5 Best Survival Air Rifles That Pack A REAL Punch

By SS Contributor | Last Updated: October 7, 2016

Survival Air RifleSurvival Air Rifles Are NO LONGER Just Kid’s Toys

Oh, the classic BB gun.

Beloved by many, especially in our youth.

I recall spending countless fun-filled hours plunking sparrows out of barn rafters on the farm.

The day my Dad gave me my first BB gun was a big deal. The BB gun was my right of passage.

And it was the classic Red Ryder Carbin Action 2 On The Shot Range Model Air Rifle every kid wanted; right?

Adios, Bart!

Needless to say, the bb gun is still a popular backyard weapon.

Many of us cut our teeth on a slingshot initially, but soon after upgraded to the real deal; a BB gun.

And that glorious day your Dad handed you your very own BB gun was the same day no mouse, rat, bird, or squirrel was safe.

BB guns are simple to use. So they’re great for a beginning shooter and easy to maintain. They’re perfect for keeping all varieties of vermin and pests away from your property. Maybe even taking down a rabbit or squirrel for dinner.

And while the ease of use is still the same today as they were when you were a kid, the technology has improved; drastically. The bb gun has grown up and can officially be called an air rifle. The accuracy and velocity improvements of today’s air rifles are impressive.

And while they will never fully replace a good .22 rifle or 9mm handgun for survival, they still deserve a place at the table. You should invest in a survival air rifle.

Here’s why…

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Reasons To Invest In A Survival Air Rifle

First off, as we already mentioned, they’re easy to handle and the projectiles (bb or pellets) don’t require special ammo storage methods.

Air guns are quieter than firearms (without silencers), so if you’re thinking about investing in building a home shooting range, air guns are an ideal choice for getting as much practice in as your heart desires.

You won’t have to worry about pesky neighbor noise complaints or purchasing a gun silencer.

BB guns are also less intimidating for young kids. They have less recoil than other types of weapons but are still powerful enough to replicate the basic feel of firing a gun and the responsibility that comes with it.

And they are not just for kids.

Some higher-end models can fire a bb or pellet at more than 1000 fps. And as we’ll see shortly, they can even shatter a concrete block at a 25-foot range.

Another nice benefit to owning a good survival air rifle is that you can purchase them online with zero restrictions. They are not regulated by our nanny government so you can buy as many as you want today with no hassles.

Survival rifles are typically extremely lightweight. The stocks are often made from synthetic polymers and the firing mechanisms are simple. Thus you can find a good survival rifle that comes in around 3 lbs or less. So they are ideal for a bug out scenario.

Finally, a survival air rifle can be had at a fraction of the price of a firearm. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for but even a higher-end model survival air rifle can be had for under $200. And if you want a budget model you can get one for under $40.

Ultimately, air rifles can be a really good addition to your survival gun arsenal, even though they can’t really replace a solid, reliable firearm. Still, their ease of use makes them quite advantageous in a variety of situations.

Different Types Of Survival Air Rifles

There are several types of air guns. If you look around the internet, you’re going to see them under all sorts of names, depending on the brand. The most common types are break-action, pre-pumped (PCP), multi-pump, and single-pump.

Pump guns are the most well-known model. The principle behind this type is simple. They’re designed with a small air reservoir that you manually fill with air using a built-in pump. Each pump builds up pressure. After you build up enough pressure, pull the trigger. This releases the air pressure and the projectile is sent down the barrel.

PCP guns work on a similar principle, but they require an air or gas tank to fill them up. This is nice to save you the time and energy of having to pump the gun manually. But now your air rifle requires an electric air pump, which is bad from a minimalist survival standpoint.

Break Action Guns use a spring to accomplish the same result.

There are a number of reasons why pump guns remain popular to this day, in spite of the fact that spring action guns have been around since the 16th century.

For one, they are much more powerful and easier to maintain. You can also adjust the force of your shot.

And unlike PCP guns, which require you to have a canister on hand to fill up the air reservoir, pump guns are easier to carry around since they don’t need extra equipment. This makes them quite handy when it comes to short hunting trips.

Unfortunately, they can be a bit annoying when it comes to shooting fast, moving targets, like squirrels or birds, because they need to be pumped back up after every shot.

