What .22 for a backpacking hunting gun?


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Macchina
June 29, 2013, 11:06 AM
This is not a thread about a packed-away kit-gun. I'm looking for a lightweight hunting .22.

We do a backpacking trip once a year where we bring no food for 3 days and fish, hunt, gather all our food. I always bring a break-down fishing pole so I'm good there. Gathering food in the fall can be difficult but I'm reading up on edibles. As for hunting, I bring either my bull barreled Roger Mark III (42oz.) Or my Henry .22 carbine (72 oz.). I would love to get an accurate .22 handgun that weighs around a pound, but don't know what to look for. A lightweight revolver would be ideal, but they're either very expensive (S&W kit-gun) or very heavy (Heritage Rough Rider). Absolute ideal would be a Ruger LCR in .22 with a 4" barrel. If a very light single-shot .22 handgun existed, I may even be interested in that...

I'm looking for a sub $400, sub 2 pound, .22 handgun that its accurate enough to hit a squirrel at 20 yards.

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Coop45
June 29, 2013, 11:28 AM
Have you considered a Ruger 22/45 Lite? They run about 23 oz.

MedWheeler
June 29, 2013, 11:39 AM
The Charter Arms Target Pathfinder supposedly runs about 18 ounces. I've never shot one, but was impressed with the fit, finish, and feel of one I handled recently in a Gander Mountain store. Tag price was around $300, and the gun is in stainless.

A secondhand Ruger Bearcat should fill the bill, too.

Outlaw Man
June 29, 2013, 11:55 AM
For a semi-auto, I'd go with a Browning Buckmark Camper. A little heavier than that 22/45, but more accurate in my hands. It's a little finicky on ammo, so bring good stuff like CCI.

For a revolver, I second the used Bearcat idea. Good shooting, lightweight gun.

murf
June 29, 2013, 12:02 PM
there are a ton of bearcats for less than 400 bucks on gunbroker. get the older model with the aluminium frame to keep weight at one pound.

i keep my bearcat and a hundred rounds of ammo (in a plastic baggie) in my camelpack when i am out riding in the back country. don't even know it's there.

murf

Certaindeaf
June 29, 2013, 12:12 PM
S&W 422. I don't know what they go for.. they discontinued them some time ago.

Pilot
June 29, 2013, 12:12 PM
I woods carry a Ruger 22/45 (MK II era) with four inch bull barrel. The polymer frame makes it pretty light, and it is accurate enough for target shooting, and small game hunting.

Furncliff
June 29, 2013, 12:42 PM
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8329/8120588426_ac86d99836_z.jpg

phonesysphonesys
June 29, 2013, 01:11 PM
Get a Ruger Single Six with the extra cylinder in .22 magnum. You can use .22 long rifle ammo or the .22 magnum. Very versital and rugged.

Certaindeaf
June 29, 2013, 01:15 PM
Why would he want to carry a lunk of a pistol when he already carries a lunk of a pistol and said he doesn't want to carry a lunk of a pistol?
Me, if I don't carry food on a trip, I really don't mind packing a lunk of a pistol.

danez71
June 29, 2013, 03:40 PM
there are a ton of bearcats for less than 400 bucks on gunbroker.

I got kind of excited when I saw this so I looked.... but most all of them are $400+ and none with a buy now price of under $400

Vern Humphrey
June 29, 2013, 03:43 PM
As for hunting, I bring either my bull barreled Roger Mark III (42oz.) Or my Henry .22 carbine (72 oz.).
As an old Infantryman and a long-time backpacker, let me point out that hunting and backpacking aren't a good mix. If you're backpacking, your emphasis is on covering ground, reaching your next day's campsite, and so on. A backpacker wants to hold weight down.

A hunter, on the other hand, has no schedule and no destination (and the same is true for a fisherman.) Once you arrive at your planned campground, you leave your gear there and hunt out from it. So weight isn't nearly such a problem.

Your thread indicates your emphasis is on hunting. So I would recommend you choose the best hunting gun you can find, and put up with a little extra weight. Either of the guns you have would be fine, if you can shoot them accurately. A lighter gun, while easier to carry, may not be as shootable as what you have.

Deltaboy
June 29, 2013, 03:43 PM
Carry the Henry .

pintler
June 29, 2013, 04:05 PM
I know some folks who have been happy with putting 'Pac-Lite' upper/barrels on Ruger polymer 22/45 bottoms. I'm not sure about the weight, but with a poly bottom and mostly aluminum top it ought to be light.

