When I get away to the outdoors it’s a time to indulge in some of the outdoor activities I enjoy most. I like to hike and fish when I go camping. But what I enjoy is bringing one of my favorite guns along for some practice shooting or hunting. And it’s always a bit reassuring to pack a gun into the back of my car with the rest of my camping gear when I’m heading out, even if I don’t shoot it.
So here is a list of the best guns to take camping.
· Ruger 10/22
· Henry Repeating AR-7
· Savage Model 42
· Glock 17
· Glock 23
· Glock 43
· Ruger 1911
· Ruger LCR
· Ruger LCP
· S&W 610 Revolver
· S&W M&P Shield
· S&W M&P
In this article I will go over these guns and why I recommend them. Guns have a long history of being in my family all the way back to one of my grandfathers, “Long John Anderson,” who was an officer in the Civil War and a marksman. But as time has progressed, so have guns, so now there are guns specifically made to take camping that store easily and get the job done. So, let’s get started.
What gun should I take camping?
Let’s start with rifles.
Ruger 10/22 Takedown model and Alternative stocks.
The Ruger 10/22 is a model of rifle many gun enthusiasts like me and outdoors people are familiar with. They either have one or know someone who does. The Takedown model is the camping model of the Ruger. It comes apart into two pieces: the barrel and butt/stock. The two pieces fit together and come apart quickly.
There is also a storage bag that comes with the gun to allow for easy carrying when the Ruger is in two parts. There is the bonus use for the bag as a rest to shoot off. It still uses the same ammunition and magazine, so there is no need to purchase anything extra in those terms if you own a Ruger already. It is a reliable option, even if you decide to stick with the base Takedown model.
In recent years the Ruger has received two variations for the Takedown model. One of them being the Hunter x-22. It acts as an upgraded stock for the Takedown. It is made of a high-quality polymer, making it durable. The spacer system allows for an adjustable LOP to fit any shooter.
There are also multiple attachment points for slings along with the gun, giving you options on what kind of sling you want to use and where you would like to place it. An ergonomically designed grip will also help with hand fatigue or discomfort when gripping and firing the gun.
The reversible barrel tray can accept any barrel that is factory-made and several aftermarket barrels with the dimensions of 0.920" diameter (12.5" minimum length). This stock will add more stability and versatility to an already great gun. Pack this with you when you go camping, and you will not regret purchasing it.
The follow-up stock for the Ruger is the Backpacker model. This model focuses on minimalism and space-saving while maintaining the performance of the Ruger. This stock, like the Hunter, is made of a tough and durable polymer to make sure it can stand up to being out in the wild while you are camping. It also has a modified ergonomic handguard.
The most outstanding features of this stock are the storage and compactness it provides, making it optimal for those heading out for a longer trek and looking to pack light. The butt of the stock opens up to fit three ten-round magazines or a box of ammunition and one magazine. I don’t particularly like this because it makes my gun heavier. I’d rather carry my ammo in my side pouch.
The most unique and space-saving feature for this camping rifle is that the barrel can attach and store itself into the stock. The butt of the stock is made of a nonslip rubber to make sure the Ruger stays put when aiming the rifle. This stock is made for comfort and ease from the moment you pack it up to go to the moment you put it together and use it.
If you know guns then you know, the Ruger is a reliable gun from start to finish, and the modifications they have made to the Takedown model, along with the stock variations, have made it a great choice to bring along with you camping. Whether you pick the base Takedown model, the high-performance Hunter, or the space-saving Backpacker, you will love the selection you have made.
Henry Repeating Arms U.S. Survival AR-7
When it comes to camping rifles, you can pack up and bring them with you anywhere; you will find few guns that do as good of a job at that while still performing well as the AR-7. The most unique and convenient part of this rifle is that the real action can be stored in the butt.
The gun's stock is actually made of hard plastic, and the inside is foam to keep the parts of the rifle floating and not jostling around while out on hikes or riding through some rough rapids if that your sort of thing. The storage inside the stock also includes space for a second magazine, which I do like.
