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When the “BIG” caliber is necessary

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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.
Some considerations

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.

Let’s start

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 a lifetime.

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 effective.

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. Simple!

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.


posted on Nov, 18 2013 @ 01:38 AM
reply to post by semperfortis

Starred! I will flag this thread when I have reached my 20 post limit!

Outstanding thread and I concur with your choice of 375mag revolver and I was very interested by what you had to say about shotguns.

I look forward to any further information brought to light by this thread.

[edit] Flagged!

edit on 18-11-2013 by TripleLindy because: Edited to add Flag

posted on Nov, 18 2013 @ 04:16 AM
Well reasoned post.

Many of my friends retired from LEO or other three letter agencies are carrying a simi-auto or some have chosen the revolver in 357 for the reasons you stated. Hard to beat a revolver for something that works without problems.

Another area of serious agreement is when referring to the .22lr. A years worth of hunting ammo could be carried on one's person for the same weight as a month worth of other calibers.

The AR upper in .22lr can be swapped out and the same lower used for a higher or different caliber upper. I have thought that a back pack and an extra upper in a caliber of my choice would cover most bases. The AR is not super lite but depending on what optics and extras are added it is manageable @ about 8 pounds or less.

I used to say that if a real SHTF type scenario happened someone would find my body standing in front of my safe in some far future because I could not decide on what to take with me and thus I perished in some fog of indecision.

I do have the semi-auto MKA 1919 magazine feed 12g that has never failed to fire and a Russian magazine feed 410 but like you they are home or fixed position weapons as are my bows. I have only ever shot slugs out of the 410 and it is not a bad little varmint gun out to about 75 yards. I own 2 compound bows and one recurve. If I had to only take one I would have to choose the recurve and an extra string... Arrows are always a problem in that we do not have a baggage train following with stacks and racks of arrows if we are talking long term or forever type survival. Arrow spine when matched to a bow is a wonderful thang but can be a problem for accuracy (or worse) if not matched.

My wife is a good shot with a scoped .22lr AR but the higher calibers she is a jerker/flincher and hates shooting them. She can manage a 1911 in .22 so I would expect she would be Miss .22lr and would carry our load out where I would be the one with the AR with two different uppers along with my 6906 S&W 9mm and 45acp 1911. If push came to shove I would grab the 9mm and an AR in 5.56 just for ease of ammo/weight. The problem with all of the AR stuff is the mags weight and carry. Do you grab the night scope (heavy) and the 14.5" Ar with an extra day time scope or the 16" with the AIMpoint red dot or the 7.62x39 with the EOTECH? Both take batteries but the Aimpoint does last...Eotech not so much... I personally like a good scope because my eyes are not like they once were.

I like the 5.56 but I also like the 7.62x39 which 'in close' is a hard hitting round. Having killed pigs with both rounds I have no doubt of the capabilities. The 154gr soft nose 7.62x39 is an awesome round out to about 125/150 yards but I would be hard pressed to take a shot where accuracy is imperative much out past that like I would with a 62gr 5.56. I still have not figured out if the Russians measure their gun powder by weight or by volume ( if the measure at all?) for there seems to be some fairly wide dispersion from the same batch of ammo at distance.

The 30.06 is the most bang for the buck in North America, I really agree, but the cost and transportation of the ammo can be problematic for those who shoot on a regular bases or are humping in a forever scenario. I sold my 30.06 simply because most of the things I would plan on shooting the smaller calibers will work just fine.

I did a double pop on a pig at 327 yards with the 5.56 a couple of years ago and he was DRT. I probably should not have taken the shot but the conditions were perfect with no wind and my zero was set for 25/300 yards; we were clearing a farm which had major piggy problems. First round hit about 4" to the right just behind his ear and the second hit midway up his left front shoulder. I was using a Vortex Viper scope 4.5-20x50mm which I really had good experiences with.. I sold that AR and scope combo to a Houston policeman when the prices were out of sight.. I still regret selling the scope in that the reticle was a fine line reticle which would not obscure the target at distance which a normal size dot or heavy lines seem to bug me at that distance. It is a personal thing...

