Best Air Rifle For Hunting And Survival In The UK
There are many different air powered rifles available in the UK.
However, there are two distinct differences to consider when choosing the best air rifle.
The two distinct differences are a matter of the law. To own a air rifle that is more powerful than 12 ft lb you must have a FAC - Fire Arms Certificate.
However, anyone over 18 can purchase and own an air rifle below 12 ft lb rating.
Unless you are a competition shooter and take the sport very seriously, I would not even consider going to the trouble of trying to get yourself a FAC especially as many of the Non FAC rifles are more than capable of doing the job very nicely.
Having said that, you have a perfect right, by law, to own many different firearms in the UK – in fact, the different types of legal firearm would probably surprise you!
If you are of good standing and can prove so, you simply have to pass the required police checks and your ok to purchase and use a firearm
Considerations For Choosing The Best Air Rifle For Hunting And Survival In The UK
- Your rifle must be capable of hunting small game - in survival, this is its primary purpose.
- Choose a .22 rifle for a clean kill - generally a .177 is preferred for target shooting, but will still take down a rabbit at the right range with an accurate head shot.
- It needs to be light - you may well need to take it with you in your Bug Out Bag, so weight is important.
- It needs to be compact - choose a smaller weapon over a longer barreled, bulky rifle.
- Reputable, tried and tested manufacturer - a good second hand British or German rifle will still perform well enough to hunt with.
- For pure value for money, consider buying a Chinese brand. (can be risky at times though)
- It needs to look menacing..! more for personal protection, should you need it. Tactical rifles always look mean.
- Cost could also be a factor for some - look to pay upto £300 for a mint secondhand rifle
Always remember -
- In a SHTF situation any rifle is a good rifle..! So long as it works you're still in with a chance....
TYpes Of Air Rifle
There are 2 main types of air gun – spring or gas ram and PCP [ Pre Charged Pneumatic]:
- Spring - Piston
The cocking action puts tension on a spring which becomes the main mechanism to propel the pellet.
- Gas Ram
Essentially the same, except the tension is used to pressurize a gas ram and not a spring.
A cylinder mounted within the rifle body is pre-charged with air, with a small amount of pressure reducing each time your fire.
Spring Piston or Gas Ram
fixed barrel - underarm cocking - these type of
air rifle as known as 'springer rifles'.
Spring Piston or Gas Ram
again, a springer rifle, but with the barrel
being used to compress the mainspring.
Spring or Gas Ram Rifle:
This shows the loading point of a .22 or .177 pellet.
One shot at a time - unlike a PCP rifle which can have a multi shot magazine.
A PCP rifle with multi shot magazine like this BSA Ultra is leaps ahead of the old springers.
The cylinder is below the fixed barrel and once fully charged will give 70 - 100 shots before needing to be refilled.
Pre-Charged Pneumatic [PCP]
The extremely good BSA Scorpion - an excellent 'value for money' rifle and certainly one of the top contenders for Best Air Rifle For Hunting
70-100 shots on one charge / gas cylinder is charged up to 200 - 232 bar.
There's two methods available to charge the gas cylinder on a PCP:
Most rifles are available in different livery as well - this PCP rifle offers a solid wallet body, for the traditional look. A black Polyester Resin Stock for a tactical look, and a Full Camo Print design for the hunter.
Springer or PCP? Both are capable rifles to use for hunting small game and survival.
I personally have two springers and a PCP, and by far prefer my PCP over the other two.
The performance, for me, is much better.
But.... the PCP has far more working parts that could fail in a SHTF situation.
So the answer, as always, is to try and cover all the options.
With a PCP rifle like this BSA R10 [shown here in camo livery], you're looking at 70+ shots before a recharge, a 10 shot magazine, it's very quiet, virtually no recoil and deadly accurate.
Weighs just over 7lbs and you can get it on a choice of .22 or .177
What more can I say...! A beast of a rifle for silent, deadly hunting of small game..
Of course there's always a downside to most things.
The main one here is that a PCP rifle should really be serviced regularly and, ideally from the gun shop where you bought it.
Most good gun shops will offer this service, with some it's free if you buy certain rifles from them.
I use a BSA Scorpion T10 and here's an example of the main parts that make up the rifle >
Of course the next step, once you have got your new rifle is to go out and practice.
I would highly recommend finding a local air gun shooting range to get to know your new rifle – there are lots of them about and there’s bound to be one fairly close to you.
The advantages of the range are it's far more 'real' than your back garden and there are some fantastic range setups around the UK.
Make sure you are within the UK laws
An air rifle is considered an offensive weapon in the eyes of the law and exactly where you are allowed to carry it and use it needs to be strictly observed.
Do not, under any circumstances, have an air rifle or air pistol in a public place and certainly do not have it out of its case and on full view.
Unlike our American friends, who have completely different gun laws to us here in the UK, and are allowed to freely carry a rifle for hunting or even a pistol as concealed carry.
In the UK – just don’t even think about risking it.
As preppers and especially as we are talking a SHTF situation, one of the main concerns is going to be reliability of your rifle.
That being said, there really is only one type of rifle that you should consider as the Best Air Rifle For Hunting And Survival:
and that is a bog standard Spring Piston air rifle.
The two main reasons are simple:
1/ fewer parts to go wrong.
2/ doesn't need to be charged up
With so few moving parts the spring piston has to be top of the list.
Don't get me wrong, I love my PCP, but think purely doomsday survival, food procurement and reliability and the Spinger is your best choice.
Not only for the reason above, but for example:
A brand spanking new Weinrauch HK is going to set you back less than £400.
the ultra reliable AND very accurate HW80 from the German manufacturers Weihrauch
If you prefer to by British, then BSA is a good choice of established quality brands - the BSA Lightening is a well loved hunting rifle and you can get a brand new one for £350, so great value for money.
The simplicity of the spring piston rifle has a lot more to offer when faced with SHTF - as you can see in this exploded view, the minimum of moving parts to go wrong.
You will still achieve a pellet velocity of over 550 feet per second with a legal 12ft/lb rifle using a .22 pellet, and even more with a .177.
This is ample to give a kill shot for most small game at anything up to 50 yards.
Hopefully this article has helped you out a bit. It's a big subject and quite a specialist one when you really get into it.
My definite advice, before buying, is to visit your local gun shop.
You will get great help from knowledgeable people.
Happy Prepping Folks.
ps: If I have missed anything or there's gaping errors in anything written above, then please feel free to leave your help and comment below. Thanks.