Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review
Part 6 - Range Test
January 24, 2012

Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

I selected a variety of .22LR ammunition for range testing the Smith & Wesson M&P22. Some of the ammunition was inexpensive bulk and some was readily available target or match ammunition.  There was a combination of standard velocity and high velocity rounds along with a variation of hollow points and round nose bullets and at different bullet weights like 36 grain and 40 grain.   My goal was to see how reliable the M&P22 would be with a variety of ammunition and to collect some basic accuracy data with the target/match ammo.

 

Figure 1
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

I started out shooting some Federal Champion High Velocity 36 Grain Copper Plated Hollow Points (Load No. 745).  My first shots were a magazine full free hand at 7 yards to see how the sights were adjusted on this pistol as it came directly from the factory.  The sights were clearly good enough to move back to 13 yards to do some bench work for me to tweak them to my liking.  My first group at the bench is shown below.  This was a 12 shot group at 13 yards which measured 1.95".  If I dismissed two of the shots to make it a 10 shot group, it measured 1.13".  I continued to shoot another full magazine and adjusted the rear sight down a little to move my group to the point of aim for this distance.  The M&P22 Pistol functioned flawlessly.

Figure 2 - 12-Shot Group Measuring 1.95" at 13 Yards from a Bench
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

Next I decided to finish up a couple of boxes ammunition so I shot some Federal Classic High Velocity 40 Grain Copper Plated (Load No. 810) and Winchester Super-X 40 Grain High Velocity Plated Hollow Point (Load No. X22LRPP1).  Again the M&P22 functioned without issue and handled the 40 grain high velocity rounds.  These next two photos show a 12-shot group of each shot from a bench at 13 yards.

Figure 3                                                                 Figure 4
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

I then decided to give it a try on some value high velocity 36 grain bulk ammunition like Remington 22 Golden Bullets 36gr Plated Hollow Points and Winchester Xpert 22 36gr Hollow Points that I keep around for plinking.  The Remington ammunition shot without issue, but the Winchester Xpert ammunition would not properly eject the case.  I cleaned the pistol and tried the Winchester again and still had the same issue.  Then I swapped back to the Remington and the M&P22 functioned again without issue.  Averaging these four 12-shot groups gives an average group of 2.08".

Figure 5                                                                 Figure 6
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

The ammunition I selected for more in depth accuracy testing is below.

I decided to start out shooting a 12 shot group of these four types of ammunition just as I did above and the results are shown below.  Clearly the CCI and Wolf shot great with a group size of 1.18" and 1.34" respectively.  If I tossed out 3 of the shots from the group for the Remington, it would have been a good group also.  The Federal Auto Match group similarly to that of the lesser expensive ammunition tested above.

Figure 7                                                                 Figure 8
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

Figure 9                                                                Figure 10
Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review   Smith & Wesson M&P22 Review

I shot four 5-shot groups of each of these types of ammunition from a bench at 13 yards and the results are shown in the table below.  The total group average for all 5-shot groups combined was 1.44" with the Wolf ammunition providing my minimum group and also provided the lowest four group average.

Ammunition Minimum
(in)
Maximum
(in)
Average
(in)
CCI Standard Velocity 40gr Lead Round Nose 1.28 2.02 1.55
Federal AutoMatch High Velocity 40gr Hollow Points 1.41 1.84 1.62
Remington 22 Target 40gr Lead Round Nose 1.25 1.44 1.37
Wolf Match Target 40gr Solid 0.79 1.62 1.20
Total Average All Groups 1.44

With the exception of the Winchester Xpert ammunition, the M&P22 functioned with only one failure to eject with all of the other ammunition I put through the pistol during my range testing.  For some reason the Winchester Xpert seemed cause continuous failure to eject issues that I feel was an issue with the ammunition and not the M&P22.

 

Thoughts

The M&P22 should provide you with all the accuracy you would need from this style of pistol.  From a bench at 13 yards, it is capable of averaging 1.5" groups with match/target types of ammunition and about 2" groups with bulk ammunition.  In the hands of someone with better eyes and a steadier grip, it could possibly do better.  I thought it had a good full size feel in my hand just like the M&P9 and M&P40 pistols.  The rear sight has a slightly dark picture since it has a black blade with no dots, but there was ample space in the notch to allow for aligning the front sight.  Out of the nine different types of ammunition I put through the pistol, only one type of 36 grain bullets seemed to be an issue (Winchester Xpert).  I continue to be impressed with the Wolf Match Target rimfire ammunition and the M&P22 seemed to like it also based on a minimum 5 shot group of 0.79" at 13 yards.

For more detailed photos and commentary, make sure you check out the other parts of this review and feel free to leave comments on my Reader's Comments page.  The following links are provided to help you see other parts of this review. 


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