Finding and buying a suitable .22 rifle for hunting.
For most hunters, you might buy a .22 for shooting rabbits, hares, opossums. Generally most .22's are pretty accurate and really it comes down to personal preference and cost. But really, for most new hunters it's about how much money you want to spend on whatever you would like to buy.
My Dads .22 BSA Sportsman. A very accurate inexpensive rifle.
The .22 is often referred to as the the .22 rimfire, this is because of how the bullet or cartridge works. When you load the bullet into the chamber to fire, the firing pin strikes the rim of the bullets 'shell'. Inside the bullets 'Shell' around the rim is a ignition compound that ignites when struck which inturn ignites the gun powder forcing the projectile down the barrel.
You could spend anywhere from $100 to $2000 on a .22 (infact you could spend even more)and that is just on the rifle. There's still scope mounts, a scope, perhaps a suppressor, sling, gun bag and probably other items also which I'll discuss soon. How much money you spend on a .22 is entirely up to you. You might find a cheap new .22 for $400 works perfectly fine. But you might want something that is a bit more accurate or specific and that might set you back $1000 or more.
My lever-action .22 BC Miroku, with suppressor, sling and very expensive scope.My first ever rifle I purchased, and still very accurate.
Should you buy second hand or that old .22 that is 60 years old ? As a rule most .22's are pretty accurate and even with thousands of bullets going through them, they can still shoot pretty well. I have a .22 that was manufactured around 1936 that is incredibly accurate and who knows how many bullets have gone through it. So you could pop into the local gun store and on the rack is a second hand BSA Sportsman for $150 that you could buy and it is still super accurate and will see you shooting it for the rest of your life. However you might find the barrel has been shot out and it's hopeless. A chance you have to take.
My .22 Remington made around 1936 and super accurate.
Buying a new .22, and let's say it costs you $600, worst case is it is dreadful and can't shoot accurately then atleast you can take it back and you might get another or a similar one to take out and try. But a new one should last a very long time and you could put thousands of bullets through it. And it should have a guarantee if it breaks or cannot shoot accurately.
What to buy, a bolt action, semi-auto, pump action or lever action ? In my opinion, I would always suggest a bolt action to a first time buyer. Why? because they teach better shooting skills, are generally more accurate and can be safer to use for new shooters. Semi-auto's, although fun, can teach poor skills because you know if you miss there is another shot at your finger tips and you will pull the trigger, miss, and again, miss, and again, miss. not teaching good shooting skills or accurate shot placement. Also semi-auto, pump and lever make a bit of noise loading them so often they are loaded and you rely on the safety, again not teaching good hunting skills.
A modern .22 CZ bolt action. A very accurate rifle and the safer bet.
So let's just say you've brought a .22 and you might find it comes with open sights. You will more than likely want to put a scope on your rifle and again this comes down to how much are you willing to spend. Again you could spend a few hundred dollars or a few thousand. Like most things the more money you spend the better the quality. In another blog I'll get into scopes so for this I'll say you have brought a Leupold scope which is a 3x9x40. ( This means it is a variable power scope going from 3 power up to 9 power Optically what you can see is 1 power so this scope starts at 3 power and by turning a dial on the scope can go up to 9 power optically what you can see. The 40 part is the larger front end of the scope, in that it is 40mm in diameter). You will also need rings or mounts to mount the scope to the rifle. Perhaps another $70-150.
Alright got your rifle, scope and mounts and you also might want to get a suppressor. This attaches to the front of the barrel and reduces the noise of the bullet coming out the barrel. From a loud bang to thump. It is well worth investing in a suppressor. Suppressors can range in price from a hundred dollars to maybe up to $7-800.
Another modern .22 with scope and suppressor.
Buy a good sling for your rifle to help you carry it. You will realize the benefits of having a sling the moment you walk up or down very steep country and need both hands free or when the terrain is wet or slippery.
Buy a good soft gun bag to carry your firearm in. This protects it from getting damaged and you might want to think of also buying a good hard cover carrying case . Ensure both can be locked by adding a small padlock to their zips on the soft bag and there will be a locking point on the hard cover case. The new rules for transportation state you have to have your firearm in a lockable transportation bag. So even though it is in a soft carry case it still needs to be lockable.
You will also need a cleaning kit, nothing too expensive but some good cleaner, a pull-through, pull-through rags, maybe a bore-snake. If you look at certain specific items these will also be able to be used for cleaning your other firearms.
A simple cleaning kit. Perhaps about $150 all up.
Taking your new .22 out to sight in, buy 5-6 different boxes of ammunition and try each through your new rifle. You may very well find there will be one packet of .22 bullets that group better or are more accurate through your rifle than the rest so stick to them from here on. When you sight your rifle in, sight it in to shoot as accurately as possible at a target center at a distance of about 30-40m. Hopefully you should with a bit of practice be able to hit about a 40mm circle at that distance and once you get some shooting skills in you can then get out and test it on some bunnies.
One thing to think about is the projectile weight of a .22, usually about 40 grains, they are only so accurate at so far so don't try to shoot too far out. Sight it in for a distance that you will be able to comfortably shoot too. The idea here is to as quickly and as humanly dispatch the animal you are shooting at, not wound it and cause a slow death. It's about having ethics.
Also remember the projectile will ricochet so be careful and mindful of your surroundings.
Remember, a .22 it is not a toy, treat it with respect and as a great learning tool. The more time you spend shooting it the better you become and they are a cheap way to enhance your skills, knowledge and firearms safety.