Survival Rifles at RIA: Luftwaffe Drilling and USAF M6

Today we’re looking at a pair of military survival rifles at the Rock Island September auction. One is a Luftwaffe M30 drilling – the most finely finished and luxurious survival rifle ever issued by a military force (a Luftwaffe case for an M30 is being sold separately). The other is a US Air Force M6 survival gun, spartan and utilitarian – the polar opposite of the M30.


  1. As Daweo notes above, I am pretty sure that Hermann Goering (who was an avid hunter), had a friend or two at Sauer and Son who appreciated a nice contract. He probably received a few nice guns as compensation for his consideration. It does seem more suited to an outing in the Black Forest than a limp across a desert battlefield. I am fortunate enough to have inherited the direct descendant of the Luftwaffe M 30 drilling, a Colt Sauer in 12 x 12 x .30-06. It is a beautiful firearm, and a useful hunting arm for times when, as often occurs in the Southern woods and swamps, one may encounter anything from woodcock, quail, and turkey to white-tailed deer, feral hogs, and black bear. The only downside is that it is a bit heavy for wing shooting, and gets heavier to carry as the day wears on. I wouldn’t want to lug one through the desert after surviving a plane crash, but neither would I want to be a British Tommy facing the business end of one. All in all a beautiful (and still useful) piece of history.

  2. It is not a rifle it is a Drilling. A Drilling is a separate type of gun mostly meant to me used on European driven hunts where you shoot all kinds of game.

    In Northern Africa they have lots of wild boar, the 9,3x74R is very suitable for them, and so is a load of Brenneke slug. But birds are more common so I would have birdshot in one barrel at least. No drilling is complete w o a short auxillary barrel in .22LR (or Magnum).

    Personally I would rather have a smaller cartridge though, like an 8mm or .30cal. The need for self defence (from wild game) in Africa is probably highly over rated. And 9,3x74R is not a stopper anyway.

    You forgot to mention this Drilling has a french style set trigger, push it forward and shoot (like on duelling pistols).

    • I hunt with 9.3×62 and 9.3x74R in South Africa. (Identical ballistics 286grain bullets at 2,360 ft/sec with a sectional density of .305). I prefer them to .375H&H for dangerous game. They are magnificent big game/dangerous game cartridges. You may be confused with the 9.3x72R a much less powerful originally black powder cartridge.

  3. I have a box of Remington-Peters .22 Hornet ammunition, 45-grain JSP, which has a paper label pasted on the side stating that it is issued for foraging use only, and that the use of it against enemy personnel contravenes the Geneva convention.

    I suspect it was one issued with the M6 survival rifle. I inherited it from my father, who had a Savage 340 .22 Hornet. (Said rifle traded to a friend of mine for a Mauser M1934 in 7.65mm.)



    • It may have been for the M4 survival rifle, also (bolt action .22 Hornet). I knew an old sugar cane farmer who used one as a truck gun. Regarding that label, I wonder if a downed airman would allow himself to be killed or captured rather than using “foraging” ammunition against an enemy soldier (I already know the answer, but it just goes to show how foolish some rules of engagement really are.)

      • “I wonder if a downed airman would allow himself to be (…) captured rather than using “foraging” ammunition against an enemy soldier”
        In fact during WW2 the downed airmen which meet enemy soldiers very more lucky than those which meet angry mob, searching vengeance for bombing their cites and villages. See for example this thread on axishistory:

        • Yes, but being a POW wasn’t a picnic, either, particularly for allied airmen in the Pacific in WW2, North Korea, or North Vietnam. Still, if one went down over a remote wilderness area, the ability to supplement survival rations and keep four-legged predators at bay would be some relief, barring the fact that the sound of a gunshot might bring the downed pilot some unwanted attention from the enemy or angry locals. In that case, a break-open single shot wouldn’t be my first choice for a defensive firearm, especially in that situation, but it would beat a pointy stick. If I had to have one, I’d want the Sauer Drilling! 🙂

  4. The Case (separate sale) is by “ce” ( also Sauer and Sohn).

    Heinrich Krieghoff also made M30s in 8x57JRS/16×16 For the Luftwaffe ( Guns Magazine,1970s).

    Dutch-made 7,9x57R ( MG) ammo was repacked for use in HK drillings to provide an FMJ round (the 8x57R JRS was Soft Point.)

    The M30 was initially issued to Bomber crews in North Africa, and then also to FW200 crews on the Murmansk Artic Circle area ( Polar Bears, etc)


  5. Love these information docu/videos. I did not previously know why some original USAF Survival guns I have seen elsewhere are priced at over 10K. The shorter barrels & NFA necessity are that reason. (collectability included)

  6. One of my great uncles brought one back from Germany after some negotiations. He was a Sargent in the US Army 101st Airborne. In 1976 I was ten years old. At a family 4th of July Picnic, my great uncle brought this Drilling. It was a absolutely beautiful weapon. Nobody had seen it before other than his sons. We shot both 12 Gauge Barrels—myself included. My other strong memory (Other than recoil on my ten year old shoulder) was the weight of the Drilling—Super Heavy! After a few hours, my great uncles (and my uncles too) got drunk and put a “Common American Bullet” as I was told into the rifle barrel. Thus resulting in an explosion and the rifle barrel ruptured thus making it useless. In fact, at least one of the shotgun barrels was also damaged. My great uncle took it to a gunsmith who said that it could not be repaired. My great uncle held on to it for a few years. He said that he sold it to a pawn shop for $200. My great uncle lived until 2001 and would never talk about it even though he frequently talked about his service in World War II.

  7. I have a kriegof drilling that is 16×16 s/s over an 8-72r rifled barrel that is 318 not the later 325 diameter bullet, I load my own shells as Connor get them in the uk, any one have any info on data it would be of great help

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