Reasons to have a bug out/survival 22 rimfire (or two) are endless and probably unique to you and your locale. Generally, it’s fairly straight forward, hunting probably tops the list but self-defense may also enter into the equation.
Since we are talking about an out-of-the-norm event (plenty of those around today), I would suggest keeping my selection(s) simple and would consider the track record of reliability with my chosen gun, whether by reputation, personal experience or better yet, both.
Confidence in the firearm’s system—including accessories and ammunition, as well as my ability to use it well, is critical. Efficiency of operation, basic field maintenance and ease of transport are also points to consider.
Without any doubt availability of ammunition is paramount when it comes to 22 rimfire. As you may have experienced yourself, 22 rimfire ammo can be problematic in certain guns and action types.
One top choice and most reliable in my experience, CCI Mini Mag in copper plated round nose.
With the above in mind, here are three picks for the best survival 22 rimfire, and I have used them all extensively:
Best 22 Rimfire Survival Rifles:
- Henry AR-7
- Ruger 10/22 Takedown
- Kel-Tec PMR 30
The Henry AR-7 is a 22 semi auto long rifle caliber weighing only 3.5 pounds and breaks down for carry in its own 16.5-inch stock. Barrel, action, and eight round magazines all store inside the water-resistant ABS plastic stock.
The little rifle comes with two eight round magazines and has been around for years. An enhanced US Survival Pack including the AR-7 is available from Henry Repeating Arms.
The disassembled AR-7 fits perfectly in the Allen brand carry bag that stores the other components of the kit. Two additional side pockets would also allow for additional small items of your preference.
Other key components of the US Survival pack include: Para cord, tourniquet, Mylar blanket, fire steel, knife, energy bar and water purification straw. It would be very easy to include a lightweight 22 handgun to this kit if you were so inclined, along with other key survival tools of your choosing.
Ruger 10/22 takedown
The Ruger 10/22 has been around forever it seems, and has proven its worth.
The Ruger 10/22 Takedown version with the accompanying pack, is a great choice for a survival 22. Chambered in 22 long rifle, it’s very adept at taking small game and even self-defense if it comes down to it.
Another plus, you can get 15 and 25 round Ruger factory magazines for this platform. Put a Ruger Mark III, Ruger SR22 pistol or Ruger Bearcat revolver in the pack with the take down 10/22 and you have a wonderful little survival pack that shoots the same caliber and can be easily transported.
If you like compact and maneuverable carbines in the hot 22 WMR rimfire cartridge then the Kel-Tec CMR-30 is a great choice. Kel-Tec introduced the CMR in .22 WMR on the market in early 2015 adding another player to their lineup of lightweight, compact rifles.
There’s a lot to admire about this little gun, and if you combine it with the Kel-Tec PMR-30 pistol (same caliber) you would have an outstanding package for hunting, survival, defense, and target shooting.
The magazines are 30 round capacity and are interchangeable between the pistol and carbine.
This carbine barrel is 16.1 inches with a 1 in 16-inch twist. With stock fully extended, the overall length is 30.6 inches. Thanks to mostly aluminum construction, it’s very light at 3.8 pounds unloaded.
Some will argue that their experience with one or all of the aforementioned 22’s has included feed issues or other reliability concerns. As I discussed earlier good, quality ammunition generally eliminates many of these problems and my top pick is CCI, whether 22 LR or 22 Mag.
I have personally used and tested all of these listed 22’s and have found them to be both reliable and accurate and would have no issue taking them into the field or carrying in my truck as survival package.
If your chosen bugout 22 is set up to accept a suppressor, like the Gemtec GM-22 you now have even a more diverse package for a wide range of survival needs.