I’ve owned a large amount of firearms over the years and competed in IPSC on an irregular basis. Tactical with pistols, long range rifle and Western Action to a far lesser extent. Along with several Security based tactical training courses. At one stage, I even had a very large collection of commemorative Winchester lever actions. These have gone by the way side to pay for other toys.
It would be nice to own thirty different firearms to cover every situation covered over the internet but that would mean supplying thirty different types of ammunition at 500 to a 1000 rounds each comes to a lot of cash as well as spare parts when you can only carry maybe two at a time but defiantly only use one, so I choose to keep my choices to a minimum. Having a cracked sternum has also restricted the calibres I can now use, to lower recoiling. So as not to risk breaking the wires holding my chest together for a second time.
I wanted a rimfire for small game as I usually prefer to hunt with a bow, very quite and you can go anywhere with it. However the amount of arrows that are lost on rabbits and birds just isn’t worth the cost of a nine dollar arrow. The .17 calibres are great for long distance sniping and can take roos with head shots having a very flat trajectory and high velocity, however having very little bullet weight aren’t the greatest wind buckers. Along with the 22 magnum, are pricey to bulk buy. The 22 longs can almost keep up with the magnum using high velocity loads and cost under $50 for 500 compared to magnums which are well over double the price at $180 per 500. The advantage to the Long Rifle is that they can be silenced far more effectively, but misses out on the additional range of the magnum.
I’ve purposely stayed away from firearms requiring removable magazines as I’m not using them for sporting purposes where a large amount of ammunition is needed, only foraging and I like not having as many moving parts that can break or become lost. Single shots are built like tanks and even with some breakages can still be used effectively. Parts can be made with minimal power tools, if breakages were to occur.
Of those available I was lucky to come across an old Winchester Low Wall built for target use with a custom heavy barrel and trigger job. It had to have been made for someone well over six foot due to the length of the rear stock and at least a 30 inch barrel. Very little had to be done to make it suitable as a hunting rifle other than shortening the stock, barrel and removing the peep sights. Then replacing the sights with the largest scope that would fit comfortably and balance. I later had it reamed to a rimfire magnum. Many of the smaller game in the area where I hunt is out of range of the long Rifle and needed atleast a good hundred yards to reach a bunny. Dropping foxes that come in close to hen houses require a magnum. Ive skun out too many foxes with 22 rounds under their skin to ever use a Long Rifle again on medium game. Federal bring out 50 grain hollow points for magnums now that make it easier to drop slightly larger game from roo’s to goats.
Recently I came across a Martini action with a brilliant trigger. Usually the ones in shops have been decked out for competition use with heavy barrels and stocks. This one had been left standard and looked in mint condition. I left it as a long Rifle round, simply due to the cost of bulk buying ammunition for storage. $100 supplies 1000 rounds. Both the martini and low Wall are over 40 years old and dont look like ever breaking and not reliant on magazines. 40 grain power points are my prefered load for the long rifle.
For my third choice I wanted something a little more specialized for a Bug Out Bag carry that would take a variety of game and be collapsible for easy storage. Everyone is going to have a different set of circumstances in selecting a firearm for their bug out bag depending on;
1) Part of country you reside in, regarding available game
2) State laws
3) Do you see yourself needing a defensive firearm?
4) Foraging only
5) Storage requirements
I found myself selecting a M6 Scout combination in 22 Hornet over 410 gauge. I wanted something small, easy to breakdown and store. That would take a variety of game.
I had never owned a Hornet or 410 gauge and was interested in how both performed also not wanting to rely on a rimfire to hunt medium game. The hornet has always been referred to as a poaching round.
A friend recommended the 410 gauge as not putting as many pellets into the game as its larger brothers, as I could no longer use a 12 gauge from the shoulder and a 20 gauge seems to recoil more for me due to the guns being lighter (It may just be me).
Carrying an auto or similar seems to upset people as well; a little combo doesn’t draw much attention, is mainly for foraging but has the ability as a back up for defensive purposes. I believe the little 410 loaded with rock salt would deter most intruders or solids if you need to become serious.
