Viability of the .22LR as a SHTF gun AND a "combat" weapon?

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by JMcDonald, May 30, 2008.

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  1. JMcDonald

    JMcDonald Suspended

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    Ok, Ive been doing quite a bit of thinking and researching (on top of all the other I had already done), mostly about the .22LR. I am considering a 10/22 as a primary SHTF weapon, mostly because Id then have the option for much larger magazines (instead of 10rd). Other advantages would be much less noise and muzzle flash, much cheaper (I could afford to practice 10x as much, literally, than with my 9mm carbine), and much smaller ammunition meaning easier to carry.

    This would be for an On-The-Run, SHTF situation. There would be no desire to get into any gun fights, and since I like to focus on shot placement anyways I'd do the same no matter what caliber I was using.

    As far as home defense, Im thinking Ill trade my 9mm carbine in toward some 9mm or even .45 pistol, so as to be sure I am doing the most possible damage for the few shots I might be able to make in true CQC. But, for anything out of the house the 10/22 would be my primary weapon (unless it was like, my back yard). Id either carry my .22 pistol or the HD pistol as a BUG for SHTF, but Ill have to decide on that later (obviously both have advantages).

    My main concern about the .22 is the ability to penetrate a skull. The hottest .22LR rounds I found on CheaperThanDirt (40gr @1470fps) has almost the exact same energy as one of the hottest .32ACP rounds I found on the same site (60gr @ 1200fps), and I have never heard anyone state that the .32ACP won't penetrate a skull. Hell, on BrassFetcher.com, the average penetration of the .22LRs is deeper than that of the .32s they tested. This gives me reason to believe that most of the beliefs that a .22LR won't penetrate the skull come from either very old accounts (before more modern plating and velocity advancements), or from typical internet hearsay and the also-typical "yeah, I believe that too, so Ill also repeat that it is probably true." Just making sure that if, hypothetically speaking, zombies were attacking, that I'd be able to efficiently dispose of them :) . I am not talking about hit men shooting point blank into the temple and what not, I am just talking about if I hit a skull at 20 yards (from any common angle), the round will most likely penetrate, correct?

    As far as the wound channel, a good .22lr (which is what Id be using, the aforementioned 40gr @ 1400+fps rounds) will expand to about .34", or almost the diameter of a 9mm FMJ. And, being honest, I don't see myself ever having more than a few mags worth of 9mm HPs around (for HD / carry), and the rest would be FMJ. Lastly, from testing Ive seen, penetration should easily meet the 12" minimum. So, as far as its effectiveness for my needs, there shouldnt be too much of a difference from my current 9mm.


    So yeah, what do you guys think about all this?

    Thanks.
  2. Cyrano

    Cyrano Resident Curmudgeon Forum Contributor

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    Well, Mac, as far as the penetration of the skull goes, keep in mind that the cartridge of choice for the underworld hit man/executioner is a .22 LR. A shot to the back of the head at close range penetrates the skull and sends the bullet bouncing around inside the skull, chopping the brain to mush. Using a rifle rather than the hit man's pistol would allow you to make a lethal head shot at distances probably out to 50 yards or so, but not much more. I'd guess that even with the super-velocity 40 grain cartridges in the 1500 FPS range you might need more than one shot, though, unless you hit through the eye, the earhole, or at the base of the skull where the spinal column enters the skull at that distance.

    If you are planning to trade up from your 9mm carbine, I'll mention that Hi-Point is planning on releasing the Model 4595 carbine in .45 ACP for sale in late 2008 or early 2009. If you are looking for a combination home defense/SHTF carbine in a readily available ammo caliber, you'd be hard put to do better than that.

