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Thread: How about building a CHEAP .22LR survival type rifle?

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    How about building a CHEAP .22LR survival type rifle?

    This probably should have been posted over on rimfirecentral.com and I may do that later, but I thought I'd share it with all my friends here on Taurus Armed.

    Now, there are a number of good .22LR survival type rifles out there that are ready made, but how would you like to build one yourself that's very light (3 pounds or less), quite accurate (under 1" at 25 yards) and easy to create with minimal tools? It will easily strap to a back pack or bug-out bag and not overly increase the carry weight. It will serve well as a small game getter for the camp and back-up to whatever centerfire rifle you have planned for your kit.

    Enter the Crickett youth rifle with the black synthetic stock. The reason I selected this one is I was able to obtain one on the used market for under $100 that was in excellent condition. The "out of the box" trigger pull is around 2.5 lbs and pretty clean with minimal creep and a nice break. The original sights are adjustable though by no means precision. The receiver is drilled and tapped 6/48 so a scope can be mounted if desired and for a cheap little single shot rifle, the accuracy is quite good as it comes out of the box.

    The butt of the synthetic stock is hollow and there is plenty of room in there to carry a reasonably extensive kit of survival essentials, such as a zip-loc baggie containing a small roll of 8 lb test monofilament, some snap swivels, fishhooks, a 20' hank of para-cord, some band-aids and a small bottle of iodine plus one of those Harbor Freight miniature box knives with a 10 pack of replacement blades and a magnesium fire starter. Also (external to the baggie) there's room for 50 rounds of ammo and one of those individual sized Mylar "space blankets" which should be used to wrap everything in and will keep it from rattling. All you have to do is carry a small pocket knife with a phillips screwdriver blade to easily remove the plastic butt plate to get at this stuff.

    Mine is still somewhat of a work in progress but is very close to completion. I'm still waiting on the space blanket to arrive so I can finish the project.

    The Crickett, surprisingly is an extremely accurate little single-shot .22. Even with my poor eyesight, I was able to hold at least 1" groups st 25 yards using the iron sights (peep rear and triangular point front).

    With my 70 year old eyesight, I need a little help so I chose to mount a light scope. I modified the normal Crickett mounting rail by shortening it even with the chamber so I wouldn't have to remove the rear sight (scopes do break) and first mounted a Vortex StrikeFire red/green dot for the initial tests. Since the Vortex cost twice what I paid for the rifle, I removed it and mounted an inexpensive BSA "Tactical" 4X scope ($60 from Optics Planet with free shipping and half the weight of the Vortex) on it using just the front ring.

    The ring I selected was one out of a Weaver set of "see through" rings available for less than $10 at Walmart. That way I can use the scope and still be able to use the iron sights through the open portion of the ring. Turns out this works quite well. Make sure the crosshairs are level and tighten all hardware as tight as possible without damaging anything. Probably a good idea to put a drop of blue loc-tite on each of the screws and let it set overnight.

    While getting the rings at Walmart, pick up an inexpensive sling and a mounting kit as the synthetic stock is drilled for them. Use the short, coarse threaded stud in the front and the longer one in the rear. If you use the long one on the front, it will protrude and contact the barrel which is actually already free-floated and you don't want to mess that up.

    The initial range tests were with the Vortex and it performed well, but the 4 MOA dot made the 2" bullseye on the target difficult to judge properly even at 25 yards. I did manage to keep the groups under 1", but decided that a red-dot might not be the way to go for harvesting small game so the BSA scope was mounted and zeroed. The attached target shows the final 5 shots as I was walking it toward center at 25 yards. Ammo used was, admittedly, Aguila Golden Eagle match ammo and I haven't tried the cheap Federal bulk pack hollow points in it yet.

