As our our “elected” royalty jet set around the world in lavish excess, most of of us on the “right” side of the argument believe that the world is quickly going to hell in a socialist hand-basket. The result is that we are packing a bag just in case we need to hit the high road and are keeping an ever watchful eye to what each new day brings. Amide the mass of essentials packed into that bag, the question becomes what gun to pack as your primary firearm or as a sensible backup to your shouldered AR-15. In this situation, it makes perfect sense to contemplate the available firearms which breakdown specifically for this packable requirement.
Over the last year I have reviewed four distinctly different take-down firearms which can fill a unique niche stuffed in different types of bug out bags ranging from big power, lightweight & ultralight design, to reliable utility. These firearms include the Henry AR-7 Survival Rifle, Mossberg JIC II Shotgun, The Pack Rifle, and the Ruger 10/22 Takedown model. For this article, I want to focus on why I would choose each of these options versus rehashing the reviews. For those that want the nitty gritty review on each firearm, I will provide links to my individual reviews at the conclusion of the article.
HENRY AR-7 SURVIVAL RIFLE
Originally developed by Armalite, then poorly produced and riddled by problems when produced by Charter Arms and then Survival Arms. The AR-7 design has now been rescued by Henry Repeating Arms who has updated this historic design. The basics reasons I like this design are a very light rifle that is totally waterproof and even floats.
The AR-7 will stow inside the buttstock delivering a short packable 16.5" length. Pop off the buttpad pull out a magazine, the action and barrel and screw it all together. In under a minute, you have a working semi-auto 8-shot firearm all without the need for secondary storage and it floats which is a huge plus for the boaters.
The Henry AR-7 Survival Rifle delivers a balance between the ultralight Pack Rifle below and the Ruger 10/22-TD. The AR-7 has an amazingly light 2.5 lb weight, but with an 8-shot magazine fed semi-auto action it is the lightweight semi-auto rifle winner. It is nearly half the weight of the 10/22-TD, but still delivers multi-shot capability which the Pack Rifle does not.
Henry has packed a heck of a lot of utility into a very light firearm, but it is a unique design which feels more or less like a full sized rifle but is unnaturally light. Of the survival rifles here, the Ar-7 is the only one which has an integrated scope rail. Being a semi-auto chambered in .22LR makes the weight of this gun+ammo option appealing. You could carry 250 rounds plus the rifle for the same weight as just the 10/22-TD without ammo.
Henry has worked hard to overcome the AR-7’s historical reliability issues caused by the previous manufacturers. In my case, I found out that the hammer spring needed a little tweak to increase tension. After that one tweak all of my minor failure to fire issues were resolved. If you choose this gun, I would suggest you spend some time working through at least 500 rounds of ammo and assure it works flawlessly for you with your favorite high velocity ammo. I would also recommend you have a solid 25 yard zero with the large aperture and then Locktite the front sight in place as the orange plastic on teflon tends to move around the front sight a little too easily. Overall a great lightweight option for those that work around water of feel the need to have multi-round capability.
ORIGINAL HENRY AR-7 RIFLE REVIEW
PACK RIFLE - .22LR
I always say that the better the engineering, the simpler the product and the Pack Rifle is a good example of that philosophy in action. The Pack Rifle makes you immediately think of the James Bond Villain, The Man with the Golden Gun. The single shot Pack Rifle is made a stunningly light 15.5 oz with the help of aircraft aluminum, carbon fiber and limited use of stainless steel in strategic areas.
Many will ask “really a single shot”, but in the realities of an outdoor survival situation, there is no need to fend off a giant horde with an hour of sustained fire. Generally in most of the US, the largest animal you will have to worry about is a raccoon, bobcat, or cougar which can all be dropped with a .22LR. In the wild, a hunting target will rarely give you the opportunity for a second shot, so you might as well make it count with a single shot rifle.
