It was probably around 1997 or 1998, some of my buddies were over at my house and we were talking about possible situations that would cause a wilderness bug out. We were talking about an outbreak of the plague, nuclear strikes, nuclear targets, radiation fallout, wind currents,,,,,,; it was one of those brain storming sessions we used to have.
Eventually the topic of firearms came up, choice of calibers, being able to carry plenty of ammo,,, and so on.
It was at this time I pulled out a large ALICE pack, a Mossberg 500 with 18.5 inch barrel and an H&K SP-89 pistol. As I look back on the situation, and what we were discussing, neither of those weapons would be good for survival.
The Mossberg 500 with 18.5 inch barrel and pistol grip would be a terrible choice for hunting. The pistol grip makes the weapon difficult to aim, and the short barrel means a poor pattern. If this shotgun would have had a stock on it and a longer barrel, then it would be a different story.
The H&K SP-89 is a great pistol for close quarters combat, but it would be a poor choice for hunting deer or wild hogs. The lack of a shoulder stock makes the pistol undesirable for certain situations.
After my buddies and I completed our brain storming session, I decided it was time to review some of my survival weapon choices. I had other weapons, so “why” did I pick those 2 for discussion? Why not talk about the SKS as a survival rifle, or maybe the AK-47, or what about the Remington model 700?
After talking about the advantages and disadvantages of a short shotgun and pistol combo, I decided to remove those 2 weapons from my choices.
If your going to pick a weapon (pistol, rifle or shotgun) for survival, why not pick on that you can aim, and effectively take wild game with?
My plans were altered a little bit, the 12 gauge with 18.5 inch barrel was replaced with a Maadi AK-47, and the H&K SP-89 was replaced with a Beretta 92F in 9mm. So now I was using a rifle that shot an intermediate rifle cartridge and was effective out to a couple of hundred yards. Instead of the bulky SP-89, the Beretta had a holster, was lighter and more compact.
Lets fast forward about 12 years – Instead of leaning on the AK-47 with its 7.62×39 cartridge as a survival rifle, I’am looking at a DS Arms FAL in .308 Winchester. The 7.62X39 might be lighter and cheaper then the .308, but the .308 has more advantages for the rural survivalist – keyword “rural” survivalist.
This past weekend my son harvested a nice 8 point whitetail deer that weighed in at 156 pounds. Even though the shot was only about 100 yards, I wonder how effective the 7.62×39 would be, as compared to the 308. Do I want to use a rifle that is effective, or do I want to use a rifle that is very effective. Why settle for less, when you can have more?
As I have grown, aged, and matured, I feel that my mindset has moved away from barely being able to get by, to having something that will do the job and a little bit more. There for a little while I thought the 223/5.56mm would be a good survival round, but over the years I have slowly changed my mind. The change of mindset is due to the numerous reports of the 223/5.56mm being underpowered for making longer shots in the hills of Afghanistan, and problems being able to penetrate walls and doors.
My current opinion on the best survival rifle subject:
Urban situation, personal home protection – an AR style rifle in 223/5.56mm or an AK style rifle in 7.62×39.
Rural situation, hunting deer and hogs – a rifle chambered in .308 Winchester/7.62NATO.
In a lot of areas around the country there are places where pipelines and electrical grids run through wilderness areas. The companies that own the land where the pipelines and power grids run pay crews of workers to keep the trees and weeds cut down. A couple of times a year, crews will drive tractors with brushhogs down the easements to keep them cleared out. These cleared out areas provide a good vantage point for hunters. Using the highline and pipeline clearings, its possible for hunters to see deer or hogs 100, 200, 300 or even 400+ yards away. The question is, do you want to be shooting at hogs or deer with a 7.62×39 or 223/5.56mm at ranges over 150 – 200 yards? Sure its possible to hit a target at 200 yards, but will the bullet have enough energy to break the bones and do enough internal damage so the animal dies quickly? Or would you rather have something like a 308 that you “know” will get the job done?
Here pretty soon a buddy of mine and I are supposed to go on a 3 day camping trip. While I’am getting my gear ready, I’am also thinking about how my family would handle a wilderness bug out situation? My daughter would have a break down if she did not have a toilet, computer or cell home. She could probably be fine without the cell phone for a couple of days, but she has told me several times that when she goes camping, there better be a bathroom near by.
In my opinion, a wilderness bug out would be a worse case situation – the cities lay in ruins, some kind of nuclear war has happened and there is fallout where I live, a replay of the 1348 Black Death,,,, something like that. But for the most part, its either going to be a bug in situation, or my family and I will be going to the camp.
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Resistant to change – When making bug out to the wilderness plans, people do not take social shock into consideration. People do not like change, we resist it, and a lot of times people get angry about change. So what do you think is going to happen to a teenager that is used to the digital age, and their suddenly forced to live in the wilderness. Chances are, their going to be pissed off about the whole situation – and that is just going to make matters worse.
Diseases – one of the biggest problems will be diseases – such as waterborne diseases.
Think about it just for a minute – a family of 4 bugs out to the wilderness, and then what? Your going to purify all of your drinking water through a hand held water filter? Your going to be able to store safe water for brushing your teeth, washing your face,,,, all of your sanitation needs?
Shelter – living in a tent for any length of time is not something that I want to do. Something that bothers me, is a lot of people pack these little one man tents for a bug out situation. There is nothing wrong with one man tents, but you have to pick the best shelter for the job.
Lets take the eureka solitaire one person tent for example – this thing is so small I can not even sit up in mine. To get a drink of water from a water bottle, you have to sit up a little bit, turn your head to the side, and then gently tip the bottle until you can get a drink. This is not the type of tent you want to live in for weeks on end. I used the eureka solitaire on 3 camping trips this summer – and it did a great job.
Related Article: Eureka Solitaire Review
Is each person going to have their own tent, 2 people per tent or a larger community tent? There are some large canvas style tents that a small family can almost live in. Some of the larger tents I have seen have a place for a wood stove, and can sleep 6 or more people on cots. Now that type of tent would probably be a better choice then a single person nylon tent.
The eureka solitaire is a great tent for backpacking and sleeping in for a couple of days. But some survivalist plan on staying out for months. Personally, I would pick something that is a little bigger – so you could at least sit up in and move around in.
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