In TTAG’s four-star SW22 Victory review, RF revealed the sort of accuracy a decent shooter can produce using the standard sights and ammo. Our Armed Intelligentsia weren’t satisfied. It’s a target pistol, for Pete’s sake! What kind of groups can the S&W Victory achieve shooting match-grade ammo from a rest? Good question!

First, a quick cleaning. The little flanges on the back of the receiver kept snagging my bore snake. Otherwise she cleaned up just fine and was good as new.

Off to The Range at Austin, on St. Patrick’s Day no less. I mounted a Primary Arms 1-8x ACSS scope to the Victory’s Pic rail and plopped it on a sandbag.

Sure, okay, it isn’t a Ransom Rest. But I crammed the Victory into the heavy bag and got it as still as Hillary Clinton’s love life.

At 8x zoom, the horseshoe in the ACSS reticle wrapped precisely around the black outer bullseye on my targets, set out to 25 yards. Repeatable alignment was dead nuts easy.

I fired ten or so fouling shots and established a rough zero.

Federal’s Hunter Match was good for a 0.990″, 5-shot group at 25 yards.

Federal Gold Medal UltraMatch, which has provided me with the tightest groups from a handful of .22 LR rifles and pistols (like this 50-yard group from my CZ 455), turned in a 1.017″ group.

A couple clicks further away from the scope’s AR-15 zero and the UltraMatch turned in a 0.969″ group, which was the best for the day.

I’d call this solid accuracy for plinking or for pest control — but short of what it takes to be called a “proper” target gun. A handful of other reviews saw notably tighter groups from their SW22 testers and a couple saw slightly larger groups.

I finally picked up my match-grade .22 LR loads from Norma, Lapua, SK, RWS, etc. We’ll do a follow-up to this follow-up after installing the majority of the TANDEMKROSS SW22 upgrade catalog. I’ll remove and reinstall the barrel just to be sure.

I went into this test expecting cloverleafs, and not just because it was St. Patrick’s Day. What I got was more-or-less less than I expected. We’ll see how much more accuracy a little money can buy.

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46 Responses to Smith & Wesson SW22 Victory 22LR: Accuracy Testing

    • $390, so that depends on what you think a scope should cost.

      Or are you talking about putting it on a pistol? As others have said, the scope on the pistol is clearly for testing purposes only.

      • Crazy POA to POI? Seems like 25 yards is kinda close. 🙂

        Bet was fun to break that out at the range though (just for the gawkers), fellow range goers start calling you “Hitman”.

        🙂

      • They have at least four different variables at play (pistol, scope, rest, shooter) that make it difficult to ascertain the true precision of the pistol itself. At least they tried different ammo so you get a feel for the effect ammo has. I don’t normally try to do a review premised on shooting cloverleafs at 25 yards, but comparing different scopes, rests, and even shooters would be good information if you really want to know if the pistol is capable of it or not. Specific to this particular scope, was it used on any other .22 firearm that was able to produce 25 yard cloverleafs? Again, I normally wouldn’t be this picky about eliminating variables, but your stated goal seems to dictate that much attention to it.

      • Fun stuff. I always thought a red-dot to laser challenge would be good. Both have varied offset.

        This scope’s height must’ve been fun to adjust POA for, like run out of turret. 🙂

        All good. Keep it crazy.

      • Anh, it’s RDR (Rounds Down Range) RDR always beats the Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day.

        It’s ‘Murica. We think about shooting all the time, and no shooting is a waste of time. We’re ate up with it. As in “OOooooh boy, OH! I can’t wait to go shooting again.”

        Like Yuri Orlov in Lord of War “I don’t want people dead, Agent Valentine. I don’t put a gun to anybody’s head and make them shoot. But shooting is better for business. But, I prefer people to fire my guns and miss. Just as long as they are firing. Can I go now?”

  1. I don’t get the whole scoped handgun sport. If you are so far from your target that you need a scope, me thinks you need a rifle.
    I’d go with iron sights on a rifle all day before scoping a handgun.

    • In this case, it’s clearly a testing tool. The eye relief on that scope is so close that you couldn’t possibly use it with a handgun, even for sport.

      Red dots on handguns are a different conversation. I can actually see the argument for a micro red dot on a “tactical” handgun, provided the red dot either has insane battery life or is fiber / tritium powered.

    • I think (hope) the scope was just for better accuracy testing. Easier to make small groups when you can easily see the target.

      But, a proper scope on an accurate revolver is buckets of fun. Easy to make hits. No brass to pick up. Also, exposed hammers ward off evil spirits which plague the man that mounts a scope on a handgun.

      • How could have pistol accuracy testing ever been completed over the last several hundred years without a scope? More Hipster…

        • Well we did do that. But a person aligning iron sights leaves a lot of human error in the equation. If you want to know what the gun itself is capable of, using an optic and a stable shooting rest takes much of that fudge factor out of it. Using a magnified optic that allows you to very finely align the reticle in the dead-on center of the bullseye takes out even more fudge factor. For instance, a red dot would be more repeatable for nearly all shooters than iron sights, but the dot could only be approximately centered over the general bullseye zone. Zoom in 8x and you can now place the tip of the reticle’s chevron in the clearly-visible center of the bull.

          …if we had 5 shooters shoot 25 yard groups with the iron sights we’d get very different results. If we had 5 shooters use this ridiculous scoped setup off a sandbag the results would be way more consistent and much closer to what the gun is capable of doing, rather than the shooter.

        • Yeah, I certainly get that. But what does one actually do with all these “results”.

