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Should I Consider 22 Long Rifle For Prepping and Survival Use?

It’s almost a coming of age moment in a youngster’s life when he or she gets to fire that first “Real” gun. I know it was for me. I had already had a BB gun and a pellet rifle to practice with. You can read about those in more detail Here. But, there is something different about that first live round of ammunition. The loud crack. The smell of burnt powder on our hands. At that moment we were entrusted with an honest to goodness firearm and regardless of the diminutive caliber, that 22 rifle was a huge step forward in the process of maturing as responsible shooters. It’s a pleasant moment to think back to for many of us, but for others, it might not have ever happened. For those of you in the latter category, it isn’t to late to get your rimfire fix!

What Is 22 Long Rifle?

I try hard to remember that not everyone has had the same experiences as I have and to add some of the basics for those that need a little extra info to catch up. The Union Metallic Cartridge Company most likely developed the 22 Long Rifle cartridge (or 22LR) around 1884. It was preceded by the 22 short and the 22 long, which are both still available today. That’s a pretty impressive useful lifespan for a cartridge over 130 years old to still be one of the most popular today! The 22 LR, just like the short and long, is a rimfire cartridge. This means that the firing pin strikes the outer rim of the casing to detonate the powder versus a centerfire cartridge where a primer is pressed into the center of the casing for the firing pin to strike. The 22 LR is loaded with bullets weighing 32-40 grains, for the most part, and capable of delivering them from rifle length barrels at anywhere from 1000-1600 feet per second. The cartridge provides this velocity while maintaining a relatively soft report and very little recoil. While the firearms and ammunition market are in a bit of an uproar this year with the election and the shortages from COVID, 22LR is still pretty inexpensive and a lot of fun to shoot.

Why Preppers Should Have A 22 On Hand.

I mentioned in the previous paragraph some of the benefits of this light shooting caliber. There are many more for us as preppers to consider.

Size: I don’t have a decent scale handy, but I can tell you that the weight and space taken up by close to 200 rounds of 22 LR is going to be similar to the space needed for 30-40 rounds of .223/5.56 ammo that feeds most AR15 rifles and will still not be as heavy. Simply put, we can carry a whole lot more 22 LR ammo than any other useful cartridge.

Range: In the hands of a practiced shooter, the 22 LR is capable of shots at 100 yards or more, however the bullet does its best work between the muzzle and 50 yards or so. Beyond the that, it takes some compensation or sight adjustment to correct for the bullet drops at 75 to 100 yards. As preppers, this means that the 22 round is perfectly capable of reaching out to the ranges that we would normally hunt small game, or dispatch vermin and pests that are trying to damage our gardens or get into our homes and buildings.

Energy: There is such a thing as too much gun. Keeping in mind the basic rules of gun safety that you can read Here, we know that it is important to know that our bullet will not exit our target and continue on to injure something else. While the 22 LR is a lethal round and should never be underestimated, it is much better suited for closer shots on small game, especially when shooting up in a tree at something like a squirrel. The second advantage of modest energy is that we can preserve much more of the meat from small game with the 22 LR. Faster or larger calibers can either rip apart the valuable meat of a squirrel or rabbit, or almost cause the animal to explode from the shock wave. Either way, it makes for thin soup and that’s no good when we need all the protein we can find.

What Makes A Good Survival 22?

Even when discussing a category as specific as 22 rifles for preppers, I have to start by saying that it’s still not a one size fits all choice. If we find the need to have a rifle that can be packed out or stashed, there are a number of takedown models on the market that all work very well. There’s even the Henry U.S. Survival that disassembles and the barrel, action, and magazines are stored in the butt stock of the gun.

Henry AR 7 U.S. Survival Rifle

For most purposes other than packing in a small space, I prefer a full size or carbine length 22 rifle. I’ll do a video soon on the Ruger 10-22 which is possibly the most popular semiauto rimfire rifle ever sold. As long as the rifle we chose will function properly with the ammo we have and hit accurately enough to humanely kill the small game that we may need to hunt, I don’t wade far out into the weeds as far as brand loyalty. Buy as good a quality rifle as you can afford, maintain it, and enjoy it!