For hunting I use the 410 gauge on smaller game as I can take rabbits on the run and birds on the wing. Then use the Hornet for medium sized game. As it has more reach than a 22 rimfire/magnum and can take larger animals with head shots at close range. The 410 loaded with solids performs similar to a 41 magnum, for use as a backup on larger animals. 50 grain nosler projectiles can be loaded into a hornett when using a single shot action. The longer prodgies tend to not feed well through mags.
I kept waiting and waiting for the stainless centre fire to be released in Australia alas that was never to happen; only the rimfire version ever appeared. So the week I found out production had stopped I called every gun shop on the eastern sea board looking for a copy.
The only one I found was an old blued version, so I grabbed it. The bore was good but the rest was junk, but I got it at a good price. The barrels were fairly scratched up from someone attempting to put on a wooden fore stock and the sights were pushed out by half an inch. So either the gun didn’t shoot well or the previous owner didn’t.
After reading other articles on the Scout I didn’t even bother to try and repair the rear sight, going straight to a red dot on a dove tail. It balances well and can be used with both calibers with a little practice. The red dot works a lot better for low light conditions than the factory peep.
The second modification performed was to bead blast then a hard chrome to remove the scuff marks and protect the steel. I wanted to further reduce the glare when hunting, so went to the strider knife site and tried to copy their instructions for braiding knife grips.
I promptly gave up trying to do this out of one piece of material. So I cheated and did an under bind like on fishing rod guides then following the instructions did the over bind out of the braid using Para cord. At first I thought this may be a silly idea, as there wouldn’t be a way to oil the barrels. However if you spray a light coating of clear lacquer over the barrels first to protect them from rust, the braiding provides a very nice grip. I ended up removing this after a few sessions at the range. Too much added weight, harder to store covertly and I like wipeing down barrels after a while. I ended up using a piece of rubber insulation for the foregrip.
The other thing that bothered me about the design of the M6 was loosing the connection pin that holds together the barrels and stock. A local gunsmith made me up three extra out of stainless steel with cir clips, so if they came loose the clips would still hold them in place.
Trying to find a gun bag short enough was a major headache. It became easier to have one custom made from a canvas maker out of codura. This holds the two segments separate to avoid wear. I was thinking of placing pouches on the side to store accessories but this would have increased the bulk too much for easy storage.
I decided to use a couple of smoke grenade pouches attached to the shoulder strap of the gun bag. One pouch contains 200 rounds of 22 hornet with 100 rounds of 410 gauge size 4 shot and 20 solids. The other pouch holds a small tin of gun oil and two bore snakes. These do away with the need of brushes and rods for cleaning.
The spare connection pins are also stored here. Another pouch could be added to include a small survival kit if desired.
For my main rifle I wanted to stick with a lever action in a pistol cartridge. This way I would have a decent ammunition capacity with out needing a detachable magazine and a fast cyclic rate of fire. The three calibres readily available all have their advantages and disadvantages.
The 45 long/colt is probably my favorite due to the history and the big hole in the end of the barrel. However it’s not really practical for survival use unless into reloading as factory ammo is a little on the light side, designed for older guns. I reload my empty cases for hunting but for long term storage or defensive work like to stick with factory loads, reducing the likely hood of misfires. When loading a 45 colt up to similar velocities of a magnum, its a myth that case life is reduced due to the thinner walls of the older cartridge. Both are the same, the magnums have slightly thicker bases around the primer walls. The 45 long has a 1in16 twist allowing for heavier bullets to stabilize out to 300 grains compared to the 44’s with a 1in32 twist. The 44’s have decent factory loads available in 240 grainer hollow points, if not a reloader.
44 magnums have the advantage of hitting power but require twice the powder and lead of the 38 cal to reload. The 357 magnum have light loads that won’t destroy small game and heavier loads that can take larger game with head shots. They can also be used in conjunction with revolvers, so only one type of ammo needs to be carried and can be switched to whatever firearm is used the most. The 357’s come in a box of fifty and are quite easy to carry as compared to calibres requiring a longer action such as a 30-30 but this is my all time favorite calibre and if I could still handle the recoil would be one of my first choices.
