Gun Review: Chiappa Firearms Little Badger .22LR Rifle

Chiappa Little Badger .22LR rifle

Travis Pike for TTAG

Not long ago I wrote an article about a folding survival shotgun and one of the commenters said something along the lines of, “Opinions on survival firearms are like assholes. Everybody has at least one.” He went on to elaborate about his choice of a takedown .22.

Well, he’s right. Lots of people praise this firearm or that one as a good survival gun. Like EDC handguns, it’s all about individual needs and personal opinions.

Luckily, we have a diverse capitalistic market that caters to those needs and opinions. One such provision is the Chiappa Firearms Little Badger.

Chiappa Little Badger .22LR rifle

(Travis Pike for TTAG)

The Chiappa Little Badger is a folding, breach-loading single-shot rifle very similar to that folding shotgun I reviewed. It looks like the creation of a post-apocalyptic gunsmith. It’s a series of tubes, if you will, with a hammer, some rails, and a set of sights.

This little carbine is a remarkably simple gun that’s lightweight and folds almost completely in half. It weighs only 2.9 pounds, has a 16.5-inch barrel length, an overall length of 31 inches, and is only 16.5 inches when folded.

The gun is a single shot design and comes in .22WMR , .17HMR, and .22LR. Mine is the .22LR variant.

Chiappa Little Badger .22LR rifle

(Travis Pike for TTAG)

The 16.5-inch barrel and is threaded to accept a suppressor or muzzle device. The threads are the very common 1/2 x 28 pitch. The wire buttstock provides zero cheek rest, but luckily .22LR is an ultra soft-shooting cartridge.

The stock contains a plastic fixture similar to a shotgun side saddle shell holder that allows you to hold 12 rounds of ammo, although the loops aren’t real loops and don’t wrap around the shell as a saddle shell carrier would. They pop in and out and ammo will likely pop out during transport or long walks. It isn’t a super-secure method of holding ammo. The stock has a rubber butt plate as well.

All The Rails

The forend of the foldable Little Badger is comprised of four Picatinny rails held extremely tightly to each other. The best way to install accessories to the gun is to remove the rail you wish to use and install the accessory. Then re-install the rail on the rifle.

The rails will allow for a flashlight or optic. A small red dot would seem an appropriate add-on for this weapon.

Chiappa Little Badger .22LR rifle

(Travis Pike for TTAG)

A red dot might be a good idea because the Little Badger’s sights aren’t so great. They want to be great, but fail in some ways.

The sights are M1-style and adjustable. You can adjust them quite a bit, and they could be awesome. However, they’re made of cheap plastic and easily deform. They won’t stand up to much use or abuse.

Somewhere along the way, my rear peep sight got twisted and now leans slightly to the right. A metal sight would be oh so much more impressive.

Chiappa Little Badger .22LR rifle

The Little Badger’s adjustable rear peep sight (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The sight’s peep hole is also painfully small. On a full-sized rifle like an M16A2, these super-small peep sights work. On a rifle like this one with a stupid-short length of pull and hardly anywhere to rest your face, they’re too small and difficult to really use. It’s downright uncomfortable for my 6’4″ frame to get behind.

Ergonomics

That leads us to ergonomics which are on the meh side. That short LOP is forgivable because of what the Little Badger is trying to be. This is a light, packable gun for emergency use. Still, you the reader should be aware of the gun’s limitations.

You can adjust the stock slightly by loosening a bolt in the receiver and pulling the stock slightly outward. It doesn’t make a big difference, though.

The grip is also ridiculously small and short. It features a section of rail, however, where you can add a AR-15-style pistol grip, which Chiappa sells for $21. For $10 you can buy a tubular grip that houses a pocket cleaning kit as well.

Chiappa Little Badger .22LR rifle

(Travis Pike for TTAG)

The hammer is easy to reach, textured and easy to cock into place. If you were to add a variable scope, though, you’ll need a hammer extension to cock it. There’s no manual safety, but there is a half-cock position.

To open the breach you simply pull the lever in front of the trigger guard. This allows you to open and load the gun as well as fold it for easy storage or transport. There is an extractor, but shells need to be manually ejected.

Chiappa Little Badger .22LR rifle

(Travis Pike for TTAG)

Accuracy-wise the Little Badger is solid enough to be a small game getter. You can make headshots on squirrels and rabbits at rabbit and squirrel range. The trigger is stiff, but has a very short pull and there is hardly any take-up.

It’s a better trigger than you’d imagine. The Little Badger can be an accurate gun and my biggest difficulty was the odd stock and configuration, on top of the bent sight.

I drifted the rear sight a good ways to make up for it, and need to drift it even further to get a perfect zero. However, the adjustment screw seems stuck at this point, even though there’s certainly more room for it to drift.

