.22 LR hunting small game: rifle v. pistol?


January 6, 2007, 02:09 AM
Imagine in some future world, you are limited in the number of guns
that you could carry with you to acquire food.
(Yeah, I know, that's a stretch. But work with me here.)

You want a centerfire rifle for medium game - deer, etc.
(For me, that's going to be a Marlin 336 in .30-30. That's not up for discussion.)

You also want a .22 LR for smaller game (squirrels, rabbits, birds...).

Problem is, you will be on foot for much of the time that you're hunting.
You'll have a pack (day pack, fanny pack, backpack...),
but you don't want to tote around two rifles.

Now, this is a fairly new concept for me.
Up until now, I've considered buying a Marlin 39A (.22 LR) in addition to the 336.
(I'm selling a CZ 452 Style, which - even though a fine rifle {freaking tack driver it is},
I haven't been able to warm up to it since I'm a lever and pump person, not a boltie.)

But I came to understand that, in such a hypothetical scenario -
in which you only want to carry one long gun and one handgun -
it would be tough to decide which long gun to carry: .30-30 or .22 LR.
(What will I see today on my walk? Deer or squirrel or both?)

That led me to a new configuration for the toolkit:
.30-30 for the long gun for medium-sized game
(which are harder for most of us to get close to),
.22 LR in a handgun for small game.

After a couple of dozen hours of reading reviews, etc,
my current top contenders for a .22 hunting handgun hover around
a Ruger MKII/III Hunter or a Browning Buck Mark Hunter.
(Nota bene: this isn't really a thread for debating their pros and cons,
although I'm reasonably certain that will happen anyway,
even though there's plenty of other threads that already deal with that ... :rolleyes: )

I'm most interested in those two pistols right now.
I'm not opposed to a .22 revolver, like the Ruger Single Six,
but for now, it seems I'm most interested in a semi-auto pistol.
I like their longer barrels, the ability to mount a scope, etc.

So, here comes my question.

In my experience, one typically shoots small game (squirrels, rabbits) at shorter distances.
It's been a while (years) since I hunted squirrels, but my recollection is that,
even with a .22 rifle, 40 yds was a LONG shot.

Assuming one practices with said .22 pistol, and maybe even has a scope on it,
what is a reasonable maximum that one could take small game? 25 yds? 35 yds? 50 yds?

Yes, yes, I know, it depends on skills, eyes, etc.

But I'm trying to decide how much disadvantage one would accrue by carrying a pistol
(even with a longer barrel, say, 5" - 7") rather than a rifle with a 20" to 24" barrel.

Opinions are good.


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Byron Quick
January 6, 2007, 02:17 AM

In my experience with hunting small game with .22 pistols, I can't remember a time I could have made the shot with a .22 rifle but, instead, missed with a .22 pistol.

Don't get me wrong, I've missed with a pistol...I just think a rifle wouldn't have made a difference.

January 6, 2007, 02:22 AM

Thanks for your opinion, as always.

I'm thinking the same as you:
I'm not sure a rifle would make a difference.

I just thought I'd see what others are thinking about this topic.


Joshua M. Smith
January 6, 2007, 03:06 AM
I took a running squirrel this past season at 50 yards with my Romanian M69 military trainer in .22lr. I know I could not have done that with the .22 pistol I carry for backup when hunting small game.

However, the bullet, a CCI Mini-Mag HP, seemed to lose steam pretty quickly at 50yds. The two times I hit it on the ground only slowed it down, then it climbed a tree. I put another through its chest, and, as it was hanging from a branch, through its head. Not much squirrel left.

I was able to do this with intense practice as I was shooting and not hitting prior to this.

I usually do things this way: If it's a handgun, it goes to the body. If it's a rifle, I try to take a head shot.


Josh <><

January 6, 2007, 03:59 AM
With a scoped rifle you can definitely take a longer shot, some HP's will literally 'blow up' when fired from a rifle. You can also place your shot more carefully... many 'target' type sights on .22 handguns are great for bullseye, too coarse for small game.

I love my Ruger Mk2, but a handgun has limitations over a long gun, regardless of caliber. I've killed squirrels, prarie dogs, rabbit and a grouse with my Mk2, I've done more hunting with a .22 rifle, and killed more game with it. I can consistantly knock down bowlingpins with my Mk2 at 100 yards, but I can't place the shots with the same accuracy as a rifle, ie: aim for the red triangle on the pin and hit it.

BTW the Marlin 39 is an EXCELLENT small game rifle, it's nearly a bull barrel. Do some long range shooting with it off a bench, you'll be shocked at the accuracy. You might also consider a Marlin 795 semi auto rifle... they are inexpensive and capable of great accuracy.

5 shot group, 100 yards, .22 cal Marlin model 995, Federal High Velocity 40 gr round nose bullet. Weaver 1.5-4.5x variable fine crosshair scope. The Rifle and scope might be worth $100, and that was just one grouping from that day at the range, if I had fiddled some more I may have got down to sub 1moa.


I know a Marlin 39 will outshoot my 995, if that's what you want by all means it's a great rifle.

January 6, 2007, 04:28 AM
DR, good points all. Thanks for your opinions.

So, two questions:

1) if not for small game, what is the value of a .22 pistol?
(Other than paper punching and plinking, which I'm not interested in.)

2) In lieu of the Marlin 795, what do you (and others) think of the Marlin 60 (http://www.marlinfirearms.com/Firearms/SelfLoading/60S-CF.aspx)?

One of the things I'm wanting to get away from in my CZ
is that magazine sticking down where I want to carry it in my right hand.

The 795 has the same issue
(magazine just in front of the trigger guard).
The 60 does not.


January 6, 2007, 04:59 AM
Tubular mags hold a lot of bullets = Good, in fact the same as the lever action 39. Now I've heard some folks complain that the tube is 'more fragile' than a magazine, but I know there's a 40 year old marlin 39 in the safe that was carried all over and has never had an issue with feeding.

I'm not saying a pistol is BAD for hunting, I'm saying a rifle allows you longer shots with more precision and more power. .22 lr pistols are great for squirrels and rabbits.

I just pointed out the 795 as an inexpensive option, the 60 would be a good choice too.

If you buy a rifle, get one with sling studs... I had no sling on my 995 for years and it would bother me to no end, then I'd forget about it until the next time I hunted.

January 6, 2007, 11:50 AM
I've got 2 Marlin 39s (a Golden M & an AS) and they are fantastic hunting rifles. I killed rabbits with each of them last weekend. The Golden M is tiny, a gift from my dad when I was 8. I recently gave it to my 9-year old son. He got tired of carrying it on our hunt, so I carried it a while and drilled a running jack through the lungs at 65 yards. :D

I also used my Browning Buckmark on rabbits last weekend with great effect to about 75 yards. I was not taking head shots, mind you - but easily killing rabbits out there a way. I would be able to take them farther out with a little smaller front sight - it's an accurate handgun.

