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Full Auto Style Fun: A S&W 22 with a Slidefire

Good Evening, Today I started on a new project. If you caught my Slidefire Stock article then you’ve seen that thing could really burn up some ammo. It’s fun but not worth the expense to me to burn up 300-400 rds of 5.56 in a day just for grins. So I decided to work up a cheaper to fire alternative and here it is. The Smith M&P 22.

So this same stock will fit the Smith&Wesson M&P 22 rifle, that is the M-4 looking 22 rifle. It’s a pretty good looking rifle and some parts interchange with real AR’s. All in all the rifle is nice as is. It has a single stage trigger breaking about 8lbs which isn’t the greatest but like I said parts interchange. She came with a nice 3/4 length quad-rail, removable iron sites, a 25 rd magazine and a collapsible butt-stock. A nice M-4 clone in 22LR. We fired about 1000 rds today of all kinds of ammo with no malfunctions of any kind. It was impressively accurate. That firing was also dry, I didn’t even lube it up. I bought several extra mags and we just kept loading them and heated her up. Like I said 1000 rds later and not a hiccup. Perfect performance and a nice rifle as is.

Leaving her as is isn’t the plan though. I want cheaper full auto like fire. Being that 5.56 is $7-8 for 20 rds and 22LR is $3 for 50 rds this thing will pay for itself in no time on ammo savings. So as I said before the Slidefire stock will fit. Just install it like you would on a regular AR with 2 exceptions. One there is an extra pin and spring under the pistol grip, they provide tension for the rear receiver pin, be careful not to lose them when removing your pistol grip for the stock install. Two, if you have a curved trigger guard in your lower receiver then some of it will need filed away to allow the stock to slide freely. You’ll see where that is no problem. I took some material off the trigger guard and some out of the stock to make it fit. It’s a minor thing that took just a minute with a Dremel tool. So maybe 10 minutes to install the stock instead of five.

Now here is where we start running into trouble. The Slidefire works on your weak hand forward pressure of the rifle and the rifle’s recoil to push it back to reset the trigger. Guess what? That’s correct the 22LR doesn’t have enough recoil to make it work. This is made even worse by the 8lb factory trigger. So the first thing that needs to happen is a trigger group change. I installed a new RRA 2 Stage Match trigger breaking at roughly 4.5-5lbs. I then got her to start spitting out bursts but it was sporadic and unreliable. Not like jamming unreliable, just very difficult to get it to fire full auto rates of fire. After another 500 or so rounds I finally was getting the hang of it but it still needs help. If there were less resistance keeping the rifle from recoiling back towards the shooter it would work better.

So my plan now is to take the lower to a smith and have the trigger lowered down to 3lbs. I think cutting out 1.5-2 lbs. there will help. I am going to try some lube in the stock itself. Last I found an online site that sells what they call a recoil increasing muzzlebrake. That’s a new one huh? The gas ports are forward to give the 22 more recoil. It was a pretty good idea. He designed it specifically for Slidefire stock use to combat the functioning problems the 22 is having here. I contacted them about getting one today.

So while we wait for those items to arrive and tinker with this thing let’s discuss some other stuff, like price’s and site’s. I am using the Vortex SPARC. I just got it and I chose it because it is lite and small. We need to increase the recoil right? So this is going to be a weight thing too. The Vortex is well made, reasonably priced and lite. The only thing I have against it is it uses a 2354 battery. Generally illuminated scopes and red dots this size use the 2032 which is a much more common battery. I’ve never even heard of the 2354 till I got this sight. Now it’s another battery too stock, I would have preferred it if they had stuck with the standard 2032. I also got the kill-flash. They charge 35$ for one of these! Being that it’s about 2 cents worth of plastic housing and a pennies worth of screen that’s ridiculous! It should have been about $5 with shipping included. The SPARC has been talked about on TGR before in some consumer reviews so I won’t rehash the whole topic. I like it for the most part, decent site, enough said.

Price: So far we have $450 into the M&P 22, five extra mags at $20 a piece. The RRA 2 stage trigger was $125 installed. So far I am into this $675. I had the stock but if you still need to buy one then add $350 for the Slidefire making your total 1025$ to get this far. I did not include the Vortex SPARC in the price as the rifle came with iron sites and really wasn’t a necessity. I have now 1500 rounds through the rifle in one day without lubing it and without cleaning. It never jammed once. Seems like a gem of a little rifle. If nothing else it’s a great rifle to train or plink with all by itself. So on that note I will be back when the new stuff arrives.

