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Thread: Aircraft survival rifle

  1. #1
    New member
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    Apr 2010

    Default Aircraft survival rifle

    Excuse me if I'm rehashing something you've already discussed but......I'm flying up from Texas this summer in my own aircraft and Alaska requires a survival rifle. I want something that is capable of killing large game (bears) but is still rather compact. Since I'm flying through Canada, it can't be considered an assault rifle and it's barrel can't be shorter that 181/2". Through what little research I've done so far, I'm considering a .45-70 lever action or a pump 12 gauge. Any thoughts? I'm pretty ignorant on this subject but I know how quickly a bear can cover ground and if I'm ever in a survival situation, I want the right rifle!!!!!

    Thanks in advnace.

    Jack Stovall
    Austin, TX

  2. #2
    Member polardds's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    Default Canada is the problem

    A rifle or shotgun that you shoot well. Does not matter the caliber or make and model if you are not comfortable in your shot placement. Canada does not like handguns or that is what I would suggest first. Allot of people bring a long gun but then they do not carry it with them and if it is back in the plane it does not do you much good.

    As a second suggestion I would tell you to fly out to Katmai National Park and go to Brook's Camp. Then you can see how bears interact with people and each other to make you more familiar with their behavior.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    NorthWest Alaska


    A survival Gun should be more help than hinderance, and if your crashing into the wilderness, theres more out there than Bears, and you can eat most of 'em.

    Consitter a 12 gauge, light in weight and with different loads, good for small game to slugs to stop Bears,.........with Buckshot a Moose to eat untill help finds You...or Geese, Grouse and Squirrles with lighter loads that your 45/70 wont be kind to.
    A remington 870 with a 20 inch barrel or a longer one along in the case, its Canada Friendly and a very good "Survival" gun.

    Get the .45-70 if you need a "Bear Rifle".
    If you can't Kill it with a 30-06, you should Hide.

    "Dam it all", The Beaver told me.....

  4. #4
    Supporting Member bushrat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    remote bush, satellite internet


    Hi Jack,

    Welcome to the forum. Here's a link to what I think is one of the best lightweight "survival" rifles for aircraft use:

    I started that thread a while back, and that rifle is now in production, but not sure if it meets your specs on barrel length. I am not sure if Alaska still requires private pilots to carry a survival weapon. In the past it could be a handgun too. I do think the intent though was not to protect oneself from dangerous big game, but rather to be able to feed oneself if you went down, survived and were stuck for a while without food, and seeing as how so many pilots need to concern themselves with additional weight, a .22 rifle was one of the best choices in that regard.

    Flying through Canada, I'd think the same concerns would be prevalent. Just my take.

  5. #5
    Member Toddler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006


    Having flown that route a time or two myself I would suggest you are better off with a Sat phone and good GPS. Get the Alaska VFR Supplement and read it, then read the emergency section two more times. Get the phone numbers to the Canadian rescue centers and the Alaska USAF and USGC RCC’s. File a good flight plan and make position reports. That way IF you have an emergency and are forced down the rescue centers know where to come and get you. SEARCHING for people is a huge pain in the arse and a waist of valuable time.

    If you feel compelled to bring a survival weapon I would suggest a lightweight 22 cal rifle or pistol. In a survival situation you will most likely be trying to kill a grouse, rabbit, porcupine, or some other sort of small game that you do not want to turn into a pile of fur or feathers. Honestly if you do have a forced landing bears and wolves will likely not be a problem unless you are flying an airplane full of doughnuts and bacon grease.

    If you are going to be camping then run a “clean camp” and hang your trash and food supplies 100 Yds + away from your camp. If you use the search function there are a ton of threads on this topic. You sound like you are a smart person asking the questions before you take off on the adventure of a lifetime. Just be smart and have a great time.

    For the record Alaska no longer requires the pilot to carry a survival rifle. I do go heavy on the survival equipment (first aid, water purification, lightweight tent, sleeping bag, and signaling equipment (lots).

