Ruger Mark III 22/45 – A Pistol Review

Review -
A .22LR pistol had been on my list of guns to acquire for several months. In fact, I was considering it as my first pistol. Most .22LR models are inexpensive – just as the ammunition, reliable, and an excellent firearm to build good shooting habits. As a result of timing, location, and excess of liquid cash, I bought a gently used Ruger 22/45 Mark III pistol from a fellow member at www.calguns.net.

Sturm, Ruger & Co., an established manufacturer of firearms, created the semi-auto .22 pistol nearly 50 years ago and set the standard for other semi-auto plinkers. Branching off of the Mark III, the 22/45 model share similar characteristics with the 1911 .45 caliber model handgun. This set up makes it useful and practical to use. Firing .45 ACP can become financially depressing.

ruger mark 22/45 right side

ruger mark 22/45 left side

ruger mark 22/45 compared to a les baer 1911

The Mark III 22/45 boasts new features such as finger friendly tapered bolt ears, contoured ejection port, improved safety, loaded chamber indicator, and a magazine disconnect (Hawks) . While the latter two features are argued to be “safety” features, others report them as a nuisance.

Models vary in barrel size and finish. The pistol I possess is a blued, 5.5” bull barrel model. While the upper assembly is metal, the lower half is a polymer frame as opposed to the original Mark models without the 1911 adaptation. The checkering is molded into the plastic with the classic Ruger logo on each side. The back strap share similar checkering and the front strap is horizontally serrated. The grip has a low profile and cannot be screwed off to switch for another set. The rear sights are adjustable for windage and elevation. The barrel is also drilled, tapped, and capped for optics. The pistol comes with two magazines and holds 10 rounds each.

ruger mark 22/45 safety and slide catch

ruger mark 22/45 back strap

This pistol is a lovely piece of work. The ergonomics below the barrel are similar to my 1911 .45 caliber models – down to the magazine release, location of the thumb safety, and the angle of the grip. The upper half of the pistol is a bolt mechanism instead of a slide as the main action. The tapered bolt ears make it easy to pull back on the bolt and I can only assume that the contoured ejection port contributes to this pistol’s reliability so far.

To fire the pistol with the action open, a magazine must be inserted and the bolt catch must be deactivated to release it as opposed to pulling back on the slide of a 1911 model to charge the firearm. Without the magazine inserted, the firearm will not fire under most conditions. If the firearm is loaded, the loaded chamber indicator wing will protrude on the left-hand side of the barrel – color coded red. Please let it be known that any mechanism for “safety sake” is not a replacement for competency.

ruger mark 22/45 safety chamber indicator

The trigger is similar to the 1911 model – short trigger reset and follow through is minimal. I don’t have a trigger pull mechanism to weigh it, but in my conservative opinion, it replicates most factory 1911 models (4-4.5lbs). Although the sights are taller, I can acquire a target with minimal body adjustment. Grip width will take time to get used to; nonetheless, it hasn’t given me a reason to not like it. I would prefer wider grips, as well as the option for a metal lower frame. At one point, there was a gentleman close to providing one but has yet to follow through. An alternative is to glue and screw a pair of 1911 grips after grinding off the molded checkering. You may also try to find a Houge wrap-around grip. I haven’t found it necessary for me to perform either modification.

The magazines feed reliably. One will have to hold down the plastic follower to allow for the cartridges to drop, instead of pushing and inserting them as one would with a traditional center-fire pistol magazine – it’s just easier.

Firing this pistol is enjoyable. The recoil is minimal and quite accurate. New shooters I’ve introduced to this sport absolutely love this pistol and makes learning the fundamentals less intimidating compared to recoil of a 9mm or a .45 caliber.

10 yards with Remington 550 brick from Walmart.

