As I was stacking a new box of 30-30 Winchester (Remington core-lokt 150 grain) and a box of 12 gauge slugs on the shelf, I started thinking about having a well rounded ammunition stockpile.
When talking about ammunition, we need to realize that there is no perfect answer. I live and hunt in southeast Texas, my longest shots are in the 125 yard range. 200 yards is a long shot for this area. The only place we get to see 200 yards, much less shoot that far is either on a pipeline or a highline.
In New Mexico, west Texas, Arizona, Colorado,,, 200 yards might be a short shot.
Someone in the south with dense timber will probably do just fine with a 30-30 or 308. Someone making 200 and 300 yard shots may need a 25-06, 7mm magnum, 300 Winchester magnum, 30-06,,,. Someone in Alaska where grizzly is an everyday threat, maybe something like a 338 Winchester Magnum, 375 H&H or 12 gauge slug.
Lets use this article as a generalization, rather then an exact science.
To kick off the discussion, lets start with the two boxes I bought today:
Purpose:: This article is not to discuss the positive or negative points of the 300 Blackout, but rather should survivalist add another caliber to their collection. This is a blog of a survivalist, as such we are going to discuss topics related to prepping / survivalism and from a survivalist point of view.
History: The 300 Blackout was designed to be comparable to the 7.62X39, but to work in the AR platform. Think of a 30-30 short from an AR.
Availability: While the 300 Blackout is available in the AR platform and certain high grade bolt action platforms, it has not made the migration to the lesser expensive bolt action rifles.
When this article was published there are only a handful of bolt action rifles on the market chambered for 300 Blackout. As of early 2012 Savage has cancelled its plans for a 300 Blackout rifle. A Google search for Ruger 300 Blackout did not turn up any company related information.
From a survivalist point of view, why would I want to stockpile yet “another” caliber that is chambered in a limited number of rifles?
Just in case you have not been paying attention, here lately certain types of ammunition is getting difficult to find. Just about all of the surplus ammo has dried up and a lot of the bulk stuff is sold out.
My local walmart here in Jasper Texas barely gets any American Eagle 223 in stock, and rarely gets Federal 308 Winchester. Remington Core-Lokt in 308 Winchester is right at $19.96. Its pretty sick when 308 is $1 a pop. My dad has some boxes of 30-06 at the camp that has a price tag of $13.96. I wish I would have bought a truck load of ammo back when it was cheap.
Over the past few years I have been buying cheap and stacking deep. The problem with buying cheap, you get steel cased ammo. This means a lot of my 223 and 7.62×39 is steel cased. The time has come to move past the steel cased ammo. So I have started buying American Eagle 223 and Federal bulk packs of 223.
One of the problems with owning firearms of various calibers, the more calibers you have, you have to stockpiling various types of ammunition.
My wife and I are going to Nacogdoches Texas on June 11, 2012. On the way we are going to pass through Lufkin. While in Lufkin we are going to stop at the academy sports and outdoors. At Academy I will be looking for Monarch 223 and Monarch 7.62×39.
The walmart website says the Lufkin store is sold out of Federal 308 and American Eagle 223, so I see no use in stopping at walmart. But then again, the walmart website says the Woodville store has American Eagle 223 in stock. But when I called the Woodville store, the lady told me they were out of stock. I guess the walmart website is hit and miss on its inventory system. My wife and I might stop at the Lufkin walmart store just to be sure.
Stockpiling food and ammunition for long term SHTF situation
The walmart website says the Nacogdoches store has both Federal 308 and American Eagle in stock.
Here we are looking at hitting 3 different stores for just 3 types of ammo. Academy sports and outdoors is the only place I get 7.62×39 from. If you take 7.62×39 out of the equation, we are looking at hitting 3 different stores for only 223 and 308.
We have not even talked about 30-06, 30-30, 270 Winchester or 280 Remington / 7mm Express.
30-06 and 280 Remington has gotten outrageously expensive. 280 / 7mm express has been expensive for a long time, with a price of around $25 a box for 20 rounds of Remington Core-Lokt.
When talking to survivalist, they seem to be divided into two groups – people that do, and people that talk.
Recently I asked the people on the SurvivalistBoards facebook page what rifle calibers they hunt with. I made sure to specify what calibers they currently own and use, and not what calibers they plan on buying.
For my area, its the 30-30, 308 and 280. Available game are hogs and whitetail deer. Longest shot is going to be around 125 yards. If you are on a pipeline or highline, shots might get out to the 200 yard mark. The rolling hills and thick timber stop the shots from being too long.
