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What's the Best Survival Weapon?

Will a floating survival rifle or a cartridge sleeve get you out of a jam? Our survival expert puts each to the test to find out.

If you’ve watched Survivorman, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Les Stroud, the star of the show, seems to starve during every episode. I don’t mean this as a criticism; Stroud is the real deal. But his hunger pangs raise a point: Boy Scout improv works better on the page than in the forest. If you want to bring down enough bacon to keep up your strength, you’re going to need bullets—and the more, the better. With this in mind, I recently tested two different approaches to the survival question.

The Pocket Protector

The Henry U.S. Survival firearm ($245; ­henry​repeating.com) is an updated version of the ArmaLite AR-7 designed for the Air Force. Weighing a scant 21⁄2 pounds, it is the ultimate breakdown .22, with the action and barrel unscrewing to fit inside the ABS synthetic buttstock, which floats in case your canoe capsizes. (Testing revealed the rifle also bobs like an apple when fully assembled.)

A lightweight .22 is a proficient survival firearm for harvesting small game, and at first glance the Henry seemed to perfectly marry the longer sighting plane of a rifle with pistol portability. But tests revealed a problem. The Henry is a blowback semiauto with a rough chamber and a reputation for unreliable feeding, and jamming was the rule until I switched from flat-nosed, regular-velocity ammo to CCi Stingers, which are high-velocity jacketed round-nose bullets. It seems to require kickback from a speedy bullet to work the strong spring of the bolt. The receiver rib is grooved for scope mounts, but this is a gun chosen for portability, and the adjustable aperture rear and ramp front sight proved adequate for the ranges at which most hunters will use it. I shot a 1⁄12-inch group at 20 yards—plenty good to render rabbit into hasenpfeffer.

The verdict? If I knew in advance I’d be forced to feed myself with a .22, I’d choose a more substantial takedown model, such as the Browning SA-22 or Marlin’s 70PSS Papoose. But where space and weight come at a premium, the Henry is a good choice. And it will keep you in squirrel stew as long as you feed it ammo it has an appetite for.

A Sleeve Up My Sleeve

The second gun I tested was a longtime friend—my .350 Remington Magnum. The best survival weapon is the one you have in your hand when you face a survival situation. For most hunters, that’s a centerfire rifle.

What turns an elk thumper into a small-game provider is the cartridge. Instead of using full-power loads, I fired handgun rounds using a cartridge conversion sleeve (KJ Knives: $25; 406-​669‑3382). A conversion sleeve is a housing that encloses a handgun cartridge so it fits the diameter of a rifle bore. (For the .350, it’s the .38 auto.) You can drop 30 or more pistol rounds into a pocket and forget they are there. Reserve your big-game loads to signal for help or rebuff teeth-gnashing creatures of the night.

As expected, the pistol bullets seldom shot to the crosshairs, at least not at rabbit range. But accuracy was adequate and estimating holdover was simple—simple enough, anyway, to reward me with a snowshoe hare while I was elk hunting last fall. True, you have to eject the conversion sleeve after each shot, remove the shell, and reload. But firepower isn’t an issue regardless of the survival gun you choose—just as long as your first aim is true.

Comments (116)

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from RJ Arena wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

I think the best survival weapon is your brain, or your ability to use your personal knowledge and experience to evaluate your situation and what tools you have so you can then write on this blog how you did it.

+29 Good Comment? | | Report
from blake425 wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

haha nice RJ Arena.

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from 2Poppa wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

RJ Arena-
Les Stroud woud have been very pleased that you were taking notes during Survivorman.

Great article and reminder ...

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from vtbluegrass wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

What about a velmet or a savage 24 in 22hornet(or whatever floats you boat) over 12gauge? Seriously. Or just a pump 12 gauge shotgun and forget the rifle. I mean you got birds on the ground or wing, all small game, and you can take or fend off large game.

This question is way to easy.

+7 Good Comment? | | Report
from 870 wingmaster 101 wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

I think shotguns are better all around or survival guns. You can shoot different shot for different game or use slugs.

+6 Good Comment? | | Report
from ggmack wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

when i hike in the back country or go out on long range hunting tip i always use to take a pistol grip moss 500 with an rifled barrel. but that sleeve sounds like something i might try. sometimes i can't carry two firearms when i am hunting.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

You can survive 30 days easy with no food. Water is another story. More thought should be put in to where and how will you get potable water rather than the gun you carry. Unless I am hunting (in which case that determines the gun) I would rather carry a water filter, billy can, or a piece of clear plastic to make a solar still. Of course a good knife or a multi tool.

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from shane wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

I was considering buying a .32 ACP conversion sleeve for my '06 or .308, but I've heard stories. Bad ones. Is the risk of that thing damaging or getting stuck in your chamber significant? I asked on here once, but no one had any solid answers one way or the other.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bella wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

I had a Charter Arms AR-7, same gun as the Henry that was reviewed, and it was a .22 hose that would indeed jam (crossstacking usually) and I didn't like the crude peep sight.
I also had a Savage 24 campers companion(.22 over 20 gauge) and I loved that gun. Presently I have Savage 24 in .22 over .410 which has a longer barrel and nicer wood, but that Campers Companion would be my pick for the "survival gun". A Gaugemate 20 to .410 adapter would allow you to use both .410 and 20 gauge shells so you could give a squirrel in a tree a .22, a ptarmigan a whiff of .410 or shoot a deer with a 20 gauge slug or buckshot. Both Savage 24s of mine broke down easily into barrel and stock but the shorter barrel of the Campers Companion was the same length as the stock, both fit into a nice soft case that would attach to a pack frame nicely.
I haven't gotten to check out the Valmet, although I've seen pictures. Then there was the Staggs-Bilt 20 gauge over 30-30 lever action over-n-under that was manufactured in limited numbers back in the 60's, I'd like to hear if anybody out there has experience with either the Valmet or the Staggs-Bilt guns.
Then there is the time honored European Drilling, 3 barrels with 2 shot barrels and a central rifle barrel, but every one of those I ever looked at was too pretty to grab in a "survival" situation.
Only issue I ever had with my Savage over-n-under is that the state wouln't let me hunt deer with it. The rifled barrel disqualifies it for shotgun season, but it is great for rabbits and squirrels!
As far as conversion sleeves go I have several of the Gaugemate shotgun adapters and they are extracted by the ejector for easy removal. Never had a problem with 'em. Hadn't tried any rifle to pistol cartridge adapters yet so I couldn't guess how they'd work.

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from mutt wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

I was thinking about the Thompson/Center Encore in the .45/.410 for a back pack hand gun. My main resoning is with one barrel you have both the .45 colt for the larger animals and .410 for smaller game and birds. Whats your thoughts on this?

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from Johns_written_words wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

From charlie elk; "You can survive 30 days easy with no food".
I know that food is much lower on the priorities list in a survival situation than water and shelter, but I seriously doubt that surviving for 30 days would be “easy” for anybody.
Your endurance would decline day by day, especially in conditions that require a lot of calories to maintain body heat such as very cold or hot weather. In cold weather your body works harder to maintain your core temperature thus burning more calories. Without food, your body will not be able to maintain your core temperature efficiently. On the other hand, if you don’t eat in very hot weather and only drink water you will lose electrolytes through sweat and death can result.
Another factor to consider is the psychological need for food. Food is comforting and maintaining a positive mental attitude is essential in a survival situation. Food comforts the survivor and facilitates clear thinking, positive and proper decision making.

By the way, I don't think there is a "best" survival gun. A shotgun is mulitrole yet a .22 revolver is reliable, portable and it's easy to carry around fifty or a hundred rounds of long rifle ammo.

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from shane wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

Mutt - I like the idea.

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from buckhunter wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

I figure if you dropped me off in the middle of the wilderness and asked me to survive I'd want more than a .22 cal or a 410. Heck, a 30.06 will do just fine.

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from Hobob wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

Your mind and any accurate 22 Long rifle and a box of ammo.

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from vtbluegrass wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

Good call on the drilling Bella. Those things trip me out.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from mountaindew732 wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

a thompson contender with two barrels, a .22 and a large game load barrel.

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from hjohn429 wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

Your bain is by far THE BEST survival weapon availible. (Second is a good knife and third is a good rifle.)

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from hjohn429 wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

The best survival gun in my opinion is an 1894 Marlin 44 Magnum. You can load light loads for rabbits, squirrels, etc and you can load HOT loads for Moose and Elk. I can hit a deer's vitals out a maximum range of 200 yards with mine and it is plenty powerful and you can carry a crap-load of ammo.

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from buddyboy564 wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

i agree 100 % with rj arena

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from Brian W. Thair wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

Rubbish. This is not a game show. You can't call out for pizza.
The Armalite AR7 is the real deal. Yeah, like I can have a salad bar of loads when I crash land? I'll be really happy if I can walk away from it. Try it. Do a "Les Stroud" for a week. See how you go.
Question: I can build a fire with a steel knife and a mag sparker block in the pissing rain 30 seconds. Can you? For heaven's sake practice when you can.

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from Sick STi wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

Shotguns would be great guys, but they are big and bulky. I kind of think that defeats the purpose of this article.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from John in Arkansas wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

I think the Savage 24 is a great emergency/survival gun, I have one myself in .22/20gauge, but it's not exactly what I'd use as an emergency backup weapon on a hunting trip given it's size and weight. (It makes a SUPERB squirrel/rabbit gun on small game hunting trips, though...) If it were me in this situation, I'd rather just carry a compact .22 pistol of some sort (where legally permitted) which will put small game in the pot at say 25 yards or so with ease, without adding lots of weight to your pack. And a 50-count box of CCI .22LR ammo doesn't take up much space in your pack.

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from Elliott Balthazor wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

good gun

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from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

I would love to have a Drilling, 12x12x7mm you can feed and defend yourself, BUt you need other things too lightweight Poncho for shelter,multitool, matches or bic lighter iodine pills for water and gps signal.

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from lobo wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

An accurate .22 in the right hands will take down any game animal on the north american continent.

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from tonysr55 wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

Although a shotgun would be the best all around gun, you couldn't beat a .22 for taking animals and birds on the ground. You could also carry a lot more .22 shells because of their size and weight. I agree that a well-placed .22 will take down most if not all N. American animals.

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from shane wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

No clues on chamber inserts? Will they get stuck or damage my chamber? I've heard from some that they will.

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from jtboles wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

i think this is a nifty little gun it fits back into itself and it shoots the cheapest round in the world it isnt the most powerful round in the world but if its a survival aituation you will be gratefulfor anything you can shoot to eat

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from j-johnson17 wrote 4 years 35 weeks ago

If you don't have a gun, then a knife is the best survival tool. I think second best would be a compass because it can help you get out of whatever you are in. If I was stuck with one of the two guns that were tested - I'd take the .22 LR. You can kill anything with a .22 LR - if you are good with it...practice makes perfect. Why own it if you can't use it???

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from Dean Oh wrote 4 years 35 weeks ago

If I also have to pack the ammo, I'll take a .22 rifle. Next best for portability might be a Single Six in 22Mag/22LR.

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from Ruckweiler wrote 4 years 35 weeks ago

Anyone know anybody who had to use the AR-7 or derivatives for the intended purpose, whether military or civilian? Gun tests are fine but actual survival tales would be better, don't you think?

