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22LR vs. 22WMR vs. 22 Hornet vs. .410 Survival Gun

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  • 22LR vs. 22WMR vs. 22 Hornet vs. .410 Survival Gun

    I've been looking at the idea of a purpose built "survival" gun lately, so I thought I'd start a discussion here and see if I get any ideas from you guys. Mainer in AK had a similar thread a few years back, but I didn't find much else here on this topic.

    I've been thinking about a gun that one could carry as a "just in case" mostly to shoot camp meat. I know that most people think of "survival gun" so as to include self defense, but that's not really on my radar. A secondary use might also be as my son's first gun, with which to hunt grouse and hare. (That's the official story to tell the lady of the house to justify the gun purchase in the first place. lol)

    Two things I noticed soon into my research were a.)there isn't much out there to choose from when one is looking for a survival specific gun and b.)what is out there is all very similar.

    Of course the first two things that come to mind are the Henry Arms AR-7's (22LR, take down, floating) and the no longer in production CZ/Springfield Armory M6. Something new that I just found is the Savage Arms Model 42, which appears to be a synthetic stocked reincarnation of the old Model 24-a 22/410 over and under. H&R makes a survivor gun, but, near as I can tell, one has to carry two separate barrels and switch them out-hardly a combination gun or even a small/packable gun. What else have you guys seen out there?

    I like the idea of having a shotgun available. I like shotguns, and I like their versatility. Heck, maybe I should just be buying an HR Topper in 410 or something. Looking at the AR-7 being 22LR only, I almost wonder if one would be better off with a 22LR revolver. (Don't get me wrong, I really like the AR-7, I'm just not sure how versatile a 22LR only would be in AK.

    My initial question, however, is about calibers and gauge (bore in this case). The M6 came in either 22LR or 22 Hornet over a .410 bore, and the Savage 42 comes in either 22LR or 22WMR over a .410 bore. I have zero experience with 22WMR or 22 Hornet. Are either of them THAT much better than 22LR or THAT much better than the other? I've read that 22 Hornet can be used, in a pinch, to take down a deer, but I know someone who took a deer with a 22WMR also. I also have zero experience with .410, but I've read or heard a lot of people denigrate the .410. I've heard stories of shot spreads so bad and so inconsistent that one could miss a bird as it flew between the shot. I've also heard that range is quite limited, even for a shotgun. If those are true, then it would make the decision on buying a gun a lot easier if the shotgun portion was largely impractical anyway.

    So what is your opinion and how would you make a comparison?

  • #2
    I've got a H&R Tamer .410 and it's OK for small game. It's not nearly as light as you'd reckon. I got my son a Mossberg 510 Mini in 20ga this year. About the same weight, same broke down size- way more effective for anything you'd need a gun for. A small pump 20 with a mixed sack of shells would be pretty good at putting meat on the fire- slugs, #1 buck, #6 game loads would make it fairly versatile. I do wish someone made a really light, breakdown single barrel for emergency use- something out of unobtanium or better alloy could be built under 2 lbs- maybe less vs. the low grade steel most newer single barrel guns are made from.

    The .410 is about the worst shot stringing shell ever designed, especially the 3"- shooting birds on the wing at any range is tough. Ground sluicing works just fine however but effective range is pretty limited. In any gun the 20ga is available in vs. the .410- the 20 is much more effective at killing game. The Tamer is available in a 20ga version as well.

    I've messed with the AR-7- I'd pass, neat but pretty "tinny" for the (considerable) price. Marlin Papoose is a much better. I haven't used one but the new 10/22 Takedown is likely the best of the breed for the money- I'll likely get one in the near future. The Hornet and the WMR are available in non-takedown rifles (except the M6 and 24) but if I can tote a full size rifle, I'd probably pick something else.

