Monday, October 11, 2010


Image from an auction arms auction.
As I posted her previously about a holster I found for this gun that just fits it to a "T", ROY'S LEATHER ?"PANCAKE? HOLSTER FOR SMALL FRAME ..., I began doing a little research on the gun pictured from my family's collection.

It's a Tanfoglio Model TA22 made in Brescia, Italy. It was imported (and that fact documented with the words "EXCAM HILEAH FL" very crudely stamped on an otherwise very nice case finished side plate) by EXCAM and sold at gun shows and stores and were not expensive guns at all. The gun itself is well made, this particular model with a brass frame and plastic grips with a thumb groove on the left side of the grip for the right handed shooter. The gun and stamping are solid, and I don't know much about Tanfoglio but I know EXCAM was some sort of importer in Florida bringing in all kinds of cheaper, but sometimes well made guns in the 80's and 90's. Some were junk, but some like this particlar gun are just a gem.
I have some nice guns, and I have some shooting irons. I've always shot everything I've owned, and this particular .22 small frame Single Action revolver has always been a great shooter. My dad picked it up at a gun show somewhere, for about $75 of so in the eighties, with an extra .22 Magnum cylinder. His fireman and lawyer shooting buddy friends told him "get the one with the brass frame and the case hardened finish on the side plates", and so he spent a bit more and got a very solid gun.

Loaded with five, it weights in at 33 and a 1/4 ounce. It's a solid hunk of metal, and it point shoots like crazy. From the first shot out of the box, the fixed sights have been dead on the money, but the crazy fun thing about this gun is it's a GREAT point shooting.

Let me elaborate. Let's say the target is a beer can at 10 feet, sitting up about 40" in the air on a stick. It seems like I point the Tanfoglio in the general direction of the target and I hit the target. It's the kind of gun that makes me feel like a real pistolero, when I'm shooting from the hip or point shooting or doing some fast draw on a can or target.

So maybe it's an anomaly or a lucky pistol purchase, but as I recall the group of characters my dad ran with from his twenties on in Houston all had these when they were selling cheap at the gun shows. Heck, they're still selling cheap, just a quick goggle showed a recent sale at Guns America for something like $84 and some change. Plus shipping to a dealer, but that's $20-$30.

I see them around at various gun shops that trade in used revolvers, and one day I'll find a nice one. I can say ours is in exemplary condition, particularly when you consider it's had at least 3 or 4 thousand rounds through it. A bunch. Hunnerds and hunnerds. Maybe more.

It shoots better than my Ruger Bearcat from childhood. It shot better new than the Ruger did, and it still shoots better. Had a new firing pin put in and springs about a thousand rounds ago, because it was getting on in years. My father often bought the firing pin and spring kits or the like when he was buying a pistol, particularly a foreign made one.

He figured the guys selling these cheap imports could get or supply at purchase the necessary parts because they had a stock on had for troubled new guns of some spare parts. This was for sure a *Gun Show With His Buddies Purchase*, all of which I'm glad he made of course. I remember them talking about what a great bargain the gun was for what you got and how the ones they were buying from this distributor through their own small gunsmith and gunsales side/hobby businesses were just shooting dead on.

Deer hunters were buying them like crazy, for shooting at camp and taking into the field as a lighter weight belt gun to accompany the hunting rifle. Fishermen loved having them in their boat as a snake gun. Just regular old every day shooters loved them for fun at the range or for a good pest gun on the old home place or even in the city with the wrong kind of snake.

They are not terribly loud for what they are, and certainly to me are much quieter than other kinds of these guns that I've shot over the years, both import and high quality high dollar guns. But of course the guns primary feature has been it's performance as a good old shooting iron. Just over 24 ounces loaded.

El Fisho Jr. has long declared this pistol his, and fair enough, he can shoot it even better than I can, and I can shoot it pretty dang good. So now El Fisho Jr. has a great field holster for this gun when we are out at the range. And of course, er, em, uh, well Dad you know will need to continue to test that holster with that pistol and others it's size to make sure that it's safetly doing the job, especially after I install the hammer flap to the holster.

So now paired together, a bargain pancake holster and a bargain good old shooting iron like the Tanfoglio TA22. Yeah, I like high end guns, but when you get a good shooting gun like this, it's just a fun time everytime it comes out. You can buy this gun today at a gun show for under a "hunnerd", and probably barely more than that at some used guns stores. Or of course, gun auction sites. Try to look for the ones with the extra magnum cylinders and the brass frames.


  1. Tanfoglio are one of the best Italian pistol makers, they specialise in sport pistols, which are amongst the best in the world and their recent defence models are excellent too.

    I haven't fired any of their revolvers but I know Tanfoglio weren't happy with them. The Tanfoglio TA-TANARMI and E 151 came out in 1979. Their next revolver was the TA 769 which was gazetted in 1986, then again after some improvements in 1987. That was the last revolver they made and they have no plans to make any more.

    There are some exceptionally good Italian revolvers but there just isn't a market for them in Europe.

  2. Unfortunately Rob, that brand is not really well thought of in the States. As I said, our gun has been issue free, but my dad felt the secret to buying cheap guns from overseas was to get the SPARE PARTS when you buy the gun, when the supply chain is working and the parts are there.

    We've only had one or two odd guns over my lifetime we couldn't find parts to repair, and that was in the days before the internet when you had to buy the big Numrich catalog. And one of those guns was an old J.C. Higgens branded gun from a major maker. It was a family hand me down but not a particularly nice one, so we parted it out and probably made more than we would have selling it intact.

    As for me, I'm on the hunt for one more of these TA22's. As I mentioned, one recently went under $100 in excellent condition on a gun auction site and this is a great shooting little gun and a fun gun to shoot. I've got my local gun shop owner/gun show goer/proxy buyer looking out for me for another TA22 and we'll find one soon. I just want it to be in great shape.

    I'd be interested in seeing their other products. Thanks for coming by, Rob!

    1. I have pair of them....with holsters. Been thinking about putting them on armslist to see what they would fetch. Both are in very nice condition and have been sitting in a drawer for nearly 30 years.

  3. I've seen them go for anywhere from $150 to just over $200 apiece on various gun auction sites the past year. You can't buy anything as well made today for that kind of cash. Mine just keeps on shooting and it's a favorite plinker.

  4. I have the TA22 that is missing the load gate, I can find one but I have the old load gate left from a H&R 922 that is the flat version, just go to locate it. We moved and it got buried. I had made a deal for two other revolvers and when I got there the guy sold and gave me the TA22 for my troubles. It has the brass sides and is very nice sans not loading gate. I guess it is time to dig for mine. I agree with the fact it is a great feeling revolver except I do not like the plastic grips. Making some stag for it.

  5. I had one of these that my father bought for me back in the early 80's. I loved the gun and it shot well. Unfortunately it broke and I sent it off with my brother to get it fixed by a friend of his. I have not seen the gun since. I had some nice myrtle wood grips that I had made for it to replace the plastic ones. All is gone now but ever since I have longed to have another in my hands. I recently bid on a TA76 on a local web site. I hope to be tipping cans over soon. Thanks for the write up.