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Old July 26, 2012, 01:07 AM   #1
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.22 Semi Pistols Unreliable?

I have been hearing a lot from both people on here and around where I live that a .22 semi-auto pistol is not going to to be terribly reliable no matter what brand is chosen. This has not been my experiance, my buddy's little Ruger Mark III is awsome and has very few malfunctions. My Ruger 10/22 (yes I know its a rifle) is arguably the most dependable gun I own, it NEVER fails to fire or eject or anything else. I heard a lot of about this when looking into a Sig Sauer Mosquito, so maybe its just that pistol?

So whats the deal is this all just hearsay or is there some truth I'm missing?
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Old July 26, 2012, 02:42 AM   #2
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Pistols in .22 lr often have occasional malfunctions due to the inherent difficulty of feeding a rimmed cartridge through a magazine. Also, rimfire cartridges sometimes fail to fire because to defects in distribution of primer compound around the rim.

I'm in a group teaching monthly Basic Handgun classes. We use several Ruger Mark Is and Mark IIs with CCI Minimags for the live fire exercises and regularly have a couple of malfunctions each class.

Originally Posted by '88Scrat
...This has not been my experiance, my buddy's little Ruger Mark III is awsome and has very few malfunctions...
How few is very few? For some that might still be too many, at least for a self defense gun.

In general, I've never been concerned about occasional malfunctions in .22s used for plinking or general practice. But I would want greater reliability if a self defense gun.
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper
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Old July 26, 2012, 02:55 AM   #3
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Hmm... our Buckmark runs like a Swiss watch. Keep in mind:

1) I'm not saying the Bucky is the only reliable .22 auto pistol
2) we feed it Mini Mags (why mess with success)
3) it is cleaned and lubed on a reasonable schedule

It may not be the 'coolest looking' compared to some of the newer, more modern .22 autoloaders, but - I'm quite pleased with it and it's definitely NOT for sale
Ex - Navy, Persian Gulf Veteran. Loved shooting the M14, 1911, M60, M2
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Old July 26, 2012, 02:58 AM   #4
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Some are unreliable, some aren't. There have been more .22 semi-autos made throughout history than anyone would care to count, some have been junk that I'd hesitate to accept even as a free gift, and others quite the opposite.

"General wisdom" suggests the .22 semi-autos tend to be less reliable. In a way this makes sense, since dealing with semi-auto pistols, most pistols that aren't .22's fire cartridges specifically designed for use in semi-autos, with .22lr this isn't the case. There's a greater variety in .22lr loadings available than just about any pistol caliber, not all of them work in a semi-auto.
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Old July 26, 2012, 05:31 AM   #5
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I've had a jiminez 22lr that shot great and only failures were from being dirty or faulty primers. Well over 1,000 rounds fired through it all remington high velocity gold bullet and cci stingers.
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Old July 26, 2012, 09:14 AM   #6
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Great luck with my 22/45..only problems were bad primers that just didn't fire - otherwise no issues in thousands of rounds fired.
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Old July 26, 2012, 10:35 AM   #7
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The guns are not the problem. I think the full size Ruger's, Bownings and several other brands are as reliable as a handgun can be made. The problem is less reliable ammo. Much of the bulk 22 ammo is loaded as cheaply as possible. Most is used for informal plinking where great accuracy is not needed and less than perfect reliablilty is not a major concern. Buying better quality ammo helps, but even then the rimfire's are simply never going to be as reliable as quality centerfire ammo.
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Old July 26, 2012, 11:41 AM   #8
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As with any firearm, test it with the ammunition that it is intended to be used with. Keep it clean. A self-defense situation is not the place to learn whether a new magazine, super-duper bullet, or how many rounds before a dirty gun jams happens. Guns and 22 LR pistols or can be very reliable. The user has a lot to do with it though.
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Old July 26, 2012, 04:32 PM   #9
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My MK II bull barrel has malfunctioned twice in 30 years.
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Old July 26, 2012, 04:40 PM   #10
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When I was firing my High Standard Victor regularly all the problems I had were due to a faulty magazine.
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Old July 26, 2012, 04:54 PM   #11
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I own a Buckmark rifle, which as far as I know has the same innards as the pistol. Stay away from the Sig Mosquito. It's manufactured by Umarex, not Sig Sauer, and is notorious for crappy QC. If you're willing, you could always transfer to a double action revolver, which if you get a nice one, will have a simmialr trigger to a semi-auto.
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Old July 26, 2012, 11:27 PM   #12
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I think that all .22lr ammo is not created equal. In fact I find that a lot of bulk .22lr ammo is junk. .22lr ammo also tends to be dirty so keeping your .22 auto clean is very important. Certain .22 auto's tend to like certain brands of ammo better than others so I recommend testing various brands and see which brand functions best in your pistol. In my experience, I find I get the most consistent results with CCI.
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Old July 27, 2012, 06:29 AM   #13
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My 1973 Ruger 'Mark I' will eat any standard or high velocity round stuck in the mag...If it fires, it will cycle...
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Old July 27, 2012, 06:49 AM   #14
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My Ruger MkII bull barrel malfunctioned every time I loaded a clip for years. Took it to a gunsmith, it did not improve at all. And so I sold it. I won't buy another Ruger semiauto.

