Here’s a Look at Three of the Best Survival Rifles

Your car or truck has broken down, repair is impossible, and you’re miles from civilization. Your cell phone can’t get a signal from this far out. Making it home will take days of hard walking through rough terrain.  To make things worse, there are lots of hostile critters between you and civilization.  Your food supply contains only a fraction of the calories you’ll need for the effort, and edible plants are few and far between, so you’ll have to hunt.  It’s at times like these that you could use one of the best survival rifles available.  The question is: which one will fit the bill?

To answer that question, we need to look at it from a cold, hard, fact-based perspective.  You and I both know that a lot of the firearm purchases we make are based on their appearance or how loud they go boom.  Am I saying that’s wrong?  Not at all.  Those factors are a huge part of what makes gun collecting so much fun.  However, in a survival situation, good looks and loud noises don’t mean much.  When your weapon is the only thing standing between you and the Grim Reaper, then these are some of the features you want it to have:

  • Light weight – Ask any hiker.  They’ll tell you that every unneeded ounce you carry will sap your energy and slow you down.  It will also burn up more calories and reduce your morale.  So forget your deer rifle with the $800.00 scope that weighs as much as you.  You need a weapon that’s a breeze to carry.  That goes for its ammo as well, so let’s limit the discussion to small caliber pieces.
  • Range and accuracy – We’ll have to compromise a bit on these features in order to meet our other requirements.  So we’ll look for weapons with reasonable accuracy out to about 60 feet, far enough away to bag a squirrel, snake, rabbit, or other small prey for supper.  

  • Simplicity and reliability – This means a gun you can aim and fire even if it’s dropped in the dirt or falls in a creek.  So let’s forget anything with a scope.  Old school metal sights are the way to go.
  • Portability – You don’t want to be fumbling with an oversized weapon when you’ll be fighting through brush or scrambling over rocks.  Also, you’ll need a gun that can fit in any vehicle, or in a small backpack or shoulder bag for that matter.  So we’ll limit our choices to rifles that can be broken down into smaller components. 

With these things in mind, let’s look at some of the best survival rifles:

1. The Henry Survival Rifle – Also known as the AR-7, this 3.5 lb. weapon, or one of its earlier versions, has been issued to Air Force pilots since 1959, to use in case they had to bail out of their plane.  It quickly disassembles into three parts, all of which fit into the hollow stock, which is watertight and can float.  Both the barrel and internal parts are coated with Teflon® for outstanding durability.  Assembly is fast, with no tools required.   The stock holds two eight-round clips and another can be stored in the receiver.  Action is highly reliable, as long as round nosed, high velocity (40+ grain) rounds are used; flat nosed and slower cartridges can jam.  CCI Velocitor hollow points are a good choice.  The weapon is 35” long when assembled and 16.5” when stowed in the stock.  Some of the earlier incarnations had quality issues, but the Henry version, built since 1997, has earned high marks among both civilian and military users.  Some owners report that accuracy suffers a bit due to the detachable barrel.  However, seasoned shooters should have no trouble hitting their mark out to at least 20 yards.  It comes in black, silver, and camo finishes.  The AR-7 would be nice to have on hand when the unexpected occurs.

2. The Taurus Model 62 – About 60 years ago, John Browning built the original Model 62 that generations of shooters fell in love with.  This 4.5 lb. weapon is Taurus’ version of that legendary firearm.  Its pump action is extremely reliable, and the tube magazine holds 12 rounds.  It breaks down into smaller components; the stock can be removed by turning a single knurl screw.  Overall length when assembled is 32.5”.  Accuracy is very good with any quality 22 LR ammo.  The biggest disadvantage of the Model 62 is that, currently, it’s not being built.  However, used rifles of this type can be found on the market.  Taking the time to track one down is well worth the effort to have one of the best survival rifles.

3. The Ruger 10/22, takedown version – The 10/22 is the king of all .22 rifles, and with good reason.  Simply put, there is no more reliable firearm made anywhere.  It comes in a variety of models, but for this article, let’s consider just the new takedown version.  It has an overall length of 37” with an 18.5” barrel.  Disassembly involves locking the bolt back, pulling a recessed lever, and twisting the subassemblies apart.  Reassembly is just as easy.  Ruger thought of everything with this baby; it even comes with an ultra-cool black bag to carry the rifle in when disassembled.  The case has pouches for plenty of extra magazines, both the 10-round and newer 25-round rotary versions.  

Special note: due to its popularity, there are aftermarket products galore for the 10/22, but for ultimate reliability, only the Ruger factory magazines are recommended. 

Selecting a gun dealer is like picking a spouse.  Choose the wrong one and you’re in for serious trouble.  However, with Dury’s, you’ve got nothing to fear.  Since 1959, we’ve given our customers honest value, backed by outstanding service and fair prices.  Browse our site and you’re likely to find a new favorite gun.  Whether you’re in the market for something new or perhaps some used rifles, we’re sure to have something you’ll like.  Also, if you need accessories or gunsmith work, you’ll find our selection and quality unbeatable.  We look forward to doing business with you.

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