12 Best Survival Rifles for Survival & Prepping

When comes to a SHTF scenario, you will need a reliable survival rifle.

However, picking the right gun can be overwhelming, especially with the many options on the market.

If you need a rifle for home defense, target shooting or hunting, with all the optimal features, you’ve come to the right place.

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12 Best Survival Rifles for You
  1. Ruger 10/22 Take-down
  2. Henry Classic Lever Action .22
  3. Kel-Tec Sub-2000 Rifle 40 S&W 16.1″ 15+1
  4. Browning BLR Lightweight ’81
  5. Winchester M70 Super Grade
  6. Kimber Model 84M Classic
  7. AR-15
  8. Armalite AR-10
  9. Remington 700
  10. “Americanized,” semi-automatic AK-47 variant
  11. Ruger Mini-14 Ranch 18.5″
  12. M1 Carbine
Top 4 Popular Types of Guns Not Ideal for SHTF
Ammunition Availability
Accessories That Make Using A Rifle Easier
Final Thoughts

This guide provides you with important suggestions for acquiring and using a survival rifle. The rifles we feature are reliable and durable. Read on to learn about survival rifles, best tips for use, and our top survival rifle recommendations.  

A) Rifle Types and Calibers

Although there are several types of rifles and calibers, each is best suited for particular SHTF scenarios. 

To help you make the best selection, this guide is focused on the four major categories of SHTF scenarios and the best rifles and calibers for each category.

In short, the survival firearms you need depend on the task required as well as the nature of the survival situation. So, what do you intend to use the survival rifle for? Here is a breakdown of the main survival tasks in four broad groups:


1) Wilderness Survival Small Game

When confronted with a wilderness survival situation, there is a high chance that you might need to live off the land. This means that you need a firearm that is effective in harvesting small game.

Luckily, there are several small game animals in many geographic locations including possum, rabbit, squirrel and more that can see your family through this situation.

Regardless, bringing down small animals can be quite tricky. Luckily, there are many excellent rifles suitable for the small game arena, and each can fire different types of calibers.

The 17HMR cartridge is quite popular for good reasons. It has a remarkable velocity and uses a variety of varmint rounds. The .22 magnum is also great due to its extreme power that supersedes the .22LR. However, the .22LR is the best for survival. It offers incredible performance and is highly rated for various reasons.


Firs, it is a versatile, desirable and affordable round. Second, you can pack them in your pockets without much notice. 

The Scoped Ruger 10/22 takedown is our best pick in .22LR. While a Remington 597 is a great alternative, but the internal parts of the Ruger are more impressive compared to this Remington’s delicate internal parts.

2) Wilderness Survival Big Game

So, you want to bring down a ten point buck at 300 yards? Which rifle do you need? Well, you definitely need a strong, stealthy long-range rifle.

A cartridge that remains deadly at 300 yards distance or more is the most suitable. You don’t want just to wound and lose the buck. The shot has to be precise. 


With this type of goal, it’s important to emphasize accuracy, power and speed. Therefore, the mid-sized cartridge won’t be practical.  What would be ideal is 170-220 grain region in.30 calibres.

Other great alternatives include .30-06. 300 Win Mag or. 308 Winchester. The Remington 700 is also an ideal choice. It features an innovative design that is never obsolete. In fact, it’s considered the mainstay of bolt action sniper rifles and a super deadly rifle great for hunting large game.

3) Self Defense Long Range (250 Yards+)

Killing intruders at long range is no joke. You need to have the ultimate rifle and rounds designed for home and personal defense. Having effective signage can keep the enemies away, but you don’t want to scare them by firing in their direction only to miss them. That implies the rifle and rounds of ammunition used must possess excellent accuracy and lethality.

One of the best to use is Remington 700. This survival rifle can kill a deer at 250+ yards away, which means it can also take down your enemy. However, the advantage of the bolt action of the rifle on accuracy can also be a liability when the situation calls for follow up of a shot. While a deer might hang around for some time figuring out what’s happening, humans will realize immediately.


In this case, a semi-automatic option would be best if the target has to be human. To this regard, the AR-15 in 5.56 NATO, scoped AR-10 in .308 NATO are great options. The AR 10 boasts outstanding knockdown power. However, the AR 15 has a high-quality buffer to reduce the impacts of recoil, so there is less chance of missing due to higher accuracy.  

4) Self Defense Short Range (Under 250 Yards)

To understand the best rifles for close range defense, you need to understand your environments. If you live in a dense forest, then your needs are quite different from someone who lives in a plains/open area. This means you require different rifles for self-defense.

However, you need a firearm with enhanced reliability and accuracy in either case.
You need to focus on a weapon with excellent accuracy to hit a target at less than 200 yards away. The challenge with close range is that there is a possibility of receiving return fire, or being charged, disarmed, etc… For this reason, every round must be precise and at no moment should the weapon jam.


The AK 47 can blend well in such a situation. The only disadvantage is that accuracy of this weapon reduces once on full auto mode. But, the “Americanized”, a semi-automatic AK-47 variant is a great firearm that can do the job in this and many other scenarios.

You can choose the standard 30-round magazine or go for the high capacity option with 75 round drums! Although the drum one can offer more rounds, they will add weight to the already heavy AK, which will make it less transportable, and more difficult to wield. Furthermore, you might be tempted to spray and pray instead of aiming carefully with 75 rounds available.

B) The Best Rifles for Wilderness Survival Small Game

1. Ruger 10/22 Take-down

The Ruger 10/22 Take-down is a wonderful choice if you want the best rifle for the hunting small game. It features a design that is rugged, and easy to clean and maintain. Thus, it is best for going deep into the brush and  hunting small animals that like to hide in the thick underbrush and in trees. This rifle is closely matched to the Remington 597, but there is still something special about this gun.


