.223 or .22mag bolt-action or single-shot rifle?

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by JMcDonald, Oct 20, 2008.

  1. JMcDonald

    JMcDonald Suspended

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    Ok, I know it sounds like a silly question, so lets just get that out of the way :) .

    Uses: Plinking and target practice, and as a back-up long-range gun for SHTF uses. No specific hunting purposes, except in SHTF situations. I feel with two shotguns only, I need a

    Here are the reasons why I feel the .22mag could be an adequate substitute for the .223 for my purposes (for simply plinking or as a longer-range backup gun).

    1) As far as accuracy goes, from what I've read, good exaples of both types of rifles, in stock form, shoot about 1MOA or a bit less.

    2) As far as effectiveness goes, either is capable of a deadly headshot at up to perhaps 200 yards (probably more, but that is the max range I am realistically looking at), with the fmj .22mag ammo I'd use. This would naturally work on both medium 4-legged game, and on 2-legged targets. If zeroed at 125 yards, with the .22mag I'd see about 2" maximum rise, and about 12" drop at 200 yards, which is relatively easy to account for with a bit of practice.

    3) "Knock Down" power for personal protection is not really needed, as I have a shotgun for that. If ever used against a dangerous target, it would either be simply for accurate covering / distracting / wounding fire, or to take down a threat that does not know I am there (in which case a head shot would be used).

    Here are some actual (though perhaps relatively small in the grand scheme) advantages I've come up with for the .22mag.

    1) For both practicing and in a real scenario, the quieter report of the .22mag could be quite nice. When practicing, there is less fear of a .223 round overpenetrating / overshooting the target and endangering others, and the quieter report will attract less attention from those in surrounding areas.

    2) You've heard me say this before: smaller ammo is easier to carry is larger amounts. I'd imagine I could carry twice as much .22mag ammo as .223 ammo.

    3) If I pick up a .22mag revolver in the future (somewhat likely) as a BUG, the shared ammo would be nice.

    As far as cost goes, they both cost about the same (with bulk .223 being about as cheap as your average .22mag prices), so there aren't any real cost advantages to either.

    Then again, I keep telling myself "if you are going to get something different to serve a unique or other-end-of-spectrum purpose, make it different enough to be worth it!" The .22mag about doubles the effective range of my .22lr rifle, in good conditions where headshots are possible. However, everything the .22mag can do as a weapon, the .223 can naturally do much much better. Of course, it is easy to imagine many less ideal conditions in which the greater long-range accuracy, or the much greater power of the .223 would be handy (active targets making headshots difficult, windy conditions, etc). Still, I can also imagine cases where being able to grab a small pouch and have 100 rounds of .22mag would be nice, like if I ended up pinned down at a relatively long range, and needed the extra ammo to keep making accurate shots at the foe.

    I am leaning toward the .223 for the natural tactical advantage, but have been considering the .22mag for the above-listed logistical advantages it does have. If I get a .223 it would most likely be a Stevens 200, and the .22mag would likely be one of the Marlins.

    So, what do you guys think?
  2. Deersniper

    Deersniper G&G Newbie

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    I would go with the .223. More knockdown, and the ammo costs are almost the same. My Stevens .308 is accurate.
  3. Farmer

    Farmer G&G Newbie

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    I own and shoot both.

    The 22 mag is now in my night scope setup cause its good for about 100m. 200m for a mag is wishfull thinking if you want to do more than a fly bite to your victim.

    223 on the other hand is good for kill shots way past 300. I never carry more than 50 rounds on a hunt and would be ok for many shtfs. Also if you use 223 your more likely to pick up ammo from your victimsm making your ammo last longer.

    And always bolt action.
  4. nathangdad

    nathangdad G&G Newbie

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    Well, one thing you have not considered

    is the difficulty of obtaining .22 mag ammo in an ongoing crisis situation.
    The .223 is mass produced and will be more available even if you take of the bodies of those who have not survived.

    Also, I feel you are overestimating the power of the .22 mag.
  5. HEMI

    HEMI G&G Newbie

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    223 Saying that a 22mag is okay for medium game and 2 legged vermin is foolhardy.
    The 22mag is a great little small game getter nothing more and is marginally more effective than a 22 lr. Your opinions are based on fantasy not facts.
  6. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

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    I agree with nathangdad. There are five factors you must evaluate in any firearm you are thinking about as a SHTF gun, JMcDonald. One of them is ammunition availability. Simply put, any bug-out gun must be chambered in one of the 'universal cartridges' for wherever you are. The definition of a universal cartridge is, "A cartridge you are likely to find in any store that sells ammunition because they sell a great deal of it and lots of people use it."

    The .22 Magnum is not a universal cartridge. Yes, some people use it for varminting and plinking, but not everyone and not everywhere. .22LR is a universal cartridge. .223 Remington/5.56 NATO is a universal cartridge. .22 WinMag is not.