OTOH, my Blackhawk has never given a problem for over 20 years. Very reliable. I imagine a single six would be too.
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Old July 27, 2012, 07:39 AM   #15
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Some .22 pistols are very picky as to what they will reliable cycle. If you are having trouble with a .22 pistol, try different brands of ammo.

Friend of mine had a tiny semi-auto pistol that would jam with CCI ammo, but would eat cheap Federal lead ammo all day. Sometimes it makes NO sense.
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Old July 27, 2012, 09:51 AM   #16
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They might be slightly less reliable, but not usually enough to spoil the fun. General wisdom can sometimes be more general than wise. My 22 pistol seems to eat anything. S&W 22A-1, 5000+ rounds, maybe a dozen failures, all determined to be ammunition related. Most of the ammo has been Winchester or Blaser bulk pack with lots of random brands thrown in from time to time. Like the man said earlier, clean and lube the gun regularly and most of them will run fine.
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Old July 27, 2012, 02:49 PM   #17
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Although the unreliability of .22 ammo and pistols is widely discussed, I have personally never had a failure with my Beretta Neos that wasn't resolved by cleaning (the ejector is necessarily tiny and gets fouled easily), and comparing bulk ammo of both calibers I have had more bad rounds (hard primers and mashed case rims out of the box) with 9 mm than with .22 LR.

I have mentioned this before, but I think folks often compare the reliability of bulk .22 LR to that of higher quality centerfire ammo, which isn't a fair or valid comparison.
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Old July 27, 2012, 03:16 PM   #18
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My ruger mk3 has had zero weapon related failures (that I can remember) in roughly 1000 rounds, the only failures that it has had have been due to uneven primer compound distribution in the federal bulk 22lr that I use.
My collection:
Sig Sauer M400 Enhanced, Mossberg maverick 88 12ga, Chinese SKS, Ruger mkIII 22lr.
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Old July 29, 2012, 11:32 PM   #19
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I think a lot of the failures of .22 simi autos are due to owners not cleaning their guns. Since .22's are cheaper than larger caliber guns a lot of first time gun owners buy these guns and they don't have any idea how important it is to keep a semi auto clean or the knowledge on how take a gun apart to clean it in the first place. So the guns just continue being fired without being cleaned and then the gun is blamed for malfunctioning instead of placing the blame where it belongs.
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Old July 30, 2012, 01:14 AM   #20
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I'm in the camp that believe 22s are just as reliable as anything out there. Sure some people don't clean theirs after shooting a brick but any gun that someone abuses is subject to being unreliable. 22s are same as any.
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Old July 30, 2012, 02:28 PM   #21
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I have heard lots of bad stuff about .22 semi auto pistols. I have a Walther P22 and it is very accurate, and very fun to shoot. I have put at least 800 rounds through it, and I can onkly think of one or two stoppages and that was just a spent shell hanging up.

I LOVE that lil P22, even with some of the negetives it gets
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Old July 30, 2012, 02:44 PM   #22
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I've never seen a rimfire auto that will run as reliably as a centerfire. I think 98%-99% function is about all you can expect, in the long run.
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Old July 30, 2012, 03:16 PM   #23
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It's not the pistol, it's the ammo. .22 has a high occurrence of failures no matter what you put it in. A model 41 S&W is no better than the ammo.
If you have a problem wrapping your mind around that, buy some "Golden Bullets."
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Old August 31, 2012, 10:43 AM   #24
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Ammo matters as well as how well the pistol is broken in

My 2 cents here if it still matters. The thread is old.

I have 2 22lr pistols: a walther P22 and a Bersa Thunder22.

They both have 4000+ rounds through them. At this point they even cycle with subsonic ammo.

I still have ejection issues with the Federal bulk ammo in the Bersa. It seems that the brass expends on few rounds and prevents ejection. So once they were all spent, I did not buy them anymore. Blazer and Rem GB are doing great in all my 22lr (including the Ruger 10/22)

Some have issues with HP not feeding reliably due to the shape of the bullet. I had that issue when the guns were new.

Both are nice guns that are fun and cheap to shoot.

What works great? CCI non-bulk anything. Never failed.

At the distance I shoot the pistols (up to 15 yards), I cannot tell accuracy difference due to the ammo, so I shoot the cheapest (mainly Rem GB).

Life expectancy: I do not know how durable the P22 is. I have read that I should expect issues around 20K rounds. The customer service is known to be excellent - I lost the front sight and S&W sent replacements in a matter of days. The Bersa is built to be a .380 trainer, so it is a (good looking) "tank" that so far does not show any sign of wear. The Bersa is my preferred 22lr pistol at this point (fits better in my hand, better sights, all metal pistol ...).
I had to use the Bersa lifetime service for a 9mm I own, the gun came back and has been perfect since then.

I did not care for the Target 22lr pistols. I shot them but they are, to me, less fun than these small pistols that are the P22 and Bersa Thunder22. Ruger has an interesting 22lr pistol now, and I read that they are very nice to shoot. I would love to try one.

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Old August 31, 2012, 12:00 PM   #25
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My four Ruger MK II's don't malfunction, and they get fed pretty much Federal Automatch, and 550 bulk ammo.
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