March 2008

Full-Size .22 Long Rifle Autos: We Love Ruger’s 6-Inch Mark III

Rugerís new Standard, now called the Mark III, $342, was our pick over the Beretta U22 Neos with 4.5-inch tube, $250, and the Browning Buck Mark Standard URX 4-inch barrel, $380.

Acquiring a good semiautomatic .22 LR pistol is probably the best way to learn how to shoot a handgun. Some of us went that way (see sidebar) and highly recommend the technique. But not just any gun will do. It has to have some weight, excellent sights, reasonable to excellent accuracy, and a decent trigger. Why weight? There are some nice but very light .22s out there, and the new shooter wonít be able to hold them as steadily as a gun with a bit more weight, and may become discouraged.

So for this test of three .22 LR auto pistols, we selected three full-size examples. They were the newest version of Rugerís Standard, now called the Mark III, with 6-inch barrel ($342), the Beretta U22 Neos with 4.5-inch tube ($250), and the Browning Buck Mark in its Standard URX version with 4-inch barrel ($380). All had ten-round magazines, good sights and decent triggers, and all were hand-filling, good-size guns. Two had adjustable sights. Two came with two magazines. In light of some extremely cold Idaho weather we chose to test with three types of ammunition only. It was Remington Yellow Jacket truncated-cone HP, CCI Mini Mag HP, and Federal Premium Gold Medal target ammunition. How did the guns stack up? Letís take a look.

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