Stopping Walkers, Both Dead & Un-Dead On The Cheap

Bob Mernickle Mares Leg holster with a Henry Mares Leg 22 mag and Mares Leg 357 mag.
Bob Mernickle Mares Leg holster with a Henry Mares Leg 22 mag and Mares Leg 357 mag.

USA – -( I have to admit I am a fan of the Walking Dead and Fear of the Walking Dead TV series. I have watched all the episodes. Yes, I watch them as a form of entertainment, but I also see them as training films. I learn possibly needed skills for a future emergency, but also I learn what not to do in a crisis.

Money has no value in the Walking Dead zombie apocalypse. The day before the first “walkers” started to appear in society and eating humans, you personally could have been the richest guy in town. However, if all you possessed on the day people became food was money, you are not going to survive.

You cannot buy your way out of a zombie crisis but you may have a chance to survive by shooting your way to safety.

There are more than enough firearms in the US, the problem is most gun owners do not have a good stock of ammunition on hand. Everyone wants a self-loading rifle with quick changing magazines that hold 30 rounds of ammo. They want black rifles, which means an M-16 or AR -15 style firearm that they can point down range in the general vicinity of evil, pull the trigger and then just spray and pray.

There is one inherent flaw with a repeating rifle. Whether it is an 1860 Henry lever action rifle and you are at the Battle Franklin in 1864, or shooting the latest rendition of the US military M-16 battle rifle and you are in combat in Iraq, they all shoot too fast in the eyes of the logistics / supply folks. The quicker you shoot up your ammo in a combat situation the faster you expect the re-supply folks you and do this in time of extreme danger.

The US General Accounting Office (GAO) has put out figures indicating that for every insurgent killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, 250,000 rounds of US ammunition was fired. A quarter of a million bullets went down range for every dead bad guy. In the Vietnam War we had similar ammo expenditures, after all we were using the M-16 in that conflict also. Even in WWII with the eight shot, M-1 Garand rifle, approximately 20,000 rounds of 30-06 ammo was fired for every kill.

The problem is even trained soldiers have a real issue with wasting ammunition in time of conflict when someone is trying to kill them. Now envision you are a civilian with no police or military training and a herd of “walkers” is coming down your street for lunch, and you or your supplies are on the menu.

You have a firearm and you know how to shoot it and so you open up on the “walkers” and kill all of them. Then you realize you have just shot up 70% of all the ammo you had the day the zombie apocalypse started. Walmart and Cabela’s are closed (and looted) for the duration of the crisis. There is no resupply and you are now down to 30% of your ammo stocks.

Something tells me when the next herd of “walkers” enter your neighborhood you will be doing a lot more praying and a lot less spraying.

I am not suggesting you give up your black rifles and your high capacity handguns, but I am suggesting you take a long hard look at the 22 magnum round of ammunition.

I advocate in times of crisis that when possible you engage a target whether “walkers” or marauding packs of feral dogs with a 22 rifle first. This of course is done from a vantage of safety. If either the “walkers” or the dogs are almost on top you (and both want to eat you) then use whatever center-fire firearms or shotguns you have that are most effective.

The reason I advocate the use of 22 Magnum is it’s excellent killing capability, in comparison to its size, weight and cost. 22 mag coming out of a rifle is nothing to sneeze at.

My suggestion is you go online and look at all the videos of hunters killing feral hogs with a 22 mag rifle. There is even a video of a persons killing hogs of approximately 200 pounds in weight, dispatching the animal with a 22 mag Freedom Arms miniature revolver.

I have a friend who back in his younger days made his living culling the deer in forest preserves in northern Illinois. He did this under contract with a number of counties. He was only allowed to shoot the deer with a 22 mag rifle. Most of his kills were head shots, but he paid his bills and survived some lean times all with the help of a 22 mag rifle.

Now back to the Walking Dead. The zombie dies as a human and re-animates as a walking dead creature. It does however continue to rot and deteriorate and so the head gets softer.

You have to destroy the brain to really kill a “walker”. There are all kinds of scenes in the show where massive amounts of firepower are delivered into hoards of attacking “walkers”, the problem is a lot of ammo is wasted. Body shots do not count, that only means you wasted a precious round. It has to be the head.

