Whether you carry a semi auto on your hip or a shotgun for hunting you know the importance of having the right weapon. You also know the power that goes along with carrying a weapon. The Ruger PC Carbine Takedown Rifle is one of those weapons that will go anywhere. I can only imagine the …
CAUTION: This article, and the photos in it, include graphic details about pig slaughter. If you are disturbed by information and images of this nature, please use your own discretion when determining whether to read further.
To read the first entry in this multi-part series on pig processing, start here.
Read More: “Preparing for a Pig Slaughter”
I really love raising pigs. Their innate joy for rolling in the mud, chasing each other around their paddocks, pig-piling, and enjoying long-lingering naps is inspirational to me. I honestly think they can teach us a few things on how to bring more joie de vivre to our human lives.
Unfortunately, not all pigs get to live like this. Some spend their entire lives in spaces so small they can’t run, play, feel the sunshine on their bodies, or use their powerful snouts for digging up dirt and searching for food.
So, whenever someone asks me how I can stand to kill pigs when they are so adorable and affable, I have my answer ready. And here it is.
Mental Preparation for the Slaughter
I have a deep and abiding love for pigs – not just the pigs we raise, but for pigs in general.
I can’t imagine eating a pig that spent its life in industrial squalor. I also can’t stand the idea that these beautiful, domesticated beasts would become hated feral pests, or be forced into extinction, if we stopped eating them. They grow to be hundreds of pounds. Their powerful digging ability, in the wrong locations, can decimate whole ecosystems. Their nearly insatiable appetites for both food and adventure is the reason why packs of feral pigs end up digging through trash in urban shopping areas. Without a cultivated, co-dependent relationships with human care-takers, more and more pigs would quickly become dangerous to us. This is why so many of them are hunted with impunity and hated around the world.
Plain and simple – in my opinion – the best thing for pigs is to be raised on small farms, by farmers who care about their well-being and do have a hard time killing their pigs on slaughter day.
My point in sharing this is not to proselytize my pig views. It’s because, for me, having a genuine love for pigs and meaningful philosophical reasons for raising and slaughtering them is the only way I can face doing the act when the day comes. Coming to terms with my reasons for doing this is my method of mentally preparing for the slaughter.
Preparing Piglets for Slaughter
My other preparations for slaughter day actually start well before that final moment. As soon as a new set of piglets join our farm family, I begin training them by feeding them in a line at the edge of the electric fence.
After a few days of standing close by as they eat, allowing them to become comfortable with my presence, I begin to touch the tops of their heads. At first they shy away, but after a few attempts, they let me scratch behind their ears. In time, we move on to back scratches, then belly rubs.
Petting piglets is a pleasure. Like puppies, they can easily get riled up and start nipping excitedly at your fingers and feet. So, I am really careful not to let this happen. Instead I focus on making them calm with my petting practices. If I am effective, they stretch out like cats do and bask in the affection. Then they flop over on their sides and expose their bellies as a sign of trust.
As much as I enjoy this bonding, it also serves other purposes. It helps if I need to inspect or treat them for health problems. Most importantly though, when their final day comes, our pigs come easily to the fence line for feed. I give them a calming pet on the head and behind the ears, as they put their heads down and eat.
They have no fear of death – not even as we take aim. And if something were to go wrong with our first shot, I can use this established pattern to lull them back to calm quickly so there is no unnecessary suffering.
Only when they are calm and quiet, and distracted by the food in front of them, do we take the shot.
Taking the Shot
When we first started processing pigs, we would stand back some distance and take our time waiting for the perfect shot. We’d seen this on videos and figured this was the best way to do it.
It worked well most of the time. But we had a couple instances of the pigs turning their heads at the last moment and the shot bouncing off their tough forehead plates. The pigs were then frightened and had to be coaxed and calmed for a long time before we could get them back in the slaughter zone. We even saw signs of stress in the meat of one of our pigs.
Now, since I take so much time to tame our pigs from the moment they arrive on our homestead, we stand just a couple feet in front of them and take the shot. This way we don’t miss.
The target for the shot is right between the ears and the eyes. If you draw an “X” in your imagination between these locations and then shoot for the center of the X, the pig will drop on its side and twitch with nervous convulsions.
We use a .22 rifle do to the job. But we suspect that at that close range a .22 handgun might work just as well.
Also, make sure you are not on the downhill side of the pig when you take the shot in case they roll in your direction when they drop.
Bleeding out a Pig
The shot stuns and immobilizes the pig so that you can then use a knife to bleed the pig. You don’t want the pigs to be in pain as they die, but you do want to keep their heart beating until the last of their blood flows from their body. This makes evisceration (gutting) much easier.
There are three common techniques for bleeding out a pig.
Cutting the Carotid Arteries on each Side of the Neck
The first method is to cut the carotid arteries on each side of the neck. The arteries basically run along either side of the throat. Because we like to make jowl bacon, we try to make our cut below the jaw line closer to the clavicle. Then we use that cut as the line for decapitating the pig later.
Since the pig normally drops on one side, you can cut the artery on whichever side is facing up first. The blood will run quickly and thickly if you have cut the artery. If it doesn’t, then you know you have missed and need to cut deeper. To cut the other artery, you usually have to flip the pig to the other side and repeat the procedure.
The pig will die faster if you cut both arteries. However, depending on the size of your pig and how they fell, it’s not always easy to flip them over or get your knife in position to cut the other side. If the pig is bleeding out quickly and shows no signs of suffering, sometimes you can just cut one side and still get a quick death.
Cutting both Carotid Arteries from One Side of the Pig
To get both arteries from one side of the pig, poke your knife through both sides of the neck tissue on the stomach side of the pig. Then face the blade of your knife towards the pig’s throat and cut until you cause both arteries to gush. This is the method most of the “old-timers” (experts of a certain age) seem to use in my area.
Severing all of the Arteries at the Heart Junction
Alternatively, you can severe all the arteries at the juncture where they meet the top of the heart. Plunge the knife in the space between the clavicle and the neck tissue and direct your knife towards the center of the pigs body at an angle until blood gushes. You can see a really simple diagram of the correct angle at this site.
Read More: https://www.hsa.org.uk/bleeding-and-pithing/bleeding
This method is a bit easier than cutting the carotid arteries. However, many people who use this method also tend to puncture the heart. The tissue damage and subsequent clotting can make the heart a little unappetizing if you plan to eat it.
With any of these methods, when the blood begins to slow, you can lift and lower the pig’s front foot to force pump any remaining blood.
After the blood visibly stops flowing, before we drag the pig the few feet to our scaffold area for scalding, we pause to have a moment of silence and honor our now deceased pig. We also let out a sigh of relief at giving our pig the most merciful death we were capable of.
If you are processing more than one pig, you’ll probably be pretty surprised to realize that the other pigs don’t seem at all bothered by the loss of their paddock mate. In fact, they will often come over and push the dead pig out of the way so they can eat any food and blood on the ground.
When things go well, even your last pig of the day still has no concerns about what’s coming. However if things go wrong, such as you miss a shot and one pig squeals in fear, the other pigs do notice, and are wary of you until their moment comes.
We learned this the hard way our first year of raising pigs. Now, we strive never to have our pigs know the fear of death again.
Writing this is nearly as difficult as doing the deed. I have five pigs up in the paddock now who will meet this fate just a couple months from now. So, this seems like a good point to pause and go give them some pets and appreciate their perfect pigness while I can.
Our next installment in this series will cover scalding and evisceration. Then, we’ll move on to butchering. And after that we’ll get to sausage making, ham curing, bacon making, and more. So, stay tuned for more posts to come!
Also, if you feel as we do and want to raise your own pigs, now is the time to start thinking about piglets.
Depending on breed maturity rates, you’ll want to get your piglets about 6-8 months before you plan to process them. Since you want fairly cool, but not freezing temperatures for processing, in many climates, most people starting thinking about getting piglets in spring time to have them ready by fall. Piglets from good breeders tend to sell out quickly, so if raising and processing pigs is on your radar for this year, start looking for your piglet source and get your reservations in early.
If you’ve managed to read this far, I’d love to hear your thoughts on raising and slaughtering pigs at home. Please use the comments section below to share your views, experiences, or ask any questions you may have.
Also, if you’d like to read more on pig processing before we move on in the series, you can check out my earlier posts from my first time processing pigs.
A quality optic for your rifle can be one of the most important upgrades imaginable. However, have you ever thought about optics for your survival rifles?
When looking at optics for these survival rifles, I tend to look at several different features.
Durability is an obvious one. In a survival situation, you won’t be able to replace the optic easily, and you’re probably going to have to expose it to the elements at some point.
Accuracy is another obvious one. However, as I’m sure you’ve seen, most modern optics hold their zero really well, so you probably won’t have to worry about this one too much. It comes more into play when considering that some people just won’t shoot some optics as well as others. It’s a fact of shooting.
The last feature that I like is an optic that has an etched reticle or uses fiber optics. This eliminates the need for batteries. I like this due to the fact that batteries may be hard to come by in a survival situation.
Generally speaking, I prefer no magnification for a survival rifle. However, a variable magnification scope that starts at 1x magnification would work just the same. I have found that with enough practice, I am able to accurately and effectively shoot out to 300-plus yards without any magnification. Conversely, shooting at 50 yards and closer with magnification can be very difficult.
Let’s talk about some of our favorite survival optics.
The Vortex Spitfire is a prismatic scope, so it is extremely compact. It is only four inches long, and weighs in at 11.2 ounces. This compact size is one of the biggest appeals of a prismatic optic. The reticle just uses dual rings, so it is extremely easy to acquire targets. While the reticle is etched on the prism, it also can be illuminated in red or green.
In terms of durability, this one is hard to beat. It is waterproof, fog-proof and shockproof. The anodized finish adds in to this, and the optic can be used in any variety of temperatures.
The eye relief is comfortable, and the scope is parallax free, so you will be able to easily shoot with this optic. I found this to be an excellent, accurate optic, especially when considering the relatively low MSRP.
Vortex also offers a Spitfire prism scope with 3x magnification.
This optic from Burris is another great choice for your survival rifle. It is the same size as the Spitfire, but it is a little bit heavier. The eye relief is also a little bit shorter, so some will not find this as comfortable for shooting.
While the Spitfire was a prismatic sight, this one utilizes lenses. The lenses are fully multi-coated, so you will be able to see more clearly. It allows for a lot of light transmission, so it’s consistently easy to see.
The reticle is slightly more complex than the Spitfire. It uses a large circle, but also includes a bullet drop compensator. On one hand, this will help the intelligent shooter extend his range. However, on the other hand, it may slow down your target acquisition. Similar to the Spitfire, this one has an illuminated reticle that can be either red or green. The black reticle is etched on the lenses, so you don’t need a battery.
This optic will work well on a survival rifle. It is small, durable, and will last for a long while. However, it is slightly more difficult to use, due to the more advanced reticle. As far as price goes, this one is much more affordable than the Spitfire.
The Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG) is very commonly used in the military. This is actually my favorite survival optic, but be warned, it is extremely expensive.
This optic is my favorite due to how durable it is and the fact that it uses fiber optics. There are never any batteries involved.
In terms of magnification, there is a wide variety available. The scopes are all fixed magnification, and they start at 1.5x magnification and go up to 6x magnification. For the survival rifle, I recommend 1.5x or 2x. Maybe 3x magnification, but it will take some getting used to at close range.
Similar to the Burris optic, these optics utilize classic lenses as opposed to the prism used in the Spitfire. They are extremely durable, as evidenced by the military using them in combat. The reticles of each ACOG are slightly different, but most of them incorporate some bullet drop compensator. I found them to be easier and quicker to use than the Burris optic.
This one should be obvious. No matter what optics you decide to use on your rifle, having iron sights as a backup is absolutely crucial. Now that almost all optics rely on electronics, and use some form of illuminated reticles, it is very important to have that manual backup.
I can’t imagine having a survival rifle without iron sight backups. I recommend shooting with your iron sights every once in a while, just in case you ever have to use them in a survival situation.
What are your favorite optics? Share your tips in the section below:
Let’s imagine for a moment that the world of tax-funded public safety and well-stocked grocery stores are a thing of the past and you, perhaps with a handful of family and friends, must fend for yourself in a tough and hostile environment. Among the considerations for survival are, of course, firearms. Which would you choose?
The most critical consideration for firearms in this scenario would be reliability. Does it go “bang” with every trigger press? Does it cycle the widest possible spectrum of ammo available in that caliber? Is it simple to maintain? What ammunition is likely to be found in the area? It’s a given that one of each major civilian classification of firearms will be needed—a handgun, a rifle, and a shotgun. Our task here is to pick an ideal group of five.
THE TOP THREE
The Glock 17/19 has a long track record of reliability and the other criteria here. While Glock offers a wide variety of calibers and models, the 9mm is a commonly available cartridge worldwide, and less pricey. Like the AR-15, parts are currently ubiquitous, and many are interchangeable between models/calibers.
As a true admirer of the 1911, it’s hard to think of turning my back on that old standby. Indeed, it’s more accurate. But it falls behind, quickly, where ease-of-maintenance and magazine capacity are concerned. Newer models are, in my experience, less reliable than Colt originals
Concealability, which may or may not be a consideration in this scenario, isn’t easy with the G17 but the Glock 19 can bridge this gap effectively.
A carbine, with its shorter barrel, offers ease of maneuverability as well as the capability of reaching out to larger game, within limited range, to provide for food. Larger capacity magazines and quick reloading capability may be necessary to defend against attackers of the two-legged variety.
My choice for a long-term carbine partner is the AR-15. The platform is proven as reliable, and most owners have accumulated a supply of spare parts. Ammunition and magazines as of this writing are readily available, but that can change on a moment’s notice, of course!
The .223/.556 cartridge is admittedly not the most ideal for down-range energy. Thanks to the other virtues named here, though, it garners top billing on the list. I have personally taken deer-sized game with the .223/.556.
This was the easiest choice. A shotgun in general has nearly endless applications based on the variety of loads available, especially if one has reloading equipment. The Remington 870 pump action, chambered in 12-gauge, has endured as one of the most reliable shotguns in history. It’s inexpensive, made for utility, and rugged. Semi-auto shotguns abound on the market today, but none have the track record of reliability and simplicity as does the 870. The gauge selection is due to the wide range of loads available in 12-gauge.
The Mossberg 500 was a close runner-up, but the 870 edged it out thanks to personal experience both in the field and in law enforcement. It’s capable of earning its keep by obtaining large and small game and is an effective defense weapon.
Traditional hunting models are probably the most common 870s in civilian homes. The police model, with its shorter 18-inch barrel and larger magazine capacity, offers more practicality. Either one will serve the owner well, with greater reliability than most semi-auto shotguns. I have taken everything from birds to varmints to big game with a 12-gauge 870. Not to mention the shotgun is an effective deterrent against two legged pests.
Now imagine for a moment that we have the luxury of two other guns at our disposal. To me, the ideal ones are—
A Bolt-Action Rifle
As with the AR-15, the brand and model are less important as there are many choices with legendary track records. It’s comforting to know that, with the assistance of an optic, the little arsenal includes something that can be effective at long distances for most game and any precision shooting needs. The ideal caliber could be the .270, .308 or 30-06, all of which are more or less commonly available. All can effectively take any game in North America and, of course, provide greater long-range precision capabilities.
Rate of fire and weight are potential drawbacks with this firearm. In comparison to others here, this platform requires greater knowledge and time investment on the part of the operator to accomplish the long-range feats it’s capable of.
A .22 Rimfire
There’ll be plenty of nay-sayers for this cartridge as a final choice, but the .22 has been a ballistic tool of choice for hunters, assassins, farmers and housewives for over a century. It’s eliminated countless barnyard varmints and more good and bad guys than I care to count. If we as consumers discount the memory of the days when .22 was three cents per round, the cost and availability factors aren’t as dire as it once was just a mere year ago.
