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Old 01-17-2012, 09:32 PM
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Default 22A 5.5 inch Orange Hi-Viz

I ordered a 5.5 barrel (the slab-sided one - the bull is too heavy for me) and wanted to share some observations.

The overall fit and finish are somewhat better than on the 4" barrel that shipped with the gun. The breech face on the 5.5 is flat (the 4 looked like it had been machined with a scout knife), and the feed ramp has been polished (machining lines are still visible, but at least they made an effort). The breech face has still been painted all over (this appears to be done to hide the usually poor machining), but the polishing to the feed ramp was done afterwards, so it's not painted like the ramp on the 4" was! There is that damnable thick paint 1/2 inch down the muzzle, totally filling the grooves and making the initial cleaning a nightmare, with paint shavings and a scary scraping feeling on the cleaning rod.

The Hi-Viz front sight is much narrower than the stock sight, and it may be removable. The round Hi-Viz dot might present a sighting problem as-is, without anything on the rear leaf to line it up with. I'll follow up on this post when I get to the range. I'll post some pics too.

Post-range followup:

First I put 10 rounds through it fast to clear the paint from the barrel. Damn their finishing department.

I put 500 rounds through it yesterday. It ejects forward about 5 feet, in contrast with the extreme throw of the 4" barrels. Accuracy is notably better, but I'm going to attribute that to the fact that the hi-viz sight is much narrower than the plain sight. The hi-viz sight is shorter than the plain sight, so the elevation needs to be screwed down pretty far.

Target acquisition is vastly faster, so shooting steel is more fun (hit the 8" plate at 100 yards a few times), but I don't think the hi-viz is any use on paper at all. So, a big thumbs-up on this barrel for plinking, but for bullseye I'm going to have to come up with some kind of mod.

Oh yeah, almost forgot... The ramp came unscrewed from the barrel while I was shooting. Don't know why S&W can't seem to get that right. A little Loctite and all was well.

Last edited by pokute; 01-23-2012 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:45 PM
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I have the 5.5" 22a-1 in all black finish with slab side and standard front sight. Mines actually not that bad. Only thing I see is there is a tiny chip in the paint on the front edge of the slide. One thing I don't really like is the huge rear sight blade which makes it kind of hard to pull the slide back. Otherwise not many complaints but I guess one thing is that you get what you pay for.

I bought a bunch of spare parts from Brownells just in case. I've read that the plastic slide insert that holds the firing pin and spring has a tendency to shatter. They are cheap so I bought a couple of them also.

Last edited by jackrabbit000; 01-17-2012 at 10:48 PM.
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Old 01-18-2012, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jackrabbit000 View Post
I have the 5.5" 22a-1 in all black finish with slab side and standard front sight. Mines actually not that bad. Only thing I see is there is a tiny chip in the paint on the front edge of the slide. One thing I don't really like is the huge rear sight blade which makes it kind of hard to pull the slide back. Otherwise not many complaints but I guess one thing is that you get what you pay for.

I bought a bunch of spare parts from Brownells just in case. I've read that the plastic slide insert that holds the firing pin and spring has a tendency to shatter. They are cheap so I bought a couple of them also.
I was commenting specifically on the 5.5 Hi-Viz barrel. I agree with you that "you get what you pay for", and in fact, I think with the 22A you get more bang for your buck than with any other gun. The plastic slide insert actually should not see any shattering forces, so I'm a little skeptical about that "tendency to shatter". There are only two parts on the 22A that seem to "wear out", and that would be the recoil buffer pad, which will wear more or less rapidly in proportion to the velocity of the ammo you use, and the recoil spring, which weakens slowly over time. Other than those two parts, the gun only seems to improve over time as the irregularities in the castings and machined parts get smoothed out with use.

Also note that out of three barrels, I have one that was never heat-treated, so I guess anything is possible.
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Old 01-18-2012, 06:41 PM
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I love my 22a-1, it's a good gun for the price but read this forum about the slide insert. Not sure if it's a problem or not but I picked up a few inserts just in case.

S&W 22A Bolt Firing Pin Block Replacement - TheFiringLine Forums
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Old 01-19-2012, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by jackrabbit000 View Post
I love my 22a-1, it's a good gun for the price but read this forum about the slide insert. Not sure if it's a problem or not but I picked up a few inserts just in case.

S&W 22A Bolt Firing Pin Block Replacement - TheFiringLine Forums
I just read the posts. The block is plastic, and it is a non-impacting part. It slides on metal. I suspect that the two poster's guns had improperly installed blocks. But again, the fit on these guns is haphazard, so anything is possible. It's amazing how well they shoot. I wish I could figure out how to get the brass to eject downward instead of up and into the next county.
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Smith & Wesson Semi-Auto Pistols Thread, 22A 5.5 inch Orange Hi-Viz in Smith & Wesson Semi-Automatic Pistols; I ordered a 5.5 barrel (the slab-sided one - the bull is too heavy for me) and wanted to share ...
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