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Survival.......17hmr, 22LR, 22mag.....etc.

Discussion in 'General Firearms Forum' started by hogship, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. hogship

    hogship It's MY Island

    Are any of these cartridges capable of putting deer, elk, on the table, if it were necessary?

    I don't know from any personal knowledge, but I've heard stories of poachers using 22LR to illegally harvest deer. I guess it's possible, but not what someone would choose for the purpose.

    But what about survival, and rimfire cartridges?

    I guess someone could subsist on squirrels, gophers, small critters......but more meat would be better, if you've got mouths to feed.

    Thoughts on this?

  2. skeeter7

    skeeter7 Brass Vulture

    Nov 13, 2010
    Rhode Island
    As highly unethical as it is, and as much as I don't endorse it, a deer can be taken with a 22LR with proper shot placement and I'm sure it can be done with the other calibers you have mentioned as well.

  3. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy ********* Moderator Moderator Millennium Member Lifetime Member

    Jan 16, 2001
    Buried in the X-files
    My ex grandfather in law hunted deer to keep his family alive throughout the 40s and never used anything bigger than a .22LR.

    As he put it "shoot them in the eye, and be close when you do". He was scary quiet in the woods.
  4. Arc Angel

    Arc Angel Deus Vult!

    Sep 20, 2003
    Penn's Woods
    Unless you're able to make consistent head shots with solid, round-nose bullets you're going to end up losing a lot. I, also, agree with MrMurphy's remark about, 'getting in close' before taking the shot.

    I keep two, high-precision, 22 rifles fitted with, 'see-thru' mounts and very high quality 4X scopes for exactly this reason. I can, also, use these rifles at night in order to shoot accurately inside any light condition except absolute darkness. The elk part I don't know about; but the whitetail deer I do; and, yes, it's entirely possible IF you use the right SOLID bullet, get in close, (inside 35-40 yards) and are able to consistently, 'put 'um where you're looking at'. ;)

    As it appears a great many Pennsylvanians already know: 22 LR is THE basic survival cartridge. Of all the different calibers it is 22 LR that is extremely difficult to find anywhere throughout the NEPA area right now. There just isn't any; and those of us who have it are sitting on most of it. For the first time in years I pulled into a public shooting range this past weekend; and, voila, there was nobody on the firing line! It seemed, almost, surreal. :dunno:

    Yet, whenever I ask someone, 'Why' this ammo shortage is happening, nobody seems to actually know? What am I to believe? That some little homicidal creep in Newtown CT has shut down an entire nation's ammo supplies? I don't see how this could be!

    What it's not, however, is that DHS order for two billion rounds of pistol and carbine ammo that was recently placed. There are, certainly, existing manufacturing plants that could readily extend their ammo production to include both the war in the Middle East, and elsewhere.
  5. bac1023


    Sep 26, 2004
    Out of those, I'd feel most comfortable with 22mag, but deer have been taken with less.
  6. IMO .22 WMR could do it if you HAD to(if it was to that point id just be taking head shots anyways)
  7. oppi27


    Jan 28, 2013
    South Western PA
    I had a neighbor get busted shotting deer a few years ago. He killed alot of deer with the 22 mag. He didn't shot any of them in the head, instead he double lunged then. They didn't run 50 yards. They figured he killed over 150 deer with that gun.
  8. I don't shoot 17HMR any longer... ammo prices (even before the current panic) were just getting ridiculous ($12-$15 for 50 rounds).

    I think the .22 LR would be adequate on Texas white-tail (withing reason), and it is relatively quiet to boot.
  9. Travclem

    Travclem Badass Member Lifetime Member

    Aug 4, 2008
    Lubbock, TX
    I know an old (ex)poacher in South TX that says they used to fill up a pickup bed with .22lr killed deer pretty regularly. I have a suspicion that most of his shots were only out the window of said pickup to the bar ditch though. I'd have no doubt in .22lr's ability to kill deer at a reasonable distance.
  10. mac66

    mac66 Huge Member Millennium Member

    Oct 28, 1999
    Blue Planet
    What would rather have to take a deer, a bow or a 22 rifle? I worked LE in a rural area back in the day and we eventually caught a couple poachers who were using 22lr rifles. They were whacking and stacking deer before we caught them. All were one shot kills on a dozen or more deer.

    Think about this, if you were sitting in a tree blind and saw a deer at bow/arrow range (20-30 yards max) it would be pretty easy to shoot them in the head.

