So the question comes to what rifle is best for a survival Rifle. A survival rifle needs to be able to take small to medium game. It also needs to be adequate for personal protection. Some believe there is a difference between a survival and a prepper’s needs. In fact there is no real difference between their needs. The need is for an accurate rifle that can protect you when it is necessary. This is not to say that you could not use a larger rifle for those uses.
So why recommend the .22LR? It is cheap to buy this caliber rifle. It is inexpensive to practice with. It has a faster learning curve due to its lack of recoil. Anybody can learn to shoot it. It is a whole lot quieter to shoot.
One thing to remember is that way too many people spend the largest part of their “prepping” budget on firearms. I am a firearms buff myself and I have more firearms than I really need just for the purpose of surviving. The fact is that if I could only take one rifle with me, it would be a Ruger 10/22. It is accurate, reliable and light and easy to carry. The ammunition is also light and not very bulky. Magazines are cheap and reliable. There are a lot of reliable and light .22LR rifles.
Many think that you need a big gun, but watch these!
Now remember that the bullet drop at 440Yds (400M) is around 26 feet. It is very impractical to think you would be defending yourself at these ranges with this caliber (440yds is a bit far with any caliber for most people!). A more realistic distance is about 150 yards and closer. I was really surprised at the Crickett rifles performance. I would opt more for a magazine or tube fed rifle for survival use. The top contender is the Ruger 10/22 compact or the 10/22 take-down. Another favorite would be the Henry Lever Actions. The AR7 survival from Henry should also be mentioned here.
A little more food for thought!
Though a 1/2″ pine plank is not an over all yardstick for defense, but this video shows a .22LR Rifle has a lot more power than any of us give it! Is it the go to gun for self defense? I do not think it is. But if you can shoot it accurately then it is the best overall choice for your single firearm survival weapon.
Noise (muzzle blast) is a big consideration when you are hunting in a survival situation. That AR-15 might seem like the best rifle but it will echo for miles every time you shoot it. A .22LR is a whole lot quieter than the .223. And if you have the subsonic loads that are available then it is even a little more subdued. The biggest thing I noticed with the .22LR subsonic ammo is that there is no echo when it is fired. keeping quiet is the best way to avoid confrontations.
Is a heavier caliber rifle needed, for defense/survival, yes it might be. But you will be making a mistake not to have a .22LR in your arsenal. If you only have the means for one rifle then you should make it a .22. If you are not a real “gun lover” but realize you will need something to hunt and protect with, then the .22 might just be for you. And the last case is that you need a rifle that you can master quickly then the .22 is for you.
So when you go out to buy that first survival rifle, take my advice, look for a good .22LR Rifle.