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Old September 11th, 2008
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Thumbs up S&W 22A 22lr semi-auto pistol - Review

Just a quick little review of a fun pistol I picked up not long ago.
I bought a brand new Smith and Wesson 22A off of gunbroker for $210 (plus 30 shipping to my FFL).
My version has the 5.5inch bull barrel and the solid wood target grips but there are many options out there including barrel lengths from 4 inchs up to 7 inchs, target wood grips or standard plastic grips, and there are even factory camo models available as well.
First Impressions:
Right out of the box before firing I gave the gun a good look over for fit and finish and feel for ergonomics. I am a big guy and have big hands and the wood target grips fit my hands like a dream. Conversely my wife who has much smaller hands found the grips to feel big.
Weight wise, it was about what I expected for a 5.5inch barrelled gun, on par with my S&W Sigma. Balance was very nice and the gun felt nice - not forward heavy at all.
The gun comes with 2 factory mags and I have to admit they feel sort of flimsy in the hand, made from thin metal - but they both fit in the gun and locked in tightly. Something I did notice about the mags and getting them into the gun had to do with the grips. The larger target grips hang down well over the butt of the gun (1/2 inch maybe) so in order to get the mag up in, you have to use your thumb and push it up in the rest of the way until it clicks. It appears the standard grips would not have this problem.
The Mag release is an odd spot, but it seems to work well, it is directly on the front of the grips. It sticks out a tiny bit but does not interfere with shooting or your grip on the gun.
The paint on the gun is okay it seems like it will be prone to getting scratched off (I have the black model but grey models are also available). The safety and the slide release are relatively easy to get to, and both work easily without much trouble.
The sights are a standard front sight, fixed post and a rear adjustable windage and elevation sight. I believe Hi-Viz fiber optic sights are also an option from the factory on the gun. It also has an integrated weaver rail built into the top of the gun with cross bolt slots already milled out.
I field stripped it and checked out the internals and it is a pretty simple setup. Only item of concern that I found was that the gun has an internal recoil buffer made of a heavy duty plastic. As the slide comes back, to soften the blow of metal on metal, S&W has integrated the plastic piece onto the back of the spring. There were also 2 extra recoil buffers in an envelope in my box.

Shooting it:
Ammo - Federal Bulk from Wal-Mart.
First time out, I had no optics on it and just used the standard metal post and valley rear sight. I found the rear sight to be pretty "big" and I would tend to lose the pin in it from time to time.
Loading and unloading actually provided the most challenge! Once a mag is loaded, as I said before, you slide it into the grip until it clicks. Well I had done that and still the slide refused to ramp the shell up into the chamber. I tried both mags and slowly releasing the slide, letting the slide slam shut, etc. and had no luck. Finally I pushed up on the bottom of the mag and heard a final click and saw the mag release buttom pop out just a hair further than it had been a moment before. I checked the chamber and sure enough the mag was seated a bit higher and the slide was not able to push the shells into the chamber.
Accuracy for iron sights was quite good, holding a very solid pattern at 15 yards from offhand, I would say about a baseball sized group.
I did have 1 stovepipe in the first mag I ran through it but none after that and no other problems.
Overall I was very pleased with the first round out.

Second time shooting:
Ammo - Federal Bulk, Remington Bulk
This time I had a Barska 30mm red dot optic mounted onto the intergrated rail.
I started off the bench at 25 yards and it was holding a fantastic pattern golfball and smaller.
I got it sighted in and went to playing around offhand and wow, what a fun shooter. With a red dot (or any optic), this gun seems to shine. Even with the bulk ammo, I was exceedingly impressed with the accuracy and considering I am by far not marksman with a pistol as well.
Ran through several hundred rounds and not a single problem, no failures of any kind.
Broke it down and cleaned it after use to get an idea bout how the internals looked after all the dirty ammo and to see how the plastic recoil buffer was holding up. The buffer still looks new after close to a box of ammo through it so far, internals needed a good cleaning but were fine. I did notice some of the paint around the front of the slide near the firing pin and some paint on the end of the barrel near the chamber kind of has some piting from heat, but it wasn't drastic and I kind of expected it give then feel of the paint on the gun.

