At the Gun Counter, I frequently come across one of two of the most common misconceptions.
1. If you want a “Carry Gun”, it’s got to be tiny and it has to be as light as two graham crackers lightly dipped in skim milk. The Walther P22 seems to be what the ignorant head for right off the bat. “For the same size, and not much more weight, you can get the Walther PPS in 9mm… a much more effective defensive cartridge.” This logical counter point almost never works. I don’t know who the hell it is, but out there somewhere is the Jim Jones of Self Defense telling people the Walther P-22 is The Shizznit for all things Self Defense. I want to find this guy, and strangle him with my bare hands.
We carry defensive guns to Stop a Threat. “Oh, but .22 is the most lethal round ever made.” Yes, it’s very capable of punching fatal holes in things… but what it’s not good at is stopping that threat right now. Of course, no handgun is… handguns suck at stopping threats right now. But that doesn’t mean with throw our hands up in the air and just use the smallest and weakest. Some rounds are better than others and the only thing worse than a .22LR is the .25ACP. Actually, I think .22 Short might be in between there somewhere. My point is, if I’m coming at you with a knife, and you pull a .22 on me… you might kill me. But I’m putting my money on you being at the Pearly Gates long before I get there.
We shoot to stop the threat. Not to kill the threat, to stop a badguy from harming us or our loved ones. The death of the threat is the consequence of that threat’s decision to attempt harm on you or yours. And stopping that threat is going to take more than a .22LR.
2. “I want shoot 1,000 yards so I need a Super Ultra Cannon and I need to top it with the Hubble Space Telescope.” That’s great, that you have a goal in life. But you don’t need shoulder fired artillery to do that. And you don’t need to read the serial numbers on orbiting satellites. 1,000 yards is ten football fields. It’s a long way, but it’s not exactly an odyssy. The lowly .308 Winchester gets there just fine. The only problem is that once it gets there, it’s as tired and weak as a half drowned kitten. It hit’s like a .38 Special. Which is fine if your target is a human wearing a cotton shirt, but not an animal you are hunting. Reason being, it’s not an ethical kill. Even if you do place your shot well. Ask your self this, does your state allow you to hunt big game with a .38 Special revolver? No? Then it’s not ethical. So if your target is just paper or plate, then .308 will do just fine. You can go up from there as your power requirement necessitates, but you don’t have to start out launching Saturn V Rockets just to ring steel at a Grand. The best rounds all around for popping at a grand is the .300 Win Mag and the 7mm Rem Mag. Those still have enough energy for an ethical kill shot on a deer with a very well placed shot. Between the two, I prefer the 7mm Rem Mag for it’s advantage in exterior ballistics. But if you look at some ballistic graphs that show trajectory, velocity, energy… you see that it’s not a huge advantage. Coming up in Popularity is the WSM cartridges… the .300 and the .270 WSM’s are excellent. A guy in the UK broke world records with a 7mm WSM… the least popular of the WSM line up, actually less popular than the .325 WSM, which I like. Oh well.
To get a gun that shoots 1,000 yards is really no big deal. The trick is to get one that can do it consistently. Consistency is the key. That means a good bedding, a good trigger, and good clear optics. Most any factory barrels these days are going to be just fine for this. Most factory guns are now shooting an MOA or better with factory ammo of reasonable quality. That means a 10 inch circle at 1,000 yards. Most new rifles off the shelf, can do this. I say most, not all. A 399 Weatherby Vanguard can do this… or at least most of them that I’ve seen.
In a nut shell, your gun can do it. At this point, it’s not the Plane, it’s the Pilot. At this point, you have to do your job well. You have to know your rifle. You have to have it zeroed… actually zeroed… not “good enough” zeroed and not “Bout 2 inches high at a hunnered.”