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Old 11-19-2006, 10:17 AM   #1
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Value of practice with a .22?

A little background: after many years of living in well-policed cities and suburbs, and not being interested in shooting, I moved to a semi-rural area, where one of the downsides of having a property tax bill smaller than my phone bill is long 911 response times. So I now own a Ruger Security Six, which I'm working on mastering as a "tool", rather than as a "hobby".



The conventional wisdom says "Start with a .22", but I'm too much of a cheapskate to spring for, say, a Taurus 94 (much less something like an S&W 317 or 617). However, I did find a good price on a High Standard Double Nine, and bought it, thinking that low ammo cost would encourage me to practice more.



However, the cowboy styling of the High Standard makes it feel a lot different from the Ruger, and its much-heavier DA trigger pull makes it less comfortable to practice with and more difficult to control. I'm having some doubts about the usefulness of the High Standard, since my only goal is to develop reflexes and habits that will help me use the Ruger if I need it in an emergency.



Now, maybe spending time practicing with the .22 will improve my grip and trigger control, or provide other benefits that make it a good idea to stick with it. Hogue makes "modern-style" grips for the Vaquero that might be adaptable to the High Standard, to make it feel more like the Ruger.



Otoh, the money from re-selling the .22 would buy a whole bunch of wadcutters for the Ruger, so maybe I should do that, and spend more time with the gun I may need to depend on for my safety.



I'd very much appreciate hearing from those with some experience before I make a decision.



Thanks,



Ran

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Old 11-19-2006, 03:21 PM   #2
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Value of practice with a .22?

Hi rantalbott and welcome to the forum,



I think your concept is a good one with a few caveats: If you are really shooting the rimfire to work seriously on sight picture, grip, trigger pull, double taps, etc. as a model for the Ruger, then I think the guns should be as similar as possible. I use a S&W Model 15 and Model 18 for the type of thing you are talking about. As a companion to your Security Six, perhaps a Ruger 4" SS SP-101 in 22 lr (now discontinued, you see them in the used gun cases from time to time or on the various internet sights.) would be the ideal. Any quality revolver (Smith, Colt, Ruger) will be an investment on which you will be unlikely to lose money over the long run; even a Taurus should at least hold its value.



Another alternative (though moving more toward the hobby/enthusiast realm) is to load up some squibs for the Security Six - rubber or plastic bullets powered only by primers in 38/357 brass. You can can get 400 fps and they shoot to point of aim at reasonable handgun ranges. Speer makes one type, Dillon sells X-ring rubber bullets. You will need a hand held priming tool and some primers, but I think it is rather fun to practice with these. They are re-usable, of course, as are the cases. Very inexpensive to shoot after the initial investment.



Finally, there is always dry fire practice with the Security Six.



However, my most sincere piece of advice would be to make it your hobby! Many of us here have done this and it is addictive. The Ruger you now own is a good start in that direction.



PGM





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Old 11-19-2006, 11:21 PM   #3
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Value of practice with a .22?

I'm going to take the "middle-of-the-road" route on this.



First, the handloading of squibs, rubber or plastic bullets is probably your best route, followed by using inexpensive and low-recoil wadcutter target loads and then, finally, practice with full-power defense loads, because you are doing all of your learning and training with the same handgun. But assuming that you aren't into guns enough to fool with this, make the best use of your High Standard Double Nine. The beauty of any .22 rimfire is that you can do tons of shooting for very little money and any handgun will allow you to develop the critical skills of hold, sight picture and trigger control. True, your High Standard operates a bit different than your Ruger, but once you develop the above-listed critical skills with the High Standard, transition to your Ruger with inexpensive and low-recoil wadcutter target loads and then, finally, practice with full-power defense loads. From time to time practice with the inexpensive wadcutter loads followed by some of the personal defense ammo of your choice to keep familiarized with your defensive handgun. (Besides, it's fun.)



As PGM mentioned, do a lot of dry-firing with your Ruger. Put a small aiming point on the wall in front of your easy chair or couch (a square of black, plastic electrical tape works good, or make a black bulls-eye on a piece of paper with a felt pen and tape it up) and practice the "critical skills." You want to be able to pull the trigger smoothly straight through on the Ruger with a minimum of disturbance to your sight picture before the hammer falls. Start in very slow motion and speed it up as your hold gets steadier. (DON'T dry-fire your High Standard. It damages a .22 rimfire to do so.) The world's best competitive shooter do more dry-firing than "wet" firing.



