Dwight Schrute On Beginner Rifles

Specifically the ever popular Russian relic:

Ahahah so true… i’ve been saying that for years.

Just like people that recommend full grown adults start out shooting with a .22LR, High Point etc…  Sure it’s economical, and if you decide you don’t like shooting then you really won’t lose money.  But lets be honest shooting .22LR is not as fun (nor as cool) as shooting an AR-15 for example.  Seeing how an AR-15 has basically no recoil, a few thousand rounds through one of those you’ll have the fundamentals down just as well as you would have on a .22LR but will have made more noise in the process.

I believe guns should be recommended based on budget, not some ridiculous notion that it’s actually “better” to start out on a <$200 handgun/rifle.

Shooting is a humbling experience though.  Beginners that jump straight to a $8000 rifle/scope combo will most likely be irritated when they find they can’t shoot dime sized groups at even close distances.


Hat tip: Danny



Derek December 9, 2011 at 12:08 am

In general I’d agree with you except for one thing. If they start off with a rifle as opposed to handgun, a 22 rifle allows them to practice in an indoor shooting range, which would give them more opportunity to practice and like the sport. Of course, I’m speaking only from my own situation where all the outdoor ranges are pretty far away and the indoor ranges only allow rifles if they are pistol caliber.

Kevin December 9, 2011 at 12:19 am

I feel as if the .22 is so much less intimidating than the AR-15 or any other rifle, from it’s power and size, to the sound it makes. In my opinion it being less intimidating makes it so much easier to get comfortable with and bang out good fundamentals and techniques. However contradicting what I just said I am the type of person that jumps right into something so I would rather start with (and I did) a big bad scary rifle and make loud noises until I was doing it right.

But at the same time some people aren’t as quick to learning (or as smart) as others so they need to start off with baby steps. That and what you said about low cost.

Frank C December 9, 2011 at 12:59 am

The noise is exactly 1/3 of the reason why it’s better to start new people out with a 22.
1. Less recoil. 5.56mm does have a small amount of recoil and it’s enough to make a lot of people flinch if they aren’t used to shooting, 22LR has recoil similar to a BB gun.

2. Less noise. Many people will flinch just due to noise or muzzle blast, starting them out with a relatively quiet gun will help develop good habits early.

3. Ammo and rifle are MUCH cheaper than any AR! Let’s face it, the cheapest ammo you can buy in 5.56mm/.223Rem is going to cost you $250 per 1000, 22LR is more like $45 per 1000. That isn’t just a minute difference it’s a massive one!

No offense dude but your post makes it sound as though you are fairly new to shooting yourself and probably don’t have any actual experience teaching new shooters to shoot proficiently.

As for fun? I like hitting what I aim at, shooting accurate rifles at small targets is fun and it takes good habits to start. I have an AR and AK both and have happily bump fired off more than one magazine through the AK but when I want to shoot something accurate without taking out a personal loan for ammo, I reach for my Savage Mk II.

ENDO-Mike December 9, 2011 at 01:05 am

No offense taken. I’m just a guy that likes to turn money into noise. If someone has the money and the want, I’d definitely support them buying all top end equipment and then figuring out how to use it later.

Everyone has a different goal when it comes to recreational shooting.

Ted N(not the Nuge) December 10, 2011 at 01:18 am

Turning money into noise is awesome, no argument there, but turning money into noise and skill probably starts best with the small caliber stuff.

As much as training costs gets cut down in the Army (and this is from my prespective as an aviation NCO, we only get ranges every 6 mo. too bad if you miss em.) , I wish they’d frickin’ invest in some simple .22 kits to get the basics down for cheap. That’d make way, way too much sense though. (BTW, do the ballistics of a .223 and a .22 differ all that much at 25 meters?)

Fred December 9, 2011 at 01:39 am

I’d bet I’ve had more fun with .22lr than with any other caliber. Try 8″ steel at 300 yards with a Ruger MkIII… that day was hilarious!

overkill556x45 December 9, 2011 at 04:35 pm

Dig it. I’ve taken a number of rabbits with my .22 1911 at 50 yards. I like to shoot at 4″ steel spinners at over 100 with the Savage(s). I really don’t have a taste for tacticool stuff anymore. I’d rather spend the day shooting walnuts at crazy distances with one of the aforementioned Savages.

