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Best 'survival' air rifle?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by carpediem, Nov 5, 2006.

  1. carpediem

    carpediem Member

    Mar 6, 2006
    Pacific Plate
    Any recommendations for a reliable, air (not CO2) powered rifle capable of taking small game? Inexpensive is a plus. Doesn't have to be a tack driver, but needs to be light, rugged, and reliable. Use = taking small game in a survival scenario to save the real guns and ammo for dealing with threats.
  2. B yond

    B yond Participating Member

    Sep 6, 2006
    I've got a crosman 760 pumpmaster. It's pretty common. I don't know if it packs enough punch to drop much more than a squirrel, but it pumps and will shoot BBs or pellets fairly accurately.

    A buddy had a .22 cal break-barrel Gamo, it shoots right around 1000fps and is dead on accurate.
  3. pedaldude

    pedaldude New Member

    May 1, 2006
    that's a good question and an option rarely mentioned an air rifle either .177 or even th .22 would be good for rabbits, squirrel and most birds and you could store a large amount of ammo in the buttstock also air rifles don't need that long a barrel and you could have a pretty compact unit and not worry about NFA stuff.
  4. ribbonstone

    ribbonstone Member

    Jan 26, 2006
    New Orleans
    Going to go for the basic Benjamin 382 .22 (they are all made by Crosman now, but they still use the Benjamin and Sheridan names). Know it's not facny or a super magnum (it puts out about 12-14foot pounds). One advantage is that they can be keep pumped up and ready to go for days if needed...springers don't take well to that kind of long-term compression.

    Another "advantage" is that most of the male population seems to recognize them as airguns...springers tend to look like "real guns" to most folks (the scopes/black sotcks, and muzzle brakes dn't help that). Get a lot less grief hunting with the old Benjamins/Sheridans. Most males over 30 recognize them...which covers most of the law enforcment types.

    Variable power...not a great feture...but can be useful in certain situations.

    Springers are simpler to repair and can deliver more power, but they dont seem to be as long-lived or take abuse as well.

    Either way, springer or pnumatic, would consider a rebuild kit for any air rifle...and the tools needed to rebuild it...as part of the kit.
    Not anti-springer..have some, and they work well, but seems I'm putting new seals or mainsprings in every year or two...seems to be part of the price of super fast airguns.

    Have been playing with some older Benjamins. Two are about 50years old, still working fine with the original seals...bronze/brass won't rust. Some others needed resealing (still...got a good 15 years of use from one and 18 years from the other). The tools needed and a set of seals costs about $30-$35 (tool is a one-time cost...seals alone cost about 1/2 that).
  5. geronimo13

    geronimo13 New Member

    Nov 2, 2006
    I've got a crossman 66 powermaster (like-760), a Daisy (10 pump) and a chinese import b3-1. The b3-1 is vastly superior, more accurate, more powerful, and much more durable. I paid $30 new for it and highly recommend them. The barrel on the daisy got a bend in it just from falling while leaning agaist a wall. The B3-1 is rated @ 750ft/sec but is rated @ 330ft distance which the crossman and daisy are rated approx. 280 ft., and approx. 650 ft./sec. It pumps in 1 stroke and takes .177 cal pellets/bbs and weighs 7lbs. It is a copy of the sks rifle, similar iron sights, and the barrel is as stout as my keltec su16's.
  6. jlmurphy

    jlmurphy Member

    Apr 1, 2006
    I would have to say that a spring piston rifle would be my first choice. Much more power, much quieter, and more accurate than a multi pump pneumatic. Carry an extra spring and piston seal and it would be good for a long time. The fear of spring set on a cocked rifle is a myth, tests show no problem, whereas multi pump rifles can and do have issues with pump linkages. pump seals, check valves, exhaust seats, and most use brass tubes and barrels to prevent condesation and the soldered barrels split from the pump housing.
  7. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Elder

    Aug 11, 2005
    Elbert County, CO
    While not a bad idea, I think one would be better served with a .22 revolver and shorts or CB's. Much more power than any air gun, repeating capability, can be stored loaded indefinitely. CB's are barely louder than a Sheridan pneumatic pellet rifle, even when fired form a handgun. And shorts barely take up more room than .22 caliber pellets. One could easily carry 1,000 shorts without being bothered a bit.
  8. kerank

    kerank New Member

    Dec 30, 2005
    Middle TN
    air power....

