The All Purpose .22 LR Carbine
Its legend is so widely spread that it is considered a must-have for every marksman, whether you are a boy scout, a hunter, or a soldier. Despite of its popularity as the “rifle for everything” that it has always had, the .22 LR Carbine is becoming more and more of a “vital” element for survival and bug-out enthusiasts. Whether you want to be prepared for the zombie apocalypse, or you are just an outdoors adventurer that likes to be prepared for any given situation these carbines are the item of choice for both. There is a wide variety of options within a given .22 LR carbine type, style plays a very important role nowadays – weight, bullet/shell insertion/ejection method, packable or foldable, etc.
These small caliber carbines are not as harmless as you might think. The caliber .22 in America is what we know as the 5,6mm in Europe. Its low cost, minimal recoil, and relatively low noise make the .22 LR an ideal cartridge for recreational shooting, initial firearms training, small-game hunting, and pest control. Used by the Boy Scouts for the rifle shooting merit badge, these carbines are popular among novice shooters and experts alike.
The low cost of ammunition has had a substantial effect on the popularity of the .22 LR. For this reason, rimfire cartridges are commonly used for target practice. While it is highly effective for small game such as squirrels, rabbits, marmots, or foxes at distances of 150 meters, it has also been known that these small carbines can be deadly to larger game if the shot placement is right.
Because a .22 LR bullet is less powerful than larger cartridges, its danger to humans is often underestimated. But as we said earlier, this caliber can be fatal if well placed. It was in fact this ammo that was used during the Reagan assassination attempt that wounded four people, one mortally. It was also this .22 LR that was used during the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy. This proves that .22 LR bullets can easily kill or seriously injure humans. Even after flying 400 m, a .22 bullet still travels at an approximate speed of 150 m/s.
These weapons are nevertheless meant to be used for other purposes such as pest control. Local government agencies sometimes use suppressed rimfire weapons for animal control, since dangerous animals or pests can be dispatched in populated areas without causing undue alarm. With this in mind, special cartridges, which are often called “rat-shot” or “snake-shot” are loaded into the carbines, and are able of shooting 12 pellets at a time, making a makeshift small shotgun out of this small rifle.
This rimfire cartridge was designed in 1887 and has been used ever since, from WWI until today. The .22 LR has also seen usage by diverse international police departments, C.I.A., Russian Army, Navy SEAL forces, etc… The Mossad used this rifle in the 1990s for riot control and to “eliminate disturbing dogs” prior to operations, though it is now used less often as it has been shown to be more lethal than previously suspected. Its main advantage in this role is its low noise profile, but it is usually limited to urban operations because of its smaller size and lighter weight. All of this makes carbines easier to handle in close-quarter situations such as urban engagements, deploying from military vehicles, or in any situation where space is confined.
Variety in ammunition is also immense, from the hard-shelled Full Metal Jacket, which has been in production since WWII, all the way to Hollow Point or Frangible Bullets. The number of deals on carbines on any given day is also huge. So, whether you are waiting for zombies to knock at your door, or you want to have rabbit for dinner, or you just like the way it would look on your wall, there is for sure a .22 Long Rifle somewhere out there waiting for you. My advice, go and find it before it finds you!
BTW, when researching about this topic, youtube targeted me on an ad pretty closely related to this topic, and despite it is not about carbines, I have to say that the images were so cool, therefore I will leave the video here just in case you want to check it out too.