Notice there’s no make and model named in the subheading—that’s a reflection of how difficult it is to choose among the many candidates. In the end, utility is king. Some of my favorites are the Ruger 10-22 Takedown, Ruger 22 Bearcat and S&W Model 17 Revolvers or the KelTec PMR and CMR 30 in 22 Magnum (if you have a good supply of 22 mag ammo). Choices in this category are endless and should boil down to what you have experience and confidence in. Another consideration: 500 rounds of .22 is portable in comparison to the same amount in other calibers.
Many will likely argue that a .22 rifle is preferable to a .22 handgun. And I’d not argue back much, especially when discussing a firearm for a beginner to use effectively. In a world where the return on investment of both resources and calories may be critical, perhaps a .22 should be at the top of this list.
Bottom line: I want a “survival” gun that is reliable, simple to operate (including maintenance issues), in a caliber that ammunition can easily been obtained and that I have confidence and ability with. The picks listed here are one person’s opinion … but the choices are endless.
What would you put on your list? Share your thoughts in the section below:
CAUTION: This article, and the photos in it, include graphic details about pig slaughter. If you are disturbed by information and images of this nature, please use your own discretion when determining whether to read further.
Raising and processing your own pigs at home is a great way to provision your family with a year’s supply of meat. If you start with weaned piglets that are about eight weeks old, it takes around four to six months to raise your pigs to “market weight,” which is around 250 pounds.
A 250-pound pig, also called a hog, will yield about 140–145 pounds of meat products. Anything you can’t eat, you can trench compost to improve your soil (assuming you have a place on your property at least 50 feet from your wellhead or watershed to dig a trench). And if you want to do some extra processing, you can also grind bones into bonemeal for your garden and make a year’s supply of bone broth to up your protein and gelatin intake.
Raising pigs is the easy part. They simply require adequate space to root inside a really robust electric fence, fresh water, a lot of food, and a three-sided shelter for weather protection.
Training your pigs to the wire when they are small is important, and if you can find piglets that are already wire-trained, that’s even better.
When they are young, or if you raise them through winter, you may also need to give them some bales of straw to use as bedding to help keep them comfortable and avoid weight loss during cold spells.
Planning for the slaughter, though, can be a bit daunting.
Technically, you can field dress a pig, like you would a deer, by basically removing the guts and hide. But, if you plan to make any kind of fancy products like bacon and cured ham or pork rinds, then you really want to think about your setup and plan to have on hand all the necessary equipment that will make your pig slaughter as easy and organized as possible.
Here’s what we do to get ready for our hog processing each year.
Assemble Your Team
One person can slaughter a hog. But we find that having two to four people available to help makes the process a lot easier. And if you plan to make it a whole-day event and do multiple pigs at once, like we do, having more help for shift relief makes things go much faster.
We tend to make our hog killings a bit of a community event by inviting friends interested in learning to come for the experience. However, making sure that you or your helpers have the necessary skills for each task is the most important factor.
We tend to plan our team with the following skills in mind.
If you get in the habit of standing in front of your pigs while you feed them, your shooter will basically be able to shoot the pigs at almost point blank when processing day comes. This way, there is no chance of missing the mark. But, even with such an easy target, an experienced shooter is a good team member to have. We also like to have a second shooter ready just in case something goes wrong with the first shot.
This person sticks the pig in the heart to bleed it out after the shot drops the pig in convulsions. The sticker can also be the shooter, but in this case, you’ll need someone nearby for the shooter to pass the gun to. That person can then put the safety on the gun, and put the gun back in its case so no accidents happen. Alternatively, you can set up a chair, table, or even picnic blanket to set the gun on if your shooter is your sticker and there is no one there to take the gun.
The Heavy Lifters
We personally raise our pigs a bit bigger than 250 pounds, so we like to have two strong people who can help haul the pigs the 15–20 feet from their paddock down to our scaffold.
The Skinner or Skin Scrapers
If you plan to skin your pig, that’s pretty much a one-person job. But if you are scraping, a few extra hands get the job done quicker. Up to four people speed up the process, but if you get more than four sets of hands on the hog at once, you just start running into each other and flinging hair on the person below (yuck).
Gutting is delicate work, but intestines are also heavy. So you want someone with steady knife skills and the ability to hold back 40 pounds of innards with their elbow during the “unzipping.”
Splitting a hog carcass down the spine with a saw is extremely physical work. You can use power saws to make it easier. But it still requires a fair bit of strength and stamina. It’s also a bit easier if you have two other people hold the sides of the carcass to steady it while the person operating the saw cuts through.
You need one skilled butcher who can find their way around a carcass to cut off the bacon, hams, Boston butts, etc., and who can distinguish pork chops and roasts from sausage meat. But after those initial cuts, butchering is the part of the process where more hands really make light work. Quite a bit of hog processing is sausage making, and that means cutting your meat and fat into chunks or strips that will fit in your grinder. There is also a lot of curing and packaging to be done. So if you want to involve people interested in learning, this is the part of the processing where almost anyone can get in on the action.
Prepare Your Equipment
Beyond having the right people with the right skills lined up for your pig slaughter, you also need to prepare your equipment.
We’re minimalists on the equipment front because we like to do things fairly “old school.” But we still have a pretty lengthy list.
Here’s what we use:
- Deboning Knives—For gutting, head removal, and butchering
- Knife Sharpener and Steel—For knife maintenance, as needed
- First Aid Kit—With lots of bandages, disinfectant, and superglue to close skin cuts
- Disposable Gloves—In case you get cuts that bandages won’t stick to and for anyone who prefers to work with gloves
- Three Five-Gallon Buckets—To set up a washing station outdoors; we fill one with soapy water, one with bleach, and one with clean water to use for cleaning equipment, hands, and whatever else you use during processing
For the Kill
- .22 Rifle With Bullets—For stunning the pig
- Sharp-Tipped Knife—For sticking the pig to bleed it out
- Two Ropes—To drag the pig down to our processing area
- Hose—To wash the pig off before scalding
For Scalding and Scraping the Pig
- Scaffold—For elevating the pigs into the scalding vat; a front loader or tripod will also work
- Two Engine Hoists—We hang one over the scalding vat and another next to it to use to hang the pig for gutting. You can also gut the pig on a pallet on the ground if you only have one engine hoist.
- Scalding Vat—Large enough to hold an entire pig, ours is a 250-gallon oil tank cut in half and welded into a horseshoe shape. For smaller pigs, 55-gallon drums work, too.
- Hose With Sprayer Nozzle—With access to a clean water supply for filling scalding vat and using to wash the pig, hands, tools, etc., during processing
- Cinder Blocks—For stabilizing scalding vat
- Chains—For use to agitate the pigs in the scalding vat to keep them from sticking to the bottom (if the flame is on, as it often must be in cold weather)
- Two Gambrels—These are placed through the front and back legs and used to hoist and direct the pigs when lifted and lowered onto the scaffold.
- S-Hooks—For attaching the gambrels to the engine hoists
- Propane Tanks and Burners (or Lots of Wood)—For heating the water in the scalding vat
- Thermometer—For checking water temperature prior to scalding to make sure you reach 150–155ºF
- Bell Scrapers—For scraping the hair from the skin
For Gutting, Beheading, and Splitting
- Bone Saw—For splitting the carcass and cutting through ribs
- Deboning Knife or Knife with Gut-Hook—For gutting
- Twine—To tie up the anus
- Gut Bucket—A really large bucket to catch the guts and store them until you get a chance to take what you need and bury the rest
- Smaller Bucket—For the organs you plan to keep, like the liver, heart, and kidneys
For Butchering, Processing, and Packaging
- Large Cutting Boards
- Large Cooler—This works great to hold the heads until you process. Just leave the lid off so the heads stay as cool as it is outdoors. Then, after you process the heads, you can use the cooler to organize your cuts until they can be packaged.
- Lots of Buckets (or Pots, Bowls, and Whatever Large Vessels You Have)—For holding fat or meat chunks; and to use to brine heads, for curing bacon, etc.
- Pressure Canner—For making stock and head cheese and to use to can stock and lard after processing
- Slow Cooker or Other Large Stove-Top Pot—For making lard
- Canning Jars and Lids—To hold stock and lard
- Meat Grinder—For making sausage
- Sausage Stuffer and Casings—If you plan to make links
- Vacuum Sealer With Bags, Butcher Paper, or Freezer Bags—For packaging
- Food-Grade Scale—For weighing cures and meat cuts, etc.
- Permanent Marking Pens—To label your packages
- Pillow Cases or Old Sheets—To use for curing hams
- Parchment Paper and Twine—To use to keep the cure in place on the hams
- Rope—For hanging hams
Storage, Space, and Special Planning Considerations
In addition to the equipment necessary for processing, you also need to make sure you have the space to do this. Pig slaughter is easiest when you have room to move and have planned where you will store everything while you work through that large amount of meat.
You will need some fairly big, sturdy tables to work on. We have a stainless-steel table for breaking down the carcass and a really large picnic table that we cover with plastic and use to cube and cure meat. If it is really cold, we also use our indoor dining table covered in plastic and our kitchen island for doing the curing and bagging.
A stainless-steel or granite-topped table is also really helpful if you plan to make sausage links.
You will also need some equipment for safely storing your meat overnight so you can finish processing the next day. We put some of our meat on pallets in a truck bed, tied it in with tarps, and covered it with chairs to deter critters. We also hung some of it with our engine hoists.
But if you have a secure, unheated outbuilding, that would work best.
You will need a place to store your bacon while it cures for 14 days. You need to flip the bacon once a day, so this location should be easy for you to access. We usually use the same cooler we used for heads and cuts, and keep it on our front porch so we remember to flip the bacon daily.
You need a place to hang your hams to dry for 60–75 days while they cure and for another 6–18 months while they age.
You need a freezer to store your bounty of meat for the year.
If you plan to make fermented sausage, you will likely need a fermentation chamber to control humidity and temperature for a 30-day curing period or longer.
If you plan to smoke your meats, you will also need either a hot or cold smoker, depending on your preference. Cold-smoking is used for flavoring meat after it is cured by other methods (e.g., salt and Insta Cure). Hot smoking is usually applied to meat that will be used quickly or frozen.
Plan Your Recipes and Prepare Your Ingredients
We are total foodies, and so half the reason we raise our own pigs is so we can make our own gourmet products at home for a fraction of the cost we’d pay at gourmet grocery stores.
Before we ever set the date for processing, we plan which recipes we’ll use for making bacon, ham, and any other cuts we want to cure.
We decide what kind of sausage mixes we plan to make. Then we shop for items we don’t grow ourselves and make sure we have adequate stocks of everything else.
Regardless of which recipes we use, we always need large quantities of the following:
- Sea Salt—For curing and seasoning
- Demarara Sugar—For curing hams and bacon
- Insta Cure No. 1—For bacon and smoked sausage
- Insta Cure No. 2—For dry-cured hams and salamis
- Garlic—For sausage and bacon
- Wine, Beer, Water, or Milk—For sausage liquid
- Spices—Marjoram, oregano, paprika, black pepper, cayenne, thyme, rosemary, fennel seed, etc.
I also like to make up my mixes for bacon, ham, and most of our sausages in advance of processing so that we don’t have to worry about tracking down ingredients when the meat starts coming off the carcass.
For example, I’ll make up ham cure in 50-pound increments, but then I’ll weigh the cure, divide by 50, and leave a note on the cure indicating how many ounces of mix to use per pound of ham. This year it was 1.2 ounces of cure to a pound of ham. So, my helpers weighed the hams. The first was 28 pounds. They then weighed out 33.6 ounces (1.2 ounces x 28 pounds of meat), and rubbed that into the hams before wrapping.
I also had parchment paper, twine, and pillow cases all ready so they could get the hams ready for hanging.
I do the same with the bacon cure.
I also prepare sausage spices in 20-pound batches so that as soon as we’ve got 20 pounds of the appropriate quantities of meat and fat ground, we can immediately start mixing up our first batch of sausage.
Check the Weather and Make the Final Call
About three days before our pig slaughter, we check the weather and make sure we are on track for our proposed date. Rain or excess wind are deal breakers for us, because we do most of our processing outdoors and we want to be as comfortable as we can be while we are doing this. If you have a large outbuilding to use, your considerations may be different. For us, we like daytime temperatures in the 45°F–55°F range and hovering above freezing overnight. If the weather looks good, we alert our team and start setting everything up.
We check the weather again the day before just to make sure our forecast still looks good. This year, we had a snow storm sneak up on us on our first planned date. So we had to cancel the day before. But the next weekend turned out to be perfect.
Even with good preplanning, you’ll inevitably forget something. Part of being prepared is knowing that you’ll still likely have to do some improvising the day of. Flexibility and ingenuity are also key skills that you want every member of your team to have.
Pig slaughter requires a lot of preparation and work, and you should know that going in. However, I find that if I keep in mind the fact that I am literally provisioning most of my meat supply for the entire year with those few days of hard work, it’s a lot easier to get through. And, at the end, I have the satisfaction of knowing where my food came from, how my animals were raised, and what went into their processing every step of the way.
I’m pretty experienced at pig slaughter now. But a few years ago, I was a total novice. You can read my posts about a first-time hog killing using the following links:
Then, stay tuned for some new, upcoming posts with more specific details about processing and product making from your hogs at home.
If you have experience at home processing or are thinking about doing it, we’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Please share any thoughts or information you have in the comments section below.
Many people own weapons for the purpose of protecting their home. However, how many people actually have a plan for what to do if they ever have to use them?
While it is a scary thought, thinking about some home defense basics is worthwhile. Having your weapons is great. Having a plan increases your ability to protect yourself with them.
In this article, we will go over some basic home defense tactics. I have written previously about how I like to have weapons spread out throughout my house. While I realize that not everyone agrees with this thought process, the tactics will be similar.
As long as you have a weapon that is easily accessible, your home can be defended. How you do that is up to you, whether you have guns throughout your house, or if you are always armed on your person. However, for home defense, I cannot understate the importance of having a shotgun. In my opinion, this really is the most important home defense weapon.
Before getting into the tactics, we are going to assume that you have all of the non-weapon home defense measures in place. Examples could include motion sensor floodlights, deadbolt locks, and a security system. As we all know, these aren’t always enough, but they are a necessary start.
Let’s get into the tactics.
I know what you’re thinking. This is not what you want to do in the event your house is being broken into.
While many people don’t want to hear this, it is the safest answer. If you can safely get out of your house or barricade yourself in a room (armed, of course), that will be your safest bet. Arm yourself first, but if you can safely get out, I would recommend doing that. Get away or get out, call the police, and be prepared.
However, in many situations, this isn’t possible. Maybe you’ve got kids upstairs, the intruder knows you are home, or you aren’t going to be able to get out of the house. Whatever the case may be, there is a good chance you may have to engage the intruder.
When it comes to engaging the target, speed is the most important factor. Speed of acquiring the target, speed of engaging the target, and speed of re-engaging the target are all very important things to consider.
To increase your speed acquiring a target, there really is only one thing to do. Practice, practice, practice.
Go to the range and practice aiming down your sights and acquiring targets. Move your body around and move the target around. You don’t even have to go to the range. Do dry runs in your house or backyard, as long as you are certain the weapon is cleared.
Engaging the Target
It may seem simple. Aim and shoot. But, consider the fact that your life will be threatened and your adrenaline will be pumping. Do you think it might be possible to accidentally leave the safety on, or make a similar mistake?
This can be improved with practice, as well. Run through it as much as possible; it will eventually become muscle memory.
Part of this could be taking the target by surprise. Anything that can give you a speed advantage should be considered. In a situation like this, being controlled but fast will keep you alive.
Now, keep in mind that you may have to re-engage a target that will likely be moving. Improving the speed at which you can do this also comes from practice. Practice acquiring targets, engaging the target, and cycling the weapon, if necessary. It is hard to replicate shooting a moving target, but the more time you have spent looking down your sights, the easier it will be.
Obviously, it would be ideal to engage an intruder in a plate carrier and Kevlar helmet. However, this isn’t always possible, so what other ways are there to protect yourself and those around you?
