Too much emphasis on .22lr ammo is being circulated by preppers as an “absolute must buy at any price” survival item. While they are a wonderful round with lots of purposes I want to challenge this belief by providing some alternatives ways to replace .22lr in your life, to conserve them better, and rethink your dependency on them.
The .22lr Ammo Supply Challenge
At the time of writing this the ammo shortage of 2014 still effecting some select calibers such as 380, .22lr, 9mm, and 38 special to name a few. Motley Fool reported to investors that the demand for firearms and ammo is decreasing, and as a result the shortage should soon be over. So far my personal experience shows I still can’t go to a store and buy 22lr off the shelf at any price and have to go online. In my past articles I cover why there is a shortage on .22lr ammo and how to find 22lr ammo. The question I pose is should you be focusing heavily on 22lr for your survival plan, and are there alternatives to conserve or replace your .22lr? Let’s look at some of the key attributes to .22lr and look at the alternatives.
Small Game Hunting
Small Game hunting is considered the primary use for .22lr by the prepper. This round is what will keep meat on your table. However when you are hunting your accuracy better be spot on because rarely do you get a second shot. If you are depending on that animal to keep your family alive like most people would be in a crash, finding animals will be difficult enough you can’t afford to miss. Some Alternatives and ways to make your small game hunting more successful.
20 gauge Shotgun – You can greatly improve your odds with a 20 gauge shotgun shell full of field or #6 shot. The spread pattern will improve your chances of hitting a squirrel or rabbit. 410 and other shotgun rounds are also good options however the cost per round or amount of damage they do to the meat makes them less attractive.
Pellet Gun — A 22 caliber spring based pellet gun is also a great alternative. Since it doesn’t use gun powder it will be quite enough that you can get a second shot off improving your chances of bring home dinner. In way of reloading you can also buy molds to make your own pellets which is great when you factor in that Primers and smokeless powder will run out sometime. Follow this link if you are looking to buy a pellet gun.
Suppressor — Using a suppressor on a .22lr can help give you a second shot. However you will need to use subsonic ammo to make sure the speed doesn’t cause a sonic boom that alerts the animals. Suppressors aren’t illegal they are just controlled. They are actually easy to acquire. You just need to fill out some paperwork and pay a 200 tax fee. When asked on the paperwork “why do you want a suppressor?”, simply say for “Personal Use” or “All Lawful purposes.” Now it is advised if you do go get one set up a Gun trust and have the trust buy the suppressor. It will help you by-pass the requirement of getting a local sheriff to sign off on it and help protect your family and friends from criminal charges should you pass away and the ATF wants to confiscate it. Simply having your wife hand it to them can make her a felon. This also allows you to put a friend on the trust and have them use it without you being present.
Ad-hoc Suppressor — Some people have skirted the legal process for a suppressor and use “Oil Patch trap Adapters” or “Gun Thread Adapters”. These a simple threading adapters that convert the threading on a “pipe that happens to be the same size as a gun barrel” to the size of an oil filter’s threading. These are marketed as a way to catch the Oil run off and Patches when cleaning your firearm. If you see these in action they work remarkably well.
There are legal questions associated to using them as suppressor but some people like to have these on hand for cleaning their firearm or in the case of a collapse they need to “make a oil filter fit some sort of small threaded pipe.” These are easy to come by however some places like ebay and amazon shutdown the sale of this item when they are made aware of them so the search terms can change. For your convenience here is a link to the Last Minute prepper store where I maintain links to these oil filter adapters. These are listed and fulfilled by amazon vendors and following the links from our store helps support this site.
Quite Rounds — Another option is to use Aguila Super Colibri rounds. These are powderless 22 ammo that uses a primer only. Out of a rifle they are extremely quite. Handguns they are quite enough to not make your ears ring. Before the Ammo Shortage I bought 5k of these at $0.05 a round. Now they are going for around $0.35 per round. They are so quiet that you can convert your basement crawl space into a simple range. They don’t have enough power to cycle the bolt on a semi auto so I would recommend a bolt action rifle for these rounds.
Crossbow — For thousands of years humans used bow and arrow to hunt. Firearms made the hunt a lot easier. The crossbow acts as a good inbetween. It allows you to hunt quietly and it also gives you reusable ammo. That is something you can’t say for a firearm. I’m sure many fans of AMC’s The Walking Dead realized a good crossbow is a great item to have. Not just because Daryl Dixon carries it. If you are needing one click here to browse crossbows.
Another reason .22lr ammo is so popular for a prepper is that they can be used for defense and has a low weight to it. While a .22lr is a deadly bullet with good shot placement. There are many documented accounts of people being mortally wounded by 9mm and continuing to function as if they didn’t know they were dead. This round can be used for defense but isn’t the best choice for this round. If the prices remain this high a single AK round is worth two 22lr rounds. I would rather buy the AK ammo.
Training is a key component to why the ammo is scarce. Since almost every platform has a 22lr conversion kit or can bought in 22lr. This is a great way to get more repetitions with trigger pulls but it doesn’t factor in recoil compensation so the training isn’t quite the same. I still think there is value in using the intended gun and ammo over the conversion even if you get half the repetitions.
AirSoft — If you are practicing holster draws, CQB or other disciplines that you don’t need range or recoil consider airsoft alternatives. There are many law enforcement agencies who have opted for airsoft based training to offset ammo costs. You can buy an airsoft replica of most major platforms that have a comparable weight and feel to the real thing. This has been a great way for me to practice holster draws in a safe manner any time of the day.
BB Gun/ Pellet Gun — Don’t forget that BB guns and pellet guns are great to train with. How many kids in america grew up learning their shooting fundamentals with a BB gun? These aren’t the toys people make them out to be. These can be used for hunting and basic marksmanship. Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) uses them for training so it can’t be all bad right?
This is one of the most common reason preppers start hoarding hundreds of thousands of rounds of .22lr is to use as a barter item. While there is no doubt that there will be a demand for them it’s like hording nickles in a survival world currency. The higher calibers are far more likely to start drying up before the .22lr which means they will command a higher price. The gap between them will probably start out to be the same as it is currently but over time will grow as the willingness of people to sell the higher calibers goes down and supply dries up. Precious metals aren’t the answer either. They can preserve wealth into a new form society their value won’t be recognized until the basic needs of people are met by society and barter. Some of the best barter items will be the same basic needs or better the vices we have today; Coffee, alcohol and tobacco. Coffee is current the second largest traded commodity behind petroleum. Coffee will prove to be one of the best barter items as it’s extremely difficult to grow in most of the USA. Alcohol will also be valuable as it can be used for medicinal purposes beyond a poor means of coping with the change in the world. I also believe Antibiotics and medicine will prove valuable too.
While .22LR ammo is valuable and important in the life of a prepper, you need to maintain a proper perspective. If it’s too expensive start looking at alternatives so you can channel your money to get more important items. The tips outlined here should provide you some ways to conserve your .22lr ammo or make them more effective. If you have any additional tips or insights please leave a comment below I would love to hear yours.