January 6, 2007, 12:26 PM
There are pistols and then there are pistols. I can take any shot with my scoped pistol you can take with your rifle, then I can switch barrels and take deer as far away as you can with your lever gun. :D

It's called the Contender and it's the best danged hunting system extant. Since you just have ONE registered frame, you can shoot anything with it. You can get black powder rifle barrels, shotgun barrels (.410) that also fire .45 colt, rimfire barrels, and every thing in between for it, with a limit on rifle calibers of course. The Encore offeres high powered rifle calibers, but then no rimfire.

My 10" scoped .22LR contender barrel can take squirrel easily to 50 yards off my shooting stix, not a problem. In fact, it's more accurate than probably 90 percent of the rimfire rifles offered for sale.

I'd need a .45-70 barrel for mine and I'd have one handgun that could take anything that walks in north America, and that's before I put a rifle stock and rifle barrel on it. :D

Art Eatman
January 6, 2007, 02:09 PM
Think about hunting tactics or scenarios: If you're deer hunting, you're focussed on that. A shot from a .22 at a rabbit (either rifle or pistol) can cut down the chances of success on deer.

If you're specifically not deer hunting, but are looking for squirrels and rabbits, in general a .22 rifle yields more reliable chance of a hit--for most people.

If I were backpacking across coutnry, I'd probably think in terms of takedown rifles. One or the other in hand, depending on what I was after.

It seems to me that if you're going across country and do kill a deer, you're then in a base-camp situation for some period of time...You gotta do something with it, right? Make jerky, whatever?

If you're sneaky-snaking around, a .22 rifle is quite a bit quieter than a pistol.

But, yeah, a .22 pistol, assuming good sights and the skill, is quite effective to some 20 or 25 yards or thereabouts.


January 6, 2007, 03:28 PM
I'd personally switch it around a bit with a .22 rifle (magnum please) and a big bore handgun.

I was out rabbit hunting once with a .22 (Mag) and came up on a gorgeous buck, after calculating that it was indeed deer season and I had nothing but a .22mag I sadly had to watch him bound away after staring him in the face for what seemed an eternity. Since then, I carry a big bore handgun when small game hunting in big game season. A .357 would've been ok, but the .41Mag seems to cover the bases well for me even if it isn't popular.

Essex County
January 6, 2007, 03:40 PM
My choice would be a Ruger .22 pistol and the 30-30.........Essex

January 6, 2007, 04:31 PM
Thanks to all for thought provoking comments. All are much appreciated;
they're helping me sort through this decision in an interesting way.

More about that later, after work.

For now, can anyone identify the scope on the Buckmark Hunter in this photo (http://www.browning.com/products/catalog/firearms/detail.asp?value=006B&cat_id=051&type_id=403)?

And if so, can you also provide pros and cons of that particular scope for that gun (or any other similar .22 hunting pistol? Browning must think of it as a good match for their hunter, lest they wouldn't have used it, right?

If there are other scopes or sight combinations (for those 50 yd shots with aging eyes) that you would recommend instead, I'd appreciate hearing about those, as well, with as many details as you'd care to include.

(I pretty much know what I'll do for sights/scoping both my Marlin 336 and any .22 rifle I end up with,
but I'm just now starting to consider sights and scopes for a pistol. That's very new territory for me.)


January 6, 2007, 05:35 PM
Well, I plan on hunting rabbits with my Mk III hunter and my 10/22 w/ scope this next week off. My hypothesis is that the pistol will be great for quick shots under 30 or so yards, and for close range running bunnys, while the rifle will be much better suited for longer range still targets.

January 6, 2007, 08:25 PM
How about a TC Contender with .45 Colt hot loads and a .410/.45 colt barrel. You could hunt your small game with the shotgun barrel, effective to something over 20 yards and the .45 Colt is good to about 50 yards due to not so great accuracy out of that particular barrel. One do all gun, though, and a running bunny is much easier to hit with a shotgun.

One thing, though, you can carry a lot more .22 ammo than .45/.410. The take down .22 rifle really is a good idea for survival. A head shot with a .22 out to fifty yards will do in a whitetail. I know that I could, at 100 yards, make a head shot on a whitetail with my .22 mag, though, and you could carry a lot of ammo for that, too.

Of course, you COULD get a Savage 24V or just carry your double barrel shotgun with a shot load for squirrel/rabbit in the full choke (rear trigger) barrel and a slug in the open choke. Shotguns can get-er-done...;)

Haven't I seen those horns on cheap Tasco scopes???? Er, heck, maybe it's Bushnell trophy (a decent scope). I know it's a common trademark and someone here knows.:D

January 7, 2007, 01:28 AM
A 22 rimfire handgun is a good companion for your 30-30. The Max range depends on your target size and skill. For myself I wouldn't take a shot on game beyond 25 yards and would rather be closer than that. They are typically small and relatively light. Portability is the handguns biggest asset.

The disadvantage is they are loud, they are more difficult to shoot accurately and there is about a 200 fps drop in velocity vs a rifle.

I am going to propose another option. Use your 30-30 with reduced loads for small game. Before my big bore conversion my hunting bullets were 30 caliber. An amazing amount of bullet configurations are available and there is a lot of data for reduced loads that are perfect for the taking of small game. It is fairly easy to find a load that will shoot the same POA as your hunting load at small game ranges.

Today I shot a reduced load to see how it would print compared to my full powered Jacketed bullet load in my 30-06. 0 Buckshot pressed into a 30-06 case with thumb pressure over 2.3gr of Bullseye. To my great satisfaction the load proved to be quite accurate and POI just behind the bead at ranges of 10-25 yards. After going 7-7 on plinking targets I put a shootn' glow target sticker on a 4x8 chunk and stood 25 yards away to see how they would group. Now mind you I am certain that if I was using sand bags or even sitting or prone I'm certain the group would have been tighter but as it is, that would easily be minute of grouse...


Low report and plenty powerful enough for grouse, rabbits and squirrels. I could carry another 2 boxes of 30 cal ammo in the same space and weight at 22 pistol & ammo would take up.

I have also had great luck shooting a 170 gr cast bullet over Red Dot (5.5gr) in my 30-30. Accurate out to 50 yards and very close to the same POA=POI as my hunting load.

That being said I almost always rifle hunt with my single six on my belt. I use it for grouse. There isn't much sport to it as they think they are invisable. They don't realize how tastey they are either.

So far I have not been successful developing a reduced load that will shoot the same POA=POI as my 45-70 hunting loads. I'm still trying though... When I do, the Single Six will probably not be on my belt.

January 7, 2007, 01:34 AM
JsM, interesting thoughts. Thanks.

(And just when I thought most of America was either out or asleep on Saturday night.)

That being said I almost always rifle hunt with my single six on my belt. I use it for grouse. There isn't much sport to it as they think they are invisable. They don't realize how tastey they are either.<chuckles>

I'm liking the Buck Mark Hunter, myself.

Would really enjoy a deep-fried grouse with a side of fries and a salad right now.

January 7, 2007, 10:12 AM
Imagine in some future world, you are limited in the number of guns that you could carry with you to acquire food.

This is the condition that sets up the scenario for recommendations; Only what you can carry.

My first thought was a 357 or 41 mag rifle and revolver combo. I just bought 250 rounds of 41 mag. The package said 16 pounds shipping weight. 250 rounds is not very much in a long term survival situation and that is a bunch of weight to carry around with you.

