Monday, May 14, 2018

Review: Taurus PT-22 Poly - Tips, Tricks, and Traps

The Taurus PT-22 Poly


I like mouse guns. Thanks to North American Arms, Beretta, Kel-Tec, and companies such as Taurus, you can find some really enjoyable pocket pistols.

(Unfortunately, I won't be buying a Ruger LCP/LCR-anything at any time in the future due to a terrible trigger guard for my grip, which would result in severe blistering in a single range session.)

This page contains a few observations regarding my new PT-22s, along with my experience with an older PT-22.

In with the Old and On with the New


While browsing a LGS I came across an older PT-22 for what I thought was a reasonable price. Unfortunately, I didn't take the time to fully check the pistol. When I went to clean it, found that it had a broken firing pin. This is a common problem apparently, and generally as a result of dry firing. While some folks maintain that Taurus will fix any of their pistols, even used ones, there is no way I am going to send it back to the mothership. This is in light of the recently reported and documented notoriously poor turnaround time on repairs and bad customer service.

So the easiest fix for me was to order a new firing pin. Well guess what? Taurus doesn't sell parts.  I'm going to repeat that:

Taurus does NOT sell parts. You have been warned.

Oh, well, just go to Numrich, right? Wrong again. No firing pins there, reproduction or used, and haven't been for some time. So it was off to the interwebs for a search.

My new/old PT-22, model 22B, was made in 1993. That makes it 25 years old at the time of this writing. Good luck Chuck on finding parts.

Fortunately though, it turns out there is a company across the other side of my state that makes stainless and titanium firing pins for the PT-22. Ah, but which version? The latest Poly PT-22s take a shorter firing pin than the older PT-22. How do I know? Well, I removed the firing pin from one of my PT-22s and tried to use it as a replacement in the older one. Nope, too short!



The great news is that it turns out the repro pins, including the stainless ones from Firing Pins are slightly longer than needed, even for the older PT-22. I measured the new pins at 1.64".  Here is the Anarchy Outdoors heat-treated stainless firing pin:




Fitment for the older PT-22 meant a reduction to 1.61" and test firings of caps showed normal indentation. The caution is that when the firing pin is fully seated forward in the bolt/slide that the minimal protrusion is 0.028" with a maximum of 0.036".  I used the newer Poly PT-22 as a gauge.



By the way, the firing pin retention pin, which is knocked out from the bottom of the slide for removal, and tapped in from top of the slide for installation - with the firing pin held in - has dimensions of 2.1mm thick and 10.8mm long.

I found a package of 100 stainless 2.1mm x 15.8mm pins on the 'zon for $5. Making the pins to size was a snap using a Dremel, cutting wheel and digital gauge:


The 2.1 mm pins i ordered are a PRESS fit. This means that you may need to reduce the diameter just enough to have to tap in for retention of the dowel pin securely. If you only have a SLIP fit, the pin will come out of the slide during firing - not a good thing. My basic procedure for fitment for the retention pin was:

1. lay down a small sheet of 320 wet-or-dry
2. chock the pin in a Dremel
3. slide the pin, spinning in the Dremel at high speed, back and forth for a few swipes
4. remove pin, check fitment - if the pin slides in you have removed too much and need a new pin
5. repeat until a press fit (tap in to place) is achieved
6. trim pin to length (10.8mm)

Here's a pic of what the tip of the firing pin looks like on a new PT-22:



For anyone in the USA who would like a few of these dowel pins (you'll need to do fitment), leave an address and I'll pop them in U.S. Snail to you. It's terrible that Taurus doesn't sell parts - simply idiotic.

A quick trip to the range and a test of 50 rounds of CCI SV LRN showed that this 25-year-old pistol still has some life:



I was especially pleased with the accuracy -  it shot a bit low at 4 yards but was spot on as far as windage (could be my view of the sight picture - i'll paint the front sight like my other PT-22s). This one looks like a winner, and it was a good learning experience on firing pin fitment.

