When you say the word survival you are evoking a lot of different scenarios. You could be talking about urban survival, wilderness survival or just employing simple survival methods in your everyday life.
The best survival rifle has to meet the needs of that survival scenario, too. So, we have taken a variety of survival scenarios and sought out the best survival rifles for each.
We are looking at high-level rifles for EDC, hunting, wilderness survival, long-range self-defense, and even pistol caliber carbines as survival rifles. Each rifle has unique attributes that make them the top choices for the specific type of survival.
From the Draco AK47 to the Ruger .22LR Takedown, we have a wide range of survival rifles in this article. We will even explore a few steps to avoid while choosing the right rifle.
Best Survival Rifle for EDC
Your EDC weapons are important. These are the firearms or the firearm that you carry each day. Now, most people settle for a good EDC pistol and the right pistol is undoubtedly effective.
However, with such access and affordability in SBRs and compact or even micro rifle variants, there is no reason to put any kind of limitations on your EDC.
The AR pistol can be designed with a barrel as small as 7 inches. Of course, you are going to sacrifice things like range and accuracy with a small barrel like this, but you gain portability and storage. The braced AR pistol is such a fun weapon to fire.
With a folding stock or a telescoping brace, you can store this in an EDC bag or urban bug out bag without issue. It makes for a perfect EDC rifle that can bring the range and power of the 5.56 round.
The Draco mini AK47 is a small AK with a full length of 17″ without any kind of brace. This AK pistol has been made legendary for its durability and that is one of the big reasons I like the Draco as an EDC survival rifle.
Firing 30 rounds of 7.62 ammunition is serious. This caliber is more powerful than 5.56 and at close range has the power to pop through most things.
Best Survival Rifle for Hunting Food
It’s hard to frame a conversation about survival without talking about food. There are some top-quality rifles out there for hunting. I think you will be delighted to find that my picks for the best survival rifle for hunting food are not all thousand-dollar investments.
Savage Bolt Action 30-06
This is an insanely affordable bolt action rifle. Each holiday season you are going to see these guns go on sale. There is no other bolt action rifle on the market that compares in price and quality with the Savage. This bolt action can be had in other calibers but I own a 30-06.
This weapon is incredibly accurate and reliable.
The Weatherby Vanguard 30-06
The Vanguard is a more affordable model from a top-notch firearms manufacturer in Weatherby. This is a true hunting rifle, pushing a powerhouse caliber through a durable barrel.
The Vanguard features 5+1 capacity. With its 24-inch barrel and 2 stage trigger you will be awarded tremendous accuracy with a little time behind this rifle.
Remington Model 700 SPS Varmint
What would a list of hunting rifles be without a Remington on it? This powerhouse hunting rifle brings all that you need to take down any animal in North America. This is a budget-conscious Remington and a true bolt action with 5 round capacity and great accuracy.
Best Survival Rifle for Wilderness Adventure and Survival
Wilderness and outdoor adventure are massive industries. In the billions now! The national parks are seeing more traffic than ever. On average about 2000 people get lost and go missing in the woods.
The rifle used to be something most people in the woods traipsed around with. There was less gear in a pack than we carry today and always a rifle. Rifles are protection and food, as mentioned above. A good wilderness shelter and good gun can go a long way!
The best survival rifle for wilderness survival should lightweight, compact and accurate.
Ruger .22LR Takedown Rifle
This survival rifle is designed for easy breakdown or “Takedown” as it states in the name. Their 16″ and 18″ barrel models of this rifle. Overall the rifle is 37″ long.
The barrel separates from the action allowing you to pack this survival rifle away easily without worrying about space or overall length as much.
Henry Survival Rifle
While the Ruger separates the barrel from the action, the Henry Survival Rifle actually breaks down completely and all of the components can fit securely in the buttstock of the weapon. Packed down the length of this survival rifle is only 16″
This truly is one of the best survival rifles for wilderness survival. When you are ready to use it you can simply pull out the remaining parts and assemble them. This rifle fires .22LR that can be used to deter predators or kill food for the camp.
Henry Youth Mini Bolt
Now, you might look at this firearm and think, ‘really, a youth rifle?” We are not using these survival rifles to go to war. These are weapons designed to keep you alive in a wilderness survival situation. When things have gone bad and you are struggling to eat and facing off against predators, this little bolt action youth rifle can be something great!
With an overall length of 30,” this survival rifle is easy to carry and maneuver with. By the way, it weighs just over 3lbs!
Best Survival Rifle for Long Range Self Defense
Long-range self-defense is a very rare scenario. Of course, the rifles designed for this kind of force are some of the coolest! We are going to look at carbines that can be deadly accurate at a longer distance than some of the short barrels or pistol-caliber carbines discussed in this article.
Smith and Wesson M&P15 Sport
This AR15 is the perfect survival rifle for long-range self-defense.
