by John C. Krull
The Gun Mag Back in December of 2006 I did a review article for Gun Week on the new, at that time, models of the Ruger 22/45 MK III pistol. I had two heavy barreled guns of different barrel lengths and both performed flawlessly. After the article was finished I decided that I wanted to keep the blued model with the 5.5 inch barrel. So I sent a check off to one address and returned the second test gun to another address. I’ve been enjoying the 22/45 ever since.
This year Ruger (Lacey Place, Dept. TGM, Southport, CT 06890; phone: 203-259-7843; online: ruger.com) introduced another model of the 22/45 to the marketplace. This they dubbed the 22/45 LITE, and light it is. When laying these two models side-by-side the only difference I can see in the size is the thread cap that is installed on the LITE. This unscrews for the installation of another accessory which they don’t allow us to have in New York State, a sound suppressor.
I believe that all prepared American citizens need a certain amount of firepower at their disposal. We all need a shotgun, preferable 12-ga., a .22 rifle for game getting and such; a center fire rifle for longer range shooting and two handguns. One handgun should be in a caliber that starts with a 4 and the other should be a .22 LR caliber handgun, once again for game getting and immediate action upon predators, two- or four-legged.
Many people will say that a .22 LR pistol isn’t powerful enough for selfdefense, but if you hit your target it can be. There are a lot of egomaniacal males out there, who insisted upon giving their wife, girlfriend or daughter the largest caliber they have for their first experience with shooting a hand handgun.
This is a really big, bad and even stupid mistake. Many of these females will never want to shoot a gun again. So give them something they can handle, like a Ruger 22/45, shooting the quieter, almost recoilless .22 LR round. I have taken lots of women to the range to shoot. Actually I’ve taken them there as a date. The biggest question that they seem to have is, “Do you have any more ammo!” The Ruger 22/44 LITE is a good gun to teach anyone on.
It is similar to most other semi-auto handguns, but most like a 1911-style .45 pistol. It is cheap to shoot.
And this new LITE model assures that the gun isn’t too heavy for them.
According to the factory specs the barrel assembly is aluminum with a steel insert. The rear sight is adjustable for both windage and elevation. The front sight is a fixed blade. The barrel length is 4.4 inches, and the gun’s overall length is 8.5 inches with the action closed. The 22/45 is just 5.5 inches in height. This gun measures just 1 inch in width. And the LITE part: it weighs only 22.8 ounces compared to the 32 ounces that my other model weighs. All the 22/45s have removable magazines that hold 10 rounds each. The finish on the barrel is a gold anodized color. The frame is a Zytel® polymer product. The grips feel to be rubberized and can be replaced. Unfortunately for you California residents, this gun is NOT CA-approved. The MSRP is $469.
One small problem that I have noticed is that the magazines fit pretty much flush and tight. They will eject very easily if they are full because of the weight of the ammo in the magazine, but if you have shot all the rounds, as is usually going to be the case, they can hang up just a little bit, slowing down a reload. But there is a solution to this problem. A company, Valquartsen Custom (24276 240th St, Dept. TGM, Carroll, IA 51401; phone: 712-792-4238; online: volquartsen.com) that I’m sure many of you are familiar with, has come up with a solution to this problem. They have manufactured a spring-loaded magazine ejector for the 22/45 magazines.
All you need to do is replace the factory floor plate with the Valquartsen floor plate. Think about it before you do it. The spring that pushes the rounds of ammo up on the follower is under a lot of pressure. The first one I did I didn’t think enough, besides I had my right hand in a cast at the time. The spring went booooong, and flying across the room. Luckily it wasn’t pointed towards my face because it could have caused some eye damage or even loss. The next five that I did went a lot easier and with no springs flying around.
These floor plates from Valquartsen are made of aluminum alloy on a CNC machine and not only function well but really look good, too.
Not only does the floor plate from Valquartsen have a spring-loaded button to push the magazine out, even when unloaded, it also lengthens the magazine so it no longer fits flush and gives you something to grab onto.
The suggested retail price of the floor plates is $31.30 each and to save postage you might want to order as many as you will need all at once.