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Old 11-20-2006, 07:58 AM   #4
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Value of practice with a .22?



Quote:
Dillon sells X-ring rubber bullets. You will need a hand held priming tool and some primers, but I think it is rather fun to practice with these. They are re-usable, of course, as are the cases. Very inexpensive to shoot after the initial investment.


Thanks for that tip (and for the welcome): I didn't know about those.



The local reloader I buy my practice ammo from has a Lee Loader for sale cheap, and would probably be willing to sell me the primers at a good price, too. So I could try that out for not much more than buying an equivalent amount of real ammo.



A few questions: what does it take to trap the bullets without damaging them? Do you need to worry about fouling the chambers/barrel? And how many times can you re-use them?



I do my practicing at an "unofficial range" out in the desert, because the only real range in the county is over 20 miles away. So I have a lot of leeway in what I can set up in the way of a bullet trap.



I clean the barrel and cylinder after every practice session, but I wonder whether I'd need to clean mid-session, since it seems like the natural progression would be to "warm up" with the rubber bullets, then switch to the real ones.



If I could get a dozen or more uses out of each X-Ring, the cost would be close enough to the .22's that it wouldn't be worth shooting .22 just to save money.



Thanks again for bringing this up. I'll definitely want to look into it further.



Ran

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Old 11-20-2006, 01:15 PM   #5
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Value of practice with a .22?

Hi rantalbott,



I trap the squibs with a heavy duty (multip-ply) cardboard box with a remnant of carpet inside, but tacked to the back. They will penetrate the front but will not exit. The primers do leave some residue in the chambers and barrel, but a quick cleaning afterwards with patches and solvent is all you need to do - no scrubbing or brushing or anything of that sort. The bullets themselves do not leave any residue. You can re-use them many times, it rather depends on what you are shooting them into.



One caveat: If you use the rubber bullets from X-ring with normal brass cases, you should enlarge the flash holes a bit to prevent the primers from backing out. This is easy to do with an electric drill as the brass is soft. Also, load the rubber bullets before loading the primers (otherwise you will be trying to compress the air in the case), and wear safety glasses throughout. Your reloading contact can probably talk you through the process, it is not hard. Maybe he would even be willing to load them up for you. Just be sure not to use the cases with the enlarged flash holes for normal reloads. I don't think you would need to clean between the squibs and the lead or jacketed loads.



The economics of 22 lr versus squibs really depends on how you value your time...I enjoy the process so my "time" is free. If it were a chore, there is no question that buying a brick of 22 lr will be cheaper. The big advantage of the squibs, of course, is that you get to shoot your Ruger.



Good luck,



PGM
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Old 04-25-2007, 12:25 PM   #6
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Value of practice with a .22?

I know that this is an old post but one which is worth revisiting.



The advantage to shooting .22s goes way beyond economics.



Shooting 22s allows you to focus on trigger squeeze because you dont need to worry about recoil.



Back in basic, my DS had us put washers on the end of our rifle barrels. He had us out there in the hot sun on our elbows for hours until we could dry fire the trigger 10 times without the washer falling off.



At the time, I thought he was just being sadistic; even down right mean, but the purpose was to learn how to pull off a smooth trigger squeeze.



You could probably do the same thing with a revolver of any kind. Just make sure that if it is a rimfire revolver that you either have snap caps or discharged rimfire cases to protect the firing pin.



When shooting primarily heavy loads, some people will develop a flinch as they brace themselves for the recoil.



Shooting 22s there is essentially no recoil, so if a person develops a flinch it is much more noticeable.



Another drill to try, is loading every other chamber with a live round and spinning the chamber so you dont know which chamber you land on. Pull the trigger. If your firing pin lands on an empty chamber, the gun shouldnt move at all. If you find that you flinched or there was excessive gun movement despite no recoil, then you need to spend more time learning to shoot.



Ideally, you want two guns that are similar in size, shape and configuration. I own a S&W K22 and will probably pick up its 357 twin once I get back home.
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