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Old March 15, 2013, 05:03 PM   #1
wmg1299
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Alternative Calibers to 22LR

I live in the city and have a decent level of experience with handguns. My inlaws have a little over 50 acres in the country, and I picked up a few 22's (Ruger 10/22 Carbine and Mossberg Plinkster 702) for small game plinking and to teach my sons the basics of shooting. Now that 22LR ammo is nearly impossible to find, I have considered picking up a few rifles of different calibers so that I will have something to shoot. I initially went with semi-auto's, but am more than willing to consider bolt action options.

I picked the 22's because they were affordable, simple to maintain, and could be handled by my sons while they are young, but still be useful as they grow older. In my area (Dallas Metroplex), I can readilly find 7mm, 243, 270, and 30-06 ammo at local Wal Marts. I can also find a limited amount of 17 hmr and 22-250 ammo. I am not a big game hunter, and do not want to have to overpay for either the rifles or the ammo. I am willing to pay a fair price for quality products (ex. no cheap imports), but do not wish to purchase a specialty rifle for simple shooting on the land. Any opinions on what rifles would be the best to meet my goals (affordability, availability of ammo) would be appreciated.

Last edited by wmg1299; March 16, 2013 at 09:57 PM.
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Old March 15, 2013, 05:52 PM   #2
Jerry45
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Sounds like you want a .223. Plenty ammo available. Enough recoil in a bolt gun to make a young man smile but no so much that it hurts. .17 HMR can be lots of fun. About the same recoil as .22 LR if you can call it recoil. Shoots much flatter than .22 LR and it isn't hard to find a reasonable priced rifle. Savage makes nice bolt actions. Don't know how old the kids are but 30-06 can carry a punch and ammo isn't what I call cheep. Reloading my own I send about $0.50 + down range every time I pull the trigger.
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Old March 15, 2013, 05:55 PM   #3
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Hold on here! You were on the right track to begin with. Nothing better than a .22 for learning to shoot, and it will be much simpler to find some rimfire ammo than it would be to teach the kids to shoot a 7 Mil Mag or a .30-06. Stay the course. Get in a shooting club, make some friends, and someone will help you find ammo if you cannot.
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Old March 15, 2013, 07:51 PM   #4
JD0x0
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.17hmr if you want cheap.

.243 if you want a modestly priced center fire that will have a pretty long range and not enough recoil to cause flinching, to inexperienced shooters

both are fairly flat shooting cartridges.
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Old March 15, 2013, 08:46 PM   #5
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My two most accurate rifles are a .17HMR and a .243... Both Savages.

.17HMR



.243



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Old March 15, 2013, 09:07 PM   #6
wmg1299
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.223 ammo may be the only ammo that is harder to come by in this area than .22LR. I completed basic rifle training using a .223, and think it may be a bit much for the kids. When the ammo is available around here, it is insanely expensive.

Kinda leaning toward the .17hmr, assuming I can find a reasonablly model that is actually in stock somewhere. Thanks for the suggestions.
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Old March 15, 2013, 09:56 PM   #7
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The only problem I have with .17HMR is paying the price they are geting for rimfire ammo. All in all though I suppose it is still much cheaper than .243.
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Old March 15, 2013, 10:53 PM   #8
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.17 hmr is about the only rim fire you can find right now in any quantities. Bi-mart here in OreGun always has 500 ammo cans of it. Even now. You'll pay $60-90 a brick though but I've seen people paying $50-125 a brick for .22 so it's up to you.
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Old March 16, 2013, 01:27 AM   #9
weblance
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Whats a Ruger 10/22 Combine?
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Old March 16, 2013, 02:04 AM   #10
FrankenMauser
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If you don't plan to hunt, and don't want expensive ammo....

Just stick with .22 LR.
I know it sucks right now, not being able to easily find any. But, availability will improve soon.

Don't waste money on a rifle you won't shoot once .22 LR is available again.
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Old March 16, 2013, 09:27 AM   #11
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Look for an old H&R topper in 357 mag or 357 Max. Could shoot 38 spl. on up to the more powerful calibers. Can scope it easily also.
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Old March 16, 2013, 09:49 AM   #12
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I know you said bolt action. But consider a Henry Golden Boy. Really smooth action and they're beautiful. They are a little heavy but I consider that a plus. Nice gun to give your boys when they're older.

You can get them in 17 hmr or 22 lr.
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Old March 16, 2013, 11:04 AM   #13
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Have you considered air rifles?
Around here, there's just about no ammo available except, as you say, larger game ammo and shotgun.
Not exactly what a youngster would find a lot of fun to shoot.
No pistol, no .22 or .17, either.
And even airgun supplies are not as plentiful as it was.
Lots of folks must have discovered airguns lately.
And not just as an interim solution, either.
They are very accurate, the better ones are powerful enough for small game, and will probably become a permanent addition to your collection.
I prefer the break barrel, spring piston powered versions.
They recoil quite a lot, for realism, and seem to last forever.
$150 - $250 will buy most.
If you're not familiar with airguns, check the video reviews of dozens of them at pyramydair.com
http://www.pyramydair.com/
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Old March 16, 2013, 11:37 AM   #14
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.17HMR or .223 comes to mind.
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Old March 16, 2013, 11:37 AM   #15
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Air rifles and or stick with the 22 if you are not planning on hunting or want to get into something with more kick (then the 223 is a good choice).

