Feb 4, 2013 at 6:11 am #1298829
So I'm becoming more and more interested in the Pak Rifle. I know Ryan Jordan gave it a 'Highly Recommended" rating in his review, but I just can't get over my fears of reliability issues in a rifle that weighs less than 16 oz. Does anyone have any personal experience with the Pak Rifle? I'd like a larger data pool before dropping $500+.
I'm mostly concerned with the trigger assembly and firing pin. Mountain View Arms isn't a well known manufacturer so I feel my durability doubts are justified until proven otherwise.
Thanks in advance :)Feb 4, 2013 at 6:37 am #1950625
I've been on the fence between the 10/22 take down, discontinued Springfield Scout, or the Henry U.S. survival rifle. This adds another contender to the race. Can't wait to hear some feedback from an owner.Feb 4, 2013 at 6:45 am #1950626
Greg MihalikBPL Member
For a broader view than what you will find here –
Google "pack rifle" + crikett
Note that PacRifle changed it's name to PACKrifle. (capitals for emphasis only)
[edited to correct 'crikett'. Thanks Dave.]Feb 4, 2013 at 7:07 am #1950629
Since $500 and an unknown manufacturer give you pause:
How about a $119 Crikett single shot .22LR (Cabela's has them)?
2.5 pounds, but that's with the factory stock. It wouldn't take much to adapt the stock to a DIY butt of foam-core construction with a fiberglass skin – $10 to $20 of materials. Rather than strictly foam-core, I'll often laminate blue foam onto 1/8" plywood ("door skins") with Gorilla Glue – if for nothing else, but to have more substanial attach points.
You wouldn't get it down to 16 ounces – maybe 1.5-1.7 pounds and it wouldn't break down as small, but cost per pound saved would be high. You could also extended the butt of the stock a little further to an adult-size.Feb 4, 2013 at 8:02 am #1950647
I think it's also worth noting that when Ryan wrote that review he was still in his "stupid light" phase, so the Packrifle got major kudos simply for being the lightest .22 rifle available. But IIRC it was actually pretty damned inaccurate- he kind of glossed over that and said that accuracy was "good enough" for close-range small game, to which I answer "then bring a .22 pistol." If nothing else they are a hell of a lot easier to pack, and probably cost less. (I'm a pretty good shot with just about everything, though, so sometimes I forget that others have a hard time hitting anything with pistols.) But, hell, for the same price you could get a Walther P22 Target model that weighs 19oz (empty). The Ruger SR22 is more like 18oz but I don't think that a target model is available. The Browning Buckmark and Ruger Mk.II (now the Mk.III) are probably THE classic American .22 pistols, but they tend to weigh a ton. Most .22 revolvers also weigh a ton, unless they are those miniscule ones people jokingly carry for "self-defense."
Hmmm… thinking of keeping weight down, I wonder if someone makes DPX-style solid copper bullets for .22LR? Lead is distressingly heavy.
But, anyway, IMO an extra 1/2 lb for a more solid .22 rifle is a bargain over the Packrifle.Feb 4, 2013 at 9:19 am #1950668
+1 on most of the above comments.
Due to the cutting edge SUL design of the PACKrifle, I also would like Ryan to post an update to the original review to include:
1) how the carbon sheathed barrel has handled use over time (did it maintain the original accuracy?) Any delamination of carbon from steel innards?
2) the durability of the receiver mechanism (important since this is the feature that distinguishes it from modding a cricket rifle with the original ruta locura (sp?) carbon barrel.
Ryan, can you post this in time for 2013 grouse season?
Kevin BuggieFeb 4, 2013 at 4:17 pm #1950801
Thanks for all the responses. I hadn't given thought to the Crickett and modding it, but makes sense, especially for the money. Obviously I would prefer a breakdown rifle for packing purposes, though.
Has anyone ever tried removing a stock completely past the grip and shooting that way? You wouldn't really be able to fire it standing up but if I'm using a single shot I'd be using a barrel rest anyway. Just a thought, probably goes in the stupid light category.Feb 4, 2013 at 4:33 pm #1950809
Luke SchmidtBPL Member
@cameronLocale: Idaho Falls
Its illegal to have a rifle with a total length of less then 26 inches (unless you apply for a permit). Just make sure you stay within legal limits if you go modifying things.Feb 4, 2013 at 8:19 pm #1950903
Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I'd get a "survival rifle" only if it came chambered in .22 magnum (WMR).