And, so to recap:

Original PT-22 firing pin and firing pin spring:
firing pin - 1.61" in length
firing pin spring - 0.67" long, 0.18" diameter, 0.01" wire diameter
firing pin retention pin - blued dowel 2mm diameter, 10.8mm long

New Poly PT-22 firing pin and firing pin spring
firing pin - 1.59" in length
firing pin spring - 0.75" long, 0.18" diameter, 0.01" wire diameter
firing pin retention pin - blued dowel 2mm diameter, 10.8mm long

And here's another 50 rounds from its second range session:


And I found another, usually more affordable round that cycles reliably in my old PT-22 (nicknamed 'Old Blue'):


And here's a more recent range session. Ran 100 rounds with no FTEs or FTFs. That's pretty good for this old pistol in my view:



BTW, you should know that racking the slide on the new Poly PT-22s is a *lot* easier. I recall reading somewhere on the 'net that one person found that removing spring attachment to one mainspring (part no. 26 on either side) on the old version of the PT-22 resulted in a much-easier to rack slide and did not affect function. I have not tried this, but if you do, please let me know and I'll post your observations.

 The Taurus Poly PT-22


The PT-22 is a cheap pistol but with better fitment than other pistols in its price range. If you go by some folks' complaints you may think buying an inexpensive pistol like this is a crap shoot. Perhaps so. However, on the other hand, there are a number of high-end expensive stinkers manufactured nowadays as well. Here's a short list of manufacturers with recent recalls:

Glock
Smith & Wessson
Ruger
Thompson
Walther

and of course, Taurus.

But frankly I'd say you're more than likely to get a great PT-22 in perfect working order. However, there are some things about this pistol that may require initial attention. I'll try to document them here.

By the way, you can look up your weapon via its serial number on the Taurus web site:

serial number search

(Interestingly I received a "No matches for your serial number were found." for both Poly pistols - so the database is horked, at least for newer models?) Anyhow, after a bit more searching I came across several interesting graphics showing Taurus serial number interpretation for older models:


So, for example, if your older Taurus' serial number starts with 'AMI,' you have a .22 made in September, 1993.

The PT-22 Poly


Like many semiautomatic pistols nowadays, the PT-22 Poly has a polymer frame. I won't do a laundry list of specs, but my pistols, with the 2 5/8" blued and stainless barrel and slide, came with one newer-designed magazine with a capacity of 8 rounds, a 2.8" barrel, and a weight of 11 ounces.

Shown here is the blued pistol with the new magazine, and two old-style magazines:


I immediately ordered two magazines directly from Taurus since the PT-22 only came with one. The only ones available were the old style (shown on the right below). Taurus delivered them to me in less than 24 hours from across the state!:


But getting the old magazines was a good thing! If you look at the new vs old bottom plate, you'll see that the old style allows you to remove the extension to convert the mag to a flat plate (simply use a toothpick to press in through the hole, slip off the extension, then use a screwdriver to unscrew the extension from the bottom flat plate- you cannot do that with the new magazines!

Just be aware that if you slip off the bottom extension on an older-style magazine that getting the extension back on can be a bitch.

Hint: Relieve the spring tension using a pick or screw driver to make things a bit easier and carefully line up the slot/channels to slide the extension back on.

First-time Cleaning

Always clean your weapons before taking them to the range for the first time. I wiped down the weapons with an oily (CLP'd) rag, along with the exterior of the magazine. Next, I carefully examined the weapon.

On both my PT-22s I had to chip off some residual polymer left over from the milling/prep process. Here's where to look:

You see the two front curved portions of the receiver? Both sides each had a little piece of polymer sticking up. Here's one piece:
The piece was about the size of grain of sushi rice. Although I'm sure the gun would have merrily squished and torn up the polymer during battery, I thought it best to carefully trim off each piece.