    The Hi-Point Model 95 series carbines have a well earned reputation for utter reliability at an inexpesnive cost. If you look on the Pistol Caliber Carbines forum, the thread "Hi-Point .45 ACP Carbine News" has a photo of one of the test shooters with the prototype Model 4595. That's the pistol caliber carbine I've been waiting for ever since I had my first Hi-Point experience!
  3. Mike Franklin

    Mike Franklin G&G Newbie

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    The point is not to have a round/weapon that works under ideal conditions or circumstances but one that works when things aren't going in your favor. If, for example, a bad boy is shooting at you from 200 yards away is that .22 what you want to have in your hands. Take your .22 out and try to head shoot a target at 200 yards or try to shoot through a car door at 100 yards. At the very least I'd think a pistol caliber carbine would be better, a light carbine, like an SKS even better.
  4. Tallbear

    Tallbear G&G Newbie

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    Altho I'm not planing on useing it as my primary defense weapon. I have a supressed Remington 597 that I shoot Aguila SSS 60 grain in. It is the deepest penetrating round you can find. I shoot 2" groups at a 100 yards with it.
  5. smokey

    smokey G&G Newbie

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    22 mag is a good all around gun,ammo aint gunna break the bank,and will drop a critter out to 100 yards with no problem. It's the poachers gun of choice,for a reason. :burnout:
  6. JMcDonald

    JMcDonald Suspended

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    I have contemplated a smaller rifle-carliber weapon (specifically an SKS) and also other ones (like the KelTecs), but decided that, for the same reasons I listed above for a .22LR weapon instead of a 9mm, (ammo cost and size, weapon report and flash, etc), and because with my "evade and survive" mentality I would almost always avoid clashes above 100 yards anyways.

    I am just weighing the drastic differences between the downfalls of the two opposing options:
    Rifle-caliber Weapon:
    -Much louder and brighter report (bad on many levels when on the run).
    -Much larger / heavier cartridges and magazines.
    -Typically greater weight.

    .22LR weapon:
    -Basically, potential lack of firepower for some circumstances.

    The 9m carbine is probably closer to the .22LR than a rifle as far as these advantages go, but for a SHTF situation it really doesn't have big advantages over the .22LR. The extra power of a 9mm FMJ might indeed help it do things like punch through car doors, but in weighing all the advantages I think even just the need to carry 200 or 300 rounds over 100 will outweigh the need to be able to punch through car doors (if it really can't do that). Id say where you can fit 35 rifle cartridges, you could fit 100 9mm cartridges and 250+ 22LR cartridges. Then, when you consider the fact that its report is much mellower (no ringing ears / less attention-getting / less nightvision loss), and that I could MUCH MUCH more easily afford to practice alot (IMO a much bigger deal than people give credit for), I think it could be plenty effective for the kind of positions I will most likely be in.

    And yeah I have looked into those 60gr subsonic rounds and read about their effectiveness, I just worry that the fact it is not jacketed might more quickly foul up my firearms.


    However, I do think I will buy some pistol (probably a .45) and practice with it just enough to stay reasonably proficient with it (shoot a few mags worth at each outing), and otherwise just keep it for HD. I am not so naive that I feel condifent in smaller calibers when my mind knows I don't have the same options as I would in say a parking lot (usually will be unable to flee from in my bedroom, heh). It MIGHT end up as my BUG in a SHTF scenario, but it will be much bigger than the .22 pistol, as well as facing the same problems with a rifle like ammo / mag size if carrying the extra .45. One more advantage to using the .22 would be that then both my GF and I's primary and secondary weapons would use the same rounds (except perhaps whatever bolt-action I might end up with soon, which will still really not need more than a handfull of cartridges).
    Last edited: May 30, 2008
  7. nathangdad

    nathangdad G&G Newbie

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    Actually, I feel you have a good idea . . .

    . . . because this will be a good rifle for procuring small game
    and with a quality scope it is a good defensive weapon for shorter
    ranges of perhaps under 50 yards. Remember, the goal is to have the accurate hit. The more you practice the better you will be if the bad times come. Being hit is a major psychological stopper even if the tissue damage is not great. Few, if in fact any humans, more to a greater level of aggession after receiving a wound. This puts you into the dominate
    position from which you can move to leave and/or fire again or you can retain your position for further firing if necessary.