As most people who are familiar with weapons and ballistics are aware, there really isn’t much true cover inside a house. There are very few things that will actually stop a bullet in your house. However, concealing part of your body will give the intruder less to return fire at. If part of your body is concealed by a wall or something similar, this will make you much safer.
Another way to make yourself safer is to change the position from where you’re shooting. Taking a knee makes less of your body exposed, and makes it more difficult for an intruder to potentially return fire.
So, if you are able to quickly acquire and engage a target while part of your body is concealed, you will do a good bit in improving your safety.
However, where is that bullet going? Like we talked about before, there isn’t much in your house that will stop a bullet. So, while you are going over some potential courses of action, be sure to take into account exactly what and where you are shooting. Think about whether or not people may actually be behind the target you’re shooting at. This is the exact kind of thing that you would not think about in the moment. However, having somewhat of a plan will help.
Some people swear up and down by their weapon accessories. I think that they can sometimes be helpful, but many people rely too heavily on them.
Weapon accessories can help you, but they cannot replace practice. Practice using your weapons. Use the accessories as accessories rather than necessities.
However, with that said, there are two accessories that I think are very helpful in a situation like this. A quality sight can make it much easier to acquire a target. A red dot style sight that you can shoot with both of your eyes open can give your weapon point and shoot ease of use, which could be extremely useful in the middle of the night or when your adrenaline is pumping.
The other accessory that I think would be helpful is a bright flashlight. While being directly in front of your target is certainly less than ideal, a very bright flashlight can buy you some extra time. It could disorient your target, and give you enough time to acquire and engage the target.
One Final Tactic to Consider
If for any reason you have to clear a room in your house, there is one basic tactic to check out. Look up the “slicing the pie” tactic on YouTube. It is easier to see it in a video than read it in words. However, it is a simple tactic that can help you to clear a room if you need and will keep you safe.
What other home defense tactics have you been taught? Be sure and leave a comment below!
AR15 Survival Rifle Set Up: Part 1-
Dane… “The Gunmetal Armory” Audio player provided!
The survival rifle is a timeless classic in the rifle community and all throughout the world. Many versions of the survival rifle exist, from a specially designed rifle that a pilot might carry in his plane, to a 3 barreled rifle/shotgun combo that was carried by Cosmonauts, to an over-under rifle/shotgun combo, or just a simple 12 gauge shotgun with a couple extra accessories added to it.
Iron sights are standard equipment on most entry-level AR-15 rifles and other firearms. There’s a lot to like about iron sights—they generally adjust for windage (rear sight) and elevation (front sight) easily and quickly, they’re durable, and learning to use them properly goes a long way in developing competence as a marksman.
Practical as they are, though, irons have limitations. Here are five reasons to consider adding a red dot to your AR:
1. Faster target acquisition
Shoulder the rifle, put the dot on target, bang. There’s no rear/front sight alignment, no mental bandwidth expended reminding oneself to focus on the front sight when our natural inclination is to look at the target. This is the greatest advantage of a red dot.
There are still purists who scoff as this concept, saying it’s the cheater’s version of an age-old skill, and reminding red dot users that someday, that battery could die at an inconvenient moment. To them I’d say yes, both these things are true, along with suggesting one of the many sights on the market that allow the user to co-witness, meaning using the irons with the electronic sight attached. Thus, a common moniker for irons is BUIS, or backup iron sights.
2. Better accuracy at distance
Along with enhanced speed at finding the target, the properly zeroed red nearly eliminates doubt as to where to aim at longer-distance targets. Whereas there’s a window of judgment regarding the position of the front sight within the rear when viewing a target through BUIS, most red dots offer a precise point of aim. Of course, there’s a point when distance shooting requires a magnifying scope and use of a reticle. But for distances up to around 200 yards, and even larger targets at longer distances, the basic, non-magnifying red dot makes an ideal shooter’s helper.
3. Compensates for eye limitations
Many shooters find it a challenge to focus on the front sight once the AR is on target, either because it’s too tempting to focus on the target or physical limitations within the eye itself which prevent objects around arm’s length from being in focus. This is often an unwelcome development in shooters, whose eyesight is undergoing age-related changes.
Using a red dot is simple and can often reduce or eliminate psychological or physical barriers to proper aim. While a non-magnifying unit can’t make small targets appear bigger, these sights can enhance a shooter’s confidence in aiming at small targets. Many models even lend themselves to an additional optical accessory that magnifies. That advantage is not without costs in addition to the literal sense of the word. Generally, these dual accessories will consume the “rail estate” the rear iron sight occupies, and visual distortions can occur in some conditions or distances.
4. Easier shooting in dim-light conditions
Red dot optics are not capable of casting light onto a target. However, they outshine plain black BUIS in making the point of aim clear when ambient light is scarce. Since most defensive encounters and varmint hunting doesn’t occur in broad daylight, a red dot can expand the hours of your AR’s usefulness.
A sight with adjustable brightness can really prove its value in being able to move from daylight to darker conditions. A quality red dot optic will allow the user to choose among several brightness settings.
5. More good choices at entry-level prices than ever before.
For years, the electronic sight market was crowded at the far ends of expense—and price was almost always commensurate with quality. It’s pretty much still a guarantee that the $60 sight/mount combo on Ebay won’t hold zero and won’t satisfy the need for accuracy that any responsible shooter holds dear. Today, a wide range of choices are available that can provide years of service and good accuracy. Two examples that come to mind are the Bushnell Enrage, currently available at less than $150 including complete mounting equipment. Or try the feature-laden Lucid Optics HD7 for under $300.
Of course, there are premium optics and mounting gear out there, too. I’ve spent time behind bargain-basement optics, upgraded bargains like the ones mentioned above, as well as setups that cost in excess of $700. All in the latter two classes delivered performance that allowed me to put rounds where I wanted them to go, within a reasonable distance.
Having a new accessory like a red dot doesn’t make anyone an expert shooter. Understanding a proper zero for your anticipated engagements, and knowing the mechanical offset effect of your bore/optic is a necessary part of responsible AR red dot operation. Get good training and practice regularly.
What do you think about red dots? Share your thoughts in the section below:
When the M-16 was first introduced to the Army during the Vietnam War, it was not readily accepted. On one hand, this is common, as military personnel aren’t quick to give up their old guns. But on the other hand, rumor has it that some of the plastic parts for the original M-16, specifically the buttstock and forestock, were manufactured by Mattel, and showed up with the famous “Made by Mattel, it’s swell” logo molded into the stock.
I don’t know if that rumor is true or not, as I missed the Vietnam War. But I was trained on the M-16 in boot camp, some years later and carried one throughout my years in the military. Now the M-16 has been replaced, or more accurately upgraded, and has become the M-4, incorporating the lessons learned through years of use in the field.
Shortly after the first M-16s reached the field, the Armalite company came out with the civilian semi-automatic version, known as the AR-15. Today, this rifle, in all its variants, is the most popular sporting rifle on the market.
Who knew, when the M-16, AR-15 and M-4 hit the market, that they were based on the most versatile and adaptable gun platform ever? Yet today, there are so many models of this basic gun on the market that they defy counting. Not only are these variations different from a cosmetic point of view, but from a functional one, too. You can find AR-15s that are set up for short-range CQB or long-range sniper fire. There are even a couple of models out there that are classified as pistols, because they are built specifically for one-handed shooting.
But does all this variation make sense to you and me in a survival situation? Is it just eye candy, or will any of it actually help us survive?
To answer that question, we must first look at what survival shooting consists of. Basically, we can break this down into two separate things:
- Hunting for food.
- Defending yourself and your family.
Those two types of shooting are quite different. To start with, it’s rare that you’ll have animals walk up to you, asking to be converted into dinner. Hunting generally means long-range shooting, and in most cases, from 100 yards to 200 yards. While there are many hunting shots that are much further than that, the vast majority fall into that range.
On the other hand, defensive shooting is all short-range. While there are some who talk about shooting enemies at long-range, they haven’t taken into consideration the legal ramifications of that. It’s all but impossible to prove that anyone you shot at 400 yards was an “imminent danger to life and limb” unless they were shooting at you with a sniper rifle.
With that in mind, what we really need is a gun that’s good at close to medium range. While that’s still a lot to try and do with one gun, it’s much more doable than trying to build a gun that’s useful for both CQB and sniping.
Probably the most important thing you can do to make your AR-15 into a survival gun is make sure that you have good optics on it. Amazingly, many people spend a lot of money on their gun, but go for a cheap optics package. This isn’t limited to AR-15 owners, as it’s a common problem with big game hunters, as well.
Even so, there are several options to consider. For distances out to about 100 yards, a Red Dot or Reflex sight is the fastest and easiest to use. That gives you the ability to get on target faster than any other optics system you can put on a rifle.
But these sighting systems are limited range. Using a Red Dot at 200 yards is a lot like trying to use iron sights at that distance. At that point, you need a telescopic sight.
There are two ways of handing this. One is to use a system like the EOTech one, where you have a Red Dot sight with a telescopic sight that’s designed to work with it. While pricy, that gives you a lot of flexibility in one optics package. The other is to put an adjustable telescopic sight on your AR-15. While that’s not as quick to use as a Red Dot, it does give you the ability to work at multiple ranges.
Another thing you should definitely consider is to keep the iron sights on your gun, even when switching over to something more sophisticated. There are offset mounts you can buy for iron sights, which allow them to sit to the right of the telescopic or Red Dot sight. That way, you’ve always got something that you can use at close range, even if your battery goes dead in your other optics package.
One of the great upgrades that the newer AR-15s offer is a quad rail. This allows you to mount a plethora of accessories to your gun, some more useful than others. But probably the most useful of all (besides the optics) is a foregrip. Holding the forestock in the traditional manner is really not all that ergonomic, so your wrist will get tired after a while. A foregrip gives you a much more natural, comfortable way of holding the gun with your support hand.
I’ve got a foregrip with built-in laser sight and tactical flashlight. While I must admit that the laser sight is of limited use, it is nice having the ability to quickly acquire a target, even before raising the gun to my line of sight. The tactical light is handy for building clearing operations. Both can be turned on intermittently or left on, providing a lot of flexibility.
Keep in mind that any light you mount on your AR-15 will be able to be seen by any bad guys at a much greater distance, than it will reveal them to you. So you don’t want to walk around with a tactical light on, like you see in the movies. Rather, you want to turn it on briefly, catch a snapshot of what’s in front of you, and then move immediately, before anyone can shoot at where you were.
Some people mount a bipod on the rails of their AR-15, but that’s more of a sniper rifle accessory. Unless you are planning on doing long-range shooting, a bipod is nothing more than extra weight to carry around.
While the sling may not seem like an important upgrade to your AR-15, you’ll discover its true utility if you ever have to bug out. Carrying a rifle at the ready or even at port arms for hours is tiring. Those tired arms translate directly into inaccurate shooting. You can’t shoot accurately when your arms are shaking.
The newer one-point and two-point slings that they have available for the AR-15 allow you to carry the gun slung over your chest, rather than over your shoulder. A gun carried over your shoulder is not ready for use in the least. The seconds that it takes to unsling it and move it into firing position are critical. But with the gun slung across your chest, it only takes enough time to lift the gun into position.
4. Barrel and chamber
One point of discussion for many is what caliber is the best. I’m not even going to enter into that discussion, as most of what people say is nothing more than their personal opinion.
Barrel length is important, though. Since we’re talking short- to intermediate-range shooting, you don’t need to have a long one. The 18-inch minimum that the ATF requires for rifle barrels is enough. Please note that 18 inches includes the flash suppressor, only if you have it permanently attached to the barrel. That means welding it in place. Sticking with an 18-inch barrel prevents you from having to get a permit from the ATF for a “short-barreled rifle.”
5. .22LR conversion
While caliber isn’t important for most hunting or defense, there is one place it is important. That is, hunting small game. If you go with a 5.56mm/.223 chambered barrel, you can also buy a .22LR conversion kit for your AR-15. This kit consists of a bolt and magazine, allowing you to shoot the much cheaper and lower velocity .22LR ammo. With it, you can use your AR-15 for hunting small game, which will probably be much easier to find than large game.
What would you add to our list? Share your AR-15 thoughts in the section below:
It took me a long time to buy my first AK. Put off by stories of inconsistent construction, even among higher-priced brands, I hesitated for years. But in the fall of 2016 I had the opportunity to test a Molot VEPR FM-AK47, and came to find room in my heart, wallet and gun safe for my first AK platform rifle.
The VEPR won me over for several reasons. The first is construction. Its receiver and barrel are milled from thicker metal than most AKs, as it’s modeled on the RPK machine gun design. It’s tough, and less subject to damage from the heat that results from repeated firing. The downside of this is that it comes in at 0.5-1.0 pounds heavier than many AKs. Of the three FM-AK47s in the past several months that I fired, none have shown the construction flaws considered typical for the platform — front sights that aren’t in a plumb line with the barrel, crooked sight rails on the receiver, and out-of-round rivet holes are absent. The FM-AK47s I fired had none of these problems.
Though the manual for the FM-AK says that slightly offset front sight posts are to be expected and should not impact performance, this potential annoyance has been absent on each of the several new ones I’ve handled.
Made In Russia … And America
Another reason I’m a fan of this rifle is pedigree. It is manufactured in a small town in the state of Kirov, Russia. The Molot factory is well-known for its production of military and sporting arms. The FM-AK47 contains eight major components, not including the barrel, manufactured in Russia. In keeping with Statute 18 U.S.C. § 922(r), the 1968 Gun Control Act, certain complete firearms cannot be imported into the States. Thus, the FIME Group (Firearms Importers, Manufacturers, and Exporters) of Las Vegas, Nev., established a relationship with Molot wherein FIME creates and assembles the remaining necessary parts to make the FM-AK47. The rifle represents a genuine international partnership with a company within another country. It gives me the chance to know the world’s most common rifle platform as well as support American manufacturing. Win-win.
The FM-AK47 has earned my affection for what it has — and doesn’t have — in features. The rifle comes with a traditional AK cleaning kit, and the US-made polymer stock has a traditional trapdoor storage for that kit or other whatnots. In a break from tradition, it has no bayonet lug. Good for me, as if it did, I’d have the irresistible urge to install a blade and probably cut myself or my car’s upholstery. It has a sight rail mounted on the receiver (perfectly straight, I might add). It facilitates the rapid installation or removal of optics — a feature I’ve used extensively. Unusual for any AK product is an adjustable rear sight, with traditional meter markings. Should I be without a front sight tool, I can at least dial in elevation from the rear. The FIME Group-manufactured barrel is chrome-lined, another rare find for an AK.
How Does it Shoot?
Small arms designer and AK-47 creator Mikhail Kalashnikov was quoted as saying that, had he pursued his original career path of designing train engines, the machines would still have looked like AKs. The FM-AK stays true to the Kalashnikov vision with its solid black finish, ribbed handguard, no-frills appearance. Although looks can be easily changed, I think it fittingly hearkens the memory of a brilliant engineer.
All that is great, but how does it shoot? The answer: extremely well, for an AK. The rifle easily puts three rounds in a single hole at 25 yards, even with inexpensive ammunition. Some have criticized me for not testing accuracy at 100 yards; with my imperfect vision and no magnifying optic for the gun, I really cannot do it justice. However, I have managed to land all rounds in a torso-sized target from 100 yards in a qualification test, and that’s good enough to be confident that it’s effective at that range.
With the round count currently standing at about 600 through my copy of the FM-AK47, most of that ammo being cheap Tula Ammo, notorious for causing problems, there have been zero issues with firing or feeding. The rifle is inexpensive to run, un-fussy, and a lot of fun. The only issue I’ve had with the rifle is one of the traditional sling loops, made of something that resembles heavy wire more than steel, became bent with use. FIME Group replaced it promptly.
The FM-AK47 is more expensive than most entry-level AKs at $999.99. It’s substantially less than many premium brands, some of which have failed to deliver on expected construction standards. If you’re going to buy one AK in a lifetime, this is one that should last for several.