I tried until I cut my thumb, so excuse the blood on the gun in some of the photos. I’m on target though!

The rear sight can be adjusted for elevation too, but far too easily. It can easily get bumped into one of several positions, but luckily they are numbered and it’s easy to remember where you were at.

Chiappa Little Badger .22LR rifle

Chiappa Little Badger’s fixed M1-style front sight (Travis Pike for TTAG)

I got on target though and produced some nice little groups on a small bullseye target at 20 yards. Soda cans are a much more fun target, though and I tore through some Orange Vanilla Coke cans for some nostalgic fun.

Moving back to 35 and 50 yards gets a little tougher with this little gun and that’s where a mini red dot would really shine. I can hit soda cans the majority of the time, but at those ranges, with a rifle, I should be able to hit them every time.

The Little Badger isn’t a big guy-friendly gun and feels very unwieldy for someone my size.

Chiappa Little Badger .22LR rifle

(Travis Pike for TTAG)

As you’d expect, the Little Badger produces very little recoil and is a soft shooter. .22 long rifle is one of the few rounds where a wire stock is both comfortable and adequate.

As you’d imagine reliability is top-notch. The hammer slams the firing pin home and with Federal Automatch .22LR it runs 100% of the time. While rimfire can be picky when it comes to ignition, I haven’t hit any failures to ignite yet in hundreds of rounds.

Chiappa Little Badger .22LR rifle

Travis Pike for TTAG

Best yet is the gun’s low price. I purchased mine for $150 bucks at a local gun store. It’s perfect for tossing in a bug-out bag and leaving it there along with a few hundred rounds of .22LR ammunition. That way, no matter what, you have a rifle.

The Little Badger would be an excellent kid’s gun, a perfect trainer for new shooters. It’s a fun gun that certainly has few flaws. But at this price point, I can’t be too upset.

Specifications: Chiappa Firearms Little Badger Rifle 

Caliber – .22 long rifle
Capacity – 1
Barrel Length – 16.5 Inches
Overall Length – 31 Inches
Weight – 2.9 Pounds
Safety – Half Cock Position
MSRP – $216 (retail about $170)

Ratings (Out of Five Stars):

Accuracy * * * *
The gun has the ability to be very accurate, but its small size makes it difficult for me to get a good grip, cheek weld, and to assume a proper sight picture. Smaller shooters may have more luck than I.

Reliability * * * *
I’ve never had an issue with the gun firing, and in terms of firing reliability, it’s a 5-star rifle.  I took a star off for the cheap and now bent rear sight.

Ergonomics * * *
The short LOP, wire stock, and small grip drag the Little Badger down in the ergonomics department. The hammer, trigger, and lightweight design are its successes.

Fit and Finish * * *
I love the post-apocalyptic look of the gun. Its Mad Max aesthetic gives it a cool look. The finish is generally good, but those plastic sights bend too easily.

Overall * * * 1/2
The Chiappa Little Badger is a cheap, single-shot, folding survival rifle. It certainly fills the SHTF bill well. Yes, it has some flaws in its design, but that’s to be expected with its ultra-affordable price tag. Chiappa also sells a variety of accessories like grips and a carry-bag.

 

comments

  1. avatar Specialist38 says:

    I like guns in general and agree that someone might use this and enjoy.

    But calling it like it is….its a POS. They built it because they could not because they should. And that’s ok.

    You note it would be a good kids gun. You also noted you cut yourself with it?…….

    Single shot kids guns have sunk in the last 30 years.

    For $150, I think a Rossi shotgun/rifle combo is better. This gun would give guns a bad name with new shooters.

    1. avatar Latemarch says:

      I’d rather modify a Ruger 10/22…even if it costs more.

    2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      double barrels, double weight.
      this is spartan! minimalist and frugal.
      i like all the “survival” guns.
      chiappa seems kinds yintzy but outside of a car antennae you ain’t gettin’ much for less.

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        The Rossi combo is a single shot. You can change barrels between shot and bullets.

        Have 22, .223, etc.

    3. avatar David Walters says:

      Absolutely right. The Rossi .22 LR and 410 I have trained all my kids and wives (yep, multiple, long story) in the use of firearms.

      And, once a child is trained properly the first trip afield is to the squirrel woods (generally river bottoms and during season) and we only take water, Ritz crackers and peanut butter if the kid doesn’t kill something.

      Great little gun. My current wife is really small and she just loves shooting it.

    4. avatar barnbwt says:

      There’s a more expensive “double badger” with 410 and 22LR. They also make these little guns in 22WMR and 17HMR (on occasion)

      The guns are actually pretty fun & cool…but yeah, the sight hardware is beyond sad.

