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Thousands, if not millions of cattle have been dropped for butchering with a 22.

I lived near the Coleville indian reservation and used to go out with friends who could hunt there year round. They hunted deer with 22's and kept their freezer full.
 

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SMH.......
SMH at what? If referring to my statement, I assure you, as others point out, a 22 can drop you, me, a deer or a steer at a couple hundred feet.

For the people who dropped deer and cattle with 22, we're not talking long range shots. We are talking 20 feet in the home and 70 feet hunting.

Starting out with an AR seems a bit like those who jumped on a 74 cube Harley (or whatever is being pushed now), as their first bike. In a tight situation, they were screwed for want of knowing what a lighter, more manuverable bike could do, Instinct and adrenaline can do a lot, but the first comes from experience more than just a will to survive. Were it otherwise, we could all quit practicing and would be fine in an emergency.

[Same applies in snow]
 

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I wouldn't feel bad with only a 10/22. First of all, load it with HV CCI HPs. Reliable and a bit much more of a punch than a round nose. Secondly, and most important you can HIT what your shooting at much easier with the little carbine than you can a handgun. I always thought 10/22 was an excellent starting gun for both Youth and Adult.
 

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I would rate a .22 as "better than nothing" for home defense. If it's all you can afford, it is what it is. Other calibers, including a shotgun with buck shot are much better options.
 
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