Yes, I said a Mistake!I started my ‘survival gun’ collection about 10 years ago. Now I’ve been a hunter many years longer and have had all the hunting weapons under control, but when it comes to survival weapons the mindset must change slightly. Your choices now must include the versatility of self-defense scenarios along with hunting or as I like to refer to it as Food Gathering.
I, like many have searched the web for information to see if what I was doing was correct and if others concurred with it. In the beginning I found many survival and militia forums along with endless blog’s to sort through. The one common denominator among the forums is the huge popularity of the gun topic. This topic certainly doesn’t deserve that kind of attention and is obviously a guy thing.
I started to buy those weapons they touted as “the ones to own”. Some of the recommended guns were the Ruger 10/22, WWII military rifles of all makes and models, the AK-47, AR-15’s, sniper rifles, pump shotguns and the .45 caliber 1911 hand guns to name just a few.
My common sense was obviously ‘shorted-out’ at that time because it sounded like they knew what they were talking about, well they don’t! At best, these are arm chair idiots. This has caused me to make bad decisions as all but two of those guns have been sold or replaced with the correct ones that fit my needs as a “Survivalist” and those two remaining are on my replacement list.
When deciding on what guns to buy the first thing you must clearly understand is who you are? You are a Survivalist! You are not a Militia, as that is an absolute death wish! Your association with a Militia will place you on the government watch list that may someday cause you to be arrested, your guns and ammo confiscated and with the very real possibility of jail time because of owning or possessing illegal military style soon to be banned weapon. Or even worse, you and your family will be the target of a nut case police raid or worse the midnight all out fire-fight attack on your home.
So let’s get back to being a Survivalist. You need guns for two reasons only, one for food gathering if all the stores are closed and two for self-defense period.
Let’s start with the number one all important food gathering or hunting. You must eat or you will die or even worse than death, be in FEMA food lines. Now ask yourself what game is plentiful in your area? I’ll bet you’ll find that small game such as squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, snakes, opossums, cats, turkey, chickens and other game birds are by far the most plentiful. Most areas also have a small amount of deer and for my area a hell of a lot of gators. Now really what gun caliber or type of gun is most suited for ‘all’ that game? It’s the 12 gauge pump or semi-auto shotgun. There you go! All you need is one gun and you will eat as long as the game is available.
An option to the shotgun for the small game is the .22 rimfire rifle in bolt action or semi-auto because it can take most all of the game mentioned and is extremely cheap to shoot. If you have the money I would have both as use each as required. But I would buy the more versatile shotgun first.
What about larger game like the ever popular deer, hog, small bear and alligators if they’re in your area? I’m in a heavy forested area of the Southeast and shots are rarely over 75 yards. What’s the best gun for the job? The 12 gauge shotgun using slugs or ‘00’ Buck, I prefer slugs. Do not underestimate the power and the accuracy of a shotgun using slugs as they are deadly accurate to 100 yards without scopes or other nonsense add-ons. Just the typical modified choke smooth bore barrel like I have or if you can afford one, a slug barrel with iron sights.
Now what about a centerfire rifle? Well if you live in an area that commonly offers shots at 200 to 300 yards then absolutely have one. What caliber? If like me and you live in the lower 48 states then an appropriate choice is the .308 Winchester bolt action rifle because it will easily do the job, the recoil is mild and the cartridges are in a wide variety of game loads and NATO rounds are inexpensive and sold or bartered just about everywhere.
So there are your best common sense choices for survivalist food gathering, a 12 gauge shotgun and a 22 rimfire rifle. The addition if really needed would be the .308 for long shots will nicely round out all your needs.
Just a side note about food gathering: The best way to bag small game is by using snares and traps. These devices work 24/7 for you and are extremely productive. So if you must hunt for food to stay alive don’t overlook one of the best ways to feed yourself.
Now for self-defense:
Sorry, there is no way around self-defense, you must have it. In bad times there are countless people who will take your food from you, your guns and probably your life. Their DNA is flawed, they will always be criminals and you are always their prey.
What guns are best suited for self-defense?
A pistol and a shotgun. The shotgun is powerful and intimidating. It is very capable inside your home or out to 100 yards, well within the range of criminals. Plus you already own one for your food gathering so you really don’t need a specialty or military style weapon for this job.
The pistol is not mandatory but I highly recommend it. Why? Because in bad times you will need a concealed carry weapon “on you at all times” even when weeding your garden or cutting and splitting wood for heat and cooking. Most anyone can walk up behind you while you’re busting your butt taking care of your homestead business, then without your gun you are helpless. Even when you go to town for supplies or to a friend’s house, you need to concealed carry for your own protection. No other gun can be concealed like a hand gun.
