Hunting Rifles


Both standard and custom hunting rifles can make good supplements to the survival arsenal. Conventional hunting rifles can be used for survival hunting and can be used for other purposes in situations where para-military firearms might attract unwanted attention. Standard hunting rifles also tend to be more plentiful and cheaper than para-military rifles, making them a good choice for low security situations where theft may be a major concern. An old .30-30 Marlin in the back window of the pickup can be used for the quick taking of a deer or elk and is not at as much risk of theft as a $1,500.00 AR-15. Standard hunting rifles can also be purchased in calibers that are specifically matched to certain kinds of game. An example would be .270 Win for large deer or .25-06 for wild sheep. Larger calibers may be suited for moose and feral cattle.  These kinds of rifles are in widespread distribution and are easily available in almost all price ranges.  By using a hunting rifle for hunting trips outside of the retreat, the survivalist can ensure that the fighting rifles stay well maintained and ready to defend the retreat when he or she returns. If laws pertaining to para-military rifles become more restrictive and there is a stable government capable of enforcing those laws, then wise survivalists may opt to cache their para-military rifles and use their hunting rifles in all but scenario three or higher situations.

For the survivor, I would say stick to the basics for a hunting rifle.  Get a decent one that will get the job done and take the recommendations of local hunters.   Hunting rifles can come in almost any caliber, with many hunting rifles capable of using the same ammo as assault rifles.   This may or may not be a good idea since there can be restrictions on the legal availability of they types and calibers of ammo used in assault rifles.   

One of the most versatile low firepower hunting rifles on the market is the humble New England Firearms single shot rifle.  They can be found at bargain basement prices in one form or another at discount stores throughout the US. The base price for a typical NEF rifle is under $200 and they commonly deliver accuracy on a par with rifles costing five times as much.   What is even better is that changing calibers is ridiculously easy once you obtain a collection of the very reasonably priced spare barrels.   The current catalog lists barrels from a dirt cheap $35 to a still very reasonable $95.  The most desirable model to base your collection happens to be one of the least popular.  Denigrated as a "sheep in wolf's clothing" or "wannabe assault break action" the survivor model boasts some very desirable features.  It comes from the factory as a takedown rifle that can be broken down and reassembled in as little as ten seconds.  The cheapest take down conversions on common bolt action rifles start at around $350.  Since the scope is attached directly to the barrel via off the shelf mounts, there is no reason for the zero to shift once the scope is secured to the barrel as it can stay attached to the barrel for the life of the barrel regardless of any assembly or disassembly.   What is even better is that the survivor model comes in the buyer's choice of .308 or .223.  I recommend getting the .308 model since the spare .223 barrel is easier to get if you want it.   The only quirks about the guns are that you have to send the action in to the factory to get spare barrels fitted and the rifle receivers are not to be used with the shotgun barrels of the same design.   That means if you want both a rifle and a shotgun in the same kit, you need to buy the rifle and then get the spare shotgun barrels fitted, but they will not fit or warranty rifle barrels on a shotgun receiver although the are nearly identical.   Apparently it has something to do with better heat treat on the rifle receivers.   

While these guns are in no way meant to replace a good assault rifle, they are very good for their intended purpose: versatile survival hunting guns.  In fact, a collection of two receivers and a half dozen barrels would mean you can probably use any commonly available hunting ammunition that you can get a hold of and the entire package would cost well under $1,000 including reasonably decent scopes on several of the rifle barrels.   As a portable package, the full length .308 heavy barrel rifle is lighter and breaks down smaller than a CAR-15 as shown here.  A wide selection of specialty cartridges including match grade boat tail ammo makes it a viable sniper rifle for several scenarios but the low rate of fire gives new meaning to "one shot one kill".   It is easy to break the gun down for carry in a backpack.  Cutting the barrel down to the minimum legal 16" would make the package compact enough to fit in a large but narrow briefcase.   The stock is made by the same company (Choate) that makes the Ultimate Sniper stock designed by Maj John Plaster and it shows his design influence in the grip and butt pad areas.  I am not a big fan of it's blocky look, but it handles very well.  

Commercial hunting rifles usually attract less negative attention from the law, but there are exceptions to this.  Generally, they are legal to own in most urban areas (cities and towns) and law enforcers do not see them as a significant social threat, thus if they know you to own one, you are more likely to be viewed as simply a sportsman than a dangerous person.   On the other hand, many rural game wardens, sheriffs and park rangers will commonly assume that if you have a hunting type rifle out in the woods, you are hunting.  That being done without proper hunting permits is a crime they see fit to enforce.  Blasting bottles may be something they hate to see, but it is usually legal.    Thus if you are in a forest with an assault rifle shooting on an improvised range, it is fairly obvious that you are not out poaching game.   If you are seen stalking around with the hunting rifle, that is evidence enough that you are poaching.  

I was rousted once by a game warden while camping in my truck overnight in a state forest since he assumed that I was getting an (illegal) early start on hunting season.  I was traveling to a craft fair and was simply too cheapskate to rent a motel room.  The regular campgrounds were full so I just set up out in the woods.  He did not like my explanation for being there one bit.  Things went downhill when it was discovered that I had a few guns in the truck.  I had a riot shotgun and a handgun, but no "deer rifle."  Had I been in possession of a deer rifle, he would have at least cited me, but probably put me in jail.

While I would like to say that most gun owning types are on the same side in this issue, the sad reality is that they are not.  Certain hunter types don't take kindly at all to folks out there who have hunting rifles out of the closet during hunting season without tags.   They make no qualms about reporting someone they imagine might be poaching.  On the other hand, they are usually not stupid enough to make trouble for someone who is toting around an assault rifle at the campground. 

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