    Personally, I would speak with a gunsmith to get a quality aftermarket trigger then glass bed the entire action and barrel.
  8. NRAJOE

    NRAJOE YOU TALKIN' TO ME!? Forum Contributor

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  9. JMcDonald

    JMcDonald Suspended

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    Thanks, that is what I am going for. Yeah, as far as hunting goes, having maybe 1000 rounds of ammo vs 300 will mean I can more easily afford to part with one or two rounds for food acquisition.

    However, I do feel that the .22LR from a rifle would be more useful at distances over 50 yards. Hell, going by the penetration of that sniper test (all the way through a full turkey, maybe 8-10" of flesh, and 9 layers of clothing at 250 yards), I think a shot in the face at 150 yards would at the very least take the target out of the fight, should I ever have to do any such "sniping" (which like I said would be unlikely as Id rather not even let them know I exist).

    *edit*

    And yeah a big factor in getting a .22 would be the availability of hi-cap mags. Some of the popular 25rd mags seem still quite reliable, and compared to my current 10rd mags for my 9mm, that gives me over twice as many chances to stop a thread (or, over 2 shots per target before reloading). Also, I would likely get a folding stock for it.
    Last edited: May 30, 2008
  10. NRAJOE

    NRAJOE YOU TALKIN' TO ME!? Forum Contributor

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    A .22 to the face is better than nothing...alot of people have been put away with .22's....
  11. billy

    billy G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

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    better than nothing yes.
    trying to be a cheapskate with my life in the balance?
    i dunno......................
    well ya do watcha gotta do i guess.
  12. Jersey Jailer

    Jersey Jailer G&G Newbie

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    Hey JMc,

    At least you're thinking with your brain. Your purpose is thought out and although not particulary my choice of calibre for your purpose( I'd go with a 17 cal) instead of 22lr but thats my opinion. Pistol cal.s even from a shoulder weapon tend to not pentrate car doors. Anybody even if not in their right mind will duck when taking fire. With a decent scope at 100 yards you should be able to take head shots without any trouble, so if you put 40 grains of lead into someone's forehead that should cause them to think about continuing their actions. I'm a dinosaur and would use a high power rifle ( I keep at least 3000 rounds each of 223 and 30 cal (308 & 06) on hand. I guess its the shoot to kill training I had until around the mid 80's when we had the shoot to stop mentality.(damn liberals) If you are justified to shoot you are justified to kill.
  13. jerry

    jerry G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

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    Intelligence agencies and military special forces have used suppressed 22 LR pistols for assassinations and for eliminating guard dogs or sentries. Some examples include the use of suppressed High Standard HDM pistols by the American OSS, which was the predecessor organization of the CIA. Gary Powers was issued a suppressed High Standard for the flight in which he was shot down. Suppressed Ruger MK II pistols are in current use by the US Navy SEALs.

    The .22 LR has also seen limited usage by police and military snipers. Its main advantage in this role is its low noise, but it is usually limited to urban operations because of its short range. One weapon designed for this purpose is the Russian SV-99 rifle.

    SV-99 Sniper Rifle.
    Tactical Operations (Tac-Ops) Green Hornet
  14. JMcDonald

    JMcDonald Suspended

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    Thanks guys. I think Ill go through with this plan then. Ill take my carbine to the coming gun show in a few weeks and trade it in toward probably an HP45. Then with the HD part still there, Ill be looking into the .22s.

    And billy, its not all about being cheap, as you can see the other reasons I listed for the use of a .22 (as well as quantifiable support for it as a lethal cartridges). However, honestly I definately can't afford to spend ~$100 in ammo to shoot 500 rounds in a day (any centerfire), but I CAN afford to spend $15 for the same number of rounds. And more realistically, if I am going to spend $15-$20 per session on ammo, it will be much easier for me to justify shooting in different awkward positions, angles and ranges (just to get them in my head) without really worrying about "making every shot count," then it would be for me to do with only 50 rounds (or 100 9mm). Not only that, but spending about $30 for a full day at the range for both my GF and I is a much easier to justify then spending either the same amount for maybe 30 minutes of firing, or spending much more to get the same time there as Id get with a .22. But yes, as you said, I gotta do what I gotta do. Id rather become a "very good" shot with a .22LR than a "decent" shot with a .45 or especially 9mm.

