Kit Guns, what for?


April 10, 2011, 04:08 AM
I don't get the idea of the Kit Gun. It's basically a light weight 22LR revolver. Supposedly, fisherman keeps one in their tacklebox, hikers and campers has theirs in the backpack. But what would they use the plinking round for?

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April 10, 2011, 07:29 AM
Just about anything you'd use a small lightweight revolver for. Shooting snakes isn't as environmentally friendly as it used to be thought of as being, but I'll bet that's what most people would tell you they want one for. Self-defense if you accept the idea that the gun you'll carry is better than a gun you won't. Shooting small game (in season of course) for camp meat is another use. Trappers use them for finishing off their catch. I suppose more than one catfish has had a 22 bullet through the head to calm it down at the beach. Just plain plinking is one of the best uses I can think of for one.

Back when the name "kit gun" was applied to the gun the idea of a "kit" was something everyone understood. Your "kit" is stuff you pack for doing a job. You had a "shaving kit", a "travel kit" and so on. These were items that you kept together and ready to go. A small lightweight revolver fit right into that line of thinking. There is even a song "Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile." (from WWI).

A Ruger Bearcat fills the bill for me.

Brian Williams
April 10, 2011, 08:32 AM
An old 22/32 kit gun was not necessarily a small lightweight gun. Some of them had 6" barrels on them. My S&W 35-1 is a J frame with a 6" barrel and is considered a "Kit" gun. I love it, no mag to lose, simple operation, but it likes to be kept clean.

April 10, 2011, 08:41 AM
It is for campers and hunters to put small game in the pot.

April 10, 2011, 09:05 AM
same as any other j-frame size, but in the smaller calibers like 22rimfire, 22WMR, 32
traditionally not snubbies per se, not really a prime choice for such as CCW, best suited to small game and/or just fun range shooting
mostly (but not always) in 3" to 5" barrel lengths (4" versions always appealed most to me); very "handy", easy to tote along

good ones are every bit as accurate as their larger K/L/N and larger bore SA brethren
Ruger Bearcats and classic 22 j-frame rimfire S&Ws strike me as being prime examples

I have a nice little INA 32 S&W snubbie, slightly smaller than "J" actually, but it just never seemed to me to be a good example of a "kit" gun; more a minimalist CCW gun
"kit gun" is a very subjective term, I guess, but if fits in your kit, it probably qualifies: you could easily include some current versions of smaller Ruger or Buckmark autoloader rimfire 'campers' if so inclined

I do love my old 4" model 63, just because it adds yet another dimension of fun to range day, and is real appealing to youngsters and ladies with smaller hands, yet can shoot head to head with the "full size" guns of same caliber

in short, you can do anything with them that you could do with any other of same caliber

April 10, 2011, 09:44 AM
My Ruger Bearcat is a wonderful 22 kit gun. I carry it quite often while outdoors.

o Unforgiven o
April 10, 2011, 09:55 AM
Well whenever we go out on the quads or camping etc. an MkIII 22/45 tags along. I suppose it could fit in my tackle box, then again I have a rather large tackle box...

April 10, 2011, 04:01 PM
I used to cary a Rossi Model 88 as my kit gun years ago. It was stainless steel, had a 3" barrel with a semi-adjustable rear sight, and was chambered in .38 Special. It was a great gun to pack along when I went hiking.

Jim NE
April 10, 2011, 04:42 PM
I have a .32 long H & R revolver that isn't quite the quality of my other handguns. I guess the reason I'm keeping it is because it would play the role of a kit gun better than any of my other firearms. It's probably the lightest weight, has a 4 inch barrel, and I'd definitely not fret as much if it got dropped on a boulder or dropped in a stream.

What I'd REALLY like to get for the thing are some .32 S&W long shot shells, if such a thing exists. Does anyone know if these are available in this caliber? I would think shot shells would be very practical for a kit gun.

April 10, 2011, 04:59 PM
kit means gear, or pack. Your "kit" is whatever you pack on your back, or on the back of your horse.

A kit gun is a small gun you don't mind lugging around in a backpack. But it's got to be accurate enough to hit something at a distance(so its multipurpose) otherwise it's not worth the extra weight.

Think of it as a survival firearm. Think of the AR-7,but in a smaller handier you are talking about a lightweight long skinny barreled handgun.

