New Preppers: Pick .22 Long Rifle or Shotgun
Kevin Felts 11.21.16
If there are two firearms that have survived the test of time, they have to be the .22 rifle and the shotgun. Whether it was settlers exploring the frontier or small game hunting during the Great Depression, the shotgun and the 22 rifle are as popular today as they were three generations ago.
When settlers were heading west, the family would usually have a trusty double barrel or single shot shotgun. There is hardly any better firearm for putting food on the table or protecting the family.
During the Great Depression, the affordability of .22 ammunition made it one of the more popular calibers of the time. When rural families need a rabbit or squirrel for a meal, the .22 rifle proved more than adequate. After the Great Depression ended, the .22 remained popular.
The shotgun has been used by military and civilian shooters for centuries. Over the past few decades, a great number of aftermarket products have been released to the civilian market to the point where the line is blurred.
What used to be military style features (such as a barrel heat shield and extended magazines) are now found on several civilian models.
Modern day shotguns serve in everything from home defense, to hunting, to military applications, just as their forefathers did a century ago. Sporting events include three gun, clays, small game hunting, medium sized game hunting, pheasant, duck hunting, and goose hunting only to name a few.
My great grandfather used to keep a double barrel 12 gauge over the front door of the house. This was back when people living in rural areas had to take care of themselves. They did not get a phone until they were in their 50s or 60s. That double barrel made sure there was never any trouble on the farm.
.22 Long Rifle
There is probably no better round for teaching someone the basics of shooting. On top of that, the .22lr is excellent for small game hunting and dealing with a pest.
A few months ago, I had an opossum that killed some of my chickens. One night I eased out to the chicken coop with my trusty Ruger 10/22, caught the opossum in the act, and that was the end of that.
If you want options, there are more 22 rifles and handguns on the market than you can shake a stick at. Semi-auto, bolt action, single shot rifles, revolvers, semi-automatic handguns–the choices are almost staggering.
Ammunition used to be cheap, but over the past few years, ammunition cost has slowly inched upwards. I miss the days when a 550 round brick of Remington Golden Bullets cost $10. We will probably never see .22 ammunition that cheap again.
If I Had to Pick Just One
It would be a tough, but in the end I would have to choose the shotgun.
The 22 long rifle is a wonderful and well rounded caliber for small game. The “small game” part is also a drawback. The cartridge has limitations.
The shotgun is better rounded than the .22 long rifle. My great grandfather did not keep a .22 rifle over the front door, he kept a double barrel 12 gauge there.