Air Rifles: Giving You An Edge In Survival

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Editors Note: An article from Douglas Keister to The Prepper Journal. As always, if you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and be entered into the Prepper Writing Contest with a chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards with the top prize being a $300 card to purchase your own prepping supplies!

When looking at survival in the great outdoors, you may want to consider investing in an air rifle. Why? They offer a lot of advantages over traditional weapons, here are a few of those:

Permits: In most areas air rifles do not require permits, making them easier to come by. You can cut out all the paperwork and waiting periods applicable when purchasing a regular firearm.

Easy to shoot: Air rifles are easy to point and shoot, making it the ideal choice for beginners and also for the smaller in stature. After all, they excel at obtaining small game closer in without the tell-tale giveaway of position due to sound.

They are inexpensive: This is a huge advantage which will allow you to go and get more gun for your money. While this doesn’t speak to a physical advantage, per say, it certainly does speak to a fiscal advantage.  An entry level air rifle won’t cost more than about $150-$300, though there are models in the $800 and up range.

Let’s face it, the financial savings are a huge perk. Ammunition is easily available and is far more affordable than standard ammunition. This allows you to purchase plenty of stock at a time, allowing you to stay prepared at all times.

Easy to carry: The air rifle is lightweight, making it easy to carry while you hunt. You can move around freely and easily, unhindered by a heavy firearm and loads of very heavy ammunition. The air rifle’s ammunition is compact and lightweight too, making it possible for you to carry far more on you, without slowing you down. This will allow you to stay out for longer periods, giving you more time to do what you set out to do. The weight of standard ammunition is also very light, and a big plus when you’re headed out on foot.

Stealth: Air rifles are very quiet and as such, offer a huge advantage over regular weapons. There is no explosion at all, because they work on compressed air. Even when your ammunition hits its target, the sound is far quieter than that of a regular bullet. You would be able to shoot your catch, without the sound of it chasing away everything else in the vicinity and giving away your presence to a much larger area. This is also an advantage for target practice, as you may be able to practice without disturbing your neighbors, and without having to don ear muffs and head off to the shooting range. Even a .22 air rifle will take down small to mid-size targets, with a well-placed shot.

Minimal maintenance: Unlike a standard firearm, cleaning and maintenance is easy, requiring minimal time and fuss. A standard firearm must be dismantled, oiled and cleaned regularly, meaning it’s out of commission throughout the cleaning and oiling process. An air rifle, because it uses only compressed air, and does not involve any type of explosion or powder, requires only a few dabs of oil on a pad, run through its barrel every 500 to 1,000 shots. This means it’s ready for use again in a few short moments. They are hardy and last for many years when kept well lubricated.

High Velocity: The high velocity of even the smallest .22 air rifle will allow you to take down small to medium animals, such as rabbits and squirrels, or even small deer, for your survival.

Sustainability: Air rifles offer the advantage of being highly sustainable because they don’t need any CO2 canisters, gun powder, filling tanks or compressors. A single pump of your break barrel air rifle will ensure a consistent velocity every time. If you want to look at more advanced weapons, you could also look at the multi-pump pellet rifle which allows more than one shot at a time. You would pump the handle several times, building up enough pressure to pull off several shots. This is a huge advantage when out in the elements, especially if you find yourself in confined spaces, such as thick undergrowth.  However it is important to remember that the single shot is more accurate than its multi-pump counterpart.

Accuracy: Lacking the hefty kick of a regular firearm, Air rifles are great for beginners too. They allow you to aim and fire, without the margin for error brought about by the kick. If you’re new to shooting, you could start off with the lower caliber air rifles to improve your accuracy. The air rifle will offer you a safe, quiet way to improve your accuracy. You can practice safely in your own backyard until you feel ready to try going out to try one in a survival mode. A good option to start with is a .22 air rifle, whose ammunition is well priced, so you can afford to buy plenty while you perfect your shot. Once your skills improve, you can move onto heavier caliber weapons. To improve your accuracy further, you can add a sight, which allows you to line up your shot with greater finesse.

Reliability: The simplicity of its mechanism and the absence of advanced mechanical parts, makes the air rifle a reliable weapon that is guaranteed to fire the first time, every time, provided you have ensured there is air in the chamber. Since airguns have been around since the 1700’s, we can rest assured they are tried and trusted to be reliable and sturdy. They have proven themselves to be invaluable over the centuries. The Lewis and Clark Expedition used a Girandoni air rifle in the demonstrations that they performed for nearly every Native American tribe they encountered on the expedition!

Images from the 3-Position National Air Rifle Championship. These rifles might exceed that $150 – $300 range spoken of earlier.

They’re great fun too! Very importantly, air rifles offer hours of fun too. You can make your own targets and have contests with your friends, while still ensuring that you hone the skills needed to look after yourself in any situation.

When purchasing a hunting air rifle, there are plenty of options to choose from. Spend some time holding, aiming and checking the balance of an air rifle as you would any caliber weapon. With all the various types, calibers and sizes, take the time to find your perfect fit. Once you have found it, you will find it the perfect addition to your bugout bag.

