Bow vs air rifle for shtf/prepping?

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Bow vs Air rifle

Bow
5
45%
Air rifle
6
55%
 
Total votes: 11

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Bow vs air rifle for shtf/prepping?

Post by JF89 » Wed Jul 08, 2020 5:06 pm

I was reading threw the other thread on air rifles and it got me thinking about this a bit, what is a better firearm alternative an air rifle or a bow?

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Re: Bow vs air rifle for shtf/prepping?

Post by Stercutus » Wed Jul 08, 2020 7:12 pm

Well it kinds of depends upon the bow and the rifle. There are air rifles out there that will drop an elk. There are worthless bows out there. It also depends upon your strategy, purpose for said weapon and other issues.
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Re: Bow vs air rifle for shtf/prepping?

Post by woodsghost » Wed Jul 08, 2020 7:52 pm

Aside from the above, it depends on if you have physical limits which prevent you from using a bow. Where I grew up, a crossbow could only be used by people with physical disabilities.

Some things you might have added are black powder guns and crossbows.

Between bows and air guns, I prefer air guns. I did not like hauling a heavy compound bow through thick brush, trying to be ready if I saw a deer. I really prefer the sleekness of a rifle and I REALLY prefer a pistol. But I don't own a pistol I would actually shoot a deer with past 20 yards. If I was a better shot with my .357 I would push past that. I am a much better shot with a Glock 17 so I think a better/different .357 would let me be deadly to 50 yards or so.

But you didn't ask about G17s...or .357s....

I suppose it would depend on style of hunting, type of terrain, and type of game. For long term (30+ years) I think the right bow wins out. For 5 years or so, the right air gun could probably do better, alongside a good ammo supply.

I know there are lightweight compound bows now, but my personal point of reference was fairly heavy. A solid wood recurve with something like a 50lb-70lb draw weight would be pretty nice as long as I had physical ability.
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Re: Bow vs air rifle for shtf/prepping?

Post by boskone » Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:46 pm

I think it depends on "general prepping" versus "prepping for the whole shit to go down the toilet".

Assuming equivalent quality equipment and skill:

In the former case, where at most you might have a few weeks or months of "logistical disruption", I'd say an air rifle. Even a common spring-piston .177 or .22 air rifle would be sufficient for harvesting small game (rabbits, squirrels, birds up to maybe turkey sized with a good one). The larger ones, typically PCP, would be sufficient for game like deer, maybe even feral pigs. And guns are easier to learn and use; you don't need 20 years of experience to use a larger caliber rifle...but good luck using even a "wimpy" 70lb non-compound without years of practice and building up the muscles.

In the latter case, I'd probably say a bow. They are capable weapons, people have used them for...well, almost since the dawn of tool use. With a bit of skill you can replace anything from arrow heads up through entire bows. But they're harder to aim, and more work.

I think there are two additional classes of weapon to be considered: crossbows and throwing spears.

Crossbows can be made entirely from wood, and still be functional hunting weapons. Even a primitive wood-limbed crossbow might not be a great heavy-game getter, but it'd be easier to prep and shoot than a bow, as quiet as an air gun, and reasonably unencumbering. With a few modern design characteristics (like a shoulderable stock and even a simple notch sight) they'd be easier to learn to aim than a bow (even if the bow also had fully-modern sights). They are, of course, more complex to make than a bow.

Thrown spears do have a lot of downsides (length and strength requirements particularly), but are capable weapons; they were the most common weapon for millenia for a reason. With aids like atl-atls are surprisingly, and you don't get much simpler. If you can make anything else here, you can probably make a decent spear.

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Re: Bow vs air rifle for shtf/prepping?

Post by RonnyRonin » Wed Jul 08, 2020 11:42 pm

The few airguns I have seen in person where very finicky, and hardly ever got two shots off in a row. while I hear tails of reliable airguns that will hunt mid-sized game, they remain hypothetical to me.

Most of the bow technology these days goes into compound bows; these require modern arrows to my knowledge that cannot really be made at home; meaning you have to stockpile ammunition (even if they are fairly reusable in ideal conditions). Stick bows have no where near the success rate hunting as far as I know; and mastering them requires pretty focused training (even more so then a compound).


philosophically a primitive bow which I could craft arrows for is about the only thing that to me offers anything to consider beyond a real gun; assuming some event has made my gun moot I would also assume a modern compound, crossbow, and airgun would also be moot.
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Re: Bow vs air rifle for shtf/prepping?

Post by emclean » Thu Jul 09, 2020 6:59 am

another consideration is which do you prefer to shoot. if you spend all your pre-SHTF time shooting rifles, then the air gun is the way to go.
IMHO the crossbow is a better compromise that either the bow or air gun. same rifle like skills to employ, with the possibility of ammo recovery.

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Re: Bow vs air rifle for shtf/prepping?

Post by PistolPete » Thu Jul 09, 2020 9:57 am

Small game like rabbits and squirrels in your back yard I'd go with an air rifle. You can get really affordable ones these days that are powerful enough for small game.

For larger game a bow is the better choice. Yes, you can drop a grand on an air gun that'll take a deer or wild pig, but without electricity to drive a pump to fill them up they are a lot of trouble to charge. Bows are affordable and arrows can be re-used most of the time, unlike pellets, so it's a sustainable option.

Also- why not both? You can find a used compound bow for under 2 bills and I regularly see decent air guns on sale for a hundred bucks. You could get one of each for less than the cost of most firearms.
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Re: Bow vs air rifle for shtf/prepping?

