At 25 yards, Federal UltraMatch, Eley's Target and RWS Target can deliver 5-shot groups under 1" as long as you want to pull the trigger. The accuracy of the M3 can be considered outstanding when, without testing it from a machine rest, it delivered tight, well-formed groups in the 1/2" to 5/8" range. From a machine rest, I'm sure the M3 is quite capable of holding to within 1/4" or less.
The factory trigger was set at a crisp 4 pounds with minimal over-travel. I found it a great trigger to work with, but I would adjust it a bit lighter for shoulder-to-shoulder competition or precision hunting purposes.
The M3 lives up to its reputation as a match quality pistol, but that's only where the fun begins. The next item I came up with was a Walther "Nanopoint" red dot sight. Off came the 2x20 scope and on clamped the red dot.
The Nanopoint has two settings — an "automatic" setting adjusts the brightness of the dot to the ambient light level and a "manual" setting in which the brightness is fixed. It proved to be a good, little, lightweight, red dot optic, although I thought the diameter of the dot could be reduced in size to some advantage.
I next picked out a Walther red laser unit (they also offer the increasingly popular green laser). To fit the laser to the bottom of the frame, you first unscrew and remove a muzzle cap surrounding the end of the barrel. Then you unscrew the bottom Picatinny rail and slide it forward and out from the retaining dovetail of the frame. The laser unit slips into the dovetail until it rests against the triggerguard. The empty space in the dovetail between the laser body and the muzzle cap is plugged with a supplied filler strip held in place when the muzzle cap is secured. In short, the laser installation is easy and neat. An off-and-on switch is located on the right side of the unit within reach of your trigger finger.
Yes, the M3 does have a set of open sights. In fact, the front sight post is triangular, offering three different blade widths as it's turned. It's a pretty cool design, but the M3 really leans toward the use of scopes, red dots and lasers.
Other accessories an M3 shooter would find valuable were an adjustable weight unit (up to 100g) that slips into the bottom dovetail of the frame, a smaller, junior size polymer grip, an adjustable wooden match grip, 5- or 10-shot magazines, interchangeable 6" barrels, 4" and 6" Picatinny rails and front and rear Truglo sport sights. With all the options for adding or subtracting accessories, you can mix and match and customize an M3 into a precision rimfire
handgun for any imaginable purpose.
The grip-to-frame angle of the SP22 line proved to be excellent, making the Walther a natural pointer. Too, the frame depth of the SP22 series proved invaluable in providing mounting surfaces for top and bottom Picatinny rails. The location of the barrel in the frame also minimizes what little recoil the .22 LR generates.
The polymer pads seen midway on both sides of the frame are grasped and pulled to the rear to cock the action which functioned flawlessly over a 200-round test shoot. Just above the trigger is a sliding cross-safety. Added safety features consist of a magazine disconnect and a cocking indicator at the rear of the frame.
The 4th model of the SP22 series, the M4 ($784), is strictly designed for match competition with a 6" match-grade barrel, full trigger adjustments and an adjustable, hand-supporting, wooden target grip.
Walther's new SP22 series offers something for everyone at a reasonable price, but the M3 is so well designed, so flexible and adaptable to any mission, it's my hands down pick of the litter.
Carl and Fritz Walther would certainly be pleased with the continuing design innovation and craftsmanship so much in evidence in today's products from Carl Walther Gmbh Sportwaffen. pflira
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