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survival gear in small aircraft

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by greenn17h, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. greenn17h

    greenn17h New Member

    Hello all, please bear with me as I'm somewhat of a novice when it Comes to guns. I'm a pilot, and may be required to fly a small airplane to and from Alaska in a couple of months (this might become a regular trip, although I'm not too sure). There are plenty of lists online of things required (by alaskan / canadian law) and recommended to be onboard in case of an emergency situation. Most of these include a gun of some kind. A few people I've talked to said a 12 Ga shotgun is probably my best bet, as there is a variety of shot I could use (birdshot for small game, buckshot / slugs for defense). Does this make sense? What exactly should I get? From my limited research, it seem like a remmington 870 is a decent choice, as they're abundant, reliable, and inexpensive. I see there are probably 20 different versions listed on the website, what are the differences between all of these?

    Should I look into a rifle (if so, which one?) instead? A handgun is out of the question (I believe) because I'll obviously have to go through Canada to get there.

    Would all of you say a gun is necessary, period? As I said before, I'm a novice. I've shot several different thing, mostly handguns, but really don't know much about it. I'd plan on practicing with anything I bought, but maybe it's one of those things that if you're not pretty skilled it's more trouble than it's worth?

    Any other (constructive) advice I gan get is greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  2. rodell

    rodell Member

    A firearm give you choices - it can be used for signalling, defense, and to gather food. If you only want something for defense, I suggest pepper spray. For wilderness survival, I certainly prefer a weapon.

    A shotgun is a good choice. You can get a short (24-26") shotgun with a few different loads for different situations. You need to figure out where and how you'll transport the weapon aboard your aircraft as well. In the event of a ditching, you want to be able to get it. I used to have mine mounted aft of the rear seats.

    A stainless steel (marine) model is appropriate (corrosion resistance), particularly if you aren't going to care for it all the time. You need it to work when and if you need it.

    I'd carry:

    Slugs (bear, large game)
    00 Buckshot (defense)
    #6-7 shot (birds, rabbits, etc.)

    You'll want a 12 gauge model. They come in different chamber lengths - standard is 2 3/4" which would be fine for your purpose. The Remington is a good choice, some would recommend a Benelli Nova or a Mossberg.

    For defense, I would also carry bear-specific pepper spray. It is effective, and, easily carried and operated.

    As you mentioned, you should become familiar with whatever you select.

  3. greenn17h

    greenn17h New Member

    What about the different choke types? Which one do I want?

    I'd be comfortable carrying a big handgun, but I wouldn't be able to get it through Canada, correct?
  4. larry_minn

    larry_minn Well-Known Member

    I had a relative who was (ok he still is) a bush pilot in Alaska. He put a extra fuel tanks on his plane so he can fly from Alaska to lower 48 without stopping in Canada.
    IIRC he said in Alaska you are required to have a firearm as part of your ditch kit. If you plan to go thru (without landing) but are forced to land (engine touble, headwind that limits safe range) its not a major deal.
    Please do NOT take this as advice. Contact folks who KNOW>
  5. jim in Anchorage

    jim in Anchorage Well-Known Member

    I believe a firearm as required Alaska survival gear has gone away due to the problems going thru Canada. you may wish to call Aero tech flight service at Merrill field,Anchorage at 1-907-279-6558. That is were I got my private license,and they would know the FARs on this. Myself-two weeks of self heating MREs,and a shotgun to keep the damn bears away.
  6. Howser87

    Howser87 Member

    I would suggest either a Springfield M6 (You would have to get one used) or a Henry Survival Rifle.

    The M6 is nice because it has a .22LR and .410 shotgun, so you can carry several different shotgun loads, as well as have .22 for smaller game. It has a single fold point to make it more compact, then unfolds to fire.

    The Henry is just small, it breaks down and fits in its own stock. It is chambered in .22lr as well.

    Both are designed to be used by pilots as a survival gun.