My Ruger 96/22 lever gun is in .22 mag and I find it to have a much better ammo variety and choice of bullet design, and of course, .22 WMR ammo has jacketed bullets, unlike .22 LR ammo. You have a choice of flat base or boattail base, hollow point or polymer tip. "Notta too bad.", says Fr. Guido Sarducci.
And then there's the matter of .22 mag ammo having about 50% more useable range and knockdown power. When shooting at soft iron spinning targets the .22 magnum ammo put deep dents (almost passed through) in the targets. I stopped doing that right away!
BTW, carbon wrapped barrels actually dissapate heat FASTER than solid steel barrels. Why I don't know. A few companies do this for big game rifle barrels. Accuracy is mostly dependent on the steel barrel itself, not the CF wrapping. The CF makes the barrel much stiffer than solid steel of the same diameter, thus reducing harmonic vibration as the bullet passes down the barrel. This increases accuracy. (Yep!)Feb 5, 2013 at 6:37 am #1950989
Erik BasilBPL Member
It sure is light, but can it shoot? As I look at it, via the very limited photos and demonstrations of the Packrifle, I don't see much about that. I do see that it's single-shot. What the heck is the stowed configuration, by the way?
Now the Henry version of the venerable AR-7 is a more well-known and established option. Three times the weight, I reckon, but still light, very safely and securely packaged when broken down and very functional. Pretty accurate and…there's an established community of upgraders/tuners with a fairly open-source effect.Feb 5, 2013 at 6:47 am #1950993
"Its illegal to have a rifle with a total length of less then 26 inches (unless you apply for a permit). Just make sure you stay within legal limits if you go modifying things."
+1. That's the first thing I thought of when I read your comment, too. If you want a chopped .22 rifle, just get a target pistol that will mount a scope. (Less legal issues.) Crikett makes cheap ones, though they're heavy. Almost ALL target pistols are heavy, since the extra mass steadies your aim. The Walther is just about the lightest true target .22 pistol around, but it still has a very "tactical" look that might disconcern hoplophobes and get SWAT called on you.
I'm unsure of the "carrying a concealed weapon" aspect of carrying a firearm in your pack where it is not visible, so thank God that you don't live in California. In Colorado any warden or cop you encounter is liable to be much more reasonable, and willing to make the call on the spot that you are obviously not up to mischief.
I have a SafePacker for my pistol, and I'm not even sure of the "concealment" legality of THAT. Technically, it's a holster worn in a clearly visible manner, but you CAN'T see any of the pistol. Sigh. Carrying a gun is complex.
If you decide upon a rifle I'd instead recommend something like this:
Various other companies make similar rifle bearing systems.
@erik: Your point about a community and readily available accessories is true, but the AR-7 has never worked well and never will. It is probably the most UNreliable semi-automatic .22 rifle ever made. But it had interesting design goals, so I can forgive it. Also, in every version I've ever seen the rear sight is on the receiver and the front sight is on the barrel, and the tolerances simply are not very tight, so every time you break it down the point of aim changes- same when scoped, the scope is on the receiver. It's a really neat idea, but not accurate. The Henry version certainly LOOKS better-made, though, so perhaps I'm just being an old coot. But, really, unless the floatation is a big deal I'd get a scoped target pistol over an AR-7 any day.
Someone used to make an AR-7 pistol, though, which I don't think broke down. I have to wonder how much that weighed.
The manufacturer of the PackRifle claims to have killed marmots regularly at 100 yards using a scope. I'll believe it when I see the carcasses. Plus, the thing simply looks unsafe to me- no true safety, no trigger guard. Shiver. You can rotate the bolt handle down into a slot as a "safety", and the fanboys will talk about muzzle awareness, etc., but come on! If you have the PackRifle assembled with a round chambered you had DAMNED sure be ready to fire it immediately. I wouldn't want to walk around with the thing loaded…Feb 5, 2013 at 8:27 am #1951026
As Dean points out, what about a lightweight pistol? I realize .22 ammo is cheap, but whatever you're trying to do, .32 will do it with a few more foot-pounds. Kel-Tec P-32, 7+1 rounds of .32, 6.6 Ounce (with safety and trigger guard!). And, as any ULer knows, 6.6 oz < 15.5 oz. There are lightweight .22 revolvers, holding 8 or 9 shots, but they come in around 10 and 11 ounces.
Also, volume is weight, sort of. You need a little bigger pack, etc. A small pistol packs much easier than any rifle.