Pistols: I can’t think of much that comes close to the fun of plinking cans with a 22 rifle other than doing it with a 22 caliber pistol. A good 22 pistol or revolver can be hours of fun and good training for the larger caliber pistols we carry for defensive use. They also can be a fun and challenging hunting tool that is easily packable to use as game presents itself. You can add a pistol scope with a longer eye relief to make them even more deadly on game. Click below for one I like.

Accessories: 22 rifles are getting more and more aftermarket support these days and we can doll up many of them, especially the Ruger 10-22, with all sorts of hot rod trigger groups, tactical stocks, and high capacity magazines, however for practical use, I prefer simply adding a low power telescopic site like the one below. The scope gives us the advantage to make slightly better aimed shots at small game and gives us a better chance to put food on the table if small game is beyond 20-25 yards. Click the picture below for one of my favorite rimfire scopes and the second one down for a great aftermarket stock for your Ruger.

Ammunition: Within 20 to 25 yards, it’s not likely that we will notice a huge amount of difference in 22 LR ammo unless we shoot carefully from a bench. That said, there are some ammunition considerations that I’d like to offer. As a youngster I thought faster was better so high velocity or hyper velocity 22 ammo was the thing to have. When I started shooting competitively, I discovered quickly that standard velocity, or sub sonic velocity ammo had some great benefits. First, it is just as effective on small game and with less damaged meat than the hyper velocity rounds. Second, it is usually more accurate, though within small game ranges, its a nominal difference at best. The third benefit is one of the biggest for us as preppers. Standard and subsonic ammunition is right at or below the speed of sound. Much of the noise given off by a rifle is from the supersonic crack of the bullet breaking the sound barrier. The combination of a subsonic bullet speed and small powder charge make the 22 LR capable of repeated shots almost as quiet as a pellet rifle but with significantly more energy with the right ammo.

Targets: Because of the lower energy of the 22 LR, there are lots of inexpensive targets that we can purchase and use for fun and practice. Click the picture below for a fun resettable target stand from Caldwell.

Survival Situations That We Shouldn’t Depend On The 22 For

If you gather even a modest size group of gun guys together and discuss calibers, I’m willing to bet that at least one person will offer up the “fact” that more people have been killed by 22’s than any other caliber. Now, I’m not going to research the FBI crime statistics in an effort to discredit this claim. It may very well be the truth, however my position is that the death rate humans shot with 22 LR is irrelevant.

The 22 LR round has many great uses in the prepper arsenal, but self defense is not one of them. I wholeheartedly agree with the people who say that its better than nothing, but it still is not my first choice to defend myself against predators, man or beast. The ugly truth about self defense is that it is none of our business whether the attacker lives or dies. Our concern, in the moment, is that the attacker ceases the actions against us. While humans and most animals large enough to kill a human by brute strength or with weapons will likely die from multiple shots of 22 LR, they may do so after they have completed their attack upon us. For self defense, I prefer a long gun in a medium to long range rifle cartridge, a shotgun with buckshot or slug ammo, and a pistol in a serviceable defensive caliber, in that order. I’ll concede that in dire situations, the small round can be used for quiet subversive work, but it still is not my idea of a primary defensive cartridge.

Final Thoughts on 22 LR For Preppers

Regardless of the level of preparedness an individual wants to reach, I can’t think of a single reason why he or she shouldn’t have at least one good 22 rifle and pistol in their arsenal. They are a great introductory firearm for new shooters and a practical hunting and pest control tool that is inexpensive to shoot and not cumbersome to carry. For semi automatics, I recommend the Ruger 10/22 as one of the best out there for quality and aftermarket support. If you like the look and feel of a lever action, I have really enjoyed my Henry carbine. A number of manufacturers make great bolt action 22’s now. I personally love the CZ brand of rifles, but Savage, Marlin, and others provide great guns for reasonable prices these days. For pistols, Look to the Ruger 22/45 or Mk4, the Browning Buckmark, or, for a similar feel to the Glock 19 many carry for self defense, try the new Glock 44.

Whatever you choose, hang up a set of swingers or a row of old cans and have fun while getting better!

Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate and may make money on qualifying purchases.

When It’s Time to Rest, Rest!

