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#192184 - 12/30/09 07:13 PM Thoughts on Compact Rifle for Hunting/Survival?
Pete Offline

Registered: 02/20/09
Posts: 1307
I've been looking at possible choices for a compact rifle that would be useful for general hunting/survival purposes. I'm thinking of game in the small-to-medium size, such as antelope or small deer (100-200 pounds). For this reason I don't want to go to calibers as large as 270 Winchester or 308.

It seems like there are some good choices for rifles in the 243 Winchester caliber, or the .30-30. For example, Browning makes a nice takedown rifle (BLR rifle) that comes in the 243 caliber. Recently, Henry Repeating Arms has just come out with a new lever gun in .30-30. Does anybody have any thoughts about the tradeoffs between these two calibers (243 Winchesteer and .30-30) in a wilderness setting? The 243 would give a flatter ballistic trajectory out to longer distances, but the .30-30 is a classic deer bullet for a lot of practical situations (100-150 yards).

I thought I'd post the topic to this forum - to get some practical comments. Gun owners often have very emotional loyalties and opinions on their own blogs.

the other Pete

#192189 - 12/30/09 07:41 PM Re: Thoughts on Compact Rifle for Hunting/Survival? [Re: Pete]
benjammin Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4018
Loc: Anchorage AK
While both the 243 and 30-30 rounds are well capable of cleanly harvesting small to medium sized game, from a survival platform perspective the 30-30 has a better advantage. Here's a couple reasons why:

It is sensible to keep the profile of a survival carbine as small as practical. For this reason, the addition of a telescopic sight to the platform is undesirable. While adding such a sight to any rifle will improve the range at which the firearm can be used, it is not essential for survival style hunting. Since a 30-30 is intended for ranges where open sight systems are proven effective, the need for an extended sighting capability with this round is greatly diminished. In the open range, the 30-30 is not as effective due to it's lower velocity. Bullet drop greatly reduces the MPBR (maximum point blank range) of the load, requiring sight adjustment or compensation with limited reliability. Additionally, a telescopic sight will be more prone to shock failure in rugged conditions, making it even less reliable in a survival situation. The advantages of the 243 cartridge are essentially negated in a survival situation. So even though it is more powerful and has a much longer effective range, the ability to wield it to its full potential probably cannot be realized practically.

Except for heavy brush environments, the 243 (with an energy level much closer to 308 than 30-30) can do what the 30-30 can do within the same range. The difference in apparent recoil between the two rounds from a similar platform will be negligible, and shot placement using iron sights within the capabilities of the shooter will have likewise minimal variance on terminal ballistics. Because the 30-30 shoots a heavier, larger bullet, it would be a superior brush gun, and would tend to deflect less if encountering light obstructions in flight.

I believe the number of firearms suited to transit and survival applications are greater for the 30-30 than for the 243. However, I would still recommend a bolt action 7mm-08 in a scouting configuration as the superior firearm to either choice above.
The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.
-- Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)

#192194 - 12/30/09 08:22 PM Re: Thoughts on Compact Rifle for Hunting/Survival? [Re: benjammin]
scafool Offline

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
I can buy 30-30 ammo anywhere. The basic carbine is simple, easy to handle and very reliable.
Most deer shot here are got at about 50 yards, seldom more than 100.
May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

#192197 - 12/30/09 08:28 PM Re: Thoughts on Compact Rifle for Hunting/Survival? [Re: benjammin]
Tarzan Offline

Registered: 02/02/08
Posts: 146
Loc: Washington
I think you could find many calibers better suited, having no idea of where you are geographically or where you would wish to use this rifle mires the logic a bit. What works for the plains may not be suitable for the mountains or forested areas.
I think Thompson Center makes a great rifle that can break down easily, you can change barrels on it as well to suit the situation.
If you have millions of dollars a good drilling rifle offers the best of all worlds. Order it to suit your own peculiar wants, needs or desires.
If you are going to hunt antelope, I would think the 30-30 could be problematic in that it is a limited range cartridge and antelopes are a bit skittish. I would never consider hunting them without a scope equipped rifle.
As was mentioned before, equipping a rifle with a scope pretty much takes it out of the survival rifle category simply because of the inherent fragility of the sighting system. I also believe a scout configuration would be more practical, but my caliber preferences differ. YMMV.
I bet you will get as many opinions as you will answers.

#192198 - 12/30/09 09:01 PM Re: Thoughts on Compact Rifle for Hunting/Survival? [Re: Tarzan]
DannyL Offline

Registered: 02/22/08
Posts: 103
Loc: SE Alaska
For a "survival Rifle" check these out:


- available in more calibers than most people know what to do with.