So, if you are talking about long term survival and foraging for food, perhaps a 22 rifle and 22 revolver would be the best choice. If you like autos, then a Ruger 22 auto...

Art Eatman
January 7, 2007, 11:05 AM
The "What if...?" game:

Yeah, an ambush-shot with a .22 rifle, between the eyes, will kill a deer or elk. Great!

But if your hunting-for-food country includes mama bears and cubs and you wind up between them, a .22 rifle is a lousy self-defense weapon. Un-great.

Stuff like that, seems to me, should be included in the analysis...


January 7, 2007, 11:56 AM
ive really really wanted a break action over and under 22lr/.410 combo. that would take care of all the issues exept rapid follow up shots. you have .22lr for small stuff and can load with a .410 slug for deer or whatever else you might encounter. also the option of shot for smaller game.

as far as the issue of the magazine hanging down, what about the ruger 10/22? the magazine is flush and they are reasonably accurate.

i prefer the mark I or mark II from ruger. i dont like the mark III. too much safety junk for me.

April 13, 2007, 04:23 AM
A 5 round magazine is nearly flush on the CZ 452.

I would say a small takedown .22 rifle (maybe a Marlin papoose) and your 30-30.

April 13, 2007, 05:19 AM
So, I'll update.

I've traded in the (sweet) CZ-452 bolt gun in .22LR for a Marlin 39A (sweeter).

Now, I'm researching a .22LR handgun to accompany the center fire rifle (336 in .30-30)
in case I run across a rabbit or squirrel for the camp pot.

(When I carry the 39A for squirrel and/or rabbit, the 686 .357M 4" is along for deer.)

Top contenders so far:

* Browning Buckmark Hunter (semi-auto; leaning more towards revolvers these days...:scrutiny:
* SW 617 (http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10001&storeId=10001&productId=14748&langId=-1&isFirearm=Y) (heavy {41 oz}, but I understand that will help stabilize the shot)
* SW 317 (http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10001&storeId=10001&productId=14742&langId=-1&isFirearm=Y) (air weight; good for packing in the wilderness & emergency pack)
* Ruger Single Six Bearcat (http://www.ruger-firearms.com/Firearms/FAProdView?model=912&return=Y) (got that 4" barrel for more sight radius)

What say you?

April 13, 2007, 08:24 AM
30-30 :D plus...........


Seems like a natural choice to me... barrel lengths longer than a semi, better reliability, and having the 22mag cylinder in your vest pocket makes it much more versatile than some other choices

Art Eatman
April 13, 2007, 08:38 AM
You can shoot a handgun from a hasty rest, same as with a rifle. The main things are to have done enough practice to really know your sight picture, and a decent trigger so you don't jiggle off-aim as you shoot.

Which is one reason S&W revolvers are really, really good for the purpose. It's why so many guys laud the K-22 or the Kit Gun (I forget the model # 63?). I wouldn't have a barrel shorter than 4". A 6" K-22 will let you hit a quail in the eye, if you know your point of aim...

As a generality, it's a tad more difficult to get a superb trigger with stainless-steel innards.

Overall; just points to ponder: If you already have meat in camp or at home, you're not really interested in Bambi. So, whatever you'd shoot would be for a variety in your diet. Take the .22 rifle.

If you're hunting Bambi, hunt Bambi. Don't get diverted; those grouse/quail/rabbits/squirrels will still be in that area tomorrow or the next day. Bambis might be hard come by. IOW, prioritize.

If you're just meddling around, then that's when you're opportunistic. The .30-30 and the .22 pistol allow you to take whatever strikes your fancy.

:), Art

April 13, 2007, 09:46 AM
Nem, you pose some tough ones... No clear winner but I'll weigh in anyway.

If'n I were you and these were my top three... I might lean toward the SW's. Reasons include, you already own the centerfire version(s) don't you?, double action an higher capacity. The sights are better and precision is important when hunting with small calibers. No sense in missing, wounding or ruining meat with poorly placed shots. SW typically have better triggers which make it easier to deliver the goods to the right address.

Bearcats are rugged and dependable. Small enough to pack around which is its greatest strength, yet it's still big enough to shoot well. If it came with the 22 Mag cylinder like the Single Sixes did, it would be my choice.

Out of bounds but here is my sales pitch for the Single Six: The 22 Mag cylinder expands the versatility and is a superior hunting cartridge. Mine shoot the 40gr Federal 22 Mag ammo right around 1400fps which is better than most 22lr ammo out of a rifle. Larger critters, say up to coyote are more easily dispatched. It would be a comparitively better defensive round. When I have a centerfire rifle I just use mine with 22lr. If it is the only firearm on my person I will usually carry it configured in 22 Mag with the 22lr and ammo for it in my pack.

April 13, 2007, 10:28 AM
If you want a rifle that will do it all without changing anything, a Savage 24 is what youíre looking for. .22lr on top and .20ga on the bottom with a box of .22 and some birdshot, buck shot and a slug or two there is not much you canít accomplish. Assuming your going to consume Mr. squirrel, your going to want a head shot, and rifles are going to be #1 in that area. Take a look at the difference in sights, most pistol sights are not made for precision shot placement. Take both to the range and see what you can do with them. If you can make a 25yd head shot every time with your pistol and not your rifle, a pistol would be the best choice.

April 13, 2007, 10:55 AM
I have 2 Savage Mod 24's.... (one was a gift) in 22MAG on top 20Ga on bottom..... both very accurate... my only complaint is the balance and general "clunkiness" of the gun.. But it'd certainly fill the bill too.

April 13, 2007, 11:46 AM
You can mount a scope on a single six.


Why don't you get a 9 1/2'' single six with a scope mount and you'll be halfway to a .22lr rifle?

April 13, 2007, 01:14 PM
i know your 30-30 is not open for debate but if it were me in my area (piney woods) i would want a 12 ga. (#4 or #6 + 00buck & slugs) and a scoped contender type pistol in 35 herrett or simular. you'll see a lot more small game than large and the 12 ga will take it all and the contender for quick shots when there is no time to change the shells in the shotty.

April 13, 2007, 02:33 PM
Ruger Mark III Hunter (http://www.ruger.com/Firearms/FAProdResults?function=famid&famid=55&variation=Hunter&bct=Yes&type=Pistol). Great gun and suits your specs hands down.

April 13, 2007, 04:27 PM
I very much appreciate your ideas and opinions, folks.

Very glad this thread is revived. (Thanks, Kilgor.) It's timely.

I'm reading with interest. Will post a few thoughts this weekend.

Please continue to discuss this. Very interesting ... ;)


April 13, 2007, 04:43 PM
In the scenario originally posted where I had to kill to eat....I would carry the 22LR handgun for fun and set snares for the squirrels and rabbits......I like to eat.

April 13, 2007, 05:41 PM
I've done quite a bit of small game hunting with .22 pistols and rifles both. I prefer to use the rifle for hunting though, as I can take far more accurate shots at a much longer distance. I've taken wary squirrels at distances that I could never have done with a pistol. I consider the pistol mostly as a target gun and trainer for cheap practice rather than a serious gun for hunting.

