Some gun design concepts are a flash in the pan while others endure for decades. One idea that's as valid now as it was years ago is the takedown rifle. These long guns are built so that they can be separated or broken down to fit into a smaller storage place. What may seem like a gimmick feature to some has proven to be very useful to others. Here are just a few of the reasons to consider a takedown rifle:
1. Halved Gun, Will Travel
Simply stated, a rifle that's locked up at home is of little use in the field. The primary reason takedown rifles were developed in the first place was to make them easier to transport. This way a rifle can be at hand for hunting, plinking or emergency situations.
Traditionally, takedown rifles have been associated with outdoor enthusiasts and hikers who are looking for a gun that's easy to tote in a backpack. Although this is still a perfectly valid reason to invest in a long gun that's easy to break down, modern modes of transportation are another. Today's cars, trucks and recreational boats have all kinds of interior storage compartments but they may not be long enough to house a rifle. A takedown can be comfortably stowed in these compartments along with other supplies.
For air travel, takedown rifles can be packed in much smaller cases that resemble ordinary pieces of luggage. This makes the gun easier to lug around the airport and helps to avoid the inconvenience of alarming fellow travelers. Owning a takedown also has the advantage of fitting into the odd shaped or smaller storage spaces inside a gun safe.
2. Traveling Incognito
Honest gun owners have plenty of good reasons for not wanting to telegraph to the world at large that they are transporting a firearm into the field or to a shooting range. Here are two reasons to consider: First, guns are a portable form of wealth highly prized by thieves and criminals. Keeping them out of sight, or making them unrecognizable, protects them from being stolen.
Second, many gun owners share apartment buildings or neighborhoods with individuals who feel nervous around guns or who have an anti-gun agenda. Although our gun rights are clearly enumerated and protected by Federal and State laws, there are some hornets’ nests that are best left un-kicked. Depending on your situation, it may be easier to have your long guns ride along incognito than to sort through a 'man-with-a-gun' phone call with the local authorities.
Because takedowns break apart, they can be placed in bags and cases that don't have the tell-tale appearance of typical long-gun cases. In fact, several companies now offer carry bags designed specifically for low-key transportation. The BLACKHAWK! Diversion series of bags includes cases designed to look like backpacks, duffle bags, and even a racquet case with a padded divider to protect both halves of a separated AR-15 carbine and a few spare magazines. Copper Basin's Low Profile backpack is designed specifically for the Ruger 10/22 Takedown.
3. Takedowns Make Great BOGs and BUGs
Experts in emergency preparedness speak regularly about the importance of having a bug-out bag. This is an easy to move bag or container filled with essential gear and supplies, stored in a ready to go condition, in case of an emergency evacuation. Because space and weight is at a premium, takedown rifles make great bug-out guns (BOGs) that can be quickly pulled from secure storage and dropped into a bug-out bag.
A concept that can be borrowed from the concealed-carry crowd is that of the BUG, or Back-Up Gun. The idea is to carry a second firearm (also known as the New York Reload) in case the first one fails or there's a need to arm another responsible adult.
Takedown rifles make it much easier to keep a back-up handy in the field. I'm thinking of the times that my family or friends have gathered to go small-game hunting or plinking with our .22s. Occasionally, a rifle has clogged up on us or we've been joined by guests who don't have a rifle of their own. In situations like this, a compact Henry U.S. Survival AR-7 stowed with the rest of the gear would be just the thing. In just a couple of minutes this rifle can be fully assembled to fill the gap and keep the group shooting.
4. Caliber Convertible Takedowns
Some gun makers have expanded the advantage of owning their takedown rifles by providing convenient caliber conversions. Just trade out the barrel, and possibly some other components, to shoot a second caliber without the expense of buying another gun. The pistol-caliber TNW Firearms Aero Survival Rifles (ASR) were originally intended for bush pilots in case their planes crashed in the wilderness. The ASR can be converted to fire 9 mm, .357 Sig, .40 S&W, .45 ACP and 10 mm.
When Ruger released the gas-piston-operated SR556 Takedown chambered for 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington, some folks (including myself) were scratching their heads. Why add a removable barrel to a platform that already splits into an upper and lower section? It all made sense when the company released the 300 BLK conversion barrel. Trading out the barrels is simple to do because the piston assembly remains attached to the upper receiver.
5. The Fun Factor
There's more than one reason to own a gun and I happen to believe that the enjoyment a firearm provides is just as valid of a reason to buy it as any other.
Some takedown rifles offer a sleek modernized look, like the Savage Arms Model 42 Takedown, while others conceal their divisive natures within a classic design, like the Chiappa LA322 Lever-Action .22 LR takedown. Old School or New Rule, these rifles are cleverly built and cool to work with. If a particular takedown catches your eye, then by all means, have fun with it!