    And hell, with all the gun nazis taking office, the .22LR will probably be the only thing anyone can afford after all their "protect the children" taxes and "anti barrel-shroud" fees they are going to tack on to anything gun-related.
  15. trigger

    trigger G&G Enthusiast

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    just my opinion

    Why would you even think anout risking your life with a sub-standard round ? Dirty 22 amo. .22s are notorious for jaming,mis-fires. My boy was shooting my 10-22 with cci amo. yesterday,gun jamb. and it was clean too. Why risk it? Go with a big boy gun. First choice ak-47, m-4 carbine, m1a,, yea, I know, They all jam somtime, But with a ar-15(m-4) you have a feeder for such situations.
  16. Aaronb2245

    Aaronb2245 G&G Newbie

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    Are you serious?


    I'm sorry but a .22 for SHTF situation are you serious? You are joking right! HEH WOW! WOW! WOW! I can't even believe I actually responded to this, and I can't believe this hasn't been flamed. No offense but a .22 is a horrible shtf weapon.

    Aaron
  17. rascaldog

    rascaldog G&G Newbie

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    Would not be my choice for a SHTF weapon. For that I would choose an AR/AK (have both). In a SHTF situation I want the weapon of my freind or my enemy (.223 or 7.62x39). But I will agree that having a 22 is a good idea for a survival situation. I have a 10/22 with a Butler Creek folding stock and a 3x9x32 rimfire scope that I keep in the truck or on my atv all the time. It will fold to about 26". I keep 4 loaded mags with it and usually a brick of ammo close by. I have probably had more cheep fun with this package than any other gun I own.
  18. JMcDonald

    JMcDonald Suspended

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    I guess most people here are mature enough to respond maturely and seriously to a question, as odd as it may be, that was also posed maturely and seriously AND with evidence to support the viability of the subject in question.

    You haven't said anything helpful, and I have adequately shown I understand that am not going to be fighting armies with my .22. Additionally, I have given several very viable reasons why I don't want a "big boy" gun, and Ill expand upon those.

    1) Smaller muzzle flash / quieter report. Between a .223 rifle and a .22LR, the difference is huge. At the very best, if I am firing a .223 rifle out in the open without hearing protection, my hearing capacity will be noticably reduced temporarily, meaning it will be even harder to hear new threats coming. Additionally, my night vision would also be temporarily affected much more than with a .22LR. Now, if I were to fire one inside a room without hearing protection, my hearing could actually be damaged quite a bit, at least temporarily. On the other side, a .22LR at the worst is going to cause the about same temporary audio-dissorientation indoors as the .223 will outdoors. Hell, Ive read a few stories about not being able to hear for a week after the event, or bleeding ears, and I want nothing to do with that. Finally, while small reusable ear plugs ARE part of our BOBs, counting on having the time and presence of mind to use them is not far below thinking you will always have time to load up all your weapons into the battle-ready truck and mowing down all the zombies in your area. At the same time, even if I did put on ear plugs, that would only further increase my vulnerability as I obviously wouldnt be able to hear those leaves crunching behind me or the footsteps around the corner. Hell, as far as that goes that really sounds about like my only option for using a rifle (not being able to hear, whether from the gunfire or the ear plugs).

    2) The greater ammo capacity. Even though I already have a primary vest that I would go for first, lets say all I have time to do is grab my weapon, whatever ammo / mags I can fit in my pocket, then while I might fit 20 rifle cartridges, and probably no magazines (I wear dress attire to work so I will assume Im wearing those pants which have relatively small pockets), I could easily fit 100 .22LR rounds and perhaps a couple of magazines. In my vest, I definately don't have the room to hold several magazines like Id be able to do with a .22, as there is already much more important stuff for basic survival in there.