Edited by DannyL (12/30/09 09:04 PM)

#192201 - 12/30/09 09:19 PM Re: Thoughts on Compact Rifle for Hunting/Survival? [Re: DannyL]
MoBOB Offline

Registered: 09/17/07
Posts: 1211
Loc: here
Unless you have a way to process (preserve) the extra meat from a deer-sized animal, I would stay in the small critter range. For that reason I would stick to the Ruger 10/22 with a set of aftermarket peep sights. Other than that, I would go with a 12 gauge shotgun with a short, and legal, barrel length; very versatile.

Standard Disclaimer

My $.02
"Its not a matter of being ready as it is being prepared" -- B. E. J. Taylor

#192208 - 12/30/09 10:09 PM Re: Thoughts on Compact Rifle for Hunting/Survival? [Re: NightHiker]
miner Offline

Registered: 09/05/03
Posts: 74
Loc: Layton, Utah
Are you looking for a hunting rifle (that you could use in a survival situation)? Or are you looking for a survival rifle that could be used to secure food in a survival situation?

If you are looking for a hunting rifle, either a 30/30 or a 243 would be fine. Both are very common so ammo is available. (I personally like the 6mm Remington over the 243 but ammo is not readily available for the 6mm - whole other story though).

If you want a survival rifle, I have to agree with MoBOB, Ruger 10/22. Ammo is: available, cheap (relatively), and light (you could carry a bunch of it). Not ideal for deer sized game but could do it (my uncle shot a mule deer in the 1940s on a dare with a 22 long rifle round because he and his buddy did not think a 22 could kill it, it did). A 22 will not absolutely destroy small game (e.g. rabbit, squirrel, etc) like a high velocity round (i.e. 243) will. Also, a 22 makes a lot less noise if consealment is an issue in a survival situation.

Aside from fighting off zombies or hordes of bad guys intent on doing you harm, I think a 22 is the best "survival gun" out there (could be used for self defense but there are many better choices for that). Next I'd pick a 12 gauge shotgun in pump action (e.g. Remington 870) and my third choice would be an AR-15 in 5.56 NATO. But none of these would be on the list "Hunting rifle for deer/antelop sized game".

#192211 - 12/30/09 11:13 PM Re: Thoughts on Compact Rifle for Hunting/Survival? [Re: miner]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5924
Loc: southern Cal
Granted that a scope is relatively fragile, I would be inclined to start out with one, especially since my centerfire rifle already has a nice one. If it goes bad, I can easily remove it (giving me a couple of lenses for fire starting) and revert to the factory sights (which are sighted in). Fortunately, the rear sight is a peep, so I ought to be good for a bit more range than 50 yards.

I am with you in your preference for the 6mm Remington caliber. Good thing I like to hand load....

Geezer in Chief

#192214 - 12/31/09 12:00 AM Re: Thoughts on Compact Rifle for Hunting/Survival? [Re: Pete]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Like them both.


.243 will shoot flatter and have longer over all range due to it's larger case capacity. I find it interesting that you say you don't want a .308, when a .243 is just a .308 case necked down to a 6mm bullet, but the .243 does generally have less felt recoil. Generally a bolt or break action, so cleaning is easy and you usually have a stronger action.

.30-30 can, has and will kill everything so long as you are within range. If you've got to take longer shots (200m+), then not your first choice, but for close range (<100m) it is a fine choice. Recoil is pretty minimal. Down side is that is generally a lever gun, which is harder to clean and usually a bit more crud sensitive. The tubular magazine limits you to non-spitzer bullets unless you are going to be single loading them.

But for survival, I find they are both too heavy for small game. A lever action in .44Mag that can handle the heavier hunting loads, if you've got a a light load in the chamber for bunnies, would probably do you just as well at short (<50m) ranges. Ammo is lighter, but it doesn't work so well if you've got wide open country.

Either that, or back it up with a good .22 pistol or carbine.

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

#192219 - 12/31/09 12:22 AM Re: Thoughts on Compact Rifle for Hunting/Survival? [Re: ironraven]
JohnE Offline

Registered: 06/10/08
Posts: 601
Loc: Southern Cal
Marlin 1894c in .357 and a decent S&W revolver to go with it. Mutual ammunition, can be used with .38 Special or +P ammunition for training or smaller game. Packable, not as much as a breakdown rifle but it's pretty short (18.5" barrel) and not so heavy (6 lbs unloaded).

If you can't defend yourself with 9 rounds in the rifle and 6 in the revolver, you might as well give up.

If you're looking for more of a very small game, plinking type of rifle, the aforementioned Ruger 10/22 has to be about the best choice available. Small, lightweight, folding stock available depending on your location, enough other accessories and upgrades to make an AR shooter cry and the ammunition is the most widely available anywhere in the U.S. For defense purposes it's not ideal but then again, you can put 10 hollowpoints out the muzzle pretty damned quickly if you have to. You might not stop someone with 1 round but I sure wouldn't want to get hit by all 10.

"and all the lousy little poets
comin round
tryin' to sound like Charlie Manson"

The Future/Leonard Cohen

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