A New Survival Air Rifle: folding, lightweight, quiet

Famed Russian airgun company, EDgun, has a new air rifle, designed for backpacking and survival. A PCP-type (Pre-Charged Pneumatic) air rifle, it is lightweight, trim, compact, and even foldable. What’s it called? Leshiy, which means “wood goblin”. Leshiy or Leshy is a mythical spirit that guards the forest. The gun is designed for hiking and backpacking, so the name is apt.

According to current specs (stated here), it folds to just under 14 inches, and unfolds to 25 inches. There is an option for a longer barrel, which would increase both of those specs by 100 mm (about 4 inches). The shorter barrel is 250 mm (under 10 inches) and the longer barrel is 350 mm (under 14 inches). Weight with the shorter barrel is about 4.4 pounds. Height of the gun, with scope, is under 8 inches.

Yes, it comes with a 4×20 scope (though one source claims it is an unusual 5×20). The scope has to be mounted high enough to clear the moderator (reduces sound), which is asymmetrical, short, and fat.

A cautionary note: the EDgun Leshiy is in development, due to ship in summer of 2016. Availability will be limited at first, since there is already high demand for the airgun. And specs may change as the gun nears its shipping date.

This airgun would be great for camping and hiking. It is also good for SHTF small game hunting: lightweight, portable, quiet. It folds down to a very compact size, so it’s easy to store and transport.

However, there are some significant negatives to the gun. The Leshiy air rifle is a one-shot gun. Fold the rifle, insert a pellet in to the barrel, and snap it open. You get one accurate shot. That’s fine for small game hunting, but it’s a non-starter for any type of self-defense application.

As a PCP air gun, the air cylinder must be charged with air before you can go shooting. But the small size and weight of the gun also means it has a small cylinder, which gives you only about 20 shots in .25 caliber.

The barrel length, even in the longer version, is still diminutive: just under 14 inches, as compared to a full-size air rifle with an 18 to 24 inch barrel. The end result is of course lower velocity and power. Estimated velocity and power for .25 caliber is 744 fps and 31 ft lbs (25 grain pellet). That is sufficient for small game, but not nearly as good as a full-size air rifle and well below what a .22LR gun offers.

Here’s a YouTube video of Ed from EDguns showing how the rifle folds and unfolds. And this video, also from Ed, shows the longer 350 mm barrel and some test shots at 50 meters.

My take: price will really be the deciding factor. If it is moderately priced, it might be a useful tool to have for prepping and survival. Air rifles can be very accurate, and they have more than enough power for small game. But if it’s expensive, then there are too many other options, with fewer limitations, at a lower price.

– Thoreau

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