Shear_stress

    Shear_stress Member

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    True on that one. I guess Interarms stopped importing them a couple of years ago, though strictly speaking they are still production guns. I do own one that appears to be new-old-stock, but that wouldn't qualify for your list.

    A couple of notes. First, the Firestorm FS22 is available with a 6" barrel. Second, you might add the new Walther SP22 to your list. Never seen or shot one, I just know they exist. Third, don't forget the Phoenix HP22 and Olympic Arms Wolverine.

    As for the CZ Kadet, I don't know why it doesn't qualify. It's available for under $500, as per the first post. If your dealer doesn't have one, just ask them to order it.
     
  19. bluetopper

    bluetopper Member

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    How short our memory seems to be of the ruler of the .22 hangun market in the golden age of the .22, from the 40's through the 70's. High Standards.
    No pot metal and plastic here.
    American craftsmanship at its finest.
    [​IMG]
     
  20. BlisteringSilence

    BlisteringSilence Member

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    And more good points. To go backwards, I didn't include the Kadet because I've never actually seen one in person. None of the local gun stores carry them (I called around this afternoon to ask), and I've never seen one at a gun show. The conversion kit for the 75 is readily available, that's all I've seen.

    The reason I didn't include it is I don't know what a good price range for it is. If you could give me an idea, into the list it goes. Also, how does the built weapon shoot?

    I've now added the HP22, the wolverine, and the SP22. I like the looks of that walther. Has anyone here acquired/fired one? I really like the price, and our friends at Walther know about building a .22 target pistol.

    Finally, I added barrell length options for all the weapons listed thus far.
     
  21. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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    I don't know why the CZ always gets left out. I love mine, fully reliable and quite accurate. Oh, and it was only $200 since I already had the 75.
     
  22. Trifler

    Trifler Member

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  23. crankshop1000

    crankshop1000 Member

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    Based on personal experience,I recommend the S&W 22A with a 7" bbl. Add a red dot optical and you will have a plinker that can single hole 10 shots at 100'.The 22A is a great little gun for the money.Easy to disassemble and clean,changable barrels,weaver rail mount and good sights from the factory. They eat a plastic recoil bushing ($1.50) every 2000-3000 rounds.
     
  24. greener

    greener Member

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    You mean like this?

    [​IMG]

    It won't "one-hole" 10 rounds at 100' because it has a trigger problem: they guy pulling it. It does a tolerable job of putting holes close together. Best freehand group I've shot is with this one, open sights.
     
  25. greener

    greener Member

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    I really can't decide if this is a good thread or not. After I bought the Buck Mark, I decided that I had a bad case of PADD (pistol attention deficit disorder) and would cool my jets for a while and shoot the ones I had. This thread has me lusting in my heart again.
     
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