Years ago, many parents began teaching their kids to shoot when they were young. My parents started teaching me when I was 4-years-old. My dad used a single shot .22 rifle. He taught me how to load, use it safely and how to aim and shoot. I was too small to hold the rifle by myself, so dad rested the front stock in his hand and let me do the rest. Many kids learned to shoot using a single shop .22 rifle for a number a number of reasons. They were cheaper than most other rifles, the ammunition is cheaper, they are generally smaller and lighter weight. They make a great starter gun. They were often used to teach all the kids in a family and then handed down to one of the kids to use to hunt with and to teach their kids when the time came. But many adults then and now have the idea that single shot .22 rifles are just for kids, not for adults, but they are wrong, they still have a useful adult purpose.
In this day and age of high tech firearms, the choices of .22 rifles seem to be endless: bolt actions, lever actions, and semi-autos galore. But what about single shot rifles? Outside of the small rifles for new shooters or kid just starting off, do they have a place anymore in a veteran shooters lineup?
In the early days of the 20th Century, it was not uncommon at all to see the average youth, even before he or she became a teenager, out and about with a .22 rifle. These were almost always single shots because they were cheap to make, cost effective to shoot and could bring in small game for the cook pot, which was always welcome in those leaner times. Unlike today, these .22 rifles would soldier on for years in the same family, used by everyone in the household if need be. Few families had money for more than a box of shells at a time, let alone a new rifle once junior came of age to graduate from a youth model to something more size appropriate.
Classic rifles like the Stevens Favorite, the Winchester 1904, the Savage 1904 and 1905 rifles, the Remington Number 4 rolling block and countless other models and makes found their way to farms and homes across the country. They accounted for tons of game animals and trained new generations of shooters as the guns were passed along like hand me down clothes…
One of the things I learned, and many other kids growing up is that using a single shot rifle forces you to learn to shoot accurately. I killed by first rabbit and squirrel with that .22 single shot rifle because I had to learn to make my shot count. You don’t get a second shot with most game because it takes too long to reload. Too many adults today don’t really know how to aim and shoot a rifle. They rely on multiple shots to hit a target, especially using semi-automatic, pump and bolt action rifles. For those adults, it’s highly recommended that they get a single shot .22 rifle to help them learn how to aim and make their hots count. Then move up to more higher-powered rifles like a .223 caliber rifle. They will be amazed at how much more accurate their shooting will be.