Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Woodpiles, Woods Cruising, and Woodsman's Rifles

I knew our Ol' Uncle Remus was a man of great wisdom and insight.  He proves it again:

I toted a rifle in .22 WMR, crank-action, topped with a low power scope. Sighted for ahunnerd yards with 40 grainers. Good for feeling dangerous. It carries well muzzle down. And a big ol' Schrade knife with a quarter-inch thick fixed blade sharpened to where its shadow alone will cut paper. My trusty Sunto wrist compass, natch. Around here compasses are like small town newspapers, people read 'em to make sure they got the facts right. North stayed just where it should be the whole time, a few degrees off the pointer. Check.

As readers know, I have a weird and somewhat inexplicable affection for and attachment to the .22 WMR.  I noted here almost five years ago that I had picked up a used Marlin 982 stainless .22 mag rifle.  It had a scope on it when I bought it, a Tasco 3-9x that I didn't really like, but it was functional.  I couldn't justify buying a new one for it.  However, I had the opportunity to help out a young man who was selling a nice Leupold scope, 4-14x, which I put on my Model 700 .25-06.  This left me with a Nikon 3-9x not attached to anything.  So I put it on the Marlin, and that gives me a happier setup.  

I imagine that Ol' Remus and I are in the last generation of those who appreciate both the strengths and weaknesses of the .22 magnum.  Another fifty years and it will be as obsolete and forgotten as something like the .25-20.

My older brother, many years ago, abandoned his .22 WMR for the .223 because, as he rightly claimed, he could reload ammunition for the centerfire as cheap or cheaper than he could buy rimfire fodder for the little magnum.  I could see his point.  Sometimes, though, I don't want to reload ammunition.  Perhaps when I retire and have less money as well as more time to fill with such activities, they will appeal to me more.   

For now, fifty rounds of CCI hollowpoints will fit in a pocket and, if it came to that, feed and defend me for a month or two.  The .223/5.56mm certainly outclasses the rimfire, especially beyond a hundred or a hundred and twenty-five yards.  That's part of the fun, I guess.  It's like going to the prom with the geeky girl when you could have gone with the most popular cheerleader.  You may lose style points, but you accomplish more or less the same end with a lot less fuss and trouble.  

It's not the most accurate round in the world, but it is accurate enough and more accurate than most who shoot it.  It is not particularly powerful, but it is surprisingly effective if the shooter knows both his limits and the limits of the round.  It is shootable by anyone, plus handguns -- mostly revolvers except fot the Kel-Tec PMR-30 -- are available in the same caliber.  Handguns in .22 WMR are great for small game, if the shooter does his part, and they will work for self-defense, though not everyone's first choice.  

From it's inception, the .22 WMR has been embraced by those who roam in places where ranges are mostly limited.  It's a woodsman's rifle.  I guess that makes me a woodsman.  

1 comment:

  1. I saw that as well, that ol' Remus was a fan. And I thought, that will bring a smile to Mush.