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Survival debate: which is better, the Assault or Hunting rifle???

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posted on May, 16 2011 @ 08:53 AM
I’m throwing this out there to make you think about your choices. Knowing this topic will cause heated debate on both sides of the issue. Which is better in a survival situation, a so called “Black Gun” or the trusty time proven “Hunting” rifle”?

So let me start with a few well known facts.

The current NATO round, the 5.56 has always had dubious roots. (Going back to the late 1950’s) A great little varmint round (Varmint means rabbit sized) it was chosen not for its man killing ability but because of its light recoil! Thus making it easier on less experienced shooters to fire and stay on target. Rounds (Bullets) for this weapon, are cheap and plentiful and there is a dazzling array of firearms chambered for this cartridge. Smaller and lighter than the M14’s .308 or older still, 30-06 chambered M1, a solder could carry more ammo. But the lighter round also gave rise to a new tactic, “Fire Suppression” (Spray and Pray) abandoning the old “One Shot One Kill”

The current standard issue US Military Main Battle rifle is the short barreled (16 inch) M-4, effective range 300 meters. Most of our opponents have learned to stand off, engage our troops at ranges over 300 meters, reducing the effectiveness of this weapon platform. As you read this the Army is holding test trials for a replacement. God only knows what we’ll end up with, I just pray it’s not another gun designed by committee.

7.62x39 is the long standing WARSA PACT, flavor of choice. A round made popular by such weapons as the AK47 and SKS. This round has more inertia than does the 5.56, delivers more energy to the target. As a gun smith I can say the manufacture for these weapons was based on cheap components and ease in large scale production (Rolled and stamped steel rather than Milled). Still the cartridge does make an adequate deer sized hunting round. For now rounds are cheap and plentiful but in a real SHTF supply would dry up quickly and with their Braden primers, make them hard to reload. Recoil for these weapons makes it a tad harder to stay on target for a fast follow up shoot. I worry about Chinese steel as it tends to have much lower carbon content. Overall making them weaker, barrels burn out faster than would a chrome lined 5.56 AR clone.

Now let’s look at a simple bolt action hunting rifle. It can be ordered in calibers ranging from the zippy .17 HMR all the way up to a bone jarring .50BMG… The long favorite hunting round in the states is the venerable 30-06. A Proven well tested round, having taken countless Moose and Elk, Bears and Whitetail’s aplenty. Over the past decade arms manufactures have honed their skills and technology to the point where even the cheapest hunting rifle is capable of sub MOA. Effect range 1,000 meters and still a popular sniper round as well as long range target shooter, recoil is tamed with muzzle breaks and magna ports. Reloaders will find everything under the sun, from a never ending supply of bullet designs to equipment such as automatic turret and simple field hand presses….

Now before I turn this over to the members let me throw out one parting thought.

In a real SHTF situation the key is survival. Staying alive does not mean you mount your own recon by force fire mission. If you’re on your own it is foolish to engage a larger force. Your fancy hi/cap AR clone will be buried with you and sign placed over your grave that reads “He put up a valiant fight but was overcome by superior numbers!” Alone in the wild-lands it is best to make a single shot to prevent telegraphing your position to undesirable persons who may not have your health and well being in mind. Where I come from we have a saying… A good hunter can feed his family for a year with only a handful of cartridges but in a firefight even 10,000 rounds might not be enough!

If you’re wondering what my personal choices are. As I head out the door I’m picking up my old Weatherby… and my Ruger 944 for up close, my personal daily carry side arm. …. My hunting rifle has been custom tuned and tweaked by me, a now semi retired gunsmith. I have hunted elk with this gun from New Mexico up to Montana, taken whitetails from Kansas down to southeast Texas. Mulies over in Arizona and Utah…. Took my first Moose with this gun up in Wyoming… My old Vanguard bears little resemblance to when it was new. She now sports a fluted bull barrel, threaded muzzle designed to quickly swap out muzzle breaks or maybe an old motorcycle muffler), set triggers and McMillan stock with built-in bipod. I didn’t set out to build a sniper special but used those same skills to make a gun capable of making long range (1,000 yard) shots with extreme precision! For this gun I also carry a small field reloading kit, so I can tailor my rounds to game and changing conditions. As for my little Ruger what can I say other than it’s weatherproof built like a tank and then the .40 165 grain Rem, golden sabers make it as lethal as you get! (Up close) Granted my choices work for me, a person with years of hunting and military experience. But what’s right for me doesn’t make it the best choice for everyone.

Now I’m done so let the games begin… tell us your choice? Hunting rifle or Assault weapon… don’t just pick one or another… add your reasoning as well… it might help the less experienced, make better informed choices.

edit on 16-5-2011 by DaddyBare because: (no reason given)

edit on 16-5-2011 by DaddyBare because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 09:04 AM
My choice.

P.S.: With a silencer and selective fire modes, what's not to like...
edit on 16-5-2011 by Jepic because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 09:05 AM
Well this post sounds more like an excuse to brag about your rifle than anything else.

Sounds like your rifle is worth bragging about as well.