The rife does allow for a scope to be attached to the barrel, but if you do secure a scope, you will have to carry it as there is no space in the stock for one. The fact that the whole gun can be broken down and stored in the stock (think James Bond) means you can bring it with you just about anywhere you plan on going when you are out camping.
Putting the gun back together is simply just taking the pieces out of stock and locking them into place. Anyone familiar with firearms and this model will find it an easy task.
Savage Model 42 Takedown Rifle/Shotgun
If you are looking for a gun that can pack a punch, break down quickly, and be used in almost any situation when out camping, then the Savage Model 42 is for you. This gun is a combo rifle and shotgun.
Switching between the two is as easy as flipping the mechanism on the action, and once you learn to do that, you will have no problem handling this gun. Savage sticks with its reliable barrel over barrel design for the 42 but updated the gun's materials to include less wood and more artificial polymers and metal. Some of you may not like that.
On top of acting as both a rifle and shotgun, it is straightforward to put together and take apart. It breaks down into two pieces that latch together in one motion and dislodge from each other with a simple push of a button on the underside of the gun. Even when taking apart the gun, loading and unloading rounds is easy as well.
The safety is easily located between the trigger and hammer. The gun also comes with a bag to carry it in and stores easily in two separate parts. In terms of a great rifle to bring camping, this is a great choice.
Simple to take apart and put together. Easy for shooters, from novices to experts, to understand how to use. It is a rifle and shotgun which means you do not have to choose one or the other to bring along camping or have to waste time switching between the two. It is a pretty good all-rounder, especially for youth.
Now for the handguns.
Rifles are great when you are going after larger game or critters in the trees and just have some time to practice with targets or adjusting your sights or scope. But it’s always wise to have your handgun available for more immediate use or midrange.
When out on a hike or sitting in at camp, you may not have a rifle put together or at hand when nature decides to through you a curveball. A handgun may seem like a home defense weapon primarily, but it never hurts to be prepared and have it close by, ready for the unexpected.
I like Glocks
Glocks are among the most recognized and popular handguns out on the market right now. You have seen them on television shows, movie theaters and maybe a buddy or two of yours has one in their collection.
A simple auto parts manager designed these guns in Austria, and now they are something of an icon in our gun community. It is one of the most reliable firearms out there and is easy to fire.
Its components are not overly complicated either, so learning to take it apart and clean it is made simpler. The Glock is primarily plastic, making it lighter than some other handguns. The versatility and reliability of these guns have garnered them an excellent reputation.
The Glock 17
The Glock 17 is a great gun to bring in any situation. It is lighter than many other handguns but can carry two more rounds than the 19, making all the difference when you need it. It is a prevalent and familiar model, so if you do not have one, it will not be hard to find and add to your collection. And it’s fun to shoot.
The Glock 23
When you are looking for something smaller and easier to carry but still have a full-sized handgun's firepower, you should pick the G23. It is smaller than the 17 but can take almost as many rounds. When looking for a light everyday gun, (especially for ladies) choose this model. It can still do all the work of the bigger model but is easier to carry.
The Glock 43
The G43 clip only holds six rounds with one in the chamber, but what a great little guy to carry around if nothing else just to make you feel a little more secure. It takes a bit of doing to get the hang of it, but it’s good for shooting snakes up close.
Sometimes the swamps I fish in with the low-lying branches are full of snakes so the G43 is perfect for these types of situations. Just remember you only have seven shots so make them count.
Ruger is another dependable name in the realm of firearms. The camping rifle they designed started off this list of guns to bring camping. It should be no surprise that I would include Ruger's handguns as well. They have several that span the spectrum of what you might be looking for. I’ll mention just a few here that you might want to bring with you the next time you head out for the frontier.
The Ruger 1911 Commander
The Ruger 1911 Commander has a classic design. This gun is very reliable and is a bit heavier but certainly brings a punch. It uses larger rounds that can handle almost any situation, and the hardwood paneled grip gives the old classic gun look like many of my older guns like my 50-year-old double barrel savage. Ruger has updated some gun mechanics to keep its state of the art, but the general design is a hundred years old and as reliable as ever.
