Skip to comments.Prep School 101: Five .22 Rifles for the End of Times
Posted on 07/13/2012 4:37:57 AM PDT by marktwain
I was having lunch with some of my students last week and all they wanted to talk about was the coming apocalypse. Not the book of Revelations, exactly and not exclusively zombies. They were more interested in the all-too-pervasive feeling that *the shit*, as they say, is going to hit the fan.
Fecal matter in ventilation systems, sure, but what does that mean? Zombies, they know, are just a metaphor. We have no idea whats coming. The Zombie is just a mirror of sorts we make the boogey man look us because we know even if we wont admit it that we are part of the problem. As the Boy Scouts motto says: Always be prepared I was a Boy Scout. I am an Eagle Scout. I consider myself to be reasonably prepared, but I was amused by the lunchtime chatter, so, when they started talking about guns, I asked the impossible question: How do you arm yourself for some coming conflict you cant yet define?
The sons of Virginias aristocracy clad in their seersucker and bowties decided bigger was better. Wrong. Start small Now this answer may not apply for some high-rise dwelling Prius drivers who will have to wade through a sea of pissed off people if and when our delicate social fabric unravels, but Ill cover urban preparedness in another article.
My students are already in the woods. And I dont care what you throw at them zombies, sinners, bankers these young men will need to eat. And nothing beats a .22 rifle for hunting and gathering.
To be clear, I want to stress the importance of the .22 LR ammunition in this equation. Im not considering other rimfire calibers or chambering. Imagine a situation in which supply lines break down. Im banking on the fact that I can find .22 LR. And decent people in similar situations might be more likely to share .22 LR than any other type of ammunition. And as every good prepper knows, .22 LR is cheap and easy to stockpile.
Most .22 rifles guns have a lot of things in common. They are small and relatively light. Theyre inexpensive and easy to come by. The ones that make my list are all built of polymer, steel and alloys.
1. Ruger 10/22 Takedown
First up is a brand new offering from Strum Ruger. The 10/22 is one of the most widely respected .22 rifles. They come in a variety of flavors most of which are good cornerstone for basic preparedness. But theyve topped themselves and released an effective takedown.
The Ruger 10/22 Takedown is a semi-auto rifle. Though the 10/22 comes in a variety of offerings, but the Takedown is unique in that the barrel and receiver come apart with just a few simple moves no tools necessary for easy storage and transport.
The Takedown features stainless steel material with a matte finish, an indestructible black synthetic stock, an adjustable rear sight, fixed front sight and its magazine holds 10 rounds. With a 18.5-inch barrel the overall length is 37 inches and it weighs less than five pounds. MSRP is $389.
I just picked up one for review (soon to be published), and Im impressed. It feels like a 10/22 should feel: perfect for taking down small game or small zombies.
2. Marlin 70PSS (The Papoose)
Rugers idea for a takedown isnt new. Marlin has been making one for years. As such, the Papoose is relatively easy to come by. The Papooses barrel screws on. The gun is more compact than the Ruger and less expensive.
The Marlin Papoose has a stainless steel construction with a black Monte Carlo fiberglass stock. It has a 16.5-inch barrel with an overall length of 35.25 inches and it weighs 3.25 pounds. Other than breaking down easily and having a seven-round nickel-plated magazine, its a no-frills rifle. MSRP is $298.
The advantage of the Papoose is found in its compact size. In order to be prepared, you have to have the gun accessible. Think about bush pilots in Alaska, or those stories of wayward travelers who get caught in unexpected storms in the Sierras. The Papoose is so compact that is no reasonable excuse not to throw it in the pack, or in the dry-bag in your canoe.
3. Henry US Survival Rifle AR7
And while Im on the compact theme, Id like to highlight the only gun in this list built solely for survival. I recently had the distinct privilege of reviewing the Henry US Survival Rifle. The AR7. This is the ultimate takedown. The AR7 has the advantage of storing all of its parts in its stock. It is such a unique and well engineered package. And Henrys version is built with the same care as the rest of their rifles.
The AR7 has a steel construction with a Teflon finish and the stock is made of ABS plastic. It uses a 16.5-inch barrel putting its overall length at a cool 35 inches and weight at 3.5 pounds. Besides portability, features also include adjustable sights and an eight-round magazine. MSRP is $275.
The AR7 takes a little while to get used to. It feels strange at first. But after half an hour or so, I hardly noticed the AR7s strange dimensions. And the ghost ring sight on the Henry is a nice touch. This is a serious tool. A logical choice.
4. Savage Model 64
Ive been hearing more and more about Savage lately. Not that theyre new to the game. Savage has been making guns, off and on, for more than a century. And theyre back with inexpensive rifles that are competing with much more expensive guns.
The Savage Model 64 is a basic, no nonsense semi-auto. The base models are selling for less than $150. At that price, and with Savages reputation for durability, the Savage 64 is hard to beat. And it is hard to beat up.
