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FireStorm FS22LR

2310 Views 10 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Ed Hunter
If you’ll check back at http://www.msgunowners.com/handguns-f15/home-home-on-the-range-t5118-40.htm, I wrote 10/19/10, “...think I’ve ordered a new .22 ...”. Then added on 10/27/10, “...it develops I did and I picked it up yesterday.”.

So here’s the story (might as well sit back and relax).

Now it’s a well known fact (if you happen to read any of my ramblings) that I have a definite and stated bias towards the 1911 platform. And, it’s well known, I guess, that I have a Ruger 22/45 that I really like (see my multiple postings to “Ruger 22/45 Pistol” at: http://www.msgunowners.com/rimfire-f27/ruger-22-45-pistol-t4464.htm). This tale is in no way a reflection on the Ruger.

Rather, a few weeks ago I got ruminating about a new .22 on a 1911 frame. I looked at a conversion kit (think it was a Kimber). And, I had the opportunity to fondle a 1911 look-alike, the Puma 1911-22. I quickly made up my mind that wasn’t what I wanted. I even contemplated seeing about a .22 conversion from STI for the 9mm 1911, though I never did pursue that

However, there’s a darker side to my gun-lusts. Perhaps it has something to do with the appearance of Ian Fleming’s 1953 creation and later arming him with a Walther PPK in 32ACP (see http://www.universalexports.net/00Walther.shtml). So I must admit that deep down I have a certain “interest” in the PPK. Unfortunately I do not have a “Walther” pocketbook so I am forced to look for a PPK-clone.

A few years ago I acquired a Bersa 380 which is close to being a PPK-clone other than perhaps the finger-rail trigger guard. See http://www.msgunowners.com/handguns-f15/bersa-thunder-380-t4058.htm, postings dated 3/30/10, 4/1/10 & 6/9/10. I write about that PPK-clone there.

Doing a diligent web search I came to the realization that there seems to be just one .22LR PPK-clone: the FireStorm FS22LR. So I said “What the Heck”, and ordered it.

It came in this past Tuesday (10/26). And here it is in all its radiant glory:

Here’s a peek at the three-dot sight arrangement and the roughened ramp running the length of the top of the slide

Let’s get the Spec’s out of the way so we can make some observations.
  • Action: DA/SA
    Capacity: 10+1
    Barrel Length: 3.5”
    Front Sight: Blade integral with slide
    Rear Sight: White outline target
    Finish: Duotone or Matte Black – I specified the matte black. Don’t want to get flashy.
    Grips: Rubber wrap around
    Construction: Alloy Frame/Steel Slide
    Safeties: Integral Locking System, Manual, Firing Pin
    Weight: 18..9 oz.
    Length: 6.6”
    Height: 4.9”
    Width: 1.3”

Okay, there you have it.

Now for some free-wheeling comments.

The first thing I noticed was how very tight the gun was. Racking the slide took a bit more of a pull than you’d expect. Shaking it produced absolutely no rattle.

The gun was virtually “dripping:” oil. It really needed a wiping down, and the barrel/chamber a good swabbing out, before there could be any thought of firing. That’s no big deal. I guess that should be a cautionary procedure (swabbing out the barrel) before any new gun is used.

Trigger reset travel is about a ¼ inch, which I don’t think is too bad at all.

Take a look at the left side picture above. The magazine release is high on the frame, at the top of the trigger opening. It is very stiff. I find it simpler for me to reach up with my left thumb and pop the magazine than try to maneuver my right thumb up to push the release button. That just doesn’t work for me. Perhaps a bit inconvenient.

The magazine is not as user-friendly as the Ruger (that may be because of relative familiarity). The follower spring is quit stiff. There is not the prominent thumb button you’ll find on the Ruger. I find I need to stand the magazine on some surface and then use my thumb and forefinger on either side of the magazine to depress the follower. And the follower/magazine design is such that it is relatively easy to get a round miss-set, requiring a little shaking and jiggling to get it out and reinserted.