    Just my nickel
    Normal people believe that if something ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.

    Scott Adams

  6. #6
    Member akmike30's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008


    This henry little rifle is the best little rifle for your plane. My father carries on in his plane. I have one for my boat. There about 180 dollars at walmat. weighs about a pound in half maybe 2. Breaks down and everything goes in the stock also room in there for a box of shells.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7

    Default not required any more

    fire arm isn't requiried anymore, but the advice from Drew covers it. You can USPS a shotgun or rifle to yourself and send it back home to yourself for around $40.00 ea way, just can't be marked as a gun. The other way is a bow if your into archery, then the Canadians don't care and you can shoot anything with it. Again the sat phone and gps (i carry 2 ) are the ticket. The route up isn't that remote and you might find someone to travel the hwy with. Key phrase is follow the hwy way. Have fun.

  8. #8
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008


    You can also just follow the SE coast and skip Canada

  9. #9

    Default No pistol in Canada

    Don't be taking a pistol through Canada with you or you will end up doing some time there! Rifle or Shotgun is fine! Check the Canadian Regs if you have any question. Shotgun with bird shot and slugs works for everything.

  10. #10
    Member danattherock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    Look at the website for Wild West Guns in Anchorage, they sell a break down guide gun (Co-pilot). Sweet, but she ain't cheap. Made for the purpose you state though.

    Aside from this, a regular Marlin Guide Gun would be my personal choice.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  11. #11

    Default SE isn't for kid's

    As the old saying goes it isn't for kid's. There are very few outs if thing go wrong and the WX can go under unforcasted, quick. If you have the range and speed for 8-900 NM's, pick a good day and stop at the first good spot in AK, gas and continue to ANC, the best way if time is a factor. The hwy is the best for scenry. The Frasizer River cannon is spectactular but watch the winds and GPS as there is a turn by the Ranch that is confusing. After P.George I go over to Ft. St. John and up the hwy. It truely isn't as hard as it seems and is a fun trip. The only bad stories I've ever heard is from guys pushing into bad weather, so just don't do that and its a trip of a life time. PM me if I can help or ans any questions. Tom

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2006


    The Savage Model 24C (Camper) 22lr/20ga O/U combination gun would fill the need. Bird shot and 22lr for small to medium game and 20ga slugs for large game and bear up close.

    Another is the Springfield M6 22lr/410ga with collapseable stock.
    It was issued to our U.S. Air Force pilots as there "Survival Gun"...............Nuff said!

    Worry about food first and bears a distant last as the above mentioned guns can shoo them off or kill them at close quarters if need be. If your bearanoid you can throw in a S&W 500 revoler or the like. Both are very handy and light and extra ammo can be carried within the firearm (both inside and outside stock) for added convenience.

    Follow the links for more info.

  13. #13
    Member mmusashi2k's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location Location

    Default More important than a rifle.

    Bug dope. If in the summer time you don't want to be on the tundra without it. Unless you're me, in which case the bugs never bite but most folks will get eaten alive by no-see-ums, black flies and mosquitos.

    The .410 shotgun round was developed as a forage round for the military to shoot from their 45/70 rifles. It doesn't work as well with the muzzle braked "Guide Gun" but can be used to take grouse and such in a rifle that can be used to take larger animals out to 150(?) yds. by an average shooter or be used for bear defense. I shot 4 .410 shells at a grouse 15 ft away before I had to end it with a 500 gr. Buffalo Bore round once and I just don't like muzzle brakes anyways.

    OK, sometimes the black flies get a bit unbearable for me.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2009

    Default savage model 24

    12 ga shot gun and pick a rifle cal ..117 hmr on up
    sights and scope mounts
    Just for giggles check out the movie "The Edge". with Anthony Hopkins , it'l help you think of all those things you wish you had prepared for .
    food for thought,


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