posted on Nov, 18 2013 @ 12:44 AM
When the “BIG” caliber is necessary
For anyone who knows me or has attended any of my Survival Seminars can attest, I am a HUGE fan and proponent of the .22LR as a “Survival
Firearm”. My particular set up includes the Ruger Mark II, 5in Bull Barrel and .22LR Yellow Jackets.. Followed closely by the AR7 and its various
makes and manufacturers..
What if the .22LR just is not enough? When would that be? Well I can think if several circumstances.
1. Bear Country
2. Permanent Survival Set up and you want to store meat for the winter
3. Entering a known “High Risk” area to barter and trade for necessary items
There are more but you get the idea
Now as the premise of all my teachings, the perfect firearm is the one you have at the very moment you need it. Let’s move ahead with the premise
that we have time to prepare and choose an appropriate firearm for our needs.
1. Shotgun/Rifle/Pistol/Bow/Cross Bow
2. If Rifle/Pistol, Caliber considerations
3. If rifle, Single shot, Bolt action, Pump, Lever or Semi, Length, Weight and Choice of sights
4. If pistol, Single action, Double action only, Double to single action or Safe action
5. If revolver, Single action, Double action
6. Pistol or Revolver consider choice of sights
As one can easily see, the choice is not “cut and dry” as one may expect unless ones choices are limited. As in no money to upgrade or change, no
availability, ETC. We will move forward with the premise that we have almost everything currently on the market as available and we are in a position
to obtain them.
Note: We are going to exclude exotics or special order items in order to keep this at least somewhat brief.
I will say at the outset here, I am a proponent of handguns. Strange I know as a former sniper, but I find that at any distances I would be
comfortable engaging a game animal or human combatant, I can do so efficiently and effectively with a handgun. Add to that the obvious ability to
conceal; comfort of carry and ease of maintenance and a handgun will always be my first choice. Here, however, we will consider all readily available
firearms within the time span I have available.
Shotgun / Rifle / Pistol / Bow / Crossbow
There are many advantages to a shotgun for hunting and personal defense and really only two major disadvantages; weight to carry and ability to
conceal. I am personally fond of and own, several 12ga shotguns as 12ga is my personal choice and the ammo is quite a bit more common for me anyway. I
have no trouble with the recoil and have actually been to several combat shotgun schools.
I have always been fond of the Pump Shotgun because several years ago, the only Semi-Auto 12ga shotguns that fit in a reliable category were
prohibitively expensive. Such is not the case now. Many good and reputable companies carry semi-auto shotguns that are very reliable and cost
effective. Consider Mossberg, Remington, Beretta, Browning, Winchester and Benelli. All are super reliable and fairly cost effective as they will last
There is no getting around the negatives I fear though with a shotgun. The weight of the firearm, weight of the ammo and size of both are
considerations. (With the exception of the 410ga Pistol which will be discussed later) I own several shotguns, and my personal choice for a survival
firearm, if I were to choose a shotgun, is the 12ga Double Barrel. I prefer the side by side but the over and under is just as good. Why the double
you may ask? Moving parts my friends. In survival I need it to work 100% of the time; less parts, less chance for downtime, less chance for breakage
when I need it. This is just my personal choice; yours may differ. I consider my shotguns to be my vehicle and permanent survival shelter firearms.
NOT my “Bug Out” firearms by any stretch.
Rifle: (Major Caliber)
Many of the same considerations we have discussed about the shotgun apply equally to the rifle. Weight, ability to conceal, weight of ammo,
reliability are all considerations that must be dealt with. Of course I have not said it yet, but one must always consider one’s familiarity first
and foremost. I am a trained expert with the rifle; up to and including ranges out to 1500 meters. I keep a rifle in the same category as my shotguns,
a vehicle and permanent shelter firearm only; just too heavy a load to consider for bugging out as a rule. There are exceptions I would consider of
course, excluding the 22lr which can be light and easily carried; I am mostly discussing major calibers here. My personal choice for caliber is the
30:06 and my choice of action is single shot. For the same reasons as the double barrel shotgun; fewer moving parts, less chance for breakage etc. The
30:06 can easily handle any game in North America, the ammo is fairly easily obtained and the ballistics and accuracy at ranges exceeding 500 meters
is simply outstanding. You must look at a caliber that fits your needs that you are comfortable with and can do whatever job you require of it.
Consider the Semi-auto, Pump, Lever action, Bolt action; all good viable choices, each with their own positives and negatives. Yes I have owned, used
and loved them all. I love the Lever Action for its feel and “Old West” looks, Semi-Autos are just plain fun, Pumps I can take or leave and Bolt
Actions are simply the most accurate at extreme ranges. My caliber choice does not change no matter what form the rifle takes; except the Lever Action
where I have a fondness for the venerable 30-30 as an excellent brush gun.
Let’s skip the pistol for last as I have much to say on that…
Bows and Crossbows:
Crossbows are easy. I have very little experience with them and I hope someone here on ATS can come in with some advice and recommendations
I own several bows both Recurve and Compound; I prefer the Compound for many personal reasons, but the Recurve is an excellent choice and one loses
nothing by choosing that particular style. I have both competed and hunted successfully with my bows and consider them an excellent survival weapon
and hunting implement. I would point out however that the same restrictions we found in the shotgun and rifle apply here. Size, Ability to conceal and
ease of carry are factors that must be considered. I would initially take my bow with me on a bug out, but I would be prepared to abandon it if
needed. Perhaps the one major fall back with the bow is the amount of time one must devote to it to become proficient enough to make it viable as a
hunting and survival tool. Make no mistake; you CAN NOT just pick it up and expect to successfully hunt with it. You will starve.
Now:: Handguns.. Finally!!!!
(Pistol = Semi Auto and Single Shot, Revolver = Self Explanatory)
Small, Light Weight, Accurate, Dependable, Easy to Carry.. ETC ETC
So the questions arise with a Handgun: Type, Caliber, Make and Model.. While like all the other things we have discussed, it will depend greatly on
your own personal preferences, but some things must be taken into account.
As I stated previously my personal survival weapon/hunting implement is the Ruger Mark II, .22LR. The ammo is light so I can carry a massive amount;
the firearm will fit in all of my packs or can be easily carried on my belt. I have owned it and used it for years and found it reliable and
What if, however, I need a larger caliber?
I will tell you this; my personal choice for a self-defense firearm is the single action 1911 style 45acp., specifically a Sig, GSR-C3 and the
Para-Ordinance Warthog; but NOT for survival purposes. So what do I choose and recommend for a survival handgun larger than the .22LR?
The 357mag Revolver.
Now the why.
The ammo is prolific and fairly inexpensive, the ability to use both the 38SP and 357Mag in the same gun is a HUGE factor, the amount of energy
delivered downrange is hard to beat and effective against most animals in North America and an outstanding man stopper.
Now I personally own and carry for survival a Ruger, Super Blackhawk, Single Action 357Mag, mainly because I am not a proponent of just spraying
bullets. One shot, one kill should be everyone’s mantra. Sadly it is not as a general rule. With the Blackhawk I am accurate out to just over
75meters although I consider its max effective range to be just over 50meters.
While I did not cover everything in this expose’, it is a good starting place for anyone considering the topic as I have. I hope it helps at least
one person; then my efforts were worthwhile.
Remember: it is not as much about what you choose, as what you do with it once you have made the choice. If you do not practice, you will not be good.
Get out, practice and gain the confidence you need to survive.
In posts to follow I will discuss in more detail each of the things I have outlined here. In particular we will soon be discussing the “Judge” and
its 410ga/45 Long Colt effectiveness.