Ted N December 10, 2011 at 01:21 am

Had a bunch of fun at the indoor range with the P22 before I left, need to get it outside and see what I can do with it!

Dave December 9, 2011 at 03:51 am

I’ve heard you could develop a nasty flinch when shooting a higher caliber weapon for the first time. Someone wanna fill me in on that?

Andrew December 9, 2011 at 05:55 am

The idea is if you aren’t used to shooting and you jump into a larger caliber you’ll develop a fear (maybe fear isn’t the best word) from the noise/recoil/etc. So before you pull the trigger you’ll flinch making your shots go wide.

hsoi December 9, 2011 at 05:39 am

I think it depends upon the person.

For instance, most kids will probably do better shooting something like a Cricket .22. It’s light enough and small enough for them to hold and move, it won’t recoil hard, and it’s not too loud. You want the kid to develop a love for this, not be afraid.

What about a woman that perhaps was traumatized by violence but accepts she needs a gun for self-defense? Going out blaring with a big-ass rifle is probably not going to help her. Yeah an AR in .223 isn’t all that bad, but she may need to work up to it. But on the other hand, she might be champing at the bit to blow the crap out of things and a .50 BMG might be more up her alley.

I’ve taught enough beginner classes over the years, I’ve taught enough people that have never shot a gun in their life. Yeah, not everyone needs to start with a .22, but it really helps. Some people are content to stick with it for a while, others want to stop after one magazine and move on to something bigger. It just all depends upon the person.

So perhaps a better thing is to not buy anything at first, but instead go shooting with someone that has a variety of guns, including a .22. Ease the person into it, nice slow introduction. Let them find their comfort level. Once they gain some experience, THEN they can go buy… some might be happy with a Ruger 10/22, others might want their first AR.

Andrew December 9, 2011 at 06:06 am

ENDO I have to wholeheartedly disagree with you here.

I think a .22 is the perfect beginners rifle. As has been said, .22lr goes for around $0.04/round and the cheapest I’ve seen .223/5.56 lately is closer to $0.20/round. That kind of price different adds up. Plus a the low recoil is exactly why .22s are great. Had a messy group? It was all you, and you can’t even blame the recoil. You can focus on the fundamentals and really improve.

I think every shooter should have a .22 that gets used often and passed down to a kid or nephew at some point. Also a .22 is a cheaper initial investment so if the person doesn’t like it they aren’t out several hundred dollars.

Frank December 11, 2011 at 12:04 am

Andrew, well thought out points. I hope you are saying this from a position where you actually own a .22LR rifle. ;)

I do have a question for you given what you said. If you ride already it’s kind of a moot point, yet if you were to buy a motorcycle would you buy an R1 or a Ninja 250?

Given what you said a Ninja 250 would be better, because you could “focus on the fundamentals and really improve.” :) Your logical applies to many things. +1

Morgan December 9, 2011 at 07:25 am

Not just yeah but hell yeah.
Was at the range yesterday and a dude jumps out of his car wearing a bunch of gear. He looks at my stuff and instantly starts gabbing, telling me how he used to do this and that and currently is a security guard (sigh).
So he pulls out an AR – looking .22 with an EOtech and rails w/foregrip, along with a Beretta 92FS and starts telling me how the pistol is a ‘tack driver’. I’ve got mine with me (because of work) and wince when he says that. He sees it and can’t understand why I don’t care for it but don’t feel much like getting into it. I’m just there to shoot.
The reason I’m bothering to post this story is he said exactly what you’re saying in this blurb above; how great it is to start with a .22 yadda yadda yadda…
Thought it was sorta funny.

Brice December 9, 2011 at 07:43 am

Recoil is more about the muzzle blast than the shoulder kick when you get to intermediate sized cartridges and below. A .22 rifle is about the perfect first gun:
1. Low noise
2. Low muzzle flash
3. Cheap targets (if you get a steel spinner)
4. Cheap ammo.

All that said, it gets boring quickly unless you get into a sport; silhouette, steel challenge, etc.

Once you’ve got the basics down, it’s cool to shoot the gun that really trips your trigger. Heck I’d buy em on the same day. For me that’s always been the wonder nine. That’s probably why I own so many of them. Something about that size, weight, ammo capacity just speaks to me.

2Wheels December 9, 2011 at 10:47 am

Starting off on a .22LR, good idea IMHO. Especially with handguns.

