Bullseye? Bullseye: Top Six Rimfire Pistols

Many shooters get their feet wet in competitive shooting by competing in club-level bullseye shooting matches. Most of these are NRA Bullseye matches and require a shooter use a .22 LR pistol or revolver capable of holding at least five rounds either with or absent an unmagnified optical sight. With a three-part course of fire consisting of a slow fire, timed fire and rapid fire string, speed comes second to precision. The one area that snags up many new shooters is what equipment to run.

For optic sights anything that will hold zero and features a dot smaller than two minutes of angle will work fine, but what about the lead delivery system? The .22 LR pistols run the gamut in terms of price and performance but the two aren’t always linked. In other words, the most expensive pistol isn’t always the best. With this great conundrum in mind, Guns.com presents the top six target pistols for bullseye shooting.

1. High Standard “Sport King” – $300-$500


The High Standard Sport King may be dated, but it still outperforms pistols double its price. (Photo: Jim Grant)

When Carl Gustav Swebilius purchased the Hartford Arms and Equipment Company in 1932 and began making .22-caliber pistols, few people would have imagined that they would go on to build both world class target pistols, and the preferred assassination handgun of the OSS in World War II. History nuts like Guns.com’s own Francis Borek and myself, revel in the old-world quality of the High Standard Sport King pistol.

Featuring a quick-change, fixed-barrel design and crisp single action trigger, the Sport King was light years ahead of its time. Each gun was milled from a single block of steel and just oozes quality. Thankfully, used models can be purchase for a song, especially if they have a rough-looking exterior.

2. Ruger MKII/III – $389-$729


The author’s MkIII with custom grips has punch tons of paper and slayed many a squirrel. (Photo: Jim Grant)

Ruger’s get a bad rap for being one of the least expensive options for new bullseye shooters, but they offer a tremendous amount of value and flexibility. Unlike older bullseye pistols, the Mark III’s receiver is already tapped for a scope mount that is included with the handgun. Additionally, since the pistol is so ubiquitous there are hundreds of available accessories for it.

The platform’s shortcomings are its somewhat limited accuracy when compared to higher-end target pistols, and its difficult disassembly procedure for the uninitiated. The MKIII has higher tolerances than every other pistol on this list and tends to function with all but the worst ammunition.

3. Browning Buck Mark – $549.99-$579.99


The Buck Mark is a classic .22LR pistol with an old-world price (Photo: GunAuction.com)

The Buck Mark is a fairly inexpensive way to get into bullseye shooting without holding most shooters back. It may not be as accurate as the purpose-built models from Hammerli or Walther, but it holds tight enough groups that any 10-ring misses are purely shooter error.

Like every model on this list, the Buck Mark features a fixed barrel, but unlike the rest has a build-in scope rail. The newest models from Browning, dubbed URX feature an ultra-soft finger-grooved grip, which is good for camping guns, but not necessarily for target ones. The Buck Mark has been around for awhile, so finding accessories should be easy enough and the magazines are inexpensive.

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