Of the three major rifle brands available it really comes down to a personal choice, all are very reliable. Rossi’s are a top eject and cannot use a scope. Winchesters are no longer made but I’ve always been a fan of these and own the trapper version. The Marlins in the cowboy action series are sweet with the octagonal barrels and are easy to mount scopes on. The barrels and mags seem much thicker on the Winchesters. The only bad thing Ive ever heard about a Winchester are from comp shooters that rapid fire, saying lifters tend to break when used in this fashion. Their still my favorite.
I’ve always been a peep sight user and never a fan of scope use, but it may be my age as I’m tending to go the other way. I’ve found instead of looking down the sights and aiming at the head of an animal, I can now aim within the head for a more specific target which drastically improves my accuracy.
Levers are great for up to 200 yards but for over that a bolt action is required. Realistically I doubt many shots are taken over that distance for hunting. The ability to shoot up to 600 yards can come in handy for tactical situations. Very few people could see over that.
I’ve always looked at 223s as small game cartridges, to successfully use them for anything larger requires the use of 70 grain projectiles with a fast rate of twist, either 1in8 or 1in9 to stabilize them. Most brands don’t come out with a twist this fast, usually 1in12 and may need rebarreling .Factory loads are only brought out to 55 grains. Tikka and the police models in savage and Remington have faster twists. I have always refered to 223’s as poodle shooters. They however do have� 3.3 foot pounds of recoil for sensitive shooters. To bring up more hitting power than a 70 grainer, its possible to neck up the case to a 6mm and fire a 90 grain prodgie. This however needs several more steps in the reloading process. Of neck sizing and fire forming and has a recoil figure of 4 foot pounds and will take a head off a roo at 400 yards.Not to mention the $600 dollar price tag on a new barrel and the work involved in fitting.
The 7.62×39 rounds are mainly exmil and made from steel which use double flash holes in the case making it a lengthy process to reload. Commercial brass only uses one flash hole from the primer for this reason I prefer 308s for the ease of finding commercial brass ammo over the Russian round. Im not generally a fan of using miltary calibres. These always seem the first to go off the shelves when a crisis hits, in order to supply the military.
Recoil is a problem for me and not wanting to go through the extra steps of removing berden primers from military rounds or modifying cases. I chose a 6.8SPC. These have comercial brass available and a recoil similar to a 22-250 at 8 foot pounds. This can be reduced even further by using heavy barrels, good recoil pads and a muzzle brake. Bringing it down to around 4.5 foot pounds. I found a Remington already fitted out with a burris scope and just needed to fit a badger ordance bolt handle and the muzzle break. Remingtons may not have a claw extractor but I have never heard of a clip extractor breaking with any regularity. My gun smith has changed one clip extractor in 10 years. If it aint broke dont fix it, as many of my mates that shoot long range, swap the extractors to Mauser claw types and many have broken part way through matches.
Remington LTR’s have a 20 inch barrel, fibreglass stock and aluminium bedding block. The glass stocks dont feel slick as the cheaper plastic SPS version do and the alloy bedding blocks dont require rebedding as fibreglass beds will do. The barrels are also fluted reducing weight by an extra few pounds. The fore stocks are also shorter than target models, allowing them to be fitted out for hunting. I see no sense in trying to hike around with a 26 inch bull barrel and match stocks designed to shoot prone, unless wanting to play sniper. I prefer meat on the table.
Shotguns are my favorite firearm I just seem to never miss. Auto’s are totally banned and pumps are restricted in some states leaving the Norinco 1887 levers. I’m starting to prefer these, as the external hammer can be lowered into the half cock position, unlike pumps that are always cocked and rely on safeties. The mag can be loaded and the hammer lowered without a round inserted in the chamber. A very safe way of carryiage.