IM Estimate out past about 200 yards the x39 154gr is like throwing rocks if accuracy is the goal. We have not mentioned the SKS which is not light but is also a good dependable rifle but alas it is for young eyes with the standard iron sights. hahaha enough rambling just some thoughts..

I am presently overseas where about the only thing you can own is a .22 rifle and for home defense they will let you buy a pistol in a caliber of your choice. Ammo is expensive.. I do keep a sword by the bed and a club ax handle by the front door.. Otherwise for some reason I feel much safer overseas than I do in the states... Sad really when you think about it.

If a total collapse happened I pray I am overseas and not in the states for at least we would have food and water from the farm. Being a farming community. everyone is used to helping during harvest and everyone knows each other or is related so it is a built in neighborhood watch all the time.. I have been told you can buy an AK full auto black market for about $500 but I would not want to be caught with one or spend the rest of my life in some third world prison so I will pass.. Speaking of the AK.... I did sell mine it was fun and maybe great for room clearing or urban warfare but accuracy out past the magic 150 yards with 123gr or the 154gr rounds was not something to hunt with IMO and my AK was much more accurate than most of the ones the guys had; must have been put together by some hard working monkeys for theirs' were terrible in the accuracy department.
Having read over this post I must have felt like typing or something for I am afraid I did not add much content to your thread...

posted on Nov, 18 2013 @ 04:32 AM
I would like to bring up the semi taboo subject of shortened firearms [especially shotguns]!

Semper, is it worthwhile contemplating shortening the barrels of ones long guns OR should one just stay within what were the common and current laws at the time any SHTF?

posted on Nov, 18 2013 @ 04:42 AM
reply to post by TripleLindy

Shortening the barrels of any firearms is quite simply a very bad idea..

1st if you go too short, you break the law..
2nd modern firearms are designed to function with the barrel length supplied from the factory. The result of a shortened barrel, unless done by a gunsmith, is disastrous on the expected performance..
3rd there is no going back.. Ruined crown of the muzzle and unknown round trajectory are only 2 of the many negative factors you can have.

If you want a shorter barrel, buy one with a shorter barrel...


We can NOT have any discussion of illegal activity on ATS.. So let's keep it legal!!!


posted on Nov, 18 2013 @ 05:06 AM
reply to post by semperfortis


Thank you for dispelling any such notions for me and my fellow ATS members!

posted on Nov, 18 2013 @ 05:14 AM
reply to post by 727Sky


Also OUTSTANDING shot on the pigs!!! Very nice with the 5.56


Have you ever had any experience with the Thompson Center or other Rifle caliber pistols?

I had one years ago and loved it.. I had several barrels including the 223, 22 hornet and 243..


posted on Nov, 18 2013 @ 05:15 AM
reply to post by TripleLindy

Thank you for asking the way you did!!!!

Perfectly ATS like


posted on Nov, 18 2013 @ 07:09 AM
Lots of good information here and Im still processing a lot of it, But I`d like your and others opinion's on the .22 Stinger rounds made by CCI. Of the few weapons I have I have multiple flavors of rounds for them except the .22 Stinger is al I could find for my Ruger 10/22.

posted on Nov, 18 2013 @ 07:19 AM
reply to post by StratosFear

I've shot the Stingers and found them to be a fine ammo.... Nothing spectacular as others have, but a fine ammo no less..

I use the Yellow Jacket, Remington Ammo for no special reason other than I have found they are decent quality for a decent price.. (When you can find them anymore)

posted on Nov, 18 2013 @ 07:45 AM
reply to post by semperfortis

Have you ever had any experience with the Thompson Center or other Rifle caliber pistols?

No sir I have not. My pistols have always been for CHL or backup during hunting. My 1911 has the Crimsontrace laser grip which is great for night stand duty or backup during a night hunt but unless I am really wanting to pack some extra fire power I just us the 9mm and some decent hollow points.. I had a Glock 40 caliber for a short while. It was very accurate and dependable but I grew up with mechanical safeties and prefer to go that way.

