Excel Arms .22 Magnum Model MP-22 Accelerator Auto Pistol


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

December 23rd, 2007




I love the .22 Magnum cartridge. Whether from a pocket revolver, auto pistol, or rifle, the little magnum performs all out of proportion to its size. With the right bullet, it is an excellent penetrator, displaying more penetration than many larger calibers. While I would rather not, I could get along quite well with nothing but a .22 Magnum. From a revolver, the .22 Magnum performs much like a .22 Long Rifle cartridge fired from a carbine, but with a better bullet. From a closed-breech pistol, the .22 Magnum really shines, suffering no loss of velocity as does the cartridge fired from a revolver, due to the revolver’s barrel/cylinder gap.

There have been a few .22 Magnum auto pistols manufactured over the years, and some have been better than others. The .22 Magnum AMT Automag II is back in production, and I reviewed one here back in November of 2006.

When I recently heard that Excel Industries of Chino, California was making a .22 Magnum auto pistol, I called and requested one for review. There are not enough good .22 Magnum autos on the market, and I was anxious to try the Excel pistol. It arrived a few days after my call, and I have been pleased with the pistol right from the start.

The Model MP-22 is no pocket pistol. It is rather large, and weighs in at 53 ounces, with most of that weight being in the .876 inch diameter stainless steel eight and one-half inches long bull barrel. The heavy barrel has a recessed target crown, and wears a full length aluminum rib/scope mount base.  The rib is stationary, houses the ramp front and fully adjustable rear sights, and does not move with the slide. The slide is also made of stainless steel, and the pistol comes with a slide handle to facilitate easy operation of the slide with a scope attached. It proved to be very handy in operating the slide after mounting a Leupold VX-III 2.5 to 8 power pistol scope. This scope is an excellent choice for such a pistol, for the .22 Magnum Accelerator  has plenty of power to take vermin and small predators out to one hundred and fifty yards or so, and the clear optics and high power of the VX-III makes them easy to see.

The grip frame of the MP-22 is made of a black polymer material, is lightly textured, and has a comfortable feel. The slide release lever and manual thumb safety are not ambidextrous, but are easy to use for a right-handed shooter. The trigger is wide, smooth, comfortable to use, and the pull weight measured four and three-quarters pounds on the test pistol. The slide contains a single claw extractor, and it worked perfectly in conjunction with the fixed blade ejector to cleanly eject fired brass with one hundred percent reliability. Feeding was a bit sticky at first, with some cartridges failing to fully chamber without a little push on the rear of the slide. This problem occurred a few times during the first fifty rounds fired, but cleared up after that, with the pistol running perfectly after that short break-in period. I subsequently fired hundreds of rounds of ammo of various brands through the Accelerator without a problem. Reading the owner’s manual later, it does prescribe a break-in period for the new gun.

Loading the Accelerator magazines is very easy using the handy tool provided. The tool is inserted in to a hole in the follower, and pulled down to load the magazine. It works very well to ease the pressure needed to insert the cartridges into the magazine. The pistol came with two nine-round magazines, and both performed perfectly. The slide locks open after the magazine is emptied, and the heel-type magazine catch works very well in retaining and quickly releasing the magazine.

I was curious to see the velocity that the MP-22 could obtain from its eight and one-half inch barrel, so I fired several brands of ammunition over the eyes of one of my PACT chronographs. The air temperature was around sixty degrees Fahrenheit , and the chronograph was set at a distance of ten feet from the muzzle. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Bullet weight is listed in grains. JHP is jacketed hollowpoint. Dynapoint is a plated lead semi-hollowpoint bullet. TNT is a plastic-tipped jacketed bullet. I also included the velocity figures from previous testing of a seven and one-half inch Ruger revolver, and the six inch AMT Automag II from last year, for comparison.

Ammunition Bullet Weight MP-22 8-1/2" Ruger 7-1/2" Automag 6"
Winchester Supreme JHP 34 grains 1877 fps 1506 fps 1650 fps
CCI Maxi-Mag TNT 30 grains 1874 fps 1519 fps 1671 fps
CCI Maxi-Mag +V 30 grains 1879 fps 1516 fps 1680 fps
Winchester Dynapoint 45 grains 1427 fps 1105 fps 1256 fps
PMC Predator JHP 40 grains 1667 fps 1215 fps 1412 fps
Federal Game-Shok JHP 50 grains 1256 fps 1035 fps 1235 fps

As you can see, the longer barrel of the Accelerator makes a big difference in velocity compared to the six inch AMT. However, the Accelerator is also a larger, heavier pistol, so that extra velocity comes at a price. In most cases, better than 200 extra fps were obtained with the longer barrel of the Accelerator compared to the six inch AMT, and about a 350 fps gain over the seven and one-half inch revolver. The Accelerator would be a fine choice for a hunting handgun, with its high velocity and ability to easily mount a quality scope sight.

Where the Accelerator really shines in in the accuracy of the pistol. I fired the Accelerator for accuracy using the aforementioned Leupold scope at a distance of fifty yards. The largest group fired was just over two and one-half inches across, center-to-center for five shots. The Winchester Supreme ammunition grouped five rounds into just barely over one inch, and my favorite .22 Magnum ammo, the PMC Predator hollowpoint, did almost as well, grouping five into one and one-half inches at fifty yards.  This level of accuracy is excellent from a .22 Magnum pistol.  The .22 Magnum does not have the fine reputation for accuracy as does the .22 Long Rifle cartridge, but this Excel Accelerator proves that a good .22 Magnum pistol can shoot accurately also.

The Excel MP-22 proved to be a versatile, reliable, and very accurate auto pistol. It would make a dandy varmint rig when coupled with a good scope such as the VX-III Leupold. Excel also offers the MP-22 Accelerator chambered for the .17 HMR cartridge, labeled the MP-17, and a conversion barrel for either caliber is available, allowing an Accelerator owner to switch between the .17 HMR and .22 Magnum quickly, and at a very reasonable cost. For more information on this and other features of the Accelerator pistol, such as the suggested retail prices and accessories available, go online to www.excelarms.com.

For more information on the extensive line of fine Leupold optics, go to www.leupold.com.

Jeff Quinn


Jeff was very impressed with the MP-22's quality, reliability and accuracy.



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Click pictures for a larger version.


Excel Arms .22 Magnum Model MP-22 Accelerator Auto Pistol comes with two magazines, loading tools, Allen wrenches, bolt handle and cable lock.



Mag loading tool is simple and very handy.



Slide release & safety lever.



Bolt handle helps to easily operate the slide when a scope is mounted.



Bull barrel has a recessed target crown.



Magazine release is located at the heel.



The MP-22 features a very nice set of adjustable iron sights...



...and, to fully take advantage of the pistol's accuracy, a scope base.



To test the MP-22's accuracy, Jeff mounted a Leupold VX-III 2.5-8x pistol scope.



Author's favorite .22 Magnum ammo, PMC's Predator 40 grain hollow point, proved to be a fine performer in the MP-22.



Author also tested the MP-22 with a variety of other .22 Magnum loads. All proved very accurate and 100% reliable.



5-shot 50-yard groups show the Excel Arms Model MP-22 Accelerator Auto Pistol is capable of fine accuracy, more than equal to the task of target shooting or small game, varmint & predator hunting.