I love the .22 Magnum cartridge. Whether from a
pocket revolver, auto pistol, or rifle, the little magnum
performs all out of proportion to its size. With the right
bullet, it is an excellent penetrator, displaying more
penetration than many larger calibers. While I would rather not,
I could get along quite well with nothing but a .22 Magnum. From
a revolver, the .22 Magnum performs much like a .22 Long Rifle
cartridge fired from a carbine, but with a better bullet. From a
closed-breech pistol, the .22 Magnum really shines, suffering no
loss of velocity as does the cartridge fired from a revolver,
due to the revolver’s barrel/cylinder gap.
There have been a few .22 Magnum auto pistols
manufactured over the years, and some have been better than
others. The .22 Magnum AMT
Automag II is back in production, and I reviewed one
here back in November of 2006.
When I recently heard that Excel Industries
of Chino, California was making a .22 Magnum auto pistol, I
called and requested one for review. There are not enough good
.22 Magnum autos on the market, and I was anxious to try the
Excel pistol. It arrived a few days after my call, and I have
been pleased with the pistol right from the start.
The Model MP-22 is no pocket pistol. It is
rather large, and weighs in at 53 ounces, with most of that
weight being in the .876 inch diameter stainless steel eight and
one-half inches long bull barrel. The heavy barrel has a
recessed target crown, and wears a full length aluminum
rib/scope mount base. The rib is stationary, houses the
ramp front and fully adjustable rear sights, and does not move
with the slide. The slide is also made of stainless steel, and
the pistol comes with a slide handle to facilitate easy
operation of the slide with a scope attached. It proved to be
very handy in operating the slide after mounting a Leupold VX-III 2.5 to 8 power pistol scope. This scope is an excellent
choice for such a pistol, for the .22 Magnum Accelerator
has plenty of power to take vermin and small predators out to
one hundred and fifty yards or so, and the clear optics and high
power of the VX-III makes them easy to see.
The grip frame of the MP-22 is made of a black
polymer material, is lightly textured, and has a comfortable
feel. The slide release lever and manual thumb safety are not
ambidextrous, but are easy to use for a right-handed shooter.
The trigger is wide, smooth, comfortable to use, and the pull
weight measured four and three-quarters pounds on the test
pistol. The slide contains a single claw extractor, and it
worked perfectly in conjunction with the fixed blade ejector to
cleanly eject fired brass with one hundred percent reliability.
Feeding was a bit sticky at first, with some cartridges failing
to fully chamber without a little push on the rear of the slide.
This problem occurred a few times during the first fifty rounds
fired, but cleared up after that, with the pistol running
perfectly after that short break-in period. I subsequently fired
hundreds of rounds of ammo of various brands through the
Accelerator without a problem. Reading the owner’s manual
later, it does prescribe a break-in period for the new gun.
Loading the Accelerator magazines is very easy
using the handy tool provided. The tool is inserted in to a hole
in the follower, and pulled down to load the magazine. It works
very well to ease the pressure needed to insert the cartridges
into the magazine. The pistol came with two nine-round
magazines, and both performed perfectly. The slide locks open
after the magazine is emptied, and the heel-type magazine catch
works very well in retaining and quickly releasing the magazine.
I was curious to see the velocity that the MP-22
could obtain from its eight and one-half inch barrel, so I fired
several brands of ammunition over the eyes of one of my PACT
chronographs. The air temperature was around sixty degrees
Fahrenheit , and the chronograph was set at a distance of ten
feet from the muzzle. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second
(fps). Bullet weight is listed in grains. JHP is jacketed
hollowpoint. Dynapoint is a plated lead semi-hollowpoint bullet.
TNT is a plastic-tipped jacketed bullet. I also included the
velocity figures from previous testing of a seven and one-half
inch Ruger revolver, and the six inch AMT Automag II from last
year, for comparison.
|Winchester Supreme JHP
|CCI Maxi-Mag TNT
|CCI Maxi-Mag +V
|PMC Predator JHP
|Federal Game-Shok JHP
As you can see, the longer barrel of the
Accelerator makes a big difference in velocity compared to the
six inch AMT. However, the Accelerator is also a larger, heavier
pistol, so that extra velocity comes at a price. In most cases,
better than 200 extra fps were obtained with the longer barrel
of the Accelerator compared to the six inch AMT, and about a 350
fps gain over the seven and one-half inch revolver. The
Accelerator would be a fine choice for a hunting handgun, with
its high velocity and ability to easily mount a quality scope
Where the Accelerator really shines in in the
accuracy of the pistol. I fired the Accelerator for accuracy
using the aforementioned Leupold scope at a distance of fifty
yards. The largest group fired was just over two and one-half
inches across, center-to-center for five shots. The Winchester
Supreme ammunition grouped five rounds into just barely over one
inch, and my favorite .22 Magnum ammo, the PMC Predator
hollowpoint, did almost as well, grouping five into one and
one-half inches at fifty yards. This level of accuracy is
excellent from a .22 Magnum pistol. The .22 Magnum does
not have the fine reputation for accuracy as does the .22 Long
Rifle cartridge, but this Excel Accelerator proves that a good
.22 Magnum pistol can shoot accurately also.
The Excel MP-22 proved to be a versatile,
reliable, and very accurate auto pistol. It would make a dandy
varmint rig when coupled with a good scope such as the VX-III
Leupold. Excel also offers the MP-22 Accelerator chambered for
the .17 HMR cartridge, labeled the MP-17, and a conversion
barrel for either caliber is available, allowing an Accelerator
owner to switch between the .17 HMR and .22 Magnum quickly, and
at a very reasonable cost. For more information on this and
other features of the Accelerator pistol, such as the suggested
retail prices and accessories available, go online to www.excelarms.com.
For more information on the extensive line of
fine Leupold optics, go to www.leupold.com.
Jeff was very impressed with the MP-22's
quality, reliability and accuracy.
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