Some of the answers I received:
12 gauge, use it for everything from pheasant and ducks to Deer and bear. I hunting mostly swampy areas so no long shots.
.270 east Texas… hogs, deer, coyotes, 130gr Winchester ballistic tip nosler. stops them in their tracks with minimal meat loss.
.308 BLR. If I was to use something else it would probably be a .30-30.
Hunting season is here, and I have been thinking about my firearm setup. How many people have more then 1 rifle per caliber? What is the point of stockpiling ammo, and then have 1 rifle that could break? Sure people have spare parts, but spare parts do not help your buddies hunt with you.
Part of my plans call for a worse case situation, meaning I have friends or family members show up at my front door with nothing but clothes. The food starts to run out, so we head to the camp to plant a garden and do some hunting.
What firearms do you have that you can hand to a friend or family member and say “here ya go”? Its easy to pick up a spare 22 rifle from time to time, but its another thing to have 2 or 3 rifles in 308 or 30-30.
In my opinion, a well rounded plan should include the ability to provide assistance to other members of your group. Shooting ability, size of the game, shooting experience,,,, should all be considered.
This evening my wife and I went to the camp (aka Bug Out Location) to check on things. While I was looking through the ammunition stocks, it was like someone turned on a light. I realized the ammo that I was looking at was divided into 2 categories – small rifle (22 long rifle) and medium/large rifle (30-30, 308 and 30-06).
The 223 and 7.62×39 are stored separately from the main hunting calibers. When my family goes to the camp during deer season, they do not need to dig through 500+ rounds of 223 to find a box of 30-06 or 308.
While I was looking at the 22 long rifle and the 30-30, 308 and 30-06 I realized that most people would only need 2 calibers for a shtf survival situation.
1 rifle caliber for small game hunting.
1 rifle caliber for everything else.
22 long rifle
Lets say that some kind of long term disaster happens, such as civil unrest, climate change, new disease breaksout. You and your family head to the remote camp. Unless you have a small farm with chickens, rabbits, hogs, or goats, the main source of meat is either going to be fishing or hunting.
The 22 long rifle is well suited for taking just about any small game in North America, maybe even anywhere in the world.
If the muzzle report is a concern, stock upon 22 shorts or sub-sonic ammo.
If you need a little more power then the 22 long rifle, there is the 22 magnum.
When my dad was growing up, one of the families main sources of food was small game, like squirrels. For hunting the tree rats, my dad used 22 shorts. When I was growing up, my dad used to take me and my brother squirrel hunting every winter. Instead of using a 22 rifle, we used shotguns – my dad used a 12 gauge with #4 shot, and I used my single shot Winchester 410. when I got old enough, my dad bought me a Montgomery Ward Western Field (Mossberg) 12 gauge pump shotgun.
There is a thread in the forum asking whether the 7mm or 8mm would make a good caliber for a survival rifle. When you walk into a pawn shop and you see a bunch of a certain type of firearms, that is usually not a good sign. If people like a product, they tend to hang onto it.
22 Long Rifle
The 22 long rifle should not need an introduction. The ammunition can be fired in rifles and pistols, firearms are not expensive and they have a long life expectancy. With the low recoil of the 22, parts last long then a full sized rifle caliber.
The low cost of the 22 ammunition makes it attractive to survivalist who want to stockpile thousands or tens of thousands of rounds.
The 22long rifle is effective on small game and does not do a lot of damage to the meat. When you use a 12 gauge on a squirrel, you might have to pick out a bunch of BBs. If you take a squirrel with a 22 short, you have 1 bullet hole.
A couple of my favorite rifles in 22 long rifle include the Marlin Model 60 and the Ruger 10/22. My Ruger 10/22 was bought in January of 1986 and is still going strong.
223 Remington / 5.56mm
Standard service round of the US military. there are survivalist out there that plan on using the 223 as their main survival rifle after SHTF, but I personally would not want to use the 223/5.56mm on deer sized game.
If you want a rifle for hunting after SHTF, there are better options out there besides the 223.
One of the really nice things about the 223, there is a wide range of rifle options available on the market. There is everything from bolt actions rifle, to the Ruger Mini-14, to the AR-15.
243 / 6mm
The 243 is favored by a lot of people who hunt deer sized game, mainly due to the low recoil. for small framed people the 243 is a viable deer option, but bullet placement is critical.
I say the 243 is good for small framed people, but I used to work with a guy that was around 6 feet 3 inches tall, and he liked using the 243 for deer.
