By Norman Gray ©2012 POMA Member
Arizona --(Ammoland.com)- 1949 was a landmark event in firearms history, when Alexander Sturm and William B. Ruger set up their first factory in a wooden structure in Southport, Connecticut.
Within ten years Sturm Rugers product line included a target model of their Red Eagle semi-automatic pistol as well as single action revolvers, double action revolvers, shotguns and rifles.
Today Sturm Ruger & Co., Inc. produces firearms from their Newport, New Hampshire and Prescott, Arizona facilities and is America’s largest gun maker with over 20 million sold.
I think it’s safe to say they are here to stay and looking forward to a very bright future in firearms design and manufacturing.
There are over 250 entries in the Blue Book of Gun Values showing the values of various models of Ruger pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns and the list grows from volume to volume. This is a testament to their vision in producing firearms the public wants and collectors desire and Ruger has knocked another one out of the park with their introduction of the Ruger SR22PB Pistol in .22 Long Rifle. Along with their already famous Ruger 10/22 and Mark Series of pistols, the SR22 will be a welcomed modern addition to the SR line and their growing .22 LR lineup. I am already looking forward to a Stainless two tone model in the very near future, because I feel this pistol is going to have a long life.
I had the opportunity to shoot the Ruger SR22 Pistol in January and I was surprised how well it fit my hand. I wear extra large gloves and with the standard grip sleeve and finger grip extension, it was like it was made for me. Shooting at two targets, one at about 7 yards and another at 25 yards, it was easy to hit both with standard and high velocity .22 LR ammunition.
The Ruger representative also demonstrated disassemble and reassembly of the SR22 on the range and he did both in under a minute while extolling its virtues. Since it has a fixed barrel like the Walther PPK it has less parts to worry about losing and leaves you with the slide, guide rod and guide rod spring.
Most people, and there are exceptions to every rule, don’t clean their rim fires making it one of the most neglected calibers in this area. Mainly because they are hard to disassemble and the Ruger 10/22 is guilty of this even though in my opinion, it’s one of the finest .22 rifles on the market. Not so with the SR22, it field strips in seconds and cleans up fast and that alone would make me want to take it out more. That factored in and the weight and size of this amazing little pistol has made it an instant success.
As of this writing I had already aided in the sale of an SR22 and have many more looking into it, but availability is coming up as Ruger clears its backlog of orders; that alone tells you their doing it right.
The current craze of small lightweight pistols and calibers is at its peak and like all things will die down into something else. But I really like a small compact .22 pistol that is easy to tote and even with 100 rounds of Winchester Super X Hollow Point ammunition still weights about the same as most empty full size handguns at 31.20 ounces. Empty, my SR22 weighed in at 17.75 ounces and with 10 rounds of CCI Stinger’s still only weighed 18.75 ounces and packs away easily or carries in a holster at your side for quick access. Since I live in Arizona, home of the Western Diamondback Rattler, I have found a new friend in the SR22 carrying it with CCI Shot Shells. It delivers the payload of #12 shot in an area about the size of a grapefruit in less than ten feet. Also keep in mind while the SR22 will reliably feed this ammunition it will not cycle the action to allow another follow up shot. You must hand cycle the slide to eject the spent case and allow another to feed from the magazine into the chamber.
Besides the light weight, it’s small; did I say it was small? The length of the SR22 is 6.40” the height is 4.90” and the width is a slim 1.29”. The barrel is small as well, being part of the complete package at 3.50” with a 6 groove 1:16” right hand twist. The frame is Polymer while the slide is machined aluminum and brandishes the Ruger logo and the word, “RUGER,” on the left side and the word, “SR22” on the right. The slide has serrations in the front and rear giving you a firm grip while chambering a round and you can use the front serrations for a press check. (The act of moving the slide backwards far enough to see if there is a round in the chamber without ejecting it.) If you try this technique make absolutely sure while doing this your hand is “NOT” in front of the barrel.
