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NAA mini revolvers .22mag vs .22lr

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Tarheel59, Jul 12, 2012.

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  1. Tarheel59

    Tarheel59 Member

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    I know there are better (more substantial) choices for effectiveness and have a few options already - Ruger SP101, Taurus M85, and a S&W Model 36 - but with temps in the high 90's or low 100's - even those small guns are staying in the safe.... I have looked at the Bond Derringers as well, but it doesn't feel like it would carry any better than the M85 or M36....

    The purpose is protection in summertime carry during outdoors activities - dogs, snakes, and the less likely to encounter two legged varmint.... clothing/cover will probably be limited to a pair of shorts and a t-shirt....

    I've been looking at the NAA mini-revolvers and have the following questions for those that own and have experience with them....
    1) Is there a noticeable difference in the effectivness of .22mag vs. .22lr shotshell performance?
    2) Does the barrel length make a difference in performance between the shorter options 1 1/8 vs. 1 5/8 on either shotshell or regular ammo?
    3) What about muzzle blast - .22mag vs. .22lr - 1 1/8 vs 1 5/8?
    4) Weight or size difference - any noticeable difference between the .22mag and .22lr versions - I can't imagine the 1/2 inch difference in the barrel length between the 1 5/8 vs. 1 1/8 would matter?

    Any other suggestions and/or opinions will be appreciated!

    Thanks,

    Tarheel59
     
  2. Hoppes Love Potion

    Hoppes Love Potion Member

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    The magnum frame is larger than the LR frame, and the grips are larger. Many people have a problem holding the minis securely since with the standard birdshead grips, you can only get 1 or 2 fingers on the grip. The longer wooden boot grips (standard on the Earl), the "slip-on" rubber grips (standard on the Pug), or the larger 2-piece rubber grips (standard on the Black Widow and Mini Master) make it a lot easier to hold and shoot the minis.

    I tried all the minis and realized I would need the large rubber grips in order to hold the gun securely, so I got the Black Widow with 2" barrel. My wife has the Pug (1" barrel with slip-on rubber grips).

    For defense against people or animals, I would go with one of the magnums. There are some new .22 Magnum short-barrel ammo choices designed for self-defense, and they work well in these guns (the Speer Gold Dots were actually developed using a Black Widow as the test platform).

    I don't have any experience with the shotshells. For a snake, if it's within 10 feet, I should be able to nail it with standard ammo. If it's farther than that, I don't consider it a danger.

    Performance of various barrel lengths? There are some ballistic results on the NAA site, and folks in the NAA forum have done their own ballistics testing with minis. Longer barrels of course develop slightly better velocity and offer a longer sight picture. All of the minis are capable of excellent accuracy, but I can tell you that I shoot the 2" Black Widow much better than the 1" Pug.

    Muzzle blast is HUGE with .22 Magnum, and the report is LOUD - I'm talking .357 LOUD. Barrel length makes little difference; they are all LOUD with magnum ammo. LR is much milder. You'll still need ear protection even with LR.

    Size and weight? There is such a thing as too small and too light. At some point, it will be too small for most people to hold securely. A grip change can make a huge difference, but of course a larger grip takes away some of the compactness.

    The good news is that with the nice variety of frame sizes, barrel lengths, and grip options, you should be able to find a model that works well for you. These are high quality guns with a lifetime warranty and great customer service. I also think they are reasonably priced.
     
  3. krupparms

    krupparms Member

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    +1for Hoppes. He is right on with the advice he gave you. The Earl w/ 3"blr. & the BL. WID. are what I shoot the most. Accuracy can be very good! ( ammo & shooter ).The choice of grips helps alot. With shot loads it is great for the timber rattlesnakes around here! Good luck, have fun, and stay safe.
     
  4. JFrame

    JFrame Member

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    Speaking of the Speer Gold Dot .22 mag -- a fellow over at Rimfirecentral posted a video in which he tested the penetration of that load, versus a standard .22 mag hollow point (CCI, I believe), by firing into gallon plastic milk jugs of water lined up in a row. IIRC, the test platform was the BW, although it might have been a standard .22 mag mini. I believe the distance was six feet (may have been a little longer).

    The standard .22 mag HP went through the first milk jug and was stopped by the "skin" of the jug at the other end. The spent round was recovered from that first jug.

    The Speer round went through three of the jugs, and was recovered in the fourth.

    This was a one-shot/each test, and not empirical by any means. However, it did highlight to me the optimization in performance to be had by the Speer Close Defense round, especially fired from a tiny revolver like the NAA models.