I know zilch about them, but my google search turned up a one pound rifle: http://www.packrifle.com/

Certaindeaf
June 29, 2013, 04:10 PM
Packing eighty pounds fifty miles a day ain't nothing. lolz.

Coop45
June 29, 2013, 05:59 PM
Packing eighty pounds fifty miles a day ain't nothing. lolz.
Huh?

Ken70
June 29, 2013, 09:04 PM
Huh?
They have different measurements in Oregon. That's 80oz, over 50 yards, in a week....

MCgunner
June 29, 2013, 09:17 PM
Have you considered a Ruger 22/45 Lite? They run about 23 oz.

More accurate and therefore more suitable than my SR22, for sure. I do have a fave kit gun, though, an old (no longer made) Rossi M511 sportsman. That thing is 1" at 25 yards accurate with Federal Automatch. I'm hording my automatch as I can't (as most are well aware) get it right now, but this little Rossi is the only .22 I have that really likes it. The gun weighs about 24 ounces, stainless construction with a Pachmayr Compac grip.

murf
June 29, 2013, 11:49 PM
danez71,

my bad. was looking at bid prices, not reserve prices. most are north of $400.

murf

wild cat mccane
June 30, 2013, 12:21 AM
You didn't ask, but my goodness that is pointless.

But you didn't ask.

slidemuzik
June 30, 2013, 03:07 AM
X2 on the 422 or 622. Probably better with fixed sights for durability. 6" barrel. Alloy frame, but about 21 oz.

CajunBass
June 30, 2013, 07:29 AM
Look around for an old High Standard, 101 Sentinel. It's a K-frame sized, 9 shot, fixed sight, aluminum frame, DA/SA, 22 revolver. The one I had had a 4" barrel, but they probably made longer back in the day. Plenty accurate to hit a rabbit or a squirrel. Light as a feather, and in an Uncle Mikes nylon holster, you won't even know it's there.

Macchina
June 30, 2013, 12:30 PM
Look around for an old High Standard, 101 Sentinel. It's a K-frame sized, 9 shot, fixed sight, aluminum frame, DA/SA, 22 revolver. The one I had had a 4" barrel, but they probably made longer back in the day. Plenty accurate to hit a rabbit or a squirrel. Light as a feather, and in an Uncle Mikes nylon holster, you won't even know it's there.
That sounds perfect. But it also sounds like something that would be very difficult to find...

Fiv3r
June 30, 2013, 02:08 PM
I briefly had a Taurus 84. My dad took a liking to it, so its his now. It was a little picky about what ammo it liked, but it was a nice shooter.

I have a 4" Ruger 22/45 MkIII that I usually take camping. It eat most anything, is very reliable, and doesn't weigh a ton. I don't worry too much about the weight of the gun as packing ammo is what takes up so much extra weight/space. A pill bottle holds 50 rounds, and the Ruger packs nicely on my hip.

I've thought about giving the SR22 a try. Its probably not as accurate or robust as the MKIII, but it would pack a little smaller. I've also been on the lookout for a Bearcat as well.

arizona98tj
June 30, 2013, 04:29 PM
I added a Tactical Solutions 6" barrel/upper to my Ruger Mk I (http://www.stu-offroad.com/firearms/pac1/pac-1.htm). The TacSol barrel weighs 7.4 ounces. I added an extra 2 ounces and included their Picatinny rail with integrated adjustable rear sight. All assembled, it is a great shooter.

http://www.stu-offroad.com/firearms/pac1/pac-14.jpg



The TacSol Ruger MK1 with a Burris FastFire II red dot.

http://www.stu-offroad.com/firearms/pac2/pac2-4.jpg

danez71
June 30, 2013, 06:58 PM
What about a 3" barreled S&W 317 Airweight?

Only 12oz.

Jackal
June 30, 2013, 07:10 PM
For accuracy, get a Crickett rifle. Tiny, light and accurate. Here's mine beside a S&W 29.

pikid89
June 30, 2013, 07:42 PM
My little brothers plastic stock cricket is rediculously light...id take that...super light and quite accurate with the stock peep sights...walmarts got em for like 120 bucks to boot

tubeshooter
June 30, 2013, 07:45 PM
What about a 3" barreled S&W 317 Airweight?

Only 12oz.



These guns are light as a feather, but dang hard to shoot. Not saying it can't be done, but it will take some practice. Possibly quite a bit, actually.

I don't think I would bet dinner in the woods on one of these, if it were me. And this is from someone who has one and likes it.