    I've had an older Savage 24...It was ok, can't say the combo guns appeal to me very much anymore. A friend had the M6- bad .410, equally bad .22. I'd hate to have to feed myself with one for any length of time. Haven't seen the new version yet. My 24 was in 30-30 over a 12ga. Maybe more useful in an all-around scenario but discontinued a while back.

    For a pure "survival" weapon I can't say I think the survival combo guns have much over just a regular small frame shotgun- I can kill small game with a shotgun to about the distance I could shoot one with a .22 given the crude sights most of these "survival type" guns come with. Shotgun ammo is way bulkier- how much surviving would one be looking to do? 5-10 shells is likely more than the number of opportunities you'd get in a "stranded in the woods" scenario.

    I could easily go either way- a take-down .22 or a take down shotgun and be pretty happy...esp. paired with a heavy caliber revolver.

    Just my $.02...
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    • #3
      Hodge, since you mentioned take down 22, I went to the ruger website and looked at the videos for the takedown 10/22. Not sure if it's what I want, but that's a reaaaaaally nice set up, no doubt about it.

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      • #4
        I second the 20 ga...very useful in many applications. The Rem 870 Express youth with a 21" barrel and Rem Chokes and a 3 shot mag extention is just the ticket. Duracoat that sucker and you have a good gun for most anything. 20ga sabot slugs in 3" are good for bear in a pinch since they put out a 260 gr slug at 1800fps like a .44 mag rifle.

        My choice is an old Savage 24 in 22 mag over 20 ga...not much you can't do with that gun and a variety of ammo.
        Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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        • #5
          I have always liked the Savage over-under combo guns. The have been made in many configurations and are very effective and useful "one gun does it all" combos. I have a few of those, two Savage older M24s and an older Valmet in 222 and 12 gauge. The 24s are a 223 and 12 gauge and a 22 mag and 20 gauge. I'm not a fan of the 410 for scatter gun work but it can be useful as a survival gun, getting meat for the pot, etc. A 20 or 12 just has so much more shot. My 12/223 gun has a modified choke (yeah before screw in chokes) and the 20/22M is 3" with a full choke. The sights on the 12/223 work well for slugs also putting the shot to the left about 3" at 50 yards when the 223 is spot on. Several folks have tried to buy the gun and I've come close to selling it several times. Even priced it at $500 once and the potential buyer walked away. I'm glad. I am thinking now I would sell the 20/22M if I could find an older style with 22LR lower half. Both these Savages are beaters, I painted the wooden stock on the 12/223 and put on a pad mainly to lengthen it out. The Valmet is a very nice gun with good wood and finish. A friend of mine has a very rare (I guess) German drilling with a pair of 16 bores over a 44WCF (44-40). He bought it at an estate auction for about $400. I've been trying to buy it for a decade but he's now found out its worth more than either of us can afford. It's a work of art.

          The 20 or 12 over a rimfire seems to be the best real world survival gun I think I've given up on the 22 magnum rimfire because of the cost, availability and quality of ammunition for them. I think I'd prefer the 22 rimfire. I do like the ballistics of the mag but ammo is so iffy. I have a BRNO auto rifle in 22 mag and it shoots so well with only one brand of ammo....which is no longer made. I have a supply but don't shoot it for fear I'll never find good ammo again. The 22 Hornet was always a good quiet inexpensive cartridge to shoot and would be a dandy but it has such thin case necks that loading can be difficult. It is a little more than a rimfire mag and cheaper to shoot with various bullets available to handload. Buying ammo for the Hornet will be tougher but with some resurgence of the little 22 that may change in the future. All in all the little 22 LR may be the best choice for gathering food. It is an ideal small game cartridge though not the poachers tool the 22RF mag is.
          Henry makes the AR-7 now. It's really better than it's ever been. The grandson has one and it seems to work well with any ammo though in general I don't think the auto-loader is the best choice.

          If the Savage combo guns appeal to you you're not alone. Many like them and they continue to sell well at auctions and shows, the only source for them it seems. Good luck with your quest. Its good to have a combo/survival gun, that and a good Zombie rifle of course.
          Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?


