man with survival rifle

7 Best Survival Rifles

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A survival firearm is something that you can rely on in situations where stuff-hits-the-fan (SHTF). It could be intruders or disasters, either way, a rifle can be the ultimate weapon. If I’m in a tight spot, I’d take a rifle any day over a handgun or shotgun. Why? Because a rifle can be used to hunt small or medium-sized game. It can also protect you from the larger animals, including those on two legs. Regardless of the situation, a survival rifle is always an ideal weapon for hunting and defending yourself and your family.

We’ll cover:

  • Ruger 10/22 .22 LR Takedown: Semiautomatic, the most popular rimfire rifle
  • Remington Model 700: Bolt-action, accurate for long-range
  • Henry U.S. Survival AR-7 Rifle: Semiauto, Blowback-operated
  • Chiappa Little Badger: Folding break-action, great for hunting small game
  • Savage Model 42 Takedown Compact: Break-action, lightweight (2.9 pounds)
  • TNW Aero Survival Rifle: Semiauto, famous for its removable barrel
  • Kel-Tec Sub 2000: Semiauto, Blowback-operated, can be used with 9mm ammo

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Best Survival Rifle
(Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels)

What to Look for in a Survival Rifle

Some of the most important features to look for in a survival rifle are:

  • Reliable and accurate: It must be built durable, tough, and able to resist temperature changes. A good survival rifle should be accurate. Most come apart for easy carry, and therefore pay attention to how accurate they are after reassembly.
  • Lightweight and compact: Firearms can be heavy. You need to save weight to carry food, water, and ammunition. And the less weight and volume you have to carry the easier your life will be. So, make sure your survival rifle is lightweight and easy to stow.

Choosing a survival rifle can be overwhelming because of the array of similar-style guns in the market. I’ve handled quite a few guns and found the task daunting as well. But in the end, we managed to make a list of the best makes and models that check the boxes for the best survival rifle. Let’s begin with some of their basic specs:

RifleActionWeightCaliberCapacityMSRP
Ruger 10/22 .22 LR TakedownSemiautomatic4.6 pounds.22 LR10-, 15-, 25- rounds$439-$629
Remington Model 700Bolt-action9 pounds.17 Fireball to .458 Winchester3 + 1 rounds$750-$760
Henry U.S. Survival AR-7 RifleSemiauto, Blowback-operated3.5 pounds.22 LR8 + 1 rounds$300
Chiappa Little BadgerFolding break-action2.9 pounds.22LR, .17HMR, .22 Magnum1 round$243
Savage Model 42 Takedown CompactBreak-action4.65 pounds .22 (Top barrel), .410 (Bottom barrel)1 round$430
TNW Aero Survival Rifle Semiautomatic5.5 pounds.22 Magnum, .17 HMR, .22 LR, 9mm, .357 SIG, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, 10mm, .460 RowlandVaries (uses Glock-pattern magazines)
$800
Kel-Tec Sub 2000Semiauto, Blowback-operated4.25 pounds9mm, .40 S&W
Up to 50 rounds$600

Ruger 10/22 .22 LR Takedown

Specs

Length16.12 inches to 18.5 inches
Weight4.6 pounds
Caliber.22 LR
Rounds10, 15, and 25
MSRP$460-$650

First up is the most popular rimfire rifle, the Ruger 10/22 .22 LR Takedown. This one is a compact version of the original Ruger 10/22. It’s made of tough, durable stainless steel and has a rugged design. Additionally, it’s easy to disassemble and splice. You can also carry this compact rifle anywhere with you as it’s lightweight at 4.6 pounds. In addition, it comes with a carrying case. It has sturdy external and internal parts, with a Weaver-style magazine that can hold 10, 15, or even 25 rounds.

Although it’s compact, the Ruger Takedown doesn’t sacrifice performance. It’s a rifle that delivers great accuracy and stopping power. In general, the Ruger Takedown is a good rifle to have in your arsenal, especially with its impressive features. Moreover, the Ruger Takedown stands out when it comes to dependability, accuracy, price, and performance. There’s no doubt as to why folks call it the most quintessential survival rifle. It truly deserves its ranking as one of the best survival rifles. Lastly, it comes in 15 different variations and is available at a price range of $329 to $629.