The three-dot sight, I believe, is going to work out okay. I’ve posted a picture above. The front dot is larger than the rear dots. I don’t know that that makes any difference. Interestingly the front dot on my STI 9mm is smaller than the two rear dots. Hmmm.

The gun does have a de-cocker as do all (as far as I know) the PPK-types. I like that.

The Owner’s Manual leaves a bit to be desired. I wonder who writes these things; I wonder who proof reads them. One glaring omission is a failure to even make mention of adjusting the rear sight. I know; I can figure it out.

So then Friday morning (10/29), bright and early (in the 40’s, north wind, brrrrr), I trucked out to the range to give the Firestorm it first trial, amongst other things.

Now, let’s hold off on the snickering and chortling. I admit I’m not the world’s best marksman but do keep in mind these are the first rounds (actually 23rd – 32nd) through this gun.

So, 10 rounds, 50 feet, from the bench.

I know they’re all over the place. And it’s a bit embarrassing. But it’s a start. Over the next couple or so weeks I’ll continue to work with this FireStorm and report back.

By the way, the gun is a ball to shoot, a lot of fun, sets in the hand very nicely. It is really quite smooth. Am glad I gave in to my baser instincts.
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Watched the radar last evening and again this morning and figured I’d have enough time to get out to the range and back before it rained (which I did).

Idea was to run a few more rounds through the FS22LR, amongst other stuff, and see if there was any improvement. Well, here’s the result: 5 rounds, 50 feet (measured), from the bench, resting on my range bag. It’s better. Hopefully I can squeeze a little better precision out of it. I realize it’s not a target pistol and can’t expect a lot out of a 3.5” barrel.

It’s a fun gun to shoot, though.

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I don’t know if anyone is tracking this but I’ll just keep plugging away.

Was out this morning to the range (beautiful morning!). Plan, in part, was again to run a few more rounds through the FS22LR and see if the gun (or my use of said gun) is showing any consistency. Didn’t spend a lot of time at it as I had some other things I wanted to do while I was there.

Well, here’s the result of Trial 3: 10 rounds, from the bench, resting on my range bag.

If you compare it with last week’s I think we’re seeing a little improvement and some definite consistency. It may be time to start messing with the rear sight and trying to move the center of mass to the left. Need to devote some range time to that.

CAUTION: Last Friday while on “Another Poker Crew Outing” (see posting 11/5/10 at: http://www.msgunowners.com/handguns-f15/home-home-on-the-range-t5118-40.htm) we passed the FS22LR around. We had some major failure-to-extract and failure-to-eject problems. It just started acting up.

That afternoon I disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled the pistol.

This morning the problems were still there but not to the extent that they occurred last Friday. I’m not panicking yet (may not be too far off!). My hope is this is just teething problems. However, if my thread here has interested you in acquiring an FS22LR (it sure is a fun gun, when it’s acting right) I’d suggest you hold off a little and see what happens to me down the road.

Of course this may be just an anomaly and you might not experience the same difficulties. No matter, I’d still be cautious. I’ll get back to concentrating on the FS22LR next week.

This evening the Poker Crew will decide if it’s going to get out this week (they need to blow off the cobwebs).
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yroc said:
Thanks Ed. As someone who has Bersa .380 and is shocked at how well it performs, I am interested your findings with the .22. Please continue to plug away sir.
I also have a Bersa 380 (with the 15rd magazine) with which I'm pleased - albeit it had some problems in the first 50-100 rds but that all smoothed out. As I have a Bersa I did not hesitate to pick up another one of those Argentine pistols.

By the way, and you may already know this, there is a thread in this forum on the Bersa 380. See at: http://www.msgunowners.com/handguns-f15/bersa-thunder-380-t4058.htm.

I will keep plugging away at it. Probably again early next week. Last night the Poker Crew couldn't get it all together to go out later this week.
glock.40s&w said:
Good Luck with FS22LR! :goodpost:

Thank you, I need all I can get.

I closed the last posting, “This evening the Poker Crew will decide if it’s going to get out this week...”. Well, as it developed I couldn’t pry any of them loose this week (buncha old fogies!) so I ended up going by myself. That worked out OK as I wanted to work a little more with the FS22LR, amongst other things.