  2. avatar Tim says:

    It looks like these may not be available anymore, but I think this was a much better implementation of a similar concept:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Springfield_Armory_M6_Scout

    I shot a buddy’s once, and it was… interesting. Not enough to convince me to buy one, but I remember they weren’t selling for much over the $150 price range.

    (And, holy [email protected]#$… Gunbroker has them going for $450-$1k now!)

    1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      I got extremely lucky last fall and found an M6 for $250. I traded up considerably in less than 9 days.

    2. avatar Quasimofo says:

      Chiappa also has its own take on the M6 with various combos of 12/20ga and 22LR/22WMR. They also sell inserts for the shotguns for various pistol calibers. Retail is ~$500, which seems kind of ridiculous to me considering what it is.

      1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

        But it’s also a Chiappa. Not going to use a Chiappa if I have access to anything else, even a Rossi.

        1. avatar Quasimofo says:

          Oh, my post wasn’t a recommendation. It was only for informational purposes. 🙂

  3. My 10 year old got to shoot one of these at a gathering on the 4th of July. Of all the guns he got to shoot that day it was the one he had the most fun with and he now wants one. At least that request should be easy on the wallet.

    1. avatar Specialist38 says:

      And I agree that would be a great reason to buy one. You kid likes it.

  4. avatar jwm says:

    It can’t be a serious survival gun if it has fiddly, plastic sights on it.

    We need an m6 scout that doesn’t cost more than a good ar15.(not that I consider any ar15 as good)

    1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      Savage model 42 Takedown. https://www.savagearms.com/content?p=firearms&a=product_summary&s=22440

      Not sure if $450 is an arm and a leg or just an arm though.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        I looked at one of those when they first came out. Flimsy looking and feeling. 300 bucks would be more in line.

    2. avatar Matt says:

      TPS Arms is now producing an updated M6. Being the owner of Springfield M6 myself and having recently handled the TPS version, TPS seems to have met the intent of the original M6. They made some much needed updates (a capture pin being and improved extractor to name a few) at the expense of replacing a lot of the metal with plastic. http://tpsarms.com/m6takedown.aspx.

    3. avatar barnbwt says:

      It’s not a serious survival gun; it’s a child’s toy. I didn’t realize this wasn’t obvious to everyone. There used to be a niche of firearms, called “bicycle rifles.” They were very cheap, very lightweight, and small rimfires intended to be clipped to the frames of kids’ bicycles as they tooled around killing squirrels & rabbits (and street signs). The Little Badger is something of a relic that no longer has a place today because of the NFA (ideally it’d have a 10″ barrel to match the stock when folded up) but is still a great kid-sized firearm that’s simple enough to teach basic gun handling on.

      A serious survival gun wouldn’t be in friggin’ 22LR, for starters.

  5. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

    I think a $100 single shot shotgun that folds is more useful. Small game, large game and self defense depending on shells chosen.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      A youth model 20 ga is my choice. It doesn’t fold but it breaks down quick and easy.

      I would really like a combo gun but I haven’t found one that is built and priced right.

  6. avatar Enuf says:

    It’s an oddity alright, and I own a predecessor to it. Mine is the “Garcia Bronco” non-takedown model in .22LR, imported by F.I.E. About fifty years ago I paid $5 for it to a neighbor. Took rabbits with it, though at some point the rear sight blade fell out. Another owner sent me measurements of his rear sight blade, I really should get around to making a replacement.

    No way I’d pay upwards of $200 for the new version. A 4000% price increase just doesn’t work with me.

    1. avatar Specialist38 says:

      The Garcia combo gun was a great firearm.

      I’d rather pay 200 for one of those.

      1. avatar Enuf says:

        Have long desired one of the Garcia Bronco .410 shotguns or .22 magnums. When I have seen one though, they’ve been priced like rare collectibles.

        Oh well.

  7. avatar Chris says:

    Hope everyone likes this type of gun because it won’t be long and this will be all our benevolent overlords will allow us to have.

    1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      Nope, this one isn’t in one of Grandpa’s wood stocks and has all those evil tactical rails.

      1. avatar Geoff WWJWD - "What would John Wick do?" PR says:

        And probably a no-go in Cali. with that assassin’s ‘threaded barrel’ on it…

  8. avatar Madcapp says:

    Is that K in a circle a kashrut certification? If you don’t understand, go find Farago and ask him.

  9. avatar billy-bob says:

    Looks like a Royal Nonesuch creation.

    1. avatar Geoff WWJWD - "What would John Wick do?" PR says:

      Didn’t he hook up with Mark Serbu’s daughter?

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        ah yes. .50 cal val.

  10. avatar davinwyo says:

    Junk.
    Absolutely NOT a “kids” gun.
    If you must have a gun that folds/takes down, at least get an AR7.
    My preference is a 10/22 take down.
    This junk will only teach bad habits to kids, will break when most needed and is entirely too flimsy. And it will float like the rock it is.
    But this is just my a..hole, I mean, opinion.

