SW22 Victory Pistol by Smith & Wesson

Jan 11, 2016
The SW22 Victory at the S&W Academy in December 2014.
It was early December in 2014 when I was in a group of media at Smith & Wesson in Springfield, Mass. for the pre-launch look at a new pistol The pistol, in keeping with the same use of classic S&W branding as on the M&P line, was named "Victory." Completely unlike "Victory" model revolvers of WWII – Military & Police revolvers made to lesser cosmetic standards to meet the crush of wartime production – the SW22 Victory is a stainless-steel 10-shot blowback semi-auto pistol in .22 Long Rifle. The new gun has a 5 ½" stainless steel stationary barrel, a bolt that moves inside a rectangular receiver, has a bolt-stop, a manual safety on the left side of the receiver and a push-button magazine release button. The trigger has a factory-set over-travel screw. At the top of the receiver, there is a fiber-optic adjustable rear sight and an integral rear-sight base. With the gun empty and the bolt locked open, you can remove the rear sight by removing the mounting screw and sliding the sight unit back and up. This allows you to mount the (included) optical sight base – basically a rail section with a rear sight channel cut therein. Installing the optics base permits installation of red-dot and other optic sights.
The SW22 Victory being fired with a red dot sight on the factory-supplied optics rail. The barrel is by Volquartsen.
It's a hammer-fired single action pistol with a match-grade, interchangeable barrel. A great feature, a stumbling block with other .22 pistols already manufactured, is the simple one-screw takedown design. The gun has a magazine disconnector. The manual refers to it as a "safety," but far too many use it as a crutch. Never trust it. If you've "staged" the trigger (it's particularly not wise on the short, crisp trigger of the SW22 but a bad idea in any event), and remove the magazine, the gun can still fire. Speaking of the crisp trigger, the SW22 Victory has the trigger remarkably like the much-pricier Model 41 premium rimfire auto. Likewise, it has the accuracy of the upscale auto – it lacks only the price tag. If you could have the fine trigger of the Smith & Wesson Model 41 premium rimfire auto and the accuracy of that gun at a lower price, would you jump on it? Let's add fiber optic sights, include a picatinny rail add-on to allow the use of optics and, while we're about it, get Volquartsen -- a name known for rimfire precision -- to make barrels for it. And, if you desire, you can get the gun with Kryptek finish, standard finish or with a threaded barrel from the factory. Are you in? This is the new Smith & Wesson SW22 Victory – it's a dynamite new pistol. I've had one that has been in my custody for over a year. The new ones should be arriving at your local gun shop shortly after you read this. Scheduled for release nearly a year ago, the new guns are a SHOT 2016 rollout. For a match in bad weather or for a camp gun with real precision, the durable stainless SW22 Victory is a real deal. The aforementioned sneak peek, in December 2014, had us outfitted with a gun, Volquartsen barrels and red dot sights. We shot the new 22s at the S&W Academy and even had a "shoot-off." While the others in the group were real competitors, I stumped along with the Victory as shipped: the fiber-optic iron sights and standard factory barrel. Shooting against some real gun hands -- Roy Huntington and Scott Rupp were real killers in that competition, I barely edged them to win the shoot-off . . . with the Victory, its S&W factory barrel and iron sights -- at age 60. They used optics and after-market barrels.
Knowing the Victory was soon to be released, it made a winter trip to the range.
I'd like to take some credit but it was good luck for me and some hard luck for them. But that exercise showed that the SW 22 Victory is one hell of a shooter. Since then, I've taken it along on some range outings and surreptitiously shot it – the gun was still a secret. Most recently, I shot the gun from an impromptu rest during an overcast wintery excursion. From an impromptu rest, in 23 degree weather and snow flurries, I fired five-shot groups at 25 yards. The gun seemed to want to shoot in spite of my numbed fingers. The table shows the results: Table: 25 yard accuracy, average five-shot groups at 25 yards.
Ammunition Avg. Group Notes
Remington Golden Bullet 40gr 1 ½" Six o'clock hold, 2" low
CCI Stinger 1 ¾" Six o'clock hold, centered, best group had 1 flyer. 4 hits in 1 ½"
CCI 40 gr. Standard Vel. 2 5/8"One group had 3-shot cluster in ½", two high fliers.
A couple of average test targets.
The take-down and barrel/sight changes are dirt-simple. It couldn't be easier, no doubt a good reason for Volquartsen to get involved in the project. Their after-market barrels are quite simply superb but if the base gun is problematic to switch barrels on, people tend not to do it. With the Victory, you order up the after-market barrel and switch it out yourself. Just like putting on the optics rail, it's easy to do and well documented in the owner's manual. The Volquartsen barrels had compensators that twist off, allowing use of a suppressor too -- something I really need to address at some point. Triple K makes a holster for the Victory. Barrels, holsters – all you need is a supply of .22 ammo and you're in business. If our samples are any indication of the new guns coming out of the factory, you're in for a treat. The price is right and the Victory fits a previously empty niche. -- Rich Grassi