Ruger LCR Pistol
Looking for a gun that can wear many hats, or in this case, use a wide range caliber of bullet. This best sums up the LCR Pistol. It was one of the first and more popular small firearms to hit the markets when this was a trend, and there is a reason for that. It is easy to tuck away and easy to draw. It is designed to be lightweight and can handle different caliber bullets when you need something small and compact but need to have some power.
The trigger has an easy and smooth pull, and the mechanisms to control the fire and recoil are made from lightweight polymers to reduce the weight of the gun. This model can be found to fit any purpose you may need for self-defense, practice shooting, and in our case, weekend trips into the woods. It’s also fun to see how it shoots with different caliber ammo.
Small, efficient, and quick to deploy. The LCP is all this and more. This gun was made to be fluid on the draw. The design of the entire gun, from the action and hammer to the sights were made to be smooth and seamless, so there is no drag or chance it can snag on anything when it is being pulled out.
The hammer fits flush against the rest of the gun. Its double-action trigger makes it all the more fluid even when used, so there are no safety or switches to toggle. Just aim and shoot.
This can be the very feature that saves your life when out in the wild. The caliber of a bullet for this gun is not large, but with the reduced recoil and smooth action, you will be able to fire several shots in succession if you need to. I think the Ruger LCP is the best-concealed carry gun because of how user-friendly it is.
I couldn’t live with myself I didn’t tell you about good Smith & Wesson. If really enjoy guns and don’t have a good ole Smith & Wesson then squirrel away some greenbacks and get you one.
Smith and Wesson are one of the oldest producers and designers of the gun in the United States. What they have brought to the firearms industry can be considered nothing less than innovation. Their revolvers helped shape handguns for years to come, and my list would not be complete if their guns were not on it.
Smith & Wesson the Model 610 Revolver
In terms of reputation and name recognition, for the 610 Revolver, I could write an article to itself. The Model 610 is built using the N-frame, which has been used for revolvers for a long while. This gun was designed to be a multipurpose use weapon.
The 610 revolvers can be used for anything from self-defense to sport shooting to small game hunting. Loaded with 10mm rounds, this gun is very formidable and would be helpful to have at hand for any circumstance you may find yourself.
S&W M&P Shield
This gun checks all the boxes in terms of concealed carry. Its small size also makes it an optimal companion on long trips into the countryside if you try to keep your pack weight down but still want to remain armed while your camp rifle is tucked away.
This gun runs off a striker-fired system, meaning there is no hammer to cock or worry about getting caught on anything when trying to fire the gun. The built-in sights on the front and back of the gun are white-tipped, so they are easier to see against the all-black frame of the gun.
The extended clip also includes a grip extension for more hand space on the gun when firing. Despite its size, it uses 9mm rounds. Carrying this gun leaves little room for a situation you will not be able to handle.
If you are a big gal or guy like me, you will not like the feel of the smaller handguns. That’s why I like a full-sized handgun like the S&W M&P. It is heavier and better feel than the shield model but is just as reliable and comes with a few features that set it apart from the smaller shield and other handguns in the market.
Starting with materials, this gun is made with stainless steel which looks good and gives the weight and feel. However, this change can be beneficial, such as in the make-up of the magazines.
Plastic magazines often stick when you try to discharge them, but that will not happen with this gun. It also has a striker-fired system, so there is no hammer to worry about jamming, and this also helps reduce the weight of the gun a little.
The grip is angled to make it fit your hand better, and the grip is textured with interchangeable palm swell grips to fit any shooter's hand. It may take up more room than the Sheild in your pack or on your hip, but the added weight and size are worth the sacrifice. This gun is a workhorse and worth packing when going camping.
Some final thoughts
There are many factors to take into account when you are packing for a camping trip. The time of year, the weather that weekend, the location of your campsite, and the items to bring along help with all that. Guns may not always be at the forefront of your mind when making those decisions, but I hope they will in the future, and I hope this article helped you make those decisions.
We have spent some time in this article to help you decide what to bring but take a moment to read our other articles, "Can I bring my guns camping?" and "Should I bring my guns camping?" These two articles will help when packing up to head out and avoid any unnecessary hassles once you get there.
All the best,