April 10, 2011, 05:03 PM
I've only seen kit guns used for plinking at camp or for finishing off large fish. If you're already carrying a large caliber hunting rifle, a kit gun makes more sense as a sidearm than something in .357 or larger because it allows you to take small game more efficiently. Arguably, you could provide meat for yourself for a long time with one; it's very easy to pack large quantities of .22 ammo.

Plus they're fun. Nice ones are built like jewelry and are a joy to carry & shoot.

April 10, 2011, 05:09 PM
Remo has the right of it. "Kit" = gear, or equipment. A piece of kit = a piece of gear. A kit gun in the genre that people are talking about was generally a .22 because you could carry a bunch of .22 in your kit without much of a problem for weight and space. .22 revolvers don't have mags to lose, can shoot any regular .22 rimfire you can get your hands on, and are quite adequate for snakes, small game, and plinking -and again, if you have a .22, you can take a bunch of ammo without sacrificing weight and space.

Even today, if you don't have a good .22 pistol of some description, you ought to get one. It's a very important piece of kit. :D

April 10, 2011, 10:00 PM
Yeah, what gun are you packing in your kit bag? My little S&W .22 is fine revolver in it's own right. What's not to like?

April 10, 2011, 10:11 PM
So if I get lost in the wilderness and I have a kit gun and a brick of ammo, I can survive indefinitely out there.

April 10, 2011, 11:20 PM
When I hunt, I carry a .22 pistol and 100 rounds of ammo. I keep it for situations including hunting small game (either by opportunity or by necessity), delivering a kill shot to a mortally wounded animal (as I did this fall on an elk. He fell right where I shot him with a .30-06 and had a broken shoulder and massive damage to his lungs/heart. It was clear when I got to him that he wasn't going anywhere, but was still alive. A .22 to the top of the skull from 20 feet ended it right then.), and signaling. I can fire off 33 3-round volleys as opposed to 3 with the center-fire ammo I'm likely to be carrying while hunting. It's relatively light and easy to pack. Why not?


April 10, 2011, 11:36 PM
My Ruger Bearcat is a wonderful 22 kit gun. I carry it quite often while outdoors.

Seriously? My Bearcat is more of a nice looking decoration. Bought it, but haven't put a round through it. Simply too nice of a gun to get beat up.

April 10, 2011, 11:40 PM
h&r 999 is a great kit gun also 9 shots

April 11, 2011, 06:41 AM
Ruger Single Sixes are natural kit guns as well. Easy to point but not necissarily light.

April 11, 2011, 11:59 AM
So if I get lost in the wilderness and I have a kit gun and a brick of ammo, I can survive indefinitely out there

depends on how good of a shot that you are.

The "kit gun" was, as several mentioned, to have with you at all times. Plinking, small game, etc. Self defense if you had to.

The theory was kind of like a pocket knife. It is a versatile tool that we use for all kinds of stuff.

April 11, 2011, 12:00 PM
Believe it or not, there is a substantial difference between guns like the Bearcat and other .22's like Single Sixes and K-frames. You can literally carry one anywhere, particularly where larger guns would be inconvenient, cumbersome, or exposed, but unlike the self defense bellygun, they actually have some utility. My all stainless steel New Bearcat is a scant 24oz, deadly accurate within 30yds or so and no soup can is safe out to at least 50yds. Yet it fits easily in my pocket.

Simply too nice of a gun to get beat up.
Guess I never understood this logic. IMHO, no gun is "too nice" to be used and enjoyed. I've used mine heavily over the last year or so and never considered that use to be "beating it up".

April 11, 2011, 05:25 PM
Others have dubbed this genre of handguns "trail" guns. My favorite "Trail Masterpiece" is my Smith & Wesson Model 60-4, a s/s, 3" barreled J-frame, chambered in .38 Special; a petite, little revolver with adjustable sights. It has accompanied me into many "wilderness" areas, including several trips deep into the Boundry Waters. I concede that something bigger tags along when I'm in brown bear country...:)

April 11, 2011, 05:55 PM
I don't get the resistance to 22lr. I understand it's small and lighter, and often used for practice, but more people are killed by 22lr than any other round, mainly because they're the cheapest, both the ammo and often the firearms that use them, and because people believe they're less than deadly. Add to that, my father, and I'm sure many others, have hunted deer and other animals that aren't small game with 22lr humanely and effectively when other options aren't available. I know that when my father was younger, he didn't own his own gun, and was limited to either a double barrel 12 or a 22lr rifle he could borrow. He hunted, effectively, with both.