In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with the 243. Shooters should be aware of the limitations of the cartridge.
This past weekend my wife and I made a trip to Bridge City Texas to visit with my parents. While we were in Bridge City, my wife and I spent the night at La Quinta Inn & Suites, which is where the old Sparkle Paradise used to be. The hotel is in a perfect location. Not only does it back up to a pond for your fishing enjoyment, but the twin bridges are viewable from the hotel for a picturesque nighttime scene.
My wife and I arrived at La Quinta, at which time I realized that I did not think about bringing anything to fish with. So off to wal-mart we went. I have been wanting to pick up an open face reel, so I bought a Shakespeare E-Z Cast Low Profile Baitcast Reel with 6 foot rod and a couple of lures. As luck would have it, I did not catch anything but a bunch of mosquito bites.
Saturday morning my wife and I got up, went by mom and dads house for a little bit, said out hellos and then went to Academy Sports and Outdoors in Port Arthur. At Academy I bought some circle hooks, some 60 pound nylon coated wire for making homemade leaders, some #4 circle hooks, 6 boxes 223 monarch ammo, 2 boxes 7.62×39 monarch ammo and a box of Remington 150 grain 308 for deer hunting.
After making a stop to buy some survival gear, my wife and I went to Tinsel Town in Beaumont for the 12:15 showing of Captain America. I thought the movie was pretty good. Maybe not an A+ movie, but not a C rating either. We sat through the credits to get a peak at the Avengers, all I have to say is “wow”.
Besides last weekend, lets do a recap of what has been bought in the past couple of weeks:
2 spools of 330 pound trotline string
Shakespeare E-Z Cast Low Profile Baitcast Reel with 6 foot rod
Crank bait, shallow diver
3 pack of holographic lures – they look like minnows
120 rounds 223
60 rounds 7.62×39
20 rounds 308 Winchester 150 grain Remington Core-Lokt
1 box (25) Mustard brand circle hooks
1 package (8) Eagle Claw 4/0 all purpose hook
1 spool (30 feet) Berkley 60 pound nylon coated wire
1 pack (4) energizer advanced lithium AAA batteries – 10 year shelf life
1 pack zoom tiny brush hogs
1 pack artificial worms for bass fishing
2 small carabiners (non-climbing) for attaching gear to a pack
1 package Eagle Claw 3/0 safety snaps with barrel swivel
With these survival gear additions we should be able to fish, setup a trotline, hunt medium sized game, and provide security.
The 223 is for a security weapon that is to be used around the Bug Out Location, the 7.62×39 would either be used for security or for hog sized game, and the 308 is for anything from wild hogs to deer sized game.
During the 2010 – 2011 hunting season my nephew took a couple of whitetail deer with his Remington bolt action rifle chambered in 308 Winchester. Both deer ran about 20 feet from where they were shot.
The open face reel, lures and new rod are for bass fishing, perch and for small catfish.
The trotline material is for running trotlines – what else do you do with trotline stuff.
The Berkley nylon coated wire is for making homemade leaders for catfishing and saltwater fishing. Even though I do not do a lot of saltwater fishing, I still want to be able to make my leaders when they are needed.
The AAA lithium batteries will either stay here at my home, or they will get moved to the Bug Out Location. Back in June of 2011 some survival gear came up missing from the Bug Out Location. Some AAA lithium batteries and an LED flashlight just disappeared. The LED light was found a month later next to the propane tank, but the batteries have yet to be found. Someone took the light out to the tank to turn on the propane, and forgot to bring it back inside. While mowing the grass, my mom spotted the light laying on the ground. Since we have some batteries that are missing in action, they need to be replaced. After taking inventory, I will decide to bring the batteries to the Bug Out Location or add them to my stocks here at the house.
Most of the items bought over the past couple of weeks are for security and gathering food, such as hunting and fishing. Hopefully, in the next few weeks I will be able to order some Mountain House foods. Over the past few months I have been focused on stockpiling everything from batteries to seeds. Something that has been overlooked is long term storage food preps. But that should be fixed in the next few months.
During some kind of long term SHTF survival situation, I am hoping to divide my food production into maybe 4 or categories – hunting, fishing, seasonal gardening, fruit trees and livestock. My cousin and I have been combining our resources to raise some hogs. Maybe after we get them moved into a larger pen I can make a video and post an article the hogs.
As I am sitting here thinking about buying another rifle, my thoughts keep turning back to the AR-15. Even though the AK-47 is a little cheaper, its the reliability, cheap ammo, light weight of the weapon, availability of the ammo, shootability,,,,, that keeps me coming back to the AR.
