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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Smith & Wesson SW22 Victory .22LR target pistol



Price paid: $379 (regular price at Bass Pro Shops)

In the box: Pistol - brushed stainless with 5-1/2 bull barrel (I bought the non-threaded version), green fiber optic sights, two magazines, alternate Picatinny sight rail, cable lock, trigger lock (but I think that was added by Bass Pro, not S&W), allen wrench (but it does not fit the takedown screw - maybe it fits the barrel removal screw?), paperwork

Initial handling thoughts: Beautiful fit and finish, nice brushed stainless finish, heavy (38oz), fits my hand well, controls all operate smoothly but are not ambidexterous - they're for right handed shooters, have to reposition my hand slightly to reach the mag release (but that is true with most guns for me), mag drops free easily (actually it ejects under spring power), mag inserts easily and positively locks in place with very light pressure (no need to whack it to make sure it's seated), mag release button is the perfect spring tension and has a positive click feel as you actuate it, has a magazine disconnect safety (internet videos show how to trivially remove this), has a thumb safety that feels very positive (but the pivot point of the safety is up front, just the opposite of where the pivot point is on a 1911 - so you use a slightly different thumb motion), slide stop is very positive (takes maybe a tad more effort to release than some of my other handguns, but less than other guns I have - middle of the road in tension).

Disassembly: One word: Fantastic! This beats the tedious and complex Ruger Mark series pistols and the Browning Buckmarks by a long shot. A VERY long shot. One allen screw and it falls apart in your hands like butter. Reassembly is just as easy. Cleaning is a snap with the way this thing comes apart. You do need an allen wrench to take it apart however.

Barrel: Comes with a target bull barrel, optional threaded barrel also available for $20 extra (not an entire second barrel for $20 - you get the threaded barrel instead of the non-threaded one). Barrel is user-replaceable. It is held to the rest of the upper by a single allen screw. I did not take my barrel off, but it looks trivial to do so. The high end barrel manufacturer Volquartsen makes alternate barrels for this pistol (currently two different types).

Slide: After inserting a loaded magazine, you can release the slide forward either by depressing the slide stop button or by just pulling the slide back a fraction and releasing your grasp (my preferred method).

Prior to initial shooting: Stripped, cleaned, and lubed (using RemOil)

First shots: First magazine - fired one round, second round failed to strip off the top of the mag. Had to manually cycle the slide. Ditto for the second magazine. Switched from the crappy Federal Bulk ammo I was using to CCI MiniMags and Aguila Super Extra and had no further problems. Also, switched back to the crappy Federal bulk stuff later and no more problems. Maybe it just needed two magazines to get things settled? Will watch this going forward. I was only able to shoot about 100 rounds through the pistol on this initial outing (my wife hogged up all the time shooting her new Ruger 22/45!)

Sights: Normally, I don't like fiber optic sights. They look "smeared" or overpowering to my eyes (I wear glasses and my eyes are older these days, so sights are, in general, a problem for me). However, these fiber optic sights were not bad at all. S&W seems to have chosen smaller diameter fibers. They appear much more precise than regular fiber sights. And I was able to see them, with my bad eyes, better than other fiber sights I have used. Sight adjustment seemed a little finicky. I would adjust, and nothing appeared to change. So I adjusted again and it jumped past my intended mark. Then I turn it back and nothing seemed to happen again. I did get them adjusted after a few iterations, but it was just a little weird. I was expecting to dislike these sights since my eyes don't get along with iron (or fiber) sights that well, but just the opposite occurred - I liked them. Still, I plan to put a micro-red-dot sight on this pistol since those are even easier for us bad-eyed old people to use.

Trigger: Wow! This is the best out-of-box pistol trigger I've had on any of my handguns. Light, zero creep, breaks cleanly, no overtravel. The travel is user-adjustable, but there was nothing for me to adjust as it was just perfect out of the box. The reset is near instantaneous and very positive (not that this is a concern on a target pistol - I'm just used to commenting on it for defensive pistols).

Accuracy: I shot informally only, so it's difficult to judge. But all groups appeared similar no matter which ammo I used. I used cheap Federal bulk, CCI MiniMags, and Aguila Super Extra. Group size was 1-1/2" at 7 yards, standing, two-handed, no rest. This is probably more due to my lack of skills/concentration than due to inherent pistol accuracy. Someday I'll try this more formally, off a rest. But whatever the cause/circumstance, I am perfectly happy with this accuracy with a new pistol, having not tested for it's preferred ammo, and shooting rather hastily (I had to get out of the way so my wife could shoot her 22/45 some more!)

