Hunting small game in a survival situation can provide a consistent source of food. Eating rabbits and squirrels may not be glamorous, but along with foraged wild edibles and fishing, it can help you supplement your stockpiles and stay alive. A lightweight .22LR rifle or 9mm carbine can be a good tool for this job, but air rifles can be a compelling alternative. They're simple, reliable, and inexpensive to operate, and they provide enough firepower to take down small game quietly.

Affordable and abundant, airgun ammunition are pellets usually made from copper or lead. They come in various calibers, most commonly .177, .22, and .25.

Airgun ammo is affordable and plentiful, making hunting small game easy regardless of your budget.

SIG SAUER recently announced the introduction of a new high-performance air rifle, the ASP20. This suppressed single-shot break-barrel gun is offered in two calibers, .177 or .22, and can be had with either a synthetic stock or wood stock. All ASP20 rifles will be manufactured in the United States, in SIG's New Hampshire facility.

SIG SAUER ASP20 air rifle break barrel 177 22 hunting survival 1

The SIG SAUER ASP20 features a proprietary GlideLite cocking mechanism that results in a 33-pound cocking force — SIG says this is far lighter than the 48- to 52-pound force required to operate competitive air rifles in this power range. The ASP20 also has a MatchLite trigger, which can be adjusted to one of eight pull rates between 2.5 and 4 pounds (all settings maintain the same travel and break point).

SIG SAUER ASP20 air rifle break barrel 177 22 hunting survival 3

Power is delivered by a gas piston, producing the following results:

  • .177 caliber – 20 ft-lbs of energy, 1021 fps muzzle velocity with 8.64 grain lead pellet
  • .22 caliber – 23 ft-lbs of energy, 841 fps muzzle velocity with 14.65 grain lead pellet

SIG SAUER ASP20 air rifle break barrel 177 22 hunting survival 2

SIG says the .177 caliber rifle is “ideal for hunting small game such as squirrels, crows and rodents” and the .22 rifle is better for hunting “slightly larger animals such as woodchucks and groundhogs.”

An ASP20 shown with the upcoming Whiskey3 ASP riflescope.

An ASP20 shown with the upcoming Whiskey3 ASP riflescope.

MSRP for the SIG SAUER ASP20 is $490 for wood stock models and $400 for synthetic stock models (.177 and .22 variants are available with either stock at no extra cost). The company will also offer a Whiskey3 ASP 4-12×44 adjustable objective scope that is “designed to handle the extreme bi-directional recoil of air rifles” starting in May 2018 for $360.

For more information on the SIG SAUER ASP20 and other airguns,

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