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Manurhin PP sport model.

Here's a pistol that may be familiar to some of you old-timers that has recently returned to our shores after a long absence. This is the Manurhin-Walther PP Sport Model .22 LR auto pistol, basically a "targetized" version of the classic PP model, which should be familiar to the majority of readers.

In case you joined us recently, after World War II Manhurhin of France began building the famous Walther PP series of auto pistols under license from Walther, and virtually all the post-war European-made PP series auto pistols, whether sold as "Manurhins" or "Walthers," have been almost completely manufactured by this French firm. (See "The Handguns of Manurhin" in the April, 1985 G&A.)

Manurhin began by making the original German Walther PP and PPK designs, but this later "Sport" version was developed by Manurhin from the basic PP auto.

The PP Sport differs from the standard Walther PP design in the following respects: longer barrel, target sights, oversize grips and a hammer with an extended spur.

Walther-marked PP-Sport Models were imported here by Interarmco and its successor Interarms from the late 1950s to about 1973, when importation of these little pistols ceased. A couple of years ago Manurhin (recently acquired by the giant MATRA conglomerate) began marketing operations in the USA, selling PP and PPK/S pistols under their own name at very attractive prices. In addition, they have made the PP Sport Model available once again in limited quantities on a special order basis.

Let's look in detail at these attractive little .22 autos. The PP Sport Models are available with 6 or 7-5/8-inch barrels. Our sample had the 6-inch barrel, which I think is in better scale for a pistol of this size. The slide is the same size as the standard PPs, and the barrel protrudes for some distance beyond the end of the slide.

Since the PP slide must clear the barrel in stripping, the front sight is detachable. It's held in place by a threaded nut and tensioning spring on the front of the barrel. Mounted on the rear of the slide is a fully click-adjustable rear sight with coin-slotted screw heads. Fortunately for me, the sights were perfectly adjusted for my use just as they came from the box. The front sight is of the undercut patridge type (earlier versions used a simple sloping ramp), and together with the wide-notch rear sight, the resulting sight picture is excellent. The hammer has a spur extension to facilitate easy cocking in conjunction with the large rear sight.

The grip is one of the most endearing things about this pistol. The grip panels are carved from walnut and incorporate a thumb rest. They extend for some distance below the frame proper, and a reinforcing filler block is attached to the panels underneath the frame. The magazine also has a carved wooden extension affixed to the floorplate that matches the grip panels. These grips give the pistol a distinct "Old World" charm and prompted several observers to remark that they looked as though they had been carved by elvish craftsmen in the nearby Black Forest--which lies just across the Rhine from Manurhin's plant in Mulhouse. On a more practical level, the grip was extremely comfortable and "shootable." Older PP Sport Models wore plastic grips that were probably equally functional, but not nearly so attractive. If more compactness is desired, standard PP grips and magazines may be substituted.

Single-action trigger pull was nice for a PP--if not quite up to target standards. After a considerable take-up, the trigger broke cleanly at just over 4 pounds with a little overtravel. The double-action pull was quite stiff and heavy, but then it's pretty hard to imagine a situation when one would actually need to use the DA feature on this pistol. There is also a single-action-only version of this pistol, which is supposed to have a trigger pull distinctly superior to its DA counterpart's.

Finish and workmanship were, predictably, excellent. Blueing seemed slightly richer and more lustrous than on my standard Manurhin PPK/S. Weight is only 26 ounces.

To ready the pistol for stripping, after making sure it is completely unloaded, unscrew the nut from the muzzle and remove the spring and front sight. Actual stripping is idetical to that of the well-known PP-series pistols.

We checked out this pistol during several shooting sessions at Angeles Shooting Ranges in Little Tujunga Canyon and at The Target Range in Van Nuys. Eleven different brands and types of .22 Long Rifle ammunition were tried. Our pistol was accompanied by a test target with all shots in one raggedy hole at 15 meters.

Try as we might, we were never able to duplicate such performance. Nonetheless the little pistol proved itself an accurate, consistent performer, printing most loads into groups ranging between 1-1/2 and 2-1/2 inches at 25 yards. Best accuracy was displayed by Winchester Super-X high-velocity hollow points, with groups averaging 1.3 inches; RWS Subsonic loads were nearly as good, trailed by CCI Stingers and Remington standard-velocity loads.

Not only does it print well off the bench, but it is an easy gun to shoot offhand. Using a timed fire cadence, I managed to shoot several scores in the high 90s at a distance of 25 yards.

In firing about 800 rounds we encountered only one jam--with RWS low-powered Subsonic loads that evidently didn't quite have the muscle to cycle the slide reliably. Occasionally there were misfires, but since the firing pin indentations on the case rims were deep and sharp, such misfires were in all probability the fault of the ammo, not the pistol.

The only problem encountered was a tendency for the front sight retaining nut to work loose in protracted strings of fire. It required occasional checking and tightening--never more than a quarter turn or so. Manurhin reps suggested spreading the ends of the retainer spring to incerase tension, and this may cure the problem. A small dab of a weak sealing agent like clear nail polish on the threads may also help, but don't, for heaven's sake, think of using something like Loc-Tite!

This pistol is too small and light for serious target competition, but as a plinker, trail gun or small game pistol, it approaches perfection. It's a real delight to shoot. Because it has a Walther PP's positive safety features, I can't think of any .22 auto I'd rather tote on the trail; I certainly consider it preferable to any concealed hammer design for such usage, and it will be a lot of fun in plinking and informal target shooting.

Manurhin is importing these pistols on a limited basis and offers them as a dealer-direct, special-order item. At a retail price of $532, it is sort of a carriage-trade plinker, but you do get a very high quality, appealing and distinctive pistol for your money. Information on ordering and on the complete line of Manurhin auto pistols and revolvers is available from Matra-Manurhin International, Dept. GA, 1640 West Oakland Park Blvd., For Lauderdale, FL 33311.
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Title Annotation:evaluation
Author:Libourel, Jan
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Date:Sep 1, 1985
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