    I accept your argument that you may eventually buy a revolver in .22 Mag. Ammo interchangeability between pistols and rifles in a survival situation is as desirable today as it was in the Old West and as it is in cowboy action shooting. But at bottom, you must accept the argument that pistols in SHTF mode are primarily intended as close-in people killers, not game hunting guns. the .22 Mag is too underpowered for that role. Therefore, I feel you need to rethink the viability of a .22 Mag revolver as part of your survival equipment.

    I wrote a 3-part series on how to build a bug-out bag awhile back. The third part deals with firearms for the survival scenario and is much too long to post on the forum. If you would care to read it, PM me with your email address and I'll send it to you.
  7. JMcDonald

    JMcDonald Suspended

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    Ok. First, HEMI, my statements about the .22mag are based 100% on fact, and I was very clear on the limited uses of the .22mag (headshots only). I know that HV .22lr round-nose rounds can penetrate a human skull at 100 yards (that goes from both my calculations based on the density of bone, and by statements and reports about the VC .22lr snipers). I KNOW that a .22mag has about the same energy at 200 yards as a .22lr does at 100 yards. Thus, a .22mag can penetrate the skull at 200 yards as easily as the .22lr can do so at 100 yards.

    As far as a "fly bite" goes. A 40gr LRN from a pistol, at about 850 or so FPS with abuot 50 ft-lbs of energy, can penetrate to over 12" in gel. Even at 300 yards, a 40gr .22mag bullet at 1900fps will still have both more velocity and energy, so full penetration would never actually be an issue at the ranges I am talking about. Definately not "stopping power," but it will do much more than a "fly bite." Still, as I said, lethal head shots would be the primary goal for any long-range shot, whether on a 2-legged or 4-legged target (bolded for those of you who missed that), of which the .22mag is definately capable. If I couldn't take a lethal headshot, then I probably wouldn't even try (especially so on game).

    But, good points about ammo, especially that I am probably overestimating how much ammo I'd actually need. Though, I do think if there was a crisis, I'd be more likely to find .22mag ammo at walmart than .223 ammo (simply due to the .223 ammo being more widely used and thus more quickly bought up). Ive never been to a gun store that didn't sell .22mag ammo, and I'd imagine by the number of boxes and the size of boxes, that the number of .223 cartridges they stock is about equal to the number of .22mag cartridges.

    Another advantage to the .22mag is the ability to take smaller game with it without destroying the meat. Though, a shotgun with birdshot or a .223 round in the head can do the same thing, so its not like I WONT be able to eat.


    *edit*

    Missed that last post. Ill PM you with my address, though I think I've seen your write-up :) .

    As far as the .22mag revolver goes, that is more for general use. It can do just about everything, including be used by a person who is small or as no experience with firearms, though it isn't great at anything either. In a pinch, one could pretty easily shoot a squirrel at 25 yards (as opposed to using a rifle), or use it in self defense with about the effectiveness of a .32acp FMJ round. Though, I do agree that because a revolver would be MOST likely used at close ranges in self defense, a .357 / .38s would be a better overall choice (which is more likely the one I'd make). I was just figuring if I did get a .22mag rifle, I'd be more inclined to get the .22mag pistol in the future.


    Also, one thing is that in a bad situation, once I got to my bug-out-location (grandparent's property) and started defending it when necessary, ammo size and shot report would mean nothing, and power and effectiveness would really mean everything, which is another point for the .223.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2008
  8. Deersniper

    Deersniper G&G Newbie

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    One of the reasons I didn't buy a pistol in .22 mag was the ammo availability in tough conditions.
  9. JMcDonald

    JMcDonald Suspended

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    But, I think I'll go with the .223 (Stevens 200). Mostly because I think when crunch time comes, for such a specialized weapon, ammo size and report won't be as important power, range, and accuracy. Plus, as was mentioned, I worry the .22mag isn't a big enough step above my .22lr rifles to really be worth getting.
  10. larmus

    larmus G&G Newbie

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    AR-15...

    .223 or 5.56nato, 30+ rnd clips, semi auto, high rate of firepower down range when you need it or a single shot to the head at 200 yards, again, when you need it. good close quarter combat and good for suppressing fire. and if you need get the ar-10 in .308....mmmmm....ar.....mmmmm.....
  11. HEMI

    HEMI G&G Newbie

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    Head shots at 200yards with a 22 mag,your calculations are wrong, if you don't like the answers and have made up your mind already why ask for others opinions?
    I have no issue how you arm yourself but we have a duty here to educate those who don't know to keep them safe. You my friend don't know.
  12. JMcDonald

    JMcDonald Suspended

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    Hey, thanks for the advice!

    I, like many others here, do actually enjoy a little bit of intellectual excersize.