Here's another look at a second PT-22 i purchased (stainless). Out of the box, you can see the polymer remnants on the receiver:

See the right side? That's a nice chunk of polymer. I'm not sure that it's a good idea to break in your pistol and hope this stuff 'goes away.' Here's another view:

I also looked at the feed ramp and saw some machining striations running horizontally on the blued pistol - the stainless was pretty good! To smooth out the blued ramp to help feeding, I took some 2000-grit wet-or-dry, rolled a piece up to match the ramp, then *carefully* smoothed out the ramp using *vertical* strokes (in the same direction a round would take). There was some striation in the chamber but I didn't mess with it. Afterwards, I took some Simichrome and polished the ramp and slightly polished the bottom lip of the chamber.

The Taurus Security System

Thanks to numbskull politicians, liberal retards, parents with Darwin-award progeny, and bottom-feeding lawyers, this pistol is equipped with an ILS (internal locking system). This means that you can lock the pistol to a non-functioning state with a little key that you could lose and that renders the pistol useless if needed. Many folks throw away such keys and the stupid Clinton locks included with pistols.

Hint: Be warned that not only is the PT-22's ILS useless, it can also destroy your pistol. Here's the warning from the manual:

CAUTION: 
Never engage the Taurus Security System on your Taurus Pistol with the slide in the open (rearward) position or with the barrel tipped up/open. This will result in permanent damage to your firearm.

What kind of stupid shit is that? And don't worry, it doesn't look like this caution applies to this Taurus pistol - maybe. You can decide by taking a look at the exploded parts diagram and by taking the pistol apart (see below).

Oh, and for your info: There is no difference between the security keys for the PT-22 from pistol to pistol. The keys are all the same, so if you happen to lose yours, you might try begging for one from another owner on a Taurus or other gun forum.

Range Time and Finding Ammo

My first task was to find suitable ammo. 'Quiet' ammo (790fps) isn't going to work. At first I didn't think CCI standard-performance (1070fps) would work. I thought you were going to need some ammo with a minimum punch of at least 1260fps. There is nothing in the pistol's manual nor any information regarding appropriate ammo for this pistol on the Taurus web site.

Some folks on the web published recommendations that supposedly came from Taurus, but I've been unable to find anything at the mother ship. The lists of supposed 'good ammo' includes:

American Eagle HP (1280fps)
CCI Blazer (1255fps)
CCI Mini-Mag HP (1260fps)
CCI Mini-Mag Solid (1255fps)
CCI Velocitor HP (1435fps) <-- YOWZA!!!
Federal Bulk HP (1260fps)
PMC Match Solid (1050fps) <--- not sure
PMC Zapper HP (1280fps)
Remington Yellow Jacket HP (1500fps) <-- YOWZA!
Remington Hi-Speed Solid (discontinued?)
Winchester DynaPoint HP (1250fps)
Wolf Match Solid (1050fps) <-- nope, don't think it will work

Some of these are common, while others are not or are expensive or are no longer made.

I mostly shoot rimfire (and .32 ACP or .32 S&W), so I had several brands and types on hand to try at the range. Here is what I experienced with my blued pistol:


I have had three failures extract and five failures to fire (that went bang on the second pull).

The best-performing were Fiocchi's CPRN .22LR, CCI Velocitors, and, after a 350-round break-in CCI Standard Velocity LRN!!!! I attribute the failures to fire to crappy ammo. I was disappointed in CCI's 'Swamp People' rounds - stupid product. The Federal failure (FTF(BAD)) to extract was due to a dud round (Federal makes some really crappy bulk ammo - I got burned on this ammo by Cabela's, which censored a bad review, and by Vista Ammunition who basically blew me off when I called to file a claim.)

Here's an example of the Federal crap ammo. After an initial 'Phttt!' a squib lodged in the PT-22's barrel, with just the nose sticking out of the muzzle like a little dog's dick. I had to punch it out with a cleaning rod:


The Aguila failure to extract was due to bulged cases that stuck in the chamber (happens with that ammo once in a while on my other .22s as well). The Stinger FTE was on the last round - a horizontal stovepipe.