"Its illegal to have a rifle with a total length of less then 26 inches" Very good point, Like. I suppose the PackRifle can be fired when broken down and that is why they to tell them your gun shop and they'll call the gun shop to check the legality in your area before shipping.
What's the original poster's objective? Extending food supplies with squirrels? Dispatching animals while running a trapline? Prepper?Feb 5, 2013 at 9:04 am #1951035
Great thanks to Andrew for starting this thread; I had the same questions brewing with the intent of buying a gun much lighter than my 7 lb. 20 gauge for grouse hunting in New Mexico's Pecos Wilderness this fall (10 mile approach to the grouse habitat between 9,000 and 11,000', so forgive me for posting on BPL other than a hunting forum)
I had never really considered buying a pistol for this application (until David posted above regarding those UL pistols), but grouse are the rare gamebird that allows hunting with weapons other than a shotgun.
But I have a question for David, Eric, Dean, etc… who seem rather familiar with firearms in a broader context:
The NM Game and Fish hunting proc. states the following for grouse hunting…
“Grouse and squirrels may be taken with shotguns firing shot, including muzzle-loading shotguns, rim-fire and muzzle-loading firearms, bows and crossbows.”
Does "rim-fire….firearms" include pistols as a legal means?
I'm thinking it probably does and so that P-32 might be the ultimate UL grouse gun.
Any thoughts or clarifications, much appreciated.Feb 5, 2013 at 9:20 am #1951039
@David- he wants it for hunting, so the P-32 is really NOT what he's looking for. If he's willing to degrade himself by buying a Kel-Tec I would propose that a PMR-30 is better for his needs: a 30-shot .22WMR automatic pistol that weighs less loaded than the Walther does empty, and can mount an optic. It was sort of designed as a trail gun, but it does look very "tacticool" and thus frightening to the liberals. If you took it into California you'd spontaneously combust at the border. It's striker-fired, though, which I personally loathe.
@Kevin- if the regulation just says "rim-fire firearms" and doesn't specify rifles, then I would assume that pistols are ok. In most states for instance there is no separate pistol-hunting season for deer. But don't take my suspicions as writ- you need to know New Mexico's laws. You could contact their equivalent of a Department of Fish & Wildlife to be sure.Feb 5, 2013 at 12:20 pm #1951047
This has been on my wish list for a while; too bad Springfield discontinued them. To me, the functionality would justify the weight penalty when compared to the pack rifle.
Here is an interesting modification to this rifle:Feb 5, 2013 at 1:38 pm #1951086
"rim-fire": In addition to a few oddball (mostly historic), non-.22 rimfire cartridges, you can get .22 shot shells. But the pellets are so tiny and such little total weight, that I'd only consider them for REALLY small critters out to about 5 yards (yeah, 15 feet!). I knew someone who would dispatch errant bumblebees and bats that got into their log cabin with .22 shot shells. From a physical projectile and even noise risk, I'm fine with that. I'd worry a bit about the air quality – byproducts of combustion and any lead scoured from the barrel by the (I believe) steel shot.
Of more interest is that there are shot shells for most common pistol/revolver calibers. I've shot .38/.357 shot shells and that's getting into a useable amount of shot and energy. More interestingly, .45 bullets and .410 shotgun shells are the same chamber diameter (IF THE LENGTH IS SUFFICIENT) and some revolvers are set up to shoot either. But I'm unaware of any that are lightweight.
There's a cheap .410 / .45 long gun that is popular up here (available in the grocery store) because it's nice for dispatching a big (>80 pound) halibut before bringing it in the boat. Nice on the salt water because it is stainless. Pretty cheap, maybe $189? Anyway, with .410 shells, you'd need to be a little closer than with a 20-gauge, but not much. But it would make a nice grouse gun at a lot less than 7 pounds.
But going for grouse? Maybe it's just spruce grouse (also known as "stupid chicken" up here), but I often walk within 20 feet of them. That's wrist rocket range. $4 on sale at True Value. And it's one species (in Alaska) without limits on the take method – shotgun (most common), pistol, bows, slingshot, rock, atlatl, etc.
Nothing compares to a 12-gauge for versatility, and it's easy to nay-say anything with less power, but humans have been hunting critters with thrown rocks, sticks, and pointy rocks on the ends of sticks for at least 100,000 years. Any firearm and practice, practice, practice will yield more success than during the last ice age. I'd ask though, that you commit to the patience and willingness to forego a shot, if you can't make a clean kill. Smaller gun = smaller range = fewer possible shots OR requires greater stalking skills.
