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Rimfire Options


If there is one thing that really catches my eye it’s rimfire rifles. I really am drawn to them whenever I see a rimfire I have to pick it up and hold it. For the better part of a century the .22 rimfire has held court in the forest and fields of America. From its early days when we could shoot, short, long and long rifle cartridges the .22 was a versatile gun to take afield for small game of all sorts. Perhaps the Eastern grey squirrel, and cotton tail rabbit have been the primary target for most .22 hunters. But this effective round can be found on the trapline, in the hands of surveyors looking for snakes, and the pocket of CWP licensee.

Like many southern boys, I cut my teeth in hunting with a .22 rifle. It was my fourteenth birthday present, a Ted Williams semi-auto from Sears complete with a scope! I thought I was in sheer heaven to have this gun and with a scope. Carrying this old girl my mind took me to the prairies of the west, the savannah of Africa, and the mountains of Alaska. I was a frontiersman, a sharpshooter, army scout, mountain man, and anything else I could imagine. What the .22 did for me was introduce me to the world of the outdoors. Squirrels was my quarry and as the ole saying goes, I wish I had a nickel for every bullet that was sent through its barrel. Back in the day, a box of Remington .22 long rifle cost forty cents, and a box of shorts was a quarter, cheap even for the day. A conservative estimate would put the number somewhere around ten thousand rounds shot through the ole TW.

As times have changed so too has the options of rimfire choices. The .22 is still available, but alas, only in the long rifle variant. Somewhere in the offices of the rifle manufacturers someone made the decision to eliminate the .22 short. Thankfully, we can still find guns that shoot the modest round and today it is still the best round for trappers, and meat hunters. A .22 short to the head of any small game ends the battle instantly and saves all of the meat. But today we have a society pushing speed and along came the .17 HMR (others have come along, but this seems to be the only .17 that has stayed) and the .22 Win. Mag. Bothe the .17 HMR and the .22 Win. Mag are devastating rounds suited well for varmints as well as small game. Both are capable of taking game as large as coyotes, fox, bobcats, and even feral hogs with good bullet placement.

While the .17 is fun to shoot and a devastating round on varmints, it offers a lot less bullet options. From the diminutive 17 grain ballistic tip to a .23 grain ballistic tip. While the .22 Win. Mag had a larger variety of bullet sizes to pick from for different situations. The .33 gr Remington Ballistic tip, CCI offers a 30 grain ballistic tip, and Winchester offers rounds up to 45 grains in a hollow point variant. This is especially devastating on coyotes.

Even in today’s ammunition hoarding society, the rimfires are great guns to have and to shoot. But they are far more than plinking guns, with the right ammunition they serve a variety of purposes. Single shots, semi-autos, pump action, lever action, bolt action, tube feed, clip feed, the rimfire comes in every conceivable action and they are all a lot of fun to shoot.

If you have not pulled from the closet your ole .22 in a while, get it out and shoot it some. They are great for small game, and great for introducing beginners to the sport of shooting and hunting. Affordable, available and durable the rimfires of today are definitely worth the investment.