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from meagel wrote 4 years 35 weeks ago

I have a savage 24 with a williams peep. A leather sling holds 2 buckshot 3" shells while an elastic sleeve on the buttstock holds 2 3/4 #4s and #6s. It is a 22 mag over a 20 gauge. Fixed choke. Looking over the peep, I can hit skeet proficiently. This is an excellent weapon for meat.

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from mattreney wrote 4 years 35 weeks ago

the problem with boy scouts (they were mentioned in the article) is that they rely too much on being prepared i highly doubt when they are hunting they have all that gear you wouldnt last long going by their books

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from nerffodder wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

well, i take offense.if u actually took the hunter ed course you would know that your supposed to have a small survival kit AND a medikit AND a knife AND a compass on you when you go hunting. Isnt that what the boyscouts require to?????

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from Hunt_Hard wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

RJ Arena-
Les Stroud woud have been very pleased that you were taking notes during Survivorman.

nerffodder has a good point!

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from LaughingVulcan wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

@ j-johnson17:
A knife is a *far* more valuable survival tool than a gun. Can you do any of the following with your gun: Clean what you just shot, make kindling, strip down and make cordage, help start a fire, signal a rescue plane, sharpen a stick to a spear, make a splint / walking stick / improvised fishing pole, or build a shelter? OK, then a knife is probably ahead of a gun in terms of useful survival weapons.

Moving along the same subject...

In fact, I'd take a whistle before taking a gun. Much better as a signaling device. Come to that, an EPIRB would be a much better "survival weapon" than a gun. Heck, in a lot of places a CELL PHONE will do more for you than any gun could. ;) Oh, but you've got your rifle and didn't take along a powered down cell phone? Please. :)

I'll lightly treat not always being in a survival situation location where firearms are legally permitted. Yes, I'd rather have one of my guns with than lose my life. But I'd much rather rather be rescued in a survival situation than arrested or cited for unlawful possession in a non-survival situation. (Yes, flamers, do your best. But read the end of this.)

I think I remember that, in the "Sierra Nevada" episode of Survivorman, Les Stroud mentioned most successful SARs conclude within 72 hours of their beginning. Again, I'd rather have a gun than die because SAR can't find me. But even more vital to survival is leaving your itinerary for your outing with a trusted friend or relative.

Postscript: No, I am *NOT* anti-gun. I have carried on hikes and day-trips into the Arizona desert - where it was legal to. Guns surely do have a place in survival preparation. I could have just agreed with RJ Arena instead of posting this screed.

Even so, "The Best Survival Weapon," as a firearm, depends upon your the situation you find yourself in. In Elk and Bear country a good .44 or .454 pistol may save your life. In small game country an accurate .22 may save your life much more efficiently. But forethought (and not thinking a gun automatically equals survival) will probably provide better odds. Including when *not* to include one.

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from texasjohn wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

I have used a chamber adapter in .32 auto/.308 for several years. I recently replaced mine after the original got lost in a move. I do not know where the original one, which was made of aluminum came from,it was given to me. The replacement, which is stainless steel, came from MCA Sports in Anchorage, Alaska. You can get a blued one for $20 or stainless for seven dollars more. When I replaced the thing, someone asked me how well it shot. At the time, all I could tell him was, "about like a good .22, but it hits harder". Since then, I took mine to a local range on 'Sighting-In Day' and took a box of ammunition with me. With my Rem 788 sighted in at 25 yards, I can cover a .308/165 gr./3 shot group with a quarter 3" high at 100 yards. On the same range, same day, with the cheap 71 gr. .32 ammo, at 25 yards with scope I had a 5-shot dime-sized group on point of aim. At 100 yards, it opened up to the size of an Eisenhower half-dollar and 3" to the right. I have never had an adapter stick, but then, I keep my rifle and chamber clean. On the new adapter, the fired .32 cases stuck at first, but that cleared up after about 50 or 60 rounds and having been cleaned 3 or 4 times. If they stick, just take the case in your hand, reverse it and blow the fired case out. Does that answer your questions?
By the way, I have had a Savage 24-C .22/3" 20 Ga. since the late '70's. It is my favorite "just-out-messing-around" gun. And the knife I carry is actually two, a swiss army knife, and one of the 'pilot survival knives' that was issued to me while I was in the Army.And yes, I have lived 'out in the boonies' for various periods of time. (and I wasn't impressed with the M7, either. Take a handful of fishing gear, instead.)

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from AlaskanExile wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

No one has mentioned the Taurus Judge
I shot one a few weeks ago and it was outstanding. 2 1/2 inch 410 shells and 45 Colt ammo. It will dance some wood blocks at 15 yards or so with #6 shot. Pretty devastating with slugs or buckshot too.
I don't know if I would shoot Buffalo Bore or Cor-Bon ammo in it, but any normal 45 colt loads would work great. Maybe some 265 grain lead flat-nose ammo for big game, and the shotgun side for rabbits, squirrels and birds etc.
Another option I have is an old bolt-action 12 gauge. It has a short barrel with a bead sight and some sort of crude notch in the rear for slugs. It doesn't weigh much and can shoot a variety of slugs, buck, bird shot, steel waterfowl etc. It also fires 12 gauge pistol flares. I think I paid $65 for it. I don't shoot too many slugs in it because it really, really hurts. it's very light and very short. Tough to beat the judge though.
AKX

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from nanaac00 wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Thanks F&S for enphasizing that Les Stroud is the real deal! I sometimes worry that some kid is gonna get seriously hurt trying to jump down a waterfall in sub zero temp. because he watched TV stuntman Mr. Bear Grills do it!

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from JHawes wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Trying to argue the best survival weapon is like trying argue the best caliber deer rifle; everyone has there own opinion and there will never be a correct answer. Guns and knife both have their strengths and weaknesses it just depends on your situation. With a knife you can do a lot more than a gun, but if your ruffing it long enough your blade will probably go dull and eventually be useless. The same with a gun you can probably kill a lot more with it, but eventually your going to run out of bullets and then your carrying around dead weight. But if you truly want my opinion anybody who goes walking into the woods without both is a damn fool.

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from Deepwoods wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

JHawes said it all!

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from Kevin Paproski wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Although this is a great idea why carry the extra weight? The average person can live without food for a total of 3 weeks,but can only live without water for three days. I don't think many people get lost for 3 weeks.

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from LesserSon wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

I know it's not an original idea, but the brain and a decent sheath knife are best for starters.

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from poppgunner wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I agree with Keith, the Browning and the Papoose are much better firearms. I had the Charter Arms AR7 and when the alloy barrel heated up, the rifle would walk all over the target. It was not a jammer though. I've heard the Henry is a great improvement over the originals but never shot one myself. If you get a chance, see if you can locate the Pathfinder School videos on Youtube. The guy takes a $20 single shot he bought at a pawn shop, then shows you a simple modification to have it shoot 45 Colt and .410. Then his youngest son proceeds to shoot out the X-ring on a target. Then he shows you how to reload the shells (both types) with a hammer, a board and a nail. I just sat with my mouth open. I do like the Ruger convertable 22/22mag. Can anyone say if the Hunter version is really worth the extra money? I think if I really had to feed myself on a semi-regular basis, I'd get a few good traps--from a cabin--or wire snares from a backpack. If my hunting is anything like what its like in "real life," I'd be found as a skeleton with alot of rounds in my pockets.

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from poppgunner wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I agree with Keith, the Browning and the Papoose are much better firearms. I had the Charter Arms AR7 and when the alloy barrel heated up, the rifle would walk all over the target. It was not a jammer though. I've heard the Henry is a great improvement over the originals but never shot one myself. If you get a chance, see if you can locate the Pathfinder School videos on Youtube. The guy takes a $20 single shot he bought at a pawn shop, then shows you a simple modification to have it shoot 45 Colt and .410. Then his youngest son proceeds to shoot out the X-ring on a target. Then he shows you how to reload the shells (both types) with a hammer, a board and a nail. I just sat with my mouth open. I do like the Ruger convertable 22/22mag. Can anyone say if the Hunter version is really worth the extra money? I think if I really had to feed myself on a semi-regular basis, I'd get a few good traps--from a cabin--or wire snares from a backpack. If my hunting is anything like what its like in "real life," I'd be found as a skeleton with alot of rounds in my pockets.

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from poppgunner wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Sorry about the double post server was stuck on the load.

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from Jimmer wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

For survival equipment while flying to Alaska I carried a 12 ga. double barrel shotgun. The shot gun was double trigger and could be broken into. My reasoning is that the two barrel together are very stout, you have another barrel if one misfires or damage occurs to one barrel. I carried two boxes of shell. One was light bird shot for small game. The other box had a combination of slugs, buckshot, and #4.

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from jt55 wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

That .22 is pretty neat. After they work out the bugs I might get me one of them things

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from rczurcher wrote 4 years 23 weeks ago

Had an ar7 it was not worth having would rather have and H&R survivor maybe a little heavyer but you have storage in the stock for items and you have a choice of calibers from 45-410 to 223 or 308 which to me would be a better choice for survival.

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from coho310 wrote 4 years 23 weeks ago

The other most important thing for survival besides your brain is your instincts and then all you need is a knife,a gun is more of a luxury and really a big help.

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from STOGIE wrote 4 years 23 weeks ago

I think some of you have missed the point... This article is about "The Best Survival Weapon".

If it was about a specific way to survive, or 1 piece of gear, I'd have to say my choice is either a satillite cell phone or one of those personal rescue beacons like the "ACR".... but that's not what this is about.... its about a weapon....

I personally keep a .38+P in my pocket and enough extra ammo to fill the cylinder twice. My opinion is that "less is more" The less I have to carry while walking in the field, the more mobile I should be. An item like the I'd rather not have to be lugging a large pack around with unnecessary gear. A .22LR pistol should be enough for taking small game for survival as long as the person is proficient with using the weapon.

Thats just my opinion...

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from buckslayer911 wrote 4 years 22 weeks ago

i completly agree with you stogie

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from Beprepared4lots wrote 4 years 22 weeks ago

I enjoyed reading the various comments above. What's the best survival weapon? Starts with your brain, which should already be on board. If you're wearing clothes, you should also have at least one knife in your pocket or on your belt at all times. I happen to always carry something that goes bang when I go out. For concealment this is usually a .380 or a .357 magnum. So what to "carry" when you go out, since you already have some gray matter and a knife? Has anyone seen the S&W model 317 with a 3 inch barrel? Capacity is 8 rds and it weighs 12.5 oz empty. That pistol and a box of 50 rds would make a great "kit" gun in my opinion. That said my favorite pistol to carry when I go into the woods is a Taurus Tracker made of Titanium chambered in .357. It weighs 24 oz empty. Readily available in SS and both revolvers have integral compensators and hold 7 rds. A variety of ammunition is available to suit just about every survival need, to include 180 grain hard cast bullets. I carry an ammo "wallet" with a selection of different ammo, including some .38 special for smaller targets where keeping the meat intact is an issue.

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from BeardogRed wrote 4 years 22 weeks ago

Yes, I had the old AR-7. It shot straight , but always had problems with the jams upon shell ejection. I hear the new model is better. The Papoose is a real nice gun, but bigger and heavier.

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from shaunpitts wrote 4 years 22 weeks ago

You guys are all missing the point. Make a fire. The premise is flawed as you will never find yourself in one of Les Stroud's scenarios. 99.9% of the time, you will have told someone where you are going. Make a fire. After about 3 days, you will have to suck it up and tell yourself you are lost. Make a fire. The S and R team will be looking for you. If you happen to have a .22 with you, you're eating well. Did I mention to make a fire?