Post by lailr » Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:47 am

I really like the earlier suggestion of a wooden crossbow with some modern tweaks. Doesn't seem unreasonable. And I'd take some of JoergS"s stuff over an air rifle, I think

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Re: Bow vs air rifle for shtf/prepping?

Post by JF89 » Thu Jul 09, 2020 10:08 pm

PistolPete wrote:
Thu Jul 09, 2020 9:57 am
Small game like rabbits and squirrels in your back yard I'd go with an air rifle. You can get really affordable ones these days that are powerful enough for small game.

For larger game a bow is the better choice. Yes, you can drop a grand on an air gun that'll take a deer or wild pig, but without electricity to drive a pump to fill them up they are a lot of trouble to charge. Bows are affordable and arrows can be re-used most of the time, unlike pellets, so it's a sustainable option.

Also- why not both? You can find a used compound bow for under 2 bills and I regularly see decent air guns on sale for a hundred bucks. You could get one of each for less than the cost of most firearms.
Good point, I was just curious which one was generally more liked. Airguns are far easier to use is the selling point for me.

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Re: Bow vs air rifle for shtf/prepping?

Post by Brekar » Fri Jul 10, 2020 5:07 pm

For me personally, I like a bow vs. an air rifle. Honestly for a shtf/prepping situation I'd prefer my .22lr or some .22 shorts over the air rifle. Better stopping power than an air rifle, unless you're talking about one of the bigger air rifles that use a compressor to refill them, those are awesome, but at that point I'd rather just use a muzzleloader...

I've killed squirrels and rabbits with my bow, using homemade blunt arrowheads as a teen, and small game heads as an adult. Not hard to do, but also not easy. In that case I'd rather use a rifle of some kind, but hey that's just my opinion...

Really I'd say lets get both and call it good. Pellets are cheap, and as long as you get some that are accurate in your rifle you're good to go. Get yourself a good bow, and either stock up on arrows beforehand, or learn to make your own arrows. Each one is going to have its up's and down's, it just depends on your personal preference...

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Re: Bow vs air rifle for shtf/prepping?

Post by NT2C » Fri Jul 10, 2020 8:18 pm

In a true SHTF scenario you could find yourself up against threats you normally wouldn't think of, but as recent events have shown, police stations and vehicles can become targets of looting, with all kinds of LEO gear ending up in the wrong hands. With that in mind, I'll just leave this here for general information. In no way, shape, or form do I condone or endorse violence against those trying to enforce our laws and maintain the peace.

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Re: Bow vs air rifle for shtf/prepping?

Post by Brekar » Fri Jul 10, 2020 10:08 pm

If you've watched Edwin Sarkissian's video there I'm not surprised a compound bow goes through several inches. I've seen what my 70lbs draw compound will do to a 200lbs deer. And the crossbow broadhead bolt going through and out the other side, no surprise there either. That particular crossbow, the Tenpoint Viper S400 has a 250 lbs draw, and shoots around 400 fps, will do some serious damage in the right hands...

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Re: Bow vs air rifle for shtf/prepping?

Post by Stercutus » Mon Jul 13, 2020 12:50 am

Those shields are only rated for IIIa threats. That a crossbow bolt goes through one should be no surprise.
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Re: Bow vs air rifle for shtf/prepping?

Post by Black Beard » Mon Jul 13, 2020 4:56 pm

Depends what you want.

Air rifles are great for backyard or indoor practice if you can't get to a range/shootable land. Air rifles are more accurate than bows or crossbows but less powerful- so good for small game. Good air rifles are more expensive than a .22lr rifle but are much cheaper to run. In a lot of places, you can shoot an air rifle but not a firearm.

Crossbows and bows are more dangerous. I read somewhere that it only takes 30ftlb for an arrow to go through a deer- which is about the power of a 150lb recurve.

I think you need to realistically look at what you are going to shoot. If it is for self defence then forget about an air rifle. For small game an air rifle or .22lr (22lr is better and cheaper overall until you start practicing). Or a shotgun. For something bigger a bow/crossbow.

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Re: Bow vs air rifle for shtf/prepping?

Post by Halfapint » Tue Jul 14, 2020 3:24 pm

I have 2 compound bows and I’m actually looking at a .25 or .30 cal air gun. I actually just saw a airgun called Air Venturi Avenger. It’s biggest cal is .25, which honestly is plenty for small game, any thing bigger use a bow.

The biggest issue with air guns is the equipment to keep them pressurized. Yes, you can get a special hand pump to pump them, but it’s a lot of work. You can get compressed tanks to fill them (done at scuba shops), or high pressure electric pumps.

All but the hand pump you need infrastructure to be able to use them.

For the most part through I think Airguns would be the best. They are the quickest learning, and with a mold you could easily make your own pellets, with nothing more than a cast iron pan and lead. While if you’re using a compound bow or even a cross bow making your own ammo for those can be catistrophic.
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Re: Bow vs air rifle for shtf/prepping?

Post by dallas » Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:04 pm

I would pick a #55 recurve bow. I hunted with one of those for years as a youngster. It is a Fred Bear that I got at around 13 years old. With practice, you can easily hunt anything from a rabbit to a bear with it. You can even fish with it. I still have my old bow that I shoot every once in awhile. Now I also have a compound bow and #175 compound crossbow, but for long term survival, the recurve will be usable for decades in a primitive environment.

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