I spent a little time with the FS22LR running 35 rounds through it. “What, that’s all?” you ask. Well, if you’ve followed much of my scribblings you’ll know I’m, what I call, a low volume shooter (i.e.; cheap!). But, I am pleased to report that in that run there was not the single burp – no failures to extract or eject. Interesting, confusing but interesting.

So here are the results for the record – 2 targets.

As I wrote this past Tuesday, “It may be time to start messing with the rear sight and trying to move the center of mass to the left.”

TARGET #1: So let’s begin here. Target #1, I think, shows that the center of mass has shifted to the left (albeit we’re a good deal above the center of the bullseye)

Problem: That rear sight is cranked as far to the left as I believe it can go.

Now, the sight looks exactly the same as that on my Bersa 380. And, as a matter of fact, I had a similar problem with that rear sight on that Bersa (I think it needed to go right). Well, I disassembled the 380 sight and, not being a mechanical genius, ended up having to order replacement sight blade, spring, and screw. As it developed I was unable to move the sight sufficiently with the adjustment screw and, as I recall, drifted it a bit to the right in its dovetail. You can read my posting about the Bersa 380 in a post dated 3/30/10 at: http://www.msgunowners.com/handguns-f15/bersa-thunder-380-t4058.htm.

Eyeballing the rear sight on the FS22LR I think it is not exactly on the center line of the slide. If we find that we need to go farther left I may need to try to drift it in its dovetail.

This target is 5rds, 50 feet (measured), from the bench using the range bag as a rest. I think the groupings are improving. We’ve got a 2 inch group. Extrapolated out to 25 yards would give a group of 3 inches. I guess that’s okay from a 3 ½ inch barrel.

TARGET #2: The grid you see here is a one-inch grid. This again is 5rds, 50 feet (measured), from the bench using the range bag as a rest. The strikes are harder to see. We’ve got one at 12 o’clock on the inner red ring, two grouped together on the red center circle at 6 o’clock, a fourth inside the inner red ring at 6 o’clock, and then that lousy flier at 7 o’clock 3+ inches out. Ignoring that flier (I guess I’m entitled to do that – the magazine mavins do it all the time) we’re again showing a 2 inch group on the money.

I believe things are improving.

Will be out again early next week and will probably spend a little time with the FS22LR. Have another project I’m working on and will need to spend a little time on that when I’m at the range next.

I gotta say it again – this is a fun little gun to shoot.
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FS22LR – RUN 5
Was to the range Wednesday morning, 11/17, (Tuesday was rainy). Beautiful morning; 40’s and sunny.

Part of the drill for that morning was to again run the FS22LR and see if we are getting comfortable with it.

These are the targets for record for yesterday.

First of all I’m really overjoyed to be able to report that we didn’t have the first hiccup – no failures to feed, no failures to extract, and no failures to eject. Just went smoothly.

For the record these were shot from the bench, 50 feet (measured), using the range bag as an assist with 5 rounds per target.

Target #1: If it weren’t for that lousy flier (I sure would like to cure that) that would be, in my humble opinion, a very acceptable group for this type pistol platform. I measure a 1 3/8” center-to-center group for the remaining 4 rounds.

Target #2: That 5rd group measured, center-to-center, 1 15/16 inches. I think that’s beginning to show consistency. Don’t know why they drifted to the left unless I was pushing on the trigger.

I think I have reached a level of reasonable satisfaction and am going to back off reporting on the FS22LR for the time being, unless something pops up. Of course, knowing me, I’ll probably be pounding these keys within the next week!

That FS22LR is sure a fun-gun to shoot!
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I opened this “FireStorm FS22LR” thread 10/30/10. It’s had minimal play. I believe my last posting was 11/18/10 – been a while. But let’s go ahead today and liven it up a little bit.