    Another advantage of a 22lr is they are fairly quiet compared to other things. It is very difficult to pinpoint where one shot from a 22lr came from. That is further enhanced by the use of subsonic or low noise rounds. Not to mention that a 22 is pretty easy to suppress using field expedient methods.

    I read an account of someone using a 22 to kill a moose in Alaska (though I wouldn't want to have to shoot a bear with one).

    So yeah, my choice of a "survival gun" (whatever that is) is a 22lr rifle. It is actually my truck/trunk/camper/cabin grab and go rifle.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2013
  11. clancy


    Feb 16, 2011
    My grandfather on my Mother's side was a life long poacher. He took quite a few deer with a .22lr. That being said, it certainly wouldn't be my first choice, but when one is hungry and that is all you have to hunt with, one makes do.
  12. Wishoot


    Aug 13, 2010
    In a true survival situation, harvesting any meat would be a priority. Given the abundance of smaller game compared to deer or elk, I think a 22lr would be my preferred survival round.
  13. oppi27


    Jan 28, 2013
    South Western PA
    I would rule out the 22 right now because of availability of ammo.

    All those prepper type websites push the 22lr as the go to survival round,
    It's like gold.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2013
  14. VinnieD


    Mar 26, 2011
    I'd ask why. Right now 12 gauge shotgun shells, 30-06, and 7.62x54R are all easier to find than .22s, and much better for taking deer. I suppose it could be done, but I don't imagine a scenario where you'd have to that you wouldn't have better options. During the depression cut shells and was slugs took many a deer before the advent of slugs.
  15. RMTactical

    RMTactical CLM

    Oct 7, 2000
    Behind an AR-15
    this! ^
  16. countrygun


    Mar 9, 2012
    I have a .22 LR here that killed more deer than any gun I have known of. I will say that the .22 mag would give more range but not kill any "deader" at close range with the same placement as a LR round. I can introduce you to several people around here who have killed black bear with a.22 LR. 'aim for the eye'. Not something I would suggest.

    I made what may be a relevant decision a couple of years ago, given that my circumstances are a bit unique but not unheard of.

    From my house, to the garden is about 30 yards and on the other side of a thick blackberry "hedge" and several Alder trees, is my pasture. This also takes into account the rest of the area around the house and other issues.

    Now for critters in the garden a shotgun is a bit of a stretch and the collateral damage around the impact zone was unacceptable. A .22 has an intolerable ricochet factor.

    I bought, first, a very accurate break top in .17 machII, later an even more accurate Savage bolt in the same caliber. I took the first rifle out to a gravel pit and worked hard to create any ricochets that had a serious distance factor. The bullets are fairly frangible and it takes some work. I chose the lighter of the two .17 rimfires because I didn't need the range or noise of the HMR round. I scored a large amount of ammo on sale and am stocked up to protect my garden from a slew of zombie varmints.

    Maybe a bit specific, but I also found it works well on small game for the table as well.

    To recount. The .22 is a deer killer in the hands of a good hunter and shooter. Experience at both is a necessity however IMO. To go out to hunt a deer for the first time in "exigent" circumstances, with a .22 is NOT a good idea. I can say I could do it without a moments hesitation, bases on my experience using the round on smaller game and my experience legally hunting deer with more "appropriate" calibers.
  17. bac1023


    Sep 26, 2004
    I don't really think you can call any of the three "adequate".
  18. In a survival situation you go out to get meat for food.

    If you see a rabbit, groundhog, squirrel or whatever, you shoot it and put meat on the table.

    If you are carrying a .30-06 you just made a mess of your dinner. Plus you just told the whole county where you are.

    A .22 to the head will kill a deer if you happen to see one, but I'll bet you see dozens of other edible animals for every deer you see.

    posted from my stupid smart phone, please excuse any spelling mistakes.
  19. countrygun


    Mar 9, 2012
    I agree. It is also why I don't think a "bird hunting" shotgun is essential. over 50% of the birds I've shot I spotted on the ground first and could have taken with a .22. It's survival, not sport.
  20. If true survival where you have no recourse to get a resupply of ammo I'd take the .22 magnum. You can carry lots of ammo and yes you can take deer with it (head shot.)

    Plus you can have both a good handgun as well as a very accurate short rifle (and I'm get a stainless one that is very accurate as well as durable.)