But really UL? That's snares – a loop of tiny aircraft cable. And you mostly stay put (but CHECK often and remove all of them later). Often only allowed for fur bearers. ("beaver – the other red meat"). I've seen MUCH larger versions used (illegally) for elephant in Zimbabwe, so there's really no practical limit. But check your local game laws. Often a trapping class is required and that's a good thing, IMO.Feb 5, 2013 at 1:53 pm #1951092
Savage Model 42. Polymer sights suck, though.
I think that the old Savage Model 24 was made in all sorts of interesting calibers, like .357/20g and .30-30/12g for instance, in addition to various .22-ish caliber center- and rim-fire calibers with .410 to 12g shotgun barrels.Feb 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm #1951094
"Kel-Tec P-32, 7+1 rounds of .32, 6.6 Ounce (with safety and trigger guard!). And, as any ULer knows, 6.6 oz < 15.5 oz."
"My" Kel-Tec P32 loaded with 8 winchester silver tips weighs 9.8 ounces. Just saying. It is the old original version though, the newer ones may be lighter?
I have to put "my" in quotes because my wife stole it from me the very day I took it home and it now lives in her purse ( we have concealed carry permits ).
I usually carry a heavier pistol when backpacking, but have considered the little .32 auto. It can ride in the hip belt pocket of my Golite Jam backpack just fine. It isn't much gun, but it's better than nothing and it is a surprisingly decent little belly gun. I'd certainly recommend one to a female hiking alone for self-defense.
But the P-32 has no real sights – Mine has dots on the top that can be lined up, the new version has rather rudimentary fixed sights machined into the top of the slide, and they have a long double action trigger pull. I’d be amazed if anyone could tag a grouse with one of these little toys.
And .32 ACP ammo is quite expensive.
I’m not a bad shot, and my first inclination when considering a “kit gun” would be an accurate .22 handgun, something with adjustable sights.
The Charter Arms Pathfinder revolver with a 4” barrel and adjustable sights is about 20 ounces. Not bad for an all stainless steel gun that will last a lifetime, and I’m sure I could tag grouse, squirrels, rabbits, marmots and what-not quite well with one of these.
Note they have a 22 magnum version of this as well!
Strictly for defense and not hunting, Charter Arms also makes a fine array of snubbie revolvers in the caliber of your choice
Weights are down to about 12 ounces, and the new Charter Arms products I have used are excellent. Since I always carry a sidearm for defense ( today it’s a Glock 26, also one of my backpacking favorites ) I have considered getting one to lighten up a bit, but by and large the lighter the gun the less competent it is as a defensive piece.
The Crickket single shot rifle is a fantastic idea – And is a popular pack rifle with some survivalists.
It’s also cheap, which helps. Some folk take the butt plate off and stuff ammo and “survival” supplies inside the hollow synthetic stock ( be sure to tape a screw driver to the sling.)
These guns also come with good sights and are said to be accurate. It might well be possible to create a lighter stock for one, perhaps skeletonized or even a lightweight aluminum tube folding stock.
Other ideas –
The Ruger 22/45 Lite is listed at 22 ounces, and there should be no doubt that this fine firearm is up to the task if the shooter is.
The Marlin Papoose, a takedown .22 semi-auto rifle of high quality – http://www.marlinfirearms.com/firearms/selfloading/70pss.asp
Bit heavy at over three pounds, but said to be among the best.
A single shot 20 gauge shotgun – Any good pawn shop should have a few of these. The barrels can be cut down to just a tad over 18 inches, and you can install a “youth” sized synthetic stock, or gouge out the wooden stock to skeletonize it.
H&R still make the “Tamer” – http://www.hr1871.com/Firearms/Shotguns/tamer.asp
But the weight of these seems to have climbed a bit. They used to make a .410 version that was quite light and small.
Rossi makes break open single shot rifle and shotguns that might also have potential. In particular they have a youth sized single shot .22 with a synthetic stock that probably weighs under five pounds and could be modified to be considerably less.
A note on weights – Never belive the manufacturers or distributors web site, they are often wrong. Some guns surprise you and turn out to be lighter, many are heavier, especially when actually loaded of course.Feb 5, 2013 at 2:11 pm #1951099
Ah – This may well be the ultimate pack rifle – A Crickket in an aftermarket stock, total weight, said to be under a pound for the tube stock version!
