I had posted this on another forum and it generated some interesting replies. Based upon that, I thought I post it here as well...
My reasons for this post on survival rifles are twofold. First, any weapon is better than no weapon at all so, in a survival situation, a .22 rifle with you beats that .30-06 that is in the gun cabinet at home. I would however back it up with a good stout stick. Second, I feel it is an oft-overlooked subject and one that is worth addressing especially if you live in or foray out into the “boonies” frequently.
The category of which I refer is not the “Armageddon has arrived and it’s every man for himself” type of survival rifle. It is the canoe/camping trip, go everywhere, camp-meat-getter and signaling tool, the “boy, I’m glad I had that little .22 in my truck” type of survival rifle.
I have always liked, but for some reason have never owned, a “survival” rifle. You know how that is, some other firearm always seems to take precedents. In any case, the love affair with this category of guns probably started when, as a youth, I saw and shot the Charter Arms AR-7. It was just slick and, incidentally, I shot well with it and have liked AR-7s ever since.
Currently manufactured as the U.S. Survival .22 by Henry Repeating Arms, the little rifle still has appeal for its intended purpose. I would certainly hope that Henry has finally solved the jamming issues that have plagued this weapon for years. This was another reason for my non-purchase.
This “new and improved” version, as Henry calls it, is perfect for the job. It weighs just 2.5 pounds and, along with two 8-round magazines, all fits into the 16-inch long stock and it floats.
Another rifle in this category is the Marlin M70PSS Papoose. To my knowledge, it is a takedown variant of the M795SS with a 7-shot box magazine. From what I have been told by owners of both these rifles, the edge goes to the Marlin due solely to reliability.
The rifle stores in a separate carrying case and weighs a trifle more than 3 pounds. For the average user this is handy and the entire weapon is protected. I know I love my old M60 so I am sure this would be just as good albeit a much handier package to keep in the trunk.
The only other weapon that fits this category (that comes to my mind) is actually a combo-gun, the Springfield M6 Scout. Like the AR-7 this was developed for the Air Force and was originally chambered in .22 Hornet/.410 Gauge I believe. The civilian versions were modified a bit and came in .22LR/.410.
This weapon was unique in that it folds in half, has a hand-squeeze type trigger (good thinking for frozen or injured hands), and stores spare ammo in the stock via a hinged door. It is also not very attractive though it was never intended as a showpiece.
That is about the lump sum of my knowledge on the subject of survival rifles. I would appreciate input from you all, as I know I cannot be the only one who likes these specialty tools and I am certainly not an expert on them.