Have you ever fired an FM-AK47? Share your thoughts on this rifle in the section below:
Short-barreled rifles (SBRs) and pistol versions of popular rifle platforms are interesting niche firearms that are designed to bridge the gap between your pistol and your rifle.
Traditional rifles provide excellent long-range accuracy and firepower, but are not as effective for use in close quarters. Conversely, pistols are not considered effective beyond 50 yards, and even that can be a stretch for most shooters. This middle ground is where SBRs and pistol variants shine. They are roughly the size of a sub-machine gun, giving the user greater magazine capacity and accuracy than their pistol, without the size and weight of a full-sized rifle.
What is legally considered a pistol, rifle or short-barreled rifle can be somewhat confusing to the uninitiated. In a nutshell, the standards are as follows:
- A rifle has a total barrel length (including muzzle devices) of 16 inches or more, an overall length of 28 inches or more, and a stock.
- A short-barreled rifle has a barrel length (including muzzle devices) of less than 16 inches, and a stock. SBRs are regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA); they require a background check and tax stamp from the ATF to own. Not all states allow ownership of SBRs.
- A pistol has a barrel length of less than 16 inches, and does not have a stock. If a stock is added to a pistol, it becomes a short-barreled rifle, and is subject to ATF regulations under the National Firearms Act. However, the use of a stabilizing brace is permitted on a pistol.
While an SBR is the ideal midpoint between a pistol and a rifle, not every state allows you to own one. Furthermore, the process of getting an SBR takes months to complete, and having to purchase a tax stamp for the weapon adds hundreds of dollars to the cost of ownership. Consequently, many people will buy a pistol version of a rifle as an alternative to an SBR. While it’s not quite the same thing, it’s close enough for most shooters.
When considering a SBR or pistol variant, barrel length and caliber are important deciding factors. Most AR platforms come chambered in .223 Remington or 5.56mm NATO, but there are some models available in pistol calibers such as 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP. Other platforms, including the Sig MPX, CZ Scorpion, and variants of the venerable H&K MP-5, are offered almost exclusively in 9mm.
You should select your weapon’s caliber and barrel length based on the maximum distance you may need to engage a threat. In terms of rifle calibers like .223 or 5.56mm, the shorter your barrel is, the less effective your bullet will be over great distances. Comparatively, pistol calibers are most effective inside of 50 yards. If you want a weapon that is effective out to 150 yards, a 5.56mm pistol with a 10.5-inch or greater barrel would be ideal, whereas a 9mm with a 7.5-inch barrel would be perfectly adequate for 50-yard engagements.
An SBR or pistol with stabilizing brace makes a great addition to any bug-out bag or 72-hour kit. They are ideal for maneuvering in confined spaces, such as the inside of a home or vehicle, and are easily stored in a bag or backpack when not in use. Many people keep a pistol variant as a trunk gun, just in case they find themselves in a hostile situation while on the road. When placed in a bag designed for concealed weapon transport, such as the 5.11 Select Carry Sling Pack or Blackhawk Diversion Carry Racquet Bag, a pistol variant or SBR can be stored discreetly while still being readily accessible when needed.
Before attempting to purchase a pistol variant or SBR, consult your local gun store to find out what is legal to own in your state. While pistol variants are technically pistols, open carry of this type of firearm is strongly discouraged, as it will likely cause concern among members of your community, result in unnecessary attention from local law enforcement, and identify you to criminals as a potential target. If you intend to carry this sort of firearm in a bag, you may need to obtain a concealed pistol license. When going on a road trip with this type of firearm, research gun laws in the states you will be crossing.
Have you ever owned a short-barreled rifle or pistol variant? What advice would you add? Share your tips in the section below:
Anti-gun hysteria found its way to East Manatee, Fla., on Thursday when a school was locked down because a history teacher brought a replica of a Civil War rifle — that does not work — to class.
Braden River Elementary School and Middle School locked down after somebody saw the teacher with a replica of a flintlock rifle and called 911, EAGNews reported. The gun cannot shoot and has a musket.
“All clear Braden River Middle School,” the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office tweeted after the incident. “Turned out to be a teacher with antique rifle for class. Kudos to public for see something say something.”
Middle school principal Randy Petrilla said the incident was a misunderstanding.
“A teacher at our school brought in a Civil War era rifle for a demonstration in their class,” Petrilla told the Bradenton Herald newspaper. “This teacher had previously notified the school [resource officer] that he would be bringing the rifle to school. As he was bringing the rifle into the school this morning, someone saw him and reported it to law enforcement.”
Petrilla continued, “Law enforcement responded immediately and began searching the school and during that process it was established that the alleged threat was actually related to the teacher with the rifle.”
Parents were split on the incident. Some said that common sense was needed, while others said it’s better to be safe than sorry.
“In 1966 the Cadet Training Rifle was big,” Bill Gage wrote on Facebook. “Bolt action with wooden bullet. We’d bring our realistic looking wooden M1 to school and play ‘war’ at recess. Times have changed.”
What is your reaction? Share it in the section below:
Top AR15 Variants for Home Defense This article talks about creating rifles with alternate calibers in the style of the AR15 particular for home defense. There are many ways to protect your home and many weapons to do so. This article is written with a great authority on calibers and their effects within the four …
Takedown firearms, which can be disassembled for compact transport, are booming in popularity. Why? Who wouldn’t want long gun-scale effectiveness in a package that fits discreetly into a day pack or business case, or even under the truck seat? For hunting, varmint control and protection, these budget-friendly shooters are a great option.
Though takedown guns are available in high-power models, the focus for this article is lightweight models, usually in rimfire chambering with a couple of shot shell models thrown in. All are easy on the wallet. Within those parameters, here are five favorites
1. Ruger 10/22 Takedown
Sturm, Ruger, & Co. has a wise approach to business. Rather than peddle new guns that no one’s asked for year after year, they crank out new versions of proven ones. It’s a winning strategy that benefits the consumer. The internals of the 10/22, a 10-round semi-auto in 22 LR, are the same as ever. The takedown model comes with a handsome pack, a choice of finishes including but not limited to camo, TALO brights and tactical. Some even have a threaded barrel covered by a handsome flash hider. This little rifle delivers camp and prep-friendly convenience. Assembled, lengths vary by package, in the area of 35 inches. Weight is less than five pounds, unadorned by optics. New prices range from $250 to $550, depending on features.
2. Savage Model 42 Takedown
The Model 42, a longtime hit among small-game hunters, has been updated into a series of takedown models — regular and compact/youth. In any version, its over-and-under barrels offer the choice of firing 22LR or 22 Winchester Magnum on top, and .410 on the bottom. Its single action-only operation requires cocking the hammer, an element of safety for those who like to carry “hot,” as well as lending a traditional look to the profile. Another lever allows the user to choose which barrel fires.
A black synthetic stock features austere environment-friendly sculpting for easier grip and carry. The 42 Takedown is available in regular and compact models. Overall length of the compact version is 34.75 inches. An Uncle Mike’s carry pack is included. Although MSRP is $500, the Model 42 can be found new starting in the mid-$200s.
3. Chiappa Double Badger Takedown
With shoes and mopeds, consumers count on Italian design to be unique, with great quality. The same goes for guns. The first foreign entry on this list is Chiappa’s Double Badger. Unlike others featured here, it folds in half, rather than completely separating receiver from barrel. It is therefore a little harder to pack, as the V-shaped folded firearm takes up more space than the others. However, traditionalists will appreciate the classic look and feel of its lever-action operation and checkered walnut stock. Subtle but important modern touches include fiber optic sights. Like the Savage 42, it comes with 22LR/WMR and .410 or 20-gauge chambering. Chiappa sells a range of chokes to customize the shot pattern, too. A dedicated backpack is sold separately, which is a bit of a disappointment considering most others include the pack. Retail pricing for the Double Badger typically hovers in the mid-$300s, although feature-dependent pricing can push actuals $100 higher or lower.
4. Ruger 22 Charger Takedown
The second Ruger entry on this list is a short so-called pistol (okay, legally called a pistol) chambered in 22LR. The Charger has modern features like a Picatinny rail for mounting your favorite optic, and can easily be fitted with a bipod for stability, which is a helpful feature on this stock-less platform. It comes with colorful wood or synthetic furniture. The Charger’s 10-inch barrel breaks away from the lightweight receiver that features a pistol grip, making it a very compact package. Fully assembled, it’s only 19.25 inches long. Weighing in at 3.5 pounds, it’s also the lightest choice here, sans optic, which is necessary since it comes without front or rear iron sights. The Charger does have a threaded barrel, making it ideal for urban varmint sniping where legal. Unlike the 10/22, the standard magazine of this semi-auto holds 15 rounds. Ruger sells it with a hard plastic case. Although some accoutrements and effort are required to fire accurately, this is by far the most packable choice here. Some will take a shine to its non-traditional profile and will be happy to pick up a Charger/bipod set for under $400.
5. Browning SA-22
Stepping well into the zone of legacy, Browning offers several grades of its long-standing takedown model. For purposes of this article, we’ll discuss the plain and most practical Grade 1 SA (semi-auto) 22. The company makes a range of finishes, as well as centerfire models on the takedown platform. With a classic black walnut stock and 19-inch blued barrel, the SA-22 has a tubular, 10-round, bottom-loading magazine and crossbolt safety. It comes drilled and tapped for scope installation, or use the brass bead front sight and rear blade. At 37 inches with the 19 3/8-inch barrel attached, it’s the longest rifle on this list, but misses being the heaviest at just 5 pounds, 3 ounces. No bag is included. Expect to pay close to $500 for this classic. Also, expect it to hold its value for resale better than others presented here.
What is your favorite takedown? Share your thoughts on takedowns in the section below:
Survivalists who find themselves on serious budgets always will be faced with the problem of accumulating the gear they want within a price point that they can afford. Putting together a survival armory of guns is no exception.
Let’s say that you only have $500 to spend on guns. Many would say that with this budget, it’s A) impossible to build a complete armory that covers your bases, and, B) the guns that you do buy for your armory will be cheaply made or of low quality.
Both of these are absolute nonsense. While $500 is certainly not going to buy you as many guns as a $2,000 or $3,000 budget will, it’s still not impossible to gather the guns you need for this amount.
In fact, you will be able to acquire the three most important guns that you need for just $500. The specific models that you can buy may not be the fanciest examples on the market, but they are still reliable and will work well enough.
Let’s outline what the three most important categories of guns to have are, and then list an example of a make and model of gun that you can have in that category.
12 GA SHOTGUN – MAVERICK 88 ($180)
It’s hard to say no to a 12-gauge shotgun being the first gun that you own. The 12-gauge round is highly versatile. You can use buckshot for home defense, birdshot for target shooting and bird/small game hunting, and slugs for hunting bigger game such as deer or wild boar.
You also should ideally make your shotgun be a pump-action model over a single shot or semi-automatic, the reason being that you have more capacity than a single and greater reliability with feeding different types of rounds over the semi.
We’re going to cap off the price of a budget shotgun at $180, and the best model that you can buy for this price is going to be the Maverick 88 shotgun, which is the budget model of the world-renowned and highly popular Mossberg 500. While the Maverick doesn’t come with a lot of the same features as the 500, it is still highly reliable and more than adequate for defensive or hunting use.
Although the Maverick 88 usually costs around $200 for a new model, you can very easily find used ones for $180 or even a little less on online auction sites such as Gunbroker.com.
.22 RIFLE – MOSSBERG 702 PLINKSTER ($100)
No gun collection of personal battery of arms is complete without a .22 rifle, even if you only have $500 in total to spend. .22 ammunition is very small, meaning you can store and carry lots of it on you. It’s also a perfect round for small game hunting, plinking, general homestead use, and for introducing new people to the sport of shooting. If necessary, it could be used for self-defense, as well.
Normally, the three .22 rifles that I would recommend first would be the Ruger 10/22, Marlin Model 60, or Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22. Unfortunately, none of these options is going to work, since I’m capping off the price for a .22 rifle at $100.
At this price point, your best option will be the Mossberg 702 Plinkster, which can be found used for even $80 or $90 if you look hard enough online. The Mossberg 702 is available in a wide variety of configurations and comes standard with a 10-round magazine, although higher capacity 25-round magazines also are available.
9MM PISTOL – TAURUS PT111 G2 ($220)
We’re now left with $220 to spend on our final firearm, which absolutely must be a pistol. The pistol is the gun you will have strapped to your side at all times during a disaster scenario. You want it to be easily concealed. I also recommend in this case that your pistol be a 9mm, simply because it’s the cheapest and most plentiful pistol caliber there is.
The specific pistol that I am going to recommend at this price point is going to be a pistol I wrote about recently, the Taurus PT111 G2. While it normally sells for around $250 new at most sporting goods stores, a quick perusal on Gunbroker shows that it can be purchased new or used in good condition for the $200-$220 range.
The PT111 G2 is a compact firearm, which makes concealment easy, but is also large enough so that you can get a full grip on the weapon. It holds 12 rounds in the magazine plus an additional round in the chamber, which is plenty of firepower for defending yourself against multiple attackers. Reviews of the PT111 G2 have been mostly very positive, and owners applaud its reliability, ergonomics and overall value. And besides, it looks much better than a Hi-Point.
So, there you have it. For $500, give or take a few dollars, you should easily be able to acquire a solid survival armory. And they cover your bases: target shooting, home defense/personal protection, and small-game or big-game hunting.
What do you think? What would be in your $500 survival gun armory? Share your thoughts in the section below:
The 6.5 Creedmoor centerfire rifle cartridge was introduced by Hornady in 2007. It has taken a few years to catch on, but it has taken off like wildfire.
Earlier in 2016, I had the distinct privilege of being able to test one of Savage Arms’ offerings in the 6.5 Creedmoor — the Model 10 BA Stealth. While hitting a mark at 1,000 yards and beyond is often a sought-after benchmark for rifle shooters, today it has become almost commonplace.
I will have to admit, though, that the 6.5 Creedmoor has made that distance and beyond seem almost too easy. Don’t get me wrong; you have to do your part, especially if you have those nasty crosswinds. With relatively high sectional density and ballistic coefficient, 6.5 mm bullets, in general, are known for their success in rifle competitions. For some loads, the 6.5 mm Creedmoor is capable of duplicating the muzzle velocity or trajectory of the 300 Winchester Magnum with only minimal felt recoil. Along with its success as a competition and target cartridge, the 6.5 Creedmoor is exploding in popularity in the hunting and tactical markets.
The primary features of the Savage 10 BA Stealth in 6.5 are:
Factory blue-printed Savage Action.
- Monolithic aluminum chassis machined from solid billet.
- M-LOK forend.
- One-piece EGW scope rail.
- Fab Defense GLR-SHOCK six-position buttstock with adjustable cheek piece.
- A 5/8 x 24 threaded muzzle with protector.
- Detachable 10-round box magazine.
- Savage AccuTrigger.
The first day I had the Savage 10 BA Stealth on a long-distance range, I was hitting steel out to 1,000 yards. Admittedly I had the use of good ammo, American Eagle 140gr OTM (open tip match), a great optic — a Bushnell Elite Tactical LRS 6-24x first focal plane scope — and I made use of a good ballistics table. There seems to be quite the discussion on the gun blogs of the effective range of this cartridge, from as little as 400 yards and out to 1,200-plus yards. Suffice it to say with the right ammo, 400 yards is child’s play with 6.5, and in the hands of a good rifleman, 1,000 yards-plus is attainable for many.
There is a wide selection of good factory ammo and volumes of data for reloaders. Muzzle velocities for the 6.5 are in the 2700 to 3200 fps range, depending on bullet weight and load.
With the aforementioned Savage Stealth in 6.5 Creedmoor (Savage offers the Stealth in 308 Winchester, also) I personally took a mule deer in New Mexico this past November during legal deer season. Using Federal Fusion 140 grain soft point, I made a 327-yard uphill, one-shot kill and the deer never moved. I say this while holding the greatest respect to the animal and only to point out that the 6.5 Creedmoor is, in fact, a very suitable cartridge for the hunting environment.
