For most of us who have grown up on farms, ranches and in the bush/woods around the world a simple .22lr handgun or rifle has often been the go to when it comes to putting food on the table. While most states have made it illegal for someone to hunt medium or larger game with a .22lr this does not mean it is not a round that is capable of doing so when necessary.
For instance gator hunters use the .22 lr in either a handgun or rifle configuration to quickly, quietly put gators down and these animals have far thicker hides and skulls than deer. Coyote hunters have long understood the benefits of a solid .22lr for putting pest ‘yotes’ down. And there isnt many hunters or trappers across North America and in Europe who havent used the venerable .22lr for quickly and humanely putting trapped fur bearing or food producing animals down.
In Arizona I have used the .22lr to put down dangerous javelina, bobcats and often take quail and dove with my rifles. Its a quiet, humane and extremely efficient way of putting meat on the table as well as protecting my children and or livestock. In the mid 80’s through the early 2000’s I and my brothers were often hired by local ranchers to put down roving feral dogs and cats. While I love both dogs and cats, the sad fact is when they go feral and pack up they become a dangerous threat to livestock and humans themselves. More often than not they are lice infested, diseased and in pain as it is.
For those of us who hunt, we all have a few brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc., who have put meat in the freezer in the off season regardless permitting, after all, survival trumps bureaucracy, in every case, at least morally. The .22lr allows for a much quieter approach and is quite capable at ranges from 3 through 200 yards with practice, especially with solid ammunition. Though I would suggest for medium to larger game you try to stalk within 75 yards so as to reduce the chances of wounding and loss of the winters larder.
Now obviously I am not suggesting you break the law, though I am stating for the record that an immoral law is no law that should be followed.
Get a solid rifle, many people swear by the venerable and widely used 10/22 by ruger firearms, my personal choices are as follows and in order of importance and benefit to myself. (Remembering the important things to consider are, reliability, accuracy and cost.)
- Mossberg 702 is a 4lb rifle that comes in many variations, it is a semiautomatic, fed with 10 or 25 round stick magazines, it feeds almost any ammunition you put through it. The action is a simple blow-back design with a pinned barrel that is easily floated for increased accuracy, though I can hit quarters all day with every single one I have had. I have also never had a firearm related failure and highly recommend Aguila 40 grain ammunition as it runs absolutely wonderfully in each one I have had and currently have. (I have more than 2 and less than 10 and have had more than this) It has a 3/4” dovetail rail that allows you to put scopes and red dots on them as you see fit. I enjoy using the Tech Sights for these rifles. I also have scoped a few and really like using either Bushnell trs 25 red dots or Aim sports 2-7×32 power scopes as they function well and allow for a very accurate use. (Doves heads at 50 yards.)
- Savage model 64 (several variations) at 5lbs it is approximately the same weight as a 10/22 though from what I have heard it far out-paces the 10/22 out of the box for accuracy and reliability. I personally have only been able to function check and shoot one, I was very pleasantly surprised to find it was both comfortable and amazingly accurate.
- Crickett .22lr single shot bolt action youth firearm. At 3.5 lbs it is very lightweight and easy to use. My daughter loves hers though she is quickly growing out of it.
- Lastly in my favorite rifle categories are the lever action approaches. Both Marlin and Henry make a great .22lr the Henry holds 15 rounds in a tube fed magazine and is both accurate and easy to use. Though for myself I prefer the easy ability to simply load another magazine, these are really quite fun and accurate as well as lighweight!
In the handgun category there are only two that I use currently-
- Walther P22 and the Ruger SR22 – they are based on very similar designs and take ten rounds per magazine. The Ruger is newer with a better slide and barrel as far as longevity, though I have put over 6,000 rounds through a Walther P22 and never had a single issue. 22 lr is after all quite low recoil and unless you plan on pistol whipping a grizzly or falling on the firearm itself, it should last for quite a long time. The Walther P22 has the benefit of having magazines available after-market from Keepshooting.com as well as coming with a threaded barrel which requires an inexpensive attachment to make it a quite firearm. Both have preformed extremely reliably and are lightweight, as well as being accurate enough for small game at under 25 yards.
- I have owned Ruger 45/77s, Mark II, and the venerable H and R trapper which has preformed very well with everything from feral hogs (500+lbs) and javelina, racoons and more.
So there are a few more reasons why having a .22lr is an important possibly even necessary aspect of your preps. Remember, quiet, accurate, and reliable! Not too mention you can use them to easily teach others who may have little to no experience in a safe, easy and trauma free way.
Free the mind and the body will follow