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.22 Caliber "backpack guns"

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Critical J, Sep 9, 2013.

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  1. Critical J

    Critical J Well-Known Member

    Lots of folks out there wanting guidance on purchasing a versatile .22 caliber gun on a budget for their Bug-Out Bags or Hurricane Packs, etc. as a "square one" stepping stone to further purchases as they begin testing the waters of firearms ownership. I usually try to evaluate their needs/concerns/capabilities and direct them to one of the following Top 5 options (not the "best" but because, as a whole, the list is a variety):

    5) Ruger 10/22 Bolt Action
    Basic and dependable, highly functional in skilled hands with a wide range of accessories. Not ideal for defending yourself in one of those hypothetical SHTF situations and definitely requires an aftermarket sling, so it ends-up last on this list...

    * CORRECTION: totally not a bolt action! I was definitely thinking of the wrong gun from my childhood - still, plenty of good reviews on this thing and it, perhaps, does deserve a "higher" spot on the list!

    4) Henry Mare's Leg .22
    Highly underrated as a "novelty item" the slick little cut down rifles
    (technically pistols) are very high quality and extremely accurate out to about
    100 yds. but require a somewhat awkward cheek-balancing stance to line-up perfect shots. Plenty of rounds available in the tube, but slow to reload like most Henry's.
    Has a saddle ring that's perfect for carabiners hanging off your pack.
    Fires .22 Short, Long and Long Rifle

    3) Ruger Mk. Series Pistols
    As the only true handgun on the list I place these in the middle ground. All the utility of any other handgun, but with more of a wilderness focus to them. Very reliable, but nearly impossible to disassemble for cleaning without tools and a workbench

    2) Henry Arms AR-7 US Survival Rifle
    Very handy little collapsible carbine style gun. Supposedly floats if dropped in a stream, but more importantly, is water proof in general + a scope rail. Also available in an intense camo pattern and is very light weight, but "notorious" for jamming, debatable...

    1) Springfield Armory M6 Scout Rifle
    A single shot per barrel, but you do get double of .22 and .410 in a single gun, like an ugly mil-spec Drilling. Also collapsible, but can't be stored inside it's own stock, partly because that doubles as an ammo box. Very sturdy, very rugged. The only non-easily affordable gun on the list, you're lucky to find one for less than $550 and that's if you even do happen to come across one of these antiques; they get snapped-up quick!

    * * *

    So that's my off-hand guide to mostly in-expensive, reliable, and small-ish
    pack guns... thoughts? criticisms? suggestions? alternatives?

    The only way which I was comparing these guns to one another was based solely on which gun has the best 'as new' capabilities that they can get for their money, since many people realize they need a gun for their bag, but many more are only just coming around to the idea and don't wanna spend lots of $$$ or invest in multiple firearms - we're not talking "ideal situations" just simple, capable weapons
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
  2. TennJed

    TennJed Well-Known Member

    Ruger 10/22 takedown for rifle


    DA revolver for handgun. In a bug out type situation you might not be able to choose your brand of ammo and semi auto 22 can be picky. Don't have to worry about that with a revolver. Maybe a S&W 317 kit gun

  3. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Well-Known Member

    Oh good grief..............

    Do you have any experience with #'s 1, 2, and 4?:scrutiny:

    My experience from shipping them back for repair, replacement or refund is that your #1 and #2 are less than ideal.

    The Mare's Leg design is by far the least useful firearm design........too big for a handgun, too small for a rifle.......none of the benefits of either.

    Matter of fact #1 and #2 were sales disasters. The Henry is simply a rebranded Charter Arms .22 and a pretty notorious jammamatic.:cuss:
  4. Critical J

    Critical J Well-Known Member

    @ dogtown tom

    The only one I have extensive experience with is #4, but like I said it's "highly underrated" and I have fired them all but #1, though I hear good things...

    I cleared out well over 2 dozen coyotes from a widow's land a couple summers back with only that Mare's Leg and a tomahawk!

    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
  5. CharlieDeltaJuliet

    CharlieDeltaJuliet Well-Known Member

    As bad as I dislike the 10/22's the takedown will end up in my safe one day. Please knw I am not knocking g them, they are great rifles now if only Volquartsen would make a take down rifle.
  6. Nasty Ned

    Nasty Ned Well-Known Member

    My 1906 Winchester works good for me and is very accurate to boot......
  7. Pete D.

