If you read any of the many lists of “must have” firearms for preppers, you are likely to see a recurring theme: you need a .22 long rifle, a pistol, a shotgun, a battle rifle, and a precision rifle. Well, in my experience, most people never do enough firearms training to really get proficient with a single platform, let alone five, so I don’t tow this line. Certainly, all of these options are useful, but perhaps not all necessary, depending on your environment or situation.
I would suggest that the two most important firearms to have for preparedness is a primary defensive handgun and a fighting rifle. The others are optional depending on your living situation and needs. In particular, here I wish to address the necessity of a precision rifle. A precision rifle can run the gamut from a top-shelf long-range rifle that costs thousands of dollars and can shoot out to 1,000 yards. Or, it can simply refer to a mundane hunting rifle that has a decent scope on it, chambered in a powerful round.
The bottom line is, I don’t think a precision gun is necessary for a survival arsenal. A good fighting rifle, especially if equipped with an LPVO (low powered variable optic) can dominate out to 300 yards without much trouble, and in realistic use I have a hard time envisioning when more would be needed. With good bullet selection you can also adequately hunt medium game with such a battle rifle. If you live in an environment where hunting big game, such as elk, is part of your plan, then certainly a high-powered precision option may be a necessity. Short of this, however, I would consider it a nice thing to have, but not a requirement.
Still, if you have one, it is hardly a bad thing. What would be some uses for such a gun in a survival situation? While most shooters don’t have an extravagant precision rifle, many have an ordinary hunting rifle. A typical hunting rifle, likely a bolt action chambered in 308 Winchester or a similar high-powered cartridge, can prove useful if it is equipped with a good optic. Even when using the ever-popular 3-9x powered hunting scope, such a gun can do a lot.
The two advantages it will offer over your fighting rifle that is likely chambered in 5.56 NATO or 7.62×39 is range and penetration. Cartridges such as 308 and 30-06 offer greater range, and much greater barrier penetration. If you live on a homestead where far shots may be needed even in a defensive capacity, your hunting rifle might be optimal for this niche task. Even if you are a suburbanite, if things get bad enough, you may find the need to penetrate intermediate barriers such as car doors, auto glass, or walls, and a heavy hitting hunting cartridge might prove useful in this regard.
Therefore, I stand by my assertion that most preppers don’t need such a rifle, but you may already own a dedicated high-powered hunting gun, and there are circumstances in which it would be feasibly more useful than your fighting rifle. So, is a precision rifle essential? Probably not. Useful? Possibly.