Lipsey’s Exclusive Ruger Mark III 5 ˝ Inch Slabside .22 Target Pistol

 

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

September 25th, 2007

 

 

 

Ruger’s dandy little .22 Long Rifle semi-auto pistol has been with us now for almost sixty years, and has proven to be the most rugged, reliable, and affordable line of .22 pistols ever built. The Ruger .22 auto is the gun to which all new designs are compared, and most fall by the wayside after a few short years, but the Ruger keeps on going. Now in its third generation, dubbed the Mark III, the Ruger pistol is just about the perfect semi-auto .22 pistol.

I reviewed the Mark III when first introduced, and the changes made to it from the Mark II series are detailed in that review, so I won’t go over it again here, but instead refer the reader to that earlier article. The only complaints that I ever hear about the Mark III are the addition of a magazine safety, and the pistol not being able to use the older magazines. The magazine safety issue could be a legitimate gripe, but it doesn’t bother me at all, as I never fire one of these pistols without a magazine in place. The issue of the Mark III magazines being different are because shooters have for years pestered Ruger to place the magazine release in the position favored by most American shooters, just to the rear of the trigger guard on the left side. The magazine interchangeability issue is not a problem, as plenty of magazines are available at low cost, and Ruger supplies the pistols with two of them.

The Mark III pistol reviewed here is made by Ruger exclusively for Lipsey’s, a distributor located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I have known the good folks at Lipsey’s for a long time, first as a licensed gun dealer many years ago, and now an owner of and writer for Gunblast. Every person in that organization that I have met, from the owner to all the sales staff, are professionals, and they try hard to supply the guns that hunters and shooters want. They listen to their dealers, and then persuade the manufacturers to build special runs of firearms just for them. The folks at Lipsey’s are also shooters and hunters, and they know guns.

This Lipsey’s exclusive Mark III is built with a heavy five and one-half inch barrel, but the sides have been milled flat to reduce weight, without sacrificing rigidity. Besides that, it just plain looks good. And speaking of looks, the beautiful Cocobolo grip panels are the best-looking that I have ever seen on a Ruger .22 pistol. The Lipsey’s Mark III wears a fiber optic front sight, matched to a shallow V rear adjustable sight, for a highly visible combo that is great for plinking, hunting, and informal target shooting. I prefer a Patridge type for formal paper-punching, but this red fiber optic sight is better in the woods. This pistol would make a perfect squirrel gun. The sight really stands out in poor light. However, if the shooter prefers, the sights can be easily changed with just a screwdriver to other styles.

With an unloaded magazine in place, the Lipsey’s Mark III weighs in at forty-one ounces, and balances perfectly for a steady hold. The trigger pull measured four pounds, one ounce, and is a pretty good trigger for target work and hunting.  The Slabside barrel measures .887 inch diameter, with the side cross section measuring .738 where the sides have been flattened.

I tested the Lipsey’s Ruger with several different brands and styles of ammunition. Chronograph readings were taken with a PACT Professional chronograph at a distance of eight feet from the muzzle, and the velocities are listed in feet-per-second. Accuracy testing was done at a distance of twenty-five yards with the pistol held in a Ransom Rest, with the group sizes listed below in inches, or fractions thereof.  The ammo with no group size listed was fired for reliability and velocity only, with no accuracy testing done.

AMMUNITION BULLET WEIGHT  VELOCITY GROUP SIZE
Wolf Match  40 Solid 936.5  1.062"
PMC Match 40 Solid 878.4  0.437"
Federal Bulk 36 HP 953.7 1.321"
Remington Gold  36 HP 1065 0.937"
Winchester Dynapoint 40 HP 953.7 1.187"
Winchester Wildcat 40 Solid 1065.1 0.562"
Remington Bulk 36 HP 1044.6 0.750"
CCI Mini-Mag 40 Solid 1003.3  0.675"
PMC Zapper 38 HP 1098.7 0.437"
American Eagle 38 HP 1090.3 --
Hansen 40 Solid 964.6 --
Aguila Super Subsonic 60 Solid 795.7 --
CCI Mini-Mag 36 HP 1071.6 --

Throughout the tests, and subsequent plinking sessions, no malfunctions of any kind were experienced. In other words, the pistol performed flawlessly; feeding, firing, and ejecting every cartridge that I tried. Accuracy, as can be seen in the chart, was outstanding! The very worst grouping ammo tested exhibited good accuracy in the Ruger pistol, and with the gun’s preferred ammunition, the accuracy was simply superb.  On a good day, I can hold a pistol over a sand bag and shoot groups as well as I can from the Ransom Rest, but I don’t have as many good days as I once did, and even then, I can’t do it all day long. The Ransom rest allows me to show the reader just how good a pistol can perform, without the influence of human error. It doesn’t get tired, and doesn’t get lazy.

Plinking at rocks and other small targets was a pure pleasure with this Mark III Ruger pistol. While I don’t necessarily require a target grade pistol to have fun, it is nice to know that the misses are my own, and not the fault of the pistol.

Of all the current variations of the Ruger Mark III, this version from Lipsey’s is my favorite. It has the barrel length that I prefer, and the Slabside treatment reduces the forward weight just a bit. The grips are just gorgeous, and their red hue contrasts nicely with the pistol’s black finish. The pistol also has a gold plated trigger exclusive to this special version of the Mark III. The warning label has been moved to the bottom of the barrel, which also helps the pistol’s aesthetics a bit.  The pictures speak for themselves on the gun’s appearance, as do the pictures of the groups fired with this pistol.

The Lipsey’s Mark III comes in a hard plastic case with two magazines, a scope base, keys for the internal lock, a padlock, and instruction manual. Like all Ruger firearms, it is also a great value. It is a pistol that you can shoot for the rest of your life, pass it down, and even your grandkids won’t wear it out. It is a quality pistol, American made, and very inexpensive to shoot. I highly recommend it.

This version of the Slabside Mark III can only be purchased from a Lipsey’s  dealer. If your dealer is not currently a Lipsey’s dealer, he should be. Have him call 1-800-666-1333 and get set up to order from them. If you prefer, you can click on the DEALER FINDER button at www.lipseys.com to locate a Lipsey’s dealer near you.

I love Ruger .22 pistols, and have several of them, but this one ain’t going back! Lipsey’s can put this one on my credit card. I can’t recommend any pistol higher than that.

Check out the full line of Ruger products here.

Jeff Quinn

For a list of dealers where you can buy this gun, go to:

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Click pictures for a larger version.

 

Lipsey’s Exclusive Ruger Mark III 5 ˝ Inch Slabside .22 Target Pistol.

 

 

Barrel warning has been moved to the bottom of the barrel, making for a better-looking gun.

 

 

 

 

A unique feature of this Lipsey's exclusive is the gold-plated trigger.

 

 

Cocobolo grip panels are the most beautiful Ruger has ever put on a pistol.

 

 

 

 

Express-style rear sight (top) and fiber-optic front bead sight (bottom) are excellent for field use.

 

 

Pistol is also drilled and tapped for mounting the included scope base.

 

 

 

 

In response to innumerable requests from shooters, the Mark III guns feature a button-type magazine release at the rear of the trigger guard.

 

 

Loaded chamber indicator.

 

 

Slide lock release.

 

 

Internal key locking mechanism locks safety in the "ON" position.

 

 

The gun comes with two magazines.

 

 

 

 

The Lipsey's Mark III is perfectly-balanced and very handy in size.

 

 

Author tested the Mark III with a variety of ammunition.

 

 

The Lipsey's-exclusive Ruger Mark III is one ACCURATE pistol!