I talked to my Smith and he said it would be better to change the springs to lower the trigger weight, so I ordered a set of JP reduced power springs from Brownells. These are supposed to lighten the trigger by a pound or 2. They are inexpensive and I got my set from Brownells without shopping around because I needed some 1911 stuff anyways, I got them for about $10. So with the JP reduced power springs and RRA 2 stage parts hopefully this will help.

Robbie Wheaton over at Wheaton Arms got back to me quickly and I ordered the recoil INCREASING muzzle brake he developed for a project like this. It is machined from aluminum and lite-weight as well. You can get one in black or silver. I chose black to match. Robbie kindly offers a Mil/LE discount and the brake was $57.50 plus shipping. I actually expected it to be more for some reason so I am happy with that price. Installation was a breeze, screw the old one off and the new one on. It came with a crush washer as well. No problem whatsoever.

Alright now with these added expenses I now have about $745 into this project. If you didn’t already have the stock you will be looking at roughly $1093 to get this far. That might seem like a lot and it is but when you consider the ammo savings you will have from spraying lots and lots of bullets all over everything soon this will pay for itself and then some. Hopefully this is all I need to do to get the little girl functioning correctly. We will soon see.

The parts are starting to roll in and today I switched out the trigger groups springs to the lighter JP set. That was a bust, while the trigger pull was significantly lowered the hammer did not have enough power to strike the rimfire primers hard enough to fire them. I gave it 25 tries and got three to fire. So no good. I put the RRA hammer spring back in and of course it would fire but it seems the lighter disconnector and trigger springs are not keeping up with the gun. It would fire nice 2 shots at a time and stop. Then you had to let go of the trigger rest and do it again. Two rounds every time, never got three or more. So I then changed the disconnector spring back to the RRA spring but left the trigger spring in. One at a time till we find something that works better. I will try that combo tomorrow. I did remove the muzzle brake but do not have the new one yet to install. It did seem to kick just a bit more without it. That’s good I need some recoil here. Looks as if my hopes and dreams here are resting on that recoil increasing muzzle brake.

Here we are again a few days later. I settled back on the full RRA spring set that came with the 2 stage. I didn’t end up using any of the JP’s. Not a black mark on them just that it wasn’t working out in this case. I also received the recoil increasing muzzle brake and for the first time was able to reliably get the thing to fire entire mags full auto. It took a bit of experimentation as far as holds and pressure but I think I pretty much got the thing straitened out. I do still feel like if I had a lighter trigger it could be easier to work but it works well with the RRA 2 stage. Soon I will be building another 5.56 lower so the plan will be to use this 2 stage trigger parts set in that and replace it with a Timney 3lb single stage which I’m hoping will be a bit better and with positive ignition of the rimfire shells. If not then I will just use the Timney in the new 5.56. All in all though with some practice it will work.

I’m not sure after seeing a number of YouTube videos of people using the slidefire on the Smith 22 if they just got really lucky or they failed to mention the trigger deal. I just couldn’t get the thing to work stock out of the box. I’d say your going to have to modify the trigger for sure. The muzzle brake you might get by without but it sure does help out. This is one of those cases where it might be wise just to buy the rifle and try it. Then the trigger and try it. Then the muzzle brake and blah blah blah. You get the idea. Start at the beginning like this and work through it till it works right for you.

As far as the holds go and the “slidefire technique” I’ll call it:  I find that just enough pressure to make the trigger break with my weak hand thumb on the rear left side of the quad-rail has been the best way. (see the pic). The method of allowing your quad-rail to rest on your open palm and then sliding that hand forward (see other pic) works pretty well too but I like the thumb way. I tried a forward grip on the rail and holding the mag as if it were a grip and neither of those wanted to work for me so well, they fire short bursts OK mostly but was having issues with the trigger resetting, probably due to to much pressure from me. Try them though it may be your way to go. Just plan on taking a lot of  Stingers, mags, patience and your indentured servants with you to reload magazines for you. You’ll find the right spot for you with a bit of practice. I did.