    First picture is with the Vortex StrikeFire mounted and the second one is with the BSA 4X30 Tactical mounted. Both are mounted with one ring and this arrangement is amazingly quite stable. Hope this gives you guys some good ideas to work with. The project is easy to duplicate or customize to your own preferences. Good luck.
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    Jim
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    “The only dumber thing than taking guns away from good people, is to think that you will take guns away from criminals.”

    You asked the forum for advice? That's like asking a black Lab to fetch your slippers with a squirrel loose in the house!

    Retired U.S. Army Security Agency, NRA Life Member, Certified Handgun instructor, Range Safety Officer and
    Metallic Cartridge Reloading instructor.

    Amateur Radio Operator since 1963 Current callsign W0EB.

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    I like your budget DIY approach - very cool project. There are a couple of new 22s that come to mind - the key is that they break doen and each have a soft carry case that could be a mini bugout bag as well:

    -Ruger 10/22 Takedown 22LR 18.5" - 10 +1, 4.6lb. with soft carry case
    -MARLIN PAPOOSE MODEL 70PSS, SEMI AUTO RIFLE, 22 LR, TAKE-DOWN W/CASE, 7+1 with soft carry case

    Both seem to be in short supply - probably due to a lot of folks thinking like yourself. The new 22s will run 300 or more depending BUT they are semi autos.

    Marlin review: Good for backpacking...Sturdy, pack-able, light, very accurate. And that removable barrel makes it a breeze to clean. I keep getting mine seriously wet but that great Marlin stainless keeps things the way they ought to be.

    Ruger:
    First of all the bag it comes in, is top notch quality. It feels well made and holds the rifle, a scope, 3 bx-25 mags, and even some spare parts and ammo without any trouble and the sling feels sturdy(however untested in long term use). The 10/22 takedown really is as simple as it looks to takedown and re-assemble, and has seemed to hold its zero every time. I installed the scope rail with easy and everything else is just simple 10/22 reliability. You cannot go wrong with this purchase!
    If we choose, we can live in a world of comforting illusion.
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    ...OH and the Henry that breaks down and fits in the butt stock - teflon coated and made for the outdoors! http://henryrepeating.com/rifle-survival-ar7.cfm

    8
    +1 and two mags - MSRP (black) $275.
    weighing in at a scant 2.5 pounds

    I may have to look at that one further!!
    Last edited by mingaa; 08-24-2012 at 11:23 AM.
    If we choose, we can live in a world of comforting illusion.
    Noam Chomsky


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    But, the reason that I didn't mention any of those is that the focus of this thread was CHEAP! Not 3 and 4 hundred dollar guns that may or may not be reliable. The little single shot Crickett doesn't cost a lot, and also eats short, longs and long rifle ammo (I forgot to mention that in the OP) reliably. Besides, with a single shot, you are more likely to follow the "Aim small, miss small" rule of thumb and not waste ammo when hunting.

    Cases that carry ammo are fine, but subject to getting lost in the heat of the situation, hence using the hollow stock for storage. Also, storing basic survival stuff in the stock rather than a carrying case keeps it with you whereas the case would necessarily be left behind if you were out hunting so as not to get in the way.

    Pro's and con's for both ways of doing things. However, I posted this as an idea for those with not a lot of money and still needing something along the lines of a reliable survival or backup rifle.
    Last edited by JimSheldon; 08-24-2012 at 11:32 AM.
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    Jim
    ____________________
    “The only dumber thing than taking guns away from good people, is to think that you will take guns away from criminals.”

    You asked the forum for advice? That's like asking a black Lab to fetch your slippers with a squirrel loose in the house!

    Retired U.S. Army Security Agency, NRA Life Member, Certified Handgun instructor, Range Safety Officer and
    Metallic Cartridge Reloading instructor.

    Amateur Radio Operator since 1963 Current callsign W0EB.