    Pete D. Well-Known Member

    I much like the choice of the M6. Too bad that they are so hard to find. Aside from that, as a backpacker, I want a gun to be as light an addition to my pack as possible.
    I carry a S&W 317 Airlite. The choice of the Ruger also makes sense to me....reliable and accurate.
    This, not to scare folk away, I disagree with:
    I can take my Ruger apart and reassemble it within only a pen knife as a tool. And....maybe a block of wood. Apart and back together in less than a minute.
  8. Jaz Malta

    Jaz Malta New Member

    I really love the AR-7. You have anything you need in your hands. But the M6 is beautiful as well. It´s difucult to choose just one
  9. MattShlock

    MattShlock Well-Known Member

    Before they close this (re)t(h)read...

    #5 Is NOT a bolt action.

    #4 IS a novelty item. And hanging it off your pack? Have you clearly never worn a backpack (outside your room)...

    #3 How does this have a "wilderness focus"?

    #2 Reputation for jamming is well earned so why recommend it despite case being waterproof?

    #1 Forget you've never fired no-less owned or even carried one to comment in your backpacking thread, the .410 is about the worst power-to-weight and volume ratio cartridge and gun anyone can carry yet this is ostensibly about backpacking.

    Is there an Angry Birds - Backpacking Edition?
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
  10. MedWheeler

    MedWheeler Well-Known Member

    The 10/22, in the configuration shown, is indeed a little bulky for this use, but it is far from a "non-ideal" gun for defense (of those guns on the list.) Putting it last based on defense begs the question "How is the Springfield M6 so much better in a defensive role?"

    I agree that the 10/22, in the available take-down version, is a far better option than the OP gives it credit for. In fact, of those listed (many of which should not even be being compared to each other because of the stark differences between them), that's the one I would want, assuming no other guns would be available.

    OP, if you were unaware that the 10/22 is a semi-automatic and not a bolt-action (the 77/22 was), that may be why it fared, in your "evaluation", where it did. A detachable-mag-fed, semi-automatic carbine with the longevity the 10/22 has had would be hard to beat.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
  11. I own a 10/22 take down. Wouldn't have unless it was a good firearm. Now any 22lr revolver would be nice like a S&W K-22, H&R 9 shot top break or a S&W 617.

    Now if you wan bolt action then a Crickett with bull barrel,scope and bipod should do the trick.
  12. Davek1977

    Davek1977 Well-Known Member

    This seems rather silly, and its apparent that the OP hasn't actually USED or carried these guns for their intended purposes to any measurable degree. When dispensing advice, its prudent to have experience with what you are dispensing advice ABOUT. An an over/under like the M6 is NOT "like a mil-spec drilling" unless a mil-spec "drilling" requires one less barrel than other types of "drillings"
  13. EmGeeGeorge

    EmGeeGeorge Well-Known Member

    .22 wouldn't do the trick? Maybe it was TOO LITTLE gun to dispatch a coyote. Hate 'em as you may, wounding any animal and using a hawk to finish it comes off as cruel and psychotic.
  14. Willie Sutton

    Willie Sutton Well-Known Member

    A backpack gun (for whatever backpack you want to have, be it a BOB, Hurricane Bag, etc), ought to be a S&W Model 63 .22/.32 Kit Gun.

    Everything else comes in a distant second place.... there's a reason it's called the Kit Gun. :neener:


    For broken down stashing, a Carbon 15 is the perfect choice. Stick a .22 caliber conversion set someplace nearby and enjoy.

    I've owned AR-7's (fun, but VERY bulky to pack, surprisingly enough, due to the stock being made big enough to float the rifle)

    I own an original M-6, which is fun too, but is not really very robust and is a very specialized rifle designed to be disposable after use (and DO NOT dry fire one). It is, as was said above, not a "Drilling", which by defininition have "Drei" ("three" in German) barrels.

    Take down 10/22? Uhh.... <sigh>: See "stash a Carbon 15 and you will have a real rifle". I guess if you had to have a .22 you could do worse.

    Mares Leg? You must be joking.....

    Now, having *actually* evacuated for a Hurricane last year, Sandy, which destroyed my home and caused me to live in my van for a week eating MRE's and drinking bottled water, and then aboard my boat for the balance of 6 months, what I *really* took as my bug-out gun was a Beretta M-9 accompanied by a Keltec SUB-2000 sharing the Beretta magazines. I had 6 pistol mags, three 30 round extended mags for the Keltec, and the entire thing fit into an olive green army tankers tool-bag tossed into the back of the van. In times of trouble, you want tools, and .22's are toys, not tools.


    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
  15. Pilot

    Pilot Well-Known Member

    While I typically pack one of my Ruger MK II pistols, I have to say the Browning Buckmark rifle would be a good choice. Do they make a carbine kit?

