Survival Firearms
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 Firearms are a very important part of your survival equipment loadout. Whether you are building an wilderness survival kit or a disaster bug out bag, a firearms is an  extremely important tool. A firearm can provide fresh meat, protect against predators and in some cases, can even be used to signal or start fires.
Now I know there are many points of view on what makes a good survival firearm and I would prefer to keep that debate out of here so I will add that the following is intended for those just starting out, are on a budget and have little experiance with firearms.

Col Townsend Whelen said that the best choice for an outdoor firearm was a flat shooting 30 cal rifle. He carried a 30-06 bolt action rifle to fill this need. Here are a few good, and inexpensive choices for general hunting, wilderness survival and general purpose outdoor use:
Savage110Savage Model 110: I have owned two of these rifles and the first thing I must say is that they are accurate right out of the box! They are easy to shoot and come in many different calibers including 30-06 and 308 Winchester. Both of these calibers are very common and are effective against all north american game. This rifle is a very good choice and retails for about $400 Dollars (US). This might be a bit steep for the average joe looking for a go-to rifle for emergencies but its a great choice! (Photo from Savage Arms web site)

moss12The Mossberg 500 Shotgun in 12 or 20 Ga.
This is by far the most economical and versitile shotgun you can buy. A shotgun has certain advantages and disadvantages over a rifle. Specifically a shotgun is a very versitile in that it can shoot a veriety of loads from a low powered small game load to a load capable of taking down the largest game animals. The disadvantage is that the shotgun can be uncomforable for small framed shooters due to the recoil. This can be mitigated with proper instruction in shooting and reduction from 12 ga to 20 ga. for lightweight shooters. What makes this my first choice for a general purpose survival and preparedness weapon is the fact that it can be both game getter and defensive weapon all at once.  The Mossberg 500 can be outfitted with a veriety of barrels to perform many duties. The best combination of barrels I can think of is a smooth bore slug barrel, which allows you to shoot both shot and slugs, this is a good platform for a home defense/personal protection situation. By switching to a modified choke bird barrel, you can shoot shot for small game hunting and still fire slugs for big game. The shotgun has another advantage. It can be stored with shells in the magazine tube and be made ready to fire with ease, yet cannot go off accidentally as there is no round in the chamber. This is an advantage when being kept handy during the aftermath of a natural disaster when you want to be able to deploy the weapon at a moments notice.
Used Mossberg 500s can be had for as little as $120

m44The M91-30 and M44 Mosin Nagant Rifles.
A Russion Designed Military Surplus rifle, The Mosin Nagant family of rifles offer a good option for someone on a budget. Chambered in the powerful 7.62x54R cartridge, The M44 stands shoulder to shoulder in accuracy and power with the 30-06 Springfield. The rifle's extremely low cost allows the budget survivalist the option of spending more on ammo and other necessities. This rifle will kill any big game animal in North America  and is accurate and durable. The Carbines in this family, such as the M44 featured above make for a very handy and economical rifle. The weight is neglegable . I will however reccomend not doing too much in the way of upgrades as the weapons recoil, while considerable in its original form, becomes somewhat less comfortable when the original wooden stock is replaced with a plastic one. Ammo for this rifle is relatively common and military surplus ammo in tuna cans of 400rnds can be had for about $100 as of this writing, in addition, all the major ammunition manufacturers produce hunting cartridges in this caliber. In short, this is a fine option for a high powered rifle for those seeking an effective hunting and long range defensive rifle for a bargain price. Prices for this weapon range from $65 to $200

sksThe SKS Family of Rifles
The SKS is a precurser to the AK47 battle rifle. This weapon is chambered in a medium caliber of 7.62x39 and is effective with game up to deer size.  This is, again a good option for the budget minded person wanting a do all rifle. This rifle has the advantage of a higher rate of fire due to its semi-automatic action. The best thing is, this rifle is actually quite gentle in the recoil department and can be fired by smaller framed shooters with little or no discomfort. The other advantage to the survival minded is its fixed 10 round magazine. This allows you to change what type of cartrige you are shooting without having to change magazines. For instance, you might have full metal jacketed ammo in the weapon for defensive use but see a good opportunity to shoot a deer and put meat on the table. With this rifle, you need only open the action ejecting the shell in the chamber and push a soft point hunting cartridge into the magazine and advance the bolt forward and your ready to take the animal.  The 7.62x39 cartridge is commonly available from all the major ammunition manufacturers and is relatively inexpensive. The rifle can be had at prices of $160 on up to the $300 mark.