It boasts a sturdy construction with external and internal parts. With the incredibly durable design, the Ruger 10/22 Takedown rifle can serve you for decades.

Apart from the rugged and weatherproof design, this rifle boats ultimate shooting power and accuracy. Hence, it is the best rifle for hunting small game.

2. Henry Classic Lever Action .22

If there is a must have rifle for small game hunting then it’s the Henry Classic. It’s an amazing .22 LR which is a favorite firearm for many hunters.

What makes this rifle one of the most famous .22 rifles available today is its clear, accurate shooting and reliability.  Additionally, the Henry Lever Action is remarkably affordable compared competing rifles.


The Henry Lever Action is designed with a good-looking American walnut stock; something idea for mounting above the fireplace or by the entryway. This exceptional quality is usually a feature of weapons which are double or thrice its price.

Its action is so extremely smooth, that it might lead first timers to believe that it magically shoots with no internal parts. This rifle is a great deal and can assure success in small game hunting when you find yourself in an SHTF scenario. 

3. Kel-Tec Sub-2000 Rifle 40 S&W 16.1″ 15+1

If you want a powerful rifle which you can easily conceal, this the most practical option. It features plenty of plastic composite making it very lightweight at only 4.25 pounds. It measures about 30.5 inches when unfolded, and 16.5 inches folded. So, you can conceal it in a bag and travel with it for self-defense machine.

Kal-Tec Sub-2000

Despite it’s compact size, it offers a lot of power and can accommodate heavy rounds to suit your short-range shooting. The KEL-TEC Sub-2000 Rifle has a great punch thanks to its 40 S&W ammo. Perhaps this is why most small game hunters prefer this weapon. It’s a suitable choice for SHTF scenarios that demands an effective rifle for survival.

C) The Best Rifles for Wilderness Survival Big Game

4. Browning BLR Lightweight ’81

The ’81 is outstanding among other types of models in the Browning BLR lightweight series. It’s a carbine length lever-action is built with an aluminium alloy stock, 20-inch barrel, rotary bolt locking system and a detachable 4 round box magazine which drops free when you press the release.

Browning-BLR-Lightweight -81

It is available with a curved pistol-grip or a straight-grip. You can also find a take-down version that allows easy transport or shipping.

The long-action and short-action model ’81 can accommodate various hard-hitting calibres to suit a big game survival situation. They include 450 Marlin, 358 W, 308W, 300WM and 270 WSM.

The advantage of this weapon is that doesn’t only pack a punch, it is also easy to carry. This firearm is designed with a short barrel that allows you to shoot in the timber, a ground blind, and from a tree stand.

It comes with an easy loading magazine which enables you to get fast follow-up shots. In summary, if flexibility and durability are your concerns then this is gun will make a good investment.


5. Winchester M70 Super Grade

M70 Super Grade is one of the world’s most respected bolt-action big game rifle for solid reasons. It features enhanced pistol grip stock, fixed extractor, controlled feed, and MOA trigger mechanism for excellent performance.

These features together with its classic Mauser action that has a 90-degree bolt lift and the two front locking lungs. It comes with a 24-inch barrel, weighs over 9 pounds and chambered for .30-06 loads.

The incredible weight increases its shooting accuracy making it ideal for the wilderness survival big game. With this rifle, you get an easy time carrying it, and you don’t have to worry about being knocked over by recoil. Besides, its new MOA trigger can be adjusted, and its receiver makes loading much easier and quicker.


6. Kimber Model 84M Classic

The Kimber 84M is another bolt action rifle that will give you an impression that it’s customized to fit your needs. It is chambered in short-action .308 Win, 7mm-08 Rem, and 43 Win including .338 Federal and a 5-round magazine.

The weapon also has an adjustable trigger designed to release at 3.5-4 pounds. The overall length of Kimber 84M is 41 1/4 inches and has a 22-inch light contour barrel. Together with its scope and mount, the firearm weighs 7 pounds.


This rifle is ideal for the big game offering you easy loading, steady balance, short barrel-length, and is lightweight which makes it a great bolt-action rifle. Its adjustable trigger is an outstanding feature that has earned this hard-hitting ultralight weapon respects for its accuracy.

D) The Best Self Defense Long Range (250 Yards+)

7.  AR-15

AR-15 is designed in different styles, and it’s one of the widely used rifles across the world. This semi-automatic AR-15 emerged to become a favorite weapon used by civilian groups, law enforcement, and in the military.

Its popularity can be attributed to its reliability and accuracy with many levels of customization, due to its two-piece receiver and a modular design. The rifle can fire .233 or 5.56x44mm caliber rounds delivered from a 30-round magazine.


A great rifle in the AR-15 series for self-defense in long range is the DPMS Sportical. It has a lightweight and comes with ready-to-shoot carbine-style AR that has an adjustable stock and a 16-inch barrel. Just like most AR’s, this rifle can be upgraded and accommodated with various accessories to suit your needs in a SHTF survival situation.

8. Armalite AR-10

Stopping power is an important aspect to consider in a survival rifle. The Armalite AR-10 is designed to work well for defense in long range situations. It features impressive features, and its light weight won’t burden you when you need to move.

Armalite AR-10

The rifle is also gas-operated, magazine-fed, air-cooled and uses a piston within the bolt carrier that has a rotary bolt locking mechanism. It conventional layout comprises of a buttstock, handguard, reinforced fibreglass pistol grip, aluminium alloy receiver and an in-line stock.

It features high muzzle velocity and remarkable hitting power which makes it a suitable rifle when you are confronted by threats such as bears or an angry mob at at some distance away. It’s no doubt why the rifle was a key battle rifle in the US military at some point in time.