Functioning: Other than the initial two "failure to strip second round off the magazine" issues I reported above, everything functioned just fine.

Conclusion: I am definitely happy I purchased this gun. I highly recommend it based on my initial shooting experience with it. I prefer it to my other pistol designed for the same niche - an older Ruger Mark II target model. Nothing wrong with that old Mark II, but this new S&W is better.
 

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Fido for short
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Thanks a lot Dave,
Now all I got to do is find one...;):)

Good review on the gun.



Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I initially thought this pistol was ugly. After having it for almost a week now, shooting, handling it and looking at it, I have now changed my mind. It is a handsome pistol now! :)

It looks much better in person than in pictures.
 

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Looks to be shaped and configured like colt woodsman and if it anything like it you will be well satisfied with it. sold my huntsman many years ago to pay for my son, nows wish I had it back but, but got a browning buckmark and well satisfied with it now. Mike
 

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I have absolutely no real practical need for one of these, and yet ... I need one. Not want. NEED. Ugh. Seriously, where's the number for that 12-step program for gun collecting? :D

Thanks for the write-up - good stuff!
 

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So, am I the only one who went to the s/w web site to see if they offered one with blue steel and wood? I think some nice wood on that gun would look great.

Lop
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The grips are removable and designed for third part replacements. I'm sure somebody will be making nice wood grips for it soon. The pistol is so new that there aren't many third party options for it yet (other than the Volquartzen barrels).

However, to get the blued look you're after, I think you'll probably have to grab a spray can of Krylon and go at it. For now, at least.
 

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Hey Dave,
Send these guys a note. Ask them to look into it. They make a lot of grips for s/w's. They are a small company, and great people. It might not be worth the effort for them to make a small run grip, but you might talk them into getting in on the ground floor for this new gun. Worth a try anyway. Still, good people to work with.

Lop

http://ahrendsgripsusa.com/index.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Additional pics showing the SW22 with a micro-red-dot sight mounted.

In the second picture you can see the front sight (I took some artistic license there!). But when you are on target, the fiber optic sights DO NOT co-witness with the red dot. You cannot see the front sight when actually shooting.

Also, you can see that the alternate Picatinny rail that is installed has a basic notch rear sight (obviously useless when the red dot is mounted). The sights on the normal rail are fiber optic. But at least the Picatinny rail offers some form of sights, to use as backup in case your red dot fails.
 

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Since it is a range gun and not a carry or hd gun, can you take off that front site? The odds of the rear notch matching up with your front is low, so if the red dot poops out, you will probably put the gun back in a bag and shoot something else.

The gun might look pretty cool with just that bull barrel and no front site. Might look bad to, but hey, you can still post pictures. ;-)

Lop
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Here it is with front sight removed. However, I think the front sight provides benefit, even when using the red-dot. You aim the muzzle high so you can easily see the front sight through the red-dot lens. It is very quick to pick up that front sight. Then you can rapidly lower the muzzle and just as the front sight disappears from view, the dot comes into view. This makes dot acquisition very quick.

[edit] Actually, you can aim the muzzle high without the front sight in place, and you can easily pick up the muzzle through the red-dot lens too. So this would work also. But with the front sight there, you have a longer time to view the muzzle/sight as you tilt the pistol back to horizontal, so you're not as likely to lose the dot because of side-to-side motion. But realistically, you don't end up moving the muzzle side-to-side as your tilt down, so the front sight only adds a little bit extra. You can do without it. The green fiber optic front sight DOES grab your attention more than the bare muzzle though. The dot on my Burris sight is red, so I'm not going to confuse the green front sight with the red dot when tilting the muzzle down. [/edit]
 

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That looks sweet.

So, are you, by chance, going to be in N. Georgia any time soon?

Not sure why I asked, I just felt compelled, that's all.

I got lots of .22 ammo, steaks, and vodka/Cranberry.

Just sayin...


Lop
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I really would like to come visit some day. The pics you've posted of your place look so relaxing and inviting. But it will be a while until I could make it to Georgia. Maybe we can split the difference, and you can meet me in Texas next month!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Another nice touch on this pistol, is that everywhere there is a "screw", it's an allen screw. So you don't have the possibility of marring things up like you do with regular slotted screws. You can even see on the grips in the pictures I've posted above, they're held on with allen screws. Same with the sights. Same with the disassembly/reassembly. Same with the barrel removal. All allen screws. Nice touch S&W!

(even the trigger stop adjustment is an allen screw)
 
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