22 Magnum as a survival rifle?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Balrog, Jul 27, 2019.

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  1. WheelGunMan

    WheelGunMan Member

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    I have a Marlin 883SS in .22WMR that's wicked fast and a tack driver. I'd be comfortable using it as a survival gun.
     
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  2. Picher

    Picher Member

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    Hard to beat a CZ with three barrels, .22LR, .17 HMR, .22 WMR. After you run out of the other two, .22LR is something you may be able to find.
     
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  3. Browning

    Browning Member

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    Personally I’d rather have a .22LR for some survival applications, 5.56/.223 Wylde for others, 308 Win for other ones or maybe even a 9mm carbine or a braced pistol for still others.

    As a general purpose carbine I generally default to 5.56/.223 Wylde.

    I can’t imagine why I’d go with a .22 magvs one of those, but to each their own.
     
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  4. ThomasT

    ThomasT Member

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    Thanks jeepnik. I like the idea of velcro on the buttstock. What a great idea. Now you got me thinkin' again.:D
     
  5. RedlegRick

    RedlegRick Member

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    I agree that having a combination gun has its advantages, but I was thinking more about the minimalist view, a weapon and ammo combination that doesn't weigh as much or take up space in your backpack.
    To me, the word 'survival rifle' means just that, a light and compact shoulder arm meant to fill the cookpot when needed. I admit that the flexibility of having two calibers at once is nice, but it ups the loadout weight in my head. A box of .22s only weighs four or five ounces while shotshells weigh a lot more, even in .410.
     
  6. Phaedrus/69

    Phaedrus/69 Member

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    The 22 Mag isn't valuable enough to me to own one now, don't see it becoming any better if things go pear shaped. If I'm going with a tiny bullet I'd rather have it going 2,800 fps.
     
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  7. Browning

    Browning Member

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    I guess that depends on what ‘Survival Rifle’ means to you.

    If it means a minimalist two shot weapon that utilizes two different calibers probably for getting small to medium sized game such a rifle/shotgun would be a pretty good choice.

    Such guns appeal to me in the abstract and fall into the ‘neat’ category, but they leave something to be desired in the execution. For one the sights on those combination guns are usually pretty poor. Even on the centerfire rifle versions of the ones I’ve shot in .222 and .223 they weren’t very accurate past 100 yards and even on targets inwards of that they left patterns rather than groups.

    Secondly two shot guns hold ... well two shots. If self defense is included in survival a two shot gun could conceivably be used in some situations, but in my opinion it would be behind a huge stack of guns and directly behind the 1870’s era Colt Single Action Army and the S&W Model 3 Schofield.
     
  8. Legionnaire
    • Contributing Member

    Legionnaire Member

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    This thread and the thread on the 77/22 in .22 Hornet got me reading up on reduced loads in .223. Looks like there are a number of powders that can reduce the .223 to the power of a .22 WMR or a .22 Hornet. As a hand loader, I'm thinking building some cartridges in these power windows would be a fun project. Also suggests that a bolt action .223 with a variety of loads might be a good way to go. The only advantage one would give up would be the diminutive size of the .22 Mag compared to the .223; a brick of .22 Mag packs pretty tight.

    Now I'm curious just how quiet a .223 can be without a suppressor.
     
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  9. RedlegRick

    RedlegRick Member

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    Agreed, but as I said before, the word means something different for everyone. If I were to purchase a rifle specifically for the purpose, it'd most likely be a single-shot, not a combination gun.
    Perhaps it would be more accurate to call them 'foraging rifles', just to distance them from the 'survivalist' vibe.
     
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  10. Phaedrus/69

    Phaedrus/69 Member

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    I'm not sure why a single shot would be an advantage in a survival situation. Most hunters I've known carry repeaters of some kind (bolt, lever, even auto) to allow a faster follow up shot than is afforded by a single shot. If a quick second shot is handy in normal hunting one would think it would be even more so in a survival situation.
     
  11. jeepnik

    jeepnik Member

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    Yea, when that happens to me things get dangerous.;)
     
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  12. Charlie Martinez

    Charlie Martinez Member

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    It would be more powerful 7 versatile than a 22 LR.
    Ammo easy to carry & OK for self defense.
    Maybe a dumb Q but in a pinch would a 22 mag rifle be able to also fire 22 LR?
     