Without question the Pack Rifle is the finest workmanship firearm of this group. You should own one regardless of whether it ends up in a pack or not. It is truly a gorgeous gun in silver and I would imagine in the other candy apple colors it is even more stunning. The Pack Rifle shot from the bench is by far the most accurate of all the guns here though not the easiest to shoot accurately. A simple red dot mounted on top on this would be perfect, however that requires an optional scope mount. The barrel is a precision match grade button rifled Cro-Moly liner with a carbon fiber composite outer. The same type of carbon fiber is used for the butt stock tube of the rifle. It is simple and elegant all while being nearly totally weatherproof. Reloading is pretty quick considering this is a single shot, however given the outstanding accuracy, I doubt you would need the extra shot.
At 15.5oz this is a "no-brainer" packable firearm option as it weights scarcely more than your average multi-tool. In addition to being insanely light, the Pack Rifle is a take down design which stows in only 17” of space with very little bulk which is; perfect for packing. The handle and stock are also hollow which allows storage of a little survival kit and/or extra ammo. Between the stock and handle I stowed nearly 30 extra rounds. The stock tube does require a hex wrench for removal however I was able to modify a small hex wrench to fit in the handle with the ammo and the rifle does include a full set of hex wrenches. Pack Rifle also makes a scope mount and even a fishing rod conversion. This is a backup survival rifle that is so light that it makes it easy to be packed on every outdoor trek.
ORIGINAL REVIEW OF THE PACK RIFLE
RUGER 10/22TD - .22LR
The Ruger 10/22-TD Take-Down model is in essence an exact duplicate take-down version of the top selling Ruger 10/22 Stainless Carbine model. The only distinctive features being that It can be disassembled quickly and easily and that it comes with a very nice quality case/pack. Obviously, the 10/22-TD snaps to the shoulder and will make a pop can dance at 50 yards; it is a rifle that easy to shoot accurately.
For those survival types, the pack provides ample room for a light get home bag, the receiver section is stored in one side with plenty of room left even if a standard sized scope is attached.
Due to the design, the 10/22-TD barrel and stock cannot be upgraded due to the design with any aftermarket options at this time, however in this case that is fine. The Ruger 10/22-TD is every bit a standard 10/22; it shoots, handles with incredible durability and reliability just like any other ruger 10/22 except that you can pop it apart and back together again round-trip in about 5 seconds flat. It can be assembled and shot in less than two seconds because it can be assembled with a magazine loaded. Unloading with a loaded magazine takes a bit longer because the bolt has to be pulled back. From my testing the disconnect union makes the barrel shoot like it is free floated and is actually more accurate than the standard carbine model.
The downside it that I wish, wish, wish Ruger would have offered this same all stainless gun in a 16.1” version instead of the 18.5” barrel version which makes it just a tad tough to slip into your average 3-day sized pack. The bottom line is that this is the most durable semi-auto .22 LRtake-down rifle you can own and with an optional 25-round magazine. The 10/22-TD gives you a lot of potential firepower with optional 25-round magazines should the 10/22-TD be forced into self defense use.
ORIGINAL 10/22-TD REVIEW
MOSSBERG JIC II - 12 GAUGE
The .22LR is an under-rated round and can take surprisingly large game with proper shot placement, however, in some situations a.22 may not have enough power for hunting or defense. For many, a 12 gauge pump action shotgun represents the pinnacle of a survival or defense firearm. This was the thinking behind the Mossberg JIC - Just In Case series. The newer JIC II series takes the concept a step further with a simple 5.11 cordura pack based carry solution.
The Mossberg JIC II is simply a pistol grip-ed Mossberg 500 series 6-shot pump action shotgun with an improved cylinder choke. The significant difference of the JIC II is that it includes a case that holds the shotgun in a disassembled state with barrel and pistol grip removed for carry compliance in almost any state. But who really cares about compliance in a survival situation?
