Fit For Survival: Chiappa Little Badger Folding, Single-Shot .22
Tucking a .22 survival rifle in your pack is a good idea. And if it’s as lightweight and compact as the Chiappa Little Badger, it’s an even better idea. With a suggested retail price of only $216, there’s little to keep you from taking along what could turn out to be an invaluable piece of survival gear.
The Benefits Of A .22 Survival Rifle
I can build a shelter. I can start a fire. But I’m not very good at throwing rocks at birds when I’m hungry. Too often, survival experts fail to mention one of the most critical pieces of gear: a firearm.
For procuring food, for self-defense or to rid the garden you depend on from varmints, a firearm can be an important tool. I carry a defensive handgun every day. And if I have the luxury of carrying a long gun, normally I’d choose a centerfire rifle or shotgun. But size, weight and the amount of ammo I can carry are all negatives. Also, there are times I don’t want everyone I pass to know I have a firearm.
Sometimes small game is more available and a .22 rimfire is perfect for the job. And you can carry lots of .22 ammo compared to other cartridges. Many times I’ll include a .22 handgun in a small kit.
But a rifle is easier to shoot well, especially as the distance increases. A .22 rimfire is a gun most anyone can handle – important if someone else in your group needs to use it. Recoil is almost nonexistent. A rifle that you can take down or fold and place in a daypack is discreet too.
Single-Shot Chiappa Little Badger
The Chiappa has been making the Little Badger a while. It’s been available with iron sights chambered for either .22 Long Rifle for .22 WMR. This year, Chiappa has added a .22LR version with a four-power scope mounted. I decided to try my luck with it.
The Little Badger is a break-action single-shot.
A lever in front of the trigger guard is positioned well for opening the action and also for folding the rifle in half – to just 17 inches long — for stowing it in a pack or bag.
When you open the action, the extractor pushes the cartridge or empty casing enough to let you pluck it the rest of the way out with your fingers.
The gun features a quad accessory rail for lights or lasers. To keep the weight down, there the alloy receiver and steel wire stock. There are slots on the plastic butt plate to store 12 cartridges.
A cylindrical bar extends from both sides of the hammer within easy reach even with the scope mounted. Right- or left-handed shooters will find the Little Badger equally easy to operate. There’s a half-cock safety that activates automatically when you close the action. The barrel is threaded in case you want to add a muzzle accessory.
The Scope Is One Thing I’d Upgrade
The Little Badger is a handy little .22 survival rifle at just 31 inches overall with its 16.5-inch barrel. It’s small enough to fit young shooters. Shooting it at 50 yards, I did manage a couple of decent five-shot groups: a one-inch cluster and another that measured 1.5 inches.
Overall, the groups averaged about 1.75 inches. I have .22 rifles that do much better. But they don’t weigh under four pounds and fold into my daypack. It’s accurate enough to be a game-getter and that’s what’s important.
The downfall of this Little Badger is that the scope needs to be replaced.
I probably did better with the included scope than I would have with iron sights. But I was continually frustrated at not being able to get anything but a rather fuzzy sight picture.
Because of this gun’s low cost, spending a little more on a better scope or reflex red dot would not increase the overall cost drastically. Even better might be the compact See-All Open Sight that doesn’t require batteries. You aim at the peak of a black triangle against a green fiber optic background.
To avoid the scope issue altogether, choosing one of the Little Badger models with the iron sights might be the best option. You can still mount a scope on one of those. And because it’s so easy to carry, you needn’t go hungry in the woods. For more information on the Chiappa Little Badger, go to www.ChiappaFirearms.com.
Key Features: Chiappa Little Badger
Type: Single-shot, break-action rifle
Cartridge: .22 Long Rifle
Barrel: 16.5 inches
Overall Length: 31 inches
Weight: 3.6 pounds
Construction: Steel barrel, alloy receiver
Sights: None; 4X scope included
Other: Quad Picatinny rail
Steven Paul Barlow is a retired sergeant/station commander and former firearms instructor with the New York State Police. He is an avid hunter, fisherman, and enthusiast with all things related to firearms, knives, and survival. He has been writing on outdoor topics for more than 35 years. His collections of outdoor humor stories are available at www.BriarHillBooks.com.