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from Beprepared4lots wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Earlier, in my comment above, I neglected to say that the S&W model 317 is a .22 cal long rifle, revolver. Which is why that and 50 rds of .22 cal ammo would make a great kit gun.

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from jeffisutherland wrote 4 years 19 weeks ago

Very pleased to see you mention Les Stroud. He is out there practicing the very survival techniques that your fine publication talks about. As well, he is a proud Canadian, like me. One very important thing about Survivorman is that he shows you how to survive when you don't have your rifle (which may happen if your canoe tips and you don't have the Henry).

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from IceAngler wrote 4 years 19 weeks ago

Les Stroud. What a champ.

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from Sourdough Dave wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I have an AR-7. It stays in my truck along with an ax, saw, shovel, blanket, first aid kit, etc. etc. But, I am a firm believer that a gun in the hand (or on the belt) is worth two in the truck. I seldom if ever take to the woods without a firearm of some type. Maybe because I'm not the top predator and drop a few notches on the food chain just by stepping off the beaten path. Maybe just because this is America and therefore I can. I likewise don't leave the beaten path without two knives, three methods of making fire, an emergency blanket, water and a purification process. Because I play in lion and bear country I am fond of my .44 Mag.revolver and have taken small game with it using head shots. Shot loads, .44 Special and even .44 Russian can make it a versatile gun. A handgun means I can fish without leaving my gun on the bank.

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from Sourdough Dave wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Does anyone know why Springfield stopped making their .22/.410 survival gun and why Savage quit making their Mod. 24? I guess the only surviving superimposed rifle/shotgun is the Remington SPR94.

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from LeVan Goodey wrote 4 years 17 weeks ago

As to the S&W 317, my hunting buddy has one with a 1 inch barrel. An excellent firearm. Personally I have a S&W model 63 that goes hunting with me everytime. My Walther PP is also a very good grouse gun. My problem though is that except for some hiking trips in the North Cascades in Washington State where we ate a lot of grouse and trout,is finding something to shoot.

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from ssi wrote 4 years 16 weeks ago

Enjoyed all of the posts...great reminders to consider...I had a couple of situations occur where "I wasn't lost, but just disoriented for a time"...uh yea, it took more than one time for me. What I finally learned(?) was this...All of the survival equipment, knives,space blanket/tent/bags,vaselined cotton balls, magnesium/flint fire starters,etc.etc. and my super accurate Ruger 5 and a 1/2" bull-barreled .22 were useless if I left camp without my "kit". Now, I have each of the light weight basic survival tools neatly packed in a small fanny pack that absolutely goes with me everywhere when I leave camp...its very basic,light and has room for some PB&J sandwiches,chocolate and trailmix....the content or preferences are unique to each of my hunting/fishing friends, but, WE ALL have made it a RULE to not wander off in the Sierra's or any western wilderness without our basic kits....I liked the ideas that explored the .410/45 option in a pistol....one of those Charter Judges has really gained my interest after reading these posts...I know that the cold had reduced my abilty to shoot with precision at small game even at close ranges when I was "temporarily disoriented"...wouldn't have had the chance to find out though since my binoculars don't fire .22's and camp turned out to be about a half mile and 4 hours of wandering in the dark away...thank GOD for clear weather and a bright night.

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from ssi wrote 4 years 16 weeks ago

Sorry, I believe Taurus makes the Judge...Had the Charter Bulldog on the brain....although one of those in .44 with some of those shot loads might work too....I definately spend most of my hunting here in Kalifornia in bear and big cat country...could carry it loaded with full-power loads and keep x-tra shot loads in pack...has anyone used any handgun shot loads on small game? I've shot a few at paper (44mag) but that's the extent of my experince.

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from Steve Marlin wrote 4 years 16 weeks ago

Following the "best survival gun" is the one you have with you - Rossi makes a inexpensive 20 gauge that swaps barrels to a .22LR. One might consider storing one in the vehicle in lock box.

I don't own one but I started hunting deer with a Rossi slug gun so I can say that they're ok guns for the money (i.e. accurate enough, but the finish is poor compared to other guns so you have so stay on top of rust and the trigger is just average.) Be sure to oil up the outside before you stick them in the box.

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from SKCMike wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Several years ago (maybe 7 or 8) a friend purchased a survival-type rifle that used SW 40 caliber ammo. The rifle had a collapsible stock and a stainless barrel , if I remember right. I would like to buy the same rifle. Unfortunately, I can't find any info on it. Anyone out there familiar with such a rifle? Thanks.

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from dasmith wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I have owned both the AR7 Henry (Henry has storage for 2-8rd mags) and the Savage 24C .22lr/20ga. The Savage is the better gun and I wish I still had mine. Henry sights just aren't as accurage for me at 50 yards. Took small game with the .22 up to a Fox and deer with the 20ga, 3 steps on the .22 rifle sight and it would shoot dead on with slugs @ 50 yards. Had an adapter for .38spl/.357 in 20ga and never expairmented with it much. I never venture out without at least a .38 spl. handgun and have killed more deer with a .38spl then any other caliber (Law Enforcement duty-deer injured by cars). An old 4" S&W model 10 .38spl with a slim barrel works for me as a good take along gun, when not specifically hunting. There are better depending on your area. I also carry 2 survival packs in my truck with food and water for 3 days, shelter, and basics for most emergencies. I also treat each outdoor adventure as a test of my skills (fire starting)and equipment test(clothing, holsters,etc..). Also an old Boy Scout manual makes a good survival guide. So an accurate .22/20ga with a good handgun(.38spl or larger) is my pick.

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from SKCMike wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Thanks for the info, dasmith. I'm trying to find a survival rifle that specifically shoots SW 40 cal ammo as I have lots of it and get it free through a friend. I have lost contact of the co-worker that showed me his 40 cal survival rifle and cannot find any on-line references to something like that. Thanks.

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from WA_Hunter wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

SKCMike,
I believe you are thinking about a rifle made by Kel-Tec several years ago. I don't know if they still make it. It had a cool feature in that it could be adapted to take a variety of different pistol mags to match a handgun of same caliber.

I have owned both the Charter AR7 (Junk), and the Savage 24C. The Savage was good quality, but heavy for a survival gun. You always had an extra barrel attached to your gun that wasn't in use.

My $.02 worth is that if you are hunting food with a gun of any kind, you are wasting precious time during a survival situation. Carry a gun for protection and use it to forage if the opportunity arrives.

Personally, I'd feel like a collossal failure as an outdoorsman if I needed to poach something with a gun to survive for a few days in the wilderness. Considering the huge amounts of edible plants and insects available in almost every terrain, killing a deer is an unnecessary waste.

Best survival skill... firemaking. Build a big enough fire and the rangers will come and make you put it out. While they're writing your ticket, ask for a ride back to camp.

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from WA_Hunter wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Just Googled it...
Kel-Tec Sub 2000. MSRP $409.00

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from Tohopka wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Why not take a .22 handgun that is accurate at rabbit range? It is a lot easier to carry than a Henry U.S. survival gun, even if it floats and breaks down.

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from SKCMike wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Thanks for the info..WA_Hunter. Was looking for a rifle merely to plink and use up lots of 40 cal ammo that I have. Thanks.

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from quinnm107 wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

I think a good knife is the most important and best survival weapon. It has the most uses, and does not need ammo to continue use.

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from shotguns make g... wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

ok.First of all lets be honest here.If you are in a survival situation. The first thing you need,shelter,water,fire,food.The best weapon is a 12 gauge pump,the best tool is a nife and a lighter. Common sense.

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from bucks r it wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

The best survival weapon is a knife.
why?
Because, look at a gun you shoot fifty times clean it and on and on im not saying guns are you know, non-useful, but a knife,
cut stuff, make stuff, build a fire! do that onehundredfifty times then you have a decent camping site...
Skin something, cut something like if your stuck under a bunch of logs or anything like that.
All that with a simple simple simple pocket knife.Let's see here,,,,,1,2,3,4, 5, 5 things, that's not including all of the other things to do with one!!

get a bigon'

bucks r it =)

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from captain-john wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

The original question was "What is the best survival weapon?" Not What tools you need for survival.
In my opinion, a survival weapon serves two purposes: one is defense, and the other is hunting or foraging for food. However, weight is a very important factor. Another is what part of the country you are in, and what you need to protect yourself from. The type of game you will hunt for food comes into play.
I feel that the best all around weapon would be an airweight .357 Magnum revolver in 3-6" barrel length. If a rifle is necessary, a pump or lever action 357 is great. Either, handled properly, will serve both purposes well, and will handle a variety different power ammunition.

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from Insightful wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

A Mini-14 combines the best features of all including a tried and proven action of the M1.

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from James Pence wrote 4 years 9 weeks ago

Re: TAURUS JUDGE - Several comments have requested information on the Taurus Judge 45/410 revolver as a survival gun. I used a .410 Thompson Contender for several years on small game but often regretted not having a faster second shot. When the Judge came along I prevailed upon Mike Ahlman (Ahlman's Guns, Morristown, MN) to tool up for the installation of Thompson chokes on the Judge. I can say from experience that the patterns seem identical to what I get with the Contender and that the combination works well if you want a very compact shotgun.

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from buckshot54 wrote 4 years 9 weeks ago

My good friend has this .22 and I have to say its great. Now Im going to buy one. Everyone who likes to be outdoors should have this rifle.

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from Drew Steven Knoop wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

i think a 20 gauge /.22 would be a great gun for any survival situation. I would want some slugs with as well as birdshot. If however i were in Alaska I would want a 357 mag on my side!!!

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from chris_booras wrote 4 years 6 weeks ago

i agree that would be real usfull.

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from jscottevans wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

I'd say the Judge, .45 to protect from big Cats, dogs and Bears. Plus a .410 for shooting birds, rabbits, squirrels and snakes. And it is fairly small and compact for what it offers.

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from extreme bowhunter wrote 4 years 4 weeks ago

I think that your best survival tool is an axe or a knife. You can not chop a tree down with a gun and you can not set snares and feild dress game with a gun. Also you can not dig a shelter in sbow with a gun.

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from Frank Nicholas wrote 4 years 4 weeks ago

Best survival tool- a good knife, obviously a more utilitarian choice. However, for meals instead of snacks I would go with my .22LR pistol or the Henry survivor the author suggested. I have seen the Henry and had opportunity to assemble and disassemble, really lightweight, bouyant and easily packed. But given the assembly time and single shot capacity I would rather strap on my Colt Woodsman and have the best of all options. The clip holds enough to fend off "toothers" and as accurate as the shooter.

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from Frank Nicholas wrote 4 years 4 weeks ago

Best survival tool- a good knife, obviously a more utilitarian choice. However, for meals instead of snacks I would go with my .22LR pistol or the Henry survivor the author suggested. I have seen the Henry and had opportunity to assemble and disassemble, really lightweight, bouyant and easily packed. But given the assembly time and single shot capacity I would rather strap on my Colt Woodsman and have the best of all options. The clip holds enough to fend off "toothers" and as accurate as the shooter.

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from Frank Nicholas wrote 4 years 4 weeks ago

Best survival tool- a good knife, obviously a more utilitarian choice. However, for meals instead of snacks I would go with my .22LR pistol or the Henry survivor the author suggested. I have seen the Henry and had opportunity to assemble and disassemble, really lightweight, bouyant and easily packed. But given the assembly time and single shot capacity I would rather strap on my Colt Woodsman and have the best of all options. The clip holds enough to fend off "toothers" and as accurate as the shooter.