When it comes to the choice between single and multi-pump guns, both have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s really up to you which you prefer.

Multi-pump guns are more powerful than single-pump rifles when the air chamber is at full capacity. The only real downside is that it takes a longer time to prepare a shot. But you can adjust and vary the force of your shot depending on what results you’re looking for.

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5 Favorite Survival Air Rifles

Below are several air rifles we consider good for survival. They are among the best air rifles for your dollar on the market today.

Some are newer models, while others are classic versions with updates. Each has its own merits and disadvantages, which we’ll cover.

So if you’re new to the world of air guns and don’t know where to start or if you’re looking to update your collection, these are some of the models you should look at first.
daisy 880 powerline

1. Daisy 880 Powerline

The Daisy 880 Powerline has a steel barrel and woodgrain handle, a combination that gives it a pleasant feel.

It’s still light, as you’d expect an air gun to be, but at the same time, it’s heavy enough to provide reasonable accuracy. It still maintains a traditional look but looks can be deceiving.

There’s a lot of modern craft and design put into this gun.

This model caters to the 16 and above age group, so it’s great as an intermediate rifle for someone who knows what they’re doing but is not ready for a more powerful survival air rifle.

And as far as price goes, this model is one of the most affordable on the list. So it’s a solid investment to get a feel for a survival air rifle without making a huge financial commitment.

When fully loaded, it can chamber up to 50 BBs or it can loads pellets individually. It can shoot a BB at 750 feet per second, and pellets at a slightly lower speed of 715 feet per second, when pumped to its fullest.

It’s a good choice when you’re looking to take down small targets. And many shooters find 8 pumps are plenty to get the job done, even though the weapon itself can hold up to 10 pumps of air.

Crosman p1377 american classic multi pump2. Crosman P1377 American Classic Multi Pump

The original model came out in 1977 and has since been tweaked and polished to near perfection.

It truly is a classic, a real treasure of an air gun, that has seen some improvements over the years. But since the initial design of the Crosman P1377 was so good, to begin with, there was no need to scrap it and invest in a completely different one.

For an airgun enthusiast, it’s a weapon that’s worth having even if it’s just for the sake of nostalgia. It feels like you’re holding a little bit of history in your hands.

While it may not be as powerful as more modern spring-piston-powered guns, the lack of force does have some advantages. For one, there’s barely any recoil to the gun, so getting consistently accurate shots is a piece of cake.

It’s also surprisingly silent, so if you’re looking to practice at home in your backyard, you don’t have to worry about your neighbors.

Its small size also makes it very easy to carry around.

And in spite of its relatively light size, it still has quite a bit of stopping power. Since it’s so easy to conceal and take with you, it’s a great choice for a self-defense weapon.

Crosman Recruit Air Rifle3. Crosman Recruit Air Rifle

The Crosman Recruit Air Rifle is perfect for someone who’s ready to trade in their beginner airgun for something slightly more powerful.

Pumping more air into this gun will allow you to shoot projectiles at around 680fps when shooting BBs, so compared to other types of air guns, this one would fall somewhere in the middle when it comes to force.

For a weapon of this power and caliber, it’s also surprisingly light. That’s because the stock is made out of a synthetic material making it quite sturdy, but at the same time weighs less than a regular stock made out of hardwood.

The texture also makes it easier to hold on to.

The synthetic materials make it so that you don’t have to worry about changes in temperature and humidity when you store them. Heat and moisture can warp wooden stocks, and even damage the weapon if you’re not careful. With this synthetic stock, that’s not an issue.

The barrel of this gun is smooth, which can be taken as either a positive or negative feature, depending on what you’re looking for. Smooth bore barrels make it so that the BB encounters less friction. So you’ll get more power and distance out of your shot.

But without that spinning motion, the shots might be less accurate as a result. Then again, the further you shoot, the more you’re going to lose accuracy, so it’s really up to you to decide which feature is more important to you.

Benjamin 392 Air Rifle4. Benjamin 392 Air Rifle

Much like the Crosman Classic, the Benjamin 392 Air Rifle is a wonderfully old-school model with a modern twist. You can tell just by looking at it that it is made to last.