I was down at the range the other day and a guy was explaining to his little girl that they would not be able to shoo tthe 22 much. If I had had any 22 with me I would have given him the stuff (I have a stash and don't shoot much)

Talk to anyone you know or even put an add out and in a local sports forum and explain what is going on and I suspect others would do the same.
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Old March 16, 2013, 12:21 PM   #16
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Take a look at a Henry .17HMR lever gun. Extremely smooth action. Very accurate, no recoil, and at least thus far not difficult to find ammo for them - and it's affordable to shoot.
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Old March 16, 2013, 12:31 PM   #17
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Since you seem interested in lighter calibers, I would suggest 22 Mag (WMR) as an option. During the last ammo shortage, there were almost always 22 Mag ammo available at Walmart, but this time it has been different.

The other common caliber is obviously 223 but ammunition availablity today is sketchy and when you find it, it tends to run close to $0.50 per round. It is certainly fun to shoot in a semi-auto rifle but the ammo count can rise rather quickly for an afternoon's outing.

If you are thinking long term about your needs, you might consider a handgun in 9mm, 40 S&W (semi-auto), or a revolver in 357 mag/38spl for home defense needs. Shooting 38spls are a lot of fun and the recoil is not significant in most normal sized (vs pocket sized) revolvers.

Get what appeals to you and your needs, but try to stock up a bit after ammunition inventories return back to normal so you have some around the house if you want to do some shooting.
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Old March 16, 2013, 12:54 PM   #18
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FWIW, The last three WalMarts, I checked for ammo this month, were cleaned out of everything except shotshells and .17 rimfire.....................


Better to have ammo & shoot; than not to & hope, hope, hope.



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Old March 16, 2013, 01:09 PM   #19
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Again, stay with the .22 rimfire, and don't confuse your kids with different kinds of rifles until they know how to shoot safely. Don't confuse yourself, either. A bolt action is better than a semi-auto for this, though some will argue. The thing is, use one rifle until some proficiency is gained.

News today from the CPAC conference is that the NRA and other conservatives are confident that really restrictive new laws will not pass. If this is true and unfolds that way, we will again be in rimfire ammo up to our butts.

And, since when is the .22 rimfire not acceptable for hunting?
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Old March 16, 2013, 01:34 PM   #20
Jerry45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmg1299
.223 ammo may be the only ammo that is harder to come by in this area than .22LR. I completed basic rifle training using a .223, and think it may be a bit much for the kids. When the ammo is available around here, it is insanely expensive.

Kinda leaning toward the .17hmr, assuming I can find a reasonablly model that is actually in stock somewhere. Thanks for the suggestions.
Sorry to hear about the .223 ammo. I reload so not affected right now. The range always has lots of bulk .223 and they refuse to jack the price up.

Not sure how old the kids are but my 7 year old Grandson LOVES shooting my AR (off the bench). I give him a little help when he shoot the .223 bolt gun.

You can't go wrong with the 17. It's really fun to shoot.
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Old March 16, 2013, 04:39 PM   #21
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This will pass. I doubt you will find any of those calibers cheaper than you can buy 22lr anyways. The thing is those calibers have shot up to $.50-$1 a round and 22lr has gone up to $.40 or such. Just check craiglist and such. Or be patient.
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Old March 16, 2013, 04:56 PM   #22
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I agree with guv. A .357 magnum lever action is cheap to shoot with .38 special and good for kids.
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Old March 16, 2013, 10:18 PM   #23
wmg1299
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Thanks for the suggestions. Of all the rifles mentioned, the Henry looks the most interesting to me. I have enough 22LR ammo to use during our next trip to the land. It's rare to find an activity that my sons are interested in, that their father and both grandfathers can participate in. I normally would be in no hurry to pick up another caliber rifle, but you never now how long grandparents will be around, and it would be well worth it to me to shell out a little extra cash for a .17 hmr to maximize the amount of time that my boys have to learn a valuable skill from several generations of men in their family.

As for the home defense angle, none of the rifles would be intended for that purpose. I'm inclined to leave the rifles in the gun safe on the land, and rely on the handguns I already own for any defensive needs. May start hunting for a Henry next week.
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Old March 17, 2013, 06:56 AM   #24
jaysouth
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I have two alternatives to .22 rf that I use for grandkids. Both require handloading.

.30-30 topper, 113 cast bullet 5 gr. Bulleye

.357 MAX Handi rifle, 158 cast bullet over 5 grs. Bullseye in .38 spl cases.
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Old March 17, 2013, 07:28 AM   #25
Newton24b
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time to reload. for everyone.

22 hornet would be mighty nice. really drop squirrels and woodchucks far far beyond the 22lr.

but hey, whats to say a nice revolver isnt called for here?
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