  16. bannockburn

    bannockburn Well-Known Member

    Well the only .22 I would take with me from that list would be a Ruger Mk.II pistol. From my own collection of .22s my first choice in a backpack scenario is my Beretta Model 70S which I had hard chrome plated years ago. Small, lightweight, super reliable, and very accurate this gun has served me well as a Kit Gun on many a walk in the great outdoors.
  17. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Poor choices with 1 and 4 based on price for 1 and ease of use for 4. The 10/22 is too bulky for backpack carry so that takes 5 out. You've suggested 2 and 3 as possibly useful firearms, but the Henry is surprisingly bulky when packed up in the stock so it might not be as handy as you think if you're carrying it. You're down to a handgun on your list, but not everyone will agree that a you've picked the smartest one of all that are possible (of the Rugers I have I'd rather carry my daughter's 22/45 lightweight).

    The takedown 10/22 puts it back in the race. A Rossi Matched Pair .22 and .410 should go into the mix. Reminton's SPR94 rifle shotgun combo should as well. Being takedown they'd all fit.

    Then there are the various .410/.45lc guns out there, but they get outside your .22 bound.

    The challenge with any long gun is that you pack it in takedown and have to reassemble for use making immediate action with it far less immediate.

    I'm not sure of your reasoning since you can get non .22lr firearms for the price of some of what you've suggested. I have a folding KelTec and it fits in a small laptop bag with a Glock 17 and several magazines for both. I'm sure others would suggest a wider range of non .22lr options as well.
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
  18. Critical J

    Critical J Well-Known Member

    time to clear-up a few things...

    Here's my "experience" with these guns, since yall need answers:

    5) that particular model? very little, plinked around with it a few times. Shoots great, carries great, a little big to be a true "backpack gun" which was the whole point of this thread

    4) have one, love it. 19 confirmed coyotes that summer, but the instructions for that particular job were to "run 'em off" after they killed a couple of her favorite dogs and destroyed her vegetable garden. As a varmint animal I'm less inclined to give a d*mn, but on a personal level...
    I hate coyotes :-(

    3) plenty of experience, never owned one but can't hardly remember a trip to the local range when there wasn't one laying around. Shot it more times than not and in multiple designs, great gun but when I go hunting I rarely come across anything within workable handgun range, ya know?

    2) shot one all weekend long at a friend's place, only experienced a single "failure to feed" error, so I'm a little skeptical of their so called "reputation"

    1) none, directly. They're pretty rare, but pop-up at gun shows from time to time and a couple of men I respect, a gun shop owner and an ex-Air Force pilot, actually own them. They're no one's favorite, but they can do a lot and have a lot done to them so they get a pass for the list + few boxes worth of .410 will keep you in squirrels, coons and possums for at least a week so you can save the .22 for something worth the shot. It may be bias, they've always fascinated me *shrugs*

    Point being, you don't like the list? Submit an alternate Top 5, that's what this thread is here for! It just has to be .22 because 9x out of 10 these armchair peepers have it in their head that .22 will see them through the woods and to the moon - there's no reasoning with them!
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
  19. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Well-Known Member

    Generally speaking, I don't think in terms of concealing a rifle that is a "back pack" gun or carried while backpacking. I think a revolver is a better choice in general for concealing in or around a backpack as long as you can shoot it well enough. Revolvers aren't ammo picky in 22LR.

    I think the Henry Mare's Leg is a worthy consideration as long as you have shot it enough to be comfortable hitting a squirrel or pop can at 25 yds. One poster a while back posted one with a red dot. That is what I intend to install on my Mare's Leg. (The Red Dot is on my list as they say.) Many who have shot them find them difficult to shoot well as they kind of fit between a handgun and rifle configuation.

    The S&W M63 is a very good choice and is a balance between size, weight, and suspected durability since it is a steel framed revolver. It is high on my list. I chose a Ruger LCR in 22LR over the S&W product. But I think an exposed hammer would certainly be a plus (hence a preference for the 3" M63). I think you'd be hard pressed to consistantly hit a squirrel or rabbit beyond 15 yds with one.

    The Ruger Mark II/III or 22/45 with the heavy barrel is a great choice in terms of accuracy and ease of shooting. Might be a problem with limited ammunition availability in terms of functionality. But one would be high on my list simply because I have quite a few magazines and many inexperienced shooters are comfortable with them.

    I have no problem with the Ruger 10/22 in its various configurations as a gun to carry on your shoulder or strapped to a backpack inside some kind of protective case. It is a nice quick pointing little rifle with good reliability. But if I were going to carry a full sized rifle I would tend to go with a 22 Mag versus 22LR. I doubt you'd carry more than 200 rounds of ammunition with you regardless of it being a 22LR or 22WMR.

    I don't think most people would last long alone in the woods with just a firearm. A friend or two would be quite beneficial and you could add a larger caliber firearm into the mix.
  20. rodinal220

    rodinal220 Well-Known Member

    Crickett Rifle hides nicely in one of the side tube pouches on my pack.
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