Working with .22s


Yesterday’s post mentioned the M&P 22 Compact pistol. It’s an excellent pistol and worked well on the range. Once we found the ammo it liked, it worked flawlessly. I suspect it may have had a dirty chamber that caused the initial functioning issues.

Here are some tips about working with .22 caliber pistols, in general.

First of all, keep them clean. The .22 Long Rifle round is dirty. The small size of the ammunition and guns make the gun’s tolerances more critical and dirt in the process isn’t helpful. The gun doesn’t need to be as clean as a dinner plate but gobs of goo certainly don’t help functioning.

Helpful accessories when shooting .22 LR firearms

  • Coghlan’s Aluminum Hooked Tent Peg, 7 inch (69 cents at Walmart)
  • Dry lube
  • Portable cleaning rod and brushes
  • Bore snake
  • #4 drywall anchors ($3.99 at Home Despot)

The tent peg is for pushing out cases or rounds that don’t eject and the extractor won’t pull out. You could use the cleaning rod but the tent peg is stiffer. It’s aluminum so it’s not going to harm your bore. Until you find the ammo your gun prefers or you’re shooting cheap bulk ammo for practice, this is a good tool for clearing stuck cases. Make sure you lock the gun open before inserting it in the bore.

Using a dry lube for .22 firearms goes a long way to keeping them from getting so dirty. The carbon and unburnt powder doesn’t stick to the dry lube the way they do to oil. .22 firearms don’t get very hot so the extra lubrication provided by oil is unnecessary.

When you get finished shooting, run a brush through the bore and chamber a few strokes. Follow up by pulling the bore snake through. Even if you don’t clean the rest of the gun, doing those two things will keep it running for quite a while.

The #4 drywall anchors are to protect the firing pin and breech face when dry practicing. Most .22s need this protection. Snap caps of the centerfire type are not desirable for dry practicing with .22s, they’re for czeching feeding and extraction. Use a new drywall anchor each session and then throw it away. Rotate it slightly in the chamber periodically during each session.

There are magazine loading tools for .22 magazines that make the task of loading the magazine much less of a thumb buster. I don’t have one for the 22 Compact yet but there are two different types I will be trying in the near future.

Test different types of ammo to see which functions best in your gun. Guns will usually work better with some brands than others. CCI Mini-Mags are a good all-purpose ammunition but even they need to be tested in your gun. If you, or someone you know, keeps a .22 for Personal Defense, use good quality ammo in it for that purpose. Don’t use the cheapest bulk ammo you can find and then say the gun is unreliable.

The pros and cons of using a .22 for Personal Defense have been endlessly debated, so let’s not do that here. The fact is that people do, so let’s do it right. Keep the gun clean, lube it, and use good ammo. Odds are that if the ammo comes in a plastic box with individual rounds separated it will work. Ammo that comes in paper boxes tends to be suspect. That’s okay for practice but use good ammo for Defense.

Shooting a .22 can be a lot of fun. If you have a few accessories; it will be even easier. For some segments of the population, they’re the only viable choice.

FTC Notice: all the products in this article were purchased and no compensation is received for mentioning them.

2 responses

  1. I have a Kadet 2 that I use the .22 Uplula to load mags. I assume that the M&P has a similar mag setup (double stack width, single stack round channel). If so, highly recommend the Uplula. I’m going to try the dry lube soon!

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