    Here is a link to Henry's website> http://www.henryrepeating.com/h002_survival.cfm
  7. kilo729

    kilo729 Well-Known Member

    The thing about those weapons is that .410 bore is teenytiny, and won't be stopping a bear/moose/much of anything.

    A 12 gauge sounds like your best bet OP, buckshot/birdshot/slug and you're pretty much good to go. I believe I've heard of 12g flares, but it's 5am and my mind is kaput, so don't take my word for it.
  8. Onmilo

    Onmilo Well-Known Member

    For aircraft survival use, I will go out of the box and recommend a 22" stainless, synthetic stocked .308 or .30/06 bolt action rifle.
    100 rounds of ammo will weight less than 100 rounds of shotgun ammo and your ranging capability will be much improved over a short range shotgun.

    You could add a scope but I would choose good apeture peep sight based iron sights.
    These will take the bumps and bruises of being knocked around in a survival pack stored in an aircraft much better than even the best scope and will work well out to 400 meters.
  9. You will want very large game. There be Polar Bears up there. They say that when those are out, no one comes outside of their homes. If wolves are about, all the normal dogs go absolutely silent. Not good.

    Rem 870 is my choice. You will want to wear gun gloves so your skin does not come off in the cold weather up there when you grab the weapon. I agree on the .30/06 rifle. Dont be caught with a wussy caliber when something big comes for you.

    Ive family up there in Alaska, and they say guns = life. Totally. There be wolves, bears, elk etc up there. Nothing like freedom in Alaska.

    Good luck! Be careful to match your datum line/weight charts before you go, and good safe journey!

    Dont forget to equipt your airplane with a beacon locator that auto-alerts on a crash for you and possibly other things like flare guns and provisions for 5 days.
  10. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Well-Known Member

    Having some experience in wilderness areas in North America not to mention a few overseas I would say for certian if you are only going to carry one gun it should be a shotgun. I would tend towards a smoothbore with rifle sights so if you need food you have decent accuracy with the improved sighting system over the standard bead. Choke tubes should probably be avoided for the sake of simplicity. If you can find one of those remington 870 slug guns with the improved cylinder choke that would probably be ideal. Marinecotes are nice but you probably wont be able to find the right gun in that configuration. Slugs and birdshot of somekind may be the only shells you need. Stay away from the folding stocks as they are a pain to use.

    The only other option I would consider is maybe a 45/70 lever gun. Not as versatile as the shotgun but very good for getting food and keeping the beasies away. Honestly you probably wont have to worry too much about it bear attacks tend to be rare but it never hurts to be prepared. The Marlin guide gun is a good 45/70 platform that is also fairly compact.

    Another practical necessity is an axe. I like the shorter handled Hudson Bay style bit for the ease of packing but still being able to chop like crazy. Make sure to bring a file and stone for sharpening all the blades. Remember axes are weapons too for when things get really dicey. I would never leave into the bush with out my gun and axe.

    Then there are the usuals. Knife, fire starting kit, meds, space blanket, woolens. You do have a GPS transponder on your plane right?

    It pretty much depends on how much space you have.
  11. ds92

    ds92 Well-Known Member

    I'm no bush pilot, but i know of more than a few who carry pistols with them. mostly these real nice stainless .44 mags that any man would be proud to own. However, this is probably only good as a defensive weapon against bears and the like, and probably good for signaling but not for small game hunting.
  12. 22lr

    22lr Well-Known Member

    12ga with a load of slugs and buckshot should work nicely. Get a pistol grip or folding stock version for space and your set. Id say a high power rifle would be nice but not as versatile as a 12ga.
  13. riverdog

    riverdog Well-Known Member

    I'd take two. . .

    12 ga pump shotgun (Rem 870/Moss 590) with Imp Cyl choke for slugs and 00Buck -- big game and defense.

    .22LR bolt action rifle (CZ 452) -- small game.
  14. Ed Ames

    Ed Ames Well-Known Member

    Meh. You had it right. 870. Nothing fancy.

    Get some slugs and maybe some birdshot for small game.