However to respond to your topic, I keep my AR with 16 inch barrel to use for CQCB and once I get outside the city I have my R-700 5R, with probably a bit more work into it than you have described on yours.

Why limit yourself to only one choice? Just get one of these, and carry one on your back while you carry the other in your hands depending on you current situation.

I purposely picked the .308 and .223 rounds for precisely the reason that I want to pick up unused ammo off the ground if it comes to that.

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 09:11 AM
reply to post by Anonymous Avatar

Before you set your heart on scavenging ammo and supplies you might want to read another of my threads
Militaries and governments have a long standing tradition of booby trapping weapons and ammo... been going on for hundreds of years now

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 09:21 AM
I have to go with both as they are designed for completely different roles.

If I plan to avoid all contact with potentially hostile forces, I will take long range precision. The obvious choice is an accurate bolt gun. It would be ideal for hunting and (at the most) making a hole to get through a screening force. The down side is that I am committed to constant movement which makes survival much more difficult.

If I'm digging in and will be conducting deliberate attacks/defense I want to be able to put as many rounds down range as quickly as I can. If ammo availability was not an issue, I would go with an AK due to the reliability, ease of repair and the heavier round. That is, of coarse, assuming that an M2 is not available.

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 09:33 AM
reply to post by DaddyBare

I agree and thanks for reminding me of that. It was more along the lines of picking it up off a freshly dropped body that just happened in front of me. However I plan to avoid conflict if at all possible.
edit on 16-5-2011 by Anonymous Avatar because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 09:55 AM
Great question! This is something that I have been pondering and researching for sometime now.

The .223/5.56 you spoke of is a high cost varmint rifle, it definitely has no issue against foes but I would rather sport a higher caliber and longer range. Plus for small game, I have a .22lr capable of breaking down to fit in my pack, that provides a light weight, cheap round that is easy to reload yourself.

Having a hunting rifle set up as a sniper, would be great if you have the ability to use all of that range at your location. I agree that it is harder to pinpoint the location of a single shot, fired from the tree line or a mountainous range. I would find myself in that same tree line, refraining from engaging unless they tracked me w/ malicious intent, to a reasonable range. Sniper is a great setup, especially with that Ruger on your side, but its still not the best setup for me.

My optimal setup and primary firearm in a SHTF scenario, would be the 7.62 round through the AK. Reliability, durability, and simplicity will be key for me in a SHTF situation. This rifle will not be my primary hunter, that is the .22lr, the AK will be used occasionally for big game but thats about it. This setup is for Defense and suppressive fire. Why do I need that? Currently I'm in the suburbs, if I am lucky enough to get out of the area prior to SHTF, great. If we r not part of the SHTF fallout, I will be prepared for Urban defense, with the means of getting myself and family to a more remote setting safely.

At the end of the day, I don't want to engage in any unnecessary violence. I realize in the beginning there will be more confusion than anything, there will be localized looting but nothing very organized. This is the time to move away from the urban setting and set up camp, in a remote area away from the masses. Firearms will be primarily used for hunting in the beginning, but depending on the situation, supplies will dry up fast for survivors and stealing by force will become more prevalent. Finding a few like minded individuals, whether they are friends, family, or someone you luckily bumped into along your travel will further our chance for stability and creating a new society.

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 10:01 AM
reply to post by DaddyBare

Weatherbee .308 with scope or browning 3006 semi auto. These are my weapons of choice. For up close and personal it is the officers model .45 or browning hi-powered.

All this new crap is not as good as the good old Colt officers model in SS with pachmayer grips. Oh la la

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 10:04 AM
reply to post by DaddyBare

My personal favorite-

An AK-74 originally made in Poland and remanufactured by Century Arms.

Everything about the AK-74 weapon platform is cheap; The weapon itself, the ammo, and the magazines.

But the biggest reason I picked it is because of the ammo- 5.45x39mm.

Unlike the 5.56x45mm round which it was derived from, it was designed from the ground up to tumble through its targets. Whereas the 5.56 just so happens to tumble at certain ranges and velocities, the 5.45 always tumbles no matter the range or velocity.

So yes, I would go with an "evil black rifle" over a hunting rifle any day of the week.

Oh and the .30-30 has killed more game animals in the US than any other cartridge.

edit on 16-5-2011 by FTD Brat because: added last line

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 10:06 AM
reply to post by DaddyBare

being that I am not a marine trained sniper, and I tend to hit the deer in the deer instead of a quarter sized spot predetermined by much study, I would go with the AR. I have lots of ammo for it, I can reload 30 rd clips quickly on stripper clips, and it shoots much better than I do. I have a nice scope on it so it looks cool ( which is always important in a firefight) and I have lots of extra clips for it. The .308 is a great gun and will hopefully get used as much as the AR for bad times (none). But if/when I have to run to the closet and grab something, it will be black. Lets all hope that none of them are used for that purpose.

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 10:07 AM
This is a nonsense thread, as it assumes that all assault weapons are small calibers.
Assault weapons can be chambered in many calibers. You can get AR platforms in .458 SOCOM if you like.
My weapon of choice is a AR in .308 caliber.