Mentioned earlier, there have been negative reports regarding two additional safety features – the loaded chamber indicator and the magazine safety disconnect. After about 1300 rounds over a five-month period of personal use, I haven’t had a problem regarding feeding or shell ejection. The only problem I have encountered is the failure for the bolt to lock back on the last shot that was resolved after an over due cleaning. However, this is not to say that the magazine safety disconnect is not annoying.

ruger mark 22/45 breach and feed ramp

When individuals discuss how annoying it is to clean the firearm – they’re not lying. Disassembly of the 22/45 can be a nuisance for the first time – even after reading the instructions. I will not say that I’m mechanically inept, but I suppose I’m just spoiled. With the magazine disconnect, you have to insert the magazine and eject it two different times in order to disassemble and reassemble. The nature of the procedure requires the individual to pull the trigger to release the hammer to uninstall and reinstall the back-strap. After a few attempts, the procedure will likely become less of a problem – practice makes almost perfect. My gripe is the additional step as a result of an unnecessary feature – but that’s a different story.

ruger mark 22/45 front sight

ruger mark 22/45 disassembled

For a quick cleaning, I highly recommend the bore-snake as the traditional rod and brush, or the Otis cleaning system will not work unless you disassemble it. It should be noted that one must be certain the any chemical you’re using to clean this firearm is “plastic safe.” I would consider it a rare occurrence, but certain solvents may deteriorate the lower frame (I use CLP).

The good news is that one may uninstall the “features” with no modification to the original parts. Modifying your Ruger with the following method will allow you to sell your Mark III series with the OEM parts intact. Information to do so along with a rich source of information is provided here. Again, I have yet to find it necessary for me to perform the modifications noted above.

My overall opinion of this firearm is a positive one. It’s fun to shoot, inexpensive, I’m not overridden with guilt after each shot and it’s accurate to boot – if I do my part. I highly recommend this firearm to beginners and veterans alike, as it’s either an inexpensive starter or another fun gun to add to your collection.

As a side note, I would like to thank LECTRIKHED from www.calguns.net for giving me the opportunity to purchase this excellent pistol from him. I would absolutely purchase from him again – as should you (but not before me if it’s something I want – har! har!).

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44 Comments on “Ruger Mark III 22/45 – A Pistol Review”

  1. Dana
    October 26, 2007 at 2:12 pm #

    I have the MKIII Hunter. I find the balance to be outstanding and once dialed in is highly accurate. What are your thoughts on the Hunter and why did you choose the 22/45 over the hunter?

    Dana

  2. October 26, 2007 at 7:19 pm #

    If I were looking at a newer model, I would have given it some thought. The stainless barrel assembly and fiber optic sights would have been awesome, but I wouldn’t want to fork the extra cash. That’s about a $190 retail price difference.

    I have nothing against the Hunter version at all and it wasn’t my intention to convey that I do. The 22/45 5.5″ model just happened to be available at a good time.

    Nonetheless, I would still pick the 5.5″ model for the convenience, price, and practicality. There’s just some bells and whistles I don’t I need – that’s what 1911s are for =).

  3. lectrikhed
    December 12, 2007 at 5:43 am #

    Thanks for the kind comments. If only I had a FFL and an inventory of guns.

  4. April 1, 2008 at 4:26 am #

    Is there a scope mounting bracket for the 22/45

  5. April 1, 2008 at 4:45 pm #

    MidwayUSA.com sells a Picatinny rail.

    http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=822867&t=11082005

  6. robass
    October 30, 2008 at 1:54 am #

    im trying to find instructions on puting the hamer/safty assembly together..if you can help?

    robass

  7. rickkfranklin@earthlink.net
    November 25, 2008 at 10:19 am #

    I own a Ruger .22LR Mark III hunter, stainless. I found you must use high quality, standard or high velocity ammo in this pistol. I found Aguila and Blazer ammo worthless and jam consistently. Winchester, Remmington, and CCI work just fine. Winchester ammo, at about $23.00 for 500 rounds, was the best price I found. You’ll pay about $10.00 for Remmington or CCI for 100 rounds. I found little difference in accuracy using Winchester, Remmington or CCI. This pistol is fun and very accurate. It’s not as barrel heavy as the old Mark II due to the fluting. The fiber optic sites are nice and Ruger comes with a variety of colors, shades of orange and green. The pistol comes with two 10-round magazines (many only come with one). However, I found the magazines only reliably hold about 7 rounds, less jamming. The pistol is difficult to disassemble and reassemble, having to use a plastic mallet to do both. The grip does not conform to the hand very well. The bolt action lock is difficult to operate and gave me a few surprises, pinched fingers and sore thumbs. The pistol has safety features which may be useful or annoying. There’s a load indicator which protrudes from the left side of the pistol when a round is chambered. I was looking for a Stainless Browning Buckmark but could not find one. I got the Ruger for about $200.00 less than I would have paid for the Buckmark. The Ruger cost me $501.00, pretty pricey. This is the only bolt action pistol I own. I prefer revolvers. Revolvers are less complex and easier to clean and maintain. I am fairly pleased with the Ruger Mark III Hunter. The savings in ammunition will soon pay for the cost of the pistol. I’m saving about $100.00 or more per day of shooting. Unless you are mechanically challenged, this should be a good choice for you. There are many other excellent options at 1/3 the cost. The Ruger Mark III Hunter is an attrative pistol with a good reputation for reliability. I expect many years of service and fun.

