What is your ideal firearm for a rural small farm (Bug Out Location)? Purpose is to protect property and livestock. For this article, lets say the setting can be during normal everyday life, and during a long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI event.
Its 10 pm, your chickens start making a fuss, what firearm do you grab? Do you use a shotgun, small caliber rifle, medium caliber rifle, or something else?
One of my ideal setups would be for a rifle and a pistol setup to share the same caliber. There are several manufacturers that make carbines in various pistol calibers, such as the 17 HMR, 22 long rifle, 9mm, 357 magnum and 45 acp.
This article will be divided into 3 phases, discussion on shotguns, small calibers for everyday life, larger calibers for post-SHTF / a world without law. Since followup shots may be needed rather quickly, single shot firearms will not be discussed.
While a shotgun may be ideal for nighttime, there is a high risk of collateral damage. We want to protect the livestock, and not take the livestock out along with the predator.
Even though the Mossberg 590 is one of my favorite SHTF shotguns, I do not think it is appropriate for livestock protection. The 590 does not have a choke that can be used to change the pattern of the shot. The short barrel of the Mossberg 590 will have a negative effect on the shot pattern as well.
Remington 870 and Mossberg 500, I am putting these in the same group because both are reliable, both have a replaceable choke and both are reasonably affordable.
My brother uses a Remington 870 for duck hunting, while I use a Mossberg 500 for squirrel and rabbit hunting.
Our selection should not be only limited to pump action shotguns. There are a number of semi-auto shotguns on the market – Remington 1100, Mossberg 930, Benelli, Winchester Super X3,, only to name a few.
My ideal shotgun would be something that can handle buckshot as well as slugs. Something that would make short work of coyotes or anything else trying to get into the chicken coop.
Small Caliber Rifle
Small calibers are several advantages over shotguns and medium caliber rifles. Reduced report, low cost of ammunition, affordable firearms and shorter range are a couple of noticeable points.
One of the purposes of a small caliber is a reduced report. Do you want to wake your neighbors up at midnight when you have to shoot a coyote or opossum hanging around the livestock?
Shooting late at night may prompt phone calls to local law enforcement with the idea that someone is shooting deer at night. To keep from worrying the neighbors, and so we do not scare the livestock we should consider report as a factor.
The 17 HMR was introduced in 2002. But in the overall scheme of things, its a newcomer. It is almost impossible for a caliber that has been out for a decade to compete against the 22 long rifle. I can only think of a single bad thing to say about the 17 HMR, and that is a bonus. The 17 is chambered in various rifles and pistols, so it gets bonus points for being chambered in dual weapons.
The single drawback that I can see with the 17 HMR, is that there is no sub-sonic ammunition on the market. The purpose of the sub-sonic is so that your rural neighbors do not hear a loud report, and that the report does not spook the livestock.
- Baikal MP-161K Carbine
- Remington Model 597
- Kel-Tec PMR-30
- Marlin 917V
22 long rifle was designed in 1887 and is the most popular cartridge in the world. It is designed for a wide range of pistols, revolvers and rifles. The ammunition is available in sub-sonic, hyper-sonic, round nose and hollow points.
Since 1986 the 22 long rifle along with the Ruger 10/22 is one my favorite plinking and small game combinations.
My first experience with a Ruger 10/22 was sometime in 1984 or 1985 when 3 of my buddies and I were on a 3 day camping trip. We loaded up an aluminum boat and headed out to one of the bayous close to Bridge City, Texas – this was sometime around 1984 or 1985.
After eating lunch, Allen and I took the dishes to the bayou to wash them. While we were washing the dishes, we saw a nutria rat on the other side of the bayou. 1 shot with the Ruger 10/22 took care of the animal.
Allen and I got in the aluminum boat we had used to reach the camping spot, and paddled across the bayou to retrieve the animal. We skinned the nutria rat and brought it back to the camping spot where it was roasted over a camp fire and eaten. Even though we had just eaten dinner, it was just canned chili and we were still hungry. The meat from that nutria rat really hit the spot.
After I handled the Ruger 10/22 on that 3 day camping trip, I knew I had to have one. From that day forward, the Ruger 10/22 has been one of my favorite survival rifles.
- Ruger 10/22
- Marlin model 60
- Remington speedmaster
- Model Golden 39A
- Remington model 597
- Henry Lever Action
- Browning BL-22 Long Rifle Lever Action
With over 100 years behind it, the 22 long rifle has the widest selection of rifles and pistols then any other caliber.