Pros
  • Reliable and affordable
  • Great shooting power and accuracy
  • Minimal recoil
Cons
  • Great for short-range shooting only
  • The trigger doesn’t break smoothly

Remington Model 700

Specs

Length41.5 inches
Weight9 pounds
Caliber.17 Fireball to .458 Winchester
Capacity3 + 1
MSRP$750 - $760

If you’re a long-range shooter who needs a rifle with a high level of accuracy, then Remington’s got you.  Accuracy? Check. Reliability? Check. Economical? Check. Its great features, with no question, make it one of the best long-range rifles. The Remington Model 700 is the most accurate rifle made in the U.S. It also features a rapid lock time of 3.2 milliseconds. This 9-pound rifle sports a rugged design and it’s made of stainless steel that’s durable and built to last. In addition, it has lighter versions made of high-impact polymer frames and wood shoulder stock. Furthermore, it also has a magazine capacity of 3+1 and can fit .17 Fireball to .458 calibers.

I recommend using the Remington 700 if you’re an experienced shooter. So, head’s up to some beginners because shooting this rifle gives a punch on the shoulder. It has three steel rings: bold shroud, chamber, and receiver ring, which support the cartridge head. All of this delivers great power for hunting, which makes it great to use for large games. Remington Model 700 comes in nineteen variants. Expect to pay a price of $750 – $760.

Pros
  • Reliable and durable
  • Great power for large games
  • Exceptional accuracy especially for long-range shooting
  • Fast lock time
Cons
  • Not great for beginner-use
  • Recoil is quite punchy

Henry U.S. Survival AR-7 Rifle

Specs

Length35 inches
Weight3.5 pounds
Caliber.22 LR
Rounds8 + 1
MSRP$300

The Henry U.S. Survival rifle is a reliable firearm that was first used by the Air Force pilots in the early 1950s. It’s incredibly lightweight at 3.5 pounds. It’s also one of the best semi-auto hunting rifles that are great for hunting small game. You can easily disassemble and store all parts in the hollow stock. The stock is made of ABS plastic and is pretty durable. Moreover, it floats even fully loaded with the rest of the rifle parts! The stock is not really watertight. Fortunately, the rifle’s steel parts are Teflon-coated which provides corrosion resistance.

Moreover, it’s accurate, reliable, compact and it comes with two eight-round magazines. It also comes in three variants ― Black, True Timber Kanati Camo, and True Timber Viper Western Camo. You can own this arguably best survival rifle that floats for $300.

Pros
  • Great accuracy
  • Reliable survival rifle
  • Lightweight, compact, and it floats
Cons
  • Stock is long, making the rifle less ergonomic
  • The trigger is not smooth

Chiappa Little Badger

Specs

Length32 inches
Weight2.9 pounds
Rounds1
Calibers.22 LR, .17 HMR, .22 Magnum
MSRP$243

The Chiappa Little Badger is a break-open action, single-shot rifle. It consists of a small wire stick, a receiver, and a barrel. It’s also the simplest, lightest, and most affordable rifle on this list. Additionally, you can carry this 2.9-pound rifle anywhere. Fold it in half and stow it in a manageable size, and you’re ready to go. The Chiappa Little Badger comes in .22 LR and .22 WMR calibers. It also comes equipped with an M1 carbine-style front and rear sight. It’s highly customizable with its four Picatinny rails. In addition, you can add scopes and any other accessories you like. Furthermore, it’s uncomplicated to use and great for hunting game meat. Although it’s not a rapid-fire weapon, its compact features and high power make it viable as a survival weapon.

Pros
  • Simple design is easy to use
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Cheap price
Cons
  • One round per shot capacity only

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Savage Model 42 Takedown Compact

Specs

Length34.75 inches
Weight4.65 pounds
Caliber.22 (Top barrel), .410 (Bottom barrel)
Rounds1
MSRP$430

The Savage Model 42 Takedown is great for youngsters and small-framed folks. This break-action, hammer-fired rifle is accurate for medium-range shooting and has amazing accuracy. It’s a new version of the iconic Savage Model 24. The stock is made of polymer, which makes this gun lightweight at 4.65 pounds. Additionally, the Savage Model 42 Takedown has a crisp trigger and a rubber recoil pad. It also has an ergonomic foregrip with ambidextrous thumb grooves. You can easily disassemble it with one push of a button. Moreover, you can add any scope you like because its sights are removable. The upper barrel fires .22 LR rounds while the bottom barrel fires .410 shells. Furthermore, it comes with a bag for discreet and easy carry.

