<XMP><BODY></xmp> Scout rifles and other Survival Firearms

        This article originally appeared on another website, but due to various circumstances it got deleted. Recently I was sorting through some floppies and found an old copy of the article. I've taken the opportunity to update it.

Survival Firearms.

        In most survival situations any form of firearm would be preferred. Of course some guns are more suitable than others. The main function of a survival gun is to provide meat and to defend the shooter against human or animal aggressors, so to my mind this excludes any single shot weapons. A quick second shot is also a very useful thing to have when hunting too. The weapon should not be too much of a burden, particularly if you're already carrying a rucksac and other equipment and should be as versatile/ multi purpose as possible. Ammo must be readily available in the area and must do the job that is required of it. It must be robust and weather resistant. If fitted with a scope it should have good iron sights as well.

         The best attempt at a general purpose rifle that I've seen was Jeff Cooper's "Scout rifle" idea in the 38th edition of Gun Digest (1985).
        The Scout rifle was designed to be a " ......general purpose rifle that would meet the needs of an individual on his own rather than a member of a fire team."

        Cooper suggested that such a rifle have certain characteristics. It should have adequate power to incapacitate any animal of 500lbs or less with one solid hit in the vital zone to the limits of vision. "Limit of vision" was defined as the greatest distance at which 20-20 eyes can discern the vital zone.

        It should be suitable for snap shots and of acceptable accuracy. Cooper defined that acceptable accuracy for a general field rifle need only be 2 or 2.5 moa, since this will hit a 10" disc at 50-550 yds. (The article also makes the erroneous comment that the difference between a 1 minute group and a 2 minute is only half an inch at 200yds. A 1 minute group is 2" at 200yds, while a 2 minute group is 4")
        "Acceptable accuracy" was quite a radical concept since so many of us fixate on a weapon's accuracy. The Scout doesn't need to be a thousand yard tack driver, it just needs to be capable of putting a round through a deer's "boiler room" a realistic hunting ranges.

        The rifle itself would need to be light and handy. Under a metre long and under 7lb unloaded but with scope and sling. A synthetic stock was suggested for both lightness and durability. Hunting guns such as the Scout spend much more time being carried than they are shot. Cooper wanted as compact an action as possible, so selected a short action bolt action. One of the points that Cooper made that is true for all survival arms is that it should have a good set of iron sights, irrespective of whether a scope is fitted. Many hunting rifles are sold with only rudimentary iron sights, or none at all. A survival arm should have a back-up to any optics. For the Scout he suggests a rear large aperture "Ghost" ring.

        Chamberings for the Scout should be capable of taking a 500lb animal, widely available and capable of use a short stroke action. His suggestions were the .243 Winchester, 7mm-08 Rem and 7.62mm NATO/ .308 Win, all of which are based on the same case.
        Given the above requirements, It is not surprising that the main round suggested for the Scout is 308 Win/7.62mm NATO. Because it is so commonplace, it is easy to underestimate this round. It is a fine high performance, all-around hunting cartridge and is used by snipers and for match target competition all the way out to 1,000 yards. It's available in 100 grain to 200 grain weights with 150 grain, 165 grain, and 180 grain being common. The rounds of 165gr+ can be used for larger animals such as elk and bear.

        The .243 Win was suggested for those who desire less recoil, though Cooper mentions a 22" barrel may be needed to attain sufficient velocity. 55 to 80 grain bullets are suitable for varmint hunting, while the 90 to 115 grain bullets are designed for medium size big game.
        The 7mm-08 Rem chambering was for areas where "Military" calibres are illegal. This round is ballistically superior to the .308, approximating about 90% of that performance of the .270 Winchester in a cartridge short enough to work through short action rifles. It's about 200fps better than the 7x57mm Mauser and only 100fps behind the .270. The 120 grain bullet is a good choice for small, light framed animals. For most medium game hunting, the 140 grain bullet is suitable.