April 11, 2011, 06:24 PM
Small, light, handy. Easily fits in a coat pocket. My 63/22 would be the last gun I'd let go of. I wish I had a pressing reason to buy a Bearcat. I'd grab one in an instant if I had a legitimate excuse.

April 12, 2011, 06:50 PM
At my advancing age, I've come to understand that I don't need a "legitimate excuse" to acquire a firearm that I've come to covet. Just buy the darn thing, enjoy it and screw the convoluted rationalizations some apparently still need for getting it! :)

April 12, 2011, 07:09 PM
Dashootist said... So if I get lost in the wilderness and I have a kit gun and a brick of ammo, I can survive indefinitely out there.

As Sarah Palin says... "You Betcha!" ... if you're good and lucky.

April 12, 2011, 09:27 PM
The fish don't always bite. A kit gun gives you something else to do.

April 13, 2011, 10:31 AM
Believe it or not, there is a substantial difference between guns like the Bearcat and other .22's like Single Sixes and K-frames.

Wanna know how much difference? Well here you go boys and girls. My Bearcat along with some other popular 22 handguns.

Smith & Wesson Model 17, Ruger Bearcat, Bersa Firestorm 22
Dan Wesson 22, Ruger Single-Six,
Ruger MK II, and MK III-22/45

As you can see the Bearcat is quite a bit smaller. As the above poster quoted said you can literally slip one into your pocket.

Cop Bob
April 13, 2011, 10:40 AM
If for nothing else, they are FUN....

A good "Kit Gun" is any one you want it to be... Preferably Light weight and smaller caliber.. original thinking is one of outdoor survival..

Everybody NEEDS one... at least that is what you tell the Wife..

April 13, 2011, 09:27 PM
When I was younger I thought a "kit" gun was something you assembled yourself!! LOL :o

Jim NE
April 13, 2011, 10:23 PM
Great looking guns, CajunBass! I didn't know you could get those Rugers with white grips. Looks cool.

April 14, 2011, 01:22 AM
9-shot sportsman 999, handy little gun. Advertised as a trail gun. When you open it the empties automatically eject. :cool:

We have a lot of snakes so I alternate CCI shot and mini-mag/stingers.

Ala Dan
April 14, 2011, 04:15 PM
My "Kit Gun" is a 2" barrel, factory nickel, square butt
Smith & Wesson model 34-1 in .22LR~! ;) :D

April 14, 2011, 04:58 PM
When I was younger I thought a "kit" gun was something you assembled yourself!!

I thought the same thing when I was 10. I was a bit hestitant to develop much interest in a gun I had to build.

The Colt Woodsman makes an excellent "kit gun". I have to say I wish I owned a nickel S&W Model 34 snubbie in 22. Saw one a couple of years ago at a show and just could not justify the $$. Now it seems cheap. As they say, you didn't pay too much, you just bought too soon.

April 14, 2011, 05:31 PM
I carry mine IWB when fishing a river or some such. Have taken squirrels (year around season) with it. I've shot nutria with it. I've shot moccasins with it. I've taken it salt water and finished 2-4 ft black tip sharks with it. It's just handy and melts in a good IWB. It is VERY accurate. With Federal bulk pack Lightening it'll group from the bench into 2" at 25 yards. It'll shoot close to an inch with RWS Target. That makes it a viable small game pistol and I've done just that with mine.

Beyond that, why wouldn't I wanna take my kit gun along on a fishing trip????? My CCW is usually a stainless .38 ultralite snubby in my front pocket. The kit gun is a utility tool on such trips and occasionally I'll just wanna do some plinkin' with it. Good to have along a 550 box of Lightening for such occasions. Mine is nothing expensive, just a little Rossi 511 Sportsman with rather excellent sights and a Pachmayr Compac grip. I've also seen used various H&R revolvers for this sort of thing. About any little compact revolver or even semi auto will do, though I do prefer revolvers for such.

Ala Dan
April 14, 2011, 06:04 PM
Att: 22rimfire my friend-

I purchased my S&W 2" factory nickel, square butt model 34-1 approximately
3 years ago now; for $350 OTD. No box, or doc's but the gun had hardly seen
any use; as I would rate it 'bout 98%+ condition. It was a FTF deal, and was
originally offered to my boss; but he only wanted too put $325 in the weapon,
so I bumped him $25 cuz the weapon was in such great shape. I don't use it,
as I have not even fired one round from it. Its a "SAFE QUEEN", and sleeps in
a silicone impregnated "SACK-UP"~! ;) :D

*FootNote- Sorry sir- but its not for sale~! :uhoh:

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