One of the main characters fights with a wooded walking stick that has a blunt end. He is always killing, by shoving his blunt stick into the head of a decaying “walker”. While everyone else is shooting the “walkers” or using sharp metal weapons to penetrate the skull to destroy the brain, one human is using a stick.

The point is, if you can kill a mushy headed “walker” with a stick you sure as heck can kill one from a safer distance with a 22 mag firearm. And it does not need to be a 22 mag rifle.

Bob Mernickle Mares Leg holster with a Henry 22 Mag Mares Leg and a 1929 Ford Model A that will work even after an EMP
Bob Mernickle Mares Leg holster with a Henry 22 Mag Mares Leg and a 1929 Ford Model A that will work even after an EMP

In a crisis situation you need to have immediate access to your center-fire firearms. I am not suggesting you leave them home so you can only carry a 22 mag rifle.

What I am strongly suggesting is a great compromise firearm that meets your needs in the middle of the road, both literally and figuratively.

The Henry Rifles, 22 magnum lever action Mares Leg ( is the firearm of choice. First off it is a pistol. In many states that have open carry laws you can have a loaded handgun in your vehicle, where you cannot have a loaded long gun in your truck. Usually this revolves around state hunting laws.

The Henry Mares Leg has a 12.9 inch barrel which means you can get almost rifle velocities out of your 22 mag handgun. Increased velocity behind a 50 grain 22 mag bullet is how you dispatch a hog or a “walker” with a firearm that is short, light and deadly to evil.

Go to Ballistics By The Inch ( ) and look at the posted velocities of many of the leading 22 mag ammo brands. You will find about a 400-500 FPS increase in velocity for a 22 mag round when shot out of a Henry Mares Leg vs. a four inch, 22 mag revolver. The increased energy is what makes you able to kill deer and large hogs with one shot. Oh! and “walkers” also.

Yes shooting a Henry Mares Leg is a little different, but it is a lot of fun and you can reach out well beyond a 100 yards to make contact with evil. You do not have to let “walkers” come to within biting distance before you engage them. A scratch from a “walker” or a knife wound from a street criminal may not kill you on the spot but the after effects can be deadly.

Engage early and engage often (accurately) when dealing with evil that means to destroy your life. If you can do it successfully and safely with a 22 mag instead of your valuable and hard to replace 5.56 or 44 mag ammo, do so with accuracy.

If you are wondering how to conveniently carry a Henry Mares Leg when traveling in the bush on foot or when riding an ATV, Bob Mernickle, of Mernickle Holsters out in Fernley, Nevada has the answer. Mr. Mernickle has one of the best designed back pack style Mares Leg holsters I have seen (

You can slip the lightweight Henry Mares Leg. 22mag into the Mernickle holster, place it on your back and take off on an ATV in comfort and know the Henry is safe and secure. After a while you forget the Henry is on your back.

You can also use Mr. Mernickle’s holster for the large Big Boy frame center-fire Henry Mares Leg. In fact a Henry Big Boy Steel 16 inch carbine travels very well on your back, nestled in a Mernickle holster, especially riding on an ATV.

Hunting deer in most states with a 22mag is illegal and I am not advocating violating state hunting laws. Also make sure you understand your state statute on open carry inside a vehicle. Nobody needs to go to jail because they read about a concept on the internet.

The Henry Mares Leg in 22 mag is a unique firearm that does have a place in the personal defense role, especially in a crisis where replacement of ammunition will only become more difficult if not impossible.

By the way, there is nothing cheap about Henry Mares Legs or 22 mag ammo, as the title of this column might imply. Both give you quality and dependability. It is the effective operational cost of the combo that makes it a less expensive force multiplier tool in time of crisis.

22 mag and a Henry Mares Leg is not a replacement for your center fire guns in time of evil and uncertainty. They come together as a package that almost anyone can carry and use in an emergency and they get results beyond their advertised capabilities.

The 22 mag Henry Mares Leg is a lot of fun to shoot. However, evidence shows that you can take a white tail deer or a 200 pound (plus) hog with a 22 mag firearm. The Henry Mares Leg is an excellent concealable and transportable tool that could mean the difference between winning the day in a fight with “walkers” or going from “walker bait” to “walker brunch” in a matter of minutes.

