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mogunner06 11-09-2019 02:10 PM

Looking for advice
I am going to purchase a .22 handgun for plinking, informal target shooting and maybe an occasional squirrel (if I get good enough). I am considering the S&W Victory, the Browning Buckmark or possibly the Ruger. I have looked at various reviews of each and all have their supporters and others that say stay away for one reason or another. Looking for recommendations from people who shoot Rimfire handguns. Would consider other guns if something fits my needs better. Thanks for your help.

bowwild 11-09-2019 02:17 PM

The SW 41 is the one I've been the most accurate with.

I like revolvers better, the 6" and 4" SW 617s.

Bradical 11-09-2019 03:30 PM

What's your budget? You'd be happy with any mentioned, unless your State as regulations prohibiting the use of semi-auto pistols for hunting. Be sure to check your State's regs.

crankythunder 11-09-2019 03:39 PM

I would recommend either the ruger or the victory
I shoot bullseye and we see a lot of the rugers and the victorys on the firing line. We do see some buckmarks but the ruger and the victory are easily upgradeable with the tandem cross triggers, extractors, etc.

Both of them are awesome firearms and I have been beaten by shooters using either of them. Of the ruger, either the mark II or the Mark IV is more desirable then the Mark 1 or III. It was explained to me why but I forgot.


varmit hunter67 11-09-2019 03:47 PM

I would recommend the Buck Mark. User friendly from the get-go.

VH :oman:

jackknife 11-09-2019 06:44 PM


Originally Posted by bowwild (Post 11665551)
The SW 41 is the one I've been the most accurate with.

I like revolvers better, the 6" and 4" SW 617s.


The other guns will take a backseat to the S&W 41. And the with the 41, you can switch barrels easy.

If you go revolver, go the S&W 617.

Spend the extra $ now and you'll be ahead 10 years form now in shooting pleasure.

Denvernoob 11-09-2019 07:31 PM

I would also suggest a revolver. As much as anything, dropping bullets into the cylinder is a lot easier than repeatedly loading magazines. I think that makes a shooting session that much more enjoyable. A big 10-round cylinder like on the S&W 617 or Ruger GP100 gives you the same capacity as the pistols you mention, and the accuracy is on par with the better target pistols. Plus they shoot anything: shorts, longs, every velocity known to man, and you'll never have to worry about a jam.

I shoot a GP100 and I absolutely love it. I got it about a year ago for the exact reasons you mention and I have no regrets. I do however think you couldn't go wrong with the guns you're currently looking at. I recently shot a Ruger Mark IV and I found it to be a very nice pistol.

HARDBALLER 11-09-2019 08:53 PM

As much as I would love to get a S&W 41, it's restricted to a diet of standard velocity ammo only. With Ruger or the Buckmark you can shoot high velocity ammo in them all day long. And with the Rugers, you can get lots of after market parts too.

dimeman 11-10-2019 02:10 AM

Put a few different ones in your hand to get a feel of each one. Pick the one that you like.

Andyd 11-10-2019 07:01 AM


I own a very wide variety of .22 l.r handguns, from a S&W 22A to the Hammerli 208 and from an Arminius HW9 to a Korth but when somebody is looking for a relatively inexpensive handgun that has good accuracy and will withstand 100,000 rounds with good reliability using different ammo, I recommend a Ruger MkII and not just try to push one of my own favorites on somebody else.


If you want to spend a little bit more and have a very nice gun, my favorite plinker does shoot well for about four times as much money as the pictured used MkII goes for.


flangster 11-10-2019 07:26 AM

I like the advice of getting your hands on one and seeing what feels right. I went the Ruger route, but a buddy of mine has the Buckmark and it is as accurate.

In terms of tinkering and upgrades, the Rugers have been around for almost 70 years in one form or another. There are aftermarket barrels/receivers made from Pac-Mor, Volquiartsen and others, triggers from a wide variety of sources and so on. The knock on the Mk III came from a combination of a complicated takedown procedure (until you learned it) and a poor loaded-chamber indicator design. Neither one bothered me in the slightest, but to each his own. There is a choice of grip angles. The 22/45's attempt to recreate a 1911 grip angle with a polymer grip. The metal grip frames have a more raked angle. Both shoot well for me. The most common upgrades on these judging from RFC postings are probably trigger and sear upgrades, as the factory trigger can be wobbly, creepy, and gritty. With a Mk II or III you can upgrade either the trigger or the sear or both and a bushing replacement both simplifies the take-down procedure somewhat and takes the lateral movement out of the trigger. WIth a Mk IV, you have to do the whole shebang at once. The receiver on all these designs is a solid tube. Only the bolt moves when firing.

The Buckmark is the latter day descendent of the Browning Medalist and Challenger blow-back designs. They have fewer aftermarket parts available, but more folks seem to like shooting them "out of the box" than the Rugers. The most common trigger mod on these seems to be the so-called "Heggis Flip," which involves inverting an internal part to get a better trigger pull.