        The scope mounted forward of the action was one of the Scout rifle's most distinctive features. The long eye relief scope was supposed to offer a good overall field of view and quick target acquisition, as well as better balance and faster reloading when using chargers.
Those are the pros. Some of the cons include.
        Another problem is such a configuration is only suited to low power scopes. If your area or shooting style favours higher magnifications, a more conventional mount may be more suitable.
        A weapon of this type does not need a particularly complex reticle. Simple crosshairs such as the "Duplex", "German #4" or "Post and Duplex" are ideal.

        Cooper suggests a Mannlicher style stock would help counteract barrel heat, though this would be more a problem on the practice range rather than in the field. Fluted barrels would help, and a military style flash hinder/ muzzle brake would be an option since these devices have attained a high efficiency in recent years and are beginning to see acceptance on hunting weapons. In countries such as Finland silenced/supressed hunting rifles are popular. These have the very practical attribute of preserving the hearing of both the hunter and his dogs.

        Cooper's prototype in was a short action bolt action .308 with an 18.5" barrel weighed 6.75lb with scope and sling and was 37" Loa. A x2 Leupold scope with a 10" eye relief was mounted ahead of the loading slot.
        Like so many good ideas, the idea of the Scout rifle could have fallen on stony ground, but just for a change, several manufacturers took up the task. About a year after the Gun Digest article Grendel brought out the SRT, a nine shot weapon with a 20" barrel and a synthetic stock that folded for carriage
        The weapon that met with Cooper's personal approval, however, was the Steyr Scout. This is a high quality, very accurate weapon, but unfortunately comes with a price tag to match! Where the Scout was originally described as a "Jeep", this is a Mercedes.


        Savage Arms have produced a lower priced alternative, which alledgibly Cooper has called an "Abortion scout" or, more kindly, but bafflingly, "an economy version of the general idea". Savage also offer a range of rifles with increased weather-resistance, but strangely this has not been offered for their Scout.
        Springfield Armory offer a "Scout" version of their M14 7.62mm NATO Self loader.

        Personally I've always thought that the 7.62mm version of Lee Enfield would be a good basis for a Scout rifle. The Lee action is one of the fastest bolt actions ever built, and a ten round magazine is a comfortable thing to have if you are shooting to defend yourself. By operating the bolt with the thumb and forefinger and the trigger with the second finger the rate of fire can exceed five rounds in four seconds.
        The website includes a scout-type weapon made from a No.5 .303, but is also a good source of information on hunting bullet ballistics in general.

        What is and isn't a Scout rifle has become rather dogmatic. I can see the merit of specifying a maximum overall length, but why bother also stipulating a barrel length so long as the weapon is short enough and has acceptable ballistics? Some of the definitions that you will see on websites differ from the parameters given in the original article.

Scout Rifle Taxonomy

        It would be nice if more rifle manufacturers offered "off the shelf" Scout-type weapons. These would be 40" long and around 6lbs.
        They would be come with good iron sights and could mount a scope either in the forward position or conventionally. They would have synthetic stocks and stainless steel metalwork for weather resistance. There would be an optional ten-round magazine and calibres would include .308, 7mm-08, .270 Win, .30-06 and possibly 7mm Rem Mag.
        I'd compliment these "Bush rifles" with a sister range of longer barreled "Mountain rifles" that would also include .223 Rem and .243 Win models.

         The Scout as originally described is a good attempt at creating a "general purpose" rifle. It is therefore a starting point for a survival rifle, although we need not be restricted by dogmatism.

        A few "heretics" have made "Pseudo-scouts" using other rounds. Some have used weapons chambering the Russian 7.62x54R round. This is certainly widely available worldwide, although the low cost of Mosin-Nagant carbines was doubtless a factor too.
        The .30-06 is probably one of the most common rifle rounds in the US, and its ability to load heavier bullets than the .308 is an advantage in areas where game includes animals in the 700-1000lb range, such as Moose and Bear. These can be found in loadings of up to 250 grains. It's claimed that a 180 grain Remington Core-Lokt .30-06 will shoot through both shoulders of an Alaskan grizzly bear
        Another good round is the .270 Win. This is widely available globally, flat shooting, long ranged and hard hitting. Like the .30-06 it works in a "Standard length" action. This can be found in loadings of 100 to 180 grains, and is capable against a wide size range of animals. 130gr is most suitable for general hunting needs. With good placement and 150gr+ ammo it can take animals such as Elk out to 250 yards if necessary.

