In Part 1 of this Project Squirrel Pistol using a Smith and Wesson SW22 Victory .22 long rifle semi auto pistol, my focus was on the gun and its parts. For part 2, let’s take the Victory out for a spin. The Victory is not a light pistol. Not even of average light. The Victory is heavy. Out of the box, the Victory weighs in at 36 ounces. Compare that to the Ruger 22/45 Lite I used for my B.O.L.T. Pistol build at 25 ounces. So when I add an optic, suppressor, and 11 round mag, the Victory is approaching three pounds. That’s well over halfway to a lightweight .22 rifle.
By Doc Montana, a Contributing Author to SHTFBlog and SurvivalCache.com
My initial field tests of the Victory highlighted three main things. First, the Victory is accurate. Its heavy barrel balances the gun while holding the front sight on target easily. Second, it ate all the regular .22 ammo I threw at it. Whether rapid fire or slow and deliberate, the Victory cycled 100% of the time. No light strikes, no FTF, and no FTE with or without a silencer. However, when loaded with several different brands of subsonic .22 ammo, about half the time there was a failure to eject leading to a very predictable and easy to clear stovepipe. In fact, the odds of a successful reloading cycle with subsonic ammo can be improved by holding the ejection port down. Yes, gangsta style. Most of the time, the bolt was slamming down on an almost-ejected case. Put a little gravity in your favor and your odds improve. So much so I wondered if maybe the ridiculous sideways gang-style holding of an autopistol was a natural evolution of getting a cheap-crap gun to eject the spent round. Probably not though.
The factory sights on the Victory are excellent. In fact, they could easily be mistaken for an aftermarket upgrade. A green horseshoe fiber optic on the rear sight provide to bright zombie-green dots in which to center the front fiber optic green dot. Frankly, I think it would be a nice touch to have an orange front sight dot rather than another green one. Or even a fiber optic color kit like some Rugers come with. For precision shooting, a black front blade is sometimes more welcome than an in-your-face bright dot, but for this build I am going to leave the irons alone and move on to both a red dot and a scope. The Project Squirrel leanings of this project require more than irons can deliver consistently. Low light, long distance, and tiny targets all tax the irons. When shooting golfball sized objects at 30 yards, the target can disappear behind the sight, or be hard to see above the trio of green dots.
Related: The SW22 Part 1
For a red dot, the Leupold DeltaPoint Pro seemed a perfect match. Lightweight, low profile, simple interface, and rock solid. The Leupold DeltaPoint Pro also has the advantage of being able to swap the battery without tools and without removing the sight from the gun. Further, the topside sealed battery compartment allows the Leupold DeltaPoint Pro to mate with any mount without the need for additional sealing plates. Using a 2.5 MOA dot, it’s possible drill target after target with a simple accuracy one reserved for those with extensive shooting experience. The Leupold DeltaPoint Pro uses a steel housing shell over the core aluminium housing. The steel shell transfers the force of blows around the important parts of the sight. Another feature of the Leupold DeltaPoint Pro is that it has “Motion Sensor Technology” meaning that the red dot turns on automatically when the sight moves. So the DPP as it’s known will shut off when still, yet fire back up instantly when moved. Of course you can shut off the DPP completely if you like.
To run an optic on the Victory, you may need to replace the back sight rail with an included picatinny rail. The included S&W rail is polymer so there are aftermarket machined aluminium versions available to maximize a stable zero for competitive target shooting. I considered one, but then I havn’t noticed any issues yet with my optics on the Victory. The Leupold DeltaPoint Pro has zero magnification, and the scope is a 2x. Plus both are held at arm’s length from the eye. Now if I was using a 4x or higher rifle scope on a polymer rail, I would have serious concerns about zero retention. Another hesitation with an aftermarket rail is that the factory one has a notched rear sight so if you lose your optic, you can still use your irons with the rail as a traditional matte black rear iron sight. Given the growing number of aftermarket barrels for the Victory, and that the competition barrels have no front sights, I’ll probably upgrade the rail if ever upgrade the barrel. But for the moment, the factory match grade heavy barrel works perfectly for this project.
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On the muzzle-end of this Victory is a factory-threaded barrel. It came with a heavy steel thread protector so when not running a suppressor, use a TandemKross compensator. While adding only three-quarters of an ounce to the mix, the compensator at four times longer than the factory option gives direction to the muzzle exhaust providing a reduction in muzzle rise and even some indexing potential. And I’ve experienced shooting with the TK compensator on the B.O.L.T Pistol on snowy surfaces only to have the “dust signature” of the snow be an issue without the compensator, and be a non-issue with one.
So if Project Squirrel Pistol matches your bug out needs, than the S&W SW22 Victory is a great starting point. And ending point.
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