The S&W Victory was supposed to be S&W's Ruger "killer." A simplified take-down procedure appealed to many. S&W designed these in consultation with Volquartsen and there was an aftermarket barrel available for upgrade on (or near) Day 1 when the pistol was released. As mentioned above, Tandem Kross makes an aftermarket trigger. There was recently posted on RFC a link to a YouTube video of a guy shooting his Victory off a Ransom rest at 50 yards with the VQ barrel upgrade. He got a 1.5 inch group at that distance with mid-grade ammo, which is not bad at all.

These above are entry level semi-autos. The Model 41 mentioned above is a premium semi-auto pistol. A search here on RFC will turn up lots of threads about whether it can run with fancy European pistols like the Pardinis, Hammerlis. Also whether modern examples have the craftsmanship and function of examples made in prior decades. If you have the coin, these can be good choices, but used ones will cost twice or three times what new entry level pistols cost (although maybe with upgrades, you'd almost have cost parity between the two). I have a Model 41 and a couple of Rugers and honestly I am not a good enough shooter to tell the difference in the targets, either off-hand or off a rest at the distances I shoot.

The S&W 617's are also fine hand guns. There is academic debate about whether a revolver with 10 chambers can be as accurate as a semi-auto with a single chamber, but once again for me there is no difference in accuracy on target. Revolvers can chamber a wider variety of ammunition than the semi-autos, although this may be moot if you never shoot .22 shorts. More important, perhaps, to the firing line experience is that the 617 shoots both double action and single action and, of course, the safety is located between your ears. These cost twice what the entry level pistols cost, although I'd sell my Rugers before I'd sell my 617, if that's worth anything.

Good luck on your choice and post pictures of what you get.

GladesGuy 11-10-2019 07:36 AM

While the Model 41 and Hammerli are great pistols, the op's question was very specific as to a mid priced pistol like a S&W, Ruger or a Browning. I agree it is important to first handle a pistol before buying as the grip angle is very important for comfort and accuracy to the individual shooter and, unlike a rifle, you can't just drop the pistol into another stock that fits you better. Personally, I prefer the Browning Buck Mark to the others in this group for the simple reason that I can fire it more accurately than the others. If you intend to heavily mod your pistol, you can't beat the Ruger for options.

mogunner06 11-10-2019 10:28 AM

I appreciate the advice and responses from everyone. I ruled out the Model 41 due to price. To be honest I was leaning toward the S&W Victory to begin with due to price and features. After reading the comments I am leaning toward the Ruger IV or the Browning. I was not planning to modify the pistol much but if I go with the Ruger everyone mentions improving the trigger and sights etc. I am confident in cleaning and maintaining my guns but I would not be comfortable doing modifications. People mention several people that do these mods. I know Volquartsen and Clark do these changes but are there other people that do this work. Again thanks for the info. I am very new to rimfire handguns. I learned a great deal by looking at previous posts and even more with the responses to my question. There is a ton of knowledge and wisdom on this sight. Thanks again for your help.

cz453 12-01-2019 11:02 PM

If you purchase the 41 Smith you would not have to do all the modifications and you could run the pistol virtually forever. With the modifications to the other guns you will have the same money if not more in the Ruger. Just food for thought.

rc. 12-02-2019 03:18 AM

Buckmarks are decent entry level 22s and plentiful on the market. They are not the most durable design. If you can find a used Ruger Mark 2 in good shape, they are probably better overall than a buckmark if you don't mind the heel catch magazine. I am having teething problems with my buckmark camper. I chamfered the chamber trying to get it to feed more reliably. The gun is very accurate but it frequently misfires but that could in part be due to the auto match ammo I've been shooting. Some won't go bang on the second strike in the same spot. Most go bang when rotated, sometimes they don't, but I've had light strikes with other ammo, mainly I think due to the tight chamber and any build up keeps it from going into battery all the way. The gun has a custom trigger and hammer I installed but it's had these problems from the start. The plastic block supporting the firing pin is not nylon so it's not moving back and forth as good as in a fully steel bolt. Not sure what Browning was thinking other than making the design cheaper. I believe the older buckmarks have no plastic parts other than the buffer. I accidentally dislodged the tiny c clip and almost lost control of the recoil spring and the clip. This kind of thing never happens on a Mark II. There are better guns than a buckmark for sure but they also tend to cost more. A used Ruger Mark II may not be more than a buckmark and they are solidly built guns.
I would love a model 41. If I sold several of my 22 handguns I could have just as well bought a 41. If you want to buy 1 22 handgun for competition, it would be a good choice. The Victory may also be a good gun but I have not shot or handled one. They are forbidden here in CA because they are not approved for sale. We don't even see used 22 handgun that much. Buckmarks and conversion kits are about the only choices these days for a new California shooter. If you were not looking to compete, a good 22 revolver is pretty handy too. Oh, and don't overlook some of the quality competition conversion kits for 1911s like the Marvel. They may rival the 41 in quality without the cost if you have a 1911 to serve as a frame donor.

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