9. Remington 700

If you are looking at getting accurate shots over long distances for defense, then you will want to consider Remington 700. It is designed by a well-known and respected firearms producer, Remington. This means that its quality is exceptional and satisfaction is guaranteed.


The rifle uses powerful 7 mm Remington Magnum rounds which enables it to punch hard even at long ranges. The 7mm magnum rounds enhance the rifle’s accuracy in great distances due to the boost in muzzle velocity they retain. You will be astonished at the level of damage left upon hitting the target.

The Remington 700 can be used in various types of weather. It is built using the outstanding Bell & Carlson M40 synthetic tactical stock. Its reliable bolt action round chambering also makes maintaining the rifle easier. If you expect to find yourself in an SHTF environment, then you can count on this rifle for survival.

E. The Best Self Defense Short Range (Under 250 Yards)

10. “Americanized,” semi-automatic AK-47 variant

For long term use, it seems like the AK-47, with it’s loose tolerances and rugged dependability should be the winner hands down. The AK-47 has been battle tested and proven. It has been buried in mud, filled with sand, picked up out of rivers and in almost every case, has worked without flaw.

This rifle is specially designed to hit the target at 200 yards range. It does so with great precision and knockdown power. This long caliber rifle can help you survive a disaster. It features a sturdy design but is lightweight. It offers little kick or recoil. Thus, it is great for beginners who are new to guns.

It can be a great option for kids and young adults who want to master the art of shooting. It features a tough and over-engineered design. Also, it is easy to customize with various accessories to increase its convenience.


However, the extra accessories may increase the overall weight. It uses 7.62×39 mm round which is highly lethal and travels at outstanding speeds. It has a high level of accuracy and leaves impressive damage.

Aside from its ease of use and training, this firepower can be significant for the close and medium range. These carbine rifles usually come with 10 round rotary magazines that fit flush in the gun.

It is easy to change the magazine even for the beginner. Thus, it is ideal for self-defense at short range like 100 yards due to accuracy, ease of use and speed. In addition, it features a threaded nozzle. Therefore, you can mount a silencer to eliminate excess noise.

The problem with the AK-47 for your SHTF rifle is the availability of the 7.62×39 ammunition. After the apocalypse, imports of ammo will likely stop, and all the AK-47 ammo will get snatched up quickly.

11. Ruger Mini-14 Ranch 18.5″

Despite having a wooden stock design, this gun is a real defensive weapon. It is small, lightweight and incredibly versatile. It can be a good hunting rifle as well as short and medium range defense weapon.


It features an ergonomic design that allows you to easily outfit it with a scope. With the scope on top of this gun, your target has slim chances of surviving. Using the gas operated chambering its rounds are quickly chambered.

Thus, it gives you added advantage if your enemies are hitting back. Amazingly, this rifle only weighs 7.5 pounds when fully stocked with accessories. So, it is a great deal for defense as long as you won’t overload it with unnecessary accessories . Moreover, you can send up to 21 rounds before you need to pick another magazine. In addition, it can readily use the Remington 223 rounds which are pretty easy to find.

12. M1 Carbine

As old as it may sound, this rifle is one of the best for combat. Although it has not been active on duty since the Vietnam War, it was and is still considered a lethal weapon.

The design was intended to be lightweight and compact as an improvement of the M1 Garand, and this rifle offers amazing speed and accuracy. This makes this weapon one of the versatile rifles for hunting game.


Apart from its versatility, it is affordable and uses .30 calibre rounds. The standard version comes with 15 round magazines, and the gun is extremely maneuverable during close-range operations.

However, it is becoming increasingly hard to get the original M1 carbine. But once you get one, the rifle is battle ready, and next to unstoppable for hunting and defense.

The modern version of the M1 carbine is the AOM130 and is readily available at a considerable price. This rifle weighs as little as 5.4 pounds and features 18 inches barrel and a traditional walnut stock.

The .30 calibre rifle is becoming increasingly  hard to find and is very expensive. However, this is the only draw back that the rifle has but performance is exemplary especially as a hunting rifle.


Selecting a good firearm to protect your family, property or for hunting is quite important as you prepare for an SHTF scenario. But you don’t want to spend months preparing only to experience challenges with the guns when the time for survival arrives.

While many firearms are perfect for hunting and home defense in such a scenario, there are also many guns that are not suitable. They have limitations such as lack of reliability, poor reload times, limited ammo capacity or poor stopping power among others.

You can use some of these guns for backup but be hesitant to entirely rely on them for help in SHTF situation because they are not smart.

Here are some of the worst guns in each category:

1. Wilderness Survival Small Game

Single Action Revolvers

Single action revolvers like Ruger Vaquero and Colt Peacemaker are not just beautiful; their accuracy is superb. However, that alone


is not enough to make them a favorable choice for an SHTF situation. If we compare them with semiautomatic pistols they lack ammo capacity.  

Slow reload time is another disadvantage of these firearms. This is because you will need to remove every shell casing after firing manually. The fact that cocking the hammer for every single pull of the trigger is done manually makes these weapons unfit for an SHTF gun.

2. Wilderness Survival Big Game

Oversized Revolvers

Generally, revolvers in this category such as .500 Smith & Wesson Magnum, .454 Casull, and .44 Magnum are typically designed for hunting. However, the challenge is that they can be excessively noisy and controlling them when firing is also difficult due to excessive recoil. This means that if you miss the first shot, then you will have less of a chance of hitting your target.


You might also be blinded by the increased muzzle blast and flash when in a low light situation. The many drawbacks of these revolvers make them unsuitable for use during an SHTF scenario.

For a wilderness survival big game to work, you need a highly reliable rifle with no flaws. You don’t want to harm yourself in SHTF situations, something which could happen when using these guns.