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    A friend of mine has one of those 22s. He could shoot a 22 short from them and you'd think there was a suppressor on the gun, very quiet. Great idea!
    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks." -Thomas Jefferson

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    Jim - I got the budget point of the project. The problem (or fun of the hunt) is you have to find one to buy it. I know the Ruger and Marlin area stretch of what you were proposing - the Henry is similar as the chamber and barrel store in the stock. I see them on the net new for just over $200 which is fairly budget minded - in fact I've been looking at 22 ballistics and really thinking of having a Henry put on layaway for myself. I agree that no semi-auto is able to beat a single shot for reliability but today's major manufacturers have 22 semi-autos pretty well sorted out and that follow up shot could be the difference between rabbit stew and chewing roots, no?!

    Believe me I'm with you on cost effective solutions brother! It's still a work in progress but before long I'll post up my $12.50 twin baby carriage Multi-Gun competition cart. It's mostly ingenuity, Dremel, Velcro and nylon webbing. I've had it to 3 events and get a LOT of (good natured) comments from the guys that dropped $175-200 at Cabelas for 'gun carts'. Mine has front ad rear suspension, cooler space down low for stability and is quite a sight when fully loaded - oh and I almost forgot the cup holder! ASAP on that photo shoot!
    aquajim, JimSheldon and gyro_cfi like this.
    If we choose, we can live in a world of comforting illusion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mingaa View Post
    Believe me I'm with you on cost effective solutions brother! It's still a work in progress but before long I'll post up my $12.50 twin baby carriage Multi-Gun competition cart. It's mostly ingenuity, Dremel, Velcro and nylon webbing. I've had it to 3 events and get a LOT of (good natured) comments from the guys that dropped $175-200 at Cabelas for 'gun carts'. Mine has front ad rear suspension, cooler space down low for stability and is quite a sight when fully loaded - oh and I almost forgot the cup holder! ASAP on that photo shoot!
    If nothing else, you gotta post a thread on that "gun cart". I might have been able to beat your price as my neighbor was moving and had a yard sale. There was a really nice "Twin" baby carriage they were giving away because nobody bought it. I never even thought about making a "gun" cart out of it or I would have grabbed it. Went to the dump, more's the pity. Didn't look like it had any wear on it at all. The tires didn't even look scuffed! Like yours, it had some really good spring suspension.

    Come to think about it, it was really pretty sturdy too. Might have even been strong enough to use for hauling a medium sized white tail out of the woods or field but it would probably need larger diameter wheels on it for that.
    Last edited by JimSheldon; 08-24-2012 at 12:52 PM.
    Jim
    ____________________
    “The only dumber thing than taking guns away from good people, is to think that you will take guns away from criminals.”

    You asked the forum for advice? That's like asking a black Lab to fetch your slippers with a squirrel loose in the house!

    Retired U.S. Army Security Agency, NRA Life Member, Certified Handgun instructor, Range Safety Officer and
    Metallic Cartridge Reloading instructor.

    Amateur Radio Operator since 1963 Current callsign W0EB.

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    The Cricket can be found at Wal-Mart. Often on sale under $100.00. If they don't have one in stock they will order it for you.

    I think this is a great idea. At first I thought you were talking about making your own breakdown gun. I like this idea better, having a decent survival kit right in the gun. I would be interested in seeing what your complete inventory is and the total weight when done. Again I like this idea.
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    I've got an old Savage Model 24 (.22/410) that belonged to my MIL. Bought in mid 50's, I think. It functions as a good survival gun. I also have a Marlin 981T bolt action (synthetic stock) with a Mossberg 3x9 scope on it. Also has sling mounts. I think I paid $110 for it. I use mostly shorts in it. Great squirrel and rabbit gun. Both are probably heavier than the Crickett youth rifle, though. I also have a Mossberg Tactical .22 with a Tasco red dot sight on it in the survival locker. Fun gun to shoot and is great for small game.

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    I'd also like to see something like that but an over under .22/.410 or .22mag/.410 that totally breaks apart maybe with a collapsible stock and stores in a short backpack case.

 

 
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