    Just more grist for the mill... :)


    .
     
  5. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I like the folding grips offered by NAA, best of both worlds. They're compact in the pocket and allow for a full grip. They'll also clip to my T shirt collar when I'm wade fishing. :D

    .22 mag has more penetration, about 1100+ fps in a 2" barreled Black Widow, and the Black Widow is quite accurate with its novak sights and longer sight radius. My 1 5/8 ounce .22LR puts most ammo over my chrony at 700-800 or slightly over FPS and lacks the magnum's penetration. I load my Black Widow with Hornady CD, designed for short barrels, less flash/bang, better bullet performance.

    Having shot a lot of rats with .22LR out of my 1 5/8" NAA and my 4" Rossi 511, YES, barrel length makes a lot of difference with shot loads. Hard to quantify this, but in my experience, yes. With bullets, yes, but I see more difference with shot loads. Now, out of my 5+" barrel Ruger Mk2, they hit harder on steel than out of my 4" revolver, let alone the minis. I can see this on effectiveness on the steel plates we have at the range. I haven't chronoed the Mk 2, though, but I'm guessing it pushes over 1000 fps.

    The .22 mag sounds more like a .38, NOT a .357, not even the CCI stuff. Reports of its report are overblown, but it sound like a real gun, put it that way. :D The .22LR is loud for a .22, but not THAT loud and not as much muzzle blast. The CCI maximags are especially impressive for fireworks. :D

    The standard magnum isn't much heavier or bigger. I have a 1 5/8" super companion (magnum frame cap and ball) and it's not much heavier or bigger than my .22. The Black Widow is 10 ounce, twice as heavy as the .22, due to heavier barrel. It's also physically slightly bigger owing to its 2" barrel, but it's quite compact compared to, say, a Ruger LCP. Its accuracy makes it worth the extra.

    Concerning Hornady Critical Defense ammo, from their website.....

    critical-defense-compare-22wmr-380auto.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2012
  6. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I have the .22lr/.22mag holstergrip 1 5/8" model. I really like it. It and two 10rd speedstrips will disappear into just about any pocket. I highly recommend the holstergrip. It allows full grip size, protects against printing, and the reversible clip will hold the gun at the top of your pocket if you want. The weight of the gun is hardly noticeable in your pocket.
    I usually just carry .22lr for plinking and practice, but the .22mag cyl with Hornady Critical Defense makes a potent and significant increase in horsepower.
    At 10yds I can ring my homemade buffalo gong with ease. And no it isn't the size of a real buffalo...it is the size of a pie plate.
    The little gun really suits me and if anything happened to it I would replace it asap. It is a high quality piece built like a Swiss watch. If you want something concealable then this is about as good as it gets.
     
  7. Nasty

    Nasty Member

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    I have a Mini Master with both 22lr/22Mag and added the holster grip to it for use as a plinker/pot filler when hiking/camping. It actually is a useful tool in this role. It's fun to shoot, accurate enough to bag an occasional squirrel and tucks away anywhere.

    For any sort of defense, I carry a compact 9 or 45, or maybe a 357 or 44...
     
  8. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    All mine are in folding holster grips, addresses the small grip for me and still concealable. My Black Widow is 10 ounces versus 5 for my .22 version, but the accuracy from it is much better. It has Novak sights and a 2" barrel with nearly as much sight radius as my snubby .38. It can shoot 3.5" at 25 yards from the bench. The .22 is accurate, but more challenging to shoot, about 7" at 25 yards off the bench and picky about ammo. It likes federal. What with the Hornady and Speer ammo made for the purpose, the Black Widow is a decent defensive weapon. I mostly carry a .38 or 9mm, though, and my .22 LR rides shotgun in my weak side pocket due to its light weight and more compact profile. My Black Widow goes to church with me every Sunday and does deep concealment duty where necessary.

    As to shot loads, shot from the little .22 is pretty worthless. I used to shoot rats on the back porch when they got bad in my old house. I'd always go for my little Rossi 511, had twice the range, 10 ft vs 5. LOL! Never tried magnum shot from the Black Widow. Shot loads are not my thing. I HAVE shot a couple of snakes with my .22LR at 10 feet with a Federal Lightening hollow point to the head, not a difficult task, accurate enough for that. It's also finished off a few deer over the years and taken a few hogs in the trap, shot applied to the head. It's taken vermin in the field and around the house, too, and several rabbits. A handy little revolver to have along. :D
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2012
  9. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I have carried my NAA w/ holstergrip so much this summer and fall that I feel I have forgotten something when I don't have it along.
    I have only lately taken to carrying the magnum cyl and mags. They are plenty powerful for what I want out of that gun. (By the way, 16 .22mags fit perfectly in an Altoids Smalls tin).
     