Like the 10/22, there are many different kinds of this rifle. The Savage 64 is available with a synthetic or wooden stock, your choice of stainless steel or blued steel material, but the one most appropriate for this discussion is the Savage 64TRR because it has more of a tactical/utility design. It has a short 16.5-inch barrel, an overall length 36.5 inches and weighs the most at 6.6 pounds. The TRR has a threaded barrel, short Picatinny rail up top and a 10-round magazine. MSRP is $315, but if you want one minus the tactical features your looking at $160.
It is not a takedown. But no big deal. Toss it in the truck. It wont complain.
5. Remington Model 597
And then theres the Remington. The 597 is a good looking gun. I dont often say that about a gun without a wooden stockbut were talking about weapons built for worst case scenarios.
The 597 comes in a number of varieties. All are built on the basic 597 action. Like the various incarnations of the Ruger 10/22, the 597s differences have more to do with cosmetics and the weight of the barrel.
The newest addition is Remington 597HB, which has steel materials with a Teflon/nickel finish. Though the plastic stock feels less durable than its competition, itll work. It features 16-inch heavy contoured barrel, a short rail up top and a 10-round magazine. The overall length is 36.5 inches and it weighs 5.75 pounds. MSRP is $249.
And it is a Remington. If the ancient Mayans were wrong, and were not destined for anarchy and upheaval, than youll have a really nice Remington .22.
My students didnt like my .22 LR answer. Thats fine with me. But I know one thing when whatever goes down goes down if it ever does it wont be like playing Nazi Zombies. There will be countless considerations. Food. Water. Shelter. Safety. Sanitation. There is no one-gun solution. But there is a foundation to any well-intentioned preparations, and the .22 rifle is a great place to start.
There are pictures of the rifles at the site.
Woo-hoo! Shopping list!!
Get some .22 stinger ammo too.
Stingers are ok, but now I prefer the Velocitors. They are very accurate, and have the full 40 grain hollowpoint traveling at over 1400 fps.
marked for later!
7 inches of drop at 100, shoots like a 308 at 600.
Is that a belt fed .22? What the heck is it?
Can’t say enough abot CCI Stinger ammo. I use them on rabbits and squirrels and, if head shot, the settle the argument - NOW. Actually, they hit so hard and have such nice expansion for a .22 that they usually explode Thumper’s head. Not a pretty thought, but they don’t run off to die someplace in pain or where you can’t use them.
I still love my old ‘Remington Nylon 66’, and after 30+ years it still shoots great. In fact, lately I’ve considered making a hobby out of refurbishing them. :)
I was hoping to see the CZ 452/455 on the list.
They’re great guns and the craftsmanship is far superior to anything else on the list.
Sure, a 10/22 should ALWAYS be on the list, and it doesn’t have to be the takedown. In fact, the takedown version precludes any barrel or stock changes. Nice, but not necessary.
for later reading. Thanks for posting.
That’s a .22LR belt-fed upper receiver and barrel assembly for the AR-15. Do a web search for “Razorback .22LR” to see more.
AR-15 w/.22 conversion kit?
I had one of these but let it go in a sale.
Thats pretty freakin cool.
The other project that I love to keep track of is the various mini-gun creations using the .22LR.
What I also would be interest in machining is a Skorpion style .22LR machine pistol with a circular integral magazine around the barrel that would hold anywhere of 50 or more rounds.
As an Appleseed instructor, I see .22’s go through 500 rds a weekend and all of the semi’s have issues. The 10/22 has mag issues and the Marlin 795 needs lubing. The 795 also has an issue with the trigger guard cracking after many takedowns. The Savage and Remington also have extractor and feed issues. Also, feeding a semi the high-velocity stuff is asking for trouble. If I was going to rely on a SHTF .22, I’d go with a bolt. I’d take my Marlin 80. I’d also go with tech sights for irons and if I scope a dovetail, I’d get low rings that have a vertical setscrew and still build up the comb with some foam pipe insulation. Also, don’t forget a web M1 sling and 1 1/4 swivels. Just my $.02 after seeing people and equipment pushed.
Thanks. I just ordered 500rnds fom Natchez for my 1960 BSA/NRA Mossberg 144LS w/ 10x Bushnell Scope.
Thanks. I just ordered 500rnds from Natchez for my 1960 BSA/NRA Mossberg 144LS w/ 10x Bushnell Scope.
One of brands of .22s that I have used for a stainless barrel is the Thundebolts, seems to leave the barrel cleaner.
I had a stainless Ruger Redhawk that was fed a diet of lead cast bullets, took me forever to get the lead out of the rifling.
I like the Ruger 10/22, my son has the stainless with the colorful laminated stock, has a silver 3x9x40 scope on top.
I hate to disagree because, I do enjoy my 22s. But if every thing does go to hell, where are you gonna get ammunition for a .22. Reloading rimfire ammunition is not an option. I think the old guys out west 125 years ago had the right idea. What will be needed is a center fire handgun and rifle chambered the same. While I am partial to .357 Mag/.38 Spec, there are other rounds that are effective. There is reloading equipment available that will fit into a fairly small container.