        If you operate in an area where shots tend to be taken at longer ranges, you may want a rifle with a longer barrel and a higher power scope in a more conventionally mounted position. Since hunting weapons are more often carried than shot a good basis for such a gun are the lightweight "mountain rifles" that many manufactures offer. The .308 is capable of performing out to 1000yrds, but the round by which all long range hunting rounds are measured is the .270 Win. Magnum rounds such as the .300 Win Mag and 7mm Rem Mag may seem tempting for a long range weapon, but in practice the .270 Win equals them in flight time out to beyond 1000yds, and still has more than enough energy to be effective, while offering a lot less recoil. One of the requirements of a survival arm is that it should offer the capability of self-defence. Therefore any high powered scope fitted should be a variable power model capable of being turned down to under x4 for a better field of view and rapid target acquisition.

        A .270 Win shooting 150gr+ or .308 with 165gr+ can take animals of more than 500lbs but if you routinely intend to take larger animals (700lbs+) you need to use at least a .30-06. This category includes moose, elk and the larger bears. The 7mm Rem Mag (150gr+) has a recoil energy comparable to that of a .30-06 but outranges the .30-06 in terms of both trajectory and killing power. If Moose are regularly on your menu then you might consider something like a 7mm Rem Mag or .338-06.
Suggested loadings for Alaskan Game

        For situations needing more power Cooper built the "SuperScout" or "Lion Scout" in .350 Rem Mag. This was 39"loa and 7.5lb. He believed this to be suitable for all large animals other than Buffalo and Pachyderms. Steyr also offer a Scout chambered in their specially designed .376 Steyr round. This violates the principle that a survival arm should use readily available ammo.

        In Gun Digest 49th Edition,1995, Ray Ordorica writes "Imagine the biggest and toughest threat you're likely to encounter and arm accordingly" Ordorica takes a .470 caribou hunting. His argument is that if a large bore weighs the same as a medium, the only difference is recoil and is this a problem if the gun is only shot occasionally? The .470 has more than enough power for deer but could also handle any bears encountered. As a combat weapon it should deposit enough energy and make a big enough hole to put the target down. Rate of fire and recovery might suffer, but as Cooper says in his Scout rifle article:- "Fire only if you have to, hit what you aim at, then move". There's no reason why the Scout rifle philosophy can't be applied to a .416 or .458 -A "Savannah Scout"?
        A large bore rifle might be a sensible option for the parts of the world where creatures such as buffalo and elephants are real dangers. A friend of mine once had his Landrover motorcade chased by a cow elephant enraged that they'd woken her calf. The escort were armed with "NATO rifles" (7.62mm FALs) and there was little confidence that if they were forced to fire these would do anything more than annoy her further.
        JD Jones of SSK industries offers the .500 and .510 Whisper® which use a .50 HMG bullet in a .460 Weatherby (.500) or .338 Lapua Mag (.510) case. A friend of mine has used the supersonic version on moose to great effect and this round has great potential for even larger game, particularly if chambered in a suitably handy rifle, possibly along the lines of the SuperScout.

        Most hunting and combat takes place at less than 500yds, but the Scout has enough power for much longer shots on more open terrain such as mountains or plains. If you don't operate in such areas then a weapon chambered for an intermediate round may meet the 7lb or under weight requirement. The ammunition is lighter so as many rounds can be carried for less weight. Many of the guns in these calibres that can be made to fall beneath the weight limit are self loaders.
        While weapons such as AR-15s or AK-47s do have a valid civilian niche, running around the woods with such weapons just plays into the hands of the media and "antis" and just further tarnishes the image of real Survival.
Self loaders have several advantages:-
        The main objection is that one may be tempted to substitute rate of fire for good aim. This is more a matter of self-discipline. If the issue is one of survival, where loosing the target may mean starvation, a quick follow up shot can be an asset.