  10. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    *deleted*
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2012
  11. Carne Frio

    Carne Frio Member

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    I have the model that has cylinders for both
    22lr and 22mag. For me it is a novelty and
    a gun just for fun. They are very well made.
    The smallest I would use for defense is 38spl.
     
  12. needsoftseat

    needsoftseat Member

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    size

    I was looking at the balistics on NAAs site. With a 1 1/8th inch barrel, there is not a huge amount of difference between some of the lr cartridges and the magnums. In such a short barrel it appears a lot of the powder burns on the outside. I have medium sized hands and the long rifle is not to small.
    As for the sound, i dont know what you want to compare it to but the magnum is loud! It seemed to have a higher pitch bang that i found quite painful when i didnt get my hearing protection on before someone fired a shot.

    For all the comments about carring a larger caliber for defense....most of my adult life i have not carried a gun, i've only had a ccw for a few years. Most times i probably had a just a pocket knife and many times now i dont dress where i can carry much more than a pocket knife. This little 22lr pointed 3 feet away from someone will be a lot more effective than waving a knife around. But there are places where you cannot carry any firearm....sooo they best defensive weapon, may depend entirely on the situation, your clothing, and what you are willing and can legally carry. This also makes a good reason to tell the wife why you need so many different guns and knives.
     
  13. needsoftseat

    needsoftseat Member

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    size

    I was looking at the balistics on NAAs site. With a 1 1/8th inch barrel, there is not a huge amount of difference between some of the lr cartridges and the magnums. In such a short barrel it appears a lot of the powder burns on the outside. I have medium sized hands and the long rifle is not to small.
    As for the sound, i dont know what you want to compare it to but the magnum is loud! It seemed to have a higher pitch bang that i found quite painful when i didnt get my hearing protection on before someone fired a shot.

    For all the comments about carring a larger caliber for defense....most of my adult life i have not carried a gun, i've only had a ccw for a few years. Most times i probably had a just a pocket knife and many times now i dont dress where i can carry much more than a pocket knife. This little 22lr pointed 3 feet away from someone will be a lot more effective than waving a knife around. But there are places where you cannot carry any firearm....sooo they best defensive weapon, may depend entirely on the situation, your clothing, and what you are willing and can legally carry. This also makes a good reason to tell the wife why you need so many different guns and knives.
     
  14. evan price

    evan price Member

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    In my experience the 22 Mag cartridges are more reliable. There's a big difference in velocity and penetration between Mag and regular LR.

    While a Mini-Magnum is not what I would want for a primary CCW it is the one gun I can carry anywhere, even places I can't carry a gun.

    Faced with either nothing or a NAA 22 Mag, I'll take the NAA. I have even successfully CCWed in swim trunks at a water park.
     
  15. JFrame

    JFrame Member

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    There may be some nominal benefit (not anything you want to rely on, but a possible tertiary side effect) of the .22 WMR acting like a mini-flash-bang grenade.

    I recall an account by Paco Kelly when he was working deep cover on a drug case. All he could conceal reliably was a NAA mini in .22 mag. Anyway, one night, a drug dealer he was tailing became aware of the police tail and tried to flee down an alley.

    Kelly shouted a challenge and fired a warning shot from his mini. By his own account, the street "lit up for two city blocks," and a deafening echo resounded through the alley. The perp immediately fell to the pavement and laced his hands over his head. Kelly covered him with the mini till the rest of the police working the operation showed up. They said that the sound could be heard halfway across the city. :D

    Anecdotally speaking, I've fired my Black Widow at the range, and had a person stop behind me during a pause and ask, "What ARE you shooting there?" He was referring to the ammo and not the gun.

    Again, it's definitely not an effect one can rely on. But in a pinch, it's better to be braced for the effect, and have the adversary totally unprepared for it.

    .
     
  16. GEM

    GEM Member

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    I have to agree with the flash bang analogy. I shot 22 mags from my 1 5/8 mini at an indoor range with partitions on both sides. I swear I thought I blew up. I felt my hair (I had some then) blow back and felt air pressure under my glasses. What a boom and I slammed my eyes shut reflexively!

    I kid you not, the echo and muzzle blast off the sides were something. Outside, it's not that bad.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2012
  17. farm23

    farm23 Member

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    I carry a Black Widow every day and it is a great back up piece. Shortly after I got the BW I was walking some of my property and I say a black bear near some of my bee hives. One shot into the ground near the bear and she was gone and has not come back. I carry Hornady Critical Defense loads and am not suggesting you use them on bears but they are loud and the muzzled flash is impressive.

