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The Super-Quiet Survival Rifle That Will Always Keep You Hidden

The Super-Quiet Survival Rifle That Will Keep You Hidden

Image source: varmintair.typepad.com

When contemplating the purchase of a hunting rifle for the purpose of wilderness survival, most hunters automatically think of the venerable .22 LR. They are relatively inexpensive, readily available and the ammunition is both cheap and easy to transport. However, they also are noisy to shoot and a bullet fired from a .22 LR can travel over a mile.

An excellent alternative to the .22 LR is a modern air rifle. They cost about the same and are quieter when fired. In fact, members of the Lewis & Clark expedition carried air rifles for hunting in hostile Native American territory for this very reason. Also, depending on the rifle and caliber chosen, they can be used to hunt both small and large game.

Before purchasing an air rifle it’s important to know they are available with four different types of power plants – spring pistons, gas pistons, pre-charged pneumatics and pumps. Air rifles with pre-charged pneumatic power plants are the most accurate of the four different types, but they also are the least suited for wilderness survival. That’s because they require the use of a pre-charged scuba tank (or similar reservoir) and a special regulator valve, or a special type of manual pump to charge the integral air reservoir.

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In addition, air rifles with pump-up power plants also are not the best for wilderness survival because they have a relatively low pellet velocity and as a result do not generate enough kinetic energy to humanely harvest even small game species. Both spring piston and gas piston power plants, on the other hand, are great choices. Neither type requires any sort of special equipment to charge their air reservoirs and both are capable of generating a significant amount of kinetic energy. Plus, they are plenty accurate for the purpose of hunting since precise accuracy is only required when participating in formal air gun competitions.

The Super-Quiet Survival Rifle That Will Always Keep You Hidden

Image source: airriflecenter.com

Modern air rifles also are available in a myriad of different calibers and it is important to choose the appropriate caliber for your needs. For instance, neither the .177 nor the .20 caliber models are capable of firing pellets that are heavy enough to be particularly useful for hunting. While .22 caliber are by far the most popular choice for air rifle hunting, air rifles also are available in .25, .357 (9mm), .45 and .50 caliber. By simply choosing the proper type of power plant combined with the appropriate caliber, a person could easily hunt most any game species that is available in their area – and supply themselves with enough protein to remain healthy in a wilderness survival situation.

Lastly, there is the matter of appropriate pellet type. For instance, .22 caliber pellets are available in weights as light as 9.8 grains and as heavy as 32.4 grains (440 grains equals one ounce). They also are available with flat noses, round noses, pointed noses, hollow point noses and ballistic tips. However, it should be noted that although lightweight pellets move faster than heavy pellets, they do not penetrate as deeply. Therefore, it is important to choose both pellet type and the pellet weight according to the type of game species you intend to hunt. For example, if you’re shooting small birds, lightweight pellets with hollow points work well. But, if you’re hunting squirrels and rabbits, somewhat heavier pellets with either round noses, pointed noses or ballistic tips are a far better choice. In addition, .357, .45, and .50 caliber pellets are all available in your choice of flat-nosed, round-nosed and hollow-point designs and they are an excellent choice for species such as wild turkeys, feral hogs and whitetail deer.

By purchasing a modern air rifle with the appropriate type of power plant and using the correct type of pellet, a hunter can easily get fresh meat and do so without the noisy blast of a .22 LR. An added bonus is that the lead pellets for an air rifle are significantly cheaper to purchase than a .22 LR’s metallic cartridges and also not as bulky to carry.

Have you used an air rifle for survival or hunting? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

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20 comments

  1. Well about airgun article I’ve yet to see a springer or a break barrel in .357 .45 .50 Cal .45 and .50 are to my knowledge on available in preparation charged so please don’t be confused as .357 be careful for smooth twist barrels as the accuracy isn’t quite there nor distance so by all means do research before you buy ANY of these airguns and get bias feed back there’s a great airgun magazine you can buy at borders or any bookstore with great info on this topic.

    To The Point Custom Airguns

    • Either you didn’t proof read your comment or you are illiterate. I think I am really interested in what you have to offer but I’ll never know because of your sloppy response. Sorry.

  2. Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of pump pneumatic rifles in 20 or 22 caliber. As a teenager, I used a Sheridan Blue Streak pump-up pneumatic rifle to hunt gray squirrels. At 10 pumps, the 20 caliber solid pellets would consistently hit and kill bushytails 50 to 75 feet up in an oak tree, without disturbing the neighbors in my suburban community. Those rifles are still available, and the rebuild kits to maintain them can be found on-line.

    • Weren’t Sheridan’s great air rifles back in the 70s? My dad paid $250 for a Sheridan for me in the mid 70s and back then that was big bucks. Super accurate and hard hitting for the times. Good memories

  3. I disagree about your comments on the choice of a .22 cal Air rifle. I use only springers as weather conditions have little effect on performance ( only wind).
    I use and own both .177 and .22 rifles and all weight pellets. in real world tests I fin penetration to be similar to that of a 9mm vs a .45 acp. The squirrels I have killed only the .177 has penetrated the hide and just very little.
    I find it perfect for Squirrel, rabbit and small fowl, like Quail, Pats and Doves or other small game one would use a .22rimfire on. In a survival situation you don’t want to destroy any precious meat, which often time happens with the .22, however, A well placed shot to the head of a human I would choose the .22 hands down (Temple, , ear or between or in the eye) .177 could only be used I think with a direct eye shot. Both of my .177s go all the way through 1″ boards I have had trouble stopping them.
    I use only 1200 F.P.S. Spring power, but, they are almost as loud as a .22 rim fire.