    As most might have noticed, Ive put a little more thought into it than "pull the Army Humvee out from behind the house, load up my ten 40rd AK magazines, put the belts into the M60, and rock and roll." I don't expect to be that guy in the movies with twin bandoliers and the scar over his eye. I don't expect to stand in the middle of the street and mow down a crowd of approaching zombies. And, if I did have to do that, it is likely that I will then have minimal equipment and will have been on the move and will thus not have alot of equipment, so it will be unlikely that I could just grab all the mags out of the back of the "support vehicle" and just keep spraying. I don't expect to my own version of Resident Evil where I roll up with my squad, take back the [enter some location here], and either be dead or out of danger by the morning. My weapon(s) choices are there to complement all the other things I would be carrying in both my primary vest and secondary backpack were I to leave my house on foot. If I have the luxury of being able to leave in my vehicle, then if I ran into trouble on the road I would likely be much better off just driving past / driving away, or just running away on foot, then I would be trying to have a car-to-car firefight. And, I advise you against such actions if you are expecting to take part in things like that.

    I very much appreciate those of you who did realize what Ive put into the question and respond respectfully, even if just to nod to its viability. However, if all some of you want to do is tell me I'm stupid, along with other things Ive already stated I understand about opposing viewpoints, then please don't bother. Now, if you want to tell me that I'm stupid, and have real reasons to refute my suggestions, then PLEASE don't hesitate to tell me.


    An AR and AK obviously have their advantages for someone who is expecting to fight. But as I stated I am expecting to evade and survive, and not fight (and WIN) every battle I have a chance to prosecute. With that said, the advantages of the .22LR in the situations I am more likely to be in, IMO, outweigh the potential advantages of a rifle-caliber weapon would be for the situations I dont at all want to be in. And, of course, a .22LR rifle that I have practiced with will be plenty to help me get out of such situations.

    Also, as far as shooting the weapon of my friend or enemy with hopes of using their ammo, here is what I think about that:
    1) In the relatively likely case that U.S. military would be present, it would be very unlikely that you'd actually be able to get ahold of any of their ammo stocks (5.56). Don't expect to be running up on too many unnoted corpses of U.S. soldiers or unattented / abandoned stocks of ammo.
    2) In the exceptional case which you find yourself with an abundance of military-issued ammunition, it is EXTREMELY unlikely that the U.S. military would allow you to continue to fight along-side them (I.E. they would probably detain you, send you to some camp, or take your guns). Avoiding them would be difficult as they would have likely patrolled and taken note of everyone in the area they occupy, meaning that anyone who could potentially get ahold of their stocks would already be known about.
    3) If for some reason they saw it reasonable to allow you to fight along-side them (or at least leave you in a position where you could continue to fight), is that where you really want to be?
    4) As far as the possibility of finding foreign military-issue 7.62:
    If large amounts of foreign ammo was just laying around for the taking, the situation would likely be WAY WAY WAY WAY worse than you are anticipating. For an attack on U.S. soil to go far enough that said attacker would actually send large enough numbers of ground troups, and they are under enough stress to just leave their ammo / supplies scattered around the war zone (including used weapons), then anyone IN said war zone who might have the opportunity to snag said supplies would be been long dead or otherwise detained.
    Last edited: May 31, 2008
  19. billy

    billy G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

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    well written and a lot of thought went into that post.
    what i have against the 22 is it's lack of range.
  20. neophyte

    neophyte Wonderment :) Forum Contributor

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    mentality

    JMcDonald: Sir; you pose quite a thought. Viability is the answer, the question, the position.
    Training for foreign; some of us were issued some of this and some of that. My instructor asked! me to pick my ''best'' use weapon.
    1. question to instructor
    a. what country
    b. what time of year
    c. what was the duty
    d. did he care whether 'I' came back in a box
    In heated battle one is better than the other; we were all issued 5.56.
    In heated situation if mine broke ""to the ground"" and I'd pick up the next best firearm, should it run out of ammo: not my brand: to the ground and another and so on.
    Now; not having to deal with that type of mess; .22 will do everything that ''I'' need. Able to carry 1000's of rounds, able to carry a 3-5lbs hand weight many miles quickly.
    I'll remove myself from any battle situation quickly, my wife nor son deserve my hero mentality.
    Good thinking on your part:) cause we agree:09:
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