        A nice intermediate power weapon is the 7.62x39mm SKS. These are popular weapons for Brush hunting small deer such as Whitetails. With a little work the weight can be trimmed down and the weapon given Scout style sights. The Ruger Mini-30 is another good weapon in this chambering. Manual actions weapons in 7.62x39mm do exist and may be more acceptable in some areas.
        Ballistically similar to the 7.62x39mm is the 30-30. The 30-30 is usually found in heavier bullet loadings, giving it a bit more range and target effect. Many of the weapons chambered for this round are lever-actions, and like the SKS they are popular brush guns. Spitzer (pointed) bullets should not be used in any weapon with a tube magazine. The point of the bullet will rest on the primer of the round ahead and recoil or a sharp knock can cause detonation. A Spitzer will have lost a third of its velocity at 500yrds while a round nose will have lost half, so Spitzers are better for long range. But at 200yrds the difference between the two is only about 7% (80% vs 87%). For the sort of hunting ranges that 30-30 and 7.62x39mm are used at flat nosed or broad hollowpoint rounds are more useful than Spitzers.
        Another useful lever gun for survival purposes is the 45-70 Co-pilot. This is a takedown weapon that obviously draws inspiration from the Scout. For most shooters the .45-70 has a range of about 150yds, but it can be used at far greater distances if you are familiar with its trajectory. A 45-70 lever gun such as the Co-pilot would be my first choice for a close range defensive weapon against large thin skinned threats such as Grizzly bears. For Polar bears I'd opt for a full-power high velocity weapon, since ranges are often longer. The Eskimo policy for Polar bears is if it approaches within 300yrds, fire a warning shot, and if it still keeps coming start shooting to kill.

        We've already mentioned the 7.62x39mm, but what of the other common military intermediate round, the .223 Rem /5.56x45mm? The 5.56mm is a lightweight bullet that is very dependent on fragmentation and velocity for damage. At an impact velocity of less than 2700fps the round will fail to fragment and have greatly reduced terminal effects. For a 20" barreled weapon this occurs at ranges of 200yds or less, and for a 16" barrel under 150yds. Even when this does occur penetration of the FMJ round is only about 14". JSP and JHP rounds may perform slightly differently, but the fact is nearly all 5.56mm rounds are designed for use against human targets. Against quadrupeds they can not be used reliably against anything bigger than a coyote, and deer hunting with this calibre is illegal in many areas. Some sources claim the 55gr round is only good for game of under 19lb within 200yds.
        Steyr do offer a Scout rifle in 5.56mm, referred to either as the "Cub Scout" or "Poodle Scout", depending on your opinion. This is obviously not a true Scout, but may be a useful weapon for Police Marksmen. Where a 5.56mm rifle may be useful for survival purposes is in an area where a major source of food is likely to be small animals that need to be taken at relatively long range. Some hunters find the 5.56mm a little overpowered for such a role, so download the cartridge.

Downloaded 5.56mm
Downloaded 5.56mm Part 2

        Such rounds may not allow a self-loader to cycle reliably. If you want a "non-military" self loader the Ruger Mini-14 is a useful weapon in this calibre, and there is also a wide choice of bolt action "varmint" weapons that may work better with downloaded rounds.

