Recently, I purchased a Cricket rifle chambered to accept 22 short, long & long rifle ammunition. The model I chose is the baseline offering with a 16 inch barrel, blued steel and black synthetic stock.
I bought one of these rifles back in 2011 to hunt coons with and had great success with it. Rather than keep it and buy something else, I traded it off for another rifle. After missing the enjoyment I got from shooting it, I decided it was time to have another one.
I had put a scope on the first one and discovered these are very accurate little rifles. I set up a target at 50 feet, put the rifle on a Caldwell Lead Sled and set about to see just what it was capable of. I was amazed at the results.
My hunting friends laughed at me, good naturedly albeit, when I pulled that little ‘kids’ rifle’ out of the case. The first time I pulled the trigger on it while hunting, I put a coon on the ground with a head shot dead center between the eyes. They all said “Man, that little thing shoots good, don’t it?” The defense rests.
I may put a scope on this new one, but for the time being, I’m going to work with the issue rear peep and old style military front sight.
The rear peep sight is a rather simple, being fabricated from stamped parts. Keep in mind, these rifles are primarily marketed as a young shooter’s first rifle.
The front sight is simple, also. I put a dab of white fingernail polish on it help these old eyes find it.
I have a degree in Redneck Engineering. Using a discarded one inch diameter pincer type rimfire scope ring, I fashioned a bracket that would hold a 250 lumen pocket light on the barrel of the rifle.
This bright little light will illuminate a coon really well, negating the need for someone else to light it up for me. If I set the axis of the light at about two o’clock, the peripheral light illuminates the front sight as well as the target. The body of the light is out of the way of the sights, enabling me to get a good sight picture.
I had forgotten just how little these rifles weigh. I put mine on a digital scale and with the sling, it came in right at three pounds. At half the weight of the average 22 rifle, I can carry this for hours without even being aware it’s there.
The dealer I bought my rifle from told me quite a few men had ordered these rifles, saying the sole purpose was for coon hunting. Aside from having a rather short length of pull for an adult, they’re light, accurate and simple. As far as I’m concerned, that translates to the perfect coon huntin’ rifle.
I’m guessing the manufacturer has some sort of jig or alignment device to set the sights on these rifles. I found mine to be fairly well dialed in right out of the box.
I have a four-inch diameter steel gong hung on a rope between two trees behind the house. The gong is a laser measured 22 yards from the deck rail. I decided to see if I could hit it with this new rifle and peep sights. Using CCI Standard Velocity ammunition and braced on the deck rail, I hit the gong ten out of ten shots.
22 yards is no great feat for a 22 rifle. Keep in mind, though, most coon hunting shots are at less than 25 yards. Also bear in mind, I’m 62 years old and wear prescription bifocals. Add to that I was kneeling and bracing on a deck rail, not sitting at a bench with a scoped rifle on a shooting rest. I figure if I can hit a four-inch diameter target consistently under those conditions, I can kill a coon with it.
I intend to take it with me on the next hunt. We’ll see what happens.