The 12 gauge is about as simple as a firearm gets and delivers near instant stopping power to anything living in North America with the right loads. Available shotshells run the gamut from sabot’ed slugs capable of downing any North American game accurately at 100 yards, fletched long range defensive rounds, door breaching rounds, signal flares, heavy goose and turkey loads, light recoiling clays and bird loads, to the standard variety of buckshot, BB, pellets, flares and many more. The 12 gauge shell is also versatile enough for small to large game and fairly easily field reloadable. For urban or outback survival the pistol grip model allows for a more compact potentially more concealable package if needed.
Pistol grip shotguns look cool, are compact, potentially concealable, and great for home defense CQB type environments, however engaging targets at 15-yard+ ranges takes a little practice. The pistol grip is not optimal for accurate shot placement and the recoil is something that needs to be managed and worked through. I found the stock pistol grip brutal to shoot with higher power loads, however swapping to a Raptor pistol/bounty hunter style grip helped to control recoil considerably while also improving offhand shooting. A pistol gripped shotgun would not be my choice for a casual shooter who has only put a couple rounds through the gun. The proper use of a 12 gauge requires practice and proficiency with a pistol grip shotgun requires much more practice if you intend on shooting birds in flight or game on the move.
Although substantially more effective than a .22LR round at self defense and larger game, the 12 gauge rounds take up significantly more space and weighs more per round compared to smaller caliber rounds so in the end you will be able to carry less ammo than you would with a .22LR. My recommendation is to pack a 50 round over the shoulder bandelero ammo carrier packed with a variety of rounds.
The JIC II is also the heaviest of the four bug out guns in this article, however should give you a hunting advantage when hunting birds on the move. The other consideration is that you will need to assure you are carrying a variety of slugs, birdshot, buckshot, BB, and slugs to get the versatility of the shotgun that it can deliver.
ORIGINAL MOSSBERG JIC II REVIEW
There are compromises with almost every take down gun, however the keys are to assure you send enough rounds down range that you are both proficient with the firearm before it gets packed away and that you would feel comfortable staking your life on the firearm.. I generally assure the gun is sighted in with the same type/brand of ammo that I plan on carrying in my bag. For magazine fed models, I usually try to have at least four magazines pre- loaded and with the firearm.
Some of these firearms include cases, however sadly without modification all feature giant brightly colored logos which scream “hey over here I am carrying an X firearm”. This situation could certainly draw unwanted attention to yourself in the wrong environment or even if legally carrying the rifle while camping or hiking. A little time with needle and thread to attach a patch over the logo or some recoloring with a Sharpie would make the JIC II and Ruger cases more clandestine and useable in a survival situation.
The big question is which one should you choose. The answer depends on your intent; if in bear country or a potential defensive situation, I would pick the Mossberg JIC II in a heartbeat, if just some lightweight hiking or hunting, the Pack Rifle would be the perfect option or even a ultralight backup to a carried shotgun or rifle.
If you are around water the AR-7 makes the most sense because it will float. As a general all purpose rifle that you could use everyday of the week, the Ruger 10/22TD is a hard option to pass up because after all it is still a easy to shoot and durable 10/22.
Hopefully these firearms gave you a little fuel for thought and considerations of weight, size, capacity and other options when looking for a bug out gun. Make your choice wisely as your life may depend on it.
