Range Report: Smith and Wesson Victory .22 Pistol

By Bob Campbell published on in Firearms, Range Reports

Smith and Wesson’s Victory .22 has garnered a lot of interest since its introduction a few months ago. The Victory .22 is intended to compete with similar .22 calibers handguns such as the Browning Buckmark and Ruger Standard Model. As such the Victory will have to have good features, good reliability, and acceptable accuracy. The price point is also important. Smith and Wesson’s previous .22 caliber self loaders were not in the class with this pistol and the hopes Smith and Wesson has pinned on this pistol are not without justification.

Smith and Wesson Victory pistol right profile

The SW Victory .22 is a great value in a quality .22 caliber pistol.

The Victory is a modern .22 with good features and excellent performance. The SW22 is a winner and a fun gun as well. Smith and Wesson calls the SW22 Victory a modern classic target pistol. The pistol fits the bill in the sense of a handgun intended for informal target practice, marksmanship training and small game hunting. It isn’t a Smith and Wesson Model 41 but then what is?

The pistol is a single action trigger blowback action design. The pistol operates with high velocity .22 Long Rifle ammunition. The monolithic receiver remains stationary on firing and the bolt recoils out the rear of the receiver. The barrel may be changed with a simple turn of the Allen wrench if desired. A rail is supplied for mounting a red dot sight or scope. Innovation and maximum application of modern technology is evident in the design. The frame, barrel and other parts are stainless steel for durability and corrosion resistance. The pistol features fully-adjustable rear sights and a changeable front post. Both front and rear sights feature fiber optic inserts. The two-dot rear and single dot front sight provided excellent visibility at the firing range and were among the most appreciated features of the pistol. The sights offer excellent hit probability in rapid shooting and precision accuracy in deliberate fire.

The controls are simple enough with a push button magazine release, slide lock and frame-mounted thumb activated safety. The controls were easily manipulated with one hand. The trigger action is lovely. This is an uncommon trait among factory pistols. The trigger breaks at a perfect three pounds. As I examined the pistol, I knew accuracy potential should be high. A final touch is a set of well designed hard plastic grips. The standard model tested features a 5.5-inch barrel with a 1:15 rifling twist. The pistol is hefty at 37 ounces. This gives the trained shooter excellent control. The pistol has good balance and sits low in the hand. The width is 1.3 inches. The pistol is the ideal size for target use.

Smith and Wesson Victory 22 pistol with slide locked back and two magazines

With good quality, excellent accuracy and a modest price tag the SW Victory 22 is going to prove to be a popular pistol.

I was more excited to fire this handgun than most of the pieces I test. This isn’t a personal defense handgun but a recreational handgun, and we just do not get enough fun shooting around the homestead. I collected an assortment of .22 caliber ammunition. These included a number of bargain basement RNL loads from Federal Cartridge, CCI’s Stinger and Velocitor, and Winchester M22. The Federal load represents what we find on sale with a RNL bullet. The CCI loads are hunting loads, and the M22 was designed for reliable function in the AR 15/.22.

The bolt was well lubricated and magazines loaded with the Federal RNL load first. The magazines are tight with strong springs but not too difficult to load. In firing the first few magazines, there were several failures to fully close the bolt—perhaps one to two per magazine. This disappeared after the first 40 rounds. Overall, the pistol proved reliable with all loads tested.

Yes, this is a fun gun. The majority of the loads fired were expended off hand. I have taken quite a few squirrels and bedded rabbit with the .22 pistol. This handgun would be well suited to that pursuit, more so than anything I have previously used. I prefer a bit more power for the raccoon and possum class, but the .22 has served in that regard.

Accuracy Results

25 Yards – Solid Bench Rest

Ammunition Three 5-shot Group Average
CCI Velocitor                           1.5 inches
CCI Stinger                           1.9 inches
WW Super X Hollow point                           1.25 inches
Winchester M22                           2.0 inches

Conclusion

As for targets, the pistol was so much fun to shoot and gave such good results, I suspect most will take the gun out of the box, fire it as often as possible, and deem it good. I settled into the bench to properly sight the pistol in. It was firing high out of the box at 15 yards. I quickly accounted for that and kept firing. The sights were adjusted after taking a solid bench rest firing position. The handgun is more accurate than I can shoot; no question there. Just the same, the groups fired at a long 25 yards were excellent. Handfit, sights, and a superb trigger all added to the experience. The SW22 Victory is affordable and capable, all we may ask.

.22s are great for practice and plain ol’ plinking. What’s your favorite plinker? Share your answers in the comment section.

