Everybody needs at least one hero. My father is mine for many reasons. One of those reasons was because of his service to our country. He enlisted just before the outbreak of the Korean War. They pulled all his teeth in basic training and up until he was shot multiple times and returned to the States, he had to gum everything he ate. I remember Dad telling me he carried an M1 Carbine in Korea and for most of my life that's how I pictured him when I thought about him as a soldier.
The M1 Carbine uses a short-stroke, gas-piston action and was used extensively by the U.S. military during World War II. This compact rifle, which fired a .30 caliber, 110- grain bullet with a muzzle velocity of about 1,950 fps was not all that popular with troops when it came to putting down the enemy. But, many enjoyed carrying it because it was lightweight and compact. Still, the M1 Carbine is an iconic American military firearm and is quite popular with both recreational shooters and collectors.
Chiappa Firearms is part of the Chiappa Group, which is an industrial corporation based in Italy, and is made up of several companies. The Citadel M1-22 is manufactured in Italy by Chiappa Firearms and distributed in the U.S. through Legacy Sports International, LLC.
When I pulled the M1-22 from the box I was excited to see how accurately it copied the original M1 Carbine; there's even a bayonet lug and the oiler/sling slot in the stock. Of course, this rifle is chambered for the .22 LR, which is what makes it so unique. Sure, the .30 Carbine is fun to shoot but for what a box of .30 Carbine ammo costs, you can shoot the Chiappa M1-22 all day long. And, unapologetically, that's what my son and I did.
There was one issue with the M1-22. The extractor did not function properly; it would not always pull an unfired cartridge from the chamber. I contacted Chiappa and found out the rifle I received for testing was one of the first production models. A replacement was sent out post haste and Chiappa assured the problem had been identified and corrected. The company was right, as the second rifle extracted flawlessly. The little carbine ran like a top and shot well, considering the heavy trigger pull that was just a shade over 8 pounds.
From a rest at 25 yards using the open sights, which consist of a fully adjustable rear aperture and a post front, 2-inch groups were common with all loads tested. The 10-round magazines were easy to load, insert and remove from the rifle and the action was easy to operate. My 12-year-old son had no problems loading or shooting the M1-22.
The trigger issue notwithstanding, this is a firearm retailing for less than $400. Still, the trigger could have been better. Secondly, unlike original M1 Carbines, .22 rifles are of a blowback design and tend to push a lot of powder debris out the rear of the chamber. With most .22 rifles the action is covered on top and excess gas and debris are contained in the action or bleed out the side ejection port. With the M1-22 all this excess gas and powder is blown up and back toward the shooter. You can feel it hitting you in the face.
This is not necessarily a flaw of the Citadel M1-22, rather an inherent problem with the M1 Carbine action—when converted to a blow back design—which Chiappa has copied. The only way Chiappa could circumvent this condition would have been to redesign the M1 action to a side eject version, which would of course circumvented the duplicity of the M1 Carbine. The answer? Chiappa could possibly craft a shield on the bolt or receiver to help divert some of this debris away from the shooter. Regardless, always wear shooting glasses when shooting the Chiappa M1-22 or any firearm for that matter.
In all, this is a neat little semi-automatic .22 rifle that, for most practical purposes, is better than one of the originals in .30 Carbine. Not only is it less expensive to shoot, its lighter and still maintains the historical mystique. And, if you remove the rear aperture sight you'll find a dovetail in the receiver so you can mount a riflescope. Kids should have no trouble with the Citadel M1-22 due to its light heft. If Chiappa will correct the heavy trigger, this is would be a really nice little .22 plinker.