Probably be better off with a Cricket, Papoose or something like that if you're really serious about eating. Even a Buckmark or MK I/II/III would be a better choice than a 317, IMO. (Super-)Light weight in and of itself isn't going to bag you any game.

MCgunner
June 30, 2013, 10:15 PM
A little off the OP's topic, but why not an H&R shotgun in 20 or .410 gauge? Light, could be taken down for storage in a backpack with a short enough barrel. I would favor my 20 gauge spartan coach gun, myself, but ah H&R would be lighter, less expensive, and as effective. The trade off to a .22 is the weight and size of the ammo, but if my supper absolutely depended on it........:D

danez71
June 30, 2013, 11:34 PM
These guns are light as a feather, but dang hard to shoot. Not saying it can't be done, but it will take some practice. Possibly quite a bit, actually.

I don't think I would bet dinner in the woods on one of these, if it were me. And this is from someone who has one and likes it.


Probably be better off with a Cricket, Papoose or something like that if you're really serious about eating. Even a Buckmark or MK I/II/III would be a better choice than a 317, IMO. (Super-)Light weight in and of itself isn't going to bag you any game.

Interesting. I don't have one but have wanted one for a while. Its hard for me to justify the $$ on something I wouldn't shoot much at all.


Is it hard to shot because its so light? I'd mainly shoot it as a single action.

osteodoc08
June 30, 2013, 11:54 PM
Ruger 22/45 Lite would be right up your alley

tubeshooter
July 1, 2013, 12:12 AM
Interesting. I don't have one but have wanted one for a while. Its hard for me to justify the $$ on something I wouldn't shoot much at all.


Is it hard to shot because its so light? I'd mainly shoot it as a single action.

Yes, mostly it is a situation where a stout DA trigger pull + such a light gun = hard to keep on target. It is something you could probably get used to over time.

The SA trigger is very good, and it's not as big of an issue in single action.

I ended up having a stainless steel cylinder installed in mine (long story), and I think it helped the shootability out a whole lot. I actually like it much better this way. The gun picked up about 4 ounces in doing this. It is now an awesome kit gun, but I don't shoot it very much. I have since purchased another .22 revolver that I prefer for general-purpose use.


If it's not something you really want and/or have a critical need for the light weight, I would say pass. It's not a bad specimen, but it is somewhat expensive. Then again... the new .22 revolver market in general has gotten fairly expensive, with a few exceptions. At least the 317 holds it's value well if you were to decide to sell it later.


On topic: The 22/45 Lite suggestion(s) might be just the ticket for what the OP wants. I would suggest that over the 317 if light weight is highly important. I think it would be much easier to hit small game with beyond 25 feet or so.

22-rimfire
July 1, 2013, 12:15 AM
A S&W M63 might be the ticket, except for the $400 part. I want a 3". The discontinued 4" models are pretty nice. I have a 5" which would work, but probably not what you're looking for.

bannockburn
July 1, 2013, 11:18 AM
I picked up a LNIB S&W Model 34 Kit Gun with a 4" barrel for around $400 a couple of years ago. It weighs in at about 23 oz. and is more than accurate out to 50' with most .22LR ammo.

DonnyBrook13
July 1, 2013, 07:21 PM
I have an NAA Mini-Master, 4" with .22 LR and .22 mag cylinders. Weighs 13 ounces. I took one rabbit with the .22 LR at about 12 yards. It's my standard backpacking/mt. biking gun, due to the light weight. Mainly for self-defense with the .22 mag. But I wouldn't want to rely on it strictly for procuring meat. With the small grip and light weight, very difficult to shoot accurately. I added the folding grip which gives a little more purchase.

For dedicated hunting, I would take my 22/45 w/ red-dot sight, or my Marlin Papoose.

kbbailey
July 1, 2013, 07:55 PM
Like arizona98tj, I like my Ruger MKII with red-dot sight for small game/woods running.

If I thought it was too heavy for packing, I would be tempted to try a Ruger SR22 (or Walther version). My son has an SR22. It is reliable with all ammo, small, and accurate too.

22-rimfire
July 1, 2013, 08:33 PM
The Ruger SR22P is a great little semi-auto 22LR pistol. It is the hunting part that is problematic for me. With practice, I think you could reliably expect 2" groups at 15 yds. It is a small pistol but is reliable. If that is good enough for you, then that would be my suggestion as well over the S&W M63 (steel J-frame) mentioned earlier due to cost. The new Ruger SP101 in 22LR may be a bit large for you, but a good gun in single action. They run around $500 new.