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16 Comments on "Air Rifles: Giving You An Edge In Survival"

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R. Ann
Guest
? “If you want to look at more advanced weapons, you could also look at the multi-pump pellet rifle which allows more than one shot at a time. You would pump the handle several times, building up enough pressure to pull off several shots. … However it is important to remember that the single shot is more accurate than its multi-pump counterpart.” > Not aware of any manufacturer making a multi-pump that lets you shoot more than once before re-pumping. There’s several like the Gamo Swarm that have a multi-shot mag, but you pump in between. There’s PCP’s where you… Read more »
John
Guest

An air rifle is suitable for “small deer”? A 10 to 15 grain pellet traveling less than 1000 fps?

A pellet in the butt of a javelina (desert pig) barely gets their attention.

Anthony Kindla
Guest

A small deer you’ve got to be misguided buddy!

R. Ann
Guest

With velocity of even the smallest .22 air rifle, with just “point and shoot” aiming (way further at the top), from an airgun you’re never going to dab oil on the O ring.

There were a lot of those.
The up-caliber thing will always make me crazy, too, but that comes up often enough I understand it’s just me. : )
Cheers! -RA

BobW
Guest
I do like the idea, but have some concerns with usage of air guns IRT being prepared. 1. I see this as a fantastic way to teach the “I’m afraid of guns” crowd how to shoot. Virtually no kick, no boom, no ‘gunny’ stuff. 2. Getting a meal AFTER doesn’t preclude running into someone who wants that rabbit more, and has a real gun. 3. Please don’t tell people they can take a deer with a pellet gun. I imagine with the perfect shot it could happen, but with standard ‘deer fever’ setting in, perfect ‘eyeball’ shots with a pellet… Read more »
R. Ann
Guest
My first submission to TPJ was actually an air rifle primer, and it addresses some of your comments. There’s a lot of problems with this article, which I hate to see BECAUSE airguns have so much potential. However, they are not a medium-large game taker, and they are not self-defense guns. They are hunters, like a crossbow and muzzleloader and compound bow, and some few have value for prac ap training and beginner training. Weight, simplicity, ammo size, and the fact that some types capable of achieving rabbit and groundhog kills at some distance make less noise than a primer-only… Read more »
Wild Bill
Admin

The Prepper Journal, as always, gives voice to some differing opinion. Thank you for at least making the case as opposed to just throwing rocks. Personally I would only use an air rifle for small varmints, but I am reminded of Bella Twin and the world record grizzly bear that she shot in 1953 with a single shot .22 rifle. Never would I try this or put any faith in someone who suggested it but, it did happen. Be safe out there.

R. Ann
Guest
Hey, bossman, just throwing it out there: My problem with the article isn’t the opinion. I’m good with not agreeing – debate that causes assessment strengthens all parties, whether or not a single mind ever budges. It’s not even a terminology thing. It’s not something like seeing dandelion suggested as a late-summer edible without the caveat of “better early-early-early and really only survival food later”. It’s not the “poachers take with .22LR all the time” or the “I’ve taken deer with .223” back and forth. Even granting that wherever they live, .22 and higher caliber pellets are as equally available… Read more »
Scott
Guest

Anyone who attempts to shoot a deer (of any size) with an air rifle should be beaten with a big stick! Even the most expensive air rifles on the market do not have that capability, but there are those who will argue that point. Stick to squirrels and rabbits!

R. Ann
Guest

There are actually .30, .357, .45 and .50-cal airguns with 1100-1200+ up to 1300-1400+ velocities specifically for big game – deer, hogs, water buffalo.
They cost as much as a small used vehicle or NYC/DC/LA/San Fran house payment, but they ARE out there.
I can’t imagine they get many shots off a charge, or how much hand-foot pumping it would take to fill their tanks, but they’re out there.

Cheers! – RA

R. Ann
Guest

*!
I pushed the button and then considered that I do not roam in the world of big bore airguns much, because it defeats quietly and inexpensively putting meat on my plate and the dog food shelf.
It’s possible there is some non-PCP variant of the calibers and velocities that take big game, and I should not have implied that all of them would have a PCP tank to charge without researching it.

Cheers – RA

Heartless
Guest
A couple of years ago, I purchased a Remington Express XP Tactical Spring Piston Air Rifle, .177 Caliber, 19″ Barrel, 3-9x32mm Scope combo. It has a muzzle velocity of apx. 1150-1300 fps. Comparable to sometimes greater than a .22 standard round. For plinking and small game, it is more than adequate. I’m sure there are detractors; however, I found the rifle to be quite accurate straight out of the box, well made for the price of around $125… actually surprisingly so. Beautiful stock, good bluing, good features such as checkering of foregrip and pistol grip portions of the wood stock,… Read more »
abinico warez
Guest

Air rifle will not take down a deer, not even a small one – that’s nonsense.

Wild Bill
Admin

THAT explains why Lewis and Clark took them on their expedition! It was referenced in the article. Appreciate your comment but if I am starving and out hunting rabbits or squirrels with a an air gun and a small dear pops up I am taking the shot.

John
Guest

That air rifle was somewhere in the range of .45 to .50 caliber. Not to say that no suitable caliber air rifles are available these days, but when one hears “air rifle”, one tends to think .177 or .22, with a pellet weight of 10 to 20 grains, which would probably not reliably take down a deer.

An air rifle which would reliably take deer would probably be too much for rabbits or squirrels.

Matthew J Van Camp
Guest

I’ve shot a 30 caliber air rifle that attained 800 fps that might kill a deer up close with a well-placed shot.