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from jscottevans wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

OK, I recant my judge decision for a similar gun, I forget the maker offhand but it's a 2-shot derringer style .45/.410. Same principle as judge with .410 for small game and .45 for defense.

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from m24 wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

I think that the best survival weapon is a simple 9mm handgun,because they are light and always do their job.

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from JSTEPHENC wrote 4 years 2 days ago

What can you do with a knife that you can not do with a good hatch?

My survival firearm depends of where I am going and what I am doing.

Deer hunting, I also carry a .22 Ruger with two boxes (100 rounds) of ammo. I carry 20 rounds of deer rifle ammo. The .22 can be used for small game or signaling. If you shoot 100 rounds of .22 in series of 3 you will eventually attract attention. I also carry a storm whistle.

While I do carry a fixed blade knife and a multi-tool, I keep the hatchet handy. Cutting firewood is so much easier with an hatchet than a knife.

Fishing line and small hooks (#8 or smaller) are in my kit. I carry a few larger hooks too. A mess of bluegills will feed you as well as one larger fish and they are easier to catch.

I also carry "The Stop" personal destress beacon.

I carry 3 different fire starting kits.

I carry at least twice (sometimes 3 x) as much water as I think I will need. Purifying tabs, too.

But if I could only take one item for an extended survival trip, it would be the hatchet.

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from JSTEPHENC wrote 4 years 2 days ago

Sorry, I meant "the spot".

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from 1uglymutha wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

the best weapon to have in a survival situation is what you brung.have any of you ever spent any time at all in the wilderness with nothing? no food no water no knife no matches no gun. try it sometime. under certain circumstances, ANY weapon is a luxury.

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from willowa wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I think the author probably meant 'firearm' rather than 'weapon'. Probably also assumed (perhaps erroneously)any outdoorsmen would be carrying a knife, matches, etc. As far as the 'ideal gun', ain't no such critter. If you asked 50 hunters, you would get about that many answers, Everyone operates different places under different condidions, so you do what works for you. If I am hunting, with a 'deer rifle' I carry a small .22 pistol, extra ammo is so easy to carry. If I am fishing, hiking, canoeing, etc, I carry a Ruger SP-101, a good little (2 1/2' BBL) 5 shot revolver in .357. (I like the .357 because you can use a variety of ammo-.38 spec in all kind of loads and the .357 for bigger things), it has saved my bacon a couple of times already. I carry a Henry AR-7 in my canoe or my backpack. You can carry an extra 100 rounds in a belt case (wrapped in a ziplock, not in the box)no bigger than a cell phone case. Using CCI .22 Stingers, I have never had a jam/ejection problem and (don't tell him I said this), but, I could hit the pinecones at 40-50 yards as well as my friend could with his scoped, heavy bbled 10/22 Ruger!
Shotgun-versitile, but ammo large and bulky,- same with heavy rifle to some extent. With the '101' and the Henry a canteen (yes, water is vital) plus purification tabs and a fanny pack, I can carry all I need to make it. Food is important for energy, the 'you can live 3 wks without' etc (try going that long at home and see how much energy you have) and the 'have you ever'...without food, water, knife, etc', no I haven't, I can't imagine EVER being in a situation where I don't have a basic knife and a fire starter, there is never a reason to get caught that unprepared.

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from kajam wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

I have an M-6 Scout, in a small nylon carry pouch, can be on the belt, in the back, over the shoulder. Holds its own ammo if you're really stuck for space- .410 and .22.
And space in the cary pouch for other items, plus, while the gun is out and slung, it makes a great day pack.

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from Steve Doran wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

We did a number of different video tests on survival weapons at www.shilohtv.com in the video section, to show people how they perform, we used rifles and handguns

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from crappieman wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

i think the best survival weapon is your mind in tandem with a sturdy knife. in summers spent in the chesapeake bay i go to the creek and sharpen a stick with my knife.i can stick small blue crabs and use them for bait to catch croaker when i run out of squid late in the night.

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from Fox Hill Hunt Club wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

Ill have to say I think a shotgun is the best gun to have when your life depends on it.

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from lindy05 wrote 3 years 44 weeks ago

I teach middle and high school students survival skills class. I tell them the first thing to do even before they enter any peice of land alone is to leave a travel plan with an adult. I also tell them if they become lost to not move due to the travel plan allowing search and rescue parties to find them more easily. I also advise them to high carbohydrate food with them. I teach them how to treat water, build shelters, build fires with little to start with, and how to leave signal markers. I attempt to teach them how to keep their heads and fight panic, that in my opinion is the worst enemy you can face.

In the case of a hunting trip gone awry, which would most likely have to be the situation you would have a weapon along with you, my students know how to use a compass and find their way out. They shouldn't be out there without out one. I agree with every person who says that any gun you have would be good with proper shot placement, of course the gun being lightweight and having a lot of ammo is good as well. I haven't seen anyone write about using signaling shots or using that as a tool. I think a .22 is probably best because if you're to stay put the game that will come close will be small game and a .22 will handle them well. I also think it's an appropriate calibre for the age group I deal with and popular among my students. I will bring this rifle up in my next class. I think that they will appreciate the knowledge of a new survival tool.

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from buckmasry wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Not the weapons,but the brains behind them for survival

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from Medius wrote 3 years 42 weeks ago

This is an amazing gun, but it could be better with some slight modifications. If you swap out the spring on the bolt for a lighter one it will consistently fire semi-automaticly, instead of failing to chamber a round every now and then.

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from Redbone wrote 3 years 41 weeks ago

I have the henry pretty nice and accurate for such a small gun. Is it a good survival weapon? I guess if there are rabbits around.

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from texasjohn wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

The question was "What's the best survival weapon?" The answer of course is always going to be the one in your hand. What is at stake here, is what is the best one to have in your hand when you have that "aw sh(t" moment when you realize that what you have is all you are going to have for the immediately foreseeable future. The idea is to have something that is as versitile as possible, to take whatever might be available. I will not willingly go without my full kit, including possibly even a .22 revolver and ammo. On the other hand, many long years ago, a couple of organizations, the Boy Scouts and the U.S. Army, thought it was advisable for me to learn what I could do without...
In one case the Scouts dropped me off in a wilderness area with only the clothes on my back, a full two-quart canteen, a pocketknife, a pocket survival kit with about 10 items in it, and a full metal matchsafe. When they came and picked me up in a week, I was not happy with what I had eaten, but I had eaten. Roast grasshoppers taste rather like popcorn, but take the hind legs off. They Scratch.
Another time, the Army dropped me into a rather barren area with nothing but my boots and boxers, and some 'Class X' fatigues. These are someone else's second-hand discards, you are free to destroy them if you need to. This meant I couldn't even smuggle a knife into the area. I ate that time too, but not much. I was quite happy when I managed to catch a rabbit with a throwing stick. 1uglymutha, you are right, any weapon is a luxury. The main thing I learned was "don't leave (or lose) your kit behind."
Those were the nearest "survival" events to what you suggested, although not the only ones. Is that what you wanted to hear?

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from hockeyplayer wrote 3 years 36 weeks ago

or, a .50 cal rifle wouldnt be too bad to have in a survival situation.

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from 007 wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

As far as firearms go, the great John Wooters once wrote in favor of a lightweight .22 handgun that rode comfortably in a shoulder holster, accompanied by several boxes of ammo. Much lighter than a center fire and very versatile.

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from zach rhodes wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

i keep my truck loaded with gear just in case i get stranded out hunting or fish but without my truck im as good as dead.

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from darksoldierscadamia wrote 3 years 34 weeks ago

Taurus Judge. this pistol is something to consider. mine brought down three rabits, and a handfull of squirrels, quail and even a dove last year. shoots 4-10 and 44 longs. love it.

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from minijake wrote 3 years 30 weeks ago

i think a ruger mini14 is the best survival wepon with its accuracy and 30 round mag it is hard hitting and accurate plus it is small and compact so it wont weigh you down when trudging through the woulds also the powder doubles a very good tinder for starting fighers

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from Bass2Buck wrote 3 years 27 weeks ago

od rather have a .270

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from nobuckyet14271 wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

knife without a doubt

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from nobuckyet14271 wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

knife without a doubt

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from sterndixon wrote 3 years 25 weeks ago

If you're a hunter and find yourself in a survival situation, you're likely to have a weapon with you and at least a handful of shells or arrows. That said, what you really need you can find in the Boy Scout Handbook under "Ten Outdoor Essentials". These are items recommended one take on any outdoor activity, and includes things like extra water (water treatment tablets should also be considered), matches and fire starters, a compass and map, rain gear, etc. The Scouts also stress the need to leave a detailed trip plan with someone who knows when you're supposed to be back. That's probably the best survival advice you can give anyone.

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from geoffbeneze wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I purchased a Henry Survival rifle last year. From the reviews I expected it to have feed problems. The first two magazines certainly lent truth to that expectation with every single round failing.

After blasting and scrubbing the action with WD40, the WD was removed and a light grease I like (I make it by mixing Lithium grease and Moly powder, then add BreakFree to give the consistency one most likes), then started shooting the gun. The first couple of magazines after the "treatment" misfeed/jammed on EVERY round. By the third magazine, we were up to every 2-3 rounds. As I progressed, the interval became greater and greater. By the time I'd gone through 50 rounds, the rifle was performing flawlessly.

Since, we've put nearly a case of ammo through the thing, without a SINGLE failure. I'm hard pressed to believe this myself, but every round was fired either by myself or by my children or my cousins' children and every round under my specific supervision.

After the relatively small effort to clean/scrub the action and the "shoot it in", the little rifle is one of the better toys I've ever purchased (and I have an overflowing safe).

I just wish I'd bought the thing 30 years before when I REALLY wanted it.

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from Downhillshot wrote 3 years 6 weeks ago

I owned a Henry Survival Rifle and loved it to death. Ended up passing it along as I didn't use it much. The concept is great. A gun that floats even when fully put together. The only issue that I ever thought it had was that the stock was a little bulky so shooting it was a bit strange.

I owned the rifle for two and a hlaf years and in that time I put close to 5,000 +/- rounds through it. I never had any issue with it except for one time when I used a bore snake cleaning thing and marred the barrel. So I ordered a new barrel and went on from there.

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from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I do so love surviverman with les. I have a henry take down. I can usually get 3 or 4 clips feed through it before it starts jamming on me. Then I throw some more oil down it and its good for a few more. The front sight broke off mine, so its a guess on where its actually aiming, but it hits pop cans pretty accuratly up to 50 feet or so. I keep it in my back pack. It seems to work for what its designed for.

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from ja_demko wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

The couple AR-7's I've fired didn't impress me with either accuracy or reliability. I, personally, would rather have a good, lightweight .22 pistol. Something like the old Colt Woodsman or one of the skinny-barrel versions of the Ruger Mk 1 or 2 would suit me right down to the ground. One S&W's kit guns would be just as satisfactory. If I was really, really worried about losing it, I'd store it in a floating case (ala the Papoose) and use our old friend the lanyard when I was wearing it.

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from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Ja demko. I have to agree. Mine was given to me thats why I have it.

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from ja_demko wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Where they could improve the AR-7 into something more worthwhile would be to make it a simple bolt action. Many of its problems come from it being an indifferently made autoloader. Even when it works correctly, the autoloading doesn't give it any particular advantage in a real survival situation.