    I had been on the fence, which is why I asked the opinions. So, thanks to everyone else for your insight.
  13. sell33

    sell33 G&G Newbie

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    have you shot a 22 mag? its pretty loud itself, for a rimfire anyway. i wouldn't worry too much about the report, and i am pretty sure i couldn't hit much in the head at 200 yards with my 22 mag. with my 223 yes. of course i don't have my 223 anymore lol but i could have...anyway, get the stevens 200. my bro in law has one and it is a great gun for the price, his is in 22-250 tho...
  14. deputy125

    deputy125 G&G Newbie

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    the .22 mag is a wonderful little round--------ask any poacher if he will admitt it.......

    but in this case i think the 223 clearly out-clases it for several reasons.

    When discussing using it on two legged targets and head shots, i must say that i am not comfortable with any rifle for such at extended range(head shots) in a shtf situtation. While i can acomplish headshots at extended ranges from a nice bench, taking my time to place the shot, and shooting in weather conditions that will allow it under good lighting conditions-------these factors will not be available to me in the field for a shtf situtation.

    Headshot capabilities likely will be severely compromised due to wind/weather/lighting conditions. Add to this the stress of the situtation, a moving target, a target that shoots back, firing from a less than perfect position, etc, etc, and that head shot gets all the more difficult-------i can't do it and won't try. The region to shoot for will be center mass as to create the greatest likeyhood of a hit. And shooting center mass i want a .223 over a .22 mag............

    as for a bolt action vs a single shot, the bigest advantage i can think of in a single shot such as a T/C contender or encore carbine is break-down for storage/transportation. Other than that, i prefer the bolt action for its strength in operation/extraction. Again, i ain't the most acomplished rifleman there is and view a bolt action as nothing more than a single shot with convient built-in ammo storage. Other folks though can sure make a bolt action sing in rapid fire.

    the biggest problems i have with today's bolt actions is a lack of iron sights. I consider iron sights as very important as optics will be the weakest point on any rifle and murphy's law just about always applies.

    Unfortunately, iron sights on current production "affordable" bolt action rifles seem to be rare today.

    A used ruger mini 14 ranch rifle would be my choice with folding stock for compactness.

    For a bolt action, i would probably look at gunbroker and auctionarms for something along the lines of a nice clean savage model 340 bolt action in .223 or one of the similar models under the stevens/springfield names. These are little carbines with detachable mags, iron sights, and with some models capable of optics mounting with a see under the scope capability for the irons.

    i usually see them around $250 in pawn shops and gun shows........

    you can also take your time and perhaps find some older versons of used savage model 110's and 111's in .223 with iron sights......same thing goes for used ruger 77's, remingtons, etc........and there is nothing wrong with buying used-----i can't aford new one's now-a-days.........

    But you know your capabilities and needs more than i. The fact that you are actually making preperations and dedicated to practice already gives you a tremondous advantage..............
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2008
  15. HEMI

    HEMI G&G Newbie

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    You will be alot better served with the 223, I understand you thinking of carrying alot more ammo with going to a 22 but the trade off is just not worth it preformance wise. The 30/30 would be a very good choice for your needs and is often over looked as a defensive weapon.
  16. JMcDonald

    JMcDonald Suspended

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    Thank you. I was originally thinking more like it was going to be my primary weapon, and was thus attributing the same requirements as what I had originally put to a primary weapon, which is what drove me to the 10/22. I was basically thinking I was going to have to use it a lot, and if I run out I won't have any way to defend myself.

    However, thinking about it more and going with what you guys are saying. This would be more of a special utility gun than a back-up gun. Shots would be few and far between. Thus, ammo capacity isn't a huge deal. Grabbing a pouch that has 25rds in it instead of 50rds of .22mag will probably not be a big deal. I can only think of few cases where I'd want to shoot a target at 200+ yards (either a hostage situation or in defending my bugout location which might actually have some 200+ yard shots), though I do realize that if I am going to do it I will probably only get one shot and will want to make it count. Also, I do think that in either case the report will probably be heard and may even bother me a bit, but I do not think it is as detrimental as if it were my primary, semi-auto weapon.

    One more advantage I forgot about has to do with ammo sharing. My grandfather (whos house we'd be going to) has a pretty nice Mini-14 with lots of big magazines, and a few cases of ammo.
  17. DWFan

    DWFan G&G Enthusiast

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    The main objection I have about rimfires as a SHTF/survival round is that they are a one-time deal; you can't reload. If your ammo becomes damaged, (easier to do to a rimfire than centerfire), you are SOL. Any caliber can take game at the right distance, so the first option for SHTF ammo is a caliber that is easy to find; the second option is one that's easy to make. The .22 Magnum could very easily be neither.
  18. dek5.56

    dek5.56 G&G Newbie

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    I agree with what the others have stated but one thing was left out or I missed it reading this post. I have been fortunate enough to go to two different ballistics tests put on by federal and winchester.

    In both tests the ballistics were done on .223 which is the common police patrol rifle round at this time. Over penetration is not an issue with this round unless you are using FMJ ammo. Any of the hollow point or tactical ammuntion for the .223 becuase of its velocity is breaking up after going through heavy clothing to drywall.
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