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Old December 29, 2005, 09:41 PM   #1
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Range Report: S&W 351PD .22 Magnum Airlite

Purchased NIB S&W 351 PD Airlite .22 Magnum revolver. Before we get sidetracked on the caliber issue, my main carry guns are an S&W steel Bodyguard and a Ruger SP 101, both stoked with .38+P 158-gr LSWHPs.

The S&W .22 Magnum is a backup gun. My job involves disaster response operations, and on more than one occasion, dogs have been a problem. A .22WMR revolver can be useful in those situations. If you are interested in the new S&W 351 PD Airlite revolver, please read on.

Shoots 40-grain .22 Magnum ammunition to point of aim in rapid DA fire. Very easy to put all 7 in the 10-ring at 7 yards, which is about the distance you would use a revolver of this type. Fired CCI, Winchester, Remington and Federal ammunition. No malfunctions or failures to fire.

Hi-viz front sight in rear U-notch is very easy to see (especially important for those of us over 40).

Very easy to carry fully concealed in a hip pocket with an Uncle Mike's #3 pocket holster. Sticks out a little from the front pocket of BDUs.

After reading posts on other web sites about this revolver, I had some concerns. However, I experienced none of the potential problems mentioned on other web sites during my range session.

Bullets did not keyhole; they were stabilized by the short barrel (have had 3 Taurus 2-inch .22 Magnum revolvers that did not stabilize the round, so key-holing is a potential problem with .22 WMR ammuniton from short barrels).

The side lock did not cause the revolver to malfunction.

The 2-piece barrel did not seem to adversely affect practical accuracy.

The revolver is not a "flamethrower"; fire does not spit 3 feet out the end of the barrel and light up the neighborhood.

The DA trigger was heavy, but it should be for reliable ignition of rimfire ammunition.

Although it is an Airlite, recoil is negligible.

I was able to fire follow-up shots faster with the S&W 351 PD than with my NAA .22 Magnum Black Widow; it is lighter and easier to carry than my S&W 651 and Taurus 941 .22 Magnum revolvers; it is far more accurate than my vintage Hi Standard .22 Magnum DA derringer; the sights are much easier to see than those on my SP 101, J-frames and K-frames; and it is fairly inexpensive to practice with when compared to the cost of premium .357 ammunition.

If, for for reasons that are valid to you, you are interested in a good DA .22 Magnum J-frame snub, you may want to check out the S&W 351 PD.

Mine is fine.
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Old January 4, 2006, 07:08 AM   #2
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Thanks for the range report. I too have been interested in the 351PD for some time, not because I think it has self-defense capabilities, but because it appears to be a nice, light, enjoyable gun to shoot.

I know that many folks don't care for the .22WMR as they feel that anyone using it for self-protection would be woefully undergunned. Perhaps so, perhaps not. I have yet to hear anyone comment on the "fun" factor though. I really like the .22WMR as it is fun to shoot (I own both revolvers and rifles chambered in this caliber).

I keep thinking about picking one up but every time I go to the LGS, the gun that was on display is gone! Just watch. I will go in the next time not even thinking about buying the 351PD and a new gun will once again be on display.

I think this must be a timing thing. One of these days very soon I will have a mind to buy this gun and it will be there at the shop. My wallet will end up significantly lighter, but I will have bought another S&W to add to the collection.

Thanks again for your unbiased report!



Last edited by SMarley; January 6, 2006 at 07:40 AM.
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Old January 4, 2006, 06:26 PM   #3
Don P
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Join Date: December 17, 2005
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Range report

Glad to here I'm not the only only one into 22-mags. I own a Taurus 941Ultra lite and have not experienced any of the problems your speaking of, at least not yet. Just cuious about price because all I have seen they are a bit pricey. The wife and I both have the Taurus's and I paid 617.00 out the door for both.
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Old January 11, 2006, 08:50 PM   #4
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Glad you both are interested in .22 mag revolvers. I've had good accuracy with Taurus 941 stainless steel model with a 3" barrel, and also with the Ultralite with a 2" barrel, but not with the Taurus 2" stainless steel model.

Casings tended to stick in the Ultralite, and Taurus' warranty service did not fix the problem. Mine was an early production model. Taurus has probably fixed the sticky casing problem. Not unusual for a new model of any device to have a couple of bugs. That's part of the discovery process, and I enjoy it whether good or bad.

Overall, I've had pretty good luck with Taurus revolvers, and excellent luck with Smiths & Rugers.

.22 mags are great fun and good for practicing basic revolver shooting skills.
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Old January 11, 2006, 09:15 PM   #5
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Forgot to answer the question about price. I usually buy at Adventure Outdoors in Marietta, GA. They have good prices. As I recall, I paid about $450, give or take a couple of bucks. Tauri .22 mags go in the high 200s or low 300s there. Smiths definitely cost more. I usually root around the counter and pick up vintage Smith revolvers (police turn-ins). Justified the pricey Smith by remembering all the money I saved on those great S&W used revolvers....
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Old January 11, 2006, 10:11 PM   #6
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I have a 351pd on layaway at the gun shop right now. three more weeks and it will be in my hands. Thanks for the range report.
Joe in Michigan
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Old January 14, 2006, 09:47 AM   #7
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Ballistics table

That link will take you to a ballistics
table for 22lr/22mag from short
barreled revolvers.NAA uses their
own guns for the tests but you
should get a ballpark figure to use.
'Fear the goverment that fears your guns'

Last edited by bpisler; January 14, 2006 at 07:23 PM.
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Old January 14, 2006, 12:14 PM   #8
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Neat looking little gun. I can' tell you how many times reading someones range report has cost me $500.00 or more. I can see that little bugger in my tackle box.Good for close range snakes loaded with shotshell I bet.
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Old August 9, 2009, 06:52 AM   #9
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Join Date: April 17, 2006
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Years ago, I saw .22 mag inserts to alow you to shoot .22 lr rounds in a revolver or single shot rifle. Does anyone know where these might be available these days?
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