If you’re looking for an ultra-flat shooting cartridge with mild recoil and want to challenge yourself at the 1,000-plus yard mark, the 6.5 Creedmoor is worthy of consideration. And I’m still enjoying the venison sausage in case anyone is wondering!
Have you ever shot anything – even a target — from 1,000 yards? What were you using? Share your tips in the section below:
Analyzing 4 of the Best Military Surplus Rifles In this age of newest, biggest and best its hard to imagine anyone would read this article and consider using older military surplus rifles. Still, there is something that trumps the aforementioned, and that is your budget. If you are looking for a rifle and do not …
Multi-caliber firearms have great appeal. Here’s a look at five choices of revolvers and long guns that add versatility to your gun collection while making your ammunition dollars stretch further.
1. Any .357 Magnum revolver
The 357 Magnum load boasts a fast-moving, heavy round. Although I don’t subscribe to the notion of stopping power, at least as it compares in importance to shot placement, there’s no denying that this caliber delivers tremendous impact, and commensurate recoil. Ammo isn’t terribly pricey for self-defense at approximately 50 cents per hollow-point round, but for practice, it can be both uncomfortable and costly.
Pick up some 38 Special full metal jacket (FMJ) for practice and plinking, and your 357 Mag revolver will serve as both a range and self-protection gun. This cartridge is the same diameter, but shorter, with a smaller powder charge than 357. Using 38 Special is also a great adaptation to make shooting more comfortable for arthritic or injured hands.
The Ruger GP100 is a popular and proven full-size 357 Magnum revolver that most people find pleasurable to shoot, even using the bigger cartridge. Prices are typically in the $600 range for plain models. Ruger’s carry-friendly LCR (lightweight compact revolver) is also available in 357. Expect snappy recoil from that one using 357. The LCR is priced in the $400 range, with many bargains available.
Safety and shopping notes: The 38 Special cartridge can be loaded into a 357 Magnum firearm, but the 38 Special handgun cannot be loaded with 357 Magnum ammunition. Similarly named 357 Sig and 380 are calibers designed primarily for semi-auto firearms, and are NOT cross-gun compatible to 357 Mag/38 Spl.
2. Taurus Judge revolver
This hefty Brazilian revolver can shoot 45 Long Colt or 2.5-inch 410 shotshell loads, or a mixture thereof, from its five-chamber cylinder. It’s available in barrel lengths starting at two inches, up to 6.5 inches — and there may even be a few in circulation that are even longer; these are just the lengths I’ve seen students bring to class. There’s no getting around the big recoil with the big cartridge. Suffice to say, the two-inch barrel model should be avoided by people with achy hands.
The Judge is very popular as a home-defense weapon. Its weight makes it impractical for daily carry, though there are surely some folks who manage to do so. The 45 Long Colt is expensive to purchase; defensive loads often cost in excess of $1 per round. On the other hand, 410 gauge shells, popular for use with the Judge as a defense against venomous snakes, can be picked up for less than 50 cents per round.
Usually found in the mid-$400 range, prices vary widely with the Judge depending on features and finish. In my experience, they require more frequent repairs and maintenance when fired regularly, thanks to the stresses of high-pressure rounds cycling through a comparatively small weapon. Nonetheless, Judge owners who embrace the “bigger is better” philosophy seem to glean a sense of security from having this model in the nightstand.
Safety note: Responsible self-protection includes proper target identification. None of the models mentioned thus far include an auxiliary light rail. A flashlight is therefore a needed accessory for dim-light defense. For most people, handling and flashlight and a 40-ounce loaded revolver are mutually exclusive activities.
3. Bond Arms derringers
Moving to the physically smaller end of the spectrum, Bond Arms of Granbury, Texas, makes a line of derringers with barrels ranging from 2.5 to 4.25 inches. Not only do the barrels range in length, but they range in caliber, as well. The same firearm that fires 22LR also can fire 45 Long Colt, as well as most popular handgun calibers in between, regardless of whether the case is rimmed or not. Quite an innovative design!
Bond Arms derringers have a two-round capacity, and are extremely compact. They’re big on Texas style — easy to conceal but lovely to behold. Firing them does require some familiarization, even for experienced shooters, as their single-action operation with cross-bolt safety and downward-favoring trigger press are out of the ordinary. Recoil from Bond’s short barrels and larger calibers is severe, but smaller calibers are easily managed, so a range of barrels will allow the entire family to enjoy one gun. A Bond Arms derringer will cost from $450 to over $1,000 depending on model. While extra barrels are priced between $100 and $200, the company runs half-off specials on barrels around the holidays.
4. Savage Model 42 over-and-under rifle
This old standby by Savage Arms of Massachusetts is versatile, and although it’s a classic platform, its looks have been updated with a modern synthetic stock. In addition to being ideal for small game, the 42 is a good snake/varmint control tool. Some will consider it their choice for home defense, too. It weighs just over six pounds, and is a modest 36 inches long including the 20-inch barrel. It’s therefore easy to handle for everyone, including the elderly and young shooters. People in both of these groups have made good use of “squirrel guns” in necessary home defense encounters.
The break-open action allows the user to load 22 Long Rifle, or 22 Winchester Magnum, depending on model, in the top barrel, and a 410 gauge shotshell in the lower barrel. A lever allows the user to choose which barrel fires. Add a scope for longer-range action on small game or coyotes. There’s no magazine, so extra ammunition must be stowed or carried.
MSRP on the Model 42 is $500, but expect real prices to be lower. Used models can be found for less than $200, and the high $300s can net a full-featured new Model 42 with a synthetic stock that will last a lifetime.
5. Frontier Tactical War Lock Multiple Caliber System and Rifles
Frontier Tactical is by far the youngest manufacturer on this list. Based in Florida, this veteran owned and operated business invented a new system that brings multi-caliber ease to the AR sporting rifle platform. The AR platform is already highly customizable, but the War Lock eliminates the time-consuming process of replacing complete upper receivers, or the removal/disassembly of the barrel requiring a shop and tools. With their $600 Multi-Caliber System 2-barrel kit, your AR15 can quickly switch calibers, to load and fire your choice of over 90 common or not-so-common calibers: 17 Remington, 17-223, 20 Practical, 204 Ruger, 223 Remington, 25-45 Sharps, 300 AAC Blackout, 5.56mm NATO, 6.8, 6.8 SPC, 6.8mm Remington SPC II, 6x45mm, and American 30 BHW. The War Lock even allows adaptation of the AR to pistol calibers, a way to save money on practice and perhaps make your handgun ammunition double as rifle fodder.
Frontier Tactical’s system is offered for regular and free-float barrels, but some firearms may still not be compatible due to manufacturing differences. Check with them before purchasing a conversion system for your own AR15.
Just starting as an AR owner or just want a whole new multi-caliber rifle? Frontier Tactical’s FT-15 War Lock Entry Carbine comes with War Lock components. It’s priced at $1,300, chambered in NATO 5.56/.223 Remington for starters.
Whether your choice is a model that’s been around for decades, or a newer platform that milks more mileage from your existing gun or ammunition supply, multi-caliber capability can increase the usefulness and economy of your trigger time. Options listed here are some, but not all, on the market today. More choices will likely crop up in the coming year.
Safety first! Always be sure you’re loading compatible ammunition into your firearm.
What is your favorite multi-caliber firearm? Share your advice in the section below:
Ammunition prices, where provided, were sampled from national retailer Lucky Gunner.
An almost two-year quest led me to the goal of finding the most versatile 22 long-rifle ammunition on the market. After trying rounds from CCI, Remington, Federal, Winchester, Norma and a host of others, I settled on one brand: Gemtech subsonic to meet just about all of my rim-fire needs.
If you learned anything about ammunition over the course of the past several years, it should be that the availability of 22 long-rifle ammo is very volatile. It can be in abundance one day and gone within an hour, not to be seen at normal prices for as long as a year.
I am fortunate to live in a part of the country where even 22 LR ammunition shortages are fleeting, but it got me thinking:
As a hand-loader, I can make any type of ammunition I need, from 22 Hornet to 50 BMG. I can size for peculiar chambers, download for revolvers and produce hot loads for machineguns or subsonic loads for silencers.
Unfortunately, there is not much I can do about most rim-fire loads, beyond using whatever I have available.
This can be problematic, as hyper-velocity loads will not be effective through my suppressors and subsonic or match loads will not always cycle my semi-autos, let alone subguns.
I set out to find the one 22 load that would fit most, if not all of my purposes, and the result was surprising, to say the least.
During the shortages and the hoarding, the word “subsonic” threw off many shooters who were lead to believe that it was little more than a CB Cap-type round or CCI “Quiet” load. Most people did not think it would cycle the bolt on their Ruger 10/22s, or feed in their pistols. I found that it would, with a suppressor or without.
The velocity is 1,020 fps, which is subsonic and only 50 to 100 fps below standard velocity 22 LR. The engineers at Gemtech wisely determined that this would cycle the majority of semi-autos out there without the supersonic crack.
These rounds are loaded with 42-grain lead bullets, with no jacket or plating, just a moly-type coating that acts as a lubricant to aid in feeding. Gemtech worked with CCI on a clean-burning powder to use in the subsonic load to eliminate unburnt powder and fouling problems associated with rim-fire ammunition. It is probably the cleanest 22 ammo I have ever fired, period.
I tried it in a variety of pistols, including a Beretta Model 71, Smith & Wesson Model 41, SIG Mosquito, Benelli MP95E and a Walther PPK. Moving on to rifles, it functioned flawlessly in a pair of Ruger 10/22s, a Smith & Wesson M&P 15/22, and best of all it was consistently accurate. In some cases, I was shooting sub 1-inch groups at 50 yards.
Moving over to bolt-action 22s and 22 revolvers, I had zero complaints. The round remained consistent, accurate and reliable. Most importantly, it lived up to its name and kept the sound levels low.
My shooting experiment was not completely trouble-free, however. I had a few problems getting it to run consistently in a full-auto Uzi with a 22 LR conversion kit and using it in an Armalite AR-7 gave me a few failures to extract/eject.
Aside from the Armalite notoriously being a finicky beast, the cycling through the Uzi also was less of a concern. In a real preparedness situation, I am probably not going to be shooting up 22s at the rate of 1,450 rounds per minute. We just want something accurate, reliable and quiet going through our suppressed Savage M93 or Beretta M71.
So should another panic start up and you are looking for something to hold onto in order to keep your 22s running, check out Gemtech Subsonic in 22 LR. Don’t blow it off as a pipsqueak JV type of rim-fire round.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts in the section below:
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The popular Remington Model 700 rifle has a manufacturing defect that can cause it to fire without the trigger being pulled, experts told CBS’s “60 Minutes” during a Sunday broadcast.
Some owners of the iconic bolt-action rifle report that it can fire rounds on its own when the safety is off.
Thousands of owners have complained that the Remington 700 has gone off even though they did not pull the trigger, a class action lawsuit in federal court in Missouri alleges.
The attorneys general from 10 states wrote the judge, claiming “there are potentially as many as 7.5 million defective rifles at issue.” Additionally, the letter says, “Remington knows or should know … they are unreasonably dangerous.”
At least two people have been killed by potentially defective Remington 700s, “60 Minutes” reported. In 2011, 16-year-old Jasmine Thar died instantly when a round from a Model 700 hit her in her grandmother’s yard in Chadbourn, N.C.
The rifle’s owner, ex-Marine and experienced hunter James Anthony Blackwell, testified under oath that the gun went off on its own. He was across the street.
“Do you, Anthony Blackwell, believe that you pulled the trigger?” he was asked.
“Do you think you touched it in any way?” he was asked.
Blackwell was not charged or convicted.
Story continues below video
But in another state, 15-year-old Zac Stringer of Enon, Miss., was convicted after he was holding a Remington 700 that fired and killed his brother, Justin. Stringer is serving a 10-year prison sentence for his brother’s murder, but his father, Roger Stringer, believes he is innocent. The dad testified against his son at the trial but changed his mind about the murder when he learned more about the rifle.
Zac Stringer said he only was trying to scare his brother.
“And I started to stand up off of the couch and when I — when I bent at the waist and started up, I heard a click,” Zac Stringer said during the broadcast. “And it went off. And I remember the fire leaping from the barrel. I remember seeing it hit. It was — half his head was gone.”
Roger Stringer did not know that Remington had gotten 200 complaints about Model 700s going off on their own. The alleged defect relates to a trigger mechanism, the X-Mark Pro.
The father now blames Remington for the death.
“I’d never heard of a gun going off without a trigger being pulled. It made no sense,” he said, explain why he testified against his son.
The controversy is not new. In 1994, attorney Roger Chaffin won $17 million in a lawsuit against Remington. He filed the suit on behalf of a man whose foot was hit by a round from the rifle. That rifle had a different trigger, the Walker.
Remington has received nearly 2,000 complaints about the Model 700 in the past four years.
What do you think? Have you ever witnessed a Remington 700 firing without pulling the trigger? Share your thoughts on the controversy in the section below:
When you’re in a sudden SHTF situation, a lot of things will probably go through your mind. Have you prepared enough? Do you have enough food? Does your family have enough protection? Do you have a plan? Will you survive? One of the most important things to consider if ever caught in a survival situation […]
Heizer Defense, famed for its fashion-forward, rifle-caliber derringers, will break new ground in late April.
At the U.S. Concealed Carry Expo, the company will release its first semi-auto pocket pistol, called the PKO45. As the name implies, it is chambered in 45 ACP.
Heizer reps call this a concept gun in which every feature is the interpretation of an ideal. Company founder Charlie Heizer has aching wrists from his cycle racing days, so central to construction was recoil management. With that in mind, the bore axis is set extremely low, with the guide rod being on top of a fixed, stainless steel barrel.
Like other Heizer Defense firearms, the entire gun is made of aerospace-grade stainless steel. It should be an extremely durable shooter. It has a tidy profile, just 0.8 inches wide, with snag-resistant edges all around. It weighs 25 ounces unloaded. Heizer says the PKO45 is the thinnest of its caliber on the market.
Operation is single-action only, with an internal hammer. True to single-action design, it has a grip safety — but not where expected. It’s on the front of the grip, just under the trigger guard. The recoil spring and slide are built for easy racking, another accommodation to hand injuries.
Magazines come in five- and seven-round capacity, both included with purchase. The mags are built on a Kimber body, with a Springfield XDS follower, and capped with what might be the industry’s first 3D-printed baseplate — a Heizer Defense invention.
There’s an easy-to-operate safety lever on each side of the frame. I’m all for equality, but given the ease with which most manual safeties can be disengaged from the side of a handgun that’s exposed when the gun is holstered, a changeable lever would be preferable.
Hi-Viz sights are standard; TruGlo sights are an optional upgrade that I’d invest in were I purchasing a PKO.
Heizer Defense guns are known for standout finishes, and that tradition continues with the PKO45. Color choices are called copperhead, ghost grey, champagne and tactical black.
During the fall of 2016, I got to shoot a seven-round mag of ammo through a test model of the PKO45. It is indeed accurate; the trigger has a good feel and reset, akin to an off-the-shelf 1911. If I have to have a grip safety, this front-strap style would be my choice; my palms have hollow spots that sometimes disengage a backstrap grip safety just enough to cause an occasional malfunction.
Despite their abiding affection for big calibers, Heizer Defense is planning on meeting popular demand for a 9mm version in the near future. That one will be one to watch.
The PKO45 carries a $999 MSRP, with $849 predicted as the actual price. With its pricing and radically different styling, it won’t be for everyone. But those who choose a PKO45 will likely find it’s tough enough to last a lifetime. And there’s great peace of mind knowing it’s made in the USA by a family who understands that the United States of America is still the land of the free. The memory of political oppression in Hungary always will be fresh in the mind of Charlie Heizer, immigrant and Heizer Defense founder. His appreciation of the opportunities available in this great nation has been passed down to his children, who as adults now operate the business he established.