If you happen to have been following this blog or my YouTube channel for a while, you might have noticed that I have gone the longest stretch without adding any content since I started this journey. It’s certainly not lack of inspiration or valuable ideas to research and share my findings on. Everyone has been great about responding with ideas and information to help me keep this blog growing. I cannot tell you exactly what it was other than I felt like pure, unadulterated crap all last week for some reason. I had barely enough energy to make it through the day at work and get home to crash. That gave me the idea of addressing the topic of resting. If you want to read about more health tips, you can find them in my prepper health category Here.

What Do I Mean by “Rest”?

That sounds like a very straightforward question, but there are many ways that we can and need to rest. Physical rest is one of the most important, but we cannot discount mental rest. Failing to rest our bodies and minds when needed will lead to the breakdown of all of our mental and physical functions over time. While I wanted to continue posting to my blog as well as preparing for other activities I have planned, I realized, last week, that the caffeine and over the counter meds I would have to take to continue at my current pace would catch up with me. I chose the best option for me at the time; to report to my job as expected and use the remaining hours of the day to sleep and rest. In hindsight, I may have benefitted more from taking a day off work to do nothing but rest, however I was still able to recover in a reasonable amount of time.

Physical Rest

Whether by design or by adaptation, humans, as well as most other land-dwelling animals, need to sleep. For thousands of years, this was a fairly simple part of the daily lives of humans. We would hunt, gather, farm or tend to other chores throughout the daylight hours and when the light faded at dusk, we would prepare to sleep. Of course, there were candles and gas lights to allow us some source of light in the dark, but it wasn’t until the late 19th century when Thomas Edison produced the first viable incandescent light bulb, that we could really turn night into day. From that point forward we have advanced, as a society, into an unnatural 24 hour lifestyle that takes a much larger toll on us and our health than we may think.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep, nightly, to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In a world of 24 hour demands it’s often easier on the front end to burn the midnight oil and try to get by on as little sleep as possible. As consumers, it is clear that we value productivity over rest by simply looking at the number of energy drinks and supplements available at every convenience store we go into. Instead of trying to get everything done at once, I believe we should look closely at how we schedule things in order to be more efficient in our work and lives so we are left with more leisure time for rest and enjoyment. Click on the picture below for one of the best books I have ever read. It has a section that goes into detail the levels of time management that we can use to make the most out of our time without our productivity taking everything out of us.

You can also look for ways to get more out of your sleep. 7 to 9 hours of restless sleep is not going to keep us refreshed and functioning at our peak. We need deep quality sleep to rejuvenate our bodies. I found out that I have sleep apnea a few years ago and after making the necessary adjustments to my sleep habits, I feel much better every day. For some ideas on how to get more restful sleep click on the picture below.

Mental Rest

If you’ve ever dealt with depression, or have a loved one who has, you have probably seen first hand that no amount of sleep can seem to bring someone back on point when his or her mind is burdened heavily. While I am no fan of the trend that we’ve seen in the past 20 to 40 years of blaming everything on some condition or trauma inflicted by others, I do realize that mental health is an important part of daily life and much more so when we are in a survival situation. The point that I would like to make abundantly clear is that knowing you need to rest yourself mentally is not weakness. We become weak when we blame others or our situations on our mental burdens instead of working to restore ourselves by whatever means needed. While some people seem to be born with an amazing ability to compartmentalize mental stressors and even function better under extreme pressure, most of us have to develop those skills and refresh ourselves regularly to continue moving forward.

For some people mental rest may come as easily as listening to their favorite music or sitting quietly in the early morning or late evening hours. Others may gain clarity from exercise or a walk alone in a natural surrounding. Many of us also turn toward faith and spirituality to relieve our mental tensions and renew ourselves. If none of those work for you, it might be helpful to learn to meditate or even visit a counsellor to help you unearth some peace and understanding of yourself. I know doing that helped me see a whole different view of my life and circumstances. If you want to look for more ways to understand mind and how to rest mentally in this day and age, click on the book below by Jordan Peterson. He can make sense of a lot of the issues we face today.

Final Thoughts On Resting

While survival situations won’t usually offer the most comfortable situations for us to rest, keeping the need to refresh mentally and physically in mind is important. Whenever possible, a team of individuals offers a greater distribution of the workload and allows each member much more time to rest than he or she would have if they were on their own. We are also in much better shape to attend to a disaster or survival situation if we go into it with a rested mind and body. When things are stacked against us, it’s often too late to rest up for the fight.

Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate an may make money for qualifying purchases.