Use your trigger finger and thumb of your left hand if you are a right handed shooter and grip the front serrations under or over the barrel, I prefer over the barrel. Some semi-automatics come with a loaded chamber indicator, but the SR22 does not so a press check can be used to see if a round is in the chamber in a safe manner. A press check is easily done with a round in the chamber and the hammer back, but requires some hand strength with the hammer down so use caution. Practice this technique with an unloaded firearm or on the range with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. The slide also carries the three-dot sighting system with a fixed front site and rear sight that is adjustable for windage and elevation. Ruger has also given the shooter the choice of allowing the rear blade to be turned around so it will be solid black.
The stainless steel barrel is replaceable and can be taken off via a hex screw. Ruger also has a threaded barrel for the attachment of a suppresser if your state laws allow private citizens to own them. The polymer frame sports a Picatinny rail for mounting your favorite light and/or laser accessories. Forward of the trigger inside the trigger guard is the takedown lever for field stripping the pistol. Just drop the magazine, lock back the slide and check to make sure the chamber is empty, allow the slide to go forward. Push the disassembly lever down and with your hand on top of the slide push back until it stops and then lift up. Allow the slide to move forward and remove the guide rod and guide rod spring and it is ready to be cleaned.
The frame houses the ambidextrous safety, magazine release and slide stop. The safety is a trigger disconnect where in the magazine is released the pistol will not shoot even with a round in the chamber. With a magazine in, round chambered and the safety pressed down to cover the red the SR22 will not fire since in both instances the trigger is effectively disconnected. I personally don’t like this feature because if I was presented a target I could not fire the round in the chamber without first inserting the magazine. Although being a .22 pistol and not a carry gun this is irrelevant to most people. One of the unique features and most liked is the changeability of the rubberized palm swells.
Ruger has supplied two of these serrated rubberized sleeves, the first being a slim design for smaller hands such as a woman or child’s hand and wider version for larger hands and both may be changed without tools in seconds.
Ruger supplies two, factory, 10 round steel magazines with two different floor plates to choose from. The first set of floor plates fits flush with the pistol grip and they come with these already installed. The second option is the extended finger rest floor plates that accommodate larger hands and to have a place for that pinky finger to rest. These install easily, just use a small punch to push the floor plate retention pin down and slide off, just be careful of the spring tension. Extra magazines can be purchased from www.shopruger.com for $34.95 Item number 90382. As of this writing I am not aware of any company producing after market magazines for the SR22 but I’m sure they’re on the way.
Shooting the Ruger SR22 is a blast and when you take a 3.50” barrel and put a .22 through it that’s capable of 1640 feet per second you better have your ears on. So we know it’s loud, but it’s also a lot of fun too. The trigger pull broke at 4.1 lbs. in single action and double action was stiff at about 10 lbs. but rarely did I shoot it that way after loading a magazine so I wasn’t too worried about it. I had roughly 20 people shoot the SR22 and the only complaint was, “I can’t find one,” although I do know of one person who purchased one right after shooting mine. You can have hours fun with this pistol and 500 rounds will only set you back an Andrew Jackson and anyone can shoot it. I used and purchased many makes and types of .22 caliber ammunitions during my testing and all performed very well. Inherently with .22 ammunition you will get a misfire or two but it has come a long way since your grandfather’s .22 ammunition.
- CCI CB 22 Short 634.8
- CCI 32 gr. Stinger High Velocity Hollow Points 1153.7
- Federal 36 gr. High Velocity Hollow Points 995
- Peters 40 gr. High Velocity Lead Round Nose 970.1
- Remington 33 gr. 22 Yellow Jacket High Velocity Hollow Points 1011.5
- Remington Thunderbolt 40 gr. High Velocity Lead Round Nose 984.9
- Remington 29 gr. High Velocity .22 Short Plated Round Nose 876.7
- Winchester Super X 40 gr. High Velocity Round Nose 990.6
- Winchester Super X 37 gr. High Velocity Hollow Points 974.8
Velocities are the average of 9 shots measured on a Master Shooting Chrony at 15 feet.