Would you consider buying a PKO45? Share your thoughts on this new gun in the section below:
We recently took a look at a few old-school “survival rifles” but found them lacking in some respects due to either reliability or accuracy. As times change and rifles improve, there is always a new contender for this role and we may have found it in this next rifle: the Ruger 10/22 Takedown.
It may not be as iconic as a Winchester lever-action or the new heir-apparent to the title of America’s rifle (the AR-15), but millions of these rifles are owned by millions of Americans and in many instances they were often a “first rifle” to introduce someone to shooting.
Like a Chevy small-block engine, they can be customized with match triggers, heavy barrels, thumbhole stocks or you can drop one into an after-market stock to make it look like a bull pup rifle or even a Thompson SMG.
However, at its heart this rifle was always compact, lightweight and most importantly, reliable. That’s all the qualities you would want in a survival rifle. Someone high up at Ruger recognized this and a few years ago the company began offering the venerable Ruger 10/22 in a takedown format, specifically for the modern prepper and survivalist.
Original versions of the rifle gave you two choices: stainless or blue. However, as the company listened to their customers, we have seen new versions emerge in various camouflage patterns as well as threaded barrels.
The threaded barrel is a key component for adding a silencer (also known as a sound suppressor), and this improvement made it perfect for what we look for in a survival rifle.
In case you are not familiar with the 10/22 platform, it is a semiautomatic rifle chambered in 22 LR that has similar lines visually with the M1 Carbine. Originally they shipped with an innovative and indestructible 10-round rotary magazine. The takedown versions we have seen come with a longer 25-round magazine.
The receiver is drilled and tapped for a scope mount and the barrel has a rear sight mounted close to the chamber and a front sight by the muzzle. Ruger includes a scope mount and a carrying case in which you can store the rifle, broken down. The case is made well, aside from the single nylon strap, but we upgraded ours with dedicated pack straps for ease of backpack carry.
One of the first things we do is remove the barrel band. It really serves no purpose beyond looks and coming from a background in precision shooting. We do not like anything touching our barrel that might affect harmonics. Our other gripe is that the rifle has no sling swivels. We still regard the sling as the most important accessory for any rifle, not only as a means for carry, but as an aid in accuracy.
When it comes to accuracy we found the “fly in the ointment.” The scope mounts to the receiver and while the barrel is removed by pushing a button and twisting it out, every time you remove and reattach the barrel you will have to re-zero the rifle. The shift in point of impact may be minimal, but if you are using it to forage for wild game as it was intended, that will almost certainly cause you to miss a small target.
But the iron sights, being contained on the barrel, remain more consistent than any optic we have tried over the past few years.
Unlike the other survival rifles we reviewed, the Ruger 10-22 Takedown is available with a threaded barrel. A good 22 silencer really makes a difference with this rifle over everything else. We have had success running a Gemtech Outback II-D, Underground Tactical Little Puff, and a Q El Camino. However, the 16-inch barrel does add velocity to the rounds unless you use subsonic ammunition.
Some readers may be shaking their heads at the thought of using a 10/22 in a disaster or end-of-the-world scenario. Consider this: In a true disaster that causes people to bug out to the rural areas for an extended period of time, there will probably be no deer population left. Your AR, AK, FAL, SCAR, 30-30 or whatever else you thought would make you king of the mountain may be nearly useless on whatever is left in the form of squirrels, rabbits or chipmunks. Thus, the 10/22 may be the perfect fit.
Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts on the Ruger 10/22 in the section below:
In the world of low-caliber rifles, the G22 Bullpup is a great choice. The rifle is accurate, sleek, and reliable. For survival applications, such a rifle may be lacking. No matter how cool the rifle, how can you expect a .22 LR to be a workhorse? This gun will never be powerful enough to bring down big game or seriously deter assailants. Even with 11 round mags and quick reloads, the G22 Bullpup simply does not have enough utility to be a contender as a survival rifle.
By Sam, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & Survival Cache
Outside of more pragmatic uses, the G22 is great. As a plinking rifle, the G22 is a wonderful choice. The gun is accurate, lightweight, and features rails for after-market customizations. For these reasons alone, the G22 is well worth adding to your armory. Whatever you do, don’t expect the G22 to bail you out in a survival situation. Unfortunately, the G22 is no longer commercially available but it can still be purchased used.
|Weight||95 oz (2.7 kg)|
|Length||28.4–29.5 in (72–75 cm)|
|Barrel length||20 in (51 cm)|
|Width||2.2 in (5.6 cm)|
|Height||8.7 in (22 cm)|
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A survival rifle is typically a minimalist rifle that can be broken down and stored in a vehicle, boat, aircraft or backpack and brought to use as a “last resort” firearm for taking wild game. As such, it is typically chambered in calibers like 22 LR, 22 Hornet or 410 shotgun. A typical survival rifle is not the ideal firearm for big-game hunting or home defense. This is something to have when you may need it most. One of the most popular designs was built by Armalite as the AR-7.
The concept of a survival rifle goes back to World War II. Pilots who were shot down but survived behind enemy lines were mostly lucky to have a revolver or maybe even an M1911A1. Those might be good for personal defense if you had to parachute into no-man’s land, but what if you had to bail out on a deserted island with no food prospects?
One of the first answers to these was the M4 Survival Rifle, made by Harrington & Richardson with a 14-inch barrel and wire collapsible stock. These were chambered in 22 Hornet and stowed under the pilot’s seat. They were replaced by the M6 Aircrew Survival Weapon, which was an over/under 22 Hornet/410 shotgun combination.
In the 1950s, Eugene Stoner of Armalite came up with the AR-5, a takedown bolt-action rifle chambered in 22 Hornet and all the components were stored in the rifle’s butt stock. The Air Force never picked it up in an official capacity, but the research and development enabled Armalite to improve the idea and develop a semiautomatic 22 LR version for the civilian market.
By making the majority of the rifle from aluminum, Stoner was able to reduce the weight dramatically.
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The AR-7 breaks down into four components: action, magazine, barrel and stock. The entire rifle can be stored in the stock – it’s about 16.5 inches long that way — and is capable of floating in the water in this state for a brief period of time.
Armalite built them in three variants (camo, brown and black stocks) from 1959 to 1973 and in my opinion, these are the best of the breed. Although never adopted by the U.S. Military, they were built to a MILSPEC standard when the standard still meant something.
In 1973, the design was sold to Charter Arms, which made it until 1993. Charter Arms offered the AR-7 Explorer in black, woodland camouflage and a “silver” hard chrome plated version. In the 1980s it offered an Explorer pistol, which resembled a Mauser Broomhandle pistol, but was chambered in 22 LR and used many of the parts from the AR-7 rifle.
You get a mixed bag with a Charter Arms AR-7. Some work great and some are ammunition sensitive; others are complete junk. They may represent the majority of AR-7 rifles in the wild and are most likely the source of the rifle’s less-than-stellar reputation with some shooters.
In 1996, the rifle was offered by Survival Arms of Cocoa, Fla. Information is scarce on this entity, but in all likelihood it was simply an offshoot of Charter Arms to set the rifle apart from the revolvers the company was more famous for offering. They seemed very similar to the Charter Arms rifles I had tried.
A few years later the rifle showed up on dealer shelves with the markings: “AR-7 Industries, LLC of Meriden, Connecticut.” I have not tried one of these models, but heard that Armalite Industries bought the company out and dissolved it for whatever reason in 2004.
Henry Arms picked up the design around that time and has been making the AR-7 for more than a decade. While early rifles had some feeding problems, the current versions have shown a lot of improvement.
For one, they ditched the fiberglass stock (which was prone to cracking on every other variant, including Armalite) and went with ABS plastic. The butt stock has room to store three magazines instead of one (the trick is to leave the third magazine in the action).
Most importantly, they eliminated the old-style aluminum barrel with a steel liner, which had a tendency to bend or warp and opted for an all-steel barrel, which may weigh a bit more but increases accuracy and reliability. In addition, all of the rifle’s parts are coated in Teflon, and they added a legit scope rail to the top of the receiver.
If you have been intrigued by these rifles and are thinking about one or two for your preps, I recommend Henry’s version, first. It was made with all the right upgrades and it is relatively inexpensive. If you’re looking at a used rifle, I would recommend Armalite or AR-7 Industries over the versions by Charter/Survival Arms.
With quality magazines and quality ammunition, these rifles work as intended. The other half of the problem may be over their use. That is, these were never meant to be taken to the range every weekend to see how fast you could burn up a brick of 22 rim fire. I like to think of them in the same way I think of the “mini spare” tire in a car.
It’s enough to get you home, but you don’t want to run the Indy 500 with it.
Have you ever shot an AR-7? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the section below:
If you have ever spent any time at all on a survival or firearm forum, you are bound to come across the phrase “Buy it cheap, and stack it deep”. This phrase is, of course, referring to the amount of ammunition one should have if disaster strikes. After years in the shooting community, I have heard many reasons people stockpile ammunition for emergencies. There are really only a few loons out there who prepare for impossible and downright foolish reasons. One guy, I met really believed in an alien invasion followed by an Illuminati takeover.
Sure, there are always a few crazies, but there are many normal people who do have a fear of what could happen in our increasingly volatile world. Like it or not, we have to admit that this is not the 1990s anymore and we are seeing an increase in danger daily. The economy can be compared to a savage ocean. ISIS is rampaging through the Middle East and their sympathizers are attacking innocent people in the USA, Europe, and Canada. Iran’s nuclear program. The riots following Trump’s election. I could go on.
In fact, I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the question, “how many rounds should I have on hand in case something happens?” If you read the forums and even some articles, a lot of armchair generals and self-described “experts” say you need to amass 100,000 rounds per caliber, minimal. And while 100,000 rounds is an impressive amount of ammunition, enough to fight a small war, it is completely insane to think you will ever need that much ammunition. Well, if you are going to invade a small Caribbean nation, go ahead and pursue your 100,000 rounds. With the price of ammunition today, you’ll go broke.
Related: Surviving Alone
In all truth, it is impossible to see the future and know how much ammunition you will need. My crystal ball stopped working a long time ago. But I doubt you will be engaging in a firefight after firefight with gangsters or looters every day in a survival situation. Even if you did, what are the odds of you surviving dozens of gunfights? I have done my best to put together a realistic minimal goal for ammunition needs during a survival situation. The focus here is of course hunting and defense.
A .22 is about the most versatile firearm when it comes to food procurement you can own. From squirrel to a feral cat, a .22 can put meat on the table for you and your loved ones during hard times. I strongly suggest everyone have at least one reliable .22 for emergencies. The bare minimal I believe you should have is around 1000 rounds of .22 ammunition. Ideally, 2-5,000 rounds are best. Buy .22 in bulk, in tubs of at least 500 rounds to purchase cheaply.
A .12 gauge or .20 gauge should be something every gun owner owns in addition to a .22 long rifle. A shotgun can be used to kill waterfowl, turkey, game birds, and with a slug or 00 buck loads can be used to kill the larger game and be used in home or self-defense. I strongly recommend pump action guns as they are by far some of the most reliable. To be wise, I would say one should have 2 barrels for each shotgun unless the shotgun is a dedicated home defense weapon. If it is a hunting shotgun, you should have a longer “bird barrel” for shooting bird shot, and a smoothbore “slug barrel” for shooting slugs and 00 buck loads. I suggest at least 300 rounds of game loads such as number 6s or 7s, 50 turkey loads, 200 slugs and 200 rounds of 00 Buck.
The Big Game Rifle
If in addition to a shotgun and .22, you are blessed to own a game rifle, this can be a real tool in keeping your family fed. If it all goes downhill, a game rifle can, of course, be used to hunt game, and it can also be used to hunt feral cattle, pigs and other such domesticated animals that tend to go feral in dark times. For every game rifle I own, I like to have at least 100-200 rounds of game loads. More if you can afford it. If your rifle is properly sighted in, 100 rounds can last you years of procuring larger animals for food.
The Semi Auto Sporting Rifle
In the USA, this includes AR-15s, AK-47s, AK-74s, and so much more. These are not the true assault weapon. In Canada, these usually mean the SKS, M1A/M-14, M1 Garand, and maybe an AR-15 kept for target and competition shooting. A true assault weapon by the true definition is a rifle chambered in an intermediate cartridge that has the ability to switch between semi-automatic and full automatic gunfire. In truth, the inner-workings of these firearms are no different than a semi-automatic hunting rifle.
Read Also: Quick Buyer’s Guide to Imported AK Market
These rifles are highly versatile and can fill the role of both home defense firearm, personal defense weapon, game rifle and varmint rifle. If you only have 1 gun, one of these are your best options. If you have a rifle with a detachable magazine, be sure you have at least 12 magazines. That is my minimum. If the firearm you have is an SKS, M1a, Garand, or any other semi auto that uses at least a 5 round magazine, you probably have noticed they are bullet eaters. In fact, a semi auto can eat more ammunition than a college kid eats pizza.
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Developed for use in the famous Model 1873 “Trapdoor” Springfield rifle, the 45-70 cartridge has managed to remain popular and in regular use for nearly 150 years. While commonly regarded as a big-game load – it has been used on African safaris to take elephants — it can serve as the ultimate survival round with a little care in loading and understanding, thus making any .45-70 firearm into a one-gun-does-it-all game-getter.
It originally was issued with a 405 grain bullet over a 70 grain black powder charge, but later versions included rounds with a lighter 55 grain powder charge for carbines, and a 500 grain bullet over 70 grains of powder. Any of these loads would be devastating on large game, and the full power loads suitable for even buffalo or large bear. These loads, developed with black powder pressures, are commonly referred to as “Trapdoor” loads, indicating their suitability for guns that cannot handle higher pressures. These include the many original and replica Springfields running around, and certain older Harrington and Richardson single shot rifles, and such.
However, stronger actions have been developed, and many modern .45-70s can take higher pressure loads made with smokeless powders — typically Marlin and Henry lever-action rifles, and .45-70 pistols. These loads are sometimes called standard or intermediate loads, and should never be shot in Trapdoors or old black powder rifles. Moving on up are loads for strong-action rifles, such as the Ruger Number 1, and the NEF Handi Rifle. When shooting these high-pressure shoulder bruisers, it is important you only shoot them in guns warranted by the manufacturer of the ammo or gun as suitable for high-pressure loads.
After the .45-70 was invented, it didn’t take long for the Army to issue so-called “forager rounds.” These are .45-70 cases loaded with a shot-filled wooden bullet and issued for hunting game, and also where we start exploring the world of the .45-70 as an all-around survival cartridge. We are probably familiar with “snake shot” or “rat shot” rounds for the .22 and some common handguns, and the same concept can be scaled up for the .45-70, and will successfully take game out to a few yards. While it’s no long-range game-getter, it is suitable for taking small game at realistic ranges. Since these sorts of shells have to be made by hand, some experimenting with powder and shot charges will be needed to find the right load for your gun. While not a substitute for a traditional small-game gun, these will work, and are the first step into creating a survival loadout for your favorite .45-70.
We also have the “collar button” bullets. Developed to allow troops to practice marksmanship indoors with a low-recoiling round, these 150ish grain bullets are easy to shoot, accurate and more importantly, can be used to hunt all sorts of game, saving both powder and lead. This is another case where the patient handloader will have to get molds, cast their own bullets and work up a load suitable for their rifle and their needs.
Beyond this, there are a huge array of 300-500 grain bullets suitable for the .45-70, and depending on the powder charge, suitable for literally any living creature walking the face of the earth. With a little care and effort, a person with even a trapdoor Springfield can have a survival weapon that will harvest everything from small to big game.
The .45-70 firearms have been made for a century and a half in this country, and the popularity of this round shows no signs of abating. It is not only a classic American cartridge, but it is rich with the history and romance of the Old West and has proven itself in combat and survival situations. The well-equipped homesteader or prepper gains another advantage with the .45-70, in that it was originally a black powder cartridge. If you have a supply of lead and primers, you can make your own powder, and turn your big bore rifle into the ultimate off-the-grid shooting iron.
