The very first handgun that I ever fired was a Smith & Wesson K-22 Masterpiece. I learned sight picture, trigger control, and proper grip shooting that gun, and I punched a lot of holes in tin cans and plastic pop bottles with that pistol. Because of my early experiences with that gun I’ve always had a soft spot for rimfire revolvers, and I still get excited about setting up targets in the back yard and plinking away with .22 wheelguns—which is why I was so excited to test Charter Arms’ new Target Pathfinder rimfire revolver.
Charter Arms has built a following among shooters by offering a line of durable, inexpensive revolvers in a number of different calibers and configurations. The brand’s Pathfinder line includes eight models in a variety of colors and barrel lengths in both .22 Long Rifle and .22 WMR, but with its 4.2-inch barrel and adjustable sights the Target version is designed to enhance accuracy potential without adding a lot of heft to the pistol. The .22 Long Rifle version that I tested weighs in at 24 ounces and measures just over 9 inches in length. The metalwork has a matte stainless finish and the rounded rubber grips have checkering and finger grooves for added stability. The cylinder has a capacity of six rounds.
The Pathfinder’s double-action design is simple to operate and maintain, and since muzzle blast with this gun is minimal and recoil is almost non-existent, the Target Pathfinder is a great choice for introducing new shooters to the sport. Plus, with an MSRP of just $409 this gun is one of the most affordable .22 revolvers on the market. It’s a no-frills wheelgun with roll stamped lettering on the barrel and basic iron sights (square black adjustable rear and a post front sight), but it proved to be reliable and accurate during the range test. I fired five five-shot groups with three different loads (Winchester’s T22 lead round nose Match, Federal’s Hunter Match and CCI Velocitor—all 40-grain loads) at 25 yards and the revolver produced groups as small as 1.02 inches at that range.
There were no mechanical issues with the gun throughout the test which, including some time spent shooting paper targets, spinners, balloons and a tin can, accounted for more than 100 rounds over the course of a few hours. The Target Pathfinder’s rubber grip is quite comfortable and accommodating even for shooters with relatively large hands, and the extended barrel with underlug offered great balance. In single-action mode the trigger breaks cleanly at 3½ pounds, and in double-action mode it requires about 12½ pounds of force.
These factors all combined to make the Target Pathfinder a pleasure to shoot, making it an ideal gun for new shooters learning the basics of firearm handling. But even if you are an experienced shooter adding a gun like the Target Pathfinder to your gun safe makes sense. Rimfire ammunition is affordable and is once again widely available, and this gun is ideal for low-cost, low-recoil practice that will help even experienced shooters practice trigger control and sight alignment. Just prior to testing the Target Pathfinder I spent a day shooting an IDPA match and transitioning to a lighter, more manageable rimfire pistol was a welcomed break from the intense realm of competition shooting. The real draw to this gun for new and seasoned shooters alike, though, is the fun factor it offers at a bargain price. It isn’t finicky with ammo, it isn’t taxing to shoot, and you can spend a whole afternoon at the backyard range without worrying about the mounting cost of all the ammo you’re burning.
Accuracy Test: Charter Arms Target Pathfinder .22 LR
Average Groups (in)
Best Group (in)
Federal Hunter Match
Winchester T22 Match
Velocities figures are averages of 10 shots measured on a Competition Electronics ProChrono chronograph placed 10 feet from the muzzle. Accuracy figures are based on five five-shots groups at 25 yards from a fixed rest.
Specifications: Charter Arms Target Pathfinder
Action: Double action revolver
Caliber: .22 Long Rifle (also available in .22 WMR)