So, I was reading this good Zombie novel, "Still Alive..." by A. C. Thorne.
I love a good Zombie book and "Still Alive..." is definitely one of the better ones. There are a couple of sappy chapters but overall it's one of my current favorites. It's one of the few zombie books with a strong female main character (written by a woman, I'm thinking), that is action packed, surprising, and very well written. Several times it caused flash backs to the novel "I am Legend" by Richard Matheson, a classic, which I'm sure was intended by the author. Over all "Still Alive..." is a very good read and I hope that the series continues soon.
One of the things that caught my attention in the book is the main character's main weapon. She stumbles onto a "tactical" .22lr semi auto rifle and uses it very effectively. From the description in the book I'm thinking it was an AR style .22lr, like the Smith and Wesson M&P-15/22. At one point she is critical of another survivor that didn't make it, who used larger calibers. She thought that the semi-auto .22lr with hi-cap magazines was far more effective than a hunting style rifle in a larger caliber. Able to shoot rapidly, can carry lots of ammo, low recoil, accurate, and with high capacity...
Ok, interesting idea... normally I would have forgotten about it and moved on, however, a buddy of mine had just purchased an M&P-15/22 ($500) and was taking it to the range this weekend. I invited myself along to see if maybe it might actually be the perfect zombie killing rifle.
A couple of things I should mention first; I'm not a fan of semi-auto in general (they just aren't as much fun at the range), I'm not a fan of "Black Rifles" (I don't like the look of military-style rifles), and the idea of having an AR in the .22lr caliber seemed really idiotic. If you're getting an AR, why not go for a real one in 5.56? Or, If you want a semi-auto .22lr, why not get a 10/22? Cheaper and less ugly. But I decided to try it out and make an attempt at keeping an open mind.
I had a f***ing blast.
I had so much fun that the M&P-15/22 is now high on my wish list. Seriously, I want one. Bad.
My buddy had no idea what he was buying, he just thought it would be fun toy. So, before we went to the range I helped him get the sights set up, got the rifle cleaned, and range ready. It was incredibly easy to clean, easy to set up, came with nice iron sights (it has a two size flip-up ghost-ring sight, easily adjustable). It was mostly plastic, extremely light weight, and I was a little worried how it would hold up at the range.
There was no reason to worry, this thing was a freakin' tank. After I got it sighted in, this thing was a tack driver out to 100 yards. That would have been cool, but what amazed me was how light the kick was, which meant extremely fast follow up shots. I mean, keep both eyes open and you could acquire targets, fire, and be back on target in a fraction of a second. It cycled flawlessly (only one misfeed, which I think was probably a fluke) over 300 rounds.
We were at the silhouette range and the semi-auto was addictive. There were two lines, 50 yards and another at 100 yards. The iron silhouettes were about 1ft by 1ft. At 50 yards I could hit the targets faster than 1 per second, going down the line either direction. And it's so quiet, so quick handling, so little recoil, it almost feels like it's a toy.
Bang, Ping, Bang, Ping, Bang, Ping, Bang, Ping... as fast as you could acquire the target and pull the trigger. It was almost video game easy, too easy. Reload the magazine, back to work.
I thought a .22lr AR was stupid, but even if you just look at the cost vs range time ratio it's worth picking up. I typically spent at least $50 in ammo for some decent time at the range. I mean, cheap pistol rounds are 25-35 cents, most rifle rounds are between 50 cents and a dollar. .308 for my Scout Rifle is almost a dollar a round. Rifle shooting gets expensive fast.
However, you can buy 500 rounds .22lr for 20 bucks. You just can't beat .22lr for cost and weight. It's easy on the wallet, easy to stockpile, and you can easily carry hundreds of rounds. Maybe you want to train, get used to an AR, or a cheap plinker for the range, or have a fun rifle for the youngsters, then this would be a fairly inexpensive way to do it. Or maybe you should keep one in the closet, just in case there is a zombie apocalypse.
This rifle is so easy to use, so accurate, so simple, that it is freakin' awesome. Defend against zombies, fun at the range, easy to use... this thing is awesome.
I've seen a lot of arguments about whether the .22lr is powerful enough to take down zombies. The round is so small and low powered that it really limits the ability to get through a skull. I'm not a ballistics or forensic expert, but I'll give a quick opinion on it. .22lr in a pistol would probably be effective out to 20-30 feet, depending on your accuracy (any further than that and I think you'd have to be an exceptionally accurate shot). Out of a rifle though, I think you could extend that range out to around 50 yards, again depending on your accuracy. Accuracy is such a huge factor because the .22lr is such a small round it's far more susceptible than other rounds to glance off the skull rather than punching through. The shot would need to be a direct, straight-on shot.
I hesitated to think that a .22lr would be a good zombie killer, with accuracy and speed being so vitally important. However, this M&P-15/22 has me seriously considering it. I think you'd be hard pressed to find a rifle that can shoot as quickly and accurately.
So, I think I'm going to have to pick up one for myself. It'll be cheap fun at the range and when the zombie apocalypse happens I'll let you know how effective it is. Now I just need to talk Hornady into making these in .22lr...