MCgunner
July 1, 2013, 10:34 PM
If I thought it was too heavy for packing, I would be tempted to try a Ruger SR22 (or Walther version). My son has an SR22. It is reliable with all ammo, small, and accurate too.

I said this on another .22 thread. My SR22 is quite accurate, 2" at 25 off the bench, but practical off hand and field rested shooting, I don't do well with the gun. I think it's the weight, it's just TOO danged light. I hit MUCH better with my little 24 ounce Rossi kit gun M511 Sportsman. It shoots 1-2" depending on ammo fed at 25 and it is just esier for me to shoot. I really have no answer other than the weight of the gun steadies it better. I'm side tracked in practicing with the SR22 until I can readily get Federal bulk pack again, but I'm not a quitter. I'm going to keep practicing with it. :D

BlindJustice
July 2, 2013, 03:19 PM
S&W MOdel 63 "Kit" gun
3" Bbl. front ramp sight,and W&E adj. rear sight.

It's all stainless steel and 36 ozempty,
The original was a 6 shot cyl. the new
n producitonversionis an 8 Shot CYl.

IMO - the 317 since the 617 is a K-frame and
the 317 is a J Frame as is the 63
the 317 would be more properly named as a
363 model number. S&W model number assignements
will drive yah nuts in short order.

dirtykid
July 2, 2013, 03:36 PM
Is no-one even gonna mention the SP-101 ??

Eight-shots , Stainless steel , adjustable rear sights
I use it for trapping-dispatch, put a pair of CT-grips on it and dialed them in at 10-yards

granted, you would be on the high-end of your price range but its a gun I would trust anywhere,

tubeshooter
July 2, 2013, 04:09 PM
The new SP-101 is great, I really like mine...

...but if the OP's main focus is on light weight, then it's not going to come up in the conversation much.


Besides the relatively heavy weight, it would be well-suited. Some people complain about the DA trigger pull, but it does not bother me. Maybe because I was coming from trying to shoot that 317...

thesecond
July 3, 2013, 01:37 AM
Not yet mentioned: Rifle - Chiappa Badger. Take-down .22 LR, simple, single-shot, crisp trigger, 16" barrel, ghost sights, leaves $200 for optics (rail). Ruger also has a take-down 10/22.

Handguns - Ruger Mark I/II with an optic (I like the Tac-lite posted in this thread) or any of the longer barrel SA revolvers from North American Arms (e.g., The Earl), and then try out a few different grips depending on your hands.

(S & W 317 is expensive and hunting small game wouldn't be one of its best uses - better as a 'rim-fire trainer' for an airlite j-frame in .38/.357, or as a truly lightweight 8-shot BUG. With limited ammo and opportunities to shoot small, moving targets, a rifle would seem best.)

CajunBass
July 3, 2013, 07:48 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by CajunBass View Post
Look around for an old High Standard, 101 Sentinel. It's a K-frame sized, 9 shot, fixed sight, aluminum frame, DA/SA, 22 revolver. The one I had had a 4" barrel, but they probably made longer back in the day. Plenty accurate to hit a rabbit or a squirrel. Light as a feather, and in an Uncle Mikes nylon holster, you won't even know it's there.

That sounds perfect. But it also sounds like something that would be very difficult to find...

Well, maybe so, but the hunt is half the fun. :D

BTW...Sears sold the same gun under the J.C. Higgins name. Check around on some of the auction sites. They're not rare.

There's at least one on Gunbroker now.

40-82
July 3, 2013, 08:27 AM
When you get your under 18 oz. .22 and see what you can do with it compared to the Ruger or the Henry, I think you will see that some things are worth their weight. You won't starve if you go 3 days without eating, but you can get pretty uncomfortable. If you do go with a lightweight 22, I suggest a revolver that you can load with CB caps that way you can go for head shots at under thirty feet, and if you shoot high the CB's make so little noise that you will not alert the squirrel or the rabbit and you can try again.

I have a Colt target 22 revolver with a 6-inch barrel made in 1918 that weighs 18 ozs., but when I head out I ask myself if I wouldn't really carry a much heavier Smith & Wesson K-frame.

Let us know how your trip goes. There is nothing more exciting than being out in the middle of nowhere and eating a meal that completely comes off the land.

Vern Humphrey
July 3, 2013, 08:31 AM
My Colt Woodsman was made in 1938. It has the high velocity mainspring housing, and is the most accurate and shootable pistol I've ever owned. That's the gun I usually carry when hiking.