I have a Pac-Lite barreled Ruger 22/45 and being polymer framed with an aluminum receiver and barrel, it's a featherweight. It would make a nice, light, and extremely accurate sidearm for taking pot meat when out hunting larger game.

Personally, I'd love to have a double barreled rifle in centerfire/rimfire. That'd be the perfect compromise.

April 13, 2007, 07:13 PM
... set snares for the squirrels and rabbitsBuck, this may be a little OT (but it's "my" thread, so it's OK :p ), but I want to learn how to do that, too. Can you (and/or others) post a source of information or three (web pages, books, etc) about snares and other traps? (Looks like in all my years of backpacking/mountaineering I'd have learned how, but never did. Never too late though.)


April 13, 2007, 07:26 PM
I've often thought a guy could get by quite well with just a Marlin or Winchester 30-30 and a Ruger Single Six. The 30-30 would do for deer and such and the .22lr/wmr revolver for small game hunting and possibly self defense. A one-gun alternative might be a lever action in .22 wmr like a Winchester or Henry if we are talking about a survival situation and legalities are not a consideration.

April 13, 2007, 07:52 PM
Ruger Mark III Hunter.

April 13, 2007, 08:13 PM
First, I'll say I am glad and thankful for every post in this thread. All great, thought provoking. I hope we continue.

Even though I may not take most of the advice being offered, it's fine because it may be useful and appropriate for others reading here, and - for me, more importantly - it makes me clarify for myself exactly what my goals are.

For example, even though I hear the advice on an OU .22LR/20 ga, and think they're a great idea, I probably won't go there. I've got my long gun toolkit well underway, like them a LOT, and don't want to take a different path at this point in my toolkit bag. (I'm going to need the tool kit to be fully functional within 3 years, and that means purchased, broken in, equipped (sights, etc), trigger jobs, and LOTS and LOTS of practice.

Over the weekend, I'm going to make some notes for myself about this project, and clarify it for myself. Here's a rough draft. Just thinking out loud here. Nothing set in stone ... yet...

A one-gun alternative might be a lever action in .22 wmr like a Winchester or Henry if we are talking about a survival situation and legalities are not a consideration.Since we're on the high road here, let's stay within the legal boundaries (at least in spirit, and most importantly, ethics).

The scenario I'm envisioning that is motivating my optimal toolkit of around 7 -8 guns (3 - 4 long, 4 hand) is NOT a shtf event. This is NOT a fantasy thread.

No, I'm preparing for a wilderness adventure in Alaska. I want to go live there, probably somewhere between Fairbanks and Anchorage. I want to be able to live for a period of months (in summer) on public lands in a camp. (I've got many years of serious backpacking and mountaineering equipment and experience. I ain't no newby to the woods. Alaskan woods? Yes, newbie. But I cut my teeth in the high rockies, mostly above treeline. So newbie, no.

I want to set up a base camp (with some friends), and be able to take long walks (one to 7 days or more) into wilderness with staples, fishing gear, and a few guns with which I can put meat in the pot and prevent myself from becoming dinner. (870P 12 ga already in the kit; considering 1895G in .45-70).

I want to be able to carry one long gun and one or two handguns that will meet most of my needs for several days. (The rest of them will be locked in the safe back at base camp. Yes, I said safe. With my mobile camp set up, I have the capacity to carry a good safe big enough for my tool kit. That's another story entirely...).

If the long gun is either my 12 ga, 336 or .45-70, I want a handgun in .22LR and maybe a second one (for short trips).

If the long gun is the .22 LR (my 39A), I want the hand gun to be a bigger boom. (686 .357M with hot Buffbores, or a Ruger Alaskan in .454C? Not sure yet, but you get the idea.)

The basic idea is that, in such a situation, with a base camp, there will be different needs at different times, so I'm putting together a small set of quality firearms with which I'm capable and understand their care and feeding from which I can pick and choose when going out to dinner or for dinner and avoiding being dinner. :eek:

Sometimes, I'll be after deer. Other times I'll be after rabbit, but want the capacity to take deer. Sometimes I'll be going out to set snares and see a rabbit. And always, I'll want some level of SD for both bipeds and larger quadrapeds with sharp teeth.

So, with this thread (and others related: see list below), those visions of a camp in AK in a few years are driving my search, and motivating threads like this one, paring down the choices for that optimal toolkit.

Others will have other goals for hunting small game, and they're sure to find some great suggestions in here for how to meet their needs.

Hope this helps us all meet our goals. ;)


April 13, 2007, 08:16 PM
Can you (and/or others) post a source of information or three (web pages, books, etc) about snares and other traps?

And a Few Others that Are Damn Good, Too

by Ragnar Benson (http://www.paladin-press.com/detail.aspx?ID=887)

Traps, Snares, and Pathguards

by Dale Martin (http://www.paladin-press.com/detail.aspx?ID=100)

April 13, 2007, 08:44 PM
i'd say for me my s&w mod 62 in 22lr would go but thats because it is stainless & i allready have it.
but if buying "new" it would be hard to pass up a ruger auto stainless bull bbl.

April 13, 2007, 08:54 PM
Buck, this may be a little OT (but it's "my" thread, so it's OK ), but I want to learn how to do that, too.

I learned from my grandpa and in the boy scouts years ago. I don't use it much now(except for the dam rabbits that get into my blueberries) but here's a coupla web pages that give the basics for using snares for survival

Rabbit Snares (http://www.m4040.com/Survival/Skills/Hunting%20and%20Snaring/Snares/Rabbit%20Snare.htm)

Squirrel Snares (http://www.m4040.com/Survival/Skills/Hunting%20and%20Snaring/Snares/Squirrel%20Snare.htm)

......this place has everthing you will ever need to make and use snares. Their catalog is very interesting and informative, and they have tons of books and info...
The Snare Shop (http://www.snareshop.com/cgi-bin/snareshop/basics.html?id=CL6ghSrU)

April 14, 2007, 12:48 AM
The Encore offeres high powered rifle calibers, but then no rimfire.

The Encore now offers rim fire selections.

Having said this, it seems to me that a Contender / Encore might be a bit bulky to carry holstered (or slung?) as a sidearm with a long gun at the ready. However, if one is happy to do this, one can now carry a 223, 308 or even 45-70 sidearm (Encore only for 308) when using a 22 rifle. Although, speaking from personal experience, the 45-70 Contender pistol is rather stout with respect to recoil. :what:

Something to keep in mind when considering a 22 LR auto - many are picky about ammunition. My Ruger Mk III 22/45 will not feed hollowpoints (I've tried at least 5 different brands / kinds of hollowpoints and have now given up). And she doesn't even like PMC Scoremaster solid standard velocity either (I almost feel bad running almost a whole brick of the stuff through my 10/22). Blazers work fine though.

April 14, 2007, 02:07 AM
I have to say this is an interesting thread and somewhat thought provoking. First, you don't have to worry about hunting seasons in this future world. So, if a 22WMR works that would be a consideration (head shots). [Added: But in this world you have to pay attention to game laws. :)]The primary objective seems to be sustainance and not protection from human predators. I'll give you my take on this whole scenario.