I’ve had mine modified by shortening the barrel to 17 inches. It is possible to go another inch but I also wanted to shorten the stock to help with recoil and swing, this way they remain legal. A thick recoil pad was then added and magna porting to further reduce kick. Many of the earlier models had trouble extracting. I believe that the kinks have been ironed out, especially after the actions have been cleaned up a little more. Spare parts are now available including extractors. Using BB loads at 32 grams, the recoil stays low enough to shoot from the hip and is the same as bunny loads but with 40 pellets per shot. Ive found that wearing gloves and being rough when operating the action will aleviate most problems extracting after the action has been worked on. The magna-porting ended up being a waste of cash with no noticable difference.
Coach guns are the closest thing to a pistol with the help of a hacksaw in a post SHTF scenario and are well worth considering as an option to anyone that hasn’t a pistol license. Whether to go for a hammer version or hammerless is a personal choice. I prefer a hammer gun as it can be kept loaded with the hammer down, uncocked. Hammerless guns are always cocked when loaded, but much faster to fire and load. Single triggers work off an inertia system in some guns, meaning the first barrel needs to be fired before the second can be used. So if the first firing pin breaks the second barrel is useless. The same cant be said for double triggers. If either firing pin breaks the second trigger will still activate the other barrel. Good choices are the Rossi overland, (no longer made) for a hammer gun or a Stoeger western action coachy.
My first love has always been pistol shooting and I’ve made quite a few observations over the years, which most people will probably disagree with and some may not but, this is just my opinion.
With two shots to the body and one to the head it won’t matter what caliber is used, whether a .22 or a .44 cal? Don’t confuse the next statement with the dislike of the calibres and the models of guns their usually chambered in as I thoroughly like both Browning Hipowers and the Colt clones but just don’t think much of either the 9mm or 45acp. It’s all well and good shooting into ballistic gelatin and saying how good they perform but I don’t think anyone has ever been attacked by gelatin. In a realistic scenario you not only shoot through flesh but also bone and whatever cover maybe used whether vehicles or walls etc. I also think hollow points are a fallacy, prefering jacketed soft points. HP’s were designed for police to prevent over penetration amongst bystanders. A jacketed soft point with will not only leave an entry wound but as an exit wound aswell, allowing for faster blood flow from two wound points. Dropping blood pressure much faster.
When shooting at 1/4� inch steel plate in comps a 45 will knock down the target first time every time, but when you walk up to the plates all you see are squashed 45 slugs sitting at the base. To do the same thing with a 9mm requires a triple tap to knock the plate over. Having said that if I were in a country that allowed a pistol to be carried and used for defense, I would prefer one of the above mentioned pistols. Either a Browning Hipower chambered in a 9mm or ream a 9mm STI tactical 4.15 to a 357Sig.
After watching a youtube vid on comparisons of a 9mm, 40smith and 45acp fired through a ballistic vest into clay slabs. The 9mm went thin but deep. The 45 shot wide but shallow. The 40 shot both deep and wide, outshooting both other rounds. If I had my choice the 40 would win hands down. The 40’s are now restriced here and come in boxes of 20. With the price of base metals now making them an expensive proposition, along with any larger pistol calibre.
I might be getting old but prefer firearms where I don’t have to spend a fortune on gunsmithing to have them function as their supposed to. For this reason Glocks seem to out shine most other brands on the market at the moment requiring no work to fire them straight out of the box, maybe just a rifled barrel instead of the polygonal style to bring in closer groups when using lead target prodgies and these tend to drop straight in. Lone Wolf 9mm/357sig conversion barrels inserted into a 40 cal slide bring the barrels to a thickness similar to an STI bull style. Ten minutes on youtube shows you how to strip one down, having only 33 parts which will come in handy if gunsmiths arent available. The only other mods needed are an extended slide release and stainless guide rod. If anything were to break on a Glock it would be the plastic factory guide rod. Although trained on single actions, glocks have three things going for them, I now prefer. One, consistant trigger pull no double action /single action triggers to deal with. Ive never been able to master going from 12lbs to 3 lbs after the first shot. Two, no external safeties. I do however prefer an external safety when in a crowd situation but not for personel use. Three, the trigger doesnt reset after the last shot has been fired. This lets you know when your out of ammo by feel if yourve lost count of rounds.