Remember, if you are shooting at a perceived threat that is 500 yards away then they are not really a threat, and assuming we are dealing with the laws as they stand you will be in big trouble for shooting at someone from that far away.
However, if you are taking fire from a threat that is closing in at 100 yards, that is a threat that can be identified and engaged, without the option of retreat, then you will at least be operating somewhere in the safety of self-defense law.
This Smith and Wesson is a great weapon for engaging a threat at a reasonable distance for self-defense. It is a very affordable semi-automatic rifle with a telescoping stock.
This durable, American-made AR is another no-fuss option for long-range self-defense. This survival rifle is chambered in 5.56 which is a reliable and popular caliber. While it also comes in .450 bushmaster, I wouldn’t recommend chambering such around for your survival rifle.
The cold hammered forged barrels, flash suppressor, and the M4 style telescoping stock are some of the features of this affordable AR. It is marketed as a modern sporting rifle and would be just as effective as a survival rifle for hunting.
Best Survival Rifle Pistol Caliber Carbine
The pistol caliber carbine is a very interesting type of firearm. It loses something in the ballistics department but it gains a lot in size and in access to ammunition.
If you call a PCC your survival rifle then it might be that you only need one caliber of ammunition for your sidearm and your rifle! There are some big benefits there.
The legendary firearm of both heroes in the Hollywood and comic book world, as well as in the real world. This submachine gun has a mythic reputation and has been used by the SAS and Rambo!
This weapon is chambered in 9mm and can carry 30 round magazines. It would be a great pistol-caliber survival rifle for dealing with close quarters threats. It has a 30-year reputation in the hands of special forces around the world
SIG has decided to throw its hat in the MP5 space and create something that is uniquely its own in the MPX series. This series features a submachine gun that is built on an AR9 style lower. It is decked out with modern firearms add ons.
They even have a variation with a longer barrel that is a great option for a longer-range PCC survival rifle.
The MPX K fits the bill best for this category. It is not the smallest MPX which is called the Copperhead and is built for EDC. The MPX K is in between the aforementioned two in size and weight. It’s a pretty gun that shoots well out of the box.
This interesting folding 9mm PCC from KelTec never seems to lose its appeal. It is a great idea and a gun that would also fit well in our EDC category. As a survival rifle, it has some really great qualities. One being how the gun essentially folds in half.
The second would be that it takes 9mm Glock magazines.
The SUB 2000 looked like a gimmick from afar but it has proven itself to be an effective weapon. I would be glad to call it my PCC survival rifle!
Oh, the Scorpion. The blowback-operated action of the CZ Scorpion gives it the ability to empty its magazine in 1 1/2 seconds! This is a brilliantly designed submachine gun that is accurate out to 250 yards!
The CZ Scorpion is chambered in 9mm with a 30 round double stacked magazine.
That is some impressive range for a firearm of this type. With its ambidextrous Mag release, folding stock, side rails, and simple field strip, this gun checks all kinds of boxes for a quality survival rifle.
Top Things to Avoid in a Survival Rifle
Not all rifles are created equal and even some of the rifles on this list, if not given consideration, could turn into something of a hassle in a survival situation.
We are going to look at a number of things that you need to avoid when you are choosing a survival rifle.
Had we been seeking out a gun range weapon then I might say go for whatever caliber you’d like. The best survival rifle, however, is going to have a very common caliber.
In a survival situation, short or long term, you want to have access to plenty of ammunition and maybe even be able to procure more from sparse sources. 9mm, 5.56, and 00 buckshot are all examples of reliable and highly stocked calibers all over the country.
A survival rifle will also be made f easy to find parts Without the part the gun might become useless in a long-term survival scenario or a short-term wilderness survival situation where the elements begin to take their toll.
Foreign parts, that you do not stock up on ahead of time, will render your gun inoperable when it needs repair. They will be hard to find and that is just not an option in a disaster or survival scenario.
Be sure that you know the laws in your state. There might be guns on this list that will get you into legal trouble. If that is the case you will not be able to plead ignorance and it is gonna cost you.
You might want that AK with the banana clip but if your state does not allow it then it will not be the right survival rifle for you. In fact, it could leave you with a steep fine or without firearms altogether in an emergency.
So, do some research on your local gun laws. 2nd Amendment advocate groups are also a great place to get these kinds of questions answered.
Buying From People You Do Not Know
Some of these survival rifles come at a steep price. If you encounter a deal that is too good to be true then you should proceed with extreme caution. You can get in a lot of trouble and lose out on that firearm if you buy from questionable buyers who fly by night.
Shop reputable dealers.
The Right Survival Rifle for Your Situation
It’s hard to argue for one complete survival rifle. The best survival rifle is the one that fits the survival scenario you find yourself in.
Take a look at your own life and note where you spend your time. Are you often walking through the bustling cityscape and boarding subway cars? Are you living rurally and spending lots of time in the woods?
These are two different survival needs that will require the right kind of survival rifle for each. Be sure you are buying the right survival rifle for your situation!