Many thanks to everyone who posted insights here. I was having fits with my SR22; many rounds were getting stuck part-way up the ramp. After following some good advice, we're now about 95% reliable and getting better. At times I was probably as low as 75% with Blazers.
Here's the combination of things that seem to have worked:
- Copper-plated ammo. She doesn't really care for Blazers, though in the spirit of changing one thing at a time, I'm going to re-try them having now discovered the expediency of the two following hints. FWIW, I found that MiniMags worked 100%, Blazers worked if alternated in the clip with MiniMags, and Federal Game-Shoks (710) are nearly as reliable though not nearly as expensive as Mini-Mags. I'm hoping that the Federal Champions will function as well, which will send the cost-per-shot almost to rock-bottom.
- Load the magazine carefully, making as little use of the hold-down as possible. I think this was my biggest issue. I was just too casual, trying to save exerting force on the rounds with my right thumb.
- When initially charging the firearm, don't just let the slide close itself, rack it forward (safely, of course). A number of times, the first round has stuck when depending entirely on the recoil spring. Each time, the subsequent round (classic #2) also FTL'd. On no occasion when I racked the slide home did #2 FTL. It must help things "settle in" after the magazine change.
- Do a full take-down of the gun if it's new and get the factory lube out of there.
Today I shot 190 rounds of the Federal with, I think, three FTLs. Only 1 following changing to the third procedure above.
Now some may say "aha, weak recoil spring." I don't believe that's the case, since Mini-Mags go 100%. The fact is that a 22 pistol CAN'T have a really stiff, powerful recoil spring, because it has to be soft enough for a 22 to operate it. And it takes about the same force to move a .22 shell out of the magazine and into the chamber as more powerful calibers. I will say that when I did a take-down, it appeared as though the recoil spring was unseated from the little shoulder on the guide-rod. Maybe that made a difference, maybe not.
BTW the Game-Shoks make a really cool muzzle-flash in the SR22, especially indoors. Great big ball of white flame with occasional green streaks. Great for the entertainment-value.