My first thought reading through the thread was that I agreed with your thinking and the choices were reasonable. Dropping the rifle with the detachable magazine removes the "loose the magazine" thing. So, here goes.

You want common calibers. I would propose that you consider a Marlin 1894 in 357 mag as your rifle and which ever 22 you prefer. I lean toward either a 4 or 6" Model 18 or 17 Smith revolver (no scope). I would be quite comfortable with a 6" Colt Officers Model Match 22 or Diamondback 22 with a flap holster. I lean toward a revolver because the rapid fire option of a semi-auto is not necessary in this future world. The revolver gives you more flexibility and will function with any 22 ammo. The rifle will handle deer at moderate ranges. You can even use 38spls in the rifle for small game if you prefer. To top it off, the rifle would not be a bad choice for 2-legged predators if it ever came to that.

So, what knife are you carrying in this survival scenario? I would take two; one small folder knife (probably SAK), and a 5-6" fixed blade belt knife. Your choice. Add a small packable hatchet or machete.

Shoot small. Miss small.

April 14, 2007, 03:11 AM
So, what knife are you carrying in this survival scenario? I would take two; one small folder knife (probably SAK), and a 5-6" fixed blade belt knife. Your choice. Add a small packable hatchet or machete.OK, I'll play. The knives are part of the toolkit.

Folders: Benchmade Osborn + SAK + SOG tool

Fixed blade: SOG Seal Pup Elite

"Hatchet": SOG Fusion tomahawk (http://sogknives.com/store/F01T.html) (I've got tomahawk fever; thread coming soon...)


April 14, 2007, 03:12 AM
I would have no hesitation taking small game at 50 yards with my MKII and a decent hollowpiont. My weapon of choice if buying a new pistol would be a Ruger MKII or III 22/45, as it would be lighter and faster-handling than my 10" bull stainless...My shooting buddy has a MKIII 22/45 and I think it's great, but I don't care too much for the mag safety and it's accompanying hassle when stripping and cleaning. I'm also considering a Walther P-22. I hunted with strictly handguns for 20 years and only recently began buying long arms, and though I love my .22s, at the end of the day I have found a .357 revolver to be much more versatile. I can use .38 wadcutters for small game, and do less meat damage than most .22 HPs, and still take deer-sized game with full-boogie stuff.

April 14, 2007, 08:56 AM
Soft, braided picture-hanging wire makes superb snare material . . . I ALWAYS some of this with me in my day pack.

April 14, 2007, 09:12 AM
if you're asking which of those 2 pistols, I like both(maybe slight edge towards ruger only because there is so much aftermarket stuff for them).. If you're asking how far you can hunt with a pistol, I'll say you were right when stated 40yds was a long shot. if I was shooting a squirrel with a scoped pistol I wouldn't shoot unless there was a tree to lean the pistol against.

April 14, 2007, 12:57 PM
Nematocyst: I like your knife choices. You probably know I favor the SOG Seal Pup Elite in the nylon sheath with a SAK tucked in the pouch. I have not heard such great reports on the little SOG tomahawk. Seems like more of a wall hanger piece. A little thread expansion, I know. But it is all part of the same "kit". I guess you could say that lots of things would be also included in the kit. I'll be looking forward to that thread when it comes and I may learn some things about hatchets and so forth.

I envision this base camp to be an RV type thing or at least something you can drive to. I still like the 22 revolver idea. The 30-30 or something larger in a Marlin rifle offers significant flexibility.

There is an article in the May 2007 Gun World magazine titled "Knock-Around Handguns" by Paul Hantke that mentions the common topic of "meat for the pot" with a trail gun. With game laws such as they are these days, the choices are really limited as to what you can legally do for the pot. But the author discusses his knock around guns. I always enjoy these kinds of articles as they are a blend of the old and the new.

April 14, 2007, 08:34 PM
I have not heard such great reports on the little SOG tomahawk.22, after reading that this morning, I spent the next 5 hours :what: reading tomahawk threads over on Blade Forum.

I won't go into what I learned here - we'll save tomahawk discussions for another thread - other than to affirm what you asserted above: the SOG fusion is getting pretty crappy reviews. The main problem with them is their handles. Apparently they're pretty thin, not hard wood, and break quite easily.

I've pretty much taken it off my list now. I'll discuss elsewhere what's on the list instead so as not to take this thread in a totally different direction. :rolleyes:

On the topic of this thread, however, I did find an interesting (even if overly long, so I didn't read it thoroughly) article that relates in some ways. It's called The Backpack Survivalist by Mike Rostov (http://www.tacticalgearreview.com/wordpress/the-backpack-survivalist-by-mike-rostov/), and offers opinions and arguments about what guns to carry on an extended venture into a wilderness for SD and food acquisition. I don't agree with all of his recommendations (I'm not going to carry a 1911, for example), but it's interesting food for thought.


April 14, 2007, 09:35 PM
If you don't have a leatherman, all I can say is why? It's not what you have in the woods, it's what you have.

April 15, 2007, 11:54 AM
Under normal circumstances I would go with a rifle/carbine, hands down, for the accuracy and better "killing power". However, since you are going to be hiking and on the move, and you will already be packing another long gun I don't see much options for you. I feel that a .22 hand gun is the only way to go in your situation (or an over under combo, as the mentioned Savage 24). There is nothing worse than being overloaded when you have to tread through the wilderness.

Unless you are considering a .22 rifle with a scope I see no advantage a rifle might have over a quality pistol or revolver, in your particular situation of course. Remember that you will be doing a lot more walking than shooting, its not like you can pull out your gun of choice from your SUV when you need it. What ever is on you is all that you have. If my limited experience has taught me anything, it is that if I were carring two long guns for a week long hike, it wouldn't be long before I left one behind to make my life easier.

In conclusion, if I were in your shoes I would get a six shot(not 10) S&W 617 in 4 or 6'' and practice a great deal with it before hand. I think that with a little skill you will be able to consistently take small game with out problem. The fun thing about small game is that it is usually abundant, you don't have to stalk it for hours before you get a good shot, and if you miss one shot you will always get another chance with in minutes. So don't sweat it, go with the more "comfortable" choice :)

April 15, 2007, 01:05 PM
Get a Savage .22/20g over/under! Other than large bears, this gun will easily take any animal that you might meet and want to eat.

April 15, 2007, 04:50 PM
Thanks for continued advice. My thoughts continue to evolve.

JMorris, I've got a SOG multi-tool instead of a leatherman. It has served me well for almost two decades.

Blakenzy, good ideas. Please let me clarify one point:

if I were carrying two long guns for a week long hike, it wouldn't be long before I left one behind to make my life easier. Rest assured, I have never entertained any thought of carrying two long guns while hiking. It ain't gonna happen.

In fact, that relates to my exercise in building this kit.

Yes, I want to have multiple long guns in camp - that'll be at least a Marlin 39A in .22, 336A in .30-30, 870 in 12 ga, and perhaps an 1895G in .45-70.

