Chiappa 1911-22 Semi-Auto .22 LR Tack Driver

 

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

October 11th, 2009

 

 

 

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After being with us for almost 100 years now, the 1911 style auto pistol is more popular than ever, with more manufacturers than I can keep track of selling high-quality 1911 pistols to satisfy the market. Chambered for the grand old .45 ACP cartridge mostly, with 9mm Luger, .38 Super, and several other centerfire cartridges also being chambered in the popular pistols, there is a 1911 for everybody. With all of these cartridges being relatively expensive to shoot, .22 rimfire conversions for the 1911 have been around for decades. Some are pretty good, some very good, and others not very reliable at all. With more and more shooters wanting reliable and inexpensive practice with their 1911 pistols, the rimfire conversions are more popular today than ever.

Chiappa Firearms, Ltd. has just introduced a dedicated 1911 style .22 Long Rifle pistol called the 1911-22, and it is the subject of this review. I first heard of this new pistol a few months ago, and have been awaiting its production ever since. They are currently shipping to dealers, and I have had mine for about a week now. When it arrived, I didnít even bring it into the gun room, but headed straight for the shooting shack, immediately loading it up and feeding it all the ammo that I could find.

I was at first impressed with the ease of working the slide to chamber a round. It takes very little effort to work the slide, which is a plus for those who lack hand strength due to an injury or arthritis. If your hands can function at all, working the slide on this 1911-22 will be no problem. The trigger pull was a bit heavy to suit me, weighing in at seven pounds, ten ounces, but releasing crisply. I prefer a much lighter trigger for target work, but this trigger pretty well replicates the trigger pull of a typical centerfire 1911.

The 1911-22 weighs in at two pounds, one ounce with an empty magazine in place on my scale. This has plenty of heft, yet is still lighter than a full-sized centerfire 1911 by about half a pound. The slide and frame are made of a non-ferrous alloy, probably zinc based, but has steel inner components for strength. The magazine holds ten rounds, and is made of polymer. It functioned perfectly, never failing to feed reliably, except for the one time that I loaded it with eleven cartridges instead of ten. Some of the smaller parts like the mainspring housing and magazine release button are also made of polymer. The good-looking walnut grips are laser-checkered, which gives the appearance of a set of well-worn vintage walnut grip panels. They are very comfortable to hold, and look good against the pistolís black finish.

Disassembling the 1911-22 for cleaning is pretty straightforward, and takes no tools and very little time. The five-inch barrel is rigidly fixed to the frame, and the slide moves forward off the barrel and frame. The thumb safety and slide release are located in true 1911 style, as is the magazine release, and they work just like on the centerfire 1911 style pistols. The slide locks open on an empty magazine, and after inserting a loaded mag, the slide release allows the slide to move forward and chamber a round.  On the right side of the slide, just under the rear sight, is a key-operated hammer block that rotates a steel block around the rear of the firing pin, preventing the hammer from making contact. The manual thumb safety blocks the trigger and locks the slide.

Shooting the 1911-22 was a real pleasure. The sights were pretty well regulated for high velocity ammo, and plinking at targets such as rocks, sticks, and steel plates offhand was rewarding. The pistol felt like it was pretty accurate shooting offhand, but I did not realize just how accurate it was until I locked it into my Ransom Rest and started testing the accuracy of the pistol. Keeping in mind that this is a budget-priced pistol that is priced lower than many .22 conversion kits, I was expecting budget-priced accuracy as well. After firing a few groups with various brands and types of ammo, I was shocked to see how accurate this pistol really is. With Wolf and PMC match ammo, it shot very well. Moving to high velocity rounds, it still shot very well. Shooting the cheap Federal bulk hollow point ammo that is sold by Wal Mart, this pistol grouped like a good target pistol, putting ten shots into less than one and one-half inches at twenty-five yards. Changing ammo to one of my all-time favorite hunting rounds, the Winchester Dynapoint, the 1911-22 cut that group size in half! As pictured, this pistol would group all day long into one ragged hole at twenty-five yards. Amazing. I have fired pistols costing four times as much with match ammo that would not group this well. When this pistol produced match-grade groups with my favorite hunting ammo, I knew we had a keeper.

Functioning was also very reliable. This pistol is set up to run with high velocity ammo, and with that type, functioning was one-hundred percent. Standard velocity ammo also cycled very well, but would not always have enough power to lock open the slide on an empty magazine, which is no fault of the pistol. With cheap bulk Federal, it worked perfectly. With cheap bulk Winchester XPert, it did as well. With the Winchester Dynapoints, it also functioned perfectly, as it did with CCI Mini-Mags. Feeding with everything was perfect, and only two stovepipe jams were experienced with the low-velocity stuff.

I usually do not list prices in my reviews, as prices tend to change, and reviews on Gunblast.com stay posted in the Archive section for years. However, since the price of this 1911-22 is one of its biggest selling points, I will make an exception. As of this writing, the suggested retail price of this pistol is $299 US, making it a real bargain as a fun, inexpensive 1911-style plinking pistol.  As a super-accurate match-grade target pistol, the price makes this handgun a real steal.  The 1911-22 is not made of highly-polished blued steel. The trigger pull is a bit heavy. It even has a Phillips-head screw holding the thumb safety in place. However, if you want an affordable 1911-style rimfire pistol that shoots like a two thousand dollar target gun, this Chiappa 1911-22 is your baby.

Check out the Chiappa 1911-22 online at www.1911-22.com.

To order the 1911-22 online, go to www.galleryofguns.com.

Jeff Quinn

To buy this gun online, go to:

 

Pistol comes with hard plastic case, cleaning brush, and instruction manual.

 

 

Slide locks open on an empty magazine.

 

 

Barrel is fixed to the frame, contributing to the pistol's excellent accuracy.

 

 

From a Ransom Master Series rest, bulk-pack Federal hollowpoints displayed excellent accuracy, but the Winchester Dynapoint ammo was stunningly accurate!

 

 

 

 

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Click pictures for a larger version.

 

Chiappa's 1911-22 pistol.

 

 

Laser-checkered walnut grip panels.

 

 

 

 

Magazine release (top) and thumb safety (bottom) are like a standard 1911-type pistol in location and operation.

 

 

Key lock rotates a hammer block into position to prevent firing.

 

 

Windage adjustable rear and fixed front sight.

 

 

 

 

Polymer magazine holds ten rounds, and proved to be perfectly reliable.

 

 

Disassembly is simple and requires no tools.

 

 

Extractor is robust and reliable.