By Oleg Volk
*All photos courtesy of Oleg Volk and Volkstudio
The Smith & Wesson SW22® Victory™ model rimfire pistol is a slightly odd-looking contraption with a high level of modularity. Shooting the stock Victory™ at the 2016 Rimfire Challenge World Championships gave me a good appreciation for the balance and fiber optic sights, but also left me with fingers pinched by the charging nubs of the slide when checking the chamber.
When I set up my own SW22® Victory™, I was mainly interested in seeing if it could match the accuracy and the balance of the classic S&W Model 41. To that end, it was upgraded with a TANDEMKROSS "Victory" Trigger and a Holosun HS503CU red dot sight. For more rapid fire, I added a TANDEMKROSS "Game Changer" muzzle brake, "VictoryPRO" extended magazine base pads, "SuperGrips" grip tape, and a “halo” Charging Ring. Not included, but very much desired was the “Titan” Extended Magazine Release button from TANDEMKROSS -- my fingers are just barely long enough to reach the standard release without shifting the grip.
After several range trips, I remain quite impressed with the results. The trigger is a definite improvement over stock for precision shooting. The extended base pads and "SuperGrips" grip tape help handling a lot when wearing gloves. The “halo” charging ring saves wear on my fingertips.
The Holosun red dot sight deserves a special notice. I use them on a 12ga slug gun, a unit that is known to be recoil resistant. Wearing glasses, I am quite sensitive to the quality of the dot, and the Holosun definitely has one of the best, most crisply imaged circle/dot reticles in the industry. As a result, I was able to shoot the Victory™ pistol to its best performance.
The stock Victory™ barrel is very accurate: both Eley Pistol match and Aguila Interceptor ammunition gave consistent 10-shot groups measuring 2/3" at 15 yards. At my best, I could only shoot the same with the 7.5-inch S&W Model 41 equipped with iron sights at 10 yards, rather than 15.
The SW22® Victory™ proved reliable with a wide variety of ammunition, from subsonic and standard velocity match to supersonic high velocity. The higher power round that was used, the more noticeable the impact of the very effective TANDEMKROSS “Game Changer” Compensator. For speed shooting, I would use the TANDEMKROSS muzzle brake every time.
For precision shooting, I would recommend the Tactical Innovations linear compensator, which does nothing to reduce muzzle brake or recoil, but does efficiently channel the muzzle blast forward and away from the shooter. Swapping these devices takes almost no time and does not appear to affect the zero. At 15 yards, swapping ammunition also did not affect the zero: all groups remain centered within 1/8" of the point of aim.
The Smith & Wesson® Victory™ runs very cleanly: at nearly 600 rounds of miscellaneous ammo (some of it lubricated Norma, some waxed Eley, some plain lead Federal) it remains entirely reliable. It’s a good thing Victory™ magazines are easy to load, as the temptation to just keep shooting it to the exclusion of other test pistols is strong.
The plan going forward is to decide the pistol's role and to equip it accordingly. If, as I suspect, it becomes my medium range outdoor gun, the steel barrel will come off and be replaced with a carbon fiber barrel replacement from Volquartsen to make up for the weight of a sound suppressor on the front. With subsonic match and a red dot sight, it should make a very competent 50 yard small game getter.
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