But I won't be carrying (that is, walking with) more than one of them at any time during hikes away from base camp. I see myself carrying only one long gun and one handgun at one time, but they will compliment each other in terms of caliber.

My goal is to carry one of each so that I'm covered for small game and large game/threats. So, if I walk with my 39A .22LR rifle, then I've also got my 686 in .357M for larger stuff (or, once I actually get to AK, perhaps a larger caliber like a .44 mag or a .454C). If I walk with my 336 in .30-30 (or the 870 or an 1895G in .45-70), then I carry a .22 LR revolver, like the 617.

The other long guns and handguns remain in base camp in the safe, with other members of the camp community remaining there to take care of things.

Does that make sense? I'm not saying that's the optimal strategy for everyone. Different strokes for different folks. Some, like obxned, will choose an over/under in .22 and 20 ga. And that's fine. But as I explained in post #37, it's just not the path I've chosen to walk.

In conclusion, if I were in your shoes I would get a six shot(not 10) S&W 617 in 4 or 6'' and practice a great deal with it before hand. I think that with a little skill you will be able to consistently take small game with out problem.I like that 617 a lot. I haven't shot one yet, but have handled it at my local shop.

It's nearly identical to my 686 in terms of design, and would make a great practice revolver, and no doubt a wonderful little hunting gun for rodents and rabbits. I could probably even use the same trail holster for it as for my 686 (as long as I get a 4" barrel, like my 686).

But for mostly irrational reasons, I'm still balking at that much weight for a .22LR revolver for this particular tool kit. It's why I'm also considering a Ruger Single Six and others.

But, I've got some time for a decision. As always, I'm doing my homework here (sometimes for many months) before I buy.


April 15, 2007, 06:17 PM
I think you are over-complicating this. :)

I would rely on the handgun for SD. Use a big bore revolver. Practice a LOT. Load it for bear and carry it 24/7.

Use your 336 for hunting. Load it with the appropiate ammo. for the game you are after that day. Spend time practicing, so you know how the POI changes with each kind of ammo.

BTW it sounds like a grand adventure :)

April 15, 2007, 08:11 PM
I think you are over-complicating this. :) Gee, that's never happened before ... :uhoh:


As others on THR will tell you, I always enjoy sorting out schemes. I'm an academic type that studies and teaches about complex systems. So my analysis tends to run towards the ... um, complex.

But it's easy to think big, then sort out the necessary from the superfluous. That way, all the bases get covered, and I wind up with what I need. (I'm very, very happy with the way my tool kit has shaped up over the last 1.5 years, and it's been guided by just this kind of exercise with LOTS of great feedback and advice from my fellow high roaders.)


April 16, 2007, 05:02 AM
As we all know, after a short edit window, we can't change thread titles.

That's cool. This one - .22 LR hunting small game: rifle v. pistol? -
reflected my thinking when I started this thread.

Now, that's evolved, so it's time to clarify. It's no longer "rifle v. pistol".
(In retrospect, that title was a bit misleading to begin with.)

The title should have been,
Hunting small game: questions about .22 LR handguns.

I've got the .22 rifle, and it will be used mostly for small game.
(In addition to snares, which I'm now studying.)

I seek to add a .22 LR handgun to augment my toolkit.
Now it's just a matter of which .22 handgun.

Yeah, that's more like it.

A late edit, but better late than never.


April 17, 2007, 02:13 AM
No, I'm preparing for a wilderness adventure in Alaska. I want to go live there, probably somewhere between Fairbanks and Anchorage.

Sometimes, I'll be after deer. Other times I'll be after rabbit, but want the capacity to take deer. Sometimes I'll be going out to set snares and see a rabbit.

Ummm, I hate to break this to you but there aren't any deer in interior Alaska unless you want to count moose which are a member of the deer family. No rabbits either but that's a nit-picky issue. :-) What are found in that part of Alaska are hares. A little bigger and tougher to kill than a cottontail.

And too, there aren't any squirrels big enough in that country to bother with thinking about eating them. They're mostly about the size of a big chipmunk and are really tough and disgusting in flavor. Think about eating innertube rubber that tastes a lot like spruce tree inner bark here. That'll give you the general idea. :barf:

But there are lots of grouse in some areas which are easy to pot and pretty tasty if you don't mind dark meat. Those are easy enough to kill with a .22LR in either a pistol or rifle persuasion. Shots are typically close (5 to 15 yds) and they often hang around if you screw up and miss the first shot. :-)

So with all that in mind here are my recommendations on firearms. For a rifle I'd recommend a Marlin lever in 45-70 or one of the newer powerful big bore cartridges. The Marlin Guide Gun would be perfect. For a handgun I'd go with a .41 mag minimum and more likely a .44 mag or one of the more powerful calibers...which would be carried with full house loads in the cylinders and a pocket full of light loads to be used for hares, grouse etc..

I've shot tons of those hares with everything from 12 ga and #6's to a Ruger Single Six. I would not expect a revolver to reliably drop them with anything other than head shots at any range beyone a few yards. The revolver loses too much velocity vs a rifle and it's just not up to the job in my experience. A semi-auto in pistol in .22LR is somewhat better and if it's accurate and equipped with decent sights then I wouldn't feel undergunned for the hares out to 20 yards or so. Beyond that I can only recommend a rifle for it's better hitting power and ability to get good hits with consistently.

The best for small game in AK in the situation you are describing is what others have suggested...light loads in your rifle cartridge. But I've taken a ton of hares and grouse with a heavy lead SWC bullet in a Ruger SBH handloaded to about 850 FPS (about factory .45 Colt power) and they get great one shot kills with a minimum of meat damage. Mostly cutting a clean full caliber hole through the recipient.

I lived and hunted and worked in the woods in that part of the country for about 30 years. Still have a cabin on a little lake somewhere west of Willow, AK...over across the Susitna River a ways. It's about a 7 mile hike in from the end of the road or fly in to the lake.

April 17, 2007, 03:57 AM
And too, there aren't any squirrels big enough in that country to bother with thinking about eating them.Dang. That alone is enough to make me reconsider the plan.

No squirrels? Squirrel stew is the best.

But there are lots of grouse in some areas which are easy to pot and pretty tasty
if you don't mind dark meat. Squirrel is dark meat. I think grouse would be fine.

For a rifle I'd recommend a Marlin lever in 45-70 or one of the newer powerful big bore cartridges.
The Marlin Guide Gun would be perfect.Already on my list!

I've been looking at my 336 in .30-30 as a training rifle for that 45-70.

What would you use the .45-70 for up there?

Yeah, hares v rabbits. Guilty as charged for equating them. Hopping meat.

Hmm... Maybe I'll think about BC. Long as it's north of here and in big open country. That's what I'm most after.

I know there's deer in BC (http://www.bowhunts.com/deer2.html).

Thanks, Dooger. Good suggestions. Keep the advice coming. ;)

Nem, the pioneer

PS: welcome to THR

April 18, 2007, 03:04 AM
The Marlin Guide Gun would be perfect.
Already on my list!I posted the following in another thread (http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=258000) (post 362 (http://thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=3306040&postcount=362)) earlier tonight.