Please don’t laugh, but what is the difference between a rifle & a shotgun? I saved & bought a S & W handgun, but the recoil is strong & I probably made a mistake thinking it would be good to use as home protection. What is the most easy as far as aim, quickness, & making the target for someone who is NOT gun literate ( & gets almost no practice sadly!)?
I realize I went off topic, but I could not resist when I know I am going to get invaluable advice.
My family settled on the Ruger platform. They’re rugged, reliable, and darned near indestructible. Those Hot Lip 30 round mags function well, too.
Do you see many of the older tube fed .22 autos?
.22 SHTF thread.
Well, you sent me off on a tangent and after reading about the velocitors I’m going to have to give them a shot. I didn’t read anything but good reports on their performance.
Marlins autos seem to like Federal best. Come to an Appleseed and see how your gear stands up. See my tagline. Also, I meant the hyper-velocity stuff is bad for semi’s.
I would love to come to an Appleseed but I am in Alaska and I refuse to fly. Maybe when we get the TSA overhaul then I’ll travel again.
Looks very useful - thanks for the link!
A rifle usually shoots a single projectile that is made to rotate by means of spiral grooves in the barrel (the rifling). This makes the projectile much more stable, and thus, more accurate.
A shotgun usually shoots multiple projectiles called shot, from each cartridge fired. Shotguns can also shoot single projectiles called slugs.
If you have a fair budget, I would recommend an AR type rifle for home defense. Be sure to use bullets that will break up after hitting the target. They do not create as much of an overpenetration hazard as full metal jacketed ammunition. They are usually sold as “varmint” ammo.
You must have hearing protection if you are going to shoot an AR inside a house. Active hearing protection that amplifies sounds, but shuts off to prevent hearing loss during a gunshot, is the recommended type.
AR type rifles in .223 have a price range of from $750 on up.
I’ve seen nothing but trouble and frustrated shooters with AR conversion kits. Inaccurate and FTF/FTE.
I have rifles and pistols up to 45/70 but I really like my .22LR and .22 mag firearms. I have a Contender in .22 mag (10” bbl). I also have .44 mag and .30-30 Contender pistol barrels.
Also, don’t forget airguns. A good gas piston springer in .22 will work for small game and the precharged pneumatics will work for medium game. I have a .25 pcp that is very quiet and rivals a .22LR.
Great resource: Jim Chapman’s Practical Guide to Airgun Hunting - http://www.americanairgunhunter.com/2ndedition_PGAH.html
I read of many successful uses of .22 rifles for self defense.
A rifle has grooves cut on the inside of the barrel to stablize a bullet in flight. Those grooves are called "rifling", hence the name rifle.
A shotgun doesn't have the rifling as it's mostly intended to fire multiple projectiles (shot) of various sizes from a single cartridge. Now there are rifled barrels available for shotguns but they're intended for shooting cartridges with a single projectile (called a slug) which are intended for larger game such as deer or bear.
Now here's where some folks are going to disagree with me, loudly. ALL firearms require "aiming", even shotguns. That suff about clearing out a room with a single blast from a shotgun is Hollywood garbage.
Now GENERALLY, I'd recommend a smaller gauge (20) instead of a 12 guage shotgun for smaller or recoil sensitive shooters. Yes, larger numbers are actually smaller cartridges in the world of shotguns.
Can you tell me what caliber handgun you bought? I may be able to give some suggestions to tame the recoil a bit.
Yes, but they can be a bear when shooting the AQT. For a SHTF auto, I’d prefer them to a mag fed but if you ding the tube, you’ll have problems. BTW, I had a nylon 66 and Marlin 60 and loved them both.
Bookmark for later research.
There are Appleseeds in AK. In fact, we will see 40k nationwide go through the program this year. We teach you the skills to consistently hit targets at 500 yds using a rack grade rifle, surplus ammo and iron sights from the prone unsupported and hear some little known Rev War history, too. You can’t beat the price, either. Others will charge you $500+ for what we do for darn near free. We’re volunteers.
The solution is to stock up now. .22 ammo is relatively cheap, and makes good trading material. You can buy 6000 rounds of .22 ammo for the cost of a simple reloading outfit.
Not that I disparage reloading, but the cost of a primer is more than the cost of a .22 cartridge.
I have reloaded many thousands of rounds of ammunition over the last 50 years, but it is very hard to beat the utility and cost of .22 ammunition.
I like the Rossi Matched Pairs. I have a youth sized .22LR/.410 that I got for the grand kids to shoot at the farm and a full sized .223/20 gauge. Only takes a few seconds to switch barrels. Very affordable and pretty darned accurate.
I got a neat Remington bottom eject semi auto .22 which breaks in two. It was manufactured in April of 1927. Price was an awesome $0. It shoots, but it needs a parts kit, it’s kinda worn since these were often arcade guns. The fact you can put it in a back pack kicks butt though.
I would love a refurbed nylon. What does one cost?