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It’s unfortunate, but few people think of rifles as valuable tools for self-defense. This is because handguns and especially shotguns are often touted as being the ‘ultimate’ self-defense weapons.
In reality, a rifle is a perfectly good weapon for personal defense or home defense, regardless of what other people may tell you. In many scenarios, a rifle can be even more effective than a shotgun or handgun.
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This article will discuss the reasons a rifle is an excellent weapon to have when society collapses, regardless of the disaster. We’ll also dive into some of the very best survival rifles for you to consider, covering a wide range of types, models, manufacturers, and calibers.
Why a Rifle Will Be Handy Regardless of the Disaster
A strong case could be made that a rifle isn’t the most important firearm to have with you during a disaster. For example, it can’t be concealed on your person like a handgun can. It’s also not very wieldy in tight corners.
But other than those two things, there is precious little that a rifle can’t do in a major disaster scenario.
For example, a semi-automatic rifle with a detachable box magazine of around twenty to thirty rounds will be an incredibly effective weapon in a self-defense scenario because of these reasons:
- It has more stopping power and velocity than a handgun.
- It has greater range than either a pistol or a shotgun.
- It has more limited recoil than a shotgun.
- It’s the best weapon for defense against multiple attackers.
- It can be used for both long range anti-personnel use and hunting.
In many ways, the rifle is the ultimate primary weapon to have during an SHTF disaster. Remember that a handgun can never be a primary weapon. Well, it can, but it wouldn’t be suitable as a primary weapon due to its limited range and power.
If anything, a handgun is a backup or secondary weapon at best. A long gun needs to serve as your primary weapon during an SHTF scenario, and it really doesn’t matter what kind of a disaster you find yourself in.
Whether it be an EMP attack, economic collapse, terrorist attack, or a natural disaster, in any scenario where you find your home under attack by raiding parties and angry mobs, a rifle will be the best weapon to defend yourself and your family.
The Best Survival Rifles
Here are some of the best makes and models of rifles to use as a primary weapon when society collapses.
Honestly, one could argue that the AK-47 is not the best survival rifle to have when the AR-15 is even more popular and widely available. It will undoubtedly be easier to find 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition during a major disaster than 7.62x39mm, and magazines for the AR will also be easier to locate.
But the AK-47 still has one big thing going for it: some people just prefer it over the AR-15. And if you’re one of those people, there can be little to no doubt that the AK-47 will be the better weapon for you.
The 7.62x39mm round that the AK-47 fires has ballistics that are enormously similar to the .30-30 Winchester round, which means that it will also be suitable for hunting medium sized game such as deer.
As far as which specific AK-47 you should go with, two of the best options include the Arsenal SAM-7 if you have the money. If you are on a budget, the WASR-10 as imported by Century Arms will be much more affordable for you.
There should be absolutely no surprises in seeing the AR-15 on this list. It is without question the most prolific rifle in the United States of America, and it’s not difficult to see why.
The AR-15 is very ergonomic, accurate, reliable, and easy to shoot. That’s also not to mention that spare parts and accessories are in no shortage of supply.
The AR-15 will work well as both a defensive and hunting weapon. There is also absolutely no shortage of different options for you to consider. The Colt LE6920 is considered by man to be the gold standard when it comes to AR-15s.
That being said, the LE6920 will also run you at least a grand, so if you are on a budget, you can also consider alternative choices such as the Ruger AR-556 or Del-Ton 316 ECHO.
The lever action may be a design from the 1800s, but that doesn’t mean it’s no longer relevant here in the 21st Century. The lever action actually has a number of distinct advantages over bolt action rifles: it’s more narrow, easier to pack, lighter, and by working the lever you can keep up a much faster rate of fire in contrast to working the bolt.
Furthermore, lever actions are also relatively affordable as well. The Marlin 336 is routinely available for around $400, while the cheaper priced Mossberg 464 can oftentimes be found for even less than that.
If you want a lever action rifle with more power, you can upgrade from the .30-30 Winchester to the .45-70.
The Marlin 1895 is probably the best .45-70 lever action rifle on the market today. It’s essentially a beefier version of the Marlin 336 in order to hire the much larger round. The .45-70 Government is capable of dropping virtually any big game in North America, and it’s commonly used by hunting guides in Alaska due to its faster firing capabilities and excellent stopping power.
In an SHTF scenario, the .45-70 lever action would be an excellent choice for both hunting and defense, and will easily knock down a man with a single shot.
MOSIN NAGANT M44
The Mosin-Nagant is the oldest rifle on this list, and you may have been surprised to see it on here. But honestly, the Mosin-Nagant is on this list for one reason and one reason only: it’s cheap, and not only is it cheap, it’s also very rugged and well-built for the price.
There was a time several years ago when you could buy three Mosin Nagant rifles for a total of $99. Today, prices are a bit higher than that, but they are still considerably lower in contrast to many other rifles. A Mosin Nagant surplus rifle in good condition should cost you around $175.
In other words, the Mosin Nagant is an excellent survival rifle choice for those on a budget. That’s also not to mention the fact that it is very rugged (while also admittedly being crudely made) and surprisingly accurate despite being a military surplus rifle designed around 130 ago.
Never underestimate the power of a .22 rifle. Okay, a .22 in and of itself may be a weaker caliber, but a .22 semi-automatic rifle as a whole is a very practical and useful weapon.
Contrary to what some people may tell you, the .22 LR can be used for personal or self-defense. And beyond that, it’s a great round for small game hunting, pest control, and casual target shooting. That’s also not to mention that the .22 is extremely cheap and plentiful, and thanks to its small size, it’s also very easy to store in bulk, and in limited space.
An alternative to the Ruger 10/22, and one that is often available for a little bit cheaper, is the Marlin Model 60.
RUGER GUNSITE SCOUT
Last but not least, the Ruger Gunsite Scout has been extensively marketed by Ruger as being the one rifle to have if you could have only one. It’s not difficult to see why. The Gunsite Scout Rifle, or commonly abbreviated as the GSR, is a version of the popular Scout rifle concept as conceived by Jeff Cooper.
Basically, Cooper called for a .308 caliber bolt action carbine with a detachable box magazine of ten rounds and a scope to be mounted forward of the receiver. Cooper argued that such a rifle could be used for both self-defense and for hunting big game.
There’s no question that he was right in that regard. The Scout rifle was basically designed to be a do-everything rifle that would be the one rifle to have if someone could have only one. The Ruger GSR is a very high-quality rifle built on the proven Ruger 77 action, and there’s simply no question that it would work well as an SHTF rifle for when society collapses.
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