I handled an 1895G in .45-70 today for the first time at Bimart.

I've seen them before on the racks from a distance, and have been reading a LOT about them. But today was the first one I handled.

I was astounded at how good it felt. Astounded. The balance and quickness to point is ... well, beyond words. Even significantly faster than my 870. Makes me once again want to lop off a couple of inches of barrel off my 336A.

I have little doubt I'll get one sooner or later.

Just seems to be in my cards ...

April 18, 2007, 11:49 AM
Nem, I think you'll be hard pressed to find a superior hunting rifle when factors of portability, accuracy and on game performance than the Guide Gun. As with everything there is compromise, ie ability of shooter to make quality shots at longer ranges, but within realistic hunting ranges the 45-70 is a great performer.

The 336 covers a broader spectrum (especially if you handload) up to black Bear, but the 45-70 is what I'd carry anywhere there are brown bears, Elk or Moose.

Dooger makes another good case for the Single Six with the 22 WRM cylinder on tougher small game. If you can deliver a shot accurately the 22 mag out of a handgun is zipping along at 1400 fps which is faster than most 22lr ammo out of rifle.

There aren't many (realistic) situations though that I'd under equipped with a 22 rifle (the 39 is my preference too) and a large bore revolver with quality ammo.

April 21, 2007, 12:19 AM
There aren't many (realistic) situations though that I'd under equipped with a 22 rifle (the 39 is my preference too) and a large bore revolver with quality ammo.I'm starting to think that the following could be an optimal wilderness tool kit for me:

1895G in .45-70
686 in .357 mag (maybe even w/ 3" barrel)

Back at base camp:
39A in .22 LR
870P with slugs & 00.

Tomahawk, of course.

April 21, 2007, 08:39 AM
Imagine in some future world, you are limited in the number of guns
that you could carry with you to acquire food.
(Yeah, I know, that's a stretch. But work with me here.)

nah, I won't limit myself is MY imaginary world.

April 28, 2007, 07:19 AM
.22 LR:

What's not to love?

April 28, 2007, 08:27 AM
While I have nothing against the Marlin 39 LA .22, if you want something even lighter & more packable, give this one a check: the Browning BL-22. It's about 4 inches shorter than the Marlin (which, of course, also means a few less rounds in the tubular magazine - I think only 14 LRs) and over 1 1/2 pounds less. That doesn't sound like much, but when you're humping through the forest, ounces add up fast. That's an extra 1 1/2 pound of something else you can carry.


FWIW, in one of his books (Good Friends, Good Guns, Good Whiskey) Skeeter Skelton gets into a very similar argument with his good buddy, Dobe, as they sat at fireside one evening. "If you could have one gun, what would it be?" Skeeter asked Dobe. Dobe started out with a 12 gauge, a scoped .30-06, a .44 Mag, a .22 pistol (revolver) and I'm thinking there was one more. As they talked, Skeeter snookered him out of the shotgun, got him to drop the '06, and that left the 2 pistols. The .44 would be for big stuff (including BGs) and the .22 for small game. (NB: He wanted a .22 revolver so he didn't have to worry about losing or damaging a mag somewhere along the way. Thought that comment may be useful for your consideration). After a brief but hot argument, Dobe stomped out of the house to feed the horses & cows. WHen he came back in, he carried a couple of head-shot rabbits and a now-wet .22 pump rifle. He gave Skeeter the final answer: "If I could have only one gun, it would be a .22 rifle."

As Dobe said, "It *is* kinda a fun game, isn't it?"

Thanks for the mental exercise.

April 28, 2007, 08:47 AM
I have a 22/45 with a 6 7/8" slabside bull barrel, a limited run at the time but now similar to some regular catalog guns.

Offhand, the groups I shoot with it look pretty similar to what I can shoot with my factory-stock 10/22, no sling.

I think that, with the right kind of pistol, you're limited by your ability to see the target, not the gun. For me, the right kind of pistol has a long, heavy barrel.

May 3, 2007, 11:20 AM
Another vote for the single six convertible. I find it an easier gun to shoot than the 617 and just as accurate. The 22 magnum cylinder gives you a better kill probability.

Brian Williams
May 3, 2007, 03:28 PM
A number of yeas ago an article was written by John Taffin about the Shootists' holiday. One of the "attendees" used a Ruger OM single six in 22lr with one charge hole reamed to 22mag. this seems like a great idea because with the OM rugers you have to carry one hole empty al the time, If it were specifically marked and reamed to 22Mag, If you happened upon a situation where you need to have a little more uumph than a lr, just open the loading gate and rotate the cylinder and slip in a 22mag in the open charge hole, rotate it to the prefiring postion, take your shot and then Rotate it to the load gate empty the empty 22mag case and then spin it around to set the hammer on.
I have a S&W 35 and I have often thought about having the barrel trimmed an inch to 5" and having one of the charge holes reamed to 22mag. Most of my shooting is with 22lr and only occasionally would I use 22mag.

May 3, 2007, 08:58 PM
If I am really hunting and serious about it with a 22 I use a rifle.
Brian above has an idea on different ammo, and you don't necessarily need to ream a cylinder out. With the a Single-Six I have carried the first one with bird or snakeshot then a CB cap if you need quiet and then on to a Stinger if killing power is needed. I gave up on the snake shot thought cause of the dozen or two rattlers I have shot with my Single-Six, I shot all with a regular 22 bullet anyway. Always kinda thought a fast close shot might be good with the birdshot but it never happened.

May 4, 2007, 12:22 AM
I have gone squirrel hunting with just a .22 revolver, S&W M35, 6" barrel. It works fairly well to ~25yds. Much beyond that, I won't take a shot. That's what rifles do better.

September 9, 2007, 10:38 PM
How about a NEF 20ga (Topper or perhaps the new 20ga. Tamer) + a Glock 19 w/ an added AA .22LR upper? This seems to be a pretty inexpensive and versitile combo.

September 10, 2007, 01:40 AM
if it were me, i would want to save as much weight as possible while knockin around the bush. you want to carry as light weight ammo as possible that will still do the job.

.22LR/.410 the Springfeild Armory M6

you can carry 100's of .22 LR shells and a few boxes of .410 shells. you can also customize your ammo. i carry shot shells an 000 buckshot. the gun is absurdly basic and is very accurate. i've hunted rabbit and squirrel successfully with both the shotgun and rifle. these guns were discontinued years ago but can still be found at gun shows, pawn shops and gun stores.

my companion handgun would be a Ruger Redhawk double action with 5.5" barrel in .44 Mag. this would allow you to take deer out to about 45 yards or so and is also a good bear defense caliber. you would have the double action for quick shots and the single action for accurate hunting.

- Eric

September 10, 2007, 03:23 AM
Don't'cha just love it when dead threads find a second ... or in this case, a third life?

Let's talk more about OU .22 LR/shotgun combos.

What's the word?