22 Magnum, I place the 22 magnum in with the 17 HMR. Great rounds, chambered is a wide range of firearms, but the lack of sub-sonic ammunition is a slight drawback.
The 22 magnum is great for small game, even up to coyote size and larger. I used to work with a guy who used a 22 magnum on hogs. When his dogs cornered the hog, the guy would kill the hog with a 22 magnum round to the brain.
With prices at 50 rounds for $12, the 22 magnum is not going to cost a fortune to stockpile. The reduced recoil, as compared to the 223 Remington, makes the 22 magnum ideal for people who do not like recoil.
- Henry lever action
- Rossi lever action
- Marlin Model 57-M Lever Action
- Ruger 10/22 (was made from 1998 to 2006)
- Kel-tec PMR-30
Medium Caliber Rifle
The question I ask myself, what should define a medium caliber rifle? Should we limit the medium rifle discussion to 223, 243 and the 7.62×39? Or should we include 9mm, 40 s&w, 38 special, 357 magnum and 45 acp? Is it just the diameter of the bullet, or the overall length of the cartridge that defines if something is small, medium or large caliber?
The 30-30 Winchester has a bullet diameter of .308.
The 9mm has a bullet diameter of .355.
For the sake of discussion, lets include pistol calibers in the medium rifle section.
223 Remington, introduced in 1964, used by various military forces all over the world, chambered in a wide range of rifles, effective of everything up to deer sized game.
One of the things that sets the 223 Remington apart from other rifles is the amount of modifications that can be added to the rifle. Want a rail system, night scope, light, angled forearm grip, vertical forearm grip,,,, for your AR-15? No problem.
The light recoil of the 223 Remington makes it ideal for people who do not like the recoil of larger calibers.
- AR-15 (Colt, Bravo Company, Daniel Defense, Palmetto State Armory, Spikes Tactical,,, to name a few)
- Ruger Mini-14
- Remington model 700 bolt action
- AK-47 (chambered in 223 Remington)
- Savage Axis 223 bolt action
243 Winchester, introduced in 1955, often overlooked by survivalist, available in a range of rifles, effective on deer and hog sized game.
The 243 has several benefits to survivalist, it is well suited for people who do not like the recoil of larger calibers, ammunition is plentiful and easy yo find, its flat shooting and accurate,,, only to name a few. Even though the 243 Winchester is often overlooked, it is well suited for a SHTF situation.
One of the things holding the 243 Winchester back, there are few tactical style rifles on the market. While there are a few AR-15s on the market chambered in 243 Winchester, the caliber never took off like it did with the 223 Remington.
Remington offers a rifle that would be well suited for using the 243 at the Homestead, and that is the Remington Model 750 Woodsmaster. The 750 Woodsmaster is a semi-auto rifle and has a 4 round detachable magazine.
In a SHTF situation, if I heard some noise outside in the middle of the night, I would not feel under-gunned with a 243 Winchester along with the Remington Model 750 Woodsmaster.
- Remington Model 700
- Remington Model 750 Woodsmaster
- Marlin Model XS7S
- Remington 770
- Savage Axis
- Ruger American Rifle
7.62×39, introduced in 1943, battle proven, chambered in a limited range of firearms, moderate recoil, ammunition and rifles do not cost a fortune.
In my opinion, the AK-47 along with the 7.62×39 is the ultimate SHTF survival rifle. The recoil is a little more then the 223 Remington, but not as much as the 308 or 30-06. With an average bullet weight of 123 grains, the round is well suited for deer and hog sized game.
If you want something a little less tactical looking there is the Ruger mini-30. I used to own a Ruger Mini-30; it was a great rifle that I miss dearly.
30-30 Winchester, introduced in 1895, is probably the second most popular rifle cartridge, second to the 22 long rifle.
The lever action rifle is a symbol of the old west, a symbol of freedom, a symbol of living on the frontier; living on the edge of civilization.
While the 30-30 Winchester is an excellent cartridge for deer and hog hunting, I feel there are better cartridges for protecting your property and livestock during a SHTF situation.
The slow reload time and lack of detachable magazines holds the 30-30 back as a round that I would use to protect my livestock and garden with.
Various Pistol Calibers
There is a wide selection of rifles and carbines on the market for 9mm, 45 acp, 357 magnum and 44 magnum.
All you have to decide is if you want a lever action, or semi-auto.