When it all hits the fan, what will you use to put food on the table? Many people are thinking just that way, and they are asking what airgun would be best in that type of situation. PCP airguns are great, but they need HPA (high-pressure air) to work and are prone to failure over time.
Pump guns are good, but they don’t generate a lot of energy, and you need to pump them ten times between shots. CO2 is excellent for practice and plinking, even going full-auto, but they make less power than pump guns. That leaves spring-powered airguns and the point of our article today.
Spring vs. Gas Ram
When looking at spring airguns for long-term storage and usage, you need to consider the powerplant. The trend is to go gas ram over spring. While gas rams offer some advantages in the short term, they have some real disadvantages long term.
Gas piston rams operate just like those supports that hold up your hood or your hatchback. Or what used to hold up your hatchback, if you get the point. Most are a sealed system, and once that seal goes, you will not be shooting anymore.
Spring pistons, on the other hand, may wear out over time, but it’s very gradual. Also, springs are much easier to purchase to have on hand and replace as needed. While there is a trick to shooting them consistently, they are simply more reliable, which begs the question as to why manufacturers use gas rams in the first place.
Gas rams will generally hide “less than” manufacturing. For a spring gun to be truly good, the build quality and tolerances need to be precise. Spring guns built to lower grade, mainly to meet a particular price point, will buzz and make for a very unpleasant shooting experience.
You can drop a gas ram into a “less than” airgun, making the shooting experience better for the short term. Or, if you are looking for something to rely on long-term, you can go for a quality spring gun built right from the ground up.
Most Dependable Spring Air Rifles
If you are looking for something to last decades rather than months, you need to look at European and British spring airguns. They know how to build them, and they last for years.
The Diana 34 is an excellent starting point. It’s available in .177 and .22, and while it’s not a powerhouse of a springer, it’s reliable and has exceptional build quality and features. The trigger is one of the best triggers you can get in an airgun at any price.
If you want more power, then look at the Diana RWS 460 Magnum. This underlever spring airgun can drill targets and small game out to 50 yards with ease. It’s stable, easy to shoot, and built like a tank. Unlike a break barrel design that uses a pivot in the barrel, the 460 uses an underlever cocking arm. That means the barrel is fixed to the receiver and never moves. Diana also makes some side lever guns for those who prefer that type of action. Both the side lever and underlever guns have a fixed barrel.
The Beeman R9 is a German-made break barrel springer that delivers some of the best accuracy and shootablity available. While not classed as an ultra-magnum springer, it can put pellets into a single hole out to 25 yards. From a small game hunting perspective, it’s an exceptional choice.
Like the Diana options, it’s wood and steel, an exceptional trigger, and comes with excellent open sights. It also costs more than what you’ll find at the big box stores, but both it and the Diana rifles are a great example of “you get what you pay for.”
Best Budget Survival Springer
Can you put a price tag on survival? I guess if you have a minimal budget to work with, you simply must. Most of the lower-priced “spring” airguns these days are sporting Gas Rams as their power plant vs. a more reliable spring system. But, that does not mean there aren’t some good options out there.
Hatsan makes some decent break-barrel rifles that generate a lot of energy from their Vortex gas ram, which has a bit of a trick up its sleeve. If you have the parts and equipment, you can rebuild a Vortex gas ram if it develops a leak. This is a big deal when looking at making sure it is something you can rely on long-term. And, Hatsan airguns have a lot of bite.
The Hatsan Carnivore .30 caliber break barrel may not shoot fast, but it produces over 30 foot-pounds at the muzzle, and it’s accurate out to 50+ yards. It’s built on Hatsans Mod 135 platform, which is the most powerful in their spring airgun lineup. It’s a beast of an airgun, but it’s also built like a tank and should last a very long time with proper care and maintenance.
I hope we gave you an idea of what to look for in a survival springer. The first and foremost priority is longevity, then accuracy, then power. If you have power and accuracy, but the gun won’t work when you need it, then the other two don’t matter.
So if you are looking for a survival springer, be sure to consider build quality before price point. And if you need help making the right choice, just give us a call. We’ll be more than happy to help.