22-rimfire
July 3, 2013, 10:57 AM
Vern, aren't you "a scared" of bears in the Ozarks and is the Woodsman enough? I only say this because of the caliber wars when it comes to walk in the woods/hiking bear defense. :D

Vern Humphrey
July 4, 2013, 03:06 PM
Every bear I've ever seen has run from me.

Now it it were grizzley or polar bears, it might be different, but blackies want to stay out of my way,

Jlr2267
July 4, 2013, 03:39 PM
I would take a small rifle (cricket, Rossi 22/410, Henry Survival, Papoose, etc.). A pistol is still gonna get heavy if your belly is empty for a couple days.

gunman72
July 4, 2013, 03:49 PM
For me nothing I've owned beats my plain old ruger mk1. Very rugged, will cycle anything, and never misses.

gazpacho
July 4, 2013, 04:20 PM
Savage Rascal

If you get a Mini Master, get Chong Vang Grips.

If money is no object, get a Pack Rifle: http://www.packrifle.com/

Deltaboy
July 4, 2013, 04:57 PM
More accurate and therefore more suitable than my SR22, for sure. I do have a fave kit gun, though, an old (no longer made) Rossi M511 sportsman. That thing is 1" at 25 yards accurate with Federal Automatch. I'm hording my automatch as I can't (as most are well aware) get it right now, but this little Rossi is the only .22 I have that really likes it. The gun weighs about 24 ounces, stainless construction with a Pachmayr Compac grip.
I trade off a Rossi just like it for a 10/22 that wouldn't hit the broad side of a Barn.

Esoxchaser
July 4, 2013, 05:34 PM
I would take my Ruger mark III hunter or Ruger single six hunter. Both are above the proscribed weight limit, but both are bad medicine for small game. Long gun I would opt for either a synthetic/stainless Savage 92 or a Browning BL22.

ClemY
July 7, 2013, 11:26 AM
I have a 317 that now has a stainless cylinder. It is much better, but I don't think I would rely on it as a primary food gathering gun; I would prefer my 22/45 which weighs about 23 oz. If I wanted to use a .22 revo for that, I would probably use my 5" Model 63, at 27 oz, or my SP101, at 30 oz.

Cemo
July 7, 2013, 11:56 AM
If I were going to depend on the .22 for food, I would choose accuracy over weight all day long. A good quality semi-auto .22 pistol, a breakdown Ruger 10/22, a single shot 410 shotgun can be taken apart pretty readly for putting in a back pack and some readers mentioned the Cricket which would be good assuming they are accurate since the readers recommended them. Even adding optics to enhace accuracy would be on option. Freeze dried food might just be lighter than any of the above if not worried about personal protection when hiking.

Mauser lover
July 7, 2013, 12:14 PM
If I recall correctly, High Standard (or Hi Standard, not really sure which is correct) made an aluminum frame "Sentinel" which was supposed to be pretty accurate, and lightweight. It should come in under $400, came in several barrel lengths, and has a nine shot swing out cylinder. You will have to get one used, since they are not made anymore...

jack44
July 7, 2013, 08:21 PM
It would have to be a 44 mag.

Brian Williams
July 10, 2013, 06:07 PM
Find a nice Ruger Single Six and have one charge hole in the 22lr cylinder reamed to 22mag. Most of the time you will use the 22lr but every once in a while that 22mag makes sense.

Willie Sutton
July 10, 2013, 11:35 PM
The most classic choice:

S&W Model 63, the stainless version of the original "Kit Gun". It's a J frame, adjustable sight, six shot .22 of superb quality. Find a good used one and enjoy.


Willie

.

whetrock
July 11, 2013, 11:24 AM
I've gotta say if weight was all you were concerned about, the S&W 317 would be an attractive option, but not the best shooter, seeing as a 1 7/8, or 3" barrel isn't ideal for a field gun. I'm a bit of a traditionalist at heart, and would love a Bearcat, for the purposes you describe, but on a more serious not, my Browning Buckmark Camper has been an excellent rimfire, digesting most all bulk pack ammo, the finish seals the deal for me, I don't believe I've had a pistol resist corrosion like the Buckmark with it's matte, parkerized finish. I think one of these would meet your criteria quite well. They're not a pain to take apart, (I'm not sure they even prescribe a field strip in the manual, but it's not hard at all to take apart anyhow), reasonably accurate too, though I embarrassingly don't remember the last time I punched paper with mine. Mostly pop steel with it. The moniker is appropriate IMO, and the Browning Buckmark Camper, would make a great pistol for a Camper IMHO.

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