As an added bonus, nearly every .45-70 made falls into some sort of “traditional” looking form, be it single shots or lever-action rifles. These are commonly seen as “safe” in the eyes of anti-gunners, and are rarely targeted for increased regulation or confiscation. It is possible that in some horrible future, your old buffalo gun might be the only firearm you can openly own or discuss, and combined with the huge array of loads for it makes it an excellent under-the-radar gun.
While not as sexy as an AR-15, or cool as a modern tactical bolt-action rifle, with the right loads, the .45-70 has been feeding and fighting for America for generations. It is an unbroken line of culture and defense handed down from our ancestors to the present day, and if you listen closely, you, too, can hear the wisdom of keeping that big boomer around for another generation.
Do you agree or disagree? Are you a fan of the .45-70? Share your thoughts in the section below:
Dear survivalists and preppers, have we gone AR and AK nuts? Hey, you know what, there are viable alternatives to the multi-round, mag latch, muzzle flash black guns so often associated with the bug out movement. For one, this author contends a good ole reliable, lever action 30-30 has a role to play in our survivalist work. Sometimes the best choice is the most iconic one.
If you’re into such things, you can revisit the original lever action rifle developed in 1894. The Henry “load once, shoot all day” rifles, among other efforts, pre-date the early Winchesters that ‘won the American west‘. The 30-30 came a year later as the first American centerfire smokeless powder load.
Even today, the so-called aged 30-30 Winchester remains the benchmark deer hunting cartridge mainly because it delivers ample killing power at reasonable ranges. Still widely available in factory ammo loads using 150-170 grain bullets, the 30-30 is no magnum, but is still effective.
The Outfit that Fits
A lever action 30-30 rifle is a versatile bug out rifle for woods, field, or ranch. It can be used for protection, patrol, varmint control, and hunting. These rifles are generally lightweight, handy to wield, and easy to shoot with low recoil. It is just as useful for protecting the bug in residence. The common variety 30-30 lever gun offers a 20-inch tube with some models sporting carbine, or compact rifled barrels. The under-barrel magazine tube holds 5-6 rounds with one additional loaded in the chamber. Sure, not a mag change, but cartridges are easily inserted into the side action loading gate. Lever action cycling is fast, effective, and accurate. What’s more, the lever action rifle is a reliable, well-tested choice. The lever gun is a good alternative fit for many preppers.
Related: Ruger Charger Takedown
As promoted, the typical lever action rifle is a handy tool. It is straight-forward in its use with no complicated buttons, switches, releases or other distractions. This rifle format is easy to load, operate, and chamber. The lever action is a positive camming action that rarely fails to work.
Normally, the external hammer is positioned in a half-cock safe position prior to fully cocking the hammer for firing. Many of today’s new factory lever guns also offer a slide bolt safety lock that is simple to manipulate. First time and experienced shooters will find the lever gun easy to operate. The mechanism becomes second nature.
Barrel lengths of lever guns vary from short carbine lengths of 16-inches to the factory standard barrel of 20-inches. There are some models that have longer tubes and some with intermediate barrel lengths. Shop for what you can handle best.
Lever guns most often come supplied with factory installed open sights, usually a simple buckhorn adjustable sight dovetailed into the barrel. The forward front sight can be a simple ramp or hooded ramp to reduce glare. Most current production lever guns have the upper receiver drilled and tapped for installing a scope mount for an optical riflescope.
Lever guns weigh in the neighborhood of 6-7 pounds, loaded. Many models have sling swivel studs to install a shoulder sling for ease of carry or for shooting support. They are not cumbersome to tote and can be pressed into service quickly and smoothly onto a distant target. A sling can be carried across the chest to free up both hands for other tasks, yet the rifle can be rolled out of the carry mode and easily shouldered for shooting.
Lever guns usually come with wood stocks but newer versions are now offering black synthetic buttstocks and forearms. Rifle finishes vary from a standard blued metal, matte finishes, or stainless steel models. Select the features that suit your needs and applications best.
The Lever Gun Market
Lever action rifle models are currently available from Winchester, Marlin, Rossi, Mossberg, and Henry Repeating Arms. These manufacturer’s offer models in 30-30, smaller handgun equivalent loads, and heavier loads like the 45-70. The 30-30 remains the moderate alternative.
A new lever action rifle is going to set you back from $450 to upwards of $600, maybe slightly more. They are certainly cheaper than most AR rifles. Sales on lever guns can be found and shopped. Gun shows will have new and used rifles. If you go the used route, just be certain you are confident the rifle is in excellent condition. Stay clear of rifles with rust or an abusive appearance. You’ll know an overused gun when you see it.
To be honest, the typical lever action 30-30 rifle is no AR-15. But, let’s not get lost comparing apples to oranges. The obvious distractor could be the loaded ammunition capacity. However, load up the magazine, put one extra in the chamber and use a buttstock ammo holder to carry six more rounds on the rifle. That is plenty of ammo for hunting and deterring threats. Put twenty more rounds on belt loops or in an easy access pouch on your carry backpack. It sure beats lugging along a half dozen AR mags in a heavy, hot front carry vest. ARs definitely have their places, but not all the time. Preppers should always be open to alternatives; adopt them and adapt to them. Is the 30-30 lever action rifle an ideal set up? Well, no. It probably isn’t ideal for every bug-out or bug-in application. But, it is another choice worthy of serious consideration. Easy to operate, carry, deploy, shoot, and maintain, the 30-30 lever gun has a lot going for it.
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I’ll admit it readily; I’m a gun snob of the highest accord. I like my guns classy, old, and made of walnut and blued steel, forged and carved by craftsmen from a different era. I’m not saying that I don’t have and use ARs and polymer-framed pistols – I do; they are my “oh shit” guns, and I use and abuse them properly. What I am saying is that if I don’t need to be using that high-capacity new-age gun at a given time, I’m not gonna. Though the AR platform is great for a small-to-medium-game hunting platform, I’d rather ditch the “Rambo” vibe and carry something with a “soul” when I decide to head into the woods for an afternoon of scouting, hiking, or snowshoeing. A well-used and -loved decades-old rifle on my shoulder feels to me like it’s bringing company; call it corny, but I like to think that a small part of every man, woman, and child who ever had that gun in their hands comes with me when I carry these old firearms around. It’s comforting and warming to me – and modern milled-and-molded aluminum and plastic guns just don’t give me the same warm and fuzzy feeling.
To that end, I get picky on the guns that I buy; I’m not an accumulator like many other self-proclaimed gun snobs I know. I buy quality items sparingly, and use every gun that I buy. If a firearm doesn’t perform, just isn’t quite what I had in mind, or falls by the usage wayside, it gets sold or traded off. Too many guns is wonderful, but it’s a maintenance and security liability I don’t want to deal with. So I only buy firearms that I connect with – both literally and figuratively.
The “Walking Around Rifle”
Like the infamous “Scout Rifle” concept idea put to words by the immortal Jeff Cooper, the idea that came to be dubbed my “Walking Around Rifle” probably needs some explanation. While my conceptualization wasn’t quite as specific as Mr. Cooper’s to-the-letter explanation, the idea in my head had to fulfill certain requirements. The idea was kick-started by my sighting of a rifle at a local gun shop – a rifle I didn’t know I needed until I saw it. It was a Savage 23D, a featherweight middle-sized sporter in the elusive and under-appreciated .22 Hornet caliber, manufactured somewhere between 1923 and 1942. The smooth, warm oil-dark walnut with the worn checkering called to me, as did the detachable magazine and slightly worn bluing. The rifle sported an inexpensive Simmons 3-9x scope, probably weighed all of six pounds, and wore a price tag of $350.00. It was lust at first sight. Soon, visions of popping deer-chasing nuisance winter coyotes with the quick-handling rifle were dancing in my head.
I then committed a major gun-buyer faux pas: I didn’t put money down on the rifle. Heating season was coming up, the baby needed winter clothes, and I just couldn’t justify putting bill money down to nab the rifle. (being an adult sometimes isn’t all it’s wrapped up to be). So I put it back in the rack and justified my actions by thinking “surely nobody will want an old .22 Hornet”.
I was wrong. I went back a couple weeks later to find that surely someone did indeed want an old .22 Hornet, and they had wanted it the day before I walked in the door with money. So I was back to the drawing board to come up with a snazzy, lightweight firearm to fill the new hunting/hiking void I’d created in my head.
I sat down and listed my criteria. The needed requirements were few, but relatively specific.
- Caliber – centerfire, flat-shooting, capable of downing small and medium-sized game. I hand-load, so ammunition availability wasn’t too much of an issue as long as I could find brass and it was in a common bullet caliber.
- Bolt-action or break-open, for less moving parts and lower potential for breakage/wear. Likely higher potential accuracy as well over lever actions, pumps, and semi-autos.
- Provision to mount optics, namely a high-quality fixed low-power scope.
- Provision for backup fixed sights – because optics can fail, even good ones.
- Light(er) weight – I didn’t want to pack around a 9 pound rifle – so I was looking for a scaled-down action and lightweight makeup
- Unique if possible, made up of blued steel and walnut – I had to assuage the inner gun snob, after all. I could have sourced a new Remington Model Seven Synthetic in .223 and it would have fit this bill to a T – but it just doesn’t appeal to me. I wanted something less than commonplace.
Why Did I Want a Walking Around Rifle?
I realize some may not see the need for this rifle, and I can understand that. Why carry around a rifle that really is somewhat limited in purpose and versatility, especially when the bug-out AR-15 fits the bill? Why not a bigger rifle/caliber combination, like a .308, that is more capable over a wider array of situations?
Related: The Katrina Rifle
This rifle requirement all stems from what I like to do. My woods time is usually comprised of keeping up to date with bug-out locations, exploring, hunting coyotes, or – most frequently – scouting deer patterns for an upcoming whitetail deer season. A rifle is handy to eliminate pests, use as a signalling device, or even provide security. The rifle has range and accuracy capabilities that far surpass even the most precise handgun, at the price of added bulk. However, when snowshoeing and scaling mountainous countryside with a pack, the added bulk can be a burden – so I needed to be picky about the size and contours of the rifle. Semi-auto firepower wasn’t a requirement – in all likelihood, the rifle won’t even be fired on most excursions – so precision and unobtrusive carrying qualities take precedence over lots of fast follow-up shots.
To sum things up: My rifle’s mission was to be portable,and have more punch and range than a .22 Long Rifle or similar rimfire caliber. The .22 LR works well as a small-game foraging rifle, but just doesn’t possess the additional horsepower I wanted to have available.
So Why These Requirements?
Caliber – Here in Maine, the need for a large caliber to pull anti-animal duty only runs a couple of months – usually September, October, and November, when black bear and whitetail deer season are open, to the delight of local and imported sportsmen. The remainder of the year, most traditionally edible game animals are not legal quarry. Porcupines, woodchucks, coyotes, and red squirrels are the only critters that Maine allows sportsmen to pursue year-round. For these animals, a large caliber rifle just isn’t needed for clean kills. Certainly, a .22 Long Rifle can be considered viable for vermin dispatching duties at appropriate ranges. However, once the ranges open up past 50 yards, the stalwart .22 LR’s and even the .22 Magnum’s meager ballistics start becoming a hindrance, and clean kills are not certain. So we need to start looking at the centerfire family of cartridges to carry the fight to undesirable fur bearing creatures (or even emergency anti-deer use) at longer distances. The .22 Hornet, .222 Remington, and .223 Remington/ 5.56x45mm are all cartridges that were squarely in my sights. Surely, the .22-250, .220 Swift, .204 Ruger, and .17 Remington would have all been good, even excellent, at what I wanted – but since I reload, I wanted smaller, efficient calibers that didn’t burn a ton of powder (eliminating the .22-250 and .220 Swift), and were in bullet diameters that I had on hand – namely the common .224” bullet (there goes the .17 Remington and .204 Ruger.). I briefly considered older-though-still-cool-and-sort-of-useful calibers such as the .218 Bee, .25-20 Winchester, and .32-20 WCF, but the difficulty and expense of finding brass cases to reload, plus their lackluster long-range performance, put them out of the running once my brain overrode the romanticism of using the old calibers. So .22 Hornet, .222 Remington, and .223 Remington/5.56mm were the main focus. Rifles chambered in these smaller cased-cartridges also have the benefit of sometimes of having the action scaled down to the caliber – so you’re not lugging around a full-sized rifle that’s just a modified version of a full-sized short-action rifle meant for the .308 class of calibers.
Action Type – Again, though I had an AR-15 that would fill this made-up mission quite nicely, I just didn’t want an AR over my shoulder while hoofin’ it. I’ve shot deer with a Windham Weaponry AR-10, and while it worked very well on a certain 5-point buck, it just didn’t feel right to a guy who grew up carrying leverguns and bolt actions in the woods. Also, once I shot said deer, carrying the AR became a whole bunch of not-fun: the brass deflector and charging handle kept digging into my body, the Picatinny rails caught clothing and abraded it, and the tall profile just made sure there was more surface area to get in the way. Purpose-designed traditional hunting rifles are generally lower-profile, smoother, sleeker – easier to carry once you don’t need them anymore and you’re dragging 170 pounds of dead ungulate weight behind you.
Also – a reasoning that has somewhat more validity – bolt-action and single-actions are USUALLY more accurate than their semi-auto, lever, or pump counterparts. Yes, I know that there are hideously accurate semi-autos, and I’ve shot running deer at 150 yards with a lever action – but the bolt gun will be a bit more effective on little target critters at further distances due to its higher level of intrinsic accuracy. There are always exceptions to rules, but this is a statement I decided to bank on, based on personal experience and expected usage for the rifle.
Optics/Sights– This is a no-brainer. I need to be able to scope the rifle for longer-ranged shots. However, I like redundancy in my firearm sighting methods, so I’d like to be able to have the provision for iron sights. Scopes fog up, batteries run out, slips and falls leave firearms crashing to the ground (probably onto the largest, harshest, most abrasive rock in three counties) and optics get jarred out of alignment or damaged. A backup set of iron sights – no matter how rudimentary – is just a nice piece of security to have.
Lighter Weight– Again, another no-brainer. The less your rifle weighs, the more likely you will have it with you, and the more convenient it will be. The scaled-down action size of the smaller calibers I was looking at help a lot in this department. I almost bought or sought several different firearms that neatly fit the bill; they were all quite capable and fully met my needs…I just never seemed to pull the trigger (pun intended).
I was drawn to the CZ 527. A nifty little scaled-down carbine with a detachable box magazine, it comes in .22 Hornet and .223 (and interestingly, 7.62x39mm Russian…interesting…). But they are difficult to find ‘round these parts due to their popularity and immense handiness, and I ended up finding my solution before I found one of these.
The H&R Handi-Rifle was a great option, too – and I almost ordered one up. They are rugged, dependable, no-nonsense, inexpensive break-open single-shot rifles that feature interchangeable calibers by swapping out the barrels. I’ve had a lot of fun with these rifles over the years, and they certainly hold a special place in my heart. They come in .22 Hornet and .223, (and lots of other calibers and gauges) with black synthetic stocks that lend themselves well to a beat-around rifle. I know it wasn’t walnut or terribly unique, so I kept looking despite the utility.
The Remington 799 is a scaled-down version of the fabled Mauser 98 action, and if I had seen one in .22 Hornet, .222, or .223 (all standard calibers for the rifle), I might have scoffed one up in a heartbeat if it was of decent quality – I had never actually seen one, but the specs look good. Of course, another Savage 23 or a Winchester 43 would have been lovely – but alas, not for sale in my neck of the woods.
The Solution Presents Itself
After the mildly devastating loss of the vintage Savage .22 Hornet, I was on the hunt. No gun shop in the locale was safe from my perusal. There were lots of options that would have fit the bill, but Captain Gun Snob was being fussy. I wanted something a bit different….
Read Also: Sig Suaer MPX-C Review
One day, my wife and I were skimming through the local Cabelas, and somehow she actually followed me into the gun library (it hasn’t happened again since, I’ve noticed…). She was present at my side when I sucked in a deep gasp and quickly opened one of the upper glass cases to reach for the gloriousness of a rifle that had caught my eye.
