Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Pay Chart (2023) Military Ranks


Infantry Small Arms / The Warfighter

Harrington and Richardson M4

Combat Aviator Bolt-Action Survival Rifle [ 1949 ]

The M4 Survival Rifle was a USAF development of the Cold War period and issued to American aviators as an game-hunting survival weapon.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 05/10/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

One of the greatest dangers facing combat pilots is being downed over enemy territory. Having survived the ensuing crash, the pilot must then survive long enough to be rescued in some fashion. In the period following World War 2 (1939-1945), the United States Air Force (USAF) teamed with Harrington and Richardson Arms to develop a portable, small-caliber bolt-action-rifle for issuance to American aviators for the purpose of hunting game - this initiative producing the "M4 Survival Rifle". The company was founded in 1871 and is still in existence today (2022).

Based in the company's existing M265 sporting gun, the M4 was chambered in .22 Hornet and intended for the hunting of varmint-sized animals. It was operated through a manually-actuated bolt-action system (the lever set over the right side of the frame) and its overall arrangement was largely conventional. Design features included a 14"-long smooth, rounded barrel assembly (detachable), fixed iron sights fore and aft (blade and peep, respectively), wire pistol grip and trigger unit, magazine feed, and collapsing wire frame shoulder stock.

Weighing approximately 4 lb, the rifle could be made to have a smaller footprint by sliding the wire stock forwards along channeled blocks affixed to either side of the frame. The detachable magazine (taken from the Savage Stevens M23D) held four ready-to-fire cartridges.

The guns were manufactured in 1949 to the tune of 29,344 units solely for the USAF and Canada. The series was eventually superseded by the "M6 Aircrew Survival Weapon" (detailed elsewhere on this site) of similar battlefield scope.

An example of the M4 Survival Rifle is showcased behind glass at the armory exhibit of the United States Air Force Armament Museum in Florida.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

United States national flag graphic
United States


Combat Aviator Bolt-Action Survival Rifle

Harrington and Richardson Arms - USA
(View other Arms-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of Canada National flag of the United States Canada; United States
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Special Forces
Qualities of this weapon have shown its value to Special Forces elements requiring a versatile, reliable solution for the rigors of special assignments.
Special Purpose
Special purpose weapon for a specially defined battlefield role.

Compact nature allows for relatively easy concealment.
Operating action requires operator management of a bolt-handle or similar, clearing the chamber of spent cartrides and introducing a fresh cartridge from the magazine.
Supports 'iron sights' allowing for inherent accuracy in ranged fire.

Overall Length
812 mm
31.97 in
Barrel Length
356 mm
14.02 in
Empty Wgt
3.97 lb
1.80 kg

Iron rear peep with front blade.


Manually-Actuated Bolt-Action System.

Manually-actuated process of managing the bolt lever to eject spent cartridge case, clearing the breech, to introduce fresh catridge into the chamber.
(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)


.22 Hornet

Rounds / Feed

4-round detachable box magazine.
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.

M4 Survival Rifle - Base Series Designation.

Military lapel ribbon for the American Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Ukranian-Russian War
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.

Images Gallery

1 / 1
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.

Similar Arms

Battlefield developments of similar form and function, or related to, the Harrington and Richardson M4...


Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2023 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing all American military medals and ribbons.

www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-