Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Review of the S&W Victory .22LR

First, it is a pretty good-looking firearm.  The 4.75" 5.5" bull barrel seems proportional to the lines in general (I don't know where I got the idea it was four and three-quarters.  There ain't no such thing).  Picking it up, like most target and hunting oriented .22 autos, it seems Luger-esque.  Not a bad thing.  It comes with a couple of ten-round magazines that are easy to load.  Note the partially loaded magazine on the left.  There is a stud showing in the slot about half way down.  I slide that down with my thumb or finger to take the tension off the follower for loading or unloading.

I am a right-handed shooter.  This layout works great for me.  The slide release, thumb safety, and magazine release are all perfectly positioned for the right-hander of average to large hand size.  The slide locks back on an empty magazine -- thumb up the safety, punch the mag release, insert in a loaded magazine, pull back on the slide a little, release, thumb down the safety, and you are ready to shoot some more.  

I need more magazines.  This will be a problem with this firearm for a while since it is a new introduction and doesn't have the aftermarket accessories that are available for the Browning Buckmark and Ruger Mark I,II,III pistols.  The same is true of holsters.  I'm getting by with a holster for a 5" to 6" barrel length at the moment.

The pistol also comes with a trigger lock, an accessory rail to replace the rear sight rail, and an Allen wrench for take-down.   
The sights are bright green three-dot day-glo Tru-glo, and the rear sight is fully adjustable for windage and elevation.  Mine was shooting about two feet high and noticeably to the right when I started -- evidence of it not being checked at the factory.  It is now shooting on at twenty-five yards.  A couple of days ago, shooting offhand at 25 yards, I emptied three or four magazines of CCI subsonic round nose into an area that could be covered by a 3x5 index card in the center of the target.  The pistol itself is more accurate than that.  I probably am not.
One of the things that sold me on the Victory is the ease of disassembly.  Remove one Allen head screw from the frame, and Viola!
The handgun breaks down into three main components plus the screw. Like everything, there are trade-offs.  It does not breakdown without an Allen wrench.  That is the disadvantage.  Also, when you re-assemble, the screw needs some decent torque or the barrel is going to shoot loose from the frame.  You don't have to stand on a pipe or anything, but you do want to make sure it is tight, and you want to check it for rattle before and after shooting -- at least for a while.  Disadvantage.

Advantage?  I can't imagine a .22 auto being any easier and less stressful to break down for cleaning.

Another advantage is that removing and replacing barrels is going to be a snap.  I suspect S&W designed this with an eye toward extensive customization in the future.

I am happy with mine the way it is.  I am scrounging .22LR every chance I get because I have such a blast shooting the Victory.  I would guess I have run in the neighborhood of 400 rounds through it with absolutely no problems.  I've used Remington subsonics, Federal auto target rounds, Aquila Interceptors, CCI Stingers and Velocitors, and CCI subsonics with no hiccups or failures to fire.

Other than making me smile, I'm not sure what good it is, but I guess that's good enough.  It would be a fun, challenging squirrel gun.  It will handle small varmints and pests, if necessary.  A few rounds into the bloody triangle would ruin a home invader's day.  I don't really expect to use it for much except target-shooting, though.

This is not for certain, but it would be interesting to test the Victory against, say, a Ruger 10/22 in penetration tests with the same ammo.  I might get around to that at some point.  Who knows?  I might even make a video.   


  1. Very nice looking piece there. I'd probably shoot handguns a lot more if I had a .22 pistol.

  2. Have one and it shoots like a dream.