Monday, August 26, 2013

MArooned Product Review: Ruger LCR22

Last year I reviewed the LCR in .38 Special. This year, after seeing it get put on the Approved Firearms Roster {spit} I decided to try out the Ruger LCR22, the rimfire version of Ruger's groundbreaking short-barrel polymer revolver. I'm a huge fan of having a rimfire version of a firearm you carry every day, and in this case, the LCR22 is a carbon-copy of the LCR38 (with the obvious exception of the chambering, of course.

While the LCR in .38 Special is close to the Smith & Wesson counterpart in price, the same cannot be said for the LCR22. While the Smith & Wesson model 43 (hammerless airweight .22LR) checks in with an MSRP just under $700 ($689), the LCR22 is more than 20% less expensive. It's the same price as the LCR itself, whereas the centerfire counterpart to the 43, the 442, has an MSRP more than $200 less than its rimfire counterpart. It's hard enough to justify dropping $400 or more on a rimfire training pistol (especially since in recent times .22LR is selling for near centerfire prices...); it's even harder when the .22LR version is significantly more expensive.

Carrying the LCR22

While I don't really support carrying a defensive firearm chambered in .22LR, if for whatever reason one chose to carry one, I would recommend the LCR22 over pretty much any other rimfire handgun. I'd advocate for a revolver over a semi-automatic in .22LR for the simple reason that .22LR ammunition is naturally less dependable than centerfire ammunition. In a semi-automatic, if the round does not fire, then it becomes necessary to clear the firearm before the next round can be fired. In a revolver, one simply pulls the trigger again. The LCR22 is the most inexpensive revolver out there in .22LR, and its 8 round capacity is close enough to the 10-round capacity of the vast majority of semi-autos that the reliability is worth losing two rounds.

Should one decide to carry an LCR22, it will fit any holster that fits the LCR, which includes most holsters for the Smith & Wesson j-frame:

That's a Michael's Custom Holsters Executive II, which is my go-to holster when I carry a revolver concealed.

Ironically, the LCR22 weighs 1.4 ounces more than the LCR itself, tipping the scale at 14.9 ounces compared to the LCR's 13.5. If I were a betting man, I'd guess that extra weight is in the cylinder, in that the eight holes for .22LR don't remove as much raw metal as five holes for .38 Special. While I didn't carry the LCR22, I've been carrying the LCR pretty extensively for over a year and a half. I find it carries very well for a small revolver, and switching to the Crimson Trace

Shooting the LCR22.

The real surprise came when shooting the LCR22. Where it's a hammerless, short-barrel revolver, I expected the same "combat accuracy" (yeah, I said it, sue me) displayed by shooting J-frames and the LCR itself. It's certainly enough to get the job done, but you're not going to win any target matches without locking yourself in a range with a pallet of ammo and Novocaine for your wrist. However, the LCR22 surprised me:

That's two cylinders' worth of Federal bulk .22LR at 25 feet, shot offhand at maximum range speed (one shot per second). 16 rounds, and 10 of them are touching the 10-ring or better. The RSO walked over to check the target out when I was done shooting, and for a brief moment I shucked the "minute-of-berm" designation as he whistled appreciatively. And yes, I did pack it in after that target was shot - there was no way on G-d's Green Earth I was going to do better than that!

There's another use for the LCR22 that I realized during one range trip. It's a great introduction for new shooters who are curious about the snubnose revolver without dropping the Snubbie from Hell™ into their mitts. The low recoil and manageability allow the novice shooter to ease into shooting a small firearm, and get used to a tiny sight radius before dealing with significant recoil. The LCR22 has very little kick, and can be shot quite well - even by Jay "Minute of Berm" G.

There is one downside to this, though: I have confirmed that my inability to shoot the LCR as well has nothing to do with the LCR itself. It's obvious that a flinch caused by the anticipation of recoil is what's sending shots all over the paper in the centerfire LCR. Here's another area where the LCR22 can really help - take both to the range, and when the shots out of the LCR start to wander, switch to the LCR22 until the flinch disappears. Switch back to the LCR, practice until shots wander, then back to rimfire. Lather, rinse, repeat as necessary.

If you carry a snubnosed revolver, having a training version in .22LR is a great way to build up expertise in shooting the small handgun without breaking the bank (we're assuming, of course, that .22LR ever shows up on shelves again...). The LCR22 is nearly indistinguishable from the LCR in all but the recoil, and has Ruger's excellent DAO trigger to get more of your short-barrel shots on target to prepare you for the centerfire version.

If you're looking for a small rimfire revolver, the LCR22 is easily the best deal going.

That is all.

1 comment:

Jim said...

This word "recoil", whadizzit?

Seriously, I don't mind "Snubbie from Hell" recoil, I've shot 'em with full house .357s, and while I don't call it a pleasant outing, it's not flinch inducing.

On the other hand, a stout Casull load will have me quitting after a cylinder full.

There's recoil, and then there's RE COIL !

Still, I wanna try a BFR in .45-70.

Sunk New Dawn
Galveston, TX