    • Chuck
      December 10, 2009 at 10:54 am #

      I have a Mark III Hunter and have constant jamming problems. Hollow point will Jam every time. I returned it to Ruger and they did a half a.. fix. I agree .22 HV works somewhat better. I am also looking for DETAILED info on dis assembly and re assembly Thanks

      • February 25, 2010 at 10:01 am #

        Here is a link that contains detailed instructions for the MKII/III series pistol. Other sections of the website contain instructions for full dis-assembly/ re-assembly.

      • Bob & Wife
        September 29, 2010 at 5:33 am #

        I have a 22/45 Mark III and the taking apart is easy BUT the reassembly is a lot harder for a first, secon, and third timer. The hammer is the issue. I watched “Moe’s Video” and it was a great help. If the ‘main spring housing’ doesn’t just fall right in EXCEPT FOR THE LAST 1/8TH INCH (which should have a little SPRING ACTION to it, DO NOT LOCK IT INTO THE GRIP. If you do and cannot get it to come out BUT A SHORT DISTANCE leave it out that short distance putting your thumb into the trigger guard and wrapping your hand around the barrel. While pushing back on the trigger with your thumb GUN POINTING TO THE FLOOR HIT A PHONE BOOK WITH THE MUZZLE 2 or 3 times. Check the ‘main spring husing’ it should be loose now. What you did is moved the hammer enough to open your gun. The hammer MUST be up far enough so the housing will close. Check this by pulling and holding the trigger back IF IT DOESN’T GO ALL THE WAY BACK while pulling the trigger insert a mag then push the mag release THEN making sure you have still got trigger pressure to the back put a screw driver or dowel up to the HAMMER and slightly push it upwards until the trigger goes all the way back. Turn the gun 180 degrees so that little do-dad hangs rightso as to go into the little cup on the mainspring housing and close it up IF you have that 1/8 inch of spring tention for the last eighth inch of closing. Good Luck, it gets easier with time and practice.

  8. keith clawson
    December 19, 2008 at 2:29 am #

    I just bought the stainless 6 7/8″ version. Harry Callahan, eat your heart out, my Ruger is at least as pretty as you .44 Automag.
    My # 1 handgun, til now has been a S&W model 67 stainless in a 4″ barrel.
    What surprised me was how heavy the Ruger is. but, hell, even a fat, old man can improve with practice.
    I always loved how the m1911A1 felt in my hand, but all I ever fired in the army were so old and burned out as to be practically useless, except 1. My TSSCO officer in Nam went to the MP btn and asked for their best armorer. The NCOIC came to talk to him and he said, “No, I want to talk to your best armorer.”
    A Spec4 came out and Mike offered him $50 to rework that .45. Mike only let me fire 7 rounds, but at 50 feet that steel drum was as dead as it could be.
    The Ruger feels just the same as an M1911A1 and has better sights.
    If you want an outstanding plinking semi pistol for not that much money ($500), check out Ruger.

  9. keith clawson
    December 19, 2008 at 2:43 am #

    A comment to rickkfranklin, I had Remington .22LR hollow-point and had 2 jam in about 100 rounds on a brand new pistol. Both were the cartridge failing to eject cleanly. Jeff Quinn at http://www.gunblast.com suggested Federal ammo. Since I know from past experience that Remington was selling .30 caliber ammo as .303, I don’t trust Remington.
    2nd tip Jeff gave me was I was pulling left in rapid fire mode. 10 ring but all to the left. Without me saying any more, he named me as right-handed and said I was using my knuckle to pull the trigger instead of the pad of my finger. He was right on both counts. If you have technical questions I highly recommend gunblast.