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from tarheelcharlie wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

The review was the best survival weapon out of the two tested. I am in my 60's now and many years ago I got fed up with everything and was dropped off in the mountains to test myself and to just get away from civilization for a while. I had spent almost 10 years in military. I carried a back pack with fishing equip. first aid, two quality fixed blade knives, a buck 110, a AR7 and 500 rounds, compass, canteen, fire starting kit, a Bible and few other things including pot,pan an clothes. I spent almost a year up there. That was the best year of my life, beside the birth of my children and time in service. My AR7 gave me very few problems. I can see why the military picked this weapon for survival. I got lots of squirell and rabbits with this weapon and a few deer. As others have stated with a 22 and the right shots, you can take any North American game, you just have to know how to place a shot and the limitations of your weapon and of yourself. Today I have one in my trunk in another back pack in case my car breaks down or something happens where I am stranded on the side of the road. We never know when some type of natural disaster will happen. I saw what happened in New Orleans when Katrina hit and what happened to the people that went into the dome for shelter. I have lived thru several hurricans while in Florida and been stranded in snow storms up in the northwest. I have fended for myself and survived and have never ask for help from others. I would trust this little light weight rifle any day for just about any type of survival situation. It is not the best looking rifle, but it does what it is made to do, keep you alive and put some food in your belly. My vote is for the AR7

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from RJ Arena wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

I think the best survival weapon is your brain, or your ability to use your personal knowledge and experience to evaluate your situation and what tools you have so you can then write on this blog how you did it.

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from charlie elk wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

You can survive 30 days easy with no food. Water is another story. More thought should be put in to where and how will you get potable water rather than the gun you carry. Unless I am hunting (in which case that determines the gun) I would rather carry a water filter, billy can, or a piece of clear plastic to make a solar still. Of course a good knife or a multi tool.

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from Johns_written_words wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

From charlie elk; "You can survive 30 days easy with no food".
I know that food is much lower on the priorities list in a survival situation than water and shelter, but I seriously doubt that surviving for 30 days would be “easy” for anybody.
Your endurance would decline day by day, especially in conditions that require a lot of calories to maintain body heat such as very cold or hot weather. In cold weather your body works harder to maintain your core temperature thus burning more calories. Without food, your body will not be able to maintain your core temperature efficiently. On the other hand, if you don’t eat in very hot weather and only drink water you will lose electrolytes through sweat and death can result.
Another factor to consider is the psychological need for food. Food is comforting and maintaining a positive mental attitude is essential in a survival situation. Food comforts the survivor and facilitates clear thinking, positive and proper decision making.

By the way, I don't think there is a "best" survival gun. A shotgun is mulitrole yet a .22 revolver is reliable, portable and it's easy to carry around fifty or a hundred rounds of long rifle ammo.

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from vtbluegrass wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

What about a velmet or a savage 24 in 22hornet(or whatever floats you boat) over 12gauge? Seriously. Or just a pump 12 gauge shotgun and forget the rifle. I mean you got birds on the ground or wing, all small game, and you can take or fend off large game.

This question is way to easy.

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from 870 wingmaster 101 wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

I think shotguns are better all around or survival guns. You can shoot different shot for different game or use slugs.

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from blake425 wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

haha nice RJ Arena.

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from Bella wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

I had a Charter Arms AR-7, same gun as the Henry that was reviewed, and it was a .22 hose that would indeed jam (crossstacking usually) and I didn't like the crude peep sight.
I also had a Savage 24 campers companion(.22 over 20 gauge) and I loved that gun. Presently I have Savage 24 in .22 over .410 which has a longer barrel and nicer wood, but that Campers Companion would be my pick for the "survival gun". A Gaugemate 20 to .410 adapter would allow you to use both .410 and 20 gauge shells so you could give a squirrel in a tree a .22, a ptarmigan a whiff of .410 or shoot a deer with a 20 gauge slug or buckshot. Both Savage 24s of mine broke down easily into barrel and stock but the shorter barrel of the Campers Companion was the same length as the stock, both fit into a nice soft case that would attach to a pack frame nicely.
I haven't gotten to check out the Valmet, although I've seen pictures. Then there was the Staggs-Bilt 20 gauge over 30-30 lever action over-n-under that was manufactured in limited numbers back in the 60's, I'd like to hear if anybody out there has experience with either the Valmet or the Staggs-Bilt guns.
Then there is the time honored European Drilling, 3 barrels with 2 shot barrels and a central rifle barrel, but every one of those I ever looked at was too pretty to grab in a "survival" situation.
Only issue I ever had with my Savage over-n-under is that the state wouln't let me hunt deer with it. The rifled barrel disqualifies it for shotgun season, but it is great for rabbits and squirrels!
As far as conversion sleeves go I have several of the Gaugemate shotgun adapters and they are extracted by the ejector for easy removal. Never had a problem with 'em. Hadn't tried any rifle to pistol cartridge adapters yet so I couldn't guess how they'd work.

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from mutt wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

I was thinking about the Thompson/Center Encore in the .45/.410 for a back pack hand gun. My main resoning is with one barrel you have both the .45 colt for the larger animals and .410 for smaller game and birds. Whats your thoughts on this?

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from JHawes wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Trying to argue the best survival weapon is like trying argue the best caliber deer rifle; everyone has there own opinion and there will never be a correct answer. Guns and knife both have their strengths and weaknesses it just depends on your situation. With a knife you can do a lot more than a gun, but if your ruffing it long enough your blade will probably go dull and eventually be useless. The same with a gun you can probably kill a lot more with it, but eventually your going to run out of bullets and then your carrying around dead weight. But if you truly want my opinion anybody who goes walking into the woods without both is a damn fool.

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from ggmack wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

when i hike in the back country or go out on long range hunting tip i always use to take a pistol grip moss 500 with an rifled barrel. but that sleeve sounds like something i might try. sometimes i can't carry two firearms when i am hunting.

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from shane wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

I was considering buying a .32 ACP conversion sleeve for my '06 or .308, but I've heard stories. Bad ones. Is the risk of that thing damaging or getting stuck in your chamber significant? I asked on here once, but no one had any solid answers one way or the other.

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from shane wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

Mutt - I like the idea.

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from vtbluegrass wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

Good call on the drilling Bella. Those things trip me out.

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from hjohn429 wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

Your bain is by far THE BEST survival weapon availible. (Second is a good knife and third is a good rifle.)

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from hjohn429 wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

The best survival gun in my opinion is an 1894 Marlin 44 Magnum. You can load light loads for rabbits, squirrels, etc and you can load HOT loads for Moose and Elk. I can hit a deer's vitals out a maximum range of 200 yards with mine and it is plenty powerful and you can carry a crap-load of ammo.

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from meagel wrote 4 years 35 weeks ago

I have a savage 24 with a williams peep. A leather sling holds 2 buckshot 3" shells while an elastic sleeve on the buttstock holds 2 3/4 #4s and #6s. It is a 22 mag over a 20 gauge. Fixed choke. Looking over the peep, I can hit skeet proficiently. This is an excellent weapon for meat.

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from 2Poppa wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

RJ Arena-
Les Stroud woud have been very pleased that you were taking notes during Survivorman.

Great article and reminder ...

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from buckhunter wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

I figure if you dropped me off in the middle of the wilderness and asked me to survive I'd want more than a .22 cal or a 410. Heck, a 30.06 will do just fine.

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from mountaindew732 wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

a thompson contender with two barrels, a .22 and a large game load barrel.

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from j-johnson17 wrote 4 years 35 weeks ago

If you don't have a gun, then a knife is the best survival tool. I think second best would be a compass because it can help you get out of whatever you are in. If I was stuck with one of the two guns that were tested - I'd take the .22 LR. You can kill anything with a .22 LR - if you are good with it...practice makes perfect. Why own it if you can't use it???

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from Ruckweiler wrote 4 years 35 weeks ago

Anyone know anybody who had to use the AR-7 or derivatives for the intended purpose, whether military or civilian? Gun tests are fine but actual survival tales would be better, don't you think?

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from AlaskanExile wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

No one has mentioned the Taurus Judge
I shot one a few weeks ago and it was outstanding. 2 1/2 inch 410 shells and 45 Colt ammo. It will dance some wood blocks at 15 yards or so with #6 shot. Pretty devastating with slugs or buckshot too.
I don't know if I would shoot Buffalo Bore or Cor-Bon ammo in it, but any normal 45 colt loads would work great. Maybe some 265 grain lead flat-nose ammo for big game, and the shotgun side for rabbits, squirrels and birds etc.
Another option I have is an old bolt-action 12 gauge. It has a short barrel with a bead sight and some sort of crude notch in the rear for slugs. It doesn't weigh much and can shoot a variety of slugs, buck, bird shot, steel waterfowl etc. It also fires 12 gauge pistol flares. I think I paid $65 for it. I don't shoot too many slugs in it because it really, really hurts. it's very light and very short. Tough to beat the judge though.
AKX

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from STOGIE wrote 4 years 23 weeks ago

I think some of you have missed the point... This article is about "The Best Survival Weapon".

If it was about a specific way to survive, or 1 piece of gear, I'd have to say my choice is either a satillite cell phone or one of those personal rescue beacons like the "ACR".... but that's not what this is about.... its about a weapon....

I personally keep a .38+P in my pocket and enough extra ammo to fill the cylinder twice. My opinion is that "less is more" The less I have to carry while walking in the field, the more mobile I should be. An item like the I'd rather not have to be lugging a large pack around with unnecessary gear. A .22LR pistol should be enough for taking small game for survival as long as the person is proficient with using the weapon.

Thats just my opinion...

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from Hobob wrote 4 years 37 weeks ago

Your mind and any accurate 22 Long rifle and a box of ammo.

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from Brian W. Thair wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

Rubbish. This is not a game show. You can't call out for pizza.
The Armalite AR7 is the real deal. Yeah, like I can have a salad bar of loads when I crash land? I'll be really happy if I can walk away from it. Try it. Do a "Les Stroud" for a week. See how you go.
Question: I can build a fire with a steel knife and a mag sparker block in the pissing rain 30 seconds. Can you? For heaven's sake practice when you can.

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from John in Arkansas wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

I think the Savage 24 is a great emergency/survival gun, I have one myself in .22/20gauge, but it's not exactly what I'd use as an emergency backup weapon on a hunting trip given it's size and weight. (It makes a SUPERB squirrel/rabbit gun on small game hunting trips, though...) If it were me in this situation, I'd rather just carry a compact .22 pistol of some sort (where legally permitted) which will put small game in the pot at say 25 yards or so with ease, without adding lots of weight to your pack. And a 50-count box of CCI .22LR ammo doesn't take up much space in your pack.

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from Elliott Balthazor wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

good gun

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from Dean Oh wrote 4 years 35 weeks ago

If I also have to pack the ammo, I'll take a .22 rifle. Next best for portability might be a Single Six in 22Mag/22LR.