SPECS FOR TAKE-DOWN RIFLES
|NAME||HENRY U.S. SURVIVAL AR-7 RIFLE||MOSSBERG JIC II||PACK RIFLE||Ruger 10/22-TD|
|CALIBER||.22LR||12 Gauge - up to 3" shells||.22LR||.22LR|
|CAPACITY||8-round Magazine Fed||6 rounds||1||10-round magazine fed, optional 25, 50, 100 round magazines|
|ACTION||Action Type Semi-automatic||Pump action with twin action bars||Single Shot||Semi-automatic|
|LENGTH ASSEMBLED||Length 35" assembled||28 3/4"||33"||37"|
|LENGTH COLLAPSED||16.5" when stowed||18.5"||17"||18.5"|
|WEIGHT||Weight 3.5 lbs.||5.5lbs||15.5 oz||4.67lbs|
|STOCKS||ABS||Polymer||Carbon fiber and billet aluminum||Synthetic|
|SIGHTS||Sights Adjustable rear, blade front||Sight Front bead||Adjustable Peep||Gold bead front, adjustable rear folding leaf|
|BARREL||16.5"||18.5" w/ Cylinder Bore Choke||16.1" Match Chambered Barrel||18.5", 6 groove, 1:16 RH twist|
|CASE||Stores in stock||Custom 5.11 Cordura Case with shoulder strap||Handmade camouflage||Cordura Case|
|SPECIAL FEATURES||All Teflon coated finish||Gunlock & swivel studs||Hollow handle and stock tube for storage, integrated LED flashlight||Backpack case included|
HENRY U.S. SURVIVAL AR-7 RIFLE
MOSSBERG JIC II
|HUNTING||SMALL - MIDSIZED GAME||ANY NORTH AMERICAN GAME||SMALL - MIDSIZED GAME||SMALL - MIDSIZED GAME|
|SAFETY||Thumb Toggle||Thumb Toggle||Manual Safety||Manual Safety|
|FORMAT||Rifle with feel of full sized rifle||Pistol grip shotgun||Rifle||Rifle|
|PRIMARY MATERIALS||Steel, ABS, Aluminum||Steel & Aluminum||Stainles Steel, Carbon Fiber, Aluminum||Stainless Steel, aluminum, Polymer|
|ACCURACY OFF A REST||3||N/A||1||2|
|EASE OF ACCURACY|
|SCOPE COMPATIBLE||YES - ADAPTER INTEGRATED||NO||YES - WITH OPTIONAL ADAPTER||YES - WITH INCLUDED ADAPTER|
|100% CONCEILABLE IN MOST 3-DAY PACKS||YES||NO||YES||NO|
|RECOMMNEDED FOR SELF DEFENSE||NO||YES||NO||WITH RESERVATIONS|
|APPROX SPEED OF ASSEMBLY TO FIRST SHOT||15 Seconds||30 Seconds||<2 seconds="" span="">2>||<2 seconds="" span="">2>|
SPECS HENRY U.S. SURVIVAL AR-7 RIFLE
Model Number H002B
Action Type Semi-automatic
Caliber .22 LR
Capacity 8 round magazine (comes with 2)
Length 35" assembled
16.5" when stowed
Weight 3.5 lbs.
Stock ABS Plastic
Sights Adjustable rear, blade front
Finish Teflon coated receiver and coated steel barrel
SPECS MOSSBERG JIC II
Swivel studs Yes
Stock Synthetic Pistol Grip
Forend Synthetic Ribbed Forend
Safety Ambidextrous, thumb-operated safety
Finish Matte Black
Action Twin action bars
Gauge 12 - 3"
Capacity 6 rounds
Barrel 18 1/2"
Sight Front bead
CHoke Cyl. bore
Total Length 28 3/4"
Case Custom 5.11 Cordura Case with shoulder strap
SPECS PACK RIFLE
Weight: 15.5 oz
Take-Down Length: 17"
Sights: Adjustable Peep
SPECS RUGER 10/22-TD
Catalog Number: K10/22-TD
Model Number: 11100
Caliber: .22 LR
Stock: Black Synthetic
Finish: Clear Matte
Rear Sight: Adjustable
Front Sight: Gold Bead
Barrel Length: 18.50"
Overall Length: 37.00"
Material: Stainless Steel
Length of Pull: 13.50"
Weight: 4.67 lbs.
Twist: 1:16" RH
Backpack-Style Bag Included
Henry AR-7 Survival Rifle - http://www.henryrepeating.com
Pack Rifle - http://www.packrifle.com
Ruger Firearms - http://www.ruger.com
Mossberg - http://www.mossberg.com