        In a swamp or very undulating terrain the shooting range may be much less than 100yds. In such areas you might consider the M1 carbine or a pistol calibre longarm, although most of the full and intermediate power weapons already mentioned can also be used in these conditions. Pistol calibre longarms are available as self-loaders and manual actions. The ammo is of a similar weight to intermediate rounds but the weapons using them are sometimes a pound or more lighter. An interesting possibility is to have a handgun and a longarm utilizing the same ammo.
        Be aware that hollow point pistol ammo is usually designed for self defence against humans. On small game it may dump too much energy and lose you too much meat. On larger animals, even when fired from the longer barrel of a carbine, it may fail to penetrate deep enough to reach the vital organs. For this reason Full Metal Jacket or Semi-Wadcutter ammo is the best choice for both defence from large animals and the hunting of both small and large game. FMJ pistol ammo is often available cheaply as military surplus. Use lighter weight bullets for small game. Hollow point ammo can be used for defensive shooting in certain situations, but it is worth remembering that pistol hollow points don't expand all the time, which is why larger calibres or rifle rounds are better defensive rounds.
        Some weapons with tube magazines can fire more than one type of round. A .357 lever action carbine can chamber .38 spl, .357 magnum and .357 maximum rounds and fire bullets ranging from 110-200gr. A .44 magnum carbine can also fire .44 spl.
        At under 75yards the power of a .44 magnum carbine exceeds that of a .223. I'm told it still kicks a lot even in a carbine. There's been a tendency to use the .44 Mag as a brush gun, the theory being that the heavy round is less likely to be deflected by foliage. In practice it's gyroscopic stability that limits this and the .44 has a much slower spin (1 in 38") than even "understabilised" rifle rounds (1 in 7-12" for a 223). (Gun Digest 49th edition,1995) To the best of my knowledge no one has tried "fast spin" .44 carbines.
        I've heard of animals as big as Black bear being taken with the M1 Carbine, but realistically it is a short range small game and varmint hunting round for animals up to about 50 pounds out to 125 yards.

        Most of the rounds mentioned so far are of little use for small game, which are the more likely source of food. For the .223 and .30 the answer is to carry five or six Chamber adapters, converting the gun to fire .22LR, .22magnum, .32 ACP or .30 M1 carbine. The M1 Carbine rounds can be FMJ or the 100gr Speer Plinker that produces rimfire velocities but still cycles an M1 Carbine's action. Ideally the comb of the rifle's stock could be hinged like that of the M6 Survival gun to form a convenient chamber to carry chamber adapters or small game loadings. More likely is to fit a cuff to the stock that has a pouch or bullet loops.
        For calibres where a suitable pistol round is not available, such as the .243 Win and .270/7mm weapons an alternate idea is to use "Squib rounds". Some of these chamberings are already available in lightweight "varmint" loadings but these may not leave much for the pot, so need to be downloaded. If using a self loader one should also ensure that the weapon still cycles reliably. A .45-70 small game round can be made from cases with 185-250gr .45 pistol bullets. The .45-70 can also chamber .410 shotshells, but they may need to be hand loaded into the chamber and the rifling may cause a dough nut shaped pattern. The fit in the chamber is also a little loose and can result in a split casing.

        Pistol calibre weapons can use non-expanding ammunition for small game. Some rounds such as the .357 and .44 can be found in shot loadings.
        If your main food source is small game then your survival arsenal will probably include at least one .22 rimfire. The Minuteman Robert DePugh, who was on the run for more than a year and spent at least 10 months of that living off the land, stated that if he was to have just one gun, it would be a long barreled 22 pistol or a 22 takedown rifle. Ammo is light and low bulk and the weapons are accurate and easily silenced. An AR7 or BAR-22 tucks into a daysac, virtually unnoticed and a 22 can take anything from squirrels upwards. A squirrel sized creature can probably be taken within 50 yrds, while a rabbit or duck may be taken at 100yrds, depending on practice and skill. Poachers use them on deer and US government hunters on cougar and I've even heard of elephants being killed, though I wouldn't care to try it. Using this option - which for large game is only for true emergency use- aim well and use ammo that penetrates deeply. It also pays to know your potential food. Aircrew in the Arctic found that the ammo of their survival guns just bounced off the fat and plumage of the local geese. Prairie dogs seldom let a man get closer than 100yds. The .22 rimfires usually used to hit such tiny targets are medium to heavy weight guns with very high magnification scopes. The 5.56mm may be more practical for such targets.
        The .22 is a poor manstopper, even with Stinger or Magnum rounds but penetration is good with most ammo. Due to its low recoil it has the merit of being highly accurate and controllable, even during rapid fire. If forced to use a 22 defensively use rapid fire and walk the bullets to exactly where you want them, which will be the CNS. Obviously a large magazine or cylinder capacity is preferable. This tactic is taken to its logical conclusion by the AM180 - a fully automatic .22 loaded with 177rds fired at 1200rpm. 25-50 round bursts can chew through nylon flak jackets.