Starting off on a Mosin? Bad idea IMHO… Cheap yes, but they kick like mules. Best to let a newbie learn the fundamentals before you abuse the crap out of their shoulder.

Fen December 9, 2011 at 10:56 am

Endo-Mike, While I see where you are coming from, I too have to disagree. But this is probably because we are looking at two different ‘problems’ from two different angles.

I see there is already plenty of defense for the .22lr, so I will keep that part short. For me, .22lr makes the difference between a $400 shooting day and a $40 shooting day. My buddies and I like to shoot thousands of rounds in a single outing since it takes a lot of effort to get somewhere we can shoot safely/without a neighborhood freaking out. So once there we want a return on our invested time, and cash. Also, shooting for a 10 hour day after a couple hour car ride, .22lr induces less fatigue so we can shoot longer more accurately. But, all that said we love our big calibers and shoot them often as well, but it gets expensive.

Regarding the MosiN:
– For me this rifle besides being a decent bolt gun with great history, is a great hook. A cheap tool I can afford to give to someone who otherwise would not have spent money on a gun. I can GIVE them this “curio & relic” and my buddy can give them a ‘tuna-can’ of 7.62x54r all for less than $200 and by the time they are done shooting through that can I guarantee they are not only hooked but have devoted a sizeable portion of their paycheck to their new hobby, acquiring new rifles/handguns/shotguns/ammo/glass etc…
– I can’t afford to gift someone a ~$700 AR-15 to get them into it, and with 7.62x54r compared to 5.56 at roughly a 4:1 $ ratio it is still more economical to start with. No matter who is paying the bill. Sure I take them out shooting a plenty, teach them the fundamentals, drill safety, let them shoot my guns, drill safety, and have a good time. But to get them to go in their free time by themselves with other friends, and have their own gun to hold at home and go “gosh I want to take this out!” well, a MosiN is best suited to start with.
– For the price it would take me to start one guy off with an AR15 I can start 6 guys off with MosiNs. To me, love for Firearms is a virus/fire, and like all good knowledge I want to spread it on as many vectors as possible.

“I don’t write much, but when I do, it’s a lot!”

Ted N December 10, 2011 at 01:41 am
J December 9, 2011 at 10:58 am

First gun i shot was a Sig P226 in 9mm when i was 7 years old! Been in love ever since!! Father was a police officer and the Sigs were their patrol guns. He helped me obviously in a safe fashion, but his form of ear protection back then were 9mm bullets shoved in your ear or paper towel wadded up lol. Good times

Dontshootmebro December 9, 2011 at 11:48 am

When I go to the range, I dont pay much attention to what the newbie mall ninjas are shooting. I pay attention to what the older marksmen are shooting. And without fail, no matter how many rifles and pistols they owned and shot during their lifetime, they all come back to a top end 22lr. Its uncanny, when you walk the range and look at what the experienced marksmen are shooting, all you see are Coopers and old Dakotas. My guess is as we mature and experiment with rifles, pistols, and calibers, we eventually end up where most of us started, and simply perfect the basics, turning a wiser eye away from balistic performance and wow factor.

Theblackknight December 9, 2011 at 03:39 pm

After coming up almost only shooting .22 as a kid in small bore matches and moving on to the military, it would benefit shooters a lot from working out fundamentals on a 22 trainer. The biggest problem I have with previous shooters (prior to enlisting) is the conditioned flinch that big bore/shotgun guys have, even tho they know 5.56 has minimal recoil, it still happens based on conditioning.

s30 December 9, 2011 at 05:22 pm

I love my Finns

DaveP. December 10, 2011 at 09:35 am

A cheap gun will kill you just as fast as a spendy one will.

ObsidianOne December 13, 2011 at 02:07 am

I don’t really see anything wrong with the obsession with Mosin Nagants; generally you can have 3-4 great rifles, if you so desired, for the price of an average priced rifle in a similar caliber, as well as ammo for about 16 cents a round.
Not to mention it teaches a hard lesson of learning to clean your gun thoroughly and properly, otherwise you’ll be punished.

.22s are great starter guns, but I agree, people don’t see them as very interesting typically, as they’re used to movies with high caliber guns going boom and loosening the bowels of those nearby.
Different strokes for different folks, though I believe every gun collector SHOULD own both of these to complete a collection.

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