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from texasjohn wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

I have used a chamber adapter in .32 auto/.308 for several years. I recently replaced mine after the original got lost in a move. I do not know where the original one, which was made of aluminum came from,it was given to me. The replacement, which is stainless steel, came from MCA Sports in Anchorage, Alaska. You can get a blued one for $20 or stainless for seven dollars more. When I replaced the thing, someone asked me how well it shot. At the time, all I could tell him was, "about like a good .22, but it hits harder". Since then, I took mine to a local range on 'Sighting-In Day' and took a box of ammunition with me. With my Rem 788 sighted in at 25 yards, I can cover a .308/165 gr./3 shot group with a quarter 3" high at 100 yards. On the same range, same day, with the cheap 71 gr. .32 ammo, at 25 yards with scope I had a 5-shot dime-sized group on point of aim. At 100 yards, it opened up to the size of an Eisenhower half-dollar and 3" to the right. I have never had an adapter stick, but then, I keep my rifle and chamber clean. On the new adapter, the fired .32 cases stuck at first, but that cleared up after about 50 or 60 rounds and having been cleaned 3 or 4 times. If they stick, just take the case in your hand, reverse it and blow the fired case out. Does that answer your questions?
By the way, I have had a Savage 24-C .22/3" 20 Ga. since the late '70's. It is my favorite "just-out-messing-around" gun. And the knife I carry is actually two, a swiss army knife, and one of the 'pilot survival knives' that was issued to me while I was in the Army.And yes, I have lived 'out in the boonies' for various periods of time. (and I wasn't impressed with the M7, either. Take a handful of fishing gear, instead.)

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from buddyboy564 wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

i agree 100 % with rj arena

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from Sick STi wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

Shotguns would be great guys, but they are big and bulky. I kind of think that defeats the purpose of this article.

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from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

I would love to have a Drilling, 12x12x7mm you can feed and defend yourself, BUt you need other things too lightweight Poncho for shelter,multitool, matches or bic lighter iodine pills for water and gps signal.

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from lobo wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

An accurate .22 in the right hands will take down any game animal on the north american continent.

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from tonysr55 wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

Although a shotgun would be the best all around gun, you couldn't beat a .22 for taking animals and birds on the ground. You could also carry a lot more .22 shells because of their size and weight. I agree that a well-placed .22 will take down most if not all N. American animals.

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from shane wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

No clues on chamber inserts? Will they get stuck or damage my chamber? I've heard from some that they will.

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from jtboles wrote 4 years 36 weeks ago

i think this is a nifty little gun it fits back into itself and it shoots the cheapest round in the world it isnt the most powerful round in the world but if its a survival aituation you will be gratefulfor anything you can shoot to eat

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from mattreney wrote 4 years 35 weeks ago

the problem with boy scouts (they were mentioned in the article) is that they rely too much on being prepared i highly doubt when they are hunting they have all that gear you wouldnt last long going by their books

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from nerffodder wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

well, i take offense.if u actually took the hunter ed course you would know that your supposed to have a small survival kit AND a medikit AND a knife AND a compass on you when you go hunting. Isnt that what the boyscouts require to?????

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from Hunt_Hard wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

RJ Arena-
Les Stroud woud have been very pleased that you were taking notes during Survivorman.

nerffodder has a good point!

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from nanaac00 wrote 4 years 33 weeks ago

Thanks F&S for enphasizing that Les Stroud is the real deal! I sometimes worry that some kid is gonna get seriously hurt trying to jump down a waterfall in sub zero temp. because he watched TV stuntman Mr. Bear Grills do it!

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from Deepwoods wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

JHawes said it all!

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from Kevin Paproski wrote 4 years 29 weeks ago

Although this is a great idea why carry the extra weight? The average person can live without food for a total of 3 weeks,but can only live without water for three days. I don't think many people get lost for 3 weeks.

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from poppgunner wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I agree with Keith, the Browning and the Papoose are much better firearms. I had the Charter Arms AR7 and when the alloy barrel heated up, the rifle would walk all over the target. It was not a jammer though. I've heard the Henry is a great improvement over the originals but never shot one myself. If you get a chance, see if you can locate the Pathfinder School videos on Youtube. The guy takes a $20 single shot he bought at a pawn shop, then shows you a simple modification to have it shoot 45 Colt and .410. Then his youngest son proceeds to shoot out the X-ring on a target. Then he shows you how to reload the shells (both types) with a hammer, a board and a nail. I just sat with my mouth open. I do like the Ruger convertable 22/22mag. Can anyone say if the Hunter version is really worth the extra money? I think if I really had to feed myself on a semi-regular basis, I'd get a few good traps--from a cabin--or wire snares from a backpack. If my hunting is anything like what its like in "real life," I'd be found as a skeleton with alot of rounds in my pockets.

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from buckslayer911 wrote 4 years 22 weeks ago

i completly agree with you stogie

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from shaunpitts wrote 4 years 22 weeks ago

You guys are all missing the point. Make a fire. The premise is flawed as you will never find yourself in one of Les Stroud's scenarios. 99.9% of the time, you will have told someone where you are going. Make a fire. After about 3 days, you will have to suck it up and tell yourself you are lost. Make a fire. The S and R team will be looking for you. If you happen to have a .22 with you, you're eating well. Did I mention to make a fire?

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from jeffisutherland wrote 4 years 19 weeks ago

Very pleased to see you mention Les Stroud. He is out there practicing the very survival techniques that your fine publication talks about. As well, he is a proud Canadian, like me. One very important thing about Survivorman is that he shows you how to survive when you don't have your rifle (which may happen if your canoe tips and you don't have the Henry).

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from Sourdough Dave wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I have an AR-7. It stays in my truck along with an ax, saw, shovel, blanket, first aid kit, etc. etc. But, I am a firm believer that a gun in the hand (or on the belt) is worth two in the truck. I seldom if ever take to the woods without a firearm of some type. Maybe because I'm not the top predator and drop a few notches on the food chain just by stepping off the beaten path. Maybe just because this is America and therefore I can. I likewise don't leave the beaten path without two knives, three methods of making fire, an emergency blanket, water and a purification process. Because I play in lion and bear country I am fond of my .44 Mag.revolver and have taken small game with it using head shots. Shot loads, .44 Special and even .44 Russian can make it a versatile gun. A handgun means I can fish without leaving my gun on the bank.

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from ssi wrote 4 years 16 weeks ago

Sorry, I believe Taurus makes the Judge...Had the Charter Bulldog on the brain....although one of those in .44 with some of those shot loads might work too....I definately spend most of my hunting here in Kalifornia in bear and big cat country...could carry it loaded with full-power loads and keep x-tra shot loads in pack...has anyone used any handgun shot loads on small game? I've shot a few at paper (44mag) but that's the extent of my experince.

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from Tohopka wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Why not take a .22 handgun that is accurate at rabbit range? It is a lot easier to carry than a Henry U.S. survival gun, even if it floats and breaks down.

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from bucks r it wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

The best survival weapon is a knife.
why?
Because, look at a gun you shoot fifty times clean it and on and on im not saying guns are you know, non-useful, but a knife,
cut stuff, make stuff, build a fire! do that onehundredfifty times then you have a decent camping site...
Skin something, cut something like if your stuck under a bunch of logs or anything like that.
All that with a simple simple simple pocket knife.Let's see here,,,,,1,2,3,4, 5, 5 things, that's not including all of the other things to do with one!!

get a bigon'

bucks r it =)

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from jscottevans wrote 4 years 5 weeks ago

I'd say the Judge, .45 to protect from big Cats, dogs and Bears. Plus a .410 for shooting birds, rabbits, squirrels and snakes. And it is fairly small and compact for what it offers.

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from jscottevans wrote 4 years 3 weeks ago

OK, I recant my judge decision for a similar gun, I forget the maker offhand but it's a 2-shot derringer style .45/.410. Same principle as judge with .410 for small game and .45 for defense.

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from m24 wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

I think that the best survival weapon is a simple 9mm handgun,because they are light and always do their job.

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from JSTEPHENC wrote 4 years 2 days ago

What can you do with a knife that you can not do with a good hatch?

My survival firearm depends of where I am going and what I am doing.

Deer hunting, I also carry a .22 Ruger with two boxes (100 rounds) of ammo. I carry 20 rounds of deer rifle ammo. The .22 can be used for small game or signaling. If you shoot 100 rounds of .22 in series of 3 you will eventually attract attention. I also carry a storm whistle.

While I do carry a fixed blade knife and a multi-tool, I keep the hatchet handy. Cutting firewood is so much easier with an hatchet than a knife.

Fishing line and small hooks (#8 or smaller) are in my kit. I carry a few larger hooks too. A mess of bluegills will feed you as well as one larger fish and they are easier to catch.

I also carry "The Stop" personal destress beacon.

I carry 3 different fire starting kits.

I carry at least twice (sometimes 3 x) as much water as I think I will need. Purifying tabs, too.

But if I could only take one item for an extended survival trip, it would be the hatchet.

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from lindy05 wrote 3 years 44 weeks ago

I teach middle and high school students survival skills class. I tell them the first thing to do even before they enter any peice of land alone is to leave a travel plan with an adult. I also tell them if they become lost to not move due to the travel plan allowing search and rescue parties to find them more easily. I also advise them to high carbohydrate food with them. I teach them how to treat water, build shelters, build fires with little to start with, and how to leave signal markers. I attempt to teach them how to keep their heads and fight panic, that in my opinion is the worst enemy you can face.

In the case of a hunting trip gone awry, which would most likely have to be the situation you would have a weapon along with you, my students know how to use a compass and find their way out. They shouldn't be out there without out one. I agree with every person who says that any gun you have would be good with proper shot placement, of course the gun being lightweight and having a lot of ammo is good as well. I haven't seen anyone write about using signaling shots or using that as a tool. I think a .22 is probably best because if you're to stay put the game that will come close will be small game and a .22 will handle them well. I also think it's an appropriate calibre for the age group I deal with and popular among my students. I will bring this rifle up in my next class. I think that they will appreciate the knowledge of a new survival tool.

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from buckmasry wrote 3 years 43 weeks ago

Not the weapons,but the brains behind them for survival

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from texasjohn wrote 3 years 38 weeks ago

The question was "What's the best survival weapon?" The answer of course is always going to be the one in your hand. What is at stake here, is what is the best one to have in your hand when you have that "aw sh(t" moment when you realize that what you have is all you are going to have for the immediately foreseeable future. The idea is to have something that is as versitile as possible, to take whatever might be available. I will not willingly go without my full kit, including possibly even a .22 revolver and ammo. On the other hand, many long years ago, a couple of organizations, the Boy Scouts and the U.S. Army, thought it was advisable for me to learn what I could do without...
In one case the Scouts dropped me off in a wilderness area with only the clothes on my back, a full two-quart canteen, a pocketknife, a pocket survival kit with about 10 items in it, and a full metal matchsafe. When they came and picked me up in a week, I was not happy with what I had eaten, but I had eaten. Roast grasshoppers taste rather like popcorn, but take the hind legs off. They Scratch.
Another time, the Army dropped me into a rather barren area with nothing but my boots and boxers, and some 'Class X' fatigues. These are someone else's second-hand discards, you are free to destroy them if you need to. This meant I couldn't even smuggle a knife into the area. I ate that time too, but not much. I was quite happy when I managed to catch a rabbit with a throwing stick. 1uglymutha, you are right, any weapon is a luxury. The main thing I learned was "don't leave (or lose) your kit behind."
Those were the nearest "survival" events to what you suggested, although not the only ones. Is that what you wanted to hear?

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from geoffbeneze wrote 3 years 24 weeks ago

I purchased a Henry Survival rifle last year. From the reviews I expected it to have feed problems. The first two magazines certainly lent truth to that expectation with every single round failing.

After blasting and scrubbing the action with WD40, the WD was removed and a light grease I like (I make it by mixing Lithium grease and Moly powder, then add BreakFree to give the consistency one most likes), then started shooting the gun. The first couple of magazines after the "treatment" misfeed/jammed on EVERY round. By the third magazine, we were up to every 2-3 rounds. As I progressed, the interval became greater and greater. By the time I'd gone through 50 rounds, the rifle was performing flawlessly.