SLRule

Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooter’s Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.

View all articles by Bob Campbell

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Trackback from your site.

The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, "The Shooter's Log," is to provide information-not opinions-to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (21)

  • Henry

    |

    Not a criticism, but it sure is reminiscent of the Mark pistols of the “R” brand.

    Reply

  • Matt W

    |

    I love my Victory and have fired well over a thousand rounds. It is fun to fire and very accurate. The problems I have had are jamming caused by the screw loosening that holds the barrel in place.(use lock tite) and the bolt not staying open after the mag is empty. I sent my Victory back to S+W for analysis and solutions.

    Reply

  • dale

    |

    I purchased one of these guns. As soon as I got home the first thing I did was try to disassemble it. The take-down allen screw was so tight I stripped three different allen wrenches trying to loosen it. Eventually I stripped the allen screw in the gun. I took the gun back to the store, told them of the problem and they sent it back to S&W for repair. When the got the gun back from S&W, before leaving the store I tried to loosen the allen screw to make sure the repair was done properly. The screw was still tight but I was able to loosen it. Other than this problem this gun is a great shooter. It fires any type of ammo I feed it (both cheap and expensive) without any failures to feed or eject. It’s now easy to disassemble and clean. The gun is accurate and I am now totally satisfied with it. There are also several aftermarket accessories available for the Victory. There are different barrels , grips and a better trigger than the factory trigger. One of the downfalls of the Victory is that after firing 100 rounds or so the allen screws the holds the barrel to the frame tends to loosen a little, so be sure to occasionally grab the gun by the grip and barrel and wiggle the barrel it to see if it became loose. Always have the allen wrench with you to tighten it if necessary. At one time I owned a S&W Model 41 but had to sell it for financial reasons. I could kick myself now for selling it and the difference between what I originally paid for it and what I received for it when I sold it, at the present day the Model 41 is too expensive to replace. Regardless, I’m happy with the results with the S&W Victory. Buy one. You won’t be disappointed.

    Reply

    • DrT

      |

      I had the same issue with the overly tight screw. A young buck at the gun store finally popped it loose. As for the screw coming loose, I have found that a small o-ring works like a charm. Better than lock-tite.

      Reply

    • healthycuriosity

      |

      Experienced the same problem with the Victory that I purchased. Stripped out the allen wrench that came with the pistol trying to disassemble it. Too it back to the LGS where three guys behind the counter tried to loosen the screw without any luck. They exchanged the pistol for another one, no questions asked. No problems with the second one — shoots great and take down is a breeze. I think S & W needs to work a little harder on their QC.

      Reply

  • William Kushner

    |

    I have the threaded barrel model , it is awesome! extremely reliable and easy to clean!
    Only one problem that I experienced was that the darn safety is set too close to the top of my grip and it kept getting engaged. Other than this it beat’s the heck out of every Ruger or Browning Buckmark I’ve ever had for cleaning!

    Reply

  • Aardvark

    |

    I bought my S&W Victory .22 last year when they were new in the stores. I paid about $350 on sale from $370. I have seen them advertised online for around $330 recently. Mine is very accurate. Take down is also very easy. That was one of the big selling points for me (this was before the Ruger Mark IV came out). Trigger is good, price is decent, accuracy excellent, sights are great but I went with a red dot. Just not much to dislike. The only thing I would tell you is the barrel allen screw can loosen up from shooting, so use lock tight or just tighten really well.

    Reply

  • Steve Stoner

    |

    Favorite plinker and small game gun is my S&W K frame revolver chambered in 22 with a six inch barrel and a luepold 1x 4 scope. Squirrels don’t have a chance.

    Reply

  • Fletch

    |

    Great report and thx for the info. Is the older gentlemen in the photo left eye dominant? Thx again.

    Reply

  • Em

    |

    I too like th victory and find it as accurate as the Ruger 22/45. Out of the box mine shot a little high but was quickly sighted in. Take down is one screw. The new Ruger Mark IV is th only 22lr with a truly quick takedown in this price range. One button push take down is amazing. Will I sell my SW22 Victory? Nope, love this pistol as well,

    Reply

  • Doug

    |

    Bob, you don’t mention breakdown and cleaning nor MSRP. I know some target 22’s that really missed the mark with ease of cleaning, how does this model stack up? How does S&W price compare with other target 22’s?

    Reply

  • Lou

    |

    I like my SW Victory, but it is not as accurate as my sons 22/45 Ruger 22. The removable barrel may allow you to change barrels, but then it dos not help accuracy.

    Reply

Leave a comment

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

%d bloggers like this: