Ruger MK. I, Ruger MK. II, MK. III, Ruger 22/45
When it comes to plinking with a .22 pistol, the handgun most likely to be used will be some variation of a Ruger, whether it's an older Mk I, a MK II, the newly released MK III, or a 22/45. The Ruger .22's are kind of like the small block Chevrolet to the hot-rodders. They're inexpensive, readily available, and there's tons of after-market goodies. Ruger makes a number of variations available, (have a look at ruger's web site here), and you can then customize it from there. Of course, there's also lots of good used Rugers to be had, too.
The basic design was developed at a time when Hi Standard and the Colt Woodsman were dominant in the marketplace. Ruger, through innovative design, was able to come up with a .22 pistol that could be inexpensively produced, and thus eventually dominate the market. Instead of a more conventional slide, Ruger opted for a bolt that moved inside of a cylindrical receiver. Although novel, it has proved itself over the years.
All of the Ruger MK series use the more slanted grip angle, similar to the early Hi Standards and Woodsman. The 22/45 was a slightly more revolutionary design, employing the more upright "military" grip angle giving it a feel more like a 1911. The 22/45 also used composites in the grip/lower frame assembly. The grip panels cannot be changed on a 22/45, as they can on the MK series. The rubber finger groove grip sleeve seems to be a popular addition to the 22/45. I think it is an improvement, giving a better feel.
Many, but not all, feel that the trigger feel and pull need some work, and Volquartsen, and others, make kits to do just that, and to do it well. As for the sights, there again, there are lots of choices. The high visibility red glow from sights are a nice attition, in my opinion.
There are basically two ways to mount a scope onto a Ruger that is not already so equipped. One way involves drilling and tapping, then bolting the scope rail to the receiver. There are also a couple of "clamp-on" scope mounts that require no drilling and tapping. If you opt for one of these, be sure not to over-tighten the clamping screws, as it can distort the receiver, causing cycling problems.
My recommendations would be that if I was looking just for a plinker, they fill the bill well. This series, however, is slanted a bit towards rim fire race guns as you might use in local club competition. Out of the box, I think the Rugers need a little work to be all that they can be. Once they have been "breathed on" a bit, they can be VERY competitive on the club level. I personally like the feel of the 22/45 over the MK II, but that's just a personal preference.
The Rugers are the most popular .22 out there, there must be a reason…..