    Practice with them (try some of the clay sports...they are fun and good training).
  15. c.latrans

    c.latrans Well-Known Member

    I have several thousand hours of low level tail dragger time in the bush. I chose an 870 Express with a 20 inch bbl and 3 chokes, with a mix of ammunition including signal flare loads. I consider it second on my list of items which I just dont leave home without. This day and age, the sat phone is your best friend and we carry them in all of our aircraft. A bit spendy up front, but you will consider it the best purchase of your life should the time come that you need it.....make sure the GPS system is enabled and you have it all in one hand. Another item we are never without is a reliable fire starter kit.......a supply of road flares. These things burn hot enough for long enough that even pretty damp wood can be coerced to burn.......especially if you have access to the av gas in your tanks. In our case a simple length of gas line to siphon into a water bottle, etc. suffices. The gun and ammo kit weighs a total of 14 lbs. Depending on the time, place and situation, I may substitute the shotgun kit for a Ruger MK 2 .22 pistol which I shoot pretty well. Not a bear stopper, but I don't intend to rely on it to be. The sat phone weighs 6 lbs in its bullet proof case, and the fire starter kit weighs less than 5 lbs. Good air, bro!
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2009
  16. vicdotcom

    vicdotcom Well-Known Member

    I would say keep things as simple as possible. You want something to keep you safe/alive for a short period of time. With an emergency becon with your kit, you are looking at a survival period about about 3 days - 1 to 2 week at most. If you are going to be in a situation where you can not recover your becon, then your gun will probably be with it so the point of what you carry will be moot.

    So you arent going to need 100 rounds of anything. What you will need is something to keep you safe and possibly get some food with. Remember, this probably isnt going to be a "surivialist living off the land for years" scenario more so a "keep me alive until help comes" situation.

    There are a lot of choices of remington 870's there, if that is what you are looking for. There are just about as many ammo choices also. With the shotgun, I recommend going with something short. So that rules out anything with a 24 in barrel or more. Also rules out most of the turkey/deer shoguns

    You need to keep this in your ditch bag I assume right? A Remington 870 Marine Magnum would be my choice. It is also setup to take a sling which is important when carrying arround. It has an 18 inch barrel. The next choice would be synthetic 870 express with 18 inch barrel. But you will have to add the rings to carry a sling on this one. Round capacity wouldnt matter to much for this purpose. But go with a smooth barrel not a rifled one.

    Now you have to think about ammo. A box of 25 shells will weigh a few pounds. A few slugs, a few buckshot,a few flares, and the rest turkey/bird loads. You will probably have emergency food in your bag already. If help take more than a week or so, then you will have means to get your own food. The slugs/buckshot would be for protection against wolves,bears,etc. But you will need to eat more times than you would need to fend off bad animials i think.

    That being said, I would also take a .22 rifle. The reason is you can carry 200 rounds of .22 for he bulk of 25 rounds of 12gauge shells. (you will prbably miss what you are aiming for with the 12 gauge a few times).

    But remember, you are waiting for help there are a lot more important things in that kit than the gun (like fire and knife).

    Thats my 2 cents on it.
  17. RetiredLawman

    RetiredLawman Well-Known Member

    When I was in the USAF, the aircraft had a Savage 24 in the survival package. This was back in the 1950s. I don't know what they use now.
  18. jim in Anchorage

    jim in Anchorage Well-Known Member

    Where in Alaska? If its Anchorage, you can follow the road system the whole way.
  19. Big Daddy Grim

    Big Daddy Grim Well-Known Member

    I hate to say it but have you seen the Marlin survival kits look into them the 590 you get in the kit is well worth it.
  20. Weight of a Remington Marine Magnum fully loaded is about 9 pounds give or take a little bit. A box of shells or several adds up to a few more pounds.

    Call it 12 pounds. Pretty easy on your datum weight CG chart for just about anything you have with wings. I have a feeling that the real bulk of your weight will come from provisions and other items necessary to your survival.

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