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Sam's Corner: Ep2 - The 22 Long Rifle

Updated: May 13


This week we continue our conversation about .22s, moving from pistols to rifles. We look at different types of rifles, how they load, and how best to store them around family.



"Last week we discussed 22 pistols being your first gun. There are a lot of people who will think that a pistol is still somehow too small or too nefarious, and they'd really start off with the rifle. Most of the folks that are looking for rifles now immediately think they should jump to a semi automatic battle rifle, an AR 15, or an AK or an SKS or many 14. Those are all great and I'm a big fan of geek factor. I like having a gun that makes the inner 12 year old and me squeal. But if you're a first time gun owner, and you haven't regularly shot, just like with the pistol, the way to start off is with a 22 rifle."


"Most of us who grew up in any kind of rural environment have plenty of experience with 22 rimfires. We always started off with a clunky old single shot, or maybe even a bolt action, like this Glenfield model 65 here. There's not a thing wrong with this as the first platform, the only problem is, it's a little slow to operate. It's magazine fed, but the magazine is kind of difficult to install and take out and it only holds six or seven rounds. Nothing wrong with that if all you're doing is hunting rats or rabbits, but if it might be called on to be used defensively, that's not necessarily the best case scenario."


"But this is what you got bolt actions, pump actions. I don't have a pump action with me, but they work about on par with this. This is a lever action. This is a Henry golden boy in 22 long rifle. And it's heavy, octagon barrel, a lot of fun to shoot, really pretty. They make several that are smaller and lighter. If it's a first gun, I recommend you start with smaller and lighter. This one is more of a take to the range and enjoy. A smaller lighter gun would be easier to handle and a little lever actions are great. They usually hold about 15 rounds of 22 long rifle on board, which is enough that you shouldn't have to worry about reloading. And it's more than qualified to keep rabbits out of your garden or burglars out of your living room for that matter."


"The big problem with most of these is they're fed with a tube magazine. The tube magazine is kind of a pain, you have to twist this. I've already defeated myself. You have to pull the tube out. And then you have to line up the rounds in this hole or take the tube all the way and you can use a speed loader. We'll talk about that in a little bit. The problem with 22s is that's a tiny, tiny round. It's still got plenty of power, and it's still very effective, but they're very difficult to manipulate manually. Which is why if you think you might have to use a 22 rifle under stress, oops, just covered myself with a muzzle there. If think you might have to use a 22 rifle under stress, you're gonna want something that uses a box magazine, I think."


"There are plenty of really cool and elegant guns that use the tube magazine. This one for example. This is a Browning ATD, automatic takedown. It's a John Moses Browning design from the early 1900s and I'm a big fan of anything that John Moses Brown came up with. Very graceful, very fun to shoot. Two magazine in the butt, just like the other one. Also, kind of glitchy and finicky. Have to pull that out, tip that up, then you load 11 rounds through the small groove in the stock."


"Now there are ways to load these fast, but they're not easy ways to load these fast. This is a speedy loader. And it holds right at 100 rounds of 22 long rifle. It has a little spout there, and when you pull the tube out, you can tip that up. And as long as you tip the butt of the gun up, it'll pour them right in, and then you can put the inner tube back in and you're fine.

The Browning semi auto is a great gun. The Henry is a great gun. Winchester made some great guns. Marlin has made all kinds of lever action and and bolt action 22s. Marlin has made the most popular 22 inexistence, the Marlin model 60, which also usesa tube magazine. They've sold more of those and 22 than anything else."


"Personally, I think if you're starting with a first gun that you may end up using defensively, there's only one way to go. And it's right here. This is the Ruger 1022. Comes with decent sights from the factory. Comes with a fairly decent trigger from the factory. They're in general great guns. They're very easy to shoot. They're very lightweight. They're not as lightweight and svelte and cool as the Browning in my opinion, but they're durable, and they're perfect for what you're looking to do with them. The best thing about it is it has a bolt hold open feature."


"If you decide you want to store the gun with a bolt open, you can. This particular model is a takedown, so is the Browning ATD. But if you want to store it and your at a loss for storage space, it comes with a little backpack that you can throw up in the closet. If you want to store it around kids and you don't want to leave it loaded, you can leave. The beauty of these is you can leave the gun in the closet with an empty chamber and the bolt open and you can leave the magazine nearby."


"They come with a 10 round rotary magazine that's pretty functional. But the real beauty of the Ruger 1022, is the aftermarket magazine. This little rascal here holds 25 rounds, snaps in very firmly, very efficiently. All the controls here will prepare you for moving up the ladder with pistol caliber carbines."


"Ruger makes a nine millimeter or 40 on basically the same platform size. They also made a 44 Magnum with the exact same controls to Deerfield. And you can even step up to the Mini 14 or the Mini 30 chambered in 23 556 or 762x39 Russianm and all the controls will be very familiar and right where you expect them to be. I love the Ruger 1022s I've owned a bunch of them. I'm down to one right now. This one belongs to a buddy of mine, and as I said this is the takedown model. You can you can take the barrel off the stock and action, and then the whole thing folds away for easy storage."


"As I had said before, the Browning here does the same thing, and pretty much exactly the same way. You have to move the bolt to the rear bit, then push that little knob there, and it all comes apart like Legos. The great thing about this is you can have on the Browning, you could have 10 rounds in the mag and an empty chamber. All you would have to do with a gun in two pieces is run this back just a bit, line that up, twist it in, lock that down. You got one in the chamber and you're ready to rumble."


"22 rifles are a blast! You can get the standard single shots and bolt actions. Some single shots are bolt actions. Usually the Savage and Stevens guns had a falling block in the back. There are some that tip up. The big problem is if you have to load under stress, you have to put a bullet or a cartridge that size in a hole that size while looking somewhere else. It's not an easy thing to do. I still say you're better off with a Ruger 1022, especially with the availability of 25 round magazines."


"As I've said before, I'm not a law enforcement officer. I don't know the laws in your area. I'm not a any kind of firearms instructor. I'm not a defensive or competition pistol shooter. I'm not a lawyer. All this is just basic advice like I would give any of my family or friends."

"I like the Ruger 1022 I think that's probably the best way to go. You got to find what you like though. It's a riddle. You're the only one that can solve it. Wish you the best of luck! Get a gun, get armed, get training, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot. We'll catch you next time."

— Sam Griesbaum

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