Balistically I favour the 357sig over a 9mm. Both use the exact same projectiles, along with 38 super(38 super only available in handloads).The sig round has a flatter tradjectory and greater retained energy at 50 yards. Not the most popular round but gradually gaining favour due to security companies and comp shooters, costing less to purchase than 40 smith ammunition. 9mm still reigns for bulk purchases in terms of avialability and trying to find it stocked in stores in any resonable quantity. Barrels and mags can easily be swapped between slides to shoot either round. The sig is a bottleneck round which will feed better but the bullet sits deeper into the case which can cause problems when reloading, if powder sits up around the prodgy causing higher pressures. Comp loads for shooting major tend to be painfull and the brass doesnt last long from split necks. Using factory loads the round is compareable to the 40 smith. The velocity advantage of a 357Sig over a standard 9mm using factory Hornady ammunition is a 9mm using 147 grain projectiles will have a velocity of 975 feet per second from the muzzle. A Sig round will still have 1072 feet per second velocity at 100 yards using the same weight projectile. First choice in an auto is still a 9mm, for no other reason, than being able to find it easily on a normal day. Let alone after SHTF.
357 Magnums not only knock over steel plates, but usually move it back a few inches and when using jacketed ammo and put big dents into the target. Much more practical to use when there’s the possibility of having to shoot through heavy cover.
I was taught old school by you could say disreputable characters, who would always say only amateurs used autos. They leave spent cases all over the place with firing pin and extractor marks as well as finger prints and now genetic material. This doesn’t really pertain to SHTF but has stuck with me my entire life.
The other advantages to revolvers are that if the time comes that the only ammo available are reloads, it’s far easier to collect spent shells from a revolver than an auto. The same ammunition can also be used in a long arm and there is no reliance on magazines that can become lost or broken. Revolvers can also fire a variety of loads without having to change recoil springs and dont jam if limp wristing the grip.
I stay away from colts, although they are one of the best revolvers made. I’ve owned three, the diamond back model being my favorite but the first time I opened one up and saw all the leaf springs needing a professional gunsmith I changed to Rugers. These have the strongest actions and most sensible cylinder release. The spring set up internally are mainly coil, but like HK’s are made in segments that are difficult for a backyarder to work on. I ended up with Smiths, as I can strip one very fast; they seem to balance the best for me besides I’ve got a thing for unflutted cylinders, that Smith bring out in the classic Hunters and DX models.
Which ever type you may choose, it’s generally worth getting a good trigger job. This reduces the trigger pull from 12lbs and polishes the sears to remove any creep. It’s not worth going too light as target shooters can reduce the poundage to as much as 2lbs. This is alright when using custom hand loads for target use, but can cause misfires with the hard primers that are used in the manufacture of some brands. Federal primers are softer and dont misfire and are the best choice for reloading when playing with hammer springs.
I generally have all my revolver barrels cut to 5 inches to improve the balance and handling. Four inch barrels are best to carry, but six inch barrels are better for shooting at longer ranges. I find with a five inch barrel I get the best of both worlds.
Revolvers can be kept loaded for long periods of time without causing any damage. If you were to do this with magazines the spring will eventually become stressed and begin to fail. If you leave a magazine loaded for any length of time either remove one cartridge so the spring isn’t completely compressed and rotate the magazines periodically that are kept fully loaded.
Once again, the 357 can be used in conjunction with my winchester Trapper and three boxes of ammo in my pockets equates to 150 rounds. Easy to grab and carry in a hurry and can be used as a hunting round unlike the other pistol calibres available in this country, which are restricted to rifle use only.
A lot of people won’t even consider archery as an alternative to firearms. I find that I’m now using bows more than guns due to the lack of land owners that allow shooters on their properties. Bows are quiet, don’t jam and are easy to replace arrows unlike guns that may break and need spare parts or run out of ammo therefore more of a� renewable resource.