Granted this may not be a small investment, especially if you have 10 magazines like I do, but an investment that will enhance your gun and your time at the range. Be sure to visit Valquartsen’s website even if you don’t need these floor plates, they have all kinds of neat stuff.
We did a lot of shooting with the Ruger 22/45 LITE and had a really good time doing it. I’ve been trying something, and that is shooting without my glasses. On a handgun I can actually see the front sight better now-a-days without them rather than with them. Besides there is always that chance that they might get lost or broken, leaving you without their use.
So most of the shooting was done with just plain shooting glasses and not prescription lenses. I didn’t do bad. All the holes in the targets were grouped under two inches, so I’m happy.
Some other features I need to mention that come with the 22/45 are these: first Ruger supplies a very large padlock (see the picture) to be put through the slot that is visible when the slide is locked in the rearward position. With this padlock installed in would be impossible for anyone without tools or the key to fire this gun. Of course they could still steal it, take it somewhere else and cut the lock, so think really safe and secure storage.
The Ruger also has a built-in internal lock. On the left side of the gun below the safety is a hole into which you put one of the two supplied Allen-type keys, which are actually five-sided. When you turn this key 1¾ turns the safety on the gun can’t be deactivated. The gun must be cocked with the safety on in order to use this lock.
The final item that Ruger supplies is a mount for a scope. The gun is already drilled and tapped so it isn’t a difficult job to install the scope rail. Be sure to use some Loctite® on the screw threads.
We used two flavors of Winchester Ammunition (600 Powder Mill Rd & 427 N Shamrock St., Dept. TGM, East Alton, IL 62024; phone: 618-258-2000; online: winchester.com) for our shooting.
The first was their Super X .22 Long Rifle Copper-Plated hollow point with a 40-grain bullet. The second was Power-Point 42 Max, a good round for small game with a 42-grain bullet.
In a lot of cases you will get a different print on the target with different ammo, even from the same ammo but from different lots. I loaded the mags with staggered rounds but didn’t seem to get any real variation in printing on the target.
We used several different kinds of targets, all from Birchwood Casey (7900 Fuller Rd, Dept. TGM, Eden Prairie, MN 55344; phone: 800-328-6156; online: birchwoodcasey.com). The Shoot-N-C target make the trip to the range not only more fun but also the shots showed up so much better for magazine articles, like this. They have targets for every possible want or need. Check them out online to see what they have.
The last product I want to tell you about is the holster that we are using to carry the Ruger 22/45. It is a universal holster from OPI Inc. (phone: 800-460-8833; online elusivecamo.com).
I first learned about this company at a wholesaler’s show that takes place in Las Vegas just before the SHOT Show does. I found a lot of wholesalers there that will work with us little dealers without having to place multi-thousand- dollar orders.
According to their website this is what they have to say about themselves: “We are an exclusive distributor of Quest Products. OPI Inc. is a wholesale manufacturer and distributor of hunting products and accessories designed specifically for the serious outdoorsman. We offer great products at highly competitive prices and deal directly with small businesses who are trying to compete with large chain stores nationwide.” On their site you will find the very best of American made products at a price that will keep your customers coming back for more.
They invite you to click “Products” on the left for direct access to their website or “Media” which will take you to their downloadable catalogs and other printable material.
My rep sent me a holster that works with my Ruger 22/45 or it will hold my 1911 .45 just as well. This holster is a ballistic nylon product and is universal.
By universal I mean that it can be worn left- or right-handed on the belt, by either using a spring clip or by sliding the belt through the rigging. On the front of the holster is a magazine compartment that will hold single-or double-stack magazines. The gun retention strap can be changed from left to right. I haven’t worn this holster much in the field because I pretty much need an in-the-pants holster for that, but have worn it around the house for days on end to see how it would hold up. It works great and is priced to sell.
The best thing that I have to say about OPI is that their products are made in the USA. Not a lot of companies can say that any more. So support a made-in-USA company and get yourself a good holster to boot. They also have rifle cases (soft or hard), magazine pouches, belts and belt keepers, along with lots of other products, so do yourself a favor and visit their website.
I think I have covered everything that I wanted to in the article, now I just have to go out in the 90 degree heat and take the pictures. Remember, when contacting any of these manufacturers to tell them that John at The Gun Mag sent you.