September 10, 2007, 11:40 AM
I bought one of the Hammond Game Getter setups (shown below) for my Marlin 1895 Co-pilot in 45-70 (they also make them in pretty much any caliber and round ball is pretty easy to get and cheap). At 25 yards it will shoot coke can end size groups pretty reliably using either .457 round balls or using the swedging die provided in the kit (yellow box) .490 round balls (not as accurate as a round ball). When the larger balls are ran through the die with a hammer and punch a conical sort of "bullet" is made. It is a single shot sort of deal and the power is supplied by a nail setting blank of 1 of 5 different strengths. I use the brown (weak) and green (best accuracy/consistancy and it will easily drive the round ball 1/2 way or more through a 2x8 at 30') and carry a few of the yellow (second highest velocity, drives the ball or bullet through the 2x8 at 30') as well.

In .457 diameter, the ball weighs about 175 grains or so as I recall and shoots to point of aim to 25 to 30 yards cheaply and quietly, not scaring every critter with in miles. The pix of the target shows on the left about 15 rounds with the green loads and on the right about 12 shots with the weaker brown loads. This was at 25 yards. A box of 100 of the blanks is about $3.50 and the roundball is about $7.00 per 100 offering pretty inexpensive shooting in what ever your main deer rifle caliber is. Unfortunately, here in Aarghkansas we can't use centerfire rifles for small game outside of big game season so I use a scoped 22 rifle.

If you have not tried CCI CB longs or shorts (also shown below) do give 'em a shot, they are breaking twig quiet in a rifle and I use them in my 4x scoped M39 mountie with great success on tree rats and bunnies for snacks for me and my pet kitty, puddin the bobcat (shown with her pet cat). They are exceptionally accurate to 25-30 yards and then they drop rapidly and at 50 yards are visable in the scope. Great for head shots and they go through and through both squirlz and rabbits at the ranges mentioned. I also like the fact they will not travel very far if you make a bad shot. I had a chance to compare them with a supresses 22 shooting 22 subsonics and they are pretty close in lack of noise with the CB's being just a smidge louder than a silenced 22 ruger 10/22. They go pfffft like a air rifle rather than the sonic crack one associates with a 22. The CB's prolly won't cycle a semi auto though... I load them alternately with standard 22 hollow points incase I need a little more poop for distance. The Marlin cycles them without a hiccup.

I know it isn't a pistol so please forgive me that, but a much less expensive couple alternatives to a $4-500 pistol that are pretty fun and interesting to me anyway...


Be safe

September 10, 2007, 12:02 PM
My favorite handgun hunting platform is the contender. I have a 10" .22 scoped contender barrel that will make any .22 rifle cry in absolute shame. :D I have a .30-30 and a .410 barrel for it. Actually, with just one frame, I could hunt anything that walks the continent. I could get rifle barrels and a rifle stock for it, too. Just one gun will do it all.

Now, if I want one gun/barrel set up, I think it's hard to beat a double barrel shotgun. I like my little Spartan coach gun, accurate out to reasonable ranges with slugs, tight patterns with the full choke using winchester AA 7.5s. Can shoot 3". It's a 20 gauge, can be had in 12. As a survival tool, IMHO, a little gun like this coach gun is real hard to beat. You ain't lookin' to make it sporting if it's survival. It's hard to miss a squirrel inside 40 yards with a good patterning shotgun. Running rabbits are pot meat. Deer out to maybe 75 yards is dead to a foster slug. I have to use a little kentucky windage with the Spartan due to barrel regulation, but have practiced and can make hits to that range. And, I can break this little gun down and stow it in my backpack.

Vern Humphrey
September 10, 2007, 12:04 PM
What's the scenario? Are you hunting big game, and get an opportunity to take a squirrel or rabbit?

If so, the .22 pistol is the way to go -- I've killed many a squirrel or other small critter while hunting deer or elk. Carrying two rifles is just too clumsy!!

On the other hand, if you're hunting for survival, but can choose your quarry, take a rifle (or shotgun) for small game, and leave it in camp when after big game.

Or, to be really versatile, get a drilling.

September 11, 2007, 02:32 AM

I had to reread my OP to remember the answer to your question about scenario.

Since we brought this thread back to life, could be a good time to reread that post 1 (http://thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=2993490&postcount=1).

I'm a revolver guy for larger calibers (see signature).

But .22 revolvers are just too big and bulky for this job.

I'm thinking a .22 pistol like a Buckmark Hunter (http://www.browning.com/products/catalog/firearms/detail.asp?value=006B&cat_id=051&type_id=403) could be just the ticket.


Vern Humphrey
September 11, 2007, 11:47 AM
There you have it -- mine is a Colt Woodsman.

September 23, 2007, 04:04 PM
The .22 LR is the better all around cartridge for small game IMO, its avaliable everywhere and dirt cheap. Same pretty much for the 30-30 for deer size game. you can stock up on plenty of ammo for both. I never was much good beyound 25yds with any pistol, scoped or otherwise, some are, a mod. 60 Marlin or Ruger 10/22 rifle is another matter though, both are dead nuts at 50yds and in good hands can be deadly out to 100yds. If it came down to just one firearm, I'd keep the .22 rifle and throw something else away. Another option would be the Mossberg .410 Tamer, for pure survival.

September 23, 2007, 05:18 PM
It's called the Contender and it's the best danged hunting system extant. Since you just have ONE registered frame, you can shoot anything with it.

Just a public service announcement that, here in NY State, you need to register each individual barrel with the Pistol Permit Office. A minor hassle, but you don't want to be caught in the woods with an unregistered barrel.

September 25, 2007, 05:08 AM
...you don't want to be caught in the woods with an unregistered barrel.I had to ponder that for a minute.

An "unregistered barrel".

When I was growing up ...

Oh, never mind.

September 26, 2007, 12:58 AM
The key words there are "New York."

September 27, 2007, 02:09 AM
... which is why I live out west,
with intentions to move further west ...

(where "further west" means either into the interior
[e.g., eastern OR (http://www.sou.edu/biology/Courses/Bi523/Bi523.htm) or northern ID]
or up to AK)

Any Cal.
October 9, 2007, 03:48 AM
In my opinion, since there are many flying about you can scrap the 30-30 and forget the .357. Both are a medium caliber that are not going to do much for you in AK.
.44 handgun goes everywhere with you. Then, take a .22 rifle or pistol, or a pellet rifle. Your small game would consist of spruce grouse, porcupine, ptarmigan, I would think. Pump 12g would be handy for the versatility if you were planning on duck hunting. Handy rifle in '06 or 300 WM or 338 WM. Pretty much, the .44 lives w/ you and you take the specialized gun for your mission. For a long walk, .44 and a .22 of your choice, or a .44 w/ some accurate specials.
Really, you will not want to pack a lot of steel around if you can help it, as you will have plenty of other things w/ you, and it is not like you are going down a hiking trail.

March 17, 2008, 02:54 AM
you can scrap the 30-30 and forget the .357. Both are a medium caliber that are not going to do much for you in AK.
.44 handgun goes everywhere with you. Then, take a .22 rifle or pistol, or a pellet rifle. I think I'd keep the .357 since it'll do for bipedal predators
(not to mention medium game on the way up, including deer).

I'll also keep the .22 for small game. It'll take birds, rabbits, squirrels ...

Not sure yet about the shotgun. Depends on whether I'm driving or on foot.

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