The Domestic Goddess and I were in bed on a warm summer evening, reading and beginning to doze off when our young golden retriever barked outside the bedroom door. When I let her in, she leaped onto the bed and we smelled it—skunk!
If you've ever been pestered by skunks or other nuisance critters in the night, or simply want to have fun accessorizing a new pistol, you will want to take a look at the new Ruger 22/45—the latest version of the company's very successful line of .22-caliber semi-automatic pistols.
The 22/45 is a departure from Ruger's Mark III series in several ways. First, it uses a precision-molded Zytel frame that reduces weight and is similar in grip angle and width to a 1911. Second, cocobolo grips with double-diamond checkering have the company's logo inlaid, making it look just as good as it feels.
In appearance, the grips are the same as those provided on Ruger's new SR1911 pistol. And, just like the SR1911, Ruger replaced the heel-type magazine release of the Mark III with a 1911-style pushbutton magazine release located behind the trigger guard on the left side of the frame. To accommodate the new magazine release, 22/45 magazines are not compatible with older versions.
Keeping with the company's philosophy of making sure its pistols can be sold everywhere, including states with restrictive laws, the 22/45 has a loaded-chamber indicator on the left side of the receiver, a thumb safety, a key lock and a magazine disconnect. Field stripping the 22/45 for cleaning is a familiar process for anyone accustomed to prior Ruger .22 semi-automatic models, but reassembly is a little different due to the magazine disconnect. The excellent instruction manual covers this in detail.
The 22/45 is available in several barrel and sighting configurations, but to me, the real gem of the line is the 22/45 Threaded Barrel (TB). Sporting a 4.5-inch 1⁄2x28 threaded barrel, the TB comes without sights, but has two Picatinny rails—one atop the receiver and the other under its bull barrel. It is good to go as a platform upon which to mount all kinds of accessories, including scopes and dot sights, lights, lasers, muzzle brakes and even suppressors.
When I saw the TB, I knew exactly how I was going to set it up to be the ultimate nighttime skunk pistol. The first addition was an Aimpoint Micro T-1 red-dot sight. Small, lightweight and sitting very low on the top rail, this optic allows shooting with both eyes open and has a battery life allowing it to be left on for years—no need to worry about turning it on and off or having the batteries fail.
I knew the next addition to the 22/45 TB had to be a powerful light, and there are none better than those made by SureFire. Its X400 weaponlight/ laser combo was chosen because it has a powerful, nearly indestructible 170-lumen LED white light, combined with a laser sight that adds needed capabilities for precision hits at night.
Next, in order to avoid annoying the neighbors or attracting undue attention, I removed the threaded nut from the TB's muzzle and screwed on a Gemtech Outback-II sound suppressor. This unit weighs a scant 2.5 ounces and is only 5.2 inches long.
The bare 22/45 TB weighs 32.1 ounces with an empty magazine. With the addition of the sight, light/laser and the suppressor, the pistol came in at 42.5 ounces, meaning the accessories only add 10.4 ounces—not bad.
When shooting suppressed pistols, ammunition selection is important since the idea is to reduce the sound signature. This generally means subsonic ammunition should be used in order to avoid that loud crack as the bullet accelerates beyond the speed of sound. With .22s, you need not look for subsonic ammunition because most high-speed and standard-velocity .22 LR ammunition fired in pistols is going to exit the barrel below the supersonic (generally about 1,100 fps) velocity level. Target .22 LR ammunition is always going to run at subsonic velocity. Hyper-velocity ammunition, however, like the CCI Stinger, usually exceeds supersonic velocities in pistols.
The 22/45 TB with the Outback-II attached and shooting target .22 LR ammunition is very quiet, so much so it can barely be heard when standing 20 feet behind the pistol.
Testing revealed little difference in accuracy between shooting with or without the suppressor and a slight velocity increase with the suppressor installed. Remington Subsonic ammunition was the only exception, actually losing a little velocity with the can and producing a few failures to cycle the action.
With the SureFire laser and the Aimpoint red dot adjusted to the same point of aim, I think I'm ready for the next nocturnal skunk visit. For night varmint control, small-game hunting in places where it can be done legally at night or SWAT teams needing to quietly turn off street lights, the Ruger 22/45 TB could be the answer.
Manufacturer: Ruger; (928) 541-8820
Action Type: Blowback-operated, semi-automatic
Caliber: .22 LR
Capacity: 10 rounds
Barrel Length: 4.5 inches
Rifling: 6 grooves; 1:16-inch RH twist
Trigger Pull Weight: 6 pounds, 1 ounce
Sights: None; Picatinny rail for optics
Grips: Cocobolo panels
Length: 8.5 inches
Height: 5.35 inches
Width: 1 inch
Weight: 32 ounces
Accessories: Two magazines, lock, manual