3. Self Defense Long Range (250 Yards+)

Single Shot Shotguns or Rifles

Most single shot shotguns and rifles are designed with chambers for .22 LR cartridges or 20-gauge shells for shotguns. Due to this, they don’t deliver the stopping power that is necessary for self-defense on long range especially when confronted with multiple targets.


They are also built to accommodate only one shot which means that you will need to reload after every shot. This prevents you from seamless aiming at a moving target since reloading forces you off target.

During a SHTF scenario, everything needs to be perfect, and you don’t want to waste any chance of taking down the enemy. This is why you shouldn’t rely on these weapons for primary defense.

4) Self Defense Short Range (Under 250 Yards)

Pocket Pistols

Pocket Pistols such as Ruger LCP are increasingly becoming trendy due to their small size allowing users to keep them in their pockets. If you need a gun that you can hide without it getting noticed by anyone, then you may find these firearms appealing.

However, this class of guns are not suitable for SHTF scenario due to poor power. They also have high recoil that will limit your firing rate and accuracy and the stopping power is not sufficient for self-defense on short range.

In short, you don’t just pick a gun for use in a SHTF simply because it can fit in your pocket. Finding a rifle that you can rely on to defend yourself or your family means looking beyond concealability. It should be able to deliver perfectly. 

G. Ammunition Availability

Here in the USA you can pick up .223 or .308 Winchester ammo almost anywhere. You can head down to the hardware store in some small towns and purchase it, you can get it at Wal-mart, or maybe someone you know has some sitting in their garage.

With ammunition availability as a serious and primary consideration, I personally like the AR-15 due to it’s ammunition and part availability. In some area’s though, the “scary” looking AR-15 is regulated or outlawed, but no one would bat an eye at your a Mini-14 Ranch rifle, also chambered in .223

There is also the bonus of the “Reach out and touch someone” of the  .308 (7.61×51 NATO) round. The .308 is serious round with an effective range of more than 800 meters. An AR10, Cetme or HK G3 with some optics would really extend your reach.

Obviously there are other choices.  These recommendations are based on my research and my personal preference. Remember to keep ammunition availability in mind when choosing your SHTF rifle!

G) Accessories That Make Using A Rifle Easier

1. New-Era Shooting Vest

Apart from protecting you from misfires and recoils, this bulletproof vest allows you to carry important rifle accessories. You can now go to the range and keep your gear secure and ready for use. The design of this vest features a contoured right armhole which delivers a stable and natural shooting motion.


It also features a removable shooting pad at the right shoulder. This is an important feature that ensures recoil is reduced to a tolerable and safe level. Also, Cabelas men’s shooting vest features a zippered media pocket.

This pocket is uniquely designed and secures your device for extended shooting. For additional storage, this men’s shooting vest features flapped pockets for accessories.

Additionally, it has bellow pockets to store shotshells. It’s top-rated design also features side panels made of polyester material. Thus, the shooter enjoys comfort due to increased airflow.

For a little side bonous, this vest gives you a few style points when you are in the range. It features shock-corded loop making it easy to organize earplugs, sunglasses and other functional accessories.

2. MTM Tactical AR-15 Magazine Can

Are you looking for the best magazine carrier? The MTM Tactical AR-15 offers the best features for anyone looking for the safest and convenient way of storing or transporting magazines.

It features a sturdy design and has a capacity of 15 AR-15 magazines. It is incredibly versatile since it can hold both 20 and 30 round 223/5.56 magazines.


It keeps your stash secure due to the generously padded interior walls. It features pre-cut foam, and the nicely designed ridge keeps the magazine secure and safe from bumps. It also eliminates scratching and sliding when on the go. The can is designed to offer safe storage and transportation of magazines and ammo. 

Additionally, it offers a perfect fit closure to ensure antitheft and safety. Thanks to the O-ring seal design with dual side latches which aids in tight closure.

For added safety and security, they can also feature three padlock tabs and four tie down points which increases your peace of mind. Featuring molded in ridges, the can is stackable, and therefore you can store several in a small space.

3. Quake Claw Rifle Sling System


This is one of the best rifle sling systems available today. It features an innovative design that makes it very quiet and efficient in the field. Quake Claw uses a unique concept that is quite new to the market.

It features Hush Stalker swivels designed to eliminate squeaking and sliding. In addition, it has a rubber claw pad that has excellent nonslip features to grip your shoulders comfortably.

Furthermore, this pad stays securely on the shoulder without bouncing and sliding. This is important when you’re in the field and you don’t have the time for slippage.

The unique pad material is designed to stay flexible even when the temperature is extremely low. This flexibility is perfect because you will need a high degree of maneuverability in the field.

Also, the pad material is UV stabilized. Hence, it will resist cracking and fading as a result of prolonged exposure.

Another good feature of this sling is that it doesn’t retain water. This means that this it performs in all weather conditions, unlike the foam and leather slings.

4. Caldwell DeadShot FieldPod

The Caldwell Deadshot Field pod offers a rock solid bench stability to ensure the best balance of your sniper rifles and other arms.

This innovative cast aluminium hub is incredibly lightweight, allowing excellent portability so that you can position it anywhere.

It features an ergonomic design that enhances easy rotation and tilting ensuring quick and stable target acquisition.


This aluminium gun rest bench also has a high strength extruded construction. The incredible strength and corrosion materials make it one of the most durable shooting benches and is compatible with a variety of rifles.

The design is also unique since it features rear and front supports which independently adjust in height. This increases the maneuverability of the gun depending on the shooting trick and target.

Additionally, the upper frame is adjustable as well as the pivot point promoting a perfect balance and stability.