        For hunting in most of the UK the type of game and the ranges that the terrain imposes make a shotgun idea.Shotguns are best used against small, fast moving targets, although with slugs or buckshot they can be used against larger animals if the range is short.
        For survival use a 12 bore is best, or a 20 if you find this a little too much to handle. Both types of ammo are widely available.
        The spread of the shot makes it far easier to hit targets than with a rifle, even if they are moving. With a selection of bird, buck and slug shot a wide variety of game can be taken if you can get within range. Downside is the range of a shotgun is quite short and the ammo bulky.
        Shotguns are most effective at a range of between 15 and 40 yards. This can be extended a little further by having a tighter choke, but this means a smaller pattern and a greater chance of missing.
         For those unfamiliar with shotguns a good rule of thumb is that the pattern for a open choked barrel spreads by about an inch in diameter for each yard of range. A pattern from a full choked gun spreads by only about half this. A open or true cylinder gun is most effective at 15-35 yds, while a full choked gun may reach 40-55yrds.
        Repeating shotguns have seen Police and Military use, though civilian guns may be limited to 3 shots. In the UK they've always been regarded as "unsporting" - though a repeater can take a brace of birds and use the third shot to finish a winged one before it hits the ground
        Double guns are more acceptable in some regions and circles but actually have a higher rate of fire, both for second shots and sustained fire, though. A double barrelled gun with separate triggers can have a different loading and/or a different choke in each barrel, and the most appropriate for the target used. Many brush shooters favour an open pattern for the first shot but a denser one for the second to punch through the foliage. A sidelock action that has an independent striker mechanism for each barrel has attractions in terms of redundancy.
        The parameters given for rifles earlier are also a good guide for shotguns. Under 7lb and less than 40", provided this does not clash with any local laws about barrel lengths.
        Shotguns can also fire single projectiles usually referred to as slugs. You'll see lots of information on how hard these hit and what accurate groups they shoot. While slugs can be very effective against medium to large animals they do have a very curved trajectory so it is not usually practical to use them at more than 50-75yrds. A standard slug will fall 10" below line of sight at 100yds and 16" at 125yds. Saboted slugs perform somewhat better (6" at 125yds). Smoothbore guns with either ammo type are probably only good for 50yds, possibly 75yds. Guns with special rifled barrels may group tight enough to be used up to 125yds -though groups are big and penetration and trajectory drop off drastically beyond this. Hunting large game with shotguns is often required in built-up rural areas where the long range of a rifle bullet would be very dangerous. Downside of the rifled barrel is they are very ineffective with shotloads. In the UK using slug ammo in a shotgun requires the user to have a permit for rifled arms.
Shotgun Ballistics