    There are new loads for short barrel guns and they improve the effectiveness of the 22 mag.
     
  18. dogrunner

    dogrunner Member

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    Don't make the mistake of thinking the LR is worthless. I finished off a downed deer with one round behind the ear.........and at about the same distance I'd apply it to a human being!
     
  19. JERRY

    JERRY Member

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    slow into action compared to other guns, rimfire for defense is subjective compared to centerfire.

    for the price of magnum ammo, limited capasity, slow into action, cost, weight....id prefer a mini auto instead.

    but the NAA are well made guns and better than no gun at all.
     
  20. krupparms

    krupparms Member

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    I have used these small Revolvers for alot of years. They are not the best choice for SD. But on a number of occasions it was all I could carry. Twice now I have had to pull it for SD. Once in Denver, ( when they say don't go outside the bus station, they mean it! ) & the other was to shoot a feral dog. (A pitbull). It worked well in both situations for me. I use the 45gr.CD rounds but I am looking at the 50gr.SGB to see if it works better in the small revolvers. I think at close range it will be better than a pocket knife. JMO.
     
  21. Deaf Smith

    Deaf Smith Member

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    My normal advice for cartridges from .380 and below is to use FMJ to assure adequate penetration.

    And for the .22 lr .vs. .22 magnum both are feeble rounds but the .22 magnum, with FMJ, penetrates enough.

    And yes, I have a NAA 'Pug' .22 Magnum and within the limitations of 4 to 5 shots, zero chance of reloads, mini-grips, and it's power it has it's place. But that place does not include being one's primary armament. Last ditch hideout is it's place.

    Deaf
     
  22. rsilvers

    rsilvers Member

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    I own a magnum with the 1-5/8 inch and a 22lr with a 1-1/8 inch. If I had nothing, I would get a pug magnum 1 inch.

    831 average for 40 grain magnum, 1-1/8" barrel.
    620 average for 40 grain 22lr, 1-1/8" barrel.

    I would call 211 fps or 29% gain a pretty big difference. If the .22lr go about 15 inches deep though, that would be good. I have not been able to find gel tests confirming that. The only data I have found shows 8 inches for a 36 grain and 8.8 inches for 60 grain.

    http://northamericanarms.com/ball_mag18

    http://northamericanarms.com/ball_lr18
     
  23. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    I LOVE my NAA "The Earl". The gun is fun to shoot and is amazingly accurate. If I'm in a decent shape for target shooting I can normally manage around 1.5 inches at 12 yards with the gun.

    Where it fails though is in "falling readily to hand". The compact grips simply do not fit into a big hand without some compromise. So it would be a VERY difficult gun to shoot if I had to whip it out of a pocket or holster and get off a fast response shot of any sort.

    Now NAA makes a lot of different grips for their guns. But a lot of them are as small or smaller than the "hogsleg" grips found on The Earl. The derringer style would be even worse for getting a fast and stable grip. Some of the others might be worth looking into. I've never had the chance to try them so I can't comment on those.

    Now at some point I'm going to make up some new compact but proper grip wood for The Earl. I suspect it'll turn the little soldier into a truly valid shooting iron that could be hauled out and used by those of us with something bigger than Munchkin hands such as those found on 5 to 7 year old kids.
     
  24. JFrame

    JFrame Member

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    Interesting that you say that. I started to think that my Earl would make a decent "minimalist" sort of kit gun. I put a Pug grip on my Black Widow, and put the Black Widow grip on the Earl:

    NAA800x600.gif

    This gives me a much more stable platform for shooting. I have the windage pretty much down on the Earl, but still need to work on the elevation. That skinny post sight is a bit of a beeyotch to work with -- but as they say, "practice, practice, practice..."


    .
     
  25. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    Yeah, that skinny point on the front sight isn't the sort of thing that jumps out to your eye in dim lighting... :D

    Those black widow grips will likely make the gun a lot nicer for quick grab and shoot sort of use. And as it obvious it doesn't make the gun all that much bigger. As a sort of minimalist kit gun it makes a LOT of sense given the stainless construction and neat size.

    I know some folks say that the NAA guns are curiosities and can't be depended on. Or that .22LR rimfire ammo isn't dependable enough. But in probably 700 to 800 .22LR rounds shot through mine since I got it a couple of years back it's never had a single FTF or otherwise acted up in any manner.
     
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