Outdoor Skills – Hunting Q&A

Could you please recommend a .22 Long Rifle semiauto pistol for precision plinking? I don't intend to compete but do want a pistol that's accurate and well made. Price is not an issue. I'm willing to pay for quality, something I can bequeath to future generations. I've researched the S&W; Model 41, Browning Buck Mark, and High Standard line, but would appreciate some insight based on your experience. I'm willing to consider other makes in light of your recommendations. --C.G.

“I’ve shot all three of the pistols you list, and they’re all fine firearms, though the High Standard is no longer manufactured, and I believe the S&W; 41 has been discontinued. In my experience it’s hard to buy a bad .22 semiauto if you’re willing to spend over $200. You may want to buy a new gun (or at least a presently manufactured used gun), because repair will be cheaper if something breaks down. But .22 autoloaders are simple enough that problems are rare–as long as they’re made right and kept clean. My own “”precision plinker”” is a Ruger Mark II, a “”slabside”” barrel target model I got in a trade with a friend. He had a detachable 2X-7X scope on it. With the scope, I’ve been able to keep a 10-round clip of Winchester Power Point bullets inside 2 inches at 100 yards, which matches most .22 rifles. With iron sights it’s accounted for many varmints and small-game animals out to 50 yards. The big factor in any good .22 semiauto is a fine trigger. Many can be worked over by a gunsmith, but you can save some money if the trigger breaks cleanly at 3 to 4 pounds at purchase. My Ruger’s is a crisp 3 1/4 pounds, which makes hitting small targets much easier. “