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Is This The Most Overrated ‘Prepper Gun’ On the Market?

Is This The Most Overrated ‘Prepper Gun’ On the Market?

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One of the more interesting firearms used by the U.S. military was the M6 Aircrew Survival Weapon. This was a superposed 22 Hornet rifle barrel over a .410 shotgun barrel that was usually stored in collapsed form in a tool bag aboard airplanes, particularly long-range bombers that flew over the Arctic. Spare ammunition was stored in the butt stock.

The point of these firearms was to give a downed aircrew a fighting chance at survival until they reached safety or were rescued. Based on its design, it sounds almost like the perfect survival rifle to store in a vehicle, boat, aircraft or backpack.

Instead of a typical firearm trigger, the shooter has a large trigger bar to depress in order to fire the M6 Scout. This design shows the lineage from the Cold War because it was made so the shooter could fire the M6 while wearing extreme cold weather mittens.

It is definitely interesting, but it has a few quirks.

A civilian version was offered by Springfield Armory called the M6 Scout. The rifles were actually built by CZ and came in two caliber choices: 22 Hornet over .410 shotgun or 22 long rifle over .410 shotgun. Parkerized and stainless steel versions also were available.

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“Civilian version” is a key term, as the M6 Scout had 18-inch barrels in order to comply with the National Firearms Act that prohibits smoothbore barrels shorter than that, without paying for a tax stamp. For safety reasons, a “trigger guard” was added over the trigger bar.

Small Hands Needed

Is This The Most Overrated ‘Prepper Gun’ On the Market?

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In order to fire it as it shipped from Springfield Armory, you need to have tiny hands. The trigger guard also keeps the M6 from compactly folding in half. I just remove the trigger guard to make life simpler.

With the trigger guard out of the picture, the shooter needs to cock the hammer like a single-action revolver and can choose which barrel to fire by pulling the hammer up to fire the top barrel or pushing it down to fire the shotgun barrel.

The sights are crude, but scope mounts are available to aid in accuracy. Yet the weakest link is that trigger bar. It is almost never consistent, besides being heavy and awkward.

There is no forend on the M6. Some shooters wrap the lower barrel in paracord to aid in shooting and to give a ready supply of paracord should they need some. I leave mine the way it is, but do run a sling made from paracord.

This is another area where the ball was dropped. There is a front swivel of sorts: a hole in the barrel band that can accept a European swivel. Smaller Euro swivels can be ordered for more money than a custom sling may cost; I drilled mine out to take a standard U.S. swivel. For the rear swivel I removed a stock screw and installed an M1 Garand stock swivel using the existing stock screw to keep it in place.

Accuracy is not the best with these, but if you get used to that trigger bar, you can use the M6 on small game. If space allows it and you can find the mount, a small red dot sight might come in handy, as well.

They may be one of the most overrated prepper guns on the market. One of the modern Savage or Chiappa superposed rifle/shotgun combinations will work better in this regard — such as a 223 or 22 Magnum over a 20 Gauge.

As a collector’s piece they are interesting and they certainly fit a minimalist role as a take-down rifle, but I think there are better survival rifles for real-world purposes out there that offer improved accuracy, better take-down power on small game as well as higher capacity.

Have you ever shot an M6? Do you think it is overrated? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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  1. Over rated – agreed. Especially for the price now expected, often north of $400. Thats just crazy ! What is not over rated are the choices of chambered rounds.

    .22 rimfire is very useful for small game harvesting. If larger game, dangerous game or man defense is needed, than the Hornet makes more sense. The .410 is not for ‘sport shooting (i.e. running or flying game) but when ‘pot shots’ (fired at perched / sitting animals), the small round makes much more sense. The smaller shot load damages less meat and allows more ammunition to be carried.

    Much better than nothing though, and I think that was the reason why it was developed. A Savage 24 combination is easier to shoot as you said. One comment about barrel wrapping – several report that too tight a constriction can bend the barrels to affect accuracy. Check your points of impact before calling it good.

    Thanks for the article.

  2. I would recommend the Kel-Tec folding rifles in .223, 40 cal, and 9mm. They can use the same magazines of your handguns, and provide rifle capability, in a very compactable unit.

  3. Having any survival rifle or pistol is a great idea, i have air rifles and going to buy an affordable Crosman1377 or the 1322, they’re light weight pistols, affordable and cost $49-$69. They use .177 or .22 pellets, they can be modified to shoot more FPS and used for small game.

  4. Both guns remind me of what a gunsmith competition TV show(like Forged in Fire) might require of the contestants to build. The gun must fold or breakdown and it must function with polar gloves and it must float. I owned an AR7 for a while but it really didn’t offer any real advantage over the other inexpensive but accurate, reliable 22LR I had. I would take my Ruger MK512 over any “survival” rifle any day.

  5. A 10/22 with a Ramline folding stock makes a nice compact package.

  6. I own and use an M6 Scout (actual Springfield made) in 22LR/.410, an AR7 and 2 Savage 24’s one in 22LR/20 and one 22Mag/20. The one that runs the trap line with me and rides the 4 wheeler with me is the M6. It is more reliable than the AR7 and can pack more punch if needed, the trigger is fine once you learn to use it (1″ groups at 100 yds is not hard) a lot lighter and more convenient to carry than the 24’s. I have neuro damage in one hand so being able to use it with mittens is a huge advantage for me. Now for actual hunting the 24’s are usually my go to guns for anything smaller than deer. They all have their place but you can’t beat an M6 for a small handy versital package.

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