About three weeks ago, when I pulled the Aug 2013 issue (I have never fully understood magazine publication dating) of Guns and Ammo magazine out of the mailbox and routinely thumbed through the pages, what to my wondering eyes should appear (and it certainly wasn't a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer) but a picture of a Walther PPK/S 22LR (in livin’ color) in an article titled, “PP Spells Pistol” by Patrick Sweeney..

Well, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that I immediately began to ponder how my PPK-clone FireStorm FS22LR would compare with it.

Here’s the specification comparison using Sweeney’s article for the PPK/S data:

There are some slight dimensional differences but I don’t think any of those differences would be significant.

Sweeney’s article, “PP Spells Pistol”, discussed three Walther pistols, so not a lot of space was allocated to the PPK/S. Therefore, just to be sure of what I am reporting, I did a little research on the PPK/S. You can look at what Walther has to say at: http://www.waltherarms.com/products/handguns/ppks-22/.

A couple of comments might be needed:

Sights: All Sweeney ever says is “fixed”. I checked the Walther reference above and all they said was “Fixed steel sights, aftermarket sights are available.” – no white dots, no nothin’. The FireStorm has a pegged (I think that’s a correct description) white-dotted front sight. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and is white-dotted too.

MSRP: Sweeney shows the MSRP for the PPK/S at $389. Again, going back to the Walther reference, all they say is, “Suggested MSRP ranges from $399 to $429”. So for purposes of this report let’s use “under $400” for the PPK/S MSRP. I ran into a problem trying to pinpoint an MSRP for the FireStorm. I checked a couple of sources, which didn’t help much, finding quotes from $250 - $263. So I think it safe to say that there is a good $100+ price differential between the PPK/S and the FireStorm.

The performance data Sweeney reports is based on six different brands of ammo, shot in four five-shot groups at 25 yards using a MTM-K Zone shooting rest. That figures out to 120 rounds. You can believe that this parsimonious plinker will not be expending that number of rounds.

By now, everyone knows I do not have a machine rest, so I’ll just drape my forearms over the range bag, with the pistol dangling over the off-side, and have at it. I get lucky from time to time.

In the cited article Sweeney described the PPK/S as “…a really classy rimfire, delivering excellent accuracy.” So what kind of performance data did he report? Sweeney showed, for the 6 brands of .22LR, 25-yard groups ranging from 3.0 – 3.5 inches. We end up, therefore, with a mean average group at 25 yards for the PPK/S of 3.25 inches (a la machine rest). So then that 3.25 inches becomes the baseline within which we’d sure like to see the FireStorm perform.

Guys (and you gals, too), I know some of this stuff is repetitious but I’d appreciate your bearing with me. There’s an off chance that there might just be somebody out there who’s just tuned in and hasn’t got these blurbs of mine memorized as you do.

I’m going to allow myself an age-based handicap. Sweeney shot these groups at 25 yards. I’m going to shoot this at 50 feet and extrapolate out to 25 yards. As I keep trying to explain, that extra 25 feet is a long walk (and sorta dim to the eyes).

I guess it’s time now to go out to the range, set this up, and see what happens. Let’s see if my luck holds.

It held!

The FireStorm is safely on the money – 5 rounds, 50 feet, off the range bag. The green circle is 2-inches, outer diameter. It just provides a rough proof  ring to see if we’ve more or less met the desired grouping - 2”@50’ = 3”@75’, 25 yds.

Specifically, the group is 1 25/32 inches (1.78”) center-to-center. That will extend out that extra 25 feet to 2.67 inches at 25 yards (sans machine rest) well within that PPK/S 3.25 inch baseline, and doing it at a good $100+ less in investment, albeit not having brand-name bragging rights.

Gotta give the FireStorm its due.

What’s all this add up to? Not a heck of a lot other than a good deal of fun and games for me - setting it up and shooting it.

And, as I’ve written time after time, I invite your input. Don’t worry - good, bad or indifferent, you will not hurt my feelings.


PS: You’ve noticed, I’m sure, the aggravating blue, underlined, links in the above narrative. I didn’t put them there (other than the link to Walther)! That bit of  chicanery is somehow locked in here.

It needs to get removed!
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