The gun rest also features a robust dual tube frame design to ensure solid stability when loading and shooting. Moreover, the one-piece design allows you to collapse easily and fold for hassle-free storage and transport

The innovative concept of this shooting rest doesn’t end there. The legs are  adjust independently between 20 to 42 inches.

This adds the ability to mount and use it on uneven surfaces also aided by the rugged feet, providing excellent grip on various surfaces.

Final Thoughts

It is evident that not any one weapon is suitable for any situation. Every performs best as specific tasks, like most tools or gear, during a SHTF situation.

This means that you should be prepared with a rifle that fits the SHTF situation that you anticipate.

When making a selection, never forget that the rifle you pick could be the lifesaver for you and your family. Always go for one that is reliable and performs well.

The purpose of these 12 best survival rifles for SHTF scenarios alongside the worst rifles for each situation is to give you insights on which best suits the survival situation.

If you make your selection, then your survival will be more assured until order is restored in your area.  

35 thoughts on “12 Best Survival Rifles for Survival & Prepping”

  1. A long time ago, a friend asked me to tell him which firearms would fill as many SHTF situations as possible. Whether it is a weather condition, earthquake, attack from foreign enemy…whatever.

    This was my answer—-

    The best firearms is the one(s) that you currently own, know and use. They are your favorites, they are your friends, you know every quirk about them, and you already own plenty of ammo for them to fire. Those are the best.

    After your favorites, you can consider the following list:
    1) The pistol that your local law enforcement officers use.
    2) The shotgun that your local law enforcement officers use.
    3) The pistol that is issued to infantry soldiers by the US Army.
    4) The rifle that is issued to infantry soldiers by the US Army.

    Because when the SHTF, the ammo that is used by those four weapons will always be available in quantity. The federal, state, county and local city governments will always ensure that those weapons have ammunition. Whether the aliens attack from space, or an earthquake changes the flow of mighty rivers, or the second amendment is unexpectedly repealed next week, those 4 weapons will always have ammunition available in the area where you live.

    A fifth option is purchasing an AK-47 or one of its variants that fires AK-47 ammo. Every enemy of the United States uses AK-47’s, and they will bring plenty of ammo with them if they choose to come into our county.

  2. It is amazing that don’t even mention the TC Encore single shot pistol and rifle interchangeable system. The number of barrels and calibers available is amazing. It is how accurate you shoot not how much lead you put down range. Look at sniper school training. They teach accuracy not how much ammunition you can use up.

  3. What rifle and pistol is best? The ones that you can shoot accurately. In a shootout, or a hunting situation, it doesn’t matter what you miss your target with. It is the rounds that hit the target or the assailant that do the job. So, what ever weapon you feel confident using and you can use it accurately is the best choice. Don’t get me wrong, you must also match your weapon to the intended use. A 22 will kill a grizzly bear, but it isn’t my first choice. A pistol with a 5 inch barrel is not a long range weapon, and so on. Practice with whatever you choose, practice often, and if you can reload your own ammo, that way you can tailor the cartridge load to what shoots best in your weapons and what gives you the most accuracy. Hitting your intended target the first time, every time is the name of the game. Remember what Jack O’Connor said “a 100 grain 243 round placed right behind the shoulders will get you more elk steak than a 300 magnum in the guts”.

  4. The 30 carbine is one of the most underpowered “combat” rifles ever. My Dad fought in the Battle of the bulge and he said the average German absorbed 10 rounds of 30 carbine before knowing he was hit. Any one thinks this is anything more than a toy to plink with knows nothing about ballistics.

    • Anyone who mistakes an M1 carbine for a toy to plink with is a fool, if the weapon is aimed at him by someone with intent! This carbine served in all theaters of ww2, in Korea, and in RVN. The ARVNs liked them and so did the VC. That said, the military ball ammunition isnt that great but will kill as many enemy soldiers can testify in Valhalla. I can testify to the round’s usefulness- 110gr soft points taking whitetails in Michigan and blacktails in California. The 110 gr soft point will run upwards of 1600 fps @ 100 yards. Not a barn-burner but more powerful than the .357. It was designed to be a powerful pistol round, meant to replace the .45 auto pistol. It did this very effectively and the weapon is still well-liked today for home defense and personal protection.

    • That’s a straight up lie. Two of my uncles carried them in Korea, and they said they were the best carbines you could ask for. .30 carbine is similar to a hot loaded .357, one of the most proven cartridges of all time. If you don’t think so, then stand in front of an M1 and let someone shoot you.

  5. I think you blokes are optimistic any really mislead
    You can only use weapon at a time anyway
    Saying that, its go to be 3 items
    – small calibre rimfire rifle scoped for small game
    – shot gun for birds in the air
    – 308 rifle min 10 round magazine
    survival – not war fighting
    post nuclear apocalypse 95% plus US will be deceased in a matter of weeks anyway
    maybe you need to migrate to the southern hemisphere?

  6. Woz: In the event of a major war, nukes, biological and chemical weapons will be used. Ever hear of Mutual Assured Destruction? There will be a lot of s**t blowing around with beau coup left to float around the planet. The little surprises the scientists have designed are enuff to curdle the blood just listening to someone who worked in these programs in years past. Southern hemisphere probably won’t be targeted but subs and air assets in the southern hemisphere WILL be. So gloat away and pray with the rest of us that madness never takes control…

  7. aint it obvious that this is a crock? you cant shoot a gun that you dont have with you. You can’t carry more than one longarm and the 30+ lbs of food, water, night vision, armor, pistol, etc, that you’ll ALWAYS have to have with you, and two longarms and enough ammo to make them both worth carrying. You can’t get animals or men to WAIT while you go GET “the right gun for the job”, either. So you have to go with the most versatile longarm available, and 1-2 compact, lw, hanguns. That longarm is a shorty AR-15 in a 223, with a silencer, scope option, .22lr conversion unit, with 60 gr Aquila subsonic .22lr ammo, luminous sights, trigger job, free float tube and mount for a GI bipod.