All the .22 Long Rifle ammunition tested performed within standards and I had no issues loading, feeding and extracting. The CCI Shotshells loaded and extracted with no problems, but as I said earlier you must manually work the slide to load another round as these are not designed for blow back operated pistols, but mainly revolvers. The CB and Shorts loaded fine but since the SR22 was not designed to shoot them some loading problems occurred. You can only load about 5 or so while making sure they are towards the front of the magazine, then cycle the slide manually. Again the shorts are designed for revolvers or rifles designed for them and don’t work very well in blow back operated pistols. I had fun testing all the ammunition I ran through the SR22 and even when it was not designed for that ammunition it feed it with only a slight hiccup.
I know what you’re thinking, “Is there a holster out there that will fit the Ruger SR22?” absolutely there is and Uncle Mikes helped me out with a few of their finest. The first is the right hand Size 16 Paddle Holster item number 7816-1. This holster adjusts butt-forward or muzzle-forward (cross draw) carry as well as having molded offset spacers for height adjustments to custom fit to your liking or body style. The semi-rigid material molds to your hip and the Kodra laminate reduces bulk. The pistol seats well inside covering the trigger and the adjustable non stretch retention strap and molded thumb break secure the pistol in place and it will stay in place until you need it.
If you like a classic shoulder holster Uncle Mikes right hand Size 16 Cross-Harness Horizontal Shoulder Holster item number 8716-0 will fit you like a glove. This rig is completely ambidextrous for left or right handed shooters with a four way adjustment for a comfortable and perfect fit. An accessory panel on the non holster side can carry extra magazines or gear of your choosing. Smooth nylon strap construction makes it ride without chafing and waterproof foam will not soak up perspiration. And once you have it adjusted to your body the removable onside tiedowns will anchor it to your belt and strap traps will cover the thumb breaks so they won’t get lost.
I can highly recommend this pistol to everyone able to legally own one and with parental supervision it is a great pistol for kids to learn marksmanship skills and safe firearms handling. For new, older or experienced shooters, it’s a great pistol to learn on or just keep your skills up without breaking the bank in ammunition costs. The SR22 is a great and welcomed addition to the SR Series and I hope they continue putting out great firearms like this one. I have been asked by some woman shooters if they are planning on putting out a Pink model and as of this writing I have not heard of one, but it will sell and Ruger should give it some serious thought. So if you’re in the market for a great plinker and you don’t want to spend a fortune on a gun or the ammo it shoots, the SR22 is one that should be in your collection.
- Model: 3600
- Catalog: SR22PB
- Status: Available
- Caliber: .22 Caliber
- Slide Material: Aluminum Slide
- Finish: Black Anodize
- Grip Frame: Black Polymer
- Sights: Adjustable 3-Dot
- Barrel Length: 3.50″
- Overall Length: 6.40″
- Height: 4.90″
- Width: 1.29″
- Weight: 17.50 oz.
- Capacity: 10+1
- Twist: 1:16″ RH Grooves: 6
- MA Approved & Certified: Yes
- CA Approved: Yes
- Suggested Retail: $399.00
- Warranty: Contact Ruger
- Made in the USA
- Uncle Mikes: www.uncle-mikes.com
- Winchester: www.winchester.com
- Remington: www.remington.com
- CCI: www.cci-ammunition.com
Norman Gray ©2012 POMA Member
About Norman Gray:
Norman Gray has been involved in the shooting sports for well over 30 years. He has served in both active duty and reserve component of the United States Army as an Infantryman and was honorably discharged at the end of his service. Moving to Arizona, he began assisting his long time friend and mentor Bob Shell, an accomplished writer and author in his own right. Norman is freelance contributor with Handguns Magazine, Canadian Firearms Journal and Manzano Valley Outdoors. He is also a member of (POMA) The Professional Outdoor Media Association, the (NSSF) National Shooting Sports Foundation and a Life Member of the (NRA) National Rifle Association. Visit: http://www.unleaded-ink.blogspot.com/