Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Trapline Firearm

What gun I carry on the trapline depends on whether I am trapping from a truck or on foot. When trapping from a truck I usually carry an AR-15 platform rifle in .223 caliber so I can reach out and touch any hogs or coyotes I see while making my rounds. The AR-15 based rifles have come a long way since the Vietnam era civilian version and now are very accurate and dependable firearms. The new Remington R-15 predator version is one I highly recommend.

I am also a fan of a .22 rifle for the truck if I do not carry the heavier and louder .223. As to brand of .22 rifle carry what you prefer and have confidence in. I prefer a CZ bolt action or older Ruger 10/22 with good optics for reaching out a bit if the need arises. The old Marlin lever actions are another dependable brand. I do not recommend the newer Ruger 10/22 as they have gone to a plastic trigger assembly, a rough cast bolt and paint like dipped finish on the receivers. The CZ rifles are a quality tool much like the old Winchesters, Brownings and Remingtons most of us knew as children.

I seem to always end up with a .22 long rifle pistol or revolver in the truck or on my hip when I am running or setting traps. In my younger days I carried a colt revolver with a short barrel and it met all my trapline needs. In a weak moment I sold it to a collector that offered me too much for the little revolver and I was not able to replace it. I finally bought a stainless Ruger Single Six revolver to replace the colt and still have it today. It has been carried lots of miles and dispatched hundreds of animals through the years. It is often on my right hip when you find me running traps today.

I recently bought a small high tech plastic polymer pistol made by Walther and put out by Smith and Wesson in the USA. I really bought it for my wife to have a lightweight pistol to carry in her purse when she makes overnight trips. After shooting it I have found it is often in my jacket pocket when she does not have it. It is a Walther P-22 in .22 long rifle that is a joy to carry as it is so light. It will fire 10 rounds as fast as you can pull the trigger and accuracy is more than acceptable at short ranges. If weight is a factor on your line this is a pistol you should consider.

The pistol that I seem to pick up these days when I head out to check traps is a 1911 frame with a .22 long rifle conversion unit that allows me to shoot .22 from the standard 1911 model instead of .45 acp. This is a solid pistol with a proven system that holds 10 rounds and is very accurate. It has some weight but gives you the sense of well being that you know is within reach if you need it.

Now pay attention to the following as this will allow you to get the best performance out of your .22 firearm. There are three .22 cartridges that I use on the trapline. The first cartridge is the Remington CBee .22 Long Rifle. This is a subsonic round with .36 grain hollow point that moves at 780 feet per second. It makes about the same noise as a pellet gun when fired from a rifle and is an effective small game cartridge at close range and when you do not wish to make a bunch of noise. This is a great cartridge for dispatching smaller predators in the trap. The next cartridge is the CCI Velocitor which moves a 40 grain hollow point bullet at 1435 feet per second. This will be the cartridge to use for larger predators. This cartridge will get more power and range out of the .22 long rifle. If you get far from the truck or trap larger coyotes or even lion this is the cartridge to load into your trapline firearm. Last of all I really like the bulk packs of Federal.22 long rifle in solids or hollow point bullets sold at Wal-Mart and other box stores as they are reliable and will feed your rifle with enough power for most of your shooting needs on the trapline. Pick whatever gun you like just make sure you are familiar with how it works including all the safety mechanisms.
Shoot straight, Wild Ed

Remember to click on comments below to leave a comment or read the comments from other readers


Borepatch said...

That 1911 is yummy.

A friend has a .22 Magnum rifle, which looks like it might be good on Coyotes. Thoughts?

Wild Ed said...

I have killed coyotes with the .22 long rifle and the .22 magnum, but neither are my choice at any distance. I have seen a lot of coyotes hit with a .223 still run a way before expiring. If you are going to use the .22 magnum as a coyote gun you must precisely place your shots and keep the range as close as possible. That said if I come across a coyote with my .22 magnum unless at extreme range I will take the shot.