Evil and “Walkers” they are always with us and now so are Henry Mares Legs to help you meet and defend from the ever presents of that evil.

A Henry Delay means you get to walk away–alive.

Major Van Harl USAF Ret.
[email protected]

Major Van Harl USAF Ret
Major Van Harl USAF Ret

About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:

Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force, was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School.  A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI.  His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training.  He believes “evil hates organization.”  [email protected]

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I REALLY like my Marlin .22 WMR leverl action rifle in all stainless Bearutirul to look at, very intuitive to learn to use, deadly accurate, lightweight, will last forever in this wet climate…. a 4x by 32 fixed scope makes for a lightweight handy effective package. Add my Ruger stainless .22 WMR revolver for a backup, and I think I’m in pretty good shape. Maybe a thousand rounds in store these days.


Old marine This is something to consider ” With the exception of war, more people are killed with .22 LR than any other caliber”. The 22 magnum shoots the same bullet as the 22LR but with a little more ump. Either one can do the job but the magnum give you a little longer range and impact energy. As to being heaver I say if you are so week you can’t carry your ammo then stay at home and use your imagination. I like both the LR and the Magnum and there are many guns in those platforms. Cost is… Read more »

Robert S

First off, this article reads like a bad Google translation. Is the author not fluent in English? Second, it’s disturbing that the author continues to write about “walkers” long after any metaphoric value has been used up (stating that a .22 Mag will easily penetrate the rotted skull of a “walker” in a serious discussion of survival weapons is suggestive of cognitive dissonance). Third, .22 Mag is as costly as 9mm, and usually not as widely available. And lastly, the Mare’s Leg is a silly gun that is difficult to shoot with accuracy and expensive. It’s main purpose is to… Read more »


Oh please, it was just a fun article, although I agree that Ammoland articles appear to have little to no proofreading. As for the price of 22mag ammo, a quick internet search turned up $.12 a round. Show me where you can get 9mm for that, I’ll take it.


You do know he was using a light hearted allegory for the Halloween time, right? I took it in the spirit intended for some discussion on firearms. Not your cup of tea, and you’d rather have a 9mm or higher carbine, good on you! A Mare’s leg might be just the thing to introduce a young shooter to the sport or for someone of slight physical stature. To each his/her own. Major Harl works his butt off posting discussion items. Personally, I’ve never seen an episode of “The Walking Dead” but some people love it. Nor have I bought “Zombie… Read more »

Robert Thomas

Ruger 10/22, any variant, in 22LR. Cheap, effective and accurate. If head shots are what you are going for, the extra power of the 22mag is not needed. Close in combat on the cheap, AR pistol in 9mm with a red dot, 12″ barrel fired from the shoulder. A 16″ AR in 223 would do both, and well, but more expensive to shoot, and ammo is heavier.


To start off my Son loves his .22 mag bolt action rifle he got for his birthday. I’ve heard the same bad reviews of the mare’s leg as some of the comments on here. My son’s rifle is a Savage bolt action with a nice scope but it’s extremely light. He has a bi pod and sling and when he’s carrying it he hardly notices. The .22 mag rounds I’ve acquired for him in the past were of course more money than .22 LR but they weren’t so much as to detour someone. You just have to shop around online… Read more »


I’m seeing .22mag ammo around here (Western WI) for .20-24 cents a round, pretty much the same as 9mm. Our Cabelas as well as other stores like Fleet Farm and Wally World (not my first choice) are well stocked with many brands. Plus the on-line stores often offer sales. The real problem is that I’ve never seen a Mares leg in a gun store around here…despite Henry having one of its major factories in Rice Lake, WI. I’d certainly like to handle one before investing in one. I think I’d rather have a full length .357, although having one as… Read more »

Harry in Ohio

Well written article. It nicely explained the use of an alternative weapon choice with spot-on reasoning.


the ration of rounds expended/kills in armed conflict are useless when talking about the walking d3ad: They don’t shoot back, so shooting blindly from cover won’t be quite so prevalent, eh? The hoody is a good In-character choice for your model. I guess Z’s don’t see color so orange isn’t a detriment to concealment? 22 mag isn’t that cheap around these parts and has only become available again recently. (and since Bass gobbled up Cabela’s that store hasn’t had ANY ammo in stock of late, being content to pay rent on bare shelves.) I’m hoping to find a bolt action… Read more »

Dave in Fairfax

I looked at a Mares Leg in a store. Maybe it’s just me, but I think they’re fugly.