In a SHTF situation, and I had to hand a rifle to my wife, son or daughter, how well would they be able to handle the rifle? That is just one of the many questions I have to ask myself.
In this article we are going to be looking at 3 of the most popular SHTF rifles and battle rifles in the world: the AK-47, AR-15 and the FN/FAL. The AK shoots the 7.62×39, the AR shoots the 223/5.56mm and the FN/FAL shoots the 308 Winchester / 7.62NATO round. These rifles were picked because they have a reputation of being reliable in just about all combat situations and they have been battle proven in several conflicts.
Lets start from the very beginning:
Inserting a magazine
AK-47 uses a cam style magazine, where the magazine has to be cammed into position FN/FAL uses the same type of cam action, but seems to be a better design then the AK AR-15 magazine goes straight in
In a stressful situation, its going to be easier for someone to insert an AR magazine then any of the others.
After inserting the magazine, its going to be easier for the FN/FAL or the AR-15 to charge the weapon then the AK-47.
People may argue that with proper training the AK magazine is just as easy to insert as the AR or the FN/FAL magazines. The thing is, not everyone has time or money to take the whole family to the range on a regular basis and fire off thousands of rounds in training exercises. For someone that gets to shoot a few times a year, the AR is going to be easier to load then any of the other rifles.
Charge the weapon
DS Arms SA58 FN-FAL, surefire G2X Pro and Maxpedition Noatak
AK charging handle is on the right hand side of the weapon. After the magazine is inserted with the left hand, the shooter has to either reach over the receiver to charge the weapon, or switch hands that is holding the weapon and use the right hand to cycle the bolt.
FN/FAL charging handle is on the left side of the weapon. After the magazine is inserted with the left hand, the left hand stays on the left side of the rifle and cycles the bolt.
AR-15 charging handle is on the rear of the receiver, making is easy to charge for right or left handed shooters.
For years, and I mean for “years”, my survival rifle list went something like this – Marlin 336 in 30-30, AR-15, Ruger mini-14, Ruger mini-30, AK-47, Ruger 10/22 and the Marlin model 60. The problem with that list, all of the rifles are short and medium caliber. The largest caliber rifle would have been the marlin 336 in 30-30 or the AK-47 in 7.62×39.
In my opinion, no survival rifle collection is complete without at least a rifle in the 308 Winchester and 30-06 range. When push comes to shove, a survivalist needs a rifle with some knock down power. In north America, the 308 and 30-06 are capable of taking just about any animal, except for the most dangerous grizzly or polar bear. For most applications – whitetail deer, hogs, prong horn, coyote, mule deer,,,,,, the 308 and 30-06 can fit the bill.
So where does this leave us? We could go with a bolt action rifle like the Remington model 700, Weatherby Vanguard or the Ruger model 70. But for a long term SHTF survival situation, I would like something with a detachable magazine.
Bolt actions rifles aside, this leaves us with the M1A, PTR-91, and the FN/FAL.
Instead of going into a lot of detail about each rifle, long story short, I decided to go with a DS Arms SA58 FN/FAL in 308 Winchester.
What were some of the things I looked for in my quest for an ultimate SHTF survival rifle.
1. Military grade – I wanted a rifle that has seen action in some kind of combat situation. We know for a fact that the M1A (M14), AR-15, AK-47 and the FN/FAL have seen combat all over the world. Each rifle has its flaws, rather then trying to pick the best, its more like a balancing act. I needed to pick the rifle that was best suited for my requirements.
I wanted a rifle that does well in marsh, woodland and tropical conditions. Since I do not live anywhere close to a desert, lots of blowing sand will probably not be a factor.
If you were going to pick a .30 caliber rifle for a SHTFsurvival rifle, which one would it be? The contestants are: 7.62×39, 30-30, 308 and the 30-06. Lets take a look at each of those calibers, and what rifles their currently available in.
For the sake of discussion, the 30-06 is the largest caliber that will listed in this article.
7.62X39 – made famous by the AK-47 and SKS, developed in 1943, has seen service in major conflicts all over the world, available in civilian rifles such as the Ruger Mini-30 and various bolt action rifles.
There are at least 3 things that makes the 7.62X39 a good choice as a survival rifle – 1. Availability of ammunition, 2. Availability of rifles, 3. Low recoil.
With post-soviet block countries strapped for cash, many of them have decided to sell off their surplus semi-automatic rifles, and surplus ammunition. In the 1990s, $200 would get you an SKS and a case of 7.62X39 hollow point ammo. Over time the price of AK-47s, SKSs, and 7.62X39 ammunition has crept up, but its still reasonably priced.