The 1911 is always cocked and locked when I have it with me and have never felt unsafe, unarmed or not ready if the need arouse.

The 6906 has a rather long trigger pull for the second and subsequence shots but it is something I have gotten used to over the years. I absolutely love the trigger on the 1911 and I can actually hit things with it so I am bias. The 6906 out to about 30 yards in my hands (not to much coffee) is about as small as I can claim accuracy with. The 1911 .22lr is also accurate but it is particular about ammo both with FTF or fire.

Back to the .22.. There was a video of a guy making shots at 500 yards and doing a penetration test with the .22.. Most people totally under estimate the lowly .22..... Being such a lite round wind is a very big deal with distance shots but if your goal is to hit something at that distance with the .22 it can be done with a little practice/

Aguila.22lr @ 1740 FPS is nothing to sneeze at IMO but if you are going to use it and then go back to the regular .22lr at 1260 your zero will be off considerably due to the different flight characteristics of the round. I use it in the AR.22s if larger game than squirrels are to be taken or a question of target range is open prairie Jack Rabbit 100+yard type shooting.. I have a great respect for the .22 and many a marksman was trained with one.. I just wish the rimfire was more dependable.
300 yard ballistic test with CCI (which I like) gel test

300 yards and 16 layers of denim an complete penetration of 4" of roast.

22lr ballistic gel test with cheap Winchester ammo and CCI

40 shots taken at 600 yards with 29 hits with the 22lr

A .22 and the ammo of choice needs to be played with out to scope range and I feel it will surprise most people. Shot placement is key to any successful engagement regardless of caliber unless we are talking 40mm or RPG and even then it helps to be on target... IMO
Anyway thanks for the thread should give everyone something to think about.

posted on Nov, 18 2013 @ 09:07 AM
reply to post by semperfortis

While you'll et no argument from me on the 22Lr. ANYTHING, as all you have listed is true and there is even more as you have only scratched the surface about the 22Lr.
However, as for your choice of a single action .357, I strongly disagree.
Keep in mind, I do love my wheelguns and they are fun as the day is long, they are dependable, accurate, sexy, among many other things.
Forty or 50 years ago I would have agreed with the .357 being top choice, but with arguably 95 percent of all military and police worldwide using 9mm and 40 S&W (More 9 than 40 except in US law enforcement), I'd go with a handgun capable of both.
While I am a fan of anything made in Beirland....err Germany I mean..
The Glock has an excellent platform and can accept many barrels, Magazines, Etc. all in the same gun.
(Note: All Glock magazines 9 and 40, fit all Glock 9 and 40 pistols. Length permitting, a compact mag will not stretch to fit a full size and all.)
So with a barrel change and a mag change you have the same weapon in a different caliber.
The wep is crazy easy to learn and maintain as well.
But overall my main point is, .357 is not as available as it used to be and it looks like 9 and 40 are here to stay.
Plus if you ever do need to spray and pray, you have the option to do so.
Just my angle on things.

posted on Nov, 18 2013 @ 09:11 AM
reply to post by g146541

The Glock is a fine weapon...

I carried one for years and years 8 hours a day.. Mostly in my holster, but a few times it was needed.. Nuff said on that..

As I said, fine weapon just not for me... Being issued one I had no choice.. In my private life, I have a choice..


posted on Nov, 18 2013 @ 09:31 AM

When the “BIG” caliber is necessary

I"m obviously no expert but I'd say big caliber for big-mean animals and big mean hordes of hungry survivors trying to take what you have. I have read articles about people who call themselves 'survivalists worst nightmares' ... they actually train together and plan on how to take over other survivalists compounds and supplies. They are armed thugs and, even now, they are prepping on how to steal everything that every survivalist has.

The News Tribune

We’re not in it to stockpile. We’re in it to take what you have and there’s nothing you can do to stop us,” Tyler Smith says. “We are your worst nightmare, and we are coming.”

Smith, 29, is the leader of Spartan Survival. The group has more than 80 dues-paying members. Smith founded the organization in 2005 to train and prepare others on survivalism.