Bolt action .22s are everywhere, you shouldn’t have any problem finding one or ten. If the local stores don’t have them, and you don’t want to buy on-line, go to a pawn shop. We have piles of Bolt actions and pumps in the pawnshops here. Bolt actions are great for a lot of things and teach aiming, although I have nothing against prayer. Spraying, not so much.

Wild Bill

I am surprised at Maj. Van Harl for including this bit of irrelevant information: “The US General Accounting Office (GAO) has put out figures indicating that for every insurgent killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, 250,000 rounds of US ammunition was fired. A quarter of a million bullets went down range for every dead bad guy. In the Vietnam War we had similar ammo expenditures,…” First, the assholes at the GAO have never been shot at as part of their job. Second, the American soldier is smart enough to shoot at where the Opfors might be, in preference to finding out… Read more »

Major Van Harl USAF Ret

Thank you Mr. “W” Bill, as usual you have make my point for me in your round about way.

Wild Bill

@Mr. Van Harl, You sorely test my resolve not to argue with other Second Amendment supporters, until after the election.

Gregory Romeu

@Wild Bill, I ponder if we could get a leaner bottom line on the expenditures of ammo if we just do-away away with the costa and expenditures of having the GAO or their waste and abuse in creating these ignorant reports? Lest we tell the taxpayers that THEY are spending in the area of $80,000.00 PER enemy kill?


@ W. Bill spoken like a true military person and you sure made your point. The bean counters have way to much time on their hands if they can dream up ridiculous stats such as this.


Oldmarine >>> Wild Bill Right on, but best to remember that that data includes training and CQB practice also. Not all rounds are fired at the enemy, approximately 15-20 % are used in training and more so in combat zones. In some units ammunition expenditures for training and live action are just about equal. Just training Marine recruits takes a huge amount of ammo but that isn’t combat expenditures. often wonder that probably the bean counters are not producing realistic data. I believe they count the cost of ammo as use of ammo as real data. Counting rounds of a… Read more »


Try hitting anything with a mare’s leg except at extremely close range. It is the original “spray and pray” weapon.

James Andrews

Good point; they look cool, but can’t be half as accurate as a rifle with a full stock on it. I have a .22mag lever action, no scope on it, but it’s still fairly accurate. I recently turned a 20 gauge self defense shotgun into a short bird gun by putting a nice Hogue full stock on it. Awesome bird gun because I can swing it around much quicker and get on target. Most of the time I am shooting at partridge, I am within 25-35 feet. Would be harder to do with a Mare’s leg!

Wild Bill

I have seen many young persons trying to sell these “mare’s leg” configuration firearms at gun shows. Many young persons. I wonder why that is.

Dennis Carey

22mag ammo is more expensive than 9mm ammo and a Henry Mares Leg it’s super expensive that kinda blows up your cost effective argument lol it’d be cheaper to get a pistol caliber carbine then you’re rifle ammo could match your pistol thus carrying allot more of only 1 type of ammo instead of carrying 2 different kinds

Don Razskazoff

Confusing…….within the same story you state .22 Magnum and then .22LR…….please make up your mind and don’t further confuse us.

Timothy Votaw

I looked again, saw no actual reference to .22 LR in the article. I’m not confused.

Timothy Votaw

Oops, you are right. There is a reference to .22LR, after all. I take it as either an error, or some generality. However, I think the writer is clear in his purpose, the .22 Mag.

Don Razskazoff

By the time stamp of my comment you can see that my comment was first this morning…….Tim Votaw gave me reason to go back and read it again, and I see that the article has been edited since I read it to remove the reference to .22LR. ..This was done without acknowledgement of my alert……..not cool…’ve turned a simple error into something bordering unethical.



You are correct. I saw that and knew it was a typo immediately. It would behoove Ammoland to have the decency to say “hey guys, thanks, we caught it and corrected it”.

That’s a hint Ammoland.