Crossbows require very little practice if your used to a rifle and would make a good backup for hunting if ammunition becomes unavailable. As yet no licensing or registrations are needed to purchase compound or recurve bows. (AS YET) More and more restrictions are gradually being brought in.
When I first damaged my back in an arboriculture accident, I thought that I would never be able to use a bow again. I sold my Oneida Eagle as a 70lbs compound was just too much for me and an Oneida was a big heavy bow at the time.
I walked into the local archery shop to collect the cash from the sale and come across them putting together a childs bow. I thought it looked pretty good for a kids bow and asked them about it.
The bow ended up being a Martin Altitude. Made for American hunters using tree stands, that requires short light bows to be used. I tried pulling back the string and found it so easy having only one cam and one pulley instead of two cams. No pain in my lower back, I put down the deposit immediately.
However being such a short bow, measuring 30 inches axle to axle the string pinches the fingers onto the arrow causing inaccuracy. A release aid is required to use the bow. The owner of the shop showed me a release that straps to the wrist which acts like a wrist strap in weight lifting, isolating the larger muscle groups and taking the strain off the wrist.
This also has the advantage of not needing a separate glove to hold the string, so two camo gloves can be worn reducing reflection from the skin to game. It also keeps your shooting hand free to string arrows easier. Using a wrist release also reduces the amount of pull by another 10 to 15 percent.
Having been a dedicated bare bow shooter it didn’t take long to become hooked. Ever since then I’ve been a fan of martin bows having a machined riser as opposed to molded and very easy to obtain parts.
I have my Altitude set up with an arrow rest called a Whiskar Biscuit. This is a rest made up from bristles forming a circle to hold the arrow in place, so it’s possible to walk around with an arrow nocked and not need to hold it in place using your fingers.
My upper body strength is limited at the moment, so I can’t pull a bow heavy enough to hunt with. This is where I discovered crossbows. They’re easy to load using a manual pulley system and powerful enough to hunt anything from medium to large game.
I like Barnett bows, but most target shooters don’t because of the triggers. I find like most things if you don’t like something it’s pretty easy to modify it to suit. Too lighter trigger on a hunting bow isn’t a good idea anyway.
One of my favorite bows is a Barnett commando; this has the ability to break at the stock using a leverage system to load the string. Being a recurve it’s only suited for thin skinned game. This is a good choice for survivalists due to the speed and ease that it can be loaded and the lack of a pulley system means less moving parts to break.
The new model Barnett Wild Cats in compound have a built in pulley system in the rear of the butt stock, making it very user friendly to load. Tons of grunt for pig hunting.
With restrictions becoming more and more the way of the future with liberal mind sets gaining power in politics, or as I refer to them quasi-nazi’s. Im experimenting more and more with primitive methods of hunting and defense, but with a modern twist. Modifying slingshots to fire arrows for small game and fishing, making atlatls from alloy tube, using delrin for manufacturing JO staffs, etc.
Postscript – Since writing the above several years ago, Ive gone through several changes in thinking. Most of the above have been sold in the past few months for various reasons. I no longer shoot long range. To do so would require me to drive three hours. Its far easier for me to hunt with bows now, for better accesss to properties. My upper body strength has also improved. Im currently selling my compound and buying a Martin Jaguar recurve 45# takedown. It can be taken apart and carried without being noticed and far fewer parts to need replacing. My shotguns have gone. Anything that cant be carried in a bug out bag has been sold. The realities of a 12 gauge are that to carry 2 slabs of ammo requires a sack truck. 500 rounds are too heavy when compared to pistol calibres. Shotties are still great for home security but not for carrying when having to leave in a hurry. Any calibre that is hard to find in a rural area or that costs too much to purchase as factory rounds Ive now sold.To carry a 12 gauge in a bug out bag limits the weight to 2 boxes of ammo. Thats 50 rounds. Compared to pistol calibres utilised in a rifle I can carry three times that amount.
Essentually Ive stuck with the 22 magnum with various loads for bunnies up to goats and the 357 magnums in a lever action and a revolver. Two sorts of amunition encompassing several loads and thats it.