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 10:15 AM
I think the U.S. Military is looking @ the 6.8 SPC [special purpose cartridge]

Its a step up from 5.56 or .223 but below the 7.62x39

I believe these are already in use with special forces

It allows them to use the same lower receivers on the AR platforms
just changing out the upper...

i personally have a M1A Socom 308 cartridge
i use this to hunt as well with a 5 round box mag Not the 20
perfectly legal for hunting where i live

it can reach out + knock down
but i also have 7.62.39 & .223 platforms just to make sure my bases are covered

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 10:24 AM
My take on it has always been this:

In a SHTF scenario, your biggest weapons related issues will be defending yourself from two legged predators, and hunting 4 legged prey.

As far as two legged predators, in my area there isn't really any situation where a gunfight takes place at 1000 yards. I don't need something that will reach out and touch someone to that extend. A 5.56 or 7.62x39 will be more than enough range wise for any encounter. That being the case for me personally, I'll take high magazine capacity, fast reloads, and semi-automatic fire. So, for me it's Assault rifle.

For hunting, both are useful. Many people hunt with AR platform rifles, and they are very capable in that regard. A nice 30-06 or 308 bolt action would be superior in my opinion, but I still consider an assault rifle to be more than adequate, and superior in a two legged predator encounter. So, still going with the assault rifle.

As far as the boobytrapped ammo... yes that has happened, but honestly I don't think that will be an issue at all. The reasons that tactic was employed don't exist in a full on SHTF scenario. Nobody is going to waste ammo by blowing up a perfectly good box of it, in the off chance they might get a gain from it. There are millions, if not billions of rounds on ammo sitting of store shelves around the country. Even if some mad hatter type was going around booby trapping ammo, the chance would be extremely slim of it affecting you. Yes, its a gamble with your life, but so is going outside. You could be struck by lighting, are you never going outdoors again? In my opinion the odds of a lighting strike would probably be greater.

In addition to that, where are people getting high explosives to boobytrap ammo? Why are people wasting time overloading shells with powder? I just don't see the motivation in a SHTF situation. It's not like it's two armies going against each other. I just don't see it as being an issue, personally.

So I'll still abide by the common ammo rule, of using weapons with readily available ammo. Which 5.56 and 7.62x39 are.

Most important is getting a gun you are comfortable, confident, and competent with. For me that's my Ak (IO tech)

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 11:05 AM
reply to post by spoonbender

Colt came out with the SP901....
It's an AR style, chambered in .308... the design lets it easily swap upper's to change it into a 5.56
Not sure the Army will go with the better 6mm but I have the feeling they might just go with the multi round capability... they have a very long standing relationship's with Colt after all

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 11:34 AM

Originally posted by zestor
This is a nonsense thread, as it assumes that all assault weapons are small calibers.
Assault weapons can be chambered in many calibers. You can get AR platforms in .458 SOCOM if you like.
My weapon of choice is a AR in .308 caliber.

I disagree that this thread is assuming all AR's are small caliber. The OP is listing 3-4 of the most common rounds available in the US. Which is important for this situation, since scavenging/trading for ammo will be a necessity. And higher caliber rounds will not be as widely available.

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 11:36 AM
I've been studying my "only one rifle" scenario for months. For me there was no argument against the "General Purpose Rifle" article at Warrior Talk. So I've settled on the .308 (7.62x51 not 7.62x39) round. FAL is too big, AR is too finicky, Saiga doesn't pass my "for the money" test, PTR91 doesn't appeal to my sense of aesthetics...

After tons of research in every direction and handling each at a gunshow but with no experience shooting any of these particular rifles...

I'm leaning harder and harder on the Springfield M1A hopefully in a Troy MCS or Sage EBR stock.

I'll also need a scope if I'm gonna actually see a target as far as one of these will knock one down.

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 11:40 AM
reply to post by TreadUpon

Know what rifle I really like in .308 right now?
The Gunsite Scout Rifle
The late great Jeff Cooper designed this bad boy and I really one... MSRP is just over 9 bills but once they hit the gunshows I'm sure you can drop one to two hundred off that

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 11:54 AM
reply to post by TheRealTruth84

You reload .22lr? I've never heard of that.

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 11:59 AM
reply to post by DaddyBare

Actually I bumped into the Ruger online just last night
. I think the bolt action isn't really my style and style points have to be considered with the "only one rifle" monicker...

I was 19D in a cav unit a long time ago so I've handled lots of different weapons and I don't think it's much of a jump for me (not a spectacular shot) to really appreciate the semi-auto option, lol...

posted on May, 16 2011 @ 12:00 PM
reply to post by TreadUpon

You can't go wrong with the Springfield. Tried and true design and now available in a nice variety of configurations. K.I.S.S. I've got a couple of buddies who compete with their M1As and are now in the prep phase for the Camp Perry Nationals that are coming up in July. Make a trip there and you will learn all you need to know and more about the M1A. Good Times!!

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