Since, we've put nearly a case of ammo through the thing, without a SINGLE failure. I'm hard pressed to believe this myself, but every round was fired either by myself or by my children or my cousins' children and every round under my specific supervision.

After the relatively small effort to clean/scrub the action and the "shoot it in", the little rifle is one of the better toys I've ever purchased (and I have an overflowing safe).

I just wish I'd bought the thing 30 years before when I REALLY wanted it.

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from ja_demko wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

The couple AR-7's I've fired didn't impress me with either accuracy or reliability. I, personally, would rather have a good, lightweight .22 pistol. Something like the old Colt Woodsman or one of the skinny-barrel versions of the Ruger Mk 1 or 2 would suit me right down to the ground. One S&W's kit guns would be just as satisfactory. If I was really, really worried about losing it, I'd store it in a floating case (ala the Papoose) and use our old friend the lanyard when I was wearing it.

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from LaughingVulcan wrote 4 years 34 weeks ago

@ j-johnson17:
A knife is a *far* more valuable survival tool than a gun. Can you do any of the following with your gun: Clean what you just shot, make kindling, strip down and make cordage, help start a fire, signal a rescue plane, sharpen a stick to a spear, make a splint / walking stick / improvised fishing pole, or build a shelter? OK, then a knife is probably ahead of a gun in terms of useful survival weapons.

Moving along the same subject...

In fact, I'd take a whistle before taking a gun. Much better as a signaling device. Come to that, an EPIRB would be a much better "survival weapon" than a gun. Heck, in a lot of places a CELL PHONE will do more for you than any gun could. ;) Oh, but you've got your rifle and didn't take along a powered down cell phone? Please. :)

I'll lightly treat not always being in a survival situation location where firearms are legally permitted. Yes, I'd rather have one of my guns with than lose my life. But I'd much rather rather be rescued in a survival situation than arrested or cited for unlawful possession in a non-survival situation. (Yes, flamers, do your best. But read the end of this.)

I think I remember that, in the "Sierra Nevada" episode of Survivorman, Les Stroud mentioned most successful SARs conclude within 72 hours of their beginning. Again, I'd rather have a gun than die because SAR can't find me. But even more vital to survival is leaving your itinerary for your outing with a trusted friend or relative.

Postscript: No, I am *NOT* anti-gun. I have carried on hikes and day-trips into the Arizona desert - where it was legal to. Guns surely do have a place in survival preparation. I could have just agreed with RJ Arena instead of posting this screed.

Even so, "The Best Survival Weapon," as a firearm, depends upon your the situation you find yourself in. In Elk and Bear country a good .44 or .454 pistol may save your life. In small game country an accurate .22 may save your life much more efficiently. But forethought (and not thinking a gun automatically equals survival) will probably provide better odds. Including when *not* to include one.

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from LesserSon wrote 4 years 28 weeks ago

I know it's not an original idea, but the brain and a decent sheath knife are best for starters.

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from poppgunner wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

I agree with Keith, the Browning and the Papoose are much better firearms. I had the Charter Arms AR7 and when the alloy barrel heated up, the rifle would walk all over the target. It was not a jammer though. I've heard the Henry is a great improvement over the originals but never shot one myself. If you get a chance, see if you can locate the Pathfinder School videos on Youtube. The guy takes a $20 single shot he bought at a pawn shop, then shows you a simple modification to have it shoot 45 Colt and .410. Then his youngest son proceeds to shoot out the X-ring on a target. Then he shows you how to reload the shells (both types) with a hammer, a board and a nail. I just sat with my mouth open. I do like the Ruger convertable 22/22mag. Can anyone say if the Hunter version is really worth the extra money? I think if I really had to feed myself on a semi-regular basis, I'd get a few good traps--from a cabin--or wire snares from a backpack. If my hunting is anything like what its like in "real life," I'd be found as a skeleton with alot of rounds in my pockets.

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from poppgunner wrote 4 years 26 weeks ago

Sorry about the double post server was stuck on the load.

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from Jimmer wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

For survival equipment while flying to Alaska I carried a 12 ga. double barrel shotgun. The shot gun was double trigger and could be broken into. My reasoning is that the two barrel together are very stout, you have another barrel if one misfires or damage occurs to one barrel. I carried two boxes of shell. One was light bird shot for small game. The other box had a combination of slugs, buckshot, and #4.

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from jt55 wrote 4 years 24 weeks ago

That .22 is pretty neat. After they work out the bugs I might get me one of them things

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from rczurcher wrote 4 years 23 weeks ago

Had an ar7 it was not worth having would rather have and H&R survivor maybe a little heavyer but you have storage in the stock for items and you have a choice of calibers from 45-410 to 223 or 308 which to me would be a better choice for survival.

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from coho310 wrote 4 years 23 weeks ago

The other most important thing for survival besides your brain is your instincts and then all you need is a knife,a gun is more of a luxury and really a big help.

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from Beprepared4lots wrote 4 years 22 weeks ago

I enjoyed reading the various comments above. What's the best survival weapon? Starts with your brain, which should already be on board. If you're wearing clothes, you should also have at least one knife in your pocket or on your belt at all times. I happen to always carry something that goes bang when I go out. For concealment this is usually a .380 or a .357 magnum. So what to "carry" when you go out, since you already have some gray matter and a knife? Has anyone seen the S&W model 317 with a 3 inch barrel? Capacity is 8 rds and it weighs 12.5 oz empty. That pistol and a box of 50 rds would make a great "kit" gun in my opinion. That said my favorite pistol to carry when I go into the woods is a Taurus Tracker made of Titanium chambered in .357. It weighs 24 oz empty. Readily available in SS and both revolvers have integral compensators and hold 7 rds. A variety of ammunition is available to suit just about every survival need, to include 180 grain hard cast bullets. I carry an ammo "wallet" with a selection of different ammo, including some .38 special for smaller targets where keeping the meat intact is an issue.

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from BeardogRed wrote 4 years 22 weeks ago

Yes, I had the old AR-7. It shot straight , but always had problems with the jams upon shell ejection. I hear the new model is better. The Papoose is a real nice gun, but bigger and heavier.

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from Beprepared4lots wrote 4 years 21 weeks ago

Earlier, in my comment above, I neglected to say that the S&W model 317 is a .22 cal long rifle, revolver. Which is why that and 50 rds of .22 cal ammo would make a great kit gun.

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from IceAngler wrote 4 years 19 weeks ago

Les Stroud. What a champ.

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from Sourdough Dave wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

Does anyone know why Springfield stopped making their .22/.410 survival gun and why Savage quit making their Mod. 24? I guess the only surviving superimposed rifle/shotgun is the Remington SPR94.

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from LeVan Goodey wrote 4 years 17 weeks ago

As to the S&W 317, my hunting buddy has one with a 1 inch barrel. An excellent firearm. Personally I have a S&W model 63 that goes hunting with me everytime. My Walther PP is also a very good grouse gun. My problem though is that except for some hiking trips in the North Cascades in Washington State where we ate a lot of grouse and trout,is finding something to shoot.

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from ssi wrote 4 years 16 weeks ago

Enjoyed all of the posts...great reminders to consider...I had a couple of situations occur where "I wasn't lost, but just disoriented for a time"...uh yea, it took more than one time for me. What I finally learned(?) was this...All of the survival equipment, knives,space blanket/tent/bags,vaselined cotton balls, magnesium/flint fire starters,etc.etc. and my super accurate Ruger 5 and a 1/2" bull-barreled .22 were useless if I left camp without my "kit". Now, I have each of the light weight basic survival tools neatly packed in a small fanny pack that absolutely goes with me everywhere when I leave camp...its very basic,light and has room for some PB&J sandwiches,chocolate and trailmix....the content or preferences are unique to each of my hunting/fishing friends, but, WE ALL have made it a RULE to not wander off in the Sierra's or any western wilderness without our basic kits....I liked the ideas that explored the .410/45 option in a pistol....one of those Charter Judges has really gained my interest after reading these posts...I know that the cold had reduced my abilty to shoot with precision at small game even at close ranges when I was "temporarily disoriented"...wouldn't have had the chance to find out though since my binoculars don't fire .22's and camp turned out to be about a half mile and 4 hours of wandering in the dark away...thank GOD for clear weather and a bright night.

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from Steve Marlin wrote 4 years 16 weeks ago

Following the "best survival gun" is the one you have with you - Rossi makes a inexpensive 20 gauge that swaps barrels to a .22LR. One might consider storing one in the vehicle in lock box.

I don't own one but I started hunting deer with a Rossi slug gun so I can say that they're ok guns for the money (i.e. accurate enough, but the finish is poor compared to other guns so you have so stay on top of rust and the trigger is just average.) Be sure to oil up the outside before you stick them in the box.

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from SKCMike wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Several years ago (maybe 7 or 8) a friend purchased a survival-type rifle that used SW 40 caliber ammo. The rifle had a collapsible stock and a stainless barrel , if I remember right. I would like to buy the same rifle. Unfortunately, I can't find any info on it. Anyone out there familiar with such a rifle? Thanks.

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from dasmith wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I have owned both the AR7 Henry (Henry has storage for 2-8rd mags) and the Savage 24C .22lr/20ga. The Savage is the better gun and I wish I still had mine. Henry sights just aren't as accurage for me at 50 yards. Took small game with the .22 up to a Fox and deer with the 20ga, 3 steps on the .22 rifle sight and it would shoot dead on with slugs @ 50 yards. Had an adapter for .38spl/.357 in 20ga and never expairmented with it much. I never venture out without at least a .38 spl. handgun and have killed more deer with a .38spl then any other caliber (Law Enforcement duty-deer injured by cars). An old 4" S&W model 10 .38spl with a slim barrel works for me as a good take along gun, when not specifically hunting. There are better depending on your area. I also carry 2 survival packs in my truck with food and water for 3 days, shelter, and basics for most emergencies. I also treat each outdoor adventure as a test of my skills (fire starting)and equipment test(clothing, holsters,etc..). Also an old Boy Scout manual makes a good survival guide. So an accurate .22/20ga with a good handgun(.38spl or larger) is my pick.

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from SKCMike wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Thanks for the info, dasmith. I'm trying to find a survival rifle that specifically shoots SW 40 cal ammo as I have lots of it and get it free through a friend. I have lost contact of the co-worker that showed me his 40 cal survival rifle and cannot find any on-line references to something like that. Thanks.

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from WA_Hunter wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

SKCMike,
I believe you are thinking about a rifle made by Kel-Tec several years ago. I don't know if they still make it. It had a cool feature in that it could be adapted to take a variety of different pistol mags to match a handgun of same caliber.

I have owned both the Charter AR7 (Junk), and the Savage 24C. The Savage was good quality, but heavy for a survival gun. You always had an extra barrel attached to your gun that wasn't in use.

My $.02 worth is that if you are hunting food with a gun of any kind, you are wasting precious time during a survival situation. Carry a gun for protection and use it to forage if the opportunity arrives.

Personally, I'd feel like a collossal failure as an outdoorsman if I needed to poach something with a gun to survive for a few days in the wilderness. Considering the huge amounts of edible plants and insects available in almost every terrain, killing a deer is an unnecessary waste.

Best survival skill... firemaking. Build a big enough fire and the rangers will come and make you put it out. While they're writing your ticket, ask for a ride back to camp.