The American Hardwood Monte Carlo finish makes this one look like an absolute jewel. The makers of this weapon used every bit of material to its fullest, so even though it barely has any plastic parts, it still feels lighter than it should.

To charge it to its full capacity, this model needs about 8 pumps. But you can get some pretty decent shots in with just half that number. And the fact that it’s made out of such sturdy material, the shots will be quite accurate as well.

As a bonus, in spite of the fact that it can pack a punch with as much as 685 fps, the gun has very little recoil overall. And more than that, it’s surprisingly silent for a weapon of this build.

This makes the ideal gun for training, but also for keeping local pest populations in check.

The only part that’s not really up to snuff with this rifle is the iron sights. Many find them quite subpar, but you can always upgrade to an air rifle scope, and in fact, it may be a good idea if you’re looking to shoot targets at a further distance.

The pump action also gets a bit hard to manage toward the final thrusts, so this isn’t really a weapon for beginners. However, whatever it loses in these aspects, it more than makes up for its solid build and sheer style.


Benjamin Marauder Synthetic Stock Pellet Air Rifle5. Benjamin Marauder Synthetic Stock Pellet Air Rifle

With the previous air rifles, I was very aware of the overall price. I focused on keeping your total investment in a survival air rifle under the $100 mark.

However, those out there looking for something with a little more and willing to pay for it should check out the Benjamin Marauder Synthetic Stock Pellet Air Rifle. This survival air rifle has it all:

  • Multi-shot PCP design with auto-indexing clip
  • Ambidextrous, synthetic all-weather stock
  • Custom choked barrel
  • Internal shroud
  • Two-stage adjustable, match-grade trigger pack with a metal trigger
  • Raised aluminum breech with heavy-duty pull bolt
  • Operates at fill pressure between 2,000 and 3,000 psi
  • Comes with a  1-year manufacturer’s warranty
  •  Caliber: .25. Velocity: Up to 900 fps

It’s definitely an upgrade to your typical low-dollar survival air rifle, but you’ll get what you pay for.

For instance, if one of the primary reasons for owning a survival air rifle is how quiet it can be then this air rifle won’t disappoint.

Stealth is a major advantage in survival.

You’ll be able to take down a squirrel or rabbit for dinner without alerting the entire neighborhood. It’s about as silent as they come while shooting a projectile at 900 fps.

Another notable feature is that the trigger pressure is adjustable. So if you prefer a light trigger, then you can adjust for that, if you like a heavier one, that’s available too.

For even more details behind this air rifle including velocity and accuracy tests check out this review video (FYI – the introduction is quite long).

Also, you can pair a Hawke Airmax EV scope nicely with this air rifle.

There’s a lot to like about making this your go-to survival air rifle. So make sure to click here to check out today’s prices.

Finally, before wrapping up, I wanted to share with you what they are calling “the world’s most powerful airgun” on the market. It’s the Air Force Texan and it’s a beast of an airgun. It can literally bust up concrete blocks.

This legitimate survival weapon will throw you back a few dollars, but it’s definitely got some power to back it up.

As A Way To Introduce You To Skilled Survival, We're Giving Away Our Ultimate Firearms Survival Guide. Click Here To Get Your FREE Copy Of It.

Final Notes on Air Rifle Safety

When it comes to safety, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of these guns. They might not be as powerful as a firearm, but if they can stop a small animal in its tracks, they can definitely hurt a human.

They can even be fatal if not used properly. You should use the same safety precautions as you would with any other gun, regardless of its type.

When it comes to choosing your practice targets, make sure nobody is standing within the field of a shot, especially if you’re shooting pellets. Pellets are lighter than BBs and can have a wider spread.

Obviously, you don’t want to be standing near the target under any circumstance. So standing in front of the shooter or to the side is never a good idea. Always stand behind the shooter at all times, if possible.

If you’re using hard targets for practice, like trees or metal objects, always maintain a safe distance and never shoot at solid metal. Steel BBs will ricochet off these types of targets.

Survival Air Rifle Wrap Up

There are many reasons to invest in a good survival air rifle. We covered several of those reasons and you may even have some that we didn’t even mention. So let us know in the comments below, the main reasons you want to own a survival air rifle.

This article was submitted by Matt Jones from GunSmithU

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