Summary: Plan on dropping some coin on this project. If you like to play with the Slidefire as I do then it will pay for itself pretty quickly. Plan on installing a lighter trigger, at least down to 4.5 lbs. Plan on buying Wheaton Arms’s recoil increasing muzzle brake. If I were you and you have teenagers around the house I would make “indentured servants” out of them to refill your magazines or face losing the cell phones. 🙂 Once you’ve loaded a 1000 rounds in a day and see what your thumb feels like you’ll think that is a pretty solid plan. The Smith MP-22 rifle just as it was out of the box has been a gem. All kinds of ammo fired perfectly semi-auto. I went through six 500 round bricks of CCI Stingers at cyclic rates of fire as well without a single hiccup at all. Perfect reliability. All by itself it totally is a kick-ass little rifle whether you wanted to do any of this other nonsense or not. Because that’s what it is you know. Nonsense. It’s FUN nonsense though and that’s why I did it. Whether or not the price is worth it is up to you. If you have any questions about the mods to this rifle post a comment as I generally try to answer them all. Last I know you want a video, I understand that completely. Just as soon as I can. I actually want to try a 50 round drum and make the video using that so it might be a bit yet before I have a video done

As always thanks for reading and train often.

8/28/12 UPDATE: You’ll have to forgive me, with a head full of shrapnel and a plate I am not always firing on all cylinders so to speak. I forget a lot of simple things I should have/did know. Anyway I have put another 1000 or so rounds downrange down range in the last 2 days. I have the JP reduced power springs back in. They work now with all but 2 kinds of ammo. No more light primer strike misfires. It’s as simple as removing your firing pin and spring and snipping off about a 1/4 inch of the spring. WHALLAH!! It works! I should have thought of that sooner. My fault.

Now with the trigger REALLY light where I said I thought it would work better it is doing exactly that. It worked well with the RRA springs, it totally rocks and is easier to use now with the roughly 3lb trigger due to the JP spring set. Just trim that firing pin spring a tad. This also has allowed the use of cheaper and less powerful ammo too. You don’t need as much recoil if your working against a lighter trigger.

So in a nutshell: Go ahead and use the JP springs, trim the firing pin spring and then rock n roll with CCI Mini-mags, Remington Thunderbolts, Yellow Jackets and Federal bulk pack. They all worked just fine now with that trigger lightened. They are all much cheaper than Stingers. Sorry about that and enjoy yourself.

By: Cary Kieffer

 

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Cary Kieffer

USMC Infantry/Combat Veteran - Med Retired LEO/8yrs.

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7 Responses to Full Auto Style Fun: A S&W 22 with a Slidefire

  1. Anthony Ashman says:

    Need a Wheaton muzzle brake for my s/w 15 22, any thoughts please!

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      I think I still have mine…I haven’t played with that thing in a few years. I could sell you mine if you want (brake) Hell, I’ll sell the stock too if somebody wants it and they are next to impossible to locate thanks to a bunch of turncoats on Armslist and gunbroker pulling all the ads. Let me know at Cary@tacticalgunreview.com if you want to buy my accessories.

  2. Vernon J says:

    Suggestions. I have a S&W 15-11 Performance Center model and it’s trigger is really light, say about 2.75 lbs. So will have to try it sometime with this.
    Browning 22LR HP is very high velocity and should help with increasing recoil.
    As far as trimming the firing pin spring, I suggest buying a “NEW” spring and trim it just a bit, and keep the original. You may be thankful to have an original should things not go as planned.
    Hoppe’s makes a nice dry lubricant spray that should be good on the stock to help with the friction of sliding.
    Vern

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Vernon, thanks for commenting and your tips. I got away from that setup, I still have it but haven’t used it in several years. Shortly after I wrote that the Great 22 Shortage began. Now we have better options too with triggers like the Fostech Echo and the other binary trigger….I forget the name…anyway they fire on pull and release. I dropped one in a 5.56 and another in a 9mm. No more messing around, you just pull the trigger. I don’t know if they are compatible with smith 22’s but I’d imagine if they are not that it won’t be long before they make one that does work. Thanks for stopping by TGR. cary

  3. Daren says:

    Does the reverse muzzle break really make a difference in recoil??

    • Cary Kieffer says:

      Daren, it’s enough to help you out with the slidefire. You surely don’t feel 5.56 recoil but it does help some when using the bump fire stock. Incidentally they are much cheaper now. Cary

  4. Mike Coker says:

    Awesome post Cary. That sounds like serious, cheap, fun. Nice job with the pics too.

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