    Spring Piston (break-barrels):
    These will typically be a more powerful option. They are less complex, therefore easier to fix if something goes wrong. But, they will be less compact because of the need for the length of the spring and piston in front of the barrel. They will also typically weigh more.
    - Gamo (shadow?) the model with a synthetic stock would save on weight, but the Gamo triggers really suck.
    - Beeman R9 or R7 are german made and fantastic, extremely accurate rifles. The R9 weighs more, but is more powerful than the R7. You will pay more.

    Pump rifles:
    You can get a very compact package with enough power for rabbits and squirrels. They are more complex to work on.
    - Benjamin Sheridan pump, great classic pump rifle. Will give you a work out pumping this thing up (women and children would have a very hard time). Lighter and more compact than a spring piston rifle.
    - Crossman American Classic pump pistol with optional shoulder stock.... makes for a very compact, light weight package. You give up a little power.
  9. gp911

    gp911 Participating Member

    Oct 30, 2005
    My 2 cents...

    ...and that's all it's worth.

    I have seen many Crosman 760 Pumpmasters in my time and all have been reliable, fairly accurate, and powerful enough to drop anything up to a squirrel given proper shot placement. I would buy one new,if I needed one.

    I personally have a Daisy 860 Powerline (it even has a "heavy barrel!") which blew the barrel out the shroud in the first year, but after my father ingeniously used a hose clamp to hold the barrel in place, it has taken many doves and is very accurate and powerful for an airgun, 20 years later. I would have another if they still made them, but they can chamber a BB when one doesn't expect it, which led to a few idiot kids dry-firing at their siblings thinking nothing was in the chamber, which led to terrible injuries, which led to lawsuits, which led to the product being discontinued.

    The 760 is like an 870, tried and true. The old Powerlines are like old Winchesters and Ithacas that would slam-fire, excellent guns but dangerous in the hands of idiots...

  10. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Senior Member

    Jan 6, 2003
    Unusual thread and Interesting.

    I vote for the Benjamin and Sheridan Pumps.

    Because of the barrel over the action tube, they are less prone to rough handling damage.

    I have a Benjamin 177cal. that I bought from a friend back in 1969. I still have it and it's behind the seat of my spare truck. It has killed MANY squirrels, pigeons, doves, ect. through the years. Seals are still good, and accuracy excellent as it always was. Much of the original finish is worn off metal , but wood is still good.

    For the money, the power and accuracy are superlative and they hold up to continual shooting better than anything else I've seen. Like 50yrs worth and still going. It, unlike my Benjamin 30/30 (CO2, BB repeater) has never been back to the factory for repairs.
  11. mp510

    mp510 Senior Member

    Feb 13, 2006
    That probably would be insufficient. I know somebody who used one, and they pest-controlled a little with it. The would shoot birds, and frogs and stuff. They were using the maximum number of pumps and BB's. Probably adventageous to avoid the 760.

    If you need cheap, check out the Tech Force line. They are Chinese, and cheap. However, Compasseco claims descent velocity.

    Gamo has come out with some 4.5mm's that can break 1200 FPS with some hi-tech pellets they invented.
  12. High Planes Drifter

    High Planes Drifter Participating Member

    Feb 21, 2006
    Very interesting thread. Something thats often overlooked but handy and in my opinion very important in training youngsters.:)

    I vote Benjamin/Sheridan .177 pump. Reliable, accurate, and .177's at least in my area are more common than .22's. Many, many swamp rabbit, dove, and red squirrel, and even a couple nutrea fell to my old pump.
  13. Loanshark

    Loanshark New Member

    Sep 29, 2006
    What's a swamp rabbit?

    And where's a good place to buy air rifles?
  14. Limeyfellow

    Limeyfellow Participating Member

    May 31, 2005
    NC, USA
    You probrobly be better off just learning to make snares and traps to catch small game. You can set up a dozen or so traps and not waste any ammunation that way and you can have your attention set on other things. If I was going to use an air rifle it probrobly be the likes of the crosman pump actions. However I think I still prefer a .22 for the big squirrels and such around here. It gives you alot more leyway.
  15. Nickodemus

    Nickodemus New Member

    Oct 22, 2006
    There are many "survival" airguns.
    I would go with a Sherridan 397 with a 24" barrel for around $130. For about $350 total you could have one built up to really do some damage - DAQ pump arm, flat piston, adjustable ram ect. 950fps at 10 pumps with .177, little less with .22
  16. High Planes Drifter

    High Planes Drifter Participating Member

    Feb 21, 2006

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