  8. you dont want to be making any noise cause it scares off game and call in your killers. You need to be able to hit at night, and conceal the taken down rifle in your packpack. It needs to fire a GI rd, pierce soft armor, snipe effectively to 1/4 mile, and be BB gun quite for braining deer, hogs, men and dogs to 50m. If you know to use subsonic 22 ammo and to hold shut the .22 bolt with your off hand, it really is THAT quiet, while offering rapidfire and 30 rd box mags (both calibers). It’s one hand usable and you can get it in the mail without anyone knowing about it (via an 80% finished lower receiver.

  9. you dont want just a centerfire or just a .22lr. You can need the power, range and penetration of the 223 and you can need the BB qun silencer and 100 rds to the lb ammo, and found anywhereness” of the .22lr. A gun for which you have no ammo is just a club. You should not be out and about in daylight, no have anything above ground to be found. Shooting at longer ranges just means missing a lot, due to mirage, wind, target movement, or your being sick, starving, exhausted, hurt, dehydrated, in shock, etc. The 223 60 gr softpoint and short barrel will brain big animals to 100m and take deer and hogs with chest hits to 150m. It will stop men with a single torso hit right NOW inside 100m, too. at longer ranges, it does less well, but at long ranges, such “hittees’, can’t hit you, nor charge you and you wont be charging them, either. So it wont matter if they flop around a bit before they bleed out. bigger rds are too heavy and bulky and have no .22 unit. That means you’ll practice less with them. Power only matters if you can get the hit (and get it BEFORE the enemy hits you, or calls in his buddies, etc.

  10. if you know to make a v notch open sight out of the luminous wing of the rear peep sight, the AR can be used very well with just one hand/arm, as you drive, ride a bike or horse, steer a boat, help a loved one walk, carry a kid, hold a light, etc. the AR’s carrying handle scope mount can be a see-thru deal and it returs to zero if removed and replaced, too. cause the inside of the handle is a slightly tapered trapezoid.

  11. birds land, animals stop running. they can’t waste the calories not to do so. Birds aint WORTH the weight, bulk and noise of a shotshell, if they aint the size of an ostrich. A silenced, subosnic .22lr will take turkeys at longer range than you can reliably hit the head-neck with birdshot pellets. Twice that range, if you have a riot barrel on the shotgun. Forget the shotgun, people. It calls in every enemy within a mile and then aint worth a hoot for fighting beyond 30m, beyond 20m if they are using cover. I KNOW that you’re not good with $1 a shot 12 ga slugs. If you were inclined to be, you’d be practicing 3x as much with the 3x cheaper 223, and the 15x cheaper .22lr ammo thru the conversion unit. The silencer makes full charge 223 ammo every bit as “tame’ as the .22 unit without the silencer. It’s dark half of the time, you wanna pay for $150 luminous sights on a dozen guns? Scopes? silencers? To hell with all that, YOu want the sielnced shorty Ar and a micro 9mm, in a front pants pocket holster. then it’s out of sight, accessible, out of the elements and out of the way of your pack and your rifle. Once the longarms come out, the pistols dont amount to a hill of beans.

  12. wtH would you want a non-GI rd, with half the range of the 223, (ie, 30 carbine) wont pierce soft armor or epand a softpoint (reliabley in flesh and blood) beyond 100m, and sometimes not at 50m, which costs twice as much for the gun and ammo as an AR and 223 ammo.? No threaded barrel for the silencer, no concealment inside of your pack, no luminous sights, no see thru scope mount, no flashhider, not was beyond 150m and you have to flip up the long range peep to use it at that rangen, even, The 30c is NOT better than a 357 in a CARBINE, either. You can get a 125 gr jhp going 2200 fps in a 20″ 357 carbine. Almost 1400 ft lbs of power, to the 950 ft lbs and 1900 fps of the .30c. no .22 unit, 50c a round for the 30 ammo, $1000 for a carbine. no tracers, no match bthps, nothing like the 223 offers. To hell with that noise!

  13. you’re out of your MIND if you “think” you only need a single shot or a bolt action for survival. Why would YOU need to forage wnile nobody else does, hmm? They WILL and many of them will shoot you on sight, too. Shtf will mean COMBAT, and you’d better have night vision, concealble armor and enough brains to stay underground during daylight hours. You wont be around if you dont. Avoid open country, even at night, Bicycle or float down creeks and rivers, and get OUT of cold country, too. without a year round growing season, you’ll starve to death. The livestock and stored food will all be gone in a month. tlhe game and fish will be gone in another month, eaten by cats, dogs and people Cannibalism will be a commonplace event within 90 days of the power’s going off (and staying off).

  14. I’m old so I’m dead. I went thru a Cat5 Huricane and was stuck in our neighborhood for 3 days. Trees down everywhere. Power lines down everywhere. Cops imposed a 5pm curfew. Scared to drive much as the roads were full of debris. MANY popped tires. Nowhere to get them fixed. No stores. No gas stations. No power or water. Not many people on my street. Most left. I had one door operational. The House was HOT. Unbearable hot at night. We had frozen large chunks of meat in freezers along with water filled milk jugs. That stayed cold for 2 1/2 weeks. We cooked over a fire in the front yard. I started with 13 cases of bottled water and 30 gallons in jugs. I used water that filled the Jon boat to flush the toilet. After that I used a cart and buckets to get water from the bayou. Long walk. Hot.

