M4 Survival Rifle

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M4 Survival Rifle
Original US Property marked M4 Survival Rifle with military issue .22 Hornet ammo
Type Rifle
Place of origin United States
Service history
Production history
Manufacturer Harrington & Richardson[1]
Produced 1949[1]
No. built 29,344[1]
Weight Approx. 4 pounds (1.8 kg)
Barrel length 14 inches (36 cm) barrel[2]

Caliber .22 Hornet
Action Bolt action[2]
Feed system 4 shot detachable box magazine[2]
Sights blade front, peep rear[2]

The M4 Survival Rifle was a .22 calibre bolt-action rifle developed during World War II as part of the survival gear stored under the seat of American military aircraft. It was designed to give downed aircrew a survival weapon for foraging wild game for food.


The M4 was developed from the Harrington & Richardson bolt-action M265 sporting rifle, adapted to a sheet metal frame with telescoping wire butt stock, a 14-inch detachable barrel chambered for .22 Hornet and the 4 shot detachable box magazine of the Savage Stevens M23D .22 Hornet sporting rifle. The M4 weighs approximately four pounds and with barrel detached and telescoping stock closed makes a ~14 inch overall package.[3]

Due to the possible use of the M4 by downed aircrew as a combat weapon, military issue ammunition in .22 Hornet was loaded with full metal jacket bullets to comply with the Hague Convention barring use of expanding bullets in warfare.[4] It was later determined by the USAF that exigent circumstances and self defense would have exempted soft point ammunition from that provision.

In the 1950s, the M4 was supplanted by the M6 Aircrew Survival Weapon and the M4 was phased out along with the decommissioning of the aircraft containing M4 as part of their survival package. The Armalite AR-5 (MA-1) was approved as a replacement for the M4 but no significant quantities of the AR5 were procured, as there were sufficient numbers of M4 and M6 in inventory to meet USAF needs.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Emerson, Lee (3 June 2007). M14 Rifle History and Development (PDF). p. 42. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 July 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c d Firearms parts catalog : the reference guide for antique, obsolete, military and current parts and accessories. West Hurley, NY: Numrich Gun Parts Corp. p. 1027. OCLC 57142445. 
  3. ^ a b Rottman, Gordon L. (20 October 2013). The Big Book of Gun Trivia: Everything you want to know, don’t want to know, and don’t know you need to know. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 168. ISBN 978-1-78200-950-4. 
  4. ^ Survival: Training Edition. US Army. 1969. p. 2. 

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