M6The M6 Scout Survival Gun:
This Rifle/Shotgun Combination is a decent option for the backpacker or general outdoorsman. Its extremely lightweight and versitile
and the barrel can be seperated from the action quite easily which makes transporting it a breeze . Its a single shot break action gun chambered in .22 Long Rifle and 410 Bore in an over and under configuration.  This makes it a decent game getter and even has some utility as a defencive weapon at close range when employing a slug in the 410ga barrel. The .22 LR cartridge is extremely cheap and easy to find and can kill most small game animals. This rifle can also be had in 22 hornet, a centerfire cartridge that brings the power level up to a point that it would kill a deer in a pinch. This cartridge is much more expensive however.  I own this rifle and its my go-to gun for general backpacking and bush bumming. While its no SKS or Mossberg 500, it does what its supposed to.
This rifle has been discontinued (I dont know why, its a GREAT weapon) but it can still be had on the used market..I wont quote a price

ar7The AR7 Survival Rifle
This is the famous floating rifle...and it does!  Chambered in .22 long rifle and employing a semi-auto action, this is a very neat rifle and a good choice for the backpacker or paddler. The barrel, action and two 8 round magazines fit into the stock which is sealed. The stock is waterproof and the whole weapon is as light as a feather weighing only 2.5lbs. It will float in both the collapsed and when fully assembled. This rifle is made by Henry and goes for anywhere from $150 used to $250 for the new ones. Henry has a good rep for 22s and in the future, more of thier rifles may find thier way onto this page.

marlin336Marlin Model 336 lever Action Rifle
Chambered in either 30-30 Winchester or 35 Remington (amongst others) , the Marlin Model 336 is a favorite amongst hunters across the country. It shoots fast, is accurate and will bring down anything in north america. This rifle when chambered in the above cartridges is easy to provide for with all ammunition manufacturers producing these chamberings. As a survival rifle, it is an excellant choice as it is lightweight, handy and easy to pack. Used Marlin Modal 336s can be had for as low as $200 and even when new, are quite economical.

handi RifleThe New England Firearms Handi Rifle
This is a wonderful opportunity to get into shooting with a brand new rifle at a bargain price. This break action, single shot rifle system, offered by New England Firearms, is a wonderful idea in that you can get this gun in many different calibers to suit your individual tastes, everything from 30-30 to 7.62x39 to .22lr are available as well as different stock options.This is a good way to start out as it is functionally simple and easy to operate and give great accuracy. Good choice and goes for $150 and up new and used

break action shotgunThe New England Firearms, Herrington and Richardson, Rossi ,Eastern Firearms ETC. Break Action Shotgun (and other brands as well)
Break Action single shot shotguns are a great way to get into a shotgun and have something simple to operate and inexpensive. They are reliable and will do what you want them to do. Some things to look for: Choose a modified choke for versility. It will allow you to shoot slugs and shot out of the same gun with no modification, just switch the shell.  These guns are inexpensive when new and are sometimes used and abused for that reason. When buying one used, check the bore for pits, and check to be sure that the barrel locks into the reciever without wiggleing to any great extent. Depending on the company who made it, it may have a safety but most dont. Some of these will have a lever below the hammer that must be pushed to the side to open it, others will have a lever next to the hammer that must be pushed down to open it. These can be found used as low as $35 and new up to $120 A good deal for a decent, reliable survival shotgun that, if well maintained will give you years of service.
PS: The Rossi Firearms company has a combo and 20 ga option that comes with two barrels that are easily interchanged. They go new for about $100 and are a heck of a deal. two guns for the price of one!

A Note on Handguns: I will be expanding this page to include handguns sometime in the future.