  13. RedlegRick

    RedlegRick Member

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    It would be because its intended purpose is strictly as a backup for when you don't have your double or repeater. Simple, rugged, light and compact for those times you may be 'accidentally camping". For example, if you're backpacking in rugged country or for extended distances, every ounce counts, and a one to three pound pot gun is a lot easier on the feet and back than a seven to ten pound rifle and its attendant ammunition and accessories.
    Something that fits in a daypack unobtrusively is another bonus, one less article on a strap to contend with on the trail.
    And most of the time with small game, one shot is all you're gonna get and it's not hard to load fast either. If nothing else, it conserves ammo and forces you to focus more on making the shot count.
     
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  14. Browning

    Browning Member

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    Sure, I guess it just depends on what you’re going for.

    If I was going for something like that (like say as an emergency rifle for an aircraft, boat or vehicle that might get stranded/downed/stuck out in the wilds) I’d probably just default to an ultralight .22LR.

    https://www.marlinfirearms.com/rimfire/model-795/model-70pss-take-down

    Haven’t had good luck with the Henry’s.
     
  15. RedlegRick

    RedlegRick Member

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    https://www.packrifle.com/

    Fifteen ounces. A box of .22LR weighs half a pound. Way too pricy for me, but that's what I think of. They're not intended to be a primary weapon, just something compact and light enough you don't mind taking it along with you.

    A good sidearm for self defense is enough for me, these things are simply emergency protein harvesters, not fighting tools.
     
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  16. Phaedrus/69

    Phaedrus/69 Member

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    There are some bolts and autos that are as light as any single shot I've ever seen. There's no mechanical reason that a single shot would be any lighter than, say, a bolt. Not sure there's a single shot that's more robust and rugged than a bolt, either. If you want unobtrusive there are several .22 LR autos that are designed to break down for storage. The Marlin Pappoos is accurate, reliable and pretty light and broken down it's very compact.

    A semi auto can be fired as slowly as a single shot but the opposite is not true. If you're responsible enough to own a gun you should be responsible for trigger control! Especially if there's only time for a single shot.

    Realistically if you're talking .22 cal rimfire guns one could simply take a 6" barrel auto pistol and have a lot of capability.

    I'm not that sold on .22 Mag myself. It packs more punch but it still underpowered for big game while being a lot more expensive than .22LR. I think on bigger animals you're limited to headshots with either and there's not a big edge for the Mag. If you go with .22LR the ammo is smaller and lighter allowing you to carry more or carry less weight for the same amount. Worse the two aren't really compatible.

    Note that I'm not saying it's useless! Nothing wrong with having one and it wouldn't be a terrible survival gun. A lot depends on what a survival gun means to you and of course where you live. Where I live I'd never choose a 'survival gun' that didn't give me a reasonable chance to kill or dissuade a large bear. If there are no dangerous predators where you live the story would be different.

    I can definitely see an O/U being a good survival gun! With something like a .22 Hornet or even a 30/30 on top and a 20ga or 12ga on the bottom you could harvest a wide range of game!
     
  17. ThomasT

    ThomasT Member

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    When people say stuff like this it makes wonder if they have ever shot a 22lr and a 22 mag side by side? Did you miss the part in my earlier post where I shot holes in a burn barrel with a 22 and 22 mag? The 22 mag easily shot through both sides of a brand new steel 55 gallon barrel while not one 22lr did anymore than dent the off side. Did you read the part where I mentioned Ross Seyfried took a 22 mag to Africa and killed several whitetail sized plains game? It seemed to work for but he is an expert hunter who knows how to stalk and get close to game before shooting.

    And how many rounds do you need? This isn't a war you are fighting/ Its putting meat on the table and maybe SD in an emergency. One hundred rounds should see you through and survival situation.

    Thats whats fun about these threads is the sharing of ideas and concepts. And nobody is right and nobody is wrong.

    Does anyone remember the old Marlin catalogs where they shot blocks of Walnut with a 22lr and a 22 mag to show how much deeper a 22 mag would penetrate? It was close to 3 times as much penetration over the 22 lr.
     
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  18. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    Indeed. It's not like we'd do some plinking to fill up our day. That Zastava mentioned in post 27 has up to 33 rounds on board* at any given time. Add another box or two of .22 Mag in the pack and I'd say those extra two boxes would be for comfort more than anything else.

    *18 rounds in the buttstock and three 5-round magazines
     
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  19. RedlegRick

    RedlegRick Member

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    Of course there are very lightweight bolts and autos out there, I own one of them, a Crickett. Maybe I should have qualified it further by specifying that the weapon break down or fold up as well. The Papoose, AR-7, and Chiappa offerings fall into that type.

    I found my Ruger standard met a lot of needs a survival rifle provided, in a more compact package, but they do offer a more stable instrument to harvest small game and might appeal to a person who might not want to carry a handgun or can't for some reason.

