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.22 Long Rifle: The Ultimate Survival Weapon?



Feature | A man aiming rifle in forest | .22 Long Rifle: The Ultimate Survival Weapon?

Do you think the .22 long rifle is a good survival weapon? Read on and find out its advantages in a survival situation.

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In this article:

  1. Survival Rifle
  2. .22 Long Rifle Platforms
  3. .22 Long Rifle Accuracy and Lethality
  4. Hunting and Defense


.22 Long Rifle | An In-depth Look

Survival Rifle

There are several different reasons why the .22 long rifles could be considered the best survival weapon to choose. From putting food on the table to self-defense, .22 rifle should be one of the first weapons you reach for in a survival situation.

In terms of affordability and ease of use, you won't find a better firearm than this.

.22 Long Rifle Platforms

Brown rifle in the forest | .22 Long Rifle: The Ultimate Survival Weapon?

.22 long rifles come in a variety of platforms. From small frames and short barrels, there are a ton of different choices when it comes to selecting a .22 long rifle, not to mention the availability of 22 long rifle ammo.

While your decision would ultimately depend on your personal preferences, one of the greatest platforms to choose from will be .22 rifle bolt action. It requires fewer moving parts in order for the weapon to operate.

This means in a survival situation, not only are they easier to clean and maintain, but they are also easier to fix. For example, a bolt quits working, it can be easily be replaced with another .22 long rifle bolt of the same weapon model. As with all guns, you should always keep spare parts on hand.

The best bolt action 22 rifles come equipped with a scope and some have options for a scope to be mounted. It is usually a great idea to first familiarize yourself with the iron sights attached to the weapon before moving onto other types of optics.

Scopes will need to be constantly adjusted and sighted and can lose their reliability if exposed too long to harsh weather conditions. The iron sights are true and will usually not fail you. 

RELATED: Picking your First 22 Rifle

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.22 Long Rifle Accuracy and Lethality

.22 long rifles have a maximum range of up to 400 yards. With the right training, that means a .22 long rifle can hit targets at great distances.

This is a very important aspect when it comes to both hunting and defense. While hunting, time can be taken to adjust your aim in order to ensure an accurate shot.

A well-placed shot is an ultimate factor when determining overall lethality from a .22 long rifle round. A shot to the body, whether hunting or defending, may not cause enough significant damage as a shot to the airway or brain.

Taking the time to ensure your accuracy to the utmost potential for lethality will be the best way to ensure survival.

Hunting and Defense

22 caliber bullets can take down small game such as squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, and even birds with a well-placed shot. Larger game, however, is a bit trickier.

Even a perfect aim will need to have the velocity to penetrate thicker surfaces such as deer skull. Higher grain .22 rifle rounds can reach speeds of up to 1,250 feet per second.

With these .22 long rifle rounds shot to the airway or even skull of a larger game ensures that you and your family will have food on the table that night.

As for defense, a .22 long rifle is admittedly not suitable for close-quarter combat or for defending yourself within the confines of a building. However, in a survival situation, you are most likely to find yourself in an outdoor space.

With the proper cover and time, .22 long rifle rounds can hit the target with great accuracy from where the shooter is firing as there is no muzzle blast from a .22 long rifle. This will cause the enemy to retreat even if the numbers are against you.

Not being able to determine where rounds are being fired from will quickly cause panic and force the enemy to scatter.

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See an example of a perfect .22 long rifle in the video below by Alden Morris:

A .22 caliber firearm is great to start with because they're a lot of fun. This is what most kids start with to learn the basics of shooting.

The cost of ownership is also low because .22 rounds are quite affordable. A .22 caliber is the best when it comes to practice shooting, hunting, and self-defense.

What do you think? is the .22 long rifle the ultimate survival weapon? Sound off in the comments section below!



Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2016 and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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  3. David Peters

    August 18, 2020 at 8:00 PM

    I just purchased a used savage Mark 2 target rifle with a heavy bull barrel for a really good price and am restoring it to a quality sniper rifle for emergency or bugout use if or when this tragedy may happen with all that’s going on at this time in the country….

  4. Nathan Sneller

    February 3, 2018 at 2:25 AM

    I think the author of this article doesn’t have a clue about .22’s.
    They are the perfect training weapon for training, marksmanship, competition and survival.
    There is no “flinch” when shooting the .22 for most people, which allows for easier training in shooting. Whether for training, hunting or self defense.
    But, I guess he earned his paycheck for the week.

  5. Mark Stelljes

    February 1, 2018 at 10:58 AM

    I always hunted with a 22 unless it was for waterfowl. A clean head shot to a running cotton tail, in front of a close Beagle, made cleaning a breeze. No messy shot holes to pull hair from. No need for expensive rounds.

  6. Martin E Bumgardner

    February 1, 2018 at 10:46 AM

    Good video. Simple not complicated. Likeable young man.

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