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          • #6
            The H&R 45colt/.410 is a one barrel rig but has no sights but the bead.The .410 can shoot with the other guages and does so in skeet but much less forgiving. Small game is what you will be living off so a good 22lr or 22mag is perfect.
            Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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            • #7
              Murphy, those 20ga/22LR or 22WMR Savage Model 24's are all over places like gunbroker for cheap. So cheap that you're right, barring any true collector value (like an older Winchester might have) you can cut it up, modify, do what you want to with it.

              I forgot about the fixed choke thing, which is the one and only disadvantage to hunting with my antique Winchester guns, but I wonder if someone like WWG or another local gunsmith could cut back the shotgun barrel and add in threads for a set of chokes while keeping the new shotgun barrel the same length as the rifle barrel.

              One of the thing I like about the AR-7's and M6's is packability. (Although, after watching the youtube videos on the new Ruger 10/22 takedown, THAT's impressive, too.) I wonder if aforementioned gunsmith(s) could also devise some sort of quick release set-up that would allow one to simply pull a Savage 24 in half and reassemble it. Something like the two pins that hold an AR15 upper and lower together.

              On that note, I wonder too, if the wood stock could be hollowed out and used for ammo storage, or something. Or even beeter, replaced with a composite stock that is already hollow.

              Just kicking about some ideas. Cost of all that custom work would probably be prohibitive.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Amigo Will View Post
                The H&R 45colt/.410 is a one barrel rig but has no sights but the bead.The .410 can shoot with the other guages and does so in skeet but much less forgiving. Small game is what you will be living off so a good 22lr or 22mag is perfect.
                I saw that on their webpage, but it looked to me to be a two barrel set up. That makes it not a bad idea either. I've heard some guys here talk about 45colt as a bear round. It would t least give you something bigger than a 22 while still leaving you with a 410 for hares and grouse. The sight issue is EASILY resolved by the addition of aftermarket (Williams probably) sights.

                Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't ALL 410 guns capable of shooting 45 Colt?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
                  Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't ALL 410 guns capable of shooting 45 Colt?
                  I'm not so sure about that...don't think I'd try it. Certainly not in an M6 or one of the various 410 pumps. I believe H&R uses the stronger rifle frame on the one rated for .45Colt. The dual rated Thompson Contender/Encore uses a very strong frame.

                  The frame and barrel on my .410 looks like it's made of pot metal.
                  "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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                  • #10
                    I know frame strength has a lot to do with longevity of service if you're shooting all the time, but my dad claimed to have used 44 spl loads successfully in a 410 as a slug on a limited basis. (Meaning rarely.) I was thinking it was the quality of the barrel metals that would determine the safety or risk of a chamber breach when using 45LC or 44SPL loads in a 410 and the frame material would probably crack if you did it every week.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
                      I know frame strength has a lot to do with longevity of service if you're shooting all the time, but my dad claimed to have used 44 spl loads successfully in a 410 as a slug on a limited basis. (Meaning rarely.) I was thinking it was the quality of the barrel metals that would determine the safety or risk of a chamber breach when using 45LC or 44SPL loads in a 410 and the frame material would probably crack if you did it every week.
                      I actually think the .410 frame (on my Tamer, others will vary) is a 20ga size. The barrel is basically a 20 ga with a .410 hole drilled down the middle. The muzzle end thins down a bit but at the breech its huge- probably the reason its so heavy. I don't think you'd split the barrel ( I could be very wrong about this though) before the frame or hinge lockup cracked.
                      "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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                      • #12
                        I cut my 24 (22 mag/20ga) to 19" to keep the shotgun legal and with a cylinder choke I get pretty good patterns to 30 yds with #6 or 7 1/2 shot and it shoots slugs about 4" high at 50 yds in a 6" pattern...good enough for deer, caribou, moose, etc. using a Williams peep. The 22 mag shoots about 3" groups at 50 yds so I think I can do a bunny or larger without too much trouble. I'd be inclined to use the 22 mag on deer and other meat animals, saving 20 ga ammo for flying meat.

