March 15, 2006
The G22 .22 Rimfire autoloader incorporates a "bullpup" design with other innovative features.
If you're like me, when you think of Walther you think of guns like the classic Walther PPK and the newer Model P99 service pistol. Walther (Dept. ST, 2100 Roosevelt Ave, Springfield, MA 01104; 800-372-6454; www.waltheramerica.com) recently threw us all a curve when the company introduced the innovative G22 carbine.
The Walther G22 is a magazine-fed semiautomatic carbine chambered for the .22 Long Rifle cartridge. The G22 is the first Walther .22 rifle to ever utilize the "Bullpup" design that moves the action back into the rear of the riflestock. This design makes for a very compact carbine that makes use of a 20-inch barrel but with an overall length of only 29.5 inches. The G22's interesting features don't stop there.
Innovations Abound€¨Since the action is back near the shooter's face, a left-handed shooter can't shoot the G22 without getting smacked in the face with the bolt handle. To solve this problem, Walther simply offers the G22 with right- or left-handed controls, and the customer orders the gun that suits his shooting style. Actually, the G22's stock is set up so that the carbine can be converted from right- to left-hand use; however, Walther advises that only an authorized gunsmith should carry out this adaptation.
The gun's synthetic stock has a large thumbhole, and incorporated in that thumbhole area is a large lever that serves as the magazine release. On either side of the carbine, just above the trigger, is an ambidextrous safety and safety lock. Bright orange firing indicators pop up on either side of the action when the gun is off safety and ready to fire.
Integral to the carbine's stock is a carrying handle that also functions as a rear sight platform, much as those found on the AR family of rifles. The entire rear sight assembly rises vertically for use when iron sights are indicated, or it can be lowered completely out of the way when a scope is mounted.
The rear sight blade is actually a disk that incorporates six different elevation settings on the rear sight notch. Rotating the sight disk allows the shooter to find the right sight setting to compensate for differences in ammunition and range. The top surface of the carrying handle is grooved for use with Weaver-style optical sight mounts.
The front sight also sits high in its own sight assembly, with the front sight blade being dovetailed into battery so that adjustments, or sight substitutions, can be easily made. On the bottom edge of the front sight assembly is another set of Weaver-style rails that will accept the Walther laser. In addition, the bottom of the stock's forearm also sports the Weaver-style universal rail for mounting a bipod or other shooting accessories.
Even more interesting innovations are at the rear of the G22's stock. Using spacers that are provided with each G22 carbine, the shooter can alter the length of the stock to suit his personal requirements. Two large Allen screws in the butt of the gun are removed and spacers are added or removed until the desired length of pull is reached. Also, on the rear bottom edge of the G22 stock is a compartment that holds an extra 10-round magazine.
More Than Just A Plinker
When it came time to run the G22 carbine through its paces, it took me a little while to get accustomed to the manual of arms and the operation of the Walther G22. It had been some time since I had shot a gun of the Bullpup design. In fact, the last one I fired was the old High Standard Model 10B 12-gauge police riot gun.
But once that period of familiarizing myself with its operation was out of the way, I found the G22 to be a fun gun to shoot, and I have to admit that I used up a lot of my test ammunition shooting rocks, sticks, and empty shotgun shells that littered the local shooting range.
This particular G22 liked the CCI Mini-Mag ammo best, and groups averaged 1.25 inches at 50 yards. All the details of this shooting, including a complete list of the ammunition that I test-fired in the G22, can be found in the accompanying chart, but I should say here and now that all the loads functioned flawlessly in the G22 and gave good field accuracy.
You don't need an excuse, or a reason, for choosing a particular gun for your plinking fun. When it's your day off and you want to go plinking, you just take whatever suits you and have fun. And while the Walther G22 certainly qualifies as an interesting plinking gun, I can see some other uses for this carbine.
It should make an excellent small-bore carbine for the camper, backpacker, and fisherman. Its short overall length means that it can stow away in a backpack or boat cabinet pretty easily. And its five-pound, nine-ounce weight won't add too much to the heft of all the gear a fellow has to pack. With its 20-inch barrel, the G22 should collect all small game very handily and accurately.
Another use for the Walther G22 carbine is as a pickup truck gun for farmers, ranchers, and other rural dwellers. Again, the short overall length of the G22 makes it handy to maneuver safely within the confines of a truck cab. A well-placed .22 Long Rifle hollowpoint bullet will generally take care of small pests, varmints, and feral animals that often plague the rural citizen. And the relatively low report of the .22 LR cartridge won't unnecessarily disturb the neighbors, should that be a concern.
Walther's G22 .22 LR carbine is simply fun to shoot. It's obviously very well made, and the numerous innovative features make it a very interesting firearm to work with. In fact, it would appear to me that the Walther G22 could be scaled up just slightly and be offered in 9mm and .40 S&W. Now that would be a great concept, wouldn't it? One could have a G22 for plinking and a G9 for home defense.