    1. avatar Specialist38 says:

      Most of my guns dont float……just sayin….

      1. avatar daveinwyo says:

        @ spec38 Mine either. Was referring to the AR7 and, yes the take down 10/22 in the padded carry case.
        Hell, I can’t even float any more.

        1. avatar Specialist38 says:

          I’m with ya there……and poking a little fun.😁

  11. avatar Claudio Dominguez says:

    I know it’s twice the money but for under $300 and sometimes much cheaper when on sale a Henry is far superior although it doesn’t fold. It will shoot .22 LR, .22 l and .22 S at 15,17, and 22 rounds. It’s a much better youth trainer, better sights made of real stuff and last for as long as you maintain it. Lever action so a kids wild west dream gun.

  12. avatar Mark E. Sunderlin says:

    Would rather have the Double Badger, in 22/.410 or 22/20 gauge.

  13. avatar Claudio Dominguez says:

    Okay, for under $300 shockwave 590 no need to fold and all types of ammo to choose from 3 in. Magnum to Aguila 1 3/4 in. Max length 26″ and barrel length of 12″ so maybe not a 100 yard accurate solution but maybe with sabots. But kid Friendly with the mini Aguila.

    1. avatar Specialist38 says:

      It will be an interesting squirrel hunt….😉

  14. avatar Claudio Dominguez says:

    Sorry, late afternoon coffee to blame. The article is about a survival. 22 with the ability to be compact by way of folding. I mentioned a Henry that doesn’t take down or fold and a short shotty that’s oviously not a .22 LR. The Chiappa still falls short in my book in many categories other than it’s a folder and light everything else is off-putting.

  15. avatar TickTalk says:

    Well, it seems most people hate it.. but how many actually have one?
    With a little work, this turned out nice.. replace the top rail with a longer steel, replace the other three with simple smooth wood panels. Toss the crap oem sights, put on a cheapish pistol reflex sight. Ar15 style grip, a barrel shroud, and a faux suppressor that is actually a 3″ barrel extension. Leather wrap on the stock with a small knife sheath in it..
    As accurate as my marlin 60, the only issue I had was a broken sear spring.

    1. avatar enuf says:

      I like it but stopped buying imported guns about 20 years ago, and sold off those I had to put my money into MADE IN USA guns. The only exception is my Garcia Bronco, a predecessor to this Chiappa. In the same general class of metal frame rimfire survival rifles, but my gun is a swing open action, not a break-top as in the Chiappa.

      Example:
      https://www.gunbroker.com/item/824653129

      1. avatar barnbwt says:

        US only guns? Wow, that must be boring…and dissipointing

    2. avatar Specialist38 says:

      I have shot one….I thought it was a prank gun someone had made from old parts and junk.

      Turns. out i was right

  16. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    Thanks for the review. I plan on getting one. Sometimes having a break action single shot forces you to slow down and take aim carefully. Rapid fire from a 1022 doesn’t teach marksmanship. But it can be fun. (smile)

    As a survival rifle I’d prefer the AR-7. Which I have already.

    1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

      And I like the idea of a backpack long gun.

  17. avatar ozzallos says:

    Or you can stop pretending, get a keltec Sub2000, and enjoy a similarly folding rifle in a usable caliber and superior capacity.

  18. avatar Jason says:

    I bought one of these when they first came out. Talk about disappointment. I bought this in late fall/early winter. By the time I finally got around to firing it, it was early/late spring. First shot, I put the round in, cocked the hammer, NO BANG. The hammer was too short to reach the round. Also, it was outside the warranty period. Finally got a hold of someone with a brain at Chiappa (after a month) and sent the rifle in. 6 months later it comes back. It’s a fine shooter, but the quality control and customer service left a lot to be desired.

  19. avatar Hugh says:

    I love mine. I swapped out the top rail with an extended rail and removed the rear sight. I use a Burris FastFire in place of the sights. Took off the bottom rail and it folds flatter. I’m shorter and I have no problem shooting with the short LOP. Biggest thing is you can store it in a large hydration pack. I have it in a sling pack with a large hydration sleeve and plenty of other pockets and pouches for everything else. It’s a great little bug out pack with plenty of room for a pistol setup too.

  20. avatar Will Drider says:

    Yuk and No. Pick any desired feature it has and it doesn’t do it well. Folding, accuracy, trigger, sights, quality and so on. Why would anyone seriously trust their “survival” to that? Because its cheap? I’d rather reach into a barrel of used Marlin or Ruger .22s and grab any one of them.

    We often see “survival rifle tied to “folding”, Why? Why would you want to fold or put you “survival firearm” in or on a backpack, which only delays its employment. Just foolishness.

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