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American Handgunner Sep/Oct 2011 Digital Edition - Page 22

TAFFINTESTS John Taffin THE SIXGUNNER HIMSELF: GUNS, GEAR AND MORE Left: Ruger stainless steel MKIII is a fine shooting semi-auto 22. Middle: Specialpurpose Ruger .22 semi-autos include Diamond Dot’s Purple Pistol (left) and SSK Custom, 2nd from right. Bottom: Ruger’s MKI was offered in three barrel lengths: 67/8", 51/2" Bull and the rare 51/4" version made only for one year in the early 1950s. Playin’ Favorites ’m going to take advantage of my advancing years looking at my favorite handguns, and this will definitely not be objective but rather entirely subjective. These are the guns I have used and prefer; your choice may be entirely different. Choosing favorites is not always easy. Sometimes I can pick one favorite; other times it will be several. With that in mind we herein look at Taffin’s Top .22 semi-autos. “Oh Papa, I’m afraid!” It was granddaughter number three facing her first time to shoot. She was not in the best of moods to start with as she had gone with me previously and wound up hiding in the pick-up to escape bees that seemed to zero in on her. This time there were no bees and she was going to shoot for the first time using a Ruger MKII .22. With the .22 semi-auto the new shooter only has to concentrate on three things, sight alignment, trigger squeeze and above all safety. We went through all of these and she was still afraid and not quite sure she wanted to do this. By the time she fired that first full magazine it was “Oh Papa this is so much fun!” She was now a full-fledged shooter, and I spent the time keeping her supplied with loaded magazines. .22 SEMI-AUTO I BEST GUNS he .22 semi-auto pistol is one of the most useful firearms available. It’s great for teaching someone new how to shoot and also to emphasize safety. All of my grandkids early learned if something goes wrong, keep it pointed in the right direction, put the safety on, set it down and call me. I wish all adults were as safe with firearms as my grandkids have been since day one. The semi-auto .22 is great for plinking, target shooting, small game and varmints, and has the potential for being a lifesaver in a survival situation. If for some reason one could only have one handgun, it should be a .22 semi-auto. Even at today’s inflated prices, .22s are still a great bargain. Add family and friends to a brick of .22s and a quality pistol and you have not only great fun, but the stuff memories are made of. One of those memories built took place this past summer as my good friend, fellow Shootist, and brother by heart, Terry Murbach drove down from the Dakota Territory to spend a few weeks. We shot a lot of sixguns and semi-autos during that time but most of it was devoted to really having fun busting little rocks with .22s. In fact we went through something over 5,000 rounds of .22s. Browning’s oustanding heavy barrel target .22s with 51/2" and 10" barrels. These Ruger MKIIs in stainless steel and blue versions are hard to beat for long-range shooting or paper-punching small groups. T RugeR PRoducTion here’s a lot of confusion about the original .22 semi-autos, not only among shooters but gunshops and gunwriters as well. Bill Ruger started producing his original .22 in 1949 featuring a Red Eagle in the left grip panel. When his partner, Alexander Sturm died, the color was changed from red to black. The original .22 Ruger had a 43/4" barrel, fixed sights and is known as the Standard Model. The first Mark I was a 67/8" Target Model introduced in 1951. In 1954, the 6" Standard Model was first offered, and in 1963 the Mark I Bull Barrel Target Model arrived with a 51/2" barrel. The Standard Models, and the Mark I Target Models, were made side-by-side until 1982 when all Ruger .22s became Mark IIs with 10-round magazines and slide locking feature. In 2004, the Mark IIIs arrived with extra safety features. For pure nostalgia I prefer the original Standard Models T Continued on page 89 22 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER2011

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