Everyone owns an AR right? Well not some of us. The .223 round is an OK round for survival. It is kind of light for big game and is pretty hot for small game. My best advice on squirrels is to shoot them in the middle and pick up the two halves. However, for defense they are right up at the top, if you are comfortable with them, and will keep them maintained.
The 7.62x39 is a better big game round than the .223, being similar to the venerable 30-30. Also kind of heavy for small game but not quite as explosive as the .223. As a self defense gun they are also right up there with people who are familiar with them. They are more forgiving than an AR and a little less expensive.
Commercial Bolt Action
From a purely hunting standpoint this is the way to go. You buy the rifle in the caliber that is best for the game you are hunting, and learn to shoot it and maintain it. From a self defense perspective they are lacking in capacity and speed, but as the old saying goes…”beware the man who only owns one rifle, he probably knows how to use it”. I won a side match at an IPSC event with my model 70 Winchester in 300 win mag. going up against semi autos in .243.
A good all around gun is the Ruger 10-22. It is excellent for small game. The 22LR round has reportedly taken more deer than any other round, since it is the preferred round of poachers. It will take big game if you know what you are doing. The 22 LR is lacking in stopping power, but still only fools are charging forward into gunfire, even if it is only .22.
There are a few combo guns out there for the survival or hunting crowd. The most common being the 22LR on top of the .410 shotgun. I myself feel the .410 is a little light even with slugs, so I would consider a 20 or even a 12 gauge instead. These guns are excellent for hunting, but are very slow reloading for self defense.
Military Bolt Guns
There are a few surplus military bolt guns on the market. No matter the type, they are a little heavy for small game but excel for large game. They have a slow rate of fire but are built for the military so they are tough as nails in the field and shouldn't let you down.
No matter which type of rifle you pick for your survival plans get plenty of ammo and learn to shoot it well. Then learn how to clean it equally well.
Randy Augsburger lives and writes from an old farm that has been in his family since 1866. Born in northwest Ohio, Randy grew up in a small town in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. He draws on his experiences of hunting, fishing, trapping and prospecting for his writing. Randy is also an ordained Southern Baptist preacher.
You find his writing blog at http://randyswrite.blogspot.com/