Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sunday Smith #56: Model 2206, 1996

Since the discontinuation of the ill-fated Model 61 Escort in '73 and well into the '80s, Smith & Wesson didn't have any rimfire self-loading pistols other than the high-end Model 41 target gun. Meanwhile Ruger's target autos were selling like gangbusters and revolver sales as a percentage of the market were starting to slump. Smith needed a cheaper gun to compete in the plinking end of the market.

They got there by taking the basic design of the Model 61, which itself was derived from a long gone Belgian pocket auto, and stretching the barrel and butt into a 10-shot target pistol available with either a 4.5" or 6" barrel, called the Model 422.

Debuting in 1987, the 422 was soon joined by a version with a stainless slide and clear-coat anodized aluminum frame, which in keeping with current S&W numbering practices was the 622. (The number "6" being, generally, a S&W designator for stainless steel. Like most languages, S&W model numbers are best learned by immersion and osmosis rather than from a dictionary.)

Just as these guns were hitting the market, the centerfire S&W pistol world was transitioning from the "Second Generation" guns with their three-digit designators to the "Third Generation" autos, which bore four-digit model numbers. Perhaps with an eye to that, when the all-stainless version of the rimfire plinker debuted in 1990, it was designated the Model 2206.

The six-inch version of the 2206, pictured above, hit the market with an MSRP a whisker under $400 in 1990. It's a hefty gun, weighing in at an honest 39 ounces, which is, like, M1911 heavy. Recoil is pretty much non-existent. Even high-velocity loads are practically like shooting an airsoft gun.

This whole line of pistols was never really a sales threat to the dominant Ruger autos and were superseded in the late 1990s by the much simpler to build Model 22.

The pictured gun, featuring an aftermarket threaded barrel, was purchased from an internet friend for a little over three bills in 2016. Standard Catalog of Smith & Wesson, 4th Edition says $275 for EXC and $225 for VG and add $40 for adjustable sights. An ANIB example configured like the one above (less aftermarket barrel) would book at $390 w/box & docs in the SCSW4E.


Old NFO said...

I got to shoot one once, and you're right. With that weight, there was NO recoil. It actually had a decent trigger too, but it was never going to dent the Ruger market. I don't remember ever hearing of any smiths that could/would tune them for competition.

That Guy said...

I have the 622 version that I use as a suppressor host. The great thing about that under barrel config is that you can use stock sights even with a fat center fire suppressor

Paul said...

have a 622 and a 422. best shooting 22's I have. And I have some Ruger's as well. but I like the smiths a little better.

Sarthurk said...

I have a S&W 2214. The only one I've ever seen live. They're on the internet, so I guess this is not the only one. Even with the short barrel of this pistol, it is quite accurate. I also have an RST-6 and I like 'em both. The first firearm I ever shot was an RST-4. About 56 years ago up the Applegate River.

jon spencer said...

I have a 2214 also. One thing I like about it, is that it really likes Thunderbolts.
Quite a bit less expensive to feed than some of my other 22's.

Archer said...

This looks like a good gun. I shoot a caspian once but it was a bit heavy for me. This one might be perfect for me.

Anonymous said...

I have a 2206 with a 6 inch barrel. I have had it for more than 20 years. It shoots good. Still have the box with the papers in it. I will let my two grandsons fight over it after I am gone.

Unknown said...

Bruce McDonald was the lead engineer on the job, which, oddly enough, was mostly developed in the tiny S&W facility in Holden Maine.

Which was droll, as Bruce is a Portland Maine and UMaine Orono guy who was desperate to get the hell out of Maine.

He tried my idea of fluting the cylinder to get the pistol to function with near squib loads (I was at Colt's at the time, so he was discrete) and it worked prety well, but management went with the smooth chamber, which, with a slide weight change to the magic five and a quarter ounces, worked out pretty well.

Allen Griffin said...

I have an unusual Tranter 5 shot double trigger cartridge pistol that I think is one of the earliest cartridge pistols as well as one of the first double action pistols.

I'd like to send you pics. I know you'll like it !

Corey said...

My brother and I both purchased a 2206 when they first came out. His was quite accurate but you could never get through a full mag without a malfunction. Mine never malfunctioned but off of a rest at ten yards it wouldn't do any better than about 4"-6" groups, even with Eley match ammo. I liked the design but after going 0 for 2 with it I decided that if a got another Smith rimfire I would just suck it up and by a model 41.

J.Simmons said...

Great pistols, and one of the best suppressor host pistols out there. With the barrel being so low in the frame it allows for an unobstructed sight picture, even while running a can.