Bersa Thunder 22 - Quick review, issues and fix
This is my first post in this forum (I have been lurking for a while) and I hope that you won't mind me starting with a quick review of the Thunder 22 I recently purchased
I bought my nickel plated T22 about a month ago at a gun show here in Houston for what I think was a very reasonable price. I was looking for a reliable plinker that looks and feels like a real pistol and not a plastic toy and the T22 is exactly that!
When I first saw the gun, I immediately liked the size, weight and the (all metal) build quality. No pot metal or polymer, just aluminum and steel
I took it the very same day to the range (after a thorough cleaning and oiling) and shot a box of 100 CCI Mini-Mag without a single failure! I didn't really care about accuracy at that point but it seemed to me that the Bersa was doing better than my Walther P22. My only issue was the sights: the orange dots painted on the nickel finish are not easy to see.
Since then, I might have shot around 1000 rounds and this little T22 have been performing almost flawlessly. Although I am still not used to the low contrast sights, my groups at 10 yards are now close to 2" or 3", offhand.
I also like very much how easy it is to field strip this gun and to clean it: definitively a plus compared to the Walther P22 and even more compared the Browning Buckmark.
I did run into a couple of issues though. The first issue - which I expected with such a heavy slide for a .22LR semi-automatic pistol - has to do with the choice of ammunition you feed it with. I found that the gun needs hot ammo to perform flawlessly: both the CCI Mini-mag and the dirty (but cheap!) high velocity Remington "Golden Bullet" work great. Actually, I shot 200 rounds of Remington Golden today without a single failure! But with slightly less powerful rounds (like Federal or Winchester bulk) the gun fails to feed or to eject almost every other round. No big deal for me, if this is the price to pay for a all metal construction.
The second problem with the gun has to do with the nickel finish... well it's peeling away (hammer, slide catch on the slide, around the decocker). And as I already mentioned, I am not a bit fan of the orange on nickel sights. So I should have bought the matte black model. I know, it is just cosmetic and won't affect the performance of the gun.
But the most annoying problem was with the slide catch: when hot from shooting, the slightest knock on the gun was causing the slide to slam home (I am not talking here about the "tactical reload feature", I wasn't even inserting a magazine. Actually, the gun was doing that after I released the magazine to load new rounds). Sometimes, this was happening spontaneously while the gun was laying on the table, without me touching it!
I thought that something was wrong with the slide catch and I was ready to order a new slide catch and spring from Bersa. I thought that this would be cheaper than shipping the gun out for warranty work (I'm a cheap guy). Since I was planning on replacing these 2 parts, I decided to play with the slide catch and slide catch spring and see if I could figure out what was going on. The slide catch was looking good so I decided to work the spring and managed to weaken it enough so that it would be less zealous pulling the slide catch down. Well, this did the trick! Few hundred rounds later, I didn't experience a single occurrence of this "release on it's own" problem. I tried to be less gentle with the gun and knock it a bit right after removing the magazine but even doing so the slide was holding firm.
So bottom line: I am now a happy camper!
Last edited by mskdd; 06-03-2011 at 06:55 AM.
Thank you for the excellent review, mskdd and welcome.
I'm glad you were able to resolve the issue with the slide catch and sorry to hear about the nickel. You have a very nice looking pistol. Thank you for the photo
Good report mskdd. You are not, by chance, using a cleaner which contains amonia are you? Hoppes #9 dosn't say it on the bottle, but it has amonia in it. That can attack the copper undercoating & cause the nickle to turn loose.
Bingo! I used Hoppes #9 a couple of times on the Bersa. I stopped using it very recently because I can't stand the smell of it anymore. I am now using Break Free CLP and I hope it doesn't contain chemicals that would attack my guns!
Originally Posted by mitchr
Thanks for the tip.
thanks for the kind words!
Originally Posted by Americangirl01
Many consider CLP as the best you can get for nickle pistols. I don't know how good a bore cleaner it is.
Hoppes makes a bore cleaner called "Elite" which is supposed to be better than amonia. But they are real proud of it, about $10 for a bottle smaller than their $4 #9! Needless to say, I haven't tried it. I don't have any nickle pistols so I can use their cheap stuff.
Last edited by mitchr; 06-03-2011 at 06:28 PM.
Thank you for this review. I have it in mind to purchase a Thunder .22 a couple weeks from now and your review has solidified that decision. Having read the Firestorm .22 review on Gunblast I had already pretty much made up my mind.
ETA: I couldn't wait for 2 weeks. I put one on layaway 9/2/11. Will pick it up on the 16th.
Last edited by Bookman; 09-05-2011 at 08:00 AM.