Friday Gear Report: The Stoeger X20S .22

johnaheatherlySurvival Gear

Photo by Stoeger Air Rifles

Many survival types attest that .22 Long Rifle ammunition will provide more success in sport shooting and small game hunting than any other cartridge, and for good reason. .22 LR is easy to shoot and will minimize the destruction of meat when small creatures are being taken as “survival snacks” or meals. Larger animals, to include sick cattle or even African wild game, are chronicled to have been taken with the prolific .22, hunting laws notwithstanding. The round is easily suppressed if noise is a concern (for example, if you don’t want to disturb the hens in the henhouse, shoot the intruding fox with a suppressed .22!).

Perhaps the most significant historical advantage of the .22 LR has been the availability and low cost of ammunition. For many years it was easily stockpiled. Unfortunately, this advantage no longer exists—I have not found .22 LR ammo on a store shelf for several months.

Recently I acquired a new piece of gear that will improve my small-game strategy: the Stoeger X20S .22 Pellet Rifle.

Photo by Stoeger USA

The X20 can be purchased online for around $140, with pellet prices ranging in the neighborhood of 500 rounds for $9.99. Someone commented to me that a pellet gun purchase is a “useless waste,” and I vehemently disagree. For much less than $200, a person can be set up with a .22 pellet rifle and 1,000 pellets! Far from a “waste,” this piece of gear could be used to hunt squirrels and the like for pennies per shot. The X20 projects pellets at around 800 feet-per-second, with more than enough accurate power to put meat on the grill.

Perhaps my favorite X20 trait is its near-silent operability. I have shot mine in more than one suburban neighborhood backyard without alarming anyone. I recommend this rifle as a reasonably priced, practical addition to any survival kit, and offer a few suggestions:

Buy an X20 with front and rear sites rather than just a scope. This is a 50-60 yard gun, and I believe the sites are a better choice for the long haul.

• Upgrade the trigger. The factory, 2-stage trigger is fine, and the gun is accurate, but I have read that the GRT-III trigger upgrade, for $35, makes a huge difference. This will be my next purchase.

• Also buy a pellet trap. They cost around $20 or so, and allow for inexpensive shooting practice in the yard. This is the least expensive way to practice shooting fundamentals that I have found.

• Lastly, I recommend that a potential buyer call either Airgun Deport or Pyramyd Air (I am in no way affiliated with either) to seek counsel before buying. I have purchased products from both companies—their customer service is fabulous.

A friend asked if I would shoot a zombie with a pellet rifle like the X20—of course I would!  This gun is accurate enough to hit a zombie in the eyeball (if the shooter is good enough), so why not?

About the author:

“Heatherly makes you feel like you could survive on your own (for at least a little while) after reading this book (The Cave and The Sea)—not that I’m going to give it a try any time soon.” –Forever Young Adult

The Hunger Games smash hit book and movie got my daughter and one of her friends interested in archery. Maybe John A. Heatherly’s novel The Cave and The Sea will do the same for teenagers regarding learning primitive survival skills…” –

“I don’t throw the term ‘life changing’ around lightly but this book (The Survival Template) has very likely altered the way I think, the way I plan and the way I see my future as I’ve laid it out.” –