Overall I am incredibly pleased with my investment. I had looked at Walthers, Berettas, Rugers, etc. and decided to give the S&W a try based on price and prior reviews I had read - and I am glad i did. I would highly recommend the 22a as a great budget plinker for anyone who is looking to spend some time at the range without having to take out a loan to cover the ammo. It is very accurate, very fun, and very easy to use/clean.
It gets a double thumbs up from me!
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old September 11th, 2008
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Default Re: S&W 22A 22lr semi-auto pistol - Review

+1 Nice plinker and great as a "bullseye" league gun.
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Last edited by LastManOut; September 12th, 2008 at 01:59 AM.
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Old September 12th, 2008
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Default Re: S&W 22A 22lr semi-auto pistol - Review

I love my 22a and a great review and it sure is a tack driver



@25-30 yards

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Old September 12th, 2008
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Default Re: S&W 22A 22lr semi-auto pistol - Review

Nice looking pistols.

I keep hearing that the 22A is (a) cheaply made; (b) jams regularly; (c) will fall apart by 15,000 rounds.

Well, I've had one for about 15,000 rounds (last 3k on a 7" barrel) with no problems with jams and no significant signs of wear. I change the buffer when the spirit moves me. Best 10-round group I've shot has been with the 22A w/7" barrel. The 5.5" barrel likes standard velocity ammo better than high velocity. The only "knock" is that the finish could be a touch better.

I think my Rugers are "better" pistols. However, for shooting accuracy and overall reliability, they certainly don't perform any better than the 22A. Not bad for a pistol I paid under $200 and a $100 upgrade.
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Old September 12th, 2008
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Default Re: S&W 22A 22lr semi-auto pistol - Review

Whew, I was getting nervous there - no one else was posting! Thought I might be the only guy that liked them!
I will grab some pics of mine this weekend to add to the thread as well.
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Old September 12th, 2008
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Default Re: S&W 22A 22lr semi-auto pistol - Review

About 2 weeks ago there was a review of this gun on the outdoor channel, i forget what show though. But the host showed did some upgrades and said that that 5in outshot the Beretta NEO's right out of the box and the accuracy held its own against the browning buckmark. I have had real good luck with mine, i hit a clay pigeon at 100 yards from a bench... only took three shots
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Old September 12th, 2008
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Default Re: S&W 22A 22lr semi-auto pistol - Review

I saw that show too, I think it was Shooting USA.
He had a standard model, regular barrel, regular grips, no optics.
Took it and put the target grips on, a 7 inch bull barrel (i think? or 5.5) and put on a reflex red dot sight.
The guy doing the segment seemed to be really really impressed with it was well.
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Old September 12th, 2008
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Default Re: S&W 22A 22lr semi-auto pistol - Review

i dont know hwy there isnt more aftermarket for this gun, being how many are sold, you would think someone like tactical solutions would make replacement target barrels and compensators or something
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Old September 12th, 2008
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Default Re: S&W 22A 22lr semi-auto pistol - Review

What I thought would have been nice is a way to mount a laser/light under the barrel.
That would have be the cherry on top for me.
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Old July 5th, 2009
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Default Re: S&W 22A 22lr semi-auto pistol - Review

First time I held the gun I loved the feel and looks. I bought it on the spot and the next day I went to the range and shot 500 rounds without any major problems other than getting used to push the magazine up all the way until you hear the click.
Gun shoots very nicely out of the box and I managed baseball size groups with the iron sights on a 4.5" barrel. I got a 40mm red dot from Truglo and cant wait to hit the range again.
Last night I noticed some signs of wear on the breach end of the barrel where the extractor slides over the breach end of the barrel. It seems to be excessive and worries me a bit. To me it looks like the extractor shaved of metal from the barrel. anybody noticed this too?
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