  4. So we see and read this article BUT there are no recommendations of any kind, other than to say heavy caliber will take down larger animals.. Would have been a good article with some recommendations but until I do see some recommendations I will stick with my 22.

  5. I was told any air rifle can be powered up by a drop of diesel on the back of the pellet. The compressed air explodes the diesel and will at times break the speed of sound. A little thought on a way to put the exact amount may be worth exploring. Behind the scenes in Australia all manner of sneaky ways have forged ahead because of traitor x PM Howard’s gun laws and few will talk openly as it could bring trouble on. Surprisingly what is said at the bar after a few drinks among old people

    • I don’t know about diesel, but do know you can achieve similar results with a dab of petroleum jelly on the rear end of the pellet.

  6. I’ve yet to see any air rifle in .357, .45, or .50 caliber offered in anything but pcp power plants. The largest caliber currently offered in gas/spring piston power plants is .25 caliber to my knowledge.
    From the other comments listed above I obviously wasn’t the only reader to come to these conclusions after reading the article.
    They are also NOT without their problems in regards to reliability and maintenance.
    The Benjamin 392 and Benjamin Discovery in .22 cal are far better choices for survival air rifles in my opinion than a springer of any type. Yes the Benji Disco (Benjamin Discovery) requires a hand pump, but it is the only pcp air rifle that is easily pumped by hand and also by design one of the most basic… simple is good. Additionally, these two air rifles are generally far more accurate than most springer type air rifle will ever be. They are also far easier for anyone to shoot more accurately than a springer. The same rules apply here and even more so with air rifles than with firearms… Accuracy IS paramount for hunting.

  7. Forgot to mention… Don’t underestimate the killing power of a properly placed .177 or .22 caliber pellet. I saw an incident on the tv show “Northwoods Law” where a cow moose was killed by a .177 caliber air rifle from being shot in the lungs I do believe. Do I recommend this? ABSOLUTELY NOT! The man claims to have shot the moose as an attempt to scare it away because it was after his dogs around his house. The cow moose had a calf with her. The Maine DNR arrested the man. But this incident by itself shows the potential danger of a little ‘ol pellet.

  8. Thanks for the article. It was informative and I enjoyed it, and the comments as well.

  9. Ok..I’m new to airguns..and I mean COMPLETELY NEW, so any advice on what would be good for whitetail and turkey would be great. I’d take just the advice of the article but from all above, on the comments, I’m guessing that’s not entirely accurate advice. So…I’m listening…

    • I know this sounds like a stupid answer but I would suggest researching the options. One of the best places for info that I’ve found is pyrmydair.com. I’m aware of only one shotgun on the market and that’s the Air Venturi Wing Shot in .50 cal. It’s single shot but multiple shots per charge (PCP). The customer service guys are low pressure and very informative, there more interested in you being a return customer than making a sale. I don’t work for them but have been a multiple year customer and they are the real deal. hope this helps.

  10. Is there an air rifle avail that is capable of firing multiple shots in a caliber that would bring down a deer on one charge without pumping up the gun or carrying a tank of air. Such an air gun was used on the Lewis and Clark expedition.

    • As an air gun hunter I learned that I had to change my procedure to more of a bow and arrow or black powder mentality. Know the anatomy of your prey and watch but don’t chase the animal because your creating a wound channel and it must bleed out before it dies. If you chase you have that farther to track and carry once located. Without the sound signature the animal doesn’t know what hit it and often only walk a little way off and settle down to figure things out, then they can’t get back up. I prefer Benjamin PCP’s, I hunt with a .25 cal. Marauder and have taken multiple coyote with it and I get about 20 shots per charge (keeping it between 2800 psi and 1500 psi) and it only takes about 5-10 min of pumping to recharge. I currently have my eye on a Benjamin Bulldog .357 but don’t own one so that’s not a recommendation. I would recommend going to pyrmydair.com and digging through all the info they have there and talk to the cust rep guys, they are VERY helpful. One word of caution though, once you’ve been bitten by the air gun bug, there is no cure but more guns, ask my wife! I hope this helps and goo luck.

  11. So, what is the air rifle in the photo above with the red and gray stock? That’s why I came to read the article.

  12. I’m not sure what the gun with the red and grey stock is, but I think it’s safe to say that it’s either a custom stocked something-or-other like a Marauder or a Discovery/Maximus or it isn’t. How’s that for impeccable logic? I too am looking forward to a Benjamin Bulldog, although most of my hunting thus far has been with either my Beeman springer OR my Air Force Escape, a PCP built specifically as a long-term survival weapon. I Considered muzzleloaders for this niche, but Settled on PCP’S on accounta I can live till I croak of advanced old age with A PCP (or many, Many, lovely, elegant and supremely collectable PCP’s – I like them, can you tell?)
    A bullet mold specific for pellet guns (there Are surprisingly, quite a few) and some lead – no powder to run out of or get wet, no caps to run out of- just air, well, and extra Xbow strings — I like them too.

  13. I can’t find a 20 caliber Sheraton anywhere all I can find us the twenty two’s in the 177 have been looking for one but nobody carries him anymore that’s too bad

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