Now what caliber hand gun should you carry?
A large capacity 10-17 round semi-auto is my preference and should be a minimum of 9mm (what I carry) and for a revolver a minimum of a 38 special (what my wife carries).
These two guns, the shotgun and a handgun, are truly the only guns you ‘really need’ to be a survivalist.
Now for my mistakes:
I have always had a shotgun a Remington 1100, 3 inch Magnum, 12 ga. and a Glock 17, 9mm handgun. Where I went off course with the bad forum advice was with my AR-15 and my .308 Sniper Rifle.
Let’s look at my Sniper Rifle:
It is the Remington 700 PSS (Police Sharp Shooter) Heavy Barrel in .308 Winchester with the Harris Bi-Pod, a Nikon 6.5x-24x 40mm AO scope with the fine target dot reticle, Leupold one piece scope mount and a trigger job to bring the 9+ pound factory trigger pull down to 3 pounds. No doubt about it this is a fine heavy barreled and very accurate rifle. One that most forums and blogs say you should have.
The problems are:
It is too HEAVY at 13½ pounds for a serious hunting weapon as the weight will wear you out.
It is really only good for target shooting and of course sniping, but the day I need to use it for sniping is the day I’m in serious life threatening trouble.
The Harris Bi-Pod would rarely be used during a hunt because you will almost never find yourself in the exact terrain or hunting situation to make the best use of it.
The scope, well it is big and the over sized windage and elevation knobs easily get banged around when moving through thick undercover and are useless unless you are really familiar with them and can accurately judge yardage distance of 400 to 1,000 yards and then dial in the correct amounts of adjustment according to the attached butt stock chart.
What I should have purchased:
The Remington 700 ADL with iron sights (an important backup if the scope breaks) a 3x-9x Nikon scope and a comfortable sling.
The recoil is minimal.
The weight is almost half the sniper version.
A simple, light weight and accurate hunting rifle that’s good out to 500 yards.
Should I ever be in a sniper rifle situation this rifle can handle that job well.
This is it! A best choice for both hunting and long range defense.
Let’s look at my AR-15:
It’s the Bushmaster AR-15 A2 Carbine with the AK Muzzle Break, a collapsible stock in .223 Remington/5.56 NATO. What an awesome amount of firepower, light weight and easy to use. Other than a weapon light I keep it box stock.
The problems are:
It actually has a 14 inch barrel length with the muzzle break welded on to make it a legal 16 inch barrel. This is fine in the house and close range but the short barrel will have a loss of velocity and muzzle energy compared to the 16 and 20 inch barrels. Not a serious point but at 200 yards the numbers show the power reduction and accuracy issues.
The .223 caliber is fine but limited to self-defense and target practice only.
The .223 is not legal to hunt deer with.
What I should have purchased is:
The AR-10 Flat Top in .308/7.62 NATO with a 16 inch barrel and a collapsible stock. A great compact size for close up work like home defense .
The recoil is minimal.
Yes the maximum magazine capacity is only 20 rounds but I don’t see that as a negative.
The Flat Top receiver gives me the choice of iron sights or a scope which would be the 3-9x Nikon.
The upper receiver can be swapped out just by pulling two pins and change to a 20 inch or longer barrel for long range work if needed.
The biggest advantage to the AR-10 is the .308, it is a legitimate hunting round where the .223 is not.
With this short barreled platform I do have a real hunting rifle easily capable up to 200 yards so I would not have the need for an additional centerfire hunting rifle and that would save money for the extra gun and the spare parts costs.
If I need accuracy to 400+ yards I would simply swap the upper to the 20+ inch barrel and it is still a light weight weapon.
When hunting with the AR-10 and should I ever encounter an animal that’s much larger than a deer? The semi-auto feature will let me run up to 20 rounds in it quickly. If it gets by that then I deserve to be eaten.
The Remington 700 ADL is more than I need for a food gathering Survivalist.
The bottom line is a ‘Survivalist’ does not need a Sniper Rifle!
The AR-10 does a double duty of home defense and hunting weapon and does them both extremely well. The AR-10 is an excellent multi-duty weapon choice for the Survivalist in the lower 48 states. The AR-10 eliminates the need for a centerfire hunting rifle.
By Yukon Mike
Read more about My Gun Choice Mistake – Don’t Do What I Did!