The Ultimate Survival Gun:

My first one of these was my Armalite AR-7 .22 calibre. What a beautiful little gun it is: the way it folded up into its own stock with its 8 shot magazine is just excellent. At 1100 grams (2.5 pounds) and 400 mm (16”) long it is ideal for backpacking. Unfortunately as it is a semi-auto, John Howard/Port Arthur has made it unusable, as it is now a Class C ‘weapon’ which I can only use around the farm. How times change! I was down in George St, Sydney one day in 1973, shortly after our marriage, saw it in a gun shop ($100, I think) and just had to have it.

No licences or permits then. Just handed over the money for it and a couple of boxes of ammo, and went home (to 33 Chelsford St, Newtown – our first home) along Parramatta Rd, past Sydney Uni (where we both studied – not as much as we should have!) on the bus. Of course I was really chuffed with it and couldn’t help but show it off to all the complete strangers on the bus, who threw it up to their shoulders, pointed it at pedestrians etc out the window & etc, as you would! (It wasn’t loaded – I was never that much of a ninny.)

AR-7 Take DownAR-7 Take Down

AR-7 Assembled
AR-7 Assembled
Rutalocura .22 Magnum 'Pack Rifle'
Rutalocura .22 Magnum ‘Pack Rifle’


It is just wonderful for knocking down a few conies/possums for the pot, or a wily fox come running to the whistle, and would even essay the odd wild goat, or even something as big as an Old Man Roo. The essential qualities for a ‘survival gun (which this one has) are that it should be lightweight (ie approx under 1 kg), ‘bullet-proof’, take down so that it stows in your pack, and if possible capable of taking a variety of game. Della now has a similar weight neat Rossi .410 single barrel shotgun (which has a ‘spare’ .22 barrel – useful), which CAN fire a solid or SSG – good enough to down the biggest game (Sambar!) even if not strictly legal. A couple of spare shells and you are good for duck, rabbit, pigeon – whatever comes along. Again, it takes down to fit in the pack. But only ONE shot.

I love the idea of Rossi’s ‘Circuit Judge’ a five shot .410, which also takes the .45 Colt pistol round, and supports easy loaders. Very handy. I think it too could easily be converted to take-down by modifying the stock screw. And five quick shots would be very handy. Also available in stainless with a synthetic stock. Perfect!

Another (very hard to source) gun which I have hankered after since I was a boy is the Springfield M6 ‘Scout’ in .22 Hornet and .410. The ‘Ultimate Survival Rifle’ might well be this ‘Pack Rifle Kit’ weighing in at a scant 450 grams (in single shot .22 magnum), from Rutalocura: Incidentally, these Aloksak bags make a useful ulralight waterproof bag for your gun, eg if you plan to do some packrafting on your trip:

Someone has kindly sent me a couple of other recommendations, available locally: & Also see:


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