I grew up shooting. Just about anything with a trigger was eventually subject of my fondling at one time or another. Handheld crossbows, wooden rubber-band slingshots, Nerf guns, air rifles, BB guns, even moving from primitive archery to shooting from a release with a trigger. I was addicted to shooting. I still am addicted to shooting. Everything.
Early on my greatest solace came while shooting my bow. Something about marksmanship with an arrow is calming, relaxing, and even spiritual. Take that and the fact that my dad was cool with me working my arrow group size down when he wasn’t home more so than he was with shooting any firearm no matter how small when his watchful eye wasn’t around. That only lasted a few years, but during that time I fell in love with the silent marksmanship that came with the stick and string.
The older I got and the more comfortable my pops got with my ability to safely handle a firearm I began rapidly making our surplus of .22 Rimfire disappear with uncanny regularity. My first weapon of choice was my great grandfather’s Remington Model 34 .22 bolt action rifle. It wasn’t shiny or even a really cool looking rifle but it fired every time and rocked the heads off squirrels at 25+ yards with startling consistency. Probably my favorite part about the rifle was that it was capable of firing Short, Long and Long Rifle .22 cartridges. I could shoot CB Shorts (they fire on just the primer with no gunpowder and still get 700+ FPS). No matter what, the old Remington fired everything it was fed every time with outstanding accuracy, no matter how cheap the ammo. Though I did love the Model 34, it wasn’t long before a Marlin Model 925M entered our home and I declared war on every coyote (woodchucks too if I could find them. Unfortunately I didn’t grow up in prairie dog land where I live now) in a 3 mile radius of our back porch with the then limited .22 Magnum cartridge. This was before the VMax, before the Accushot ballistic tip rounds from Remington and other high powered .22 Magnum offerings from CCI, Federal and Winchester. The .22 Magnum (officially created in 1959) I grew up with was only half again as fast as the .22 Long Rifle and was most often available in a conical round nose or hollow point round.
Today not a whole lot has changed save for the addition of the .17 HMR to my repertoire. I love shooting the big centerfire rounds, but I can spend hours on end and thousands of rounds plinking with rimfires for a fraction of the cost. Even though replica rimfires for example aren’t as realistic as training with the real thing, the good news is you can spend lots of trigger time working on form, ironing out kinks and sending thousands of rounds downrange for a sliver of the cost of centerfire rounds in comparative firearms. Close range accuracy is outstanding and thanks to low recoil and a quieter “bang” .22s are a great way to introduce new shooters to the sports. Thanks to quality .22 conversions for full framed guns like 1911s, AR-15 and AK pattern rifles and even full size replicas built specifically on the .22 platform, it’s easier than ever to find your way into shooting with the specific model of weapon you prefer.
In short, I love rimfires. I love how inexpensive it is to shoot through a whole load of mixed brand .22 Long Rifle. I love how like shooting my bow it’s less invasive to my silent mystical world I live in while my finger is on the trigger. I like that rimfire guns are smooth and friendly for new shooters and even quieter options like subsonic rounds are available. So it doesn’t matter how much I love my handguns in 9mm, .40 S&W or .45 ACP or my rifles in .223, 7.62x39mm, .280 Remington, .300 Win Mag or what purpose they serve. I will always, always, always LOVE rocking rimfire rounds every time I get to the range or ambush a prairie dog town.
You can read more from Ebbs on his website at HausofGuns.com