A 1950’s-manufactured Sako L-46 “Riihimäki” in .222 Remington, complete with graceful full-length “Mannlicher” style stock, detachable 3-round magazine, and vintage steel-tube El Paso Weaver K4 fixed 4x scope in Redfield Jr. rings had my complete and undivided attention. I fell in such instant and complete lust with the trim, beautiful little rifle that I didn’t even care if my wife saw the $1,199.00 price tag (which she did). I put the rifle on layaway, and a few too-slow weeks later, the rifle came home with me. My wishes had come true and the fun began.
I stocked up on factory ammo and empty brass where I could find it, and I’ve spent a very joyful past few months developing a handload that shoots well. I also replaced the charming (but prone to fogging) Weaver K4 with a vintage Leupold M8 fixed 4x scope that is a perfect match for the rifle. A canvas sling was added, and the rifle has reached “perfection” status in my eyes. It propels a 50-grain Hornady soft-point varmint bullet at 3200 feet per second out of the 23-inch barrel, and can group 5 of them into a neat 1-inch cluster at 100 yards. The rifle has a hooded front sight, and I found an ultra-rare Redfield scope mount with an integral flip-up aperture rear sight. It rides delightfully next to a pack on my shoulder or in my hand,and fulfills every one of my requirements. I’m a happy camper, mission accomplished!
Yeah, But Does This Have Anything to do With Survival?
Some of you may just view this as bombastic gun bragging, and maybe it is to a small degree. But more than that, I’m trying to portray that there are other options – quality, graceful options – out there to fulfill the needs of the forager/scout/pest control mission. I know that for many individuals, the AR-15 or other military-type platforms are distasteful, impractical, unneeded, or unwanted, and commercial hunting rifle offerings punch the ticket nicely. The AR and other platforms are truly versatile and may be a better way to go if you’re on a one-gun budget for SHTF-type needs, but if you have other plans for scouting, small-to-medium game hunting, or pest eradication post-SHTF, why not have another rifle that doesn’t use your stockpile of “oh no” ammo? Why not have a rifle that says “Hunter” or “Rancher” instead of “Prepper” or “Survivalist” or “Military”? And truth be told, the day may come when your AR-15 or similar rifle may not be able to see the light of day due to legislation; you’ll still want to be able to have a quality, accurate rifle on your shoulder that is capable of pulling off multi-mission duty and not set off alarms. A rifle that shares a common caliber as your SHTF rifle may be a great idea too (like the CZ527 carbine in .223 to compliment your AR). Just food for thought.
What do you think? Do you have a secondary/scouting type rifle in your plans? Or does your situation and prepping make a rifle such as this unnecessary? Sound off in the comments!
Photos Courtesy of:
Lauren Nicole Photography
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Todd’s Note: This is a guest post by Vitaly Pedchenko, owner of Rem870.com.
A pump-action shotgun is without a doubt one of the most versatile survival shotguns in the world. One of the reasons for its versatility has to do with how well it performs and the multiple environments it is suitable for. When you operate the weapon, your hand will go on the specially designed handgrip near the stock while your other hand goes on the forend. From there, you just pump the forend back to eject the shell from the chamber that you just used and then pump it forward to replace the shell with a new one.
Pump-action shotguns are used for a variety of activities such as hunting, home defense, law enforcement purposes, survival, and even for stopping riots with non-lethal ammunition. Let’s take hunting, for example. If you are hunting deer and you see one running by in the distance, you may only have a couple of seconds to react before the deer runs away. That means you’ll have to hit the deer on your first try or else it’ll run away and you’ll lose the opportunity to get him. With a pump-action shotgun, you have multiple chances to shoot the deer within a much shorter timeframe. This increases your odds of hitting him before it can get away. As for home defense and law enforcement purposes, these can be a matter of life and death. If an intruder or suspect starts shooting in your direction, you’ll need to fire as many shots as you can to scare them off or incapacitate them. The pump-action shotgun is the most reliable in these circumstances and can result in your life being saved because of it.
Gun enthusiasts often refer to pump action shotguns as slide-action repeating shotguns because it describes how you slide the forend back to extract a shell and then pump it forward to load a new shell into the chamber. These shotguns only use a single barrel which is located on top of the tubular magazine that the shells go into. This is how the pumping of the forend is able to take shells out of the magazine tube and place them into the chamber. Of course, you have the option of replacing the forend with a better one if you know how to do so. Some shooters like to have forends with grips on them so it is easier to hold it more securely while they’re using the weapon. If you want to get really fancy, then you can even mount a tactical flashlight to the forend so you can see in the dark. Some forend upgrades, such as the Surefire Light Forend, features a light integrated right into the forend so you don’t even have to mount anything to it.
If you are a newbie to shotgun ownership, then you will find it easier to perform maintenance on the pump-action shotgun. Activities such as cleaning the bore and chamber of gunpowder residue and debris are much more simplified with the pump action shotgun. When it comes to firing the weapon, it will take a lot of practice to get comfortable with it if you’ve never fired a pump-action weapon before. After you have gotten enough experience operating it, you may want to perform certain upgrades on it that may be necessary for repair purposes or just because you want to customize the weapon to fit your needs. For example, a lot of shotgun owners get tired of the factory stock, forend, controls, barrel that came with their weapon. They’d much rather upgrade these parts to ones that allow them to use shotgun more comfortably. Making these upgrades is a piece of cake with the pump action shotgun.
There aren’t too many disadvantages with pump action shotguns. The only real disadvantage is that you cannot add a detachable magazine in order to reload the weapon quickly. You can’t just pop out the magazine and attach a new one like you can with most rifles and some other shotgun types. But if you are just using your pump-action shotgun for hunting or home defense, then it shouldn’t be an issue. On the other hand, if you truly need to extend the ammunition capacity of your shotgun then there are tubular magazine extensions you can add. But it will still take some time to reload them after you use up all the ammunition that they hold.
After reading Howard’s article about the new gun control laws in California, it struck me how the left never really gives up on any of their goals, no matter how unpopular they might be with the majority of the population. Gun control is a prime example. In spite of liberal politicians claiming they won’t touch our guns, these recent examples show that to be a lie.
Even if the citizens of California vote to overturn those laws, there is surely other restrictive legislation waiting in the wings. I’m convinced the legislation and regulations are written in advance by far-left activists, are filed somewhere handy, and then dragged out whenever the political climate might allow them to become reality. Of course, a liberal judge is always right there, ready to wield his or her power in support.
The fact that there are hundreds of millions of both firearms and firearm owners is immaterial. Enemies of the 2nd Amendment can and will come after our Constitutional rights from every conceivable angle. They’ve been doing that for decades. While we stand firm on the rights guaranteed to us in the Constitution, they are chipping away at the foundation with fervor and focus.
This has lead me to wonder if my kids will be able to buy firearms when they reach adulthood. This California law, in particular, worries me:
Assembly Bill 1135 and Senate Bill 880 would make changes of monumental scale to California’s firearm laws by reclassifying hundreds of thousands of legally owned semi-automatic rifles as “assault weapons.” This legislation effectively outlaws magazine locking devices, more commonly known as “bullet buttons”. As of January 2017, all AR-type of firearms and even some hunting rifles will no longer be legally sold in the state. There is still a lot of confusion about the law. Depending on the way it is interpreted, it may even cover M1 carbines.
If you register your gun as an assault weapon, there are draconian limitations on how you own and transport the gun. You can never sell, give, lend, or trade an assault weapon to another person. Nor can you hand down an “assault weapon” to your spouse, children, or grandchildren. Upon your death, it is turned over to the state for destruction. If you move out of the state, you cannot move back into the state with your guns.
This law focuses on the “assault weapon”, but what’s to stop other categories of firearms from being included in similar laws down the road? I can easily envision a future in which the purchase of firearms and ammunition become so onerous that few will make the attempt. As well, if simply giving firearms to our children becomes outlawed, then the 2nd Amendment dies by the time they come of age.
So what can we do now to insure that our children and grandchildren have access to firearms in the future?
First, we need to make sure the next generations fully understand the importance of the 2nd Amendment and why it was included in our Bill of Rights. In fact, a good education in our Constitution and Bill of Rights is vital. If you’re looking for a good book to use with your kids or grandkids at home, this one is highly recommended.
One of my life mottos is, “There’s always a work around.” In the case of these draconian laws, with more on their way, it might be very wise to begin equipping our kids with a selection of firearms and gifting them now, rather than wait until additional laws are passed which would outlaw that simple gesture.
Most of us would probably agree that the following firearms are the basics:
- .22 rifle
- 12-gauge shotgun
- Pistol of a common caliber (9mm, .40, .380, etc.)
- Revolver of a common caliber
- AR15 Et al.
We can quibble over specifics, but overall, this is a decent selection, along with plenty of accompanying ammunition. If you’re concerned that your children and grandchildren may not have the chance to purchase firearms, why not begin making those purchases now? Private sales if at all possible, of course.
The firearms could be locked away until the kids come of age, but they would be there, nevertheless. Think of it as a sort of 2nd Amendment Hope Chest.
This solution isn’t for everyone and may not be your cup of tea, but our 2nd Amendment rights are under fire every single day and in every way. Liberals/progressives will never, ever stop. Yes, I know how many gun owners are in the U.S. and how many guns are out there, but laws such as these recently passed in California show the very creative, imaginative ways our rights can be limited and, eventually, extinguished.
If you agree with me, how would you put this plan of action into place, and if you disagree, explain why. I welcome your comments and opinions.
The post A Simple Way to Protect Your Child’s Second Amendment Rights appeared first on Preparedness Advice.
Let me start by saying that it is your responsibility to know the gun laws of your state and how those laws relate to carrying a firearm in your vehicle. If in doubt, do your research!
For the purposes of this article, I define a carbine as a short rifle with an 18-inch or shorter barrel. The stock may be fixed, collapsible or of folding design. I do not limit this discussion only to semi-auto actions, as you soon will discover.
So why carry a carbine in a vehicle? Because anything I can do with a handgun I can do better with a short rifle. Another reason: I just plain admire and love carbines.
In a vehicle, I have limited space in which to move. If I must fight or defend myself from within or around my mode of transportation, the ability to move with ease can become challenging with all but pistol or carbine. I give myself a huge advantage with the extended barrel length, stock weld to my shoulder and sight radius the carbine offers. Plus, in most cases there is a greater distance and accuracy capability in part due to the high velocity rifle cartridges of most carbines.
There are countless applications for a carbine when it comes to a survival situation. So in my estimation, the carbine has a place in every single vehicle I own. I have carried a carbine for decades while traveling roadways in this country. (I currently reside in a western state that has no law prohibiting a long gun, loaded and accessible, inside the car.)
With all the above in mind, let’s take a look at some possible choices for carbine carry in a vehicle.
1. Trapper model lever action.
Between various manufacturers (Winchester, Henry and Rossi, to mention a few), there are many caliber choices here, including the 357 and 44 Magnum. My choice in the past was the old, trusted 30-30. In the short Trapper model (16-inch barrel), this little lever gun is ideal for carry inside a vehicle. It is also very flat-sided, making it quite simple to position between the seats for easy access. I carried this carbine many miles in this manner, and still do on occasion. In 30-30, it’s an effective cartridge out to around 200-300 yards. If there is a downside to this package, it’s the tubular magazine capacity of five rounds in the 30-30 cartridge.
2. AR platform pistol
Here I am speaking of such platforms like the Sig P516 with the “arm brace.” In the 10-inch barrel, chambered in 5.56, this platform provides wonderful in-vehicle access and mobility while still allowing the shooter to have a point of contact to the shoulder if the need arises. While there have been some discussions as to the legality of this pistol being fired from the shoulder like a carbine, in an immediate threat environment I will opt to do what needs to be done.
The “pistol” does come with an ATF compliant letter stating the arm brace is for arm support to the pistol, thereby not requiring a NFA permit due to the short barrel length. There are numerous platforms available that allow for this shortened barrel in conjunction with a non-traditional stock or “pistol brace.” The ability to use a standard 20-, 30- or even 40-round magazine makes these systems ideal for vehicle carry. My condolences to citizens of those states who are under such extreme government regulation that you are not allowed standard magazines for your own defense!
3. M1 30 carbine
This carbine platform has been around since WWII. With an 18-inch barrel and magazine capacity of 15 or 30 rounds, this 30-caliber semi-auto has a muzzle velocity of about 1,990 feet per second. It has seen military and police service around the world. While perhaps not the most ideal cartridge, it certainly fits the bill for a quick access carbine inside a vehicle and is quiet enjoyable to shoot.
4. Kel-Tec Sub2000
Moving into a pistol cartridge in a short carbine (16.25-inch barrel), it would be hard to argue of the maneuverability and ease of access this little package offers. Standard offering is 9mm and 40 S&W. The Sub-2000 uses Glock magazines and consequently will accept the extended 33-round 9mm and the 22-round 40 S&W versions. Another handy feature is the ability of this carbine to fold in half for extreme covert carry. It’s very easily carried between the seat and console right next to you while driving.
5. Kel-Tec CMR-30
Another innovative offering from Kel-Tec is the CMR-30 in 22 Magnum (16-inch barrel). This hot little rim-fire cartridge has been used over the years for everything from bringing in the camp meat to self-defense. I like the CMR-30 because the stock system telescopes flush with the back of the receiver. It comes standard with a 30-round box magazine. Aside from a great vehicle carry gun, if you are thinking survival, couple this with the Kel-Tec PMR-30, the accompanying pistol that takes the same mag, and you have an excellent survival package.
As I previously stated, this is a short list of carbine options available. I do have personal experience with each of the above listed platforms and know they carry well inside a vehicle. Bottom line: Carbine carry in my everyday transportation is the rule, not the exception.
What would you add to the list? Delete from it? Share your firearm advice in the section below:
The Krag-Jorgensen rifle was the first smokeless rifle officially used by the US Army. It is a five-shot bolt-action rifle that was first adopted in 1892 and was made obsolete by the famous Model 1903 Springfield.
The Krag saw use in the Spanish-American War, where its slow reload time and lower pressure cartridge was shown to be inferior against the Mauser rifle, and it soldiered on through World War I in the hands of the National Guard and as a rear-line weapon. Some even made it to France in the hands of railway troops, and there is one case of it actually being used in WWI combat. In a nutshell, the Krag served the US in two wars, and was a National Guard staple in the early 20th Century, yet this peculiar rifle has faded out of common memory.
So why bother? For one, Krags are classified as antiques and all are Curio and Relics, making them very low on the gun-grabbing agenda. My own personal Krag was made in 1896, making it an antique that is nearly unregulated by the ATF, yet it shoots a pretty effective .30 caliber round. The Krag also is a marvelous hunting rifle.
The Krag itself is a strange firearm, loading from a side-mounted box magazine that has to be flipped open to drop individual rounds into it. However, since the ammo feeds from the side, the Krag has a buttery-smooth action that isn’t hampered by dragging on rounds pushing up from a box magazine, but we’ll touch on that again in a bit.
The round itself is a very interesting round. Loaded with 40 grains of period smokeless powder and using a .30-caliber bullet, it is commonly sold as .30-40 Krag, although before the advent of the 1903 Springfield, it was sold as .30 Government. More powerful than the ubiquitous .30-30, the .30-40 Krag is still weaker than the 7mm Mauser it faced during the Spanish-American War, leading the Army to develop a high-pressure round that turned out to crack Krag receivers.
Today, the .30-40 is a rather obsolete round. While commercial lever-action and single-shot rifles were made in that round well into the 20th Century, and some modern guns have been made in it, it remains obscure due to the age of most guns firing it. We are long past the glory days when surplus Krags were dirt-cheap, and what remains are sporterized guns made when they had little value, or valuable unaltered military issued guns. The unusually smooth action of the Krag made them very popular as a hunting rifle, and even today you can find a sporterized Krag for about $200-$300 depending on the quality of the work and