  10. John E. Roulanaitis, Sr
    February 18, 2009 at 4:51 pm #

    I own a Mark III 22/45, 5.5 heavy duty barrel, which I retrurned to Ruger in Prescott, AZ., to have it drilled and tapped to mount a scope rail.

    When the weapon was returned I mounted a 1X, with a 4 choice optical, Reflex sight view on the weapon.

    Now, in using Remington, LRCH, ammunition, the accuracy of the weapon, up 125′, is unbelieveable. The availability of the quick acquisition ,with the Relex sight having the unlimited eye relief feature, is just as effective on moving targets as it is on still targets.

    In purchasing the Mark III 22/45 was one of my best choices in the selection of an all around weapon for a multitude of uses.

    • jack
      January 26, 2010 at 5:31 pm #

      r the barrals on the 22/45 inerchangable? or do u just load a different clip?

      • January 26, 2010 at 6:55 pm #

        Not to my knowledge. I suggest that you contact Ruger in Prescott, AZ., for that information

        Grayryder

  11. mike Wandrick
    March 9, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    I have the MarkIII 22L Target pistol, bull barell. Fun to shoot and accurate.

  12. frustrated former Ruger customer
    December 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    You left out the part where basic disassembly for basic preventative maintenance–just basic cleaning and lubrication–requires either five hands or an armorer’s vise, your biggest brass punch, and your biggest baby sledge, and you’re going to spend half an hour whaling on it just to get that fucking pin out (“it may take a little more force the first few times,” ha ha ha ha ha, that’s a good one, Bill), unless you grind off that tit on the rear of the recoil spring guide and/or grind off the 1/8″ deep detent in the front side of that great big pin running up through the rear of the upper receiver. God knows what purpose it serves, with the gun assembled it’s NOT going anywhere. Oh, and God help you when it’s time to get it back together.

    Anyone want to buy a Ruger .22 pistol? Cheap? Some assembly required? Most of the molded-in checkering on the back strap of the frame now gouged off in my fruitless attempts at getting the goddamned thing back together?

    Does anyone know of a better designed .22 plinker than this? One where the designer’s philosophy wasn’t “get a bigger hammer, pussy?” I’m over six feet tall, with hands and hand strength to match, and I cannot gorilla this motherfucker apart and back together again with all my strength. And I frown on weapons that require tools to disassemble and reassemble, much less a fully stocked armorer’s workshop just to scrub out the powder fouling and put some grease on the sides of the bolt.

    I think I may just throw it in the river.

    • Joe Chandler
      January 23, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

      I’ll buy it for a good price.

    • April 13, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

      When you are putting the pin linkage back in try installing and removing the magazine first and then the pin linkage will slide right in without too much work…don’t ask me how I know this…LOL

  13. David Farley
    January 13, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    I recently purchased a new 22/45, with a threaded barrel. This is a beautiful gun with excellent balance and feel. Something , however is definitely wrong with this gun. My intentions for this gun is to shoot armadillos out to and past the hundred yard Mark. The problem is that it shoots about a 24″ group at 25 yards with target ammo. I have a new custom barrel ordered from Clark custom shop. I tried twice to contact Ruger with no response. I think their customer service is as poor as the gun.

  14. Timothy McClain
    February 12, 2012 at 6:26 am #

    I found this article very helpful thank you. What is a reasonable “out the door” cost for this gun?

    • February 13, 2012 at 11:35 pm #

      Excellent. Glad it helped. I’d say an OTD price is around $300 +/- 25 depending on applicable fees. I bought mine used for around $230 used I think.

  15. Coite Moss
    February 17, 2012 at 6:58 am #

    Thank you, Excellent review and believe me good reviews are hard to find on anything. I’ve been reading for a week and have about decided to purchase the Ruger 22/45 but I’m really turned off by the dis-assembly and assembly. This however is my price range, much more than this and 22 is not an option. Just hate to buy something that’s cheap to shoot and shoots great – but I don’t shoot it because I hate to clean it.

    • February 18, 2012 at 1:03 am #

      You may want to look at the SR22 Ruger released not too long ago. Disassembly is very easy and appears very reliable.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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