        • With a Ransom Rest. That way, it doesn’t matter where the sights are pointed, you know you have a repeatable rest, and you can judge the precision (if we want to become mathematical here) of the pistol, then adjust the sights to cure the accuracy issue(s).

          Once you have a mechanical rest, and we take the shooter almost completely out of the picture (aside from tripping the trigger), now we know what the firearm is capable of. Starting there, we will know what the shooter is likely to never achieve if the firearm itself cannot achieve it.

          There’s a reason I keep banging on about using a RR.

        • Know how accurate this pistol is. A response to specific requests in the gun review, which featured a target shot offhand with the iron sights.

    • I thought seriously about getting a heavy caliber revo lver and putting a sc ope on it. But being a Ru ger fanboy the best I could do would be .454 Casull with a 7.5″ bar rel and I realized that this package with a decent sco pe ($300) would run around $1200+ and I’d have a 4 pound handgun that’s about as powerful as my .30-30 (18″ ba rrel). Going over to the dark side and getting an X-frame would run several hundred more and would weigh as much as the .30-30. So I’m back to my old position that if a .44 magnum won’t do it you need a butt stock.

      • Make the jump! Go .45 Colt. Will give you that magnum power of you want it to, or shoot subsonic 250s all day long. A set of swappable front sight blades and a reloading press make a .45 Colt the most versatile big bore around.

        • I’ve already got a .44 magnum Blackhawk, so combined with .44 special loads I don’t really have the .45 Colt niche to fill. With the Blackhawk I ended up painting a white (nail polish) bar on the front si ght. Top of sig ht for 240gr .44 special, top of white bar for 240gr magnum loads and bottom of the bar for 180gr loads.

          I’m keeping my eye out for a good deal on a used Super Redhawk in .454. There’s quite a few of the older target gray ones out there. If I find a good enough deal I’ll have to pick up a couple boxes of run of the mill .45 Colt.

      • If you ever decide to try it, I highly recommend the Weigatinny rail from Jack Weigand. With the Ruger front sight system you won’t find an easier or more stable revolver rail. I had one for my 6 inch GP100, just for kicks. Easy to switch back and forth, too.

    • Well M in GA, your ignorance is showing. Do some homework on reality and not what
      You think. Scopes on handguns are a very real thing. Just because you don’t get it means little. Many uninformed procreate ignorance.

  2. It seems decent.

    You really need to try some Eley or Wolf Match.

    My Marvel .22 upper for the 1911 comes with a factory test target, .9″ at 50 yards.

    The bottom line is that the market for this gun is not bullseye shooters. Bullseye sadly is dying. I still like the looks of it.

    • One reason I see bullseye dying is all the shoulder problems you get from shooting a 45 in “proper” one-handed form for year upon year. I know guys who have been doing that for 40+ years and it takes it’s toll. I think the advent of the two-handed grip spells it’s doom. But that’s just IMHO.

      • Maybe. You can always shoot lighter centerfire cartridge.

        It’s dying because it’s not as exciting or self defense centric as uspsa or idpa. And it requires an attention span in an iphone app world.

    • Is there a .22 semiauto pistol for bullseye shooters? I have issues with inaccurate .22s–which is why I hate the Mosquito I bought. Atrocious accuracy.

      • Well, many use a Smith 41 or a Marvel conversion on a 1911. Then there are the quite expensive but very accurate European guns like Pardini or Feinwerkbau. I’m sure you can also be competitive with a Ruger outfitted with Lothar Walther or Shilen barel and better trigger. By the time you do all that could have just gotten better base gun.

      • I use a S&W Model 41, as do many, many other Bullseye shooters.

        There’s a few other pistols out there that will do the job:

        – Hammerli 208
        – Pardini SP
        – Walther GSP
        – Hi Standard Victor

        There’s several pistols out there that will do the job. The Model 41 is a fine pistol, available at around $800 on up in the used market. Hi Standards are available from about $600 on up. The European pistols are all over the place; I see more Hammerli 208’s than any of the other high-end European pistols on the line.

  3. i kinda don’t get chasing 22 accuracy, the point in low recoil is quick follow up shots. so sub MOA really shouldnt matter

  4. I’d like to see, in the next installment, a proper target 22 pistol, using the same scope, shot in the same fashion, with the same ammo, along side the victory.

  5. Ive used my Ruger MK3 Slabside on many a 410 shot gun shell at 100 yards with cheapo Thunder Bolt.
    With a crappy Tasco red dot with not much effort on my part. My setup handles it quite well.
    Id be happy with 1 inch groups with cheap ammo and any 22lr gun.
    Makes me wonder what the writer expects? A half inch @ 100 yards?? Maybe…..

  6. I really like TTAG and enjoy all of the articles. I would just like to make a small suggestion to the writers on these kinds of articles. “Accuracy testing” has usually meant a an approach to testing with a standardized methodology, using equipment designed to remove as many variables as possible, with a wide range of loads. For handguns this usually means a Ransom Rest, chronograph, if using optics, a quality handgun optic an a secure mount. The article should include a table of loads used, shots in the groups, velocity, etc. that makes it easy to see what the gun likes and what that particular firearm can do. Usually there is a disclaimer that no two firearms are alike, even if they were made in the same factory on the same day.

    That said, articles like this are just fine, if prefaced or packaged with something like “fun at the range with the X” or “real world testing of the X”. It lets folks know that this isn’t a scientific or controlled test, but that you are having fun with a fun gun, and wanted to share the experience. Doing that will stop a lot of the flack you get for these fun little reviews.

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