American Handgunner March/April 2013 Digital Edition - Page 42

WINNINGEDGE soLID ADvIce to KeeP yoU AHeAD oF tHe coMPetItIoN Little .22s I The DAve ANDersoN Some of my favorites: clockwise from top right: Ruger Sp-101, Ruger SR22, Walther p22, S&W Model 34, S&W Model 51 (which is a .22 Magnum). f you’re planning to own just one .22 handgun it probably shouldn’t be a pocket pistol. Medium-size sport pistols have the most all-around utility. Think weights A traditional knife, a Buck Stockman, fits right of 32–40 ounces and barrel lengths of 4" to 6". Semiin with the traditional revolvers, while the auto examples include the Browning BuckMark, Ruger Mk modern Buck Bones design goes well with the III, the discontinued Browning Challenger and Nomad, Colt two modern semi-autos. Woodsman Sport and various High Standards. In revolvers, examples are the Ruger SP-101 and Single Six, the Colt Diamondback and K-frame S&Ws. And yet knowing this, I still like my little .22s, but they have their disadvantages. Their small grip size can be a problem for some shooters, especially those with large hands. Their light weight makes them harder to hold steadily, a factor sometimes exacerbated by mediocre trigger pulls and (sometimes) fixed sights. They aren’t the easiest guns to shoot. But they are so darn handy &W has been chambering its smalland useful. Light weight and compact size makes a small .22 harder to shoot, frame revolvers in .22 for a long, but also make it more likely you’ll actually have it available. I shoot my long time, going back to the old S&W 41 and High Standard M- and I-frames, and the current J-frame. this little Beretta is an old friend of over 40 years Victor Target .22s better than Great little guns in their own right, they standing. it shows a lot of finish wear, but it remains any other handguns, but their also make ideal trainers for the myriad the most reliable .22 semi-auto i’ve ever owned. bulk and weight means they owners of J-frame centerfires. mostly get shot on the range. I once owned a Model 34 with 2" barrel. It made a nice little pocket gun, but I decided I wanted more sight radius and sold it in favor of the 4" model. If I was doing it again I’d likely get the stainless steel version. Currently S&W catalogs several J-frames in .22 LR, and the Model 317 Kit Gun weighs 12.5 ounces with 3" barrel. The Model 63 (stainless it lacks an adjustable rear mall .22s can be either steel frame and cylinder) weighs 26 sight, which i guess is a revolvers or semi-autos. ounces, also with a 3" barrel. Both hold shortcoming, but one i’ve The first handgun I ever eight cartridges and have adjustable rear learned to live with. owned is a Beretta, weighing sights. There are also a couple of fixedjust 15 ounces with its alloy frame. It probably wasn’t a great choice as a sight models, the 317 and 43C. Virtually first handgun — the S&W K22 I bought a couple of years later taught me a identical in appearance and handling to lot more about shooting a handgun. But the Beretta is my favorite handgun the centerfire versions, they would make and has been for over 40 years. It’s long since discontinued, but fortunately fine training understudies. there are currently made, reasonably priced alternatives. Two I like are the The Ruger SP-101 .22 kind of falls Ruger SR22 and the Walther P22. Both weigh right around a pound. Both into a category all its own. For a lot of have polymer frames, adjustable sights, DA/SA operation, manual safeties shooters it is “not too big, not too small” and 10-shot magazines. — it’s just right. If the size appeals to Both have proven to be well made and accurate. Not target-pistol accurate you it’s certainly a fine choice. I have one of course, but both shoot into 2" for five shots at 25 yards, similar to what I get and like it. Ruger now offers the LCR in from my Beretta. This is about as good as I can shoot with a light gun/short .22 weighing just under 15 ounces. It’s sight radius. I once killed a weasel at a measured 23 yards with the Beretta. I’ll an excellent understudy for the centerfire admit some luck was involved since only its head and neck were showing. LCR, and is also available with Crimson Forced to choose between the two I’d likely take the SR22, mainly Trace Lasergrips. Single-action fans, because I appreciate Ruger supplying two magazines. It saves me the fuss don’t overlook the slick little Ruger and expense of acquiring a spare. The Walther is marginally smaller and Bearcat, available in either blued alloy lighter, and the two are certainly equal in terms of overall quality and perforsteel or stainless steel. But mance. If you don’t mind spending a little more money — okay, a lot more mostly, have fun with them. — the current Beretta 87 ranks as one of the finest .22s ever made. I don’t have one but do have the similar Model 85 in .380. Great pistols, but dang, For more info: www.americanhandgunner. they aren’t cheap. My Beretta cost $80 in 1969. Current MSRP on the 87 is com/product-index and click on the commore than ten times as much! pany name. the original ‘Kit Guns’ s A coUPLA’ GooD oNes s * 42 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • MARCH/APRIL2013

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