The .22LR rifle is the most popular hunting weapon around. For small game hunting like rabbits, squirrel, raccoons, and foxes, the .22 rifle is unmatched. Every survivalist should own at least one rifle, and the .22LR wins every time for cost and accuracy.
In this post, we will go over some tips and tricks for Hunting with a .22 rifle. We will also cover some of the top weapons manufactures, the different types of ammunition available, and proper hunting techniques.
If you are looking to purchase your first .22LR rifle, or just looking to upgrade the old leaver action, then this article will point you in the right direction.
Table of Contents
Which .22 rifle is perfect for you?
This is a question that only you can answer. It is best to write down on a piece of paper, what you are trying to achieve with your gun. Is it a practice target rifle? Or are you wanting to hunt rabbits and foxes with it? Or both?
What type of stock do you want? Wood can be heavy but it looks great and can reduce recoil a little. On the other hand, synthetic stocks like those found on the Tikka .22 T1x MTR look sexy, is very light, and can take a hit without getting damaged.
Do you need a fully/semi-automatic rifle or will a bolt action be adequate? Be aware that unless you have the proper license fully auto weapons are banned in some countries like Australia.
What about the sights? Do you like the old traditional iron sights? or do you need a high power 3-9 x 40 scope? I wouldn’t go much higher magnification than this as it will start to make your rifle heavy while out hunting.
I use the Vortex Optics CrossFire II 3-9×40 scope and I find it a very accurate and well-made rifle scope. I like that it has a long eye relief and an ultra-forgiving eye box. The Anti-reflective, fully multi-coated lenses provide bright and clear views for the shooter.
It is O-ring sealed and nitrogen purged, which means the Crossfire II will deliver waterproof and fog-proof performance.
If you do use cheap scope rings then it is best to lap your scope rings for perfect alignment. If you dont you may put extra stress onto your expensive scope. This can cause damage or fly away rounds that will miss their mark.
Hunting with a .22 rifle
As always safety is the top priority while carrying a weapon. I always have the bolt fully retracted with the safety on while out hunting. With the Tikka T1x .22, you are unable to close and lock the bolt with the safety on.
As soon as I spot a rabbit or a fox the safety comes off and the bolt is engaged. I like how quiet and smooth the Tikka .22lr bolt action is. It is a joy to actually move this action.
If I am in the prone position an extendable sling mount bipod is a must. This will let your arms have a rest and will keep the gun very steady. The extendable legs are great for uneven ground.
Don’t forget camouflage for yourself and your weapon. Many people tend to wrap some camo tape over their barrels if they are reflective like some stainless steel ones.
If you like to carry your rifle in a case then decide if you will need a soft or hard shell rifle case. The Tikka T1x with the 20-inch barrel is 38 inches long (960mm) Make sure to get a case that fits your rifle snug. Not too big and not too small. Don’t forget it must be able to also store your scope either on or off the rifle. I use a black 44-inch Midway soft rifle case and it is perfect.
Rabbit and Fox Calling
Most people have heard of fox calling which will simulate an injured animal but there is also a mystic art of calling rabbits. Check out the video to see how it is done.
Calling foxes is a lot simpler as and squeak that sounds like an injured animal like a rabbit or lamb will bring in all the foxes within the area.
The .22LR rifle is perfect for rabbit shooting and huntin. It is lightweight and has great stopping power. I like to use the hollow point CCI ammunition as it will disable a rabbit very quick. Check out our Rabbit Hunting Tips section.
Why .22 rifles are the most popular.
The .22 Long Rifle or .22LR as it is most commonly known as has been around since the late 1880s. It has gained in popularity due to its small size projectile, hard-hitting power, small recoil, cheap, and quiet operation.
The .22 projectile has been used in a whole range of guns such as revolvers, bolt-action rifles, fully automatic rifles and everything in between.
The .22 ammunition has a huge range of options like projectile weights of 20 to 60 grains (1.3 to 3.9 g), and bullet velocities from 575 to 1,750 ft/s (175 to 533 m/s) It’s no wonder people get confused on what to buy at the local gun dealer.
To top it all off .22lr rifles are cheap to manufacture and so the savings are passed onto the consumer.
Everyone has a favorite brand of rifle and in the .22 variety, most manufacturers will make a few different versions. If you stick with big brand name gun manufacturers you can’t go wrong. The top ten .22 gun manufacturers, in my opinion, would have to be:
Each brings a quality that is up to the end-users desire. Be it stainless barrels, wooden or synthetic stocks, and even collapsable barrels that can be folded up into a small survival package.
Different types of .22 bullets.
The variety of .22 LR loads are divided into four categories. They are:
- Subsonic, which also includes “target” or “match” loads These are at below the speed of sound 1100 feet (335 meters) per second to reduce shock waves
- Standard-velocity: 1120–1135 feet (340–345 meters) per second. Very popular projectile.
- High-velocity: 1200–1310 feet (365–400 meters) per second. Great .22 round for small game hunting.
- Hyper-velocity, or Ultra-velocity: over 1400 feet (425 meters) per second.
Just remember to sight in your target and have a few practice shots as each different velocity bullet will have a different trajectory curve. Don’t mix ammunition of different manufacturers or different velocities while out hunting. Your rounds will go all over the place.
Hollow points are great for small game and varmin. But don’t use them for target or competition shooting as they are designed to expand on contact. I also find a get a better grouping with standard velocity non-hollow point rounds for target practice.
If you want faster reloading times then keep a few spare magazines full of ammunition. This way you only have to eject the empty mag and feed in a new one. The quieter you can be the more animals will enter into your danger kill zone.
At the end of the day, you will most probably buy a rifle due to its looks and the price. They all have the very same specifications with the only difference coming down to the color, barrel length, action, and quality.
Stick with the brand names and go through the action of sighting the rifle and moving the action bolt back and forward.
Rim Fire rifles don’t like to be dry fired so use a .22LR snap cap to test out the trigger on a new rifle. This way you will save the firing pin from damage.
Let us know in the comments below what is your favorite .22lr hunting rifle and what makes it so great.