By Jeff Oxford — Guns for prepping. That is a topic we can talk about for article after article. There are considerations for both hunting and self-protection. Today we are going to look at the small-game-hunting role and why I think a reliable and lightweight .22 can be a valuable asset.
A lot of people praise the .22 as the ultimate survival rifle. I don’t believe this is true, but I do believe a 22 LR rifle is a valuable resource. One of the best that fills this role is the Chiappa Little Badger.
The Little Badger is a single-shot 22 LR rifle that has the ability to fold in half. This strictly utilitarian gun won’t win any beauty contests, but it goes bang when the trigger is pulled.
In total, the rifle weighs only 2.9 pounds and is 31 inches long unfolded. When folded, it’s only 16.5 inches long. It’s thin and lightweight, using only a skeletonized stock and 16.5-inch barrel.
Why a .22?
A .22 rifle serves a limited role in the survival community. It’s a good working gun for taking care of pests and varmint, as well taking small game like rabbits, squirrels, and even birds. The cheap rifle ammo they use makes it easy to stock up, and the low weight makes it easy to carry long term. A brick of five hundred rounds can fit in your cargo pocket.
A center-fire rifle or pistol has much larger and heavier ammo. You certainly need a center-fire rifle and handgun, but you don’t want to waste that precious source of ammo on hunting small game. Save that ammo for large game and defensive use.
Small game is much easier to hunt than medium and large game are. I can walk out into my yard and shoot squirrels and even rabbits. I can’t do the same with deer and hogs.
A .22 rifle offers survivalists and preppers a lot of versatility. That versatility often comes at the cost of weight and having to carry another rifle.
Rarely is a 22 LR a good self-defense weapon. This is where the Chiappa shines. Its lightweight and folding nature make it a perfect survival .22 rifle.
It can be strapped to the outside of a pack, or it barely takes up room inside a pack. This little gun is also mechanically very simple.
That means it’s reliable. Open the breach, load a round, close the breach, cock the hammer, and fire. It doesn’t get simpler than that.
There are sections of picatinny rails for accessories, but I like to keep my Chiappa thin and light. The sights are plastic, but robust in design. They are peep sights and plenty accurate for close range use.
A mini red dot may be a great addition for low-light shooting. The barrel is threaded for muzzle devices, and a suppressor will make this thing close to silent.
On the Range
Hitting the range with this little gun is a blast. My biggest complaint is the short length of pull, but I’m also 6’5″ and have gorilla arms. Other than that, the gun is a blast. It’s a 22 LR, so it’s soft shooting, which is great because wire stocks can be painful in larger calibers.
Loading and firing are simple. The trigger is a bit stiff, but the pull is short and consistent. I enjoyed it once I got used to it. The hammer is easy to reach and cock, as well as decock, when necessary.
The sights are designed for shooting at twenty-five, fifty, and seventy-five yards. I took the rifle out to twenty-five yards for accuracy testing. My average group was just under an inch and a half. That makes it plenty accurate for taking out small game.
Taking the gun from folded and unloaded to shooting takes less than ten seconds, including the careful aim needed to take a shot. The Chiappa Little Badger is a simple rifle, and simple is good. The manual action is reliable and hard to break. The gun has proven itself to be accurate and easy to both shoot and carry.
Is it the best 22 LR rifle for everything? Probably not, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better 22 LR rifle for prepping.
Jeff Oxford is the Community Relations Manager for Ammunition Depot: https://www.ammunitiondepot.com/