    The reason I got into AR-7s was because at the time, I wasn't old enough to own or possess a handgun, as well as having to pass through places where open carry, while not banned, was looked at poorly. Those little rifles disappeared nicely in my pack, rolled up in my sleeping bag.

    Definitely not handy for self defense, which was where I began carrying a pistol when I was able to and quit bothering with them. Since I was striving for the lightest practical loadout I could manage, only one could travel with me at a time.

    And I think a 22 Mag is more than adequate for the purpose. Better bullets and more velocity can't hurt, and since it isn't meant to be a range toy, the extra expense isn't an issue with me.

    As a further aside, survival rifles make poor range toys. All four of my AR-7s, good and bad, always did one thing well, and that was putting the first two or three shots right where you need them. After that, they'd heat up and groups would get a lot bigger, and shoot them too much and they started messing up. Guns like that are meant to be carried much and shot little. The one guy at the gun shop who sold me my second one put it perfectly. "You want a plinker or bunny gun, get a regular .22. These things you put a box through one in awhile for practice, then you pack them up and forget about it until you need it.", and he was right.
     
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  20. Charlie Martinez

    Charlie Martinez Member

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    The only advantage the 22 Magnum rifle has over the much more powerful .22 center fire cartridges is that twice as many 22 Mag cartridges can be carried in the same amount of space and weight. However that's where the advantages end. In a end of civiization type scenario I would prefer something more commonly available, more powerful & capable of being hand loaded. The .223 is much more popular than the 22 Mag making ammo easier to find & w/o doubt much more effective. I wouldn't feel too bad if I all I had was a good 22 Mag rifle & plenty of ammo but the 223 would be a better choice.
     
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  21. jeepnik

    jeepnik Member

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    Mention of the AR7 got me to thinking. Anyone else have a Charter Arms Explorer pistol? I now carry it in my Jeep with the mossy. Lots of fun and reasonably accurate.
     
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  22. ThomasT

    ThomasT Member

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    I have one. Gold color. It was my dads gun. I have two 10 round and one 15(?) round mag for it. I haven't shot in many years. I have a scope mount for it too.

    I found an article once that talked about survival guns for the Marines and it stated that they used a 22 auto pistol with suppressor for small game hunting. I have tried several times to find that article again on the net but can't seem to bring it up. And there was show on the History channel about WW2 soldiers in the arctic and they were armed with 22 autos for a survival gun. And remember we are talking about a gun to provide food and a level of protection in an emergency. Not a SHTF gun and the end of the world situation.
     
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  23. Phaedrus/69

    Phaedrus/69 Member

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    Yeah, I've owned a few .22 Mags, both revolver and bolt gun. I don't see how performance on a steel drum relates to what I said. Is it more powerful than a .22 LR? Of course, I never said it wasn't. Yet it's still less powerful than a .22 Hornet which is not even legal for deer where I'm from in SD. Can you kill a deer with one? Yeah. Remember that up til the mid 50's the biggest bear ever killed was by a Native girl in Alaska and was done with a .22 Long (not even long rifle)? If we're going by individual cases why not just ditch the magnum and go with .22 Long? I don't really have a problem with the .22 Magnum but I don't see it as a big advantage over a .22 LR, although obviously the whole question is kind of hypothetical with no single correct answer.

    The OP left the term 'survival gun' deliberately vague so I suppose we'll all have to decide what the term means for ourselves. I live in western Montana so for me it means something that can collect game but maybe also drive off or kill a large predator. Given the guns I actually own right now that probably leaves me with a Mossberg 500.


    Good question! It's pretty hard to know how much ammo you're going to need! One might reasonably expect 100 rounds to be plenty but there's no practical way to know. The old saying goes that unless you're drowning or on fire you can't have too much ammo! I can't imagine many situations where I would have a hundred rounds of 12 ga on me as that would be heavy and take a lot of space (critical if I'm packing it in). If my only firearm was a .22LR when why not have a couple hundred rounds? The larger the round the less I will likely have along due to logistics, but one would also expect to accomplish more with each round. If I had to run off a 900lb grizzly it may take a lot of .22 Magnum ammo but probably not many 1.25 oz slugs.

    Again, as you say, I'm not saying anyone is wrong and that I am right. Just giving my view on it.
     
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  24. ThomasT

    ThomasT Member

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    Everyone is welcome to their opinion.:thumbup:
     
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  25. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    I think a bolt action repeater 22 mag is a good option. It has about double the power and range of a .22 LR. I am not a fan of the combo guns that shoot 2 calibers. Of course there are issues like resupply and too much gun for the squirrel size game. A single action revolver that have cylinders for both could be pretty useful.
     
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