    I had a couple of altercations at night. I had a mossberg 500. I’ll get criticized for it I’m sure but most people don’t have night scopes and thousands in tactical gear. When it’s pitch black and you have multiple possible assailants, a shotgun is your friend. This survival shit ain’t what everyone thinks it is. It never rained after that. Without help, we probably would have died in another month. It’s easy being a keyboard commando. Living through it is another story. It sucks.

    • Thanks for sharing your story. I think a shotgun is practical for most emergency situations that requires self defense. Can’t beat the Mossy 5 for a shotgun. High power rifles, night vision scopes, and other tactical gear has it’s place, but you’re right, maybe only in a few scenarios. If for example, you’re defending a wide open space such as a ranch housing your family and valuable property, and you may want to “keep them at a distance” with high powered rifles, night vision, and other tactical gear. All gear has it’s place, its a matter of knowing what it’s place is for you. That takes insight, foresight, and self awareness. You’re steps head if you have any of them.

  15. WHY do Americans think the worst of people? Do you actually expect you will be involved in ‘warfare’ in a SHTF situation? Or do you expect to work with your neighbours??
    If you are trespassing on someone else’s patch foraging, or hunting, then YOU are the problem.
    If you are getting to know your neighbours, and relying on each other, THEN you are in a better situation to survive ‘any’ problem. You get much further with sugar than spice.
    Take a pandemic… you RELY on the medical services, the emergency services (community).
    In a flood… same. In a drought… same. After an earthquake, same. Some of us will be better prepared, some will have more skills, but survival is a community exercise… why do you think people have come together in villages, groups, throughout history?
    If you REALLY live in such a hostile place that you fear for your life, during the normal day, MOVE.
    Yes, the Government is the biggest danger to all, across the world, today… pick your ‘ism.. communism, fascism, totalitarianism, socialism… they are all headed the same place> welcome to the world of slaves, under constant surveillance.
    I’m looking from the outside, in, and see the sad state of affairs of the “Land of the Free”. It is SAD.
    A RIFLE IS A USEFUL TOOL, IT IS NOT THE BE ALL, AND END ALL, OF SURVIVAL. it can be used to kill predators (i.e. dogs etc). It can be used to harvest food, under the right circumstances; threatening someone with a firearm will usually evoke an equal, and opposite, response.

    • Chris, The fact remains that America is the last country on the planet that celebrates and respects FREEDOM and Individual responsibility not some form of Socialism or Marxist rule. I think what is happening in this country is the other evil empires hate us so much and are using racism, politics and indoctrination to flood and force this great land to succumb to the lifestyle of most of the other 1st world countries defeats. Unlike Canada, the UK, EU or Australia we all here in the UNITED STATES still hold true to our founding principles…”They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Benjamin Franklin. At the time of this post remember it is Boris Johnson who right now is telling you to STAY HOME and don’t go anywhere. Let us know how this whole contact tracing and mass vaccination works out for you.

      • You are literally delusional to say the U.S. is the last country on the planet that celebrates and respects freedom. You can look to the rest of the first world in Western Europe and Japan

    • Been through many SHTF situations, have you? My guess is that you’ve always had resources and the ability to move where you want when you want, and that you haven’t been truly hungry all that much in your life. And you live somewhere in the world that has been civilized a very, very long time. And I wonder how many times your life has actually been at risk or how many actual disasters you’ve had to ride out in situations where the government has said, “for the next few weeks you are on your own.”

      I do agree with you that a rifle (or any weapon OR tool, for that matter) is not the be all and end all of survival.

      But that you think one “threatens” with a firearm reveals the flaw in your logic. One does not “threaten” with any weapon. Not unless one is actually prepared to use that weapon to it’s most sad conclusion in defense of oneself. One defends one’s life (or, more to the point, the lives of those one loves) with a weapon because one must and one uses the best weapon you have so that you have the best odds of your (and your loved ones) living and the other person stopping to be a threat. Because people in this world can indeed become threats and civility is always a very thin veneer. Trust as many as you like, but I wish you luck on the day that other person decides they need what you have to continue their survival…. and you do also. The rest of us will have neighbors, family, friends… and be prepared for that other guy, too. Because we’ve seen that other side.

  16. First off I’m an old fart with a bad right shoulder, bad knees and spinal issues… I kinda chuckle when I read articles like this.. Yep, I was of the same opinion as you when I was a young man. But after I turned 50 my views changed. All that tactical stuff and “long range” weaponry mean little to me anymore. I sold all of it. Today I own two Winchester SXP Desert Defenders w/choke tubes, a CZ Mallard O/U, two Midland 18″ single shots w/choke tubes, two H&R single shots (all shotguns are in 20 gauge) two .327 federal revolvers and two .22 magnum rifles sighted in for 100 yards…. And with this mess I feel very well positioned to defend and feed myself. Ain’t enough deer around here to worry about a long range rifle and if I shot someone at 300 yards I’d be in jail for murder….. I laugh my butt off every time I hear someone say the .22 lr is a great “survival” gun… Yeah, I’ve owned them. Now I own 20 gauges… I guess I like to eat…..

  17. I enjoyed your article and it takes something special to put yourself out there by expressing an opinion about anything and have people make nasty comments about things they “think” they are the last word on….no matter the subject. No one knows what they future will be like and how situations will develop over time and especially how disasters will come about both natural and man-made. Time will tell who is right. But, the individuals that look ahead and do something to prepare will be better off than those who just complain and ridicule others. People that try to help and give advice to others as you seem to do are a positive influence and I commend your efforts. All the best in the future.

