WATCH THE VIDEO
When the chips are down, what rifle will help you the most?
1. Henry Repeating Arms U.S. Survival AR-7 Rifle
The lowly .22 LR cartridge can successfully defend against two-legged attackers in a dire situation, but it excels as a small-game cartridge. The Henry U.S. Survival AR-7 is perfect for that occasion. This small-sized, take-down, semi-automatic .22 caliber rifle has a short barrel length and packs down into its own stock.
The Henry AR-7 Survival Rifle might be the universal choice for those who want something reliable and long lasting.
2. Ruger 10/22 Takedown Silent SR Suppressed Rifle
When silence is a necessity, the Ruger 10/22 that's available as a takedown rifle is incredible.The easily cleaned suppressor makes those small-game shots as quiet as possible. Why disturb the whole county when you can quietly hunt?
3. Savage Arms Model 24 Combination Gun
This long gun may not be manufactured anymore, but you can find it at gun shops, pawn shops and gun shows on occasion. The beauty of this combination gun is it allows a single-shot rifle and a single-shot shotgun to live together. Have either ready with a quick switch of the barrels. The Model 24C (Camper) is even more handy and houses ammunition in the stock. There's a modern version of this--the Savage 42--but I feel the older Model 24 is a better pick if you can find one.
4. Rossi Matched Pair
This combination firearm gives you the option of swapping a single-shot rifle barrel for a matching shotgun barrel when needed. Not only is it rugged and simple, but it's economical in cost. Available in .22 LR/20 gauge and .22/.410 gauge, this youth-sized weapon packs down small and is surprisingly comfortable, even for my 6 foot frame to shoot.
5. Henry Arms Lever Action .45/70 Rifle
When a little .22 just won't get the job done in big predator country, go big or go home. The fast-shooting, short-stature .45-70 rifle will level anything you encounter. It's a significant step up from the Henry US Survival Rifle, with a high velocity caliber and padded butt plate for easing felt recoil.
There's both a front sight and a rear sight, but most models can be equipped with optics thanks to a scope mount, too. It's by no means a little gun, but it would still make for a handy American-made survival rifle.
6. Ruger SR-556 Takedown Rifle
If trapped in a firefight, this takedown AR-15-style rifle might make a great choice for self-defense. It uses the standard AR-15/M16 magazines and ammunition and packs away until needed. Its overall length isn't excessive, but when it folds down and fits into the carrying case, the true value of its survival applications shine through.
Any way you look at it, adding a survival rifle to your collection is never a bad idea. Whether it's a bolt action, lever action, or even a single shot, owning a survival weapon can and will increase your odds at making it through anything.
Do you like articles about the outdoors? Click here to view more articles by Eric Nestor. You can follow him @ericthewoodsman on Twitter, The Classic Woodsman on Facebook, and @theclassicwoodsman on Instagram. You can view more Nestor Photography photos at Nestor Photography.