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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!).