Pros
  • Great for beginners, youngsters, and small-framed shooters
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Can be disassembled easily by pushing a button for maintenance and cleaning
Cons
  • Can be quite noisy when shooting with it
  • Some parts are made of mediocre-quality plastic materials
  • Only one round capacity

TNW Aero Survival Rifle

Specs

Length33 inches
Weight5.5 pounds
Caliber22 Magnum, .17 HMR, .22 LR, 9mm, .357 SIG, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, 10mm, .460 Rowland
RoundsVaries (uses Glock-pattern magazines)
MSRP$800

Next on the list is the Aero Survival Rifle which is a 5.5-pound rifle famous for its removable barrel. Its best feature is that the barrel returns to established zero pretty easily. In other words, it will turn zero regardless of the numerous times you remove it. In addition, the barrels are threaded, allowing the use of suppressors. It also features an easily converting caliber which include .17 HMR, .22 Magnum, .22 LR, 9mm, .357 SIG, .40 S&W, 10mm, .45 ACP and .460 Rowland. It’s a blowback semiauto action rifle. Moreover, it performs well in self-defense scenarios. It is also good for small to large game hunting. And let’s not forget that it is very easy to stow.

This rifle is adaptable to both left- and right-side ejection, which is great for left-handed folks. It generally uses common Glock pattern magazines. The Aero Survival Rifle is also available in different models such as Aero Grey, Hard Black Anodize, Dark Earth, and OD Green. Lastly, the Aero Survival Rifle is arguably the best survival rifle with a carbine caliber that you can add to your collection at this price point.

Pros
  • Compact and reliable
  • Has easy to change barrels that turn zero after removing them
  • Easily convertible
  • Adaptable left and right side ejection
  • Threaded barrels for suppressor attachments
Cons
  • Not enough room in the trigger bow, which can be uncomfortable to those with large hands
  • Complicated to disassemble for maintenance and cleaning

Kel-Tec Sub 2000

Specs

Length30.5 inches
Weight4.25 pounds
Caliber 9mm and .40 S&W
RoundsUp to 50
MSRP$600

The Kel-Tec Sub 2000 is designed to be the most convenient 9mm caliber semi-auto rifle. Now, I know what you’re thinking ― using 9mms and .40 S&Ws isn’t for hunting. However, the Sub 2000s 16-inch long barrel can make any handgun rounds, such as 9mm or .40 S&W calibers, act savage. Like all the other rifles in this list, the Kel-Tec Sub 2000 is also foldable and can be packed with ease. Moreover, it’s incredibly lightweight at 4.25 pounds and can also be disassembled easily for cleaning. Although it has a little more recoil than some of the others, its blowback system makes it manageable to use. Additionally, this rifle comes in many different versions, including Glock 17, 19, 22, 23, Smith and Wesson M&P, Sig Sauer P226, Beretta 92 and 96, and Canid. To sum it up, the Kel-Tec Sub 2000 is a powerful medium-range gun.

Pros
  • Lightweight and compact
  • A powerful rifle that’s reliable
  • Affordable price
Cons
  • Gets hot quickly due to its polymer material
  • The trigger is not smooth

Conclusion

That’s it for the best survival rifles that you can find in the market. They are all reliable and accurate, as well as lightweight and compact. Pick one of these and you should be as happy with your weapon as I’ve been with my current survival rifle.

Most importantly, don’t forget to practice, practice, and practice some more! You’ll want to know how to get the most out of it the day you really need it.

Now, are you still not sure what caliber to choose? Check out our guide about Rifle Calibers [Ultimate Guide].

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  1. I’m all for a good rifle as a survival tool, and you explained the many benefits in your article, I’d certainly not discount the shotgun though. I actually believe I’d choose a 12 gauge over a rifle as a survival weapon. A shot gun is just so versatile. You can defend yourself and hunt as easy or better so with a 12 gauge. And as far as hunting, the shotgun allows for such a wide variety of game just by changing what type of round you load into it. I think you picked some great rifles in this list…another great article!

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