Combination guns.
        Looking rather like the shotgun is the Drilling or Combination gun. The most common is a rifle and a shotgun barrel or two shotgun barrels and a rifle barrel. If you consider a one shot weapon as suitable for survival, then a combination gun seems attractive. Unfortunately many of them are expensive custom weapons. Most of these combine a single shotgun barrel with a rifle barrel. These have never really caught on with hunters in the States, due to separate seasons for different types of game. They're popular in Continental Europe where there is more medium game than in the UK. Some have two large bore shotbarrels with a barrel for a high power rifle round, and there is even a version that is a side by side shotgun with a rimfire barrel above and a centrefire below. Only problem is that these guns cost about the same as a luxury car. A good design would be an Over/Under shotgun with adjustable chokes and muzzle brakes with a 308 on one side and a 22 barrel on the other. By changing the chamber the 22 could fire 22 short, 22 long, 22 long rifle, 22 magnum and 223. Combat order would be to use the shot barrels backed by a 223 and a 308. Such a four barreled weapon is called a "Veirling" and sadly the model I've described does not exist, just one of my flights of fancy.
        There have also been combination repeater weapons, usually mating a 223 with a shotgun and/or a 22. A gun called the Crossfire 88P was manufactured as a 12guage/308 pump action with both barrels fed by box mags. Other variants have a .223 barrel or a tube mag for the shotshells. How this handles for hunting I don't know. Weight is 8.6lb -which is not bad considering this is two guns. I've also seen a 1900s Mauser action magazine rifle with an underbarrel sidelock shotgun.
         There have also been attempts to mount rifles and shotguns together like an M203 grenade launcher and some have even gone further and mounted a 22 pistol on the foregrip of the shotgun. I think a single weapon with versatile ammunition is a better option. All of these guns exceed our weight limit though it's worth noting that a proportion of a gun's weight is just there to absorb the recoil - with a combination you don't need this, since the weight of the other gun will do this and visa versa.
        Two models of combination gun spring to mind that might be suitable as survival guns, being both light enough and of a reasonable price.
        The most well known is Springfield armoury's M6 aircrew survival gun. This weighs about 4lb and has a single shot 22 LR or 22 Hornet barrel over a 410 shotbarrel. The 22 Hornet is a centrefire small game round more potent than a 22 Magnum. The 410 is usually used with a tight choke and a charge of buckshot. Pattern is a lot tighter than with a bigger bore shotgun and effective range with shot is about 25yrds. When compared to larger bore shotguns, I've heard the 410 called an expert's gun, which doesn't sound like much of a recommendation for something you'll have to use when tired and hungry. On the other hand, a 410 still has a better chance at hitting a target at close range than a rifle. With a slug load the 410 is about equivalent to a 38spl.
        The other is made by Savage and has a 20 bore with a rifle barrel. The rifle barrel is often a rimfire, but versions are now available in 223 or 30-30. Nothing in the 308 power range to my knowledge. Some versions of these guns may serve as takedowns.
        Many break open shotguns can be folded into a compact package or broken into two sections, but the most commonly used as takedowns are single barrelled guns -so called "snake guns".
        Another gun with potential as a takedown is the Thompson Centre Contender carbine, a long barrelled stocked variant of the Contender pistol. The frame won't handle full power rifle rounds, but could be useful in 223 or 30-30. Barrels in other calibres such as 7.62 x 39mm or 45-70 are available from companies such as Bullberry, though TC warn that some 7.62 x39mm ammo may be too powerful for the weapon. Thompson Centre also make a rifle called the Encore that can handle full power rifle rounds -but this weighs in at 7lb -the package might be lighter with a shorter barrel.
        Many folding stocked weapons may be compact enough to be takedowns. An AR15/M16 is a pretty light weapon to start with, but can be lightened further by removing bits such as the bayonet lug, bolt hold open, ejector port cover and flashinder. Even if not the telescopic stocked variant, a 16" barrelled version can be disassembled into two compact parts, the forward one mounting both the sights.