Firing a 123 grain full metal jacket or soft point, the 7.62X39 is well rounded for deer and wild hog sized game.
Since most of the rifles that fire the 7.62X39 are semi-automatic, this makes it a good choice for recoil sensitive people, or people who do not like the full sized rifle cartridges.
It was the last weekend of regular deer season, saturday night. A long time member of the deer lease drives up to the camp, and backs his truck up to the scales. That is usually a sure sign that there is a deer in the back of the truck. They get the doe weighed and are stringing it up to skin when I walk out there.
As the skinning of the deer proceeds, there are a few of us standing around helping and watching. The topic turns to the cost of ammunition and bullet performance.
Like a lot of hunters, I tend to buy the cheapest ammo on the shelf – and that is usually Remington Core-Lokt. Over the past 14,,,, 15+ years Core-Lokt is about all that I have bought and shot deer with. During that time I have had no complaints. There is usually a hole going in and a larger hole going out.
The guy who shot the doe goes on to talk about Remington Core-Lokt and how he has since switched to Winchester softpoints. The rifle the guy used was a 270,,,, I do not remember the exact make or model. After talking for a little while, the person who shot the whitetail deer said that he has not been happy with the performance of the Remington Core-Lokt lately and that he felt it may not be expanding like it should. So he switched to the Winchester softpoints.
Whitetail deer taken with 270 remington
I can say one thing about the doe that was being skinned, there was a massive amount of bruising, bleeding and tissue damage. It was like the whole area where the bullet went through had residual damage to the surrendering tissue.
Doing a mental comparison of the deer that was shot with a 270 and Winchester softpoints, and the deer that my son took a couple of years ago with a Marlin 30-30 and Remington Core-Lokt – the 270 caused more tissue damage – both rifles were shooting 150 grain bullet. The 270 travels at a higher velocity then the 30-30, but the 30-30 is a larger in diameter bullet.
I’am looking for a 308 semi-auto rifle – its to be used as my primary hunting rifle and survival rifle. This will be my “go to” rifle in the event of a disaster. Currently I have a Bushmaster AR-15 223 / 5.56mm, WASR-10 in 7.62X39, Ruger 10/22, SKS and Remington Model 700 Mountain Rifle in 280/7mm Express. The goal is to have something with a little versatile then those rifles. Something that is rugged enough to take take wherever I want, but accurate enough to make 100+ yard shots and hit a baseball sized target without a bench rest. Ideal accuracy would be a 1 inch group “Minute of angle MOA” at 100 yards. But some military rifles are just not designed to have the accuracy like a bolt action hunting rifle, or the AR15.
During hunting season the purposed rifle is going to be my primary hunting rifle. I need something that is compact enough to move around a deer stand with, or use a climbing stand with, but but with a barrel long enough that accuracy is not affected. Something with an 18 – 22 inch barrel would be ideal.
This is what I have come up with so far:
Century Arms Cetme – @ $500
Barrel length: 16.5″
Overall Length: 37.75″
Stock: Black synthetic
Weight: 9.7 lbs.
Saiga AK 47 .308 Rifle – @ $529
Barrel length: 16″ – 20″
Overall Length: 37.3″ – depending on model
AK-47 style safety
One of the most asked questions I see on the forum – “what is the best survival rifle?” A well balanced answer is, there is no perfect rifle. If you live in Alaska, your rifle needs are going to be a lot different then someone that lives in the Southern states. Its doubtful someone living in southern Florida is going to be running in Grizzly bears, like someone in someone in the Northern States might. If you live in Colorado, or Washington state you might be hunting elk or moose, while people in Louisiana, Alabama or Mississippi might be hunting whitetail deer or wild hogs.
1) Ruger 10/22 – semi-automatic, magazine fed, 22 caliber rifle. Its not one thing that sets the Ruger 10/22 apart, its the huge list – the reliability, the vast selection of accessories – magazines, scopes, barrels, stocks,,,,,, just all kinds of stuff. My personal Ruger 10/22 was bought in January of 1986, and is still going strong.
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.
The 22 long rifle cartridge only compliments the 10/22. The 22 long rifle is cheap, easy to stockpile, does not have a loud report, easy to carry and has plenty of power to take small game – like the nutria rat. With prices ranging from $12 – $20 for a brick of 550 rounds, for people on a budget, the 22 long rifle is going to be a tough round to beat.