Side note - my husband really likes the crossbows. He now wants a certain shotgun (can't remember which one) but it's so expensive .... I can't see us spending the money for it. We just don't have it. I like my Glock17 (9MIL). My daughter really likes the revolvers ...

Anyways .... thought I'd mention about those hordes who are not stockpiling their own survival supplies but instead are mostly training how to work as a team to steal yours and mine and everyone elses.

First 90 days - what 'urban preppers' are getting together
Check out his firepower ...

edit on 11/18/2013 by FlyersFan because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 18 2013 @ 09:34 AM
reply to post by semperfortis

Sorry that that did kind of turn into an advertisement for Glock, that was not my intention.
I was more truing to say that .357 is outdated and it's replacements were the 9 and 40.
This keels me as I am a fan of the .45acp.
They shoot like a Cadillac drives, smooth and fat.

My first love was a rebuilt CMP 1911, the romance just never left.

posted on Nov, 18 2013 @ 09:36 AM
reply to post by semperfortis

My dad said I can have his Contender when I get back to the States as he doesn't shoot anymore. I know he had a lot of barrels, and one of them was a .223. What should I expect? Is that even a realistic round to shoot with?

posted on Nov, 18 2013 @ 09:43 AM
reply to post by FlyersFan

I have seen this guy and his wife, and their biggest threat is cholesterol poisoning.
He is a bigger threat to himself, than to me.
I also know of groups just as big, who would put this guy down quick, fast and in a hurry if laws ever just disappeared.
On another note...
I'm sure this guy just fits someone's agenda too well to keep him in the shadows.
And to keep this post on topic, the 22Lr. is more than enough to punch through this guys toilet room armor, heck he had better strap on some toilets for extra protection.

posted on Nov, 18 2013 @ 09:48 AM
reply to post by Snarl

The contender is a nice wep, I just hope you are not coming back into The Peoples Republik of Kalifornia.
After Thompson chambered it for 7.62x39 the gun grabbers demonized it as the next great cop killer...
Handheld breach break cannon imho.

posted on Nov, 18 2013 @ 10:11 AM
Missing from the discussion here are tactical considerations. One of the biggest problems I can forsee is that security at night will be more important that during the day. Anyone set on raiding your house will probably try to do so when it's dark. Thus the need for night vision scopes on any kind of ranged weapon you may have.
A taclight on your shotty is going to do nothing but tell everyone else where you are. Take it off. A pair of nightvision goggles will do you much better. Expensive? of course. Essential? Absolutely.

30-06 bolt action is my choice for anything over 200 yards. .300 win mag has a slightly flatter trajectory but ammo is not nearly as easy to come by.

Having small hands I've found the 9mm the most comfortable to shoot and many women will find it likewise easy to handle. With practice you can tag targets out to 50 yards should you need to (provided it's not a subcompact). .22lr is excellent for all around survival needs and for a bug out situation would be my choice.

For clandestine shooting I would recommend one of the newer air rifles in .22 or .25 cal. These things are getting phenomenal fps (well over 1,000) and are much quieter than the .22lr. Air rifle are ideal for small game hunting without making noise.

Don't even think about a bow for SHTF unless you've had lots and lots of practice. Even then I'd take a modern weapon in nearly every case over it.

ETA: I forgot to mention black powder. Not a good first choice but excellent for long-term survival needs in that you can make your own bullets. They are also legal in many places modern cartridge firing weapons are not. My favorite being a stagecoach side by side shotgun.
For self-defense inside a vehicle I would take Semper's advice on the Taurus Judge. 5 shots of .410 buck or .45 long Colt. No weapon gives as much close range firepower in a concealable package.
edit on 18-11-2013 by Asktheanimals because: added comment

posted on Nov, 18 2013 @ 10:24 AM
reply to post by Snarl

223 is an awesome choice for hunting as it has good knock down power with out a huge exit wound, so much less meat is destroyed. I hunt with a Siaga 223 as my remington 30-06 gathers dust these days.

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