I'm certain I could easily duplicate the tube stock version myself, but the fancy barrel represents the real weight savigs.
All in all, I'd rather have the Charter Arms .22 revolver, maybe even the magnum version. I'm certain it could ride easily in a shoulder holster or on my belt if using a hip-belt-less pack, and it would be instantly availible when needed ( rather than having to take off the pack, pull out the parts, assemble the rifle, load and fire! )and it has six shots for a fast follow up.
But the lightweight rifle idea is attractive, especially for places handguns are verboten and for shooters unfamilar with sidearms.Feb 5, 2013 at 2:15 pm #1951102
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
Just googled this. List with weights.Feb 5, 2013 at 3:38 pm #1951129
Not a rifle but dang!
13.6 ounces empty, carries 30 ( ! ) rounds…Feb 5, 2013 at 5:05 pm #1951163
Thanks guys so much for all the responses so far.
The Ruta Locura PRK for the Crickett is looking to be freaking awesome, though a bit pricy in total.
The Kel Tec PMR30 is also very appetizing as a kit/self defense? gun, but I'm concentrating more on the hunting aspect, and I'd rather not have an excuse to haul extra ammo into the woods for target practice. Wouldn't be able to help myself with a 30 round magazine.
I've been going back and forth on the Marlin Papoose for like 2 years now. I've shot one several times and loved it. I know from both reviews and friend recommendations that this gun is extremely reliable. Slightly heavier at almost 3.5 lbs, but doable I suppose. But I honestly don't need a semi automatic rifle for backpacking. I feel if I can't kill what I'm shooting at with one shot, I don't have any right bringing a gun on a backpacking trip where hunting isn't necessarily the primary goal. Which is also the main reason I want to go truly as UL as possible on this particular piece of gear.Feb 7, 2013 at 11:38 am #1951803
Josh LeavittBPL Member
@joshleavittLocale: Ruta Locura
I designed the original Pak-Rifle that Ryan did the review of. That rifle does not have any elevation adjustment, that is the accuracy issue. It will group just fine, but that may be 3" high or low, with no way to compensate, except for using a scope. This issue was not by my design, but rather a restriction imposed by the tight wad manufacture I worked for at the time. It is a very good design, but is not executed well, and they charge way too much for what it is. They changed the name from Pak-rifle to pack-rifle after I left the company uncompensated for my work. They are also operating under a different FFL (federal firearms license) which usually indicates legal issues. Buyer beware.
The PRK, "pack rifle kit" that I currently produce has been reviewed in Petersen Hunting magazine, and builds on all of the lightweight tech from the original. The Ruta Locura PRK uses much higher grade carbon fiber than does the other. The "pak-rifle" is actually quite fragile, the stock can easily break, and the barrel is not as strong as the Ruta Locura PRK. This is merely a function of material choice, not design. You can do pull ups on a PRK, dont even think about it with a pak-rifle. As for delam, I have been building those barrels for 17 years now, and I have never had a failure. The rifled steel liner is the same high quality used by all the big carbon fiber barrel builders.
As mentioned above, the real weight savings is in the barrel. The carbon barrel I build is only 4.5oz. There is some weight to be shaved out of the stock, but not as much as the barrel. The biggest gain WRT the stock, is getting the bulk down. That alone makes a big difference. Also as mentioned above, please keep all mods legal. Barrels can not be shorter than 16", and functioning rifles can not be longer than 26". If the rifle is not in a functioning condition when shorter than 26", you are ok.Feb 7, 2013 at 2:09 pm #1951864
for your post and openness; that's exactly the updated backstory I was hoping to get from a 'rolling review' from BPL.
The Kel-tec pistols are tempting and accuracy issues could be compensated for by: 1)the grouses dead chicken like behavior (you can literally trip over these birds in the Pecos Wilderness); 2)abundant trees for a benchrest; 3) practice
but….all things considered the longer barrel of a rifle would undoubtedly be better for UL grouse hunting. Plus, going for the modded crickett approach would allow me to build my arsenal in steps as my budget and interest dictates:
1) Buy and use the crickett this season (cost $130-175)
2) Build my own lighter stock using materials quoted above in the thread ($10)
3) Order the PRK kit from Ruta Locura (cost $250)
In the end cost would be high, but I would have a grouse gun as light as the commercial PACKrifle, but with a stronger barrel, proven steel bolt and receiver, and accurate sights.
When it comes to fruition I'll post an update to this thread. Thanks again to everyone's input.
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