The Gear ~ Rifles


Pictured above, D. A. Blankinship (left) and Trevor Blankinship (right). D. A. was shooting a bolt-action Savage Mark II with a Weaver Marksman 4x scope and achieving 1-inch groups at 100 yards with CCI Mini-Mags. Trevor was getting similar results using a customized Ruger 10/22 with a BSA Sweet .22 3-9x scope. Temperature and wind conditions were perfect.

If a bullet wants to be all that it can be, it needs a rifle.

Rifles maximize the speed and accuracy of a bullet. While there are exceptions to this general guidance, in practical use, a rifle will always out-perform a pistol when moving a bullet from one location to another.

Rifles have barrels ranging from 16.125 inches to 22 inches or longer. The length of a rifle barrel permits the burning powder to accelerate the bullet to an ideal speed. The rifle's site radius helps ensure more accurate aiming, and steadying a rifle against a tree or fencepost is easier than bracing a pistol.

 Consider the engineering, design, and manufacturing that allows a piece of metal weighing 40 grains to be propelled 300 feet and strike a target the size of a 25-cent piece in only a fraction of a second.

In prolonged survival situations, a good .22LR rifle is essential for hunting small to medium sized game. In extreme circumstances, it can end the life of larger animals, too.

Marlin 60

marlin 60

The Marlin 60 is a semi-automatic .22LR rifle. Marlin claims this rifle is the "most popular .22 in the world."

I have owned one since 1997 and overall it is a fine rifle.

On some Model 60s, cartridges will hang-up in the loading tube and fail to feed through the mechanism. Fixing that little inconvenience requires adding a washer to the larger screw immediately forward of the trigger guard. This backs out the screw slightly and keeps it from interfering with the feeding path. Alternatively, you can swap out stocks and have a 'modern' looking rifle that might be confused with one of the newer smaller assault rifles.

The new Model 60 holds 14 rounds in its tubular magazine (mine holds 17). From the shooter's perspective, this built-in magazine is the defining feature of the Model 60. To load, you roll the rifle over, elevate the muzzle, slide out a tube and slip in the .22LR cartridges. The device that holds the cartridges is part of the rife; it is not a magazine. The practical result here is that there isn't a magazine to be lost--the rifle is a complete, one piece unit.

The Model 60 has a 19 inch barrel and it is 37.5 inches long, overall. It weights 5.5 lbs.

Mossberg 500 (12 gauge shotgun)


Shotguns are not rifles, they are guns that fire "shot." The pump shotgun is a standard for high-level fire power and it has a well-deserved reputation. For short distances (e.g., 20 or fewer yards) a shotgun is a menacing weapon and it is one of the most effective tools for killing birds in flight. Shooting slugs or sabot rounds makes a shotgun one of the world's most formidable weapons.

The pump-action gun is fast, but in an emergency, it is not as fast as the fabled "double-barreled shotgun." This gun was invented by the British for use under the riskiest of circumstances: hunting tigers in India. Apparently, tigers can race up the back of an elephant and attack hunters right where they are perched. (I'll wager that wasn't in the brochures.) The double-barreled shotgun increased the life expectancy of hunters who found themselves as tiger prey; they could fire two rounds simultaneously.

Unfortunately, shotgun shells are heavy. A 100 round box of 12 gauge shells weighs 10 lbs; 1,000 rounds weigh 100 lbs. Dropping one size down, 100 rounds of 20 gauge (3-inch) shells weighs 8lbs (1,000 rounds weighs 80 lbs).

Clearly, a shotgun is a reasonable home-defense or home-based survival weapon. It is not practical as a hike or bike addition for a mobile person or group in a survival situation, unless, of course, there are tigers.

Ruger 10/22

ruger 10/22

Just as Marlin is proud of the Model 60, Ruger is proud of their 10/22. They claim the 10/22 is "America's favorite .22LR rifle." It is a reliable and elegantly designed rifle that debuted in 1964 and continues to grow in popularity.

This semi-automatic 10/22 has a staggering number of after-market options. From a variety of stock options to 30 and 50 round magazines, entire paychecks can disappear in support of this relatively inexpensive rifle.

From the user's perspective, the defining feature of the 10/22 is its magazine. Several magazines may be loaded and quickly swapped out as the ammunition is expended. It is convenient and offers meaningful versatility to the rifle.

The 10/22 has a reputation for reliability and serviceability and those two facts make it an excellent choice in a survival situation. Dropping/losing the magazines must be factored in as a potential problem.

Savage Mark II

savage mark ii

This is a bolt action rifle that has a 5 round or a 10 round magazine that makes it a repeater. After firing a round, the manually activated bolt's action ejects the spent cartridge and loads a new one. (The Marlin Model 60 and the Ruger 10/22 are both semi-automatic.)

The rifle has a barrel length of 21 inches which helps to assure getting the maximum velocity from hyper-velocity rounds. It has an overall length of 39.75 inches and it weights 5 lbs.

A bolt action rifle has two advantages over semi-automatic rifles. The manually operated bolt mechanism is simpler and less prone to failures (i.e., jamming or failing to extract), and a bolt action .22LR will handle a full array of cartridges from 60 grain sub-sonic loads to 40 grain hyper-velocity rounds that approach the .22WMR in impact. This rifle can manage the full range of .22LR cartridges (i.e., sub-sonic, standard, high velocity, and hyper-velocity speeds). In a survival situation, that versatility is priceless.

Anderson-Nelson Academy


The Gear ~ Rifles

Barred Owl Publishing


Marlin 60
Mossberg 500
Ruger 10/22
Savage Mark II