Fiocchi, CCI Standard Velocity LRN, and the CCI Velocitor were the clear winners in the reliability department. However, the surprise was which ammo seemed more accurate.

YMMV.

Update: I ordered a precision digital scale and a .22 rim gauge to hopefully sort my ammo before hitting the range. Stupid me. Should sorting reduce problematic rounds and increase accuracy? The answer is NO! I'll have to live with Federal crapshoot rimfire until I expend the remaining 1,000+ rounds left from the bad lot - I'll *never* buy Federal bulk ammo again!

I ended up shooting 50 more rounds each of the Fiocchi (with no incident) and 50 rounds of the Aguila (with no incident). All in all, about 160 rounds for the initial session.

I'll update the above chart as I find different ammo for testing.

Accuracy

Here is the target from Armscor (Filipino-made):
Not too shabby. The Armscor .22LR is pretty cheap. I like it in my Phoenix Arms HP22As. The PT-22 trigger is double-action only. Not bad, with about a 6-pound pull. I had no trouble pumping out rounds and after more than 150 rounds my trigger finger wasn't sore. The PT-22 is not a range gun, but plenty accurate for me.

Here is the Federal target:
 Pretty sucky. Not only does Federal make shitty .22LR, the crap isn't accurate. I've had under-charges, over-charges, duds, and a squib round that lodged in my Smith 317's barrel.

Here's Fiocchi's target:
That's some paper shredding! I was shooting holes for at least one magazine.

Here's CCI's 'Swamp People' target:
Meh. All over the place, but some hits on the bull.

Now here's the Aguila target:
Bazinga! Now *that's* what I'm talking 'bout! Note however that there is some keyholing (similar to Fiocchi). But this stuff shoots straight - the only bad thing is possible case swelling that can cause FTEs. I may explore some other Aguila (there is a nickel-case version of its high-velocity "Prime" stuff that looks interesting, but I haven't been able to find it anywhere as yet.

Here is the CCI Stinger target. I don't think I can recommend this ammo, though. On a second outing, the Stingers blew the slide off the PT-22's rails!:
Note that like the Aguila HV, there are some key holes. This ammo packs a punch though!

Now here's the target from the CCI Velocitors:
And here's the CCI Standard Velocity, which had no problems during a 50-round box:

Yep, it looks like the CCI Standard Velocity, the Velocitors, and the Fiocchi, are the winners! I'm very happy that the PT-22 now eats the CCI SV. Nice recoil with good accuracy. I have several boxes of the Stingers and Velocitors, so I'm gonna keep some for carry purposes and shoot up the rest.

The Verdict

I'm settling on CCI Standard Velocity LRN, 40-grain, 1070fps for this pistol. Here's why:
The blued version, which i've named 'Peppa,' took a little over 400 rounds to break in to be able to shoot standard velocity rimfire reliably. And not unsurprisingly, 'Salt,' my stainless PT-22, took about the same to break in as well:

Clean Up

Don't be foolish. Always clean your weapons thoroughly after shooting. Don't let them sit around with primer or powder residue. I came home, then wiped down all the magazines (don't oil them - just wipe them down really good - oil attracts pocket lint, dirt, etc.)

I popped the tip-up barrel, then gave it a good scrubbing. Long rifle .22 is dirty - some more than others (Fiocchi is pretty damn clean-shooting, in my opinion).

Tip: To easily take off the slide, tip up the barrel, then lightly depress the trigger while moving the slide back then forward to lift off - it should be a silent, smooth process. Reverse the procedure when done. You'll save wear-and-tear on the receiver and slide channels.

Walking Trigger Pin?