    • Lee, thanks for the wise and positive comment. We need more like you out there. The world (and esp. America today) would be a better place if so many did not think they had to die on a hill for their precious opinions/positions, but would instead respectfully listen and simply consider the possibility that not only is there more than one way to skin a rabbit, but their way of skinning could actually be less good, or wrong altogether. This reminds me a Neil Degrasse Tyson quote, “I love being wrong because that means in that instant, I learned something new that day”

  18. Whatever you have, and have practiced with, will do the job. Since not everyone can afford expensive equipment, and very few have the training and ability to act like military units. Any and all firearms are viable in SHTF situations. I have watched Cowboy Action Shooting with old fashioned guns, and the speed and accuracy is amazing. A good solid community of preppers, will involve a variety of experience and ability, but using familiar and well kept firearms is best.

  19. As a trained survival guide and wilderness trekker who spends most of his time 20 miles from the closest telephone pole much less a person, Here is my take. Anything you have will not prevent looters and marauders from burning down your house. So let’s talk real world because most of this DOOMSDAY stuff is pure fiction and the reality is you stand a better chance of winning the lottery then surviving a zombie apocalypse. So here is where history and science meet reality….learn how to gather, trap and forage. Learn the life of Native American Indians who survived in the harshest conditions like the Hopi Indians of Arizona, or the Mongolian Nomads, or finally the Inuit Native Alaskan Eskimos who survive in minus 50 degree F. All this talk of having consumption based security is absolutely FEAR PORN at best and complete Idiocracy at worst. It’s fun and exciting to war game and fever pitch our testosterone levels with BIG BLACK RIFLES that make us oohhh and awwww but here is the deal. Go take 40 lbs of gear ( any gear ) and spend 72 hours in the woods without any of it…..then come back to that gear and pick out a decent edged weapon, a wool blanket and some flint and steel and a stainless steel pot….because that is what you will realize matters most. Study the lives of North Pond Hermit People, Dick Proenneke or heck even Ted Kaczynski ( the Unabomber )…personally my favorite woodsman would be Mick Dodge “the Barefoot Sensei” who lived off 6500 square miles of the Olympic Mountains.

    • Hey David, great comment. Totally agree. Guns have their place depending on the situation and setting. The other point I like to make that free democracies throughout the centuries have been gained through bloodshed and lost through complacency, weakness, and foolishness many times. DH Lawrence Quote applies: “Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grandchildren are once more slaves.” “We the people” desperately need to learn to not repeat history like the many preceding free societies. I was taught growing that up our Constitution was special if not sacred, but can it hold up to masses of fools. That is the test, because that idea is no longer taught.

    • You are right to base your kit from priority peacetime essentials chosen from experience. I do have experience with some unethical, self-styled survivalists “living off the land” who are really just thugs, though, and might do anything, and probably have. We need to pray for the best, but still prepare for the worst. All my kit is drawn from experience. One simple thing to add much quality to survival is a Brita water filter to improve the taste of boiled water, particularly water boiled with wood, especially from sappy evergreens. My usual “edged weapon” would be one of my several Estwing camp axes and hatchets. I also have a dedicated combat shovel, saws, a pair of machetes, a rope-chopping Kukri, a Bowie, 2 Bucks, 2 Swiss Army knives, 2 military aircrew survival knives, a Scandi-blade hunter, a utility Columbia River folder, and a gutting blade. I have tents, sleeping bags, and a 9-foot-square heavy Pendleton wool blanket for pairing up with a compatible female sleeping partner and hot water bottle. I like my 2 nesting stainless steel pots, one a 2-gallon, and a smaller one from a surgical sterilization kit. I have a ferrocerium striker and several other sources of ignition. I have three primary firearms totaling only 5 !/4 pounds (minus ammo): a 100-yard-plus single-action hand cannon, an accurate spur-less .357, and a 9mm compact semiauto for utility use. Add 2 sturdy mountain bicycles and a bicycle trailer for my dogs. One dog is a very powerful puller for its weight if necessary, and the other rats better than a cat. All to choose from for a possible bugout. I also happen to live near a clean-water aqueduct that will hopefully keep running. I always yet remember to prepare for EMP.

  20. The nice thing about living six plus decades is that you have a whole lot of life experience and get the opportunity to adjust the way you think and view the world. As a Katrina survivor on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I can tell you that the three months without power and limited resources was far worse than anything I experienced doing Uncle Sugar’s bidding across the globe for two decades. The reason is simple, you have more to worry about than yourself and a few brother-at-arms. Watching the wife, children, friends, family, and even a few strangers suffer without knowing when or if help will arrive is nerve wracking. Witnessing the effect such a dire situation can have on them, especially the old and feeble as well as the younguns is not pleasant. So, when it comes to SHTF, don’t worry about planning for the imagined “big one,” spend your time and resources wisely and prepare for what is most likely to occur. As for weapons, a good old fashioned revolver in .38 SPL or .357 Mag is a must along with some snake shot because you can’t trim or fell trees or haul debris around with a long gun strapped to your chest or back for very long. And trust me, a well worn but trusty M1 Carbine is just as good as the latest M4 when it comes to putting down man or beast. Most of the bad press about the M1 Carbine is from Korea and it is actually about the M2 versions set on full auto. Like most full auto handheld weapons, they empty quickly and tend to rise drastically making them extremely inaccurate at longer distances. Why do you think the militaries of the world added the 3-round burst option to the selectors? A good shotgun IMHO is best when the mischievous youth inevitably sneak out and gang up to break curfew. Having a good dog just adds icing to the cake as well as having a good knife.

  21. Mossberg MVP in 5.56 and 7.62×51 because bolt action reliability and magazine availability, Stanag and AR-10 mags respectively.

    Ruger American Ranch Rifle in 5.56 and 7.62×39 Both have one MOA the 7.62 though takes Mini-Thirty magazines which might be a little harder to come by post-apocalypse…

    Taurus’ Raging Judge: Take my word for it and watch Rational Preps “Best Apocalypse Gun” video


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