                        I have a 22 LR/.410 full choke (uncut) 24" barrel and the shotgun pattern is spotty and only good to abuot 20 yds or so and I do acknowledge the fact you can carry more .410 ammo for the same weight of a 20ga but you may need more to get the job done and I wouldn't think it would work on ducks at 25 yds very well. I have killed a lot of ducks with a 28 ga and lead shot before the steel crape was required, but there is a big differance between a 7/8 oz 28 ga compared to a 5/8 oz .410.

                        To me, the biggest thing in a survival gun is how long and where you must survive with it. Less than a week in game rich area I'll take a 20 ga 870 and 2 pockets full of a variety of ammo. Over a week or long term I think the situation changes dramatically...especially if you must defend yourself...then I think I want a AR in 5.56 and several types ammo to cover little critters, big ones and 2 legged critters and of course zombie ammo. Also, it's important to have protien but you need carbs to do work...like survive a bunch of challenges to your welfare. The best survival gun question brings up a lot of issues beyond what gun you choose.
                        Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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                        • #13
                          So I keep reading the same derogatory remarks about a 410. I think that is significant.

                          Lowrider, sounds like you have put together a pretty good little firearm there. Is it easy to break into two pieces and stash? How much do you think it weighs? In regards to your last paragraph, I recognize that the term "survival" includes a lot of threats, and both the AR-7 and M6 were originally Air Force guns, but I'm personally not concerned with defending myself against other human beings, so I don't think I need a lot of firepower (as in an AR 15).

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                          • #14
                            ammo prices

                            I stopped by Sportsman's today while running errands, and I checked on cost and availability of ammo.

                            22 Hornet is expensive! What is it with this town that $1 a round for any rifle caliber seems to be the norm? A 50 rd box of 46 grn 22 Hornet (Winchester grey box) was $50. At that price, I could just carry my 243.

                            22WMR in CCI was $15 for a box of 50 and a 100 rd box of Winchester HP's in 22LR was $10.

                            That's a pretty large spread in prices in my book. From .10/rd to .30/rd to 1.00/rd. That begs the original question: is 22 Hornet THAT much better than 22WMG or 22LR? For that matter, is a 22MAG 3 TIMES better than a 22LR?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
                              So I keep reading the same derogatory remarks about a 410. I think that is significant..
                              The only real bright spot on the .410 is the lack of recoil makes it great for teaching youngsters. Not wingshooting- hitting flying stuff with the .410 is the purview of the masters, not kids.

                              Teaching kids gun handling, bigger shells (than a small .22 lr.) make loading with little fingers easy, enough boom to introduce them to muzzle blast and a little recoil, and enough lead down range to reward a close shot with a "hit" when shooting cans or clays at 20yds or so. My son learned on the .410 at age 7 or so, I killed a little small game with it- mostly red squirrels messing around the house.

                              Earlier this year he got a little recoil shy of the 20ga. and we went rabbit hunting with the .410 loaded with sixes. He got the drop on a big buck hare at about 40yds...took careful aim and let fly. Dust flew up all around him (huge pattern) and he took off through the brush- we went and checked out the scene...no blood, no hair and....no hare. We searched around the area pretty thoroughly and found no sign the hare was even injured. I can only assume that by that range the pattern was so spotty he was never hit, or if hit with some pellets the energy had dropped so low they failed to penetrate the hide.

                              Pretty confident with a tight choked 20 he'd have rolled right up into a ball and never moved. After consoling him that his technique was good and he'd done everything right- told him he just plain wasn't using enough gun. He put down the .410 and never looked back.

                              I won't say the .410 is useless, but for generally killing small critters a guy can just do so much better.
                              "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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