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from WA_Hunter wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Just Googled it...
Kel-Tec Sub 2000. MSRP $409.00

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from SKCMike wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Thanks for the info..WA_Hunter. Was looking for a rifle merely to plink and use up lots of 40 cal ammo that I have. Thanks.

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from quinnm107 wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

I think a good knife is the most important and best survival weapon. It has the most uses, and does not need ammo to continue use.

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from shotguns make g... wrote 4 years 12 weeks ago

ok.First of all lets be honest here.If you are in a survival situation. The first thing you need,shelter,water,fire,food.The best weapon is a 12 gauge pump,the best tool is a nife and a lighter. Common sense.

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from captain-john wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

The original question was "What is the best survival weapon?" Not What tools you need for survival.
In my opinion, a survival weapon serves two purposes: one is defense, and the other is hunting or foraging for food. However, weight is a very important factor. Another is what part of the country you are in, and what you need to protect yourself from. The type of game you will hunt for food comes into play.
I feel that the best all around weapon would be an airweight .357 Magnum revolver in 3-6" barrel length. If a rifle is necessary, a pump or lever action 357 is great. Either, handled properly, will serve both purposes well, and will handle a variety different power ammunition.

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from Insightful wrote 4 years 10 weeks ago

A Mini-14 combines the best features of all including a tried and proven action of the M1.

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from James Pence wrote 4 years 9 weeks ago

Re: TAURUS JUDGE - Several comments have requested information on the Taurus Judge 45/410 revolver as a survival gun. I used a .410 Thompson Contender for several years on small game but often regretted not having a faster second shot. When the Judge came along I prevailed upon Mike Ahlman (Ahlman's Guns, Morristown, MN) to tool up for the installation of Thompson chokes on the Judge. I can say from experience that the patterns seem identical to what I get with the Contender and that the combination works well if you want a very compact shotgun.

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from buckshot54 wrote 4 years 9 weeks ago

My good friend has this .22 and I have to say its great. Now Im going to buy one. Everyone who likes to be outdoors should have this rifle.

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from Drew Steven Knoop wrote 4 years 8 weeks ago

i think a 20 gauge /.22 would be a great gun for any survival situation. I would want some slugs with as well as birdshot. If however i were in Alaska I would want a 357 mag on my side!!!

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from chris_booras wrote 4 years 6 weeks ago

i agree that would be real usfull.

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from extreme bowhunter wrote 4 years 4 weeks ago

I think that your best survival tool is an axe or a knife. You can not chop a tree down with a gun and you can not set snares and feild dress game with a gun. Also you can not dig a shelter in sbow with a gun.

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from Frank Nicholas wrote 4 years 4 weeks ago

Best survival tool- a good knife, obviously a more utilitarian choice. However, for meals instead of snacks I would go with my .22LR pistol or the Henry survivor the author suggested. I have seen the Henry and had opportunity to assemble and disassemble, really lightweight, bouyant and easily packed. But given the assembly time and single shot capacity I would rather strap on my Colt Woodsman and have the best of all options. The clip holds enough to fend off "toothers" and as accurate as the shooter.

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from Frank Nicholas wrote 4 years 4 weeks ago

Best survival tool- a good knife, obviously a more utilitarian choice. However, for meals instead of snacks I would go with my .22LR pistol or the Henry survivor the author suggested. I have seen the Henry and had opportunity to assemble and disassemble, really lightweight, bouyant and easily packed. But given the assembly time and single shot capacity I would rather strap on my Colt Woodsman and have the best of all options. The clip holds enough to fend off "toothers" and as accurate as the shooter.

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from Frank Nicholas wrote 4 years 4 weeks ago

Best survival tool- a good knife, obviously a more utilitarian choice. However, for meals instead of snacks I would go with my .22LR pistol or the Henry survivor the author suggested. I have seen the Henry and had opportunity to assemble and disassemble, really lightweight, bouyant and easily packed. But given the assembly time and single shot capacity I would rather strap on my Colt Woodsman and have the best of all options. The clip holds enough to fend off "toothers" and as accurate as the shooter.

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from JSTEPHENC wrote 4 years 2 days ago

Sorry, I meant "the spot".

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from 1uglymutha wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

the best weapon to have in a survival situation is what you brung.have any of you ever spent any time at all in the wilderness with nothing? no food no water no knife no matches no gun. try it sometime. under certain circumstances, ANY weapon is a luxury.

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from willowa wrote 3 years 51 weeks ago

I think the author probably meant 'firearm' rather than 'weapon'. Probably also assumed (perhaps erroneously)any outdoorsmen would be carrying a knife, matches, etc. As far as the 'ideal gun', ain't no such critter. If you asked 50 hunters, you would get about that many answers, Everyone operates different places under different condidions, so you do what works for you. If I am hunting, with a 'deer rifle' I carry a small .22 pistol, extra ammo is so easy to carry. If I am fishing, hiking, canoeing, etc, I carry a Ruger SP-101, a good little (2 1/2' BBL) 5 shot revolver in .357. (I like the .357 because you can use a variety of ammo-.38 spec in all kind of loads and the .357 for bigger things), it has saved my bacon a couple of times already. I carry a Henry AR-7 in my canoe or my backpack. You can carry an extra 100 rounds in a belt case (wrapped in a ziplock, not in the box)no bigger than a cell phone case. Using CCI .22 Stingers, I have never had a jam/ejection problem and (don't tell him I said this), but, I could hit the pinecones at 40-50 yards as well as my friend could with his scoped, heavy bbled 10/22 Ruger!
Shotgun-versitile, but ammo large and bulky,- same with heavy rifle to some extent. With the '101' and the Henry a canteen (yes, water is vital) plus purification tabs and a fanny pack, I can carry all I need to make it. Food is important for energy, the 'you can live 3 wks without' etc (try going that long at home and see how much energy you have) and the 'have you ever'...without food, water, knife, etc', no I haven't, I can't imagine EVER being in a situation where I don't have a basic knife and a fire starter, there is never a reason to get caught that unprepared.

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from kajam wrote 3 years 49 weeks ago

I have an M-6 Scout, in a small nylon carry pouch, can be on the belt, in the back, over the shoulder. Holds its own ammo if you're really stuck for space- .410 and .22.
And space in the cary pouch for other items, plus, while the gun is out and slung, it makes a great day pack.

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from Steve Doran wrote 3 years 47 weeks ago

We did a number of different video tests on survival weapons at www.shilohtv.com in the video section, to show people how they perform, we used rifles and handguns

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from crappieman wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

i think the best survival weapon is your mind in tandem with a sturdy knife. in summers spent in the chesapeake bay i go to the creek and sharpen a stick with my knife.i can stick small blue crabs and use them for bait to catch croaker when i run out of squid late in the night.

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from Fox Hill Hunt Club wrote 3 years 46 weeks ago

Ill have to say I think a shotgun is the best gun to have when your life depends on it.

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from Medius wrote 3 years 42 weeks ago

This is an amazing gun, but it could be better with some slight modifications. If you swap out the spring on the bolt for a lighter one it will consistently fire semi-automaticly, instead of failing to chamber a round every now and then.

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from Redbone wrote 3 years 41 weeks ago

I have the henry pretty nice and accurate for such a small gun. Is it a good survival weapon? I guess if there are rabbits around.

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from hockeyplayer wrote 3 years 36 weeks ago

or, a .50 cal rifle wouldnt be too bad to have in a survival situation.

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from 007 wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

As far as firearms go, the great John Wooters once wrote in favor of a lightweight .22 handgun that rode comfortably in a shoulder holster, accompanied by several boxes of ammo. Much lighter than a center fire and very versatile.

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from zach rhodes wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

i keep my truck loaded with gear just in case i get stranded out hunting or fish but without my truck im as good as dead.

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from darksoldierscadamia wrote 3 years 34 weeks ago

Taurus Judge. this pistol is something to consider. mine brought down three rabits, and a handfull of squirrels, quail and even a dove last year. shoots 4-10 and 44 longs. love it.

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from minijake wrote 3 years 30 weeks ago

i think a ruger mini14 is the best survival wepon with its accuracy and 30 round mag it is hard hitting and accurate plus it is small and compact so it wont weigh you down when trudging through the woulds also the powder doubles a very good tinder for starting fighers

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from Bass2Buck wrote 3 years 27 weeks ago

od rather have a .270

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from nobuckyet14271 wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

knife without a doubt

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from nobuckyet14271 wrote 3 years 26 weeks ago

knife without a doubt

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from sterndixon wrote 3 years 25 weeks ago

If you're a hunter and find yourself in a survival situation, you're likely to have a weapon with you and at least a handful of shells or arrows. That said, what you really need you can find in the Boy Scout Handbook under "Ten Outdoor Essentials". These are items recommended one take on any outdoor activity, and includes things like extra water (water treatment tablets should also be considered), matches and fire starters, a compass and map, rain gear, etc. The Scouts also stress the need to leave a detailed trip plan with someone who knows when you're supposed to be back. That's probably the best survival advice you can give anyone.

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from Downhillshot wrote 3 years 6 weeks ago

I owned a Henry Survival Rifle and loved it to death. Ended up passing it along as I didn't use it much. The concept is great. A gun that floats even when fully put together. The only issue that I ever thought it had was that the stock was a little bulky so shooting it was a bit strange.

I owned the rifle for two and a hlaf years and in that time I put close to 5,000 +/- rounds through it. I never had any issue with it except for one time when I used a bore snake cleaning thing and marred the barrel. So I ordered a new barrel and went on from there.

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from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I do so love surviverman with les. I have a henry take down. I can usually get 3 or 4 clips feed through it before it starts jamming on me. Then I throw some more oil down it and its good for a few more. The front sight broke off mine, so its a guess on where its actually aiming, but it hits pop cans pretty accuratly up to 50 feet or so. I keep it in my back pack. It seems to work for what its designed for.

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from jmshackelfo@aol.com wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Ja demko. I have to agree. Mine was given to me thats why I have it.

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from ja_demko wrote 2 years 23 weeks ago

Where they could improve the AR-7 into something more worthwhile would be to make it a simple bolt action. Many of its problems come from it being an indifferently made autoloader. Even when it works correctly, the autoloading doesn't give it any particular advantage in a real survival situation.

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from tarheelcharlie wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

The review was the best survival weapon out of the two tested. I am in my 60's now and many years ago I got fed up with everything and was dropped off in the mountains to test myself and to just get away from civilization for a while. I had spent almost 10 years in military. I carried a back pack with fishing equip. first aid, two quality fixed blade knives, a buck 110, a AR7 and 500 rounds, compass, canteen, fire starting kit, a Bible and few other things including pot,pan an clothes. I spent almost a year up there. That was the best year of my life, beside the birth of my children and time in service. My AR7 gave me very few problems. I can see why the military picked this weapon for survival. I got lots of squirell and rabbits with this weapon and a few deer. As others have stated with a 22 and the right shots, you can take any North American game, you just have to know how to place a shot and the limitations of your weapon and of yourself. Today I have one in my trunk in another back pack in case my car breaks down or something happens where I am stranded on the side of the road. We never know when some type of natural disaster will happen. I saw what happened in New Orleans when Katrina hit and what happened to the people that went into the dome for shelter. I have lived thru several hurricans while in Florida and been stranded in snow storms up in the northwest. I have fended for myself and survived and have never ask for help from others. I would trust this little light weight rifle any day for just about any type of survival situation. It is not the best looking rifle, but it does what it is made to do, keep you alive and put some food in your belly. My vote is for the AR7

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