        Many hunters, particularly in the States, successfully hunt various game using a handgun. However, no matter how skilful you are with such a weapon I'd advise you to use a longarm whenever possible if the consequence of failure is starvation. Even if using the same ammo, a round has more power if shot from a carbine than a handgun. More importantly, a longarm is easier to shoot accurately, so there is a better chance of putting the round where you want it.
        If you are not on a hunting trip then a take-down longarm such as the BA-22. M-6 or AR-7 will fit in a small pack and can be assembled and slung at the ready if needed. These will prove a far better hunting weapon than any pistol.
        Handguns are needed (if legal) since you can't or won't carry a longarm all the time. A pistol has the advantage that it can be worn at all times so it is always ready, be it for self defence or for a target of opportunity. If the longarm is lost or malfunctions, your pistol may become your primary hunting and defensive weapon.
        Such a gun should be a repeater (whether automatic or revolver matters not) so follow up shots can be made.
        It should be quick to bring to action, which rules out very long weapons or single action revolvers ( which can be fired very fast but this usually requires two hands). If a single action auto is used it must be capable of being safely carried chamber loaded and the safety should be easy to disengage or the hammer easy to thumb cock.
        The gun should be as powerful as you can handle whilst maintaining reasonable accuracy and rate of fire. Personal preference will have an influence, as will availability, and maybe even ammunition weight- I've seen 9mm recommended over .45 because of the lighter weight (a round of .45 weighs 76% more than a 9mm). On the other hand the .45 penetrates to a similar depth as a 9mm but makes a much wider wound channel.
        Like the survival rifle, the survival handgun must meet both defensive and food procurement needs. What handgun you select will depend on the balance between the two and the perceived likely threats.

Blackpowder guns
        Blackpowder weapons have some attractions, since in the US there are not classed as firearms so require less red tape to own. The main drawback is the slowness of reloading, and vunerability to damp. If using a BP weapon as a survival arm (as opposed to shooting for re-enactment) stack the odds in your favour as much as possible. Select for modern sights and materials such as low corrosion barrels. Thompson Centre seem to be a good source for "modern" blackpowder weapons.

        Airguns were once a serious rival to contemporary firearms and were used for both hunting dangerous game and warfare. Modern weapons are strictly small game getters and range is usually under 150ft. Most have a muzzle energy of 12 ft-lbs or less, since this does not require an FAC in most of the UK (Northern Ireland being an exception). Calibre is usually either .22 or .177. Fans of the 22 like to claim that it has greater stopping power, though with such small initial power levels the effect is probably negligible. .177s have a higher velocity, and shoot flatter with more penetration. This means a better chance of putting the pellet where you want it and it doing the job.
        Modern airguns have a lot of extraneous weight. 8 lb rifles are not uncommon. A lot of material can be lost from the woodwork. I've seen a nice example with the stock skeletonised and I've also seen folding SMG stocks fitted. Mainly for aesthetic reasons, barrels are much longer than needed. The pellet of a legal power weapon reaches its maximum velocity within 8" of the breech. Anything above this just causes friction. However, make sure that the extra leverage isn't needed to cock the weapon before you start cutting down barrels.
        British pneumo-nimrods often use simple silencers to muffle the muzzle crack of the weapon, but these have their ownership restricted in the US and require a special (expensive) permit.
        A good use for an airgun is as a training aid. Remove any sights and learn to shoot by looking along the top of the barrel. You'll have to learn to be consistent in how you hold the weapon. This will improve your snap shooting abilities with both shotguns and rifles.
        Ticket weapons (those on a FAC) have a higher velocity and range but are still small game weapons. These may need longer barrels -I've seen little technical writing on these weapons. Some models have a muzzle velocity around the speed of sound (trans-sonic) others project a pellet much faster (supersonic). Pellets fired trans-sonically are often subject to turbulence. For such weapons the heavier .22 pellet maybe more accurate.
        Theoretically, a supersonic 22 should carry further than a supersonic .177, but I've seen no evidence that this offers a improved performance in practice. My feeling is if selecting a ticket weapon, use a .177 and avoid weapons with a trans-sonic velocity range.
        Airguns can be great fun, but for numerous reasons a Catapult is a better hunting option.

By the Author of the Scrapboard :

Attack, Avoid, Survive: Essential Principles of Self Defence

Available in Handy A5 and US Trade Formats.

Crash Combat Second Edition with additional content.
Epub edition Second Edition with additional content.

Crash Combat Third Edition
Epub edition Third Edition.
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