One thing I noticed on the blued pistol was that it looked like the trigger pin had walked out to the left about a millimeter after a range session of 100 rounds. I don't think it came from the factory this way, but i could be wrong (just checked my new stainless out of the box, and it too was out a bit, but not as much). Setting it back to the proper position required several light taps with a punch, so perhaps this was not the result of my PT-22's range session. But it is something I'm going to be mindful of and pay attention to in the future:

By the way, this is the 'normal' position of the pin (after a few punch taps), and in the picture above the pin is flush with the frame on the other side.

Removing the Poly PT-22 Plastic Grips


You can also easily remove the plastic one-piece grip. Remove the magazine, tip up the barrel, remove the slide, then engage the safety (to ensure you don't have a flying part). Next, unscrew the single screw at the bottom of the pistol. Push the grip down just a tad, then carefully use the tip of a screw driver to leverage the plastic from the frame, using the frame at the bottom of the rear of the magazine well as a fulcrum (right by the screw hole):

The grip change is so easy it's a wonder that Taurus (or a third party) hasn't offered different grip colors. If you look closely at the lower portion of the rear of the frame you can see the innards of the pistol, the magazine safety and the Taurus ILS (on the right with the cantilevered end):
It *appears* that you can easily defeat the ILS and magazine safety (i.e., can't pull trigger with no magazine) by removing the ILS screw and/or the magazine safety parts inside the magazine well of the pistol's grip. The relevant parts of the magazine safety are shown in the pistol's schematic:

The parts are (31 to 34): magazine safety lock, lock spring, mag safety spring, and mag safety screw.

To defeat the ILS and magazine safety (enabling the pistol to fire with a magazine removed), first unscrew part 34, then back out the ILS screw using its key. Next, unhinge the magazine safety spring, part 33, then push the magazine safety (parts 32 and 31) up into the magazine well, using a pick or small screw driver. The safety assembly will then drop out of the well when free of the safety spring's (part 32) slot in the well. I placed the parts back in the little plastic bag that contained the two ILS keys and put the bag away in the pistol's case for safekeeping. Voila! No ILS and you can fire a round with the magazine out of the pistol - much safer for me in a crisis situation!

The Missing Part - Actually An Improvement


One of the complaints with earlier PT-22s was the eventual destruction of a plastic part of the slide. That's right, the brilliant designer had a plastic part, most likely designed as a bumper(?) that was an insert in the front of the slide. You'll find it shown in your PT-22's parts schematic and listed as part number 26:

Don't panic if you don't find this part in your pistol. It ain't there. The PT-22's slide has apparently been re-designed now and doesn't have the insert, even though it's listed in the manuals distributed with new pistols.

So there you have it. I'm pleased with my PT-22s, and I'm sure they will only get better with some more range time - perhaps lightening up on the trigger pull. Oh, and I have no trouble whatsoever racking the slide, but then again I also have a Browning Hi Power and don't have trouble racking that pistol either.

As more issues, ideas, or tips crop up I'll document them on this page.

6 comments:

  1. Nice review! Thank you for all the info. I came here via google search for "Taurus Pt-22 poly slide blew off" and got here. I still don't understand completely why it happened (I'm very new to guns and have no one that I know in person who can help). However thanks to this review I am looking at the ammo I shot the highest fps was Aguila Super extra @ 1255. I also Shot ,Blazer, CCI standard, Winchester Western, and Federal Target grade performance. I wish I knew before hand how important ammo was so I could've paid more attention. Instead I kinda just put the gun down scared of it after the slide de-railed. I'm gonna pick it up again soon and try again now :) I appreciate this review very much. Thanks again.

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  2. you're welcome... once your PT-22 is broken in, you should be good to go with standard velocity stuff... i enjoyed shooting my pair of pocket mice!

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  3. Excelentes comentarios excelente fotos muy muy bueno el resultado de la munición

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  4. great instrutions, just as you said and drawn!

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  5. 1997 AQD... PT-22: I found that even with .004" to .005" deep indentations, Aguila Super Extra will fire very consistently with the Aguila Prime working very nicely. Lubed hammer pivot so it swings hammer HARD. Hope it continues. My firing pin only measures 1.600" Thanks for this!

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