What are the requirements for a survival rifle? I will attempt to answer this question and provide what I think is the best answer. These rifle features are of primary importance: rugged and reliable, easy to use, carry and maneuver, adequate bullet range, easy to get ammunition, multiple loads ammunition, bullet casings reloadable
These are the primary uses of a survival rifle are foraging and defense.
In my opinion, the 45-70 government is one of the best all-around survival cartridges. Several manufacturers make rifles chambered in 45-70 govt., the rifle I am most experienced with is the lever-action Marlin Guide Gun – model 1895-SBL.
Introduced in 1873 for use in the single-shot trapdoor Springfield rifle, it was adopted by the US Army as the official U.S. service cartridge and rifle combination. It is still in use today by the military as the cartridge for the M32 line-thrower.
For ease of use and rugged reliability, the lever-gun is hard to beat. Short,light-weight and well-balanced, time to target acquisition is minimal. The lever-action can clear short rounds easily and re-chambering rounds are quick.
Contrary to popular misconceptions the 45-70 cartridge is not short range. True, the most effective range for point and shoot is 100 yds(+-), but a skilled shooter, firing at known range, can consistently hit targets that are 6 x 6 feet (1.8 m) at 600 yards. Extreme distances have been verified at 2 miles!
Cartridges in 45-70 in a variety of loads are available from most mainstream ammunition manufactures and specialty suppliers today. The internet is a common source of supply at reasonable prices. Also, any local gun dealer will stock or can order ammunition for you. The 45-70 cartridge also lends itself well to reloading.
As for game-getting, there is no big-game animal that the 45-70 cannot bring down. Well suited for deer, elk, moose, or bison. It will also handle lions, tigers or bears as well as cape-buffalo, rhinoceros, and elephants. Lower powder charges with a lighter weight bullet could be used for varmint style animals or even large birds such as turkeys or chickens.
Historically, the cartridge has been loaded with bird-shot for foraging by the military, and while not recommended, the 45-70 rifle will chamber and shoot a .410 gauge shotshell. In a survival situation with home-reloading, these type of multi-ball cartridges could be hand-made.
While the 45-70 may not be the first gun that would come to mind for personal defense, it would certainly be adequate for the job. Originally a military round, the 45-70 was designed as a man-stopper. The combination of a fast reaction lever gun with say, Garrett’s 415-grain hard cast loading is bound to discourage all but the most desperate adversaries. Loaded with the multi-ball shot-shells it would also be extremely effective as crowd control.
The 45-70 lever-action Marlin Guide Gun – model 1895-SBL. A rifle/cartridge combination that would be tough to beat in a survival situation. It will take much practice to get used to the ballistics of different loads and to get proficient with the characteristics of a lever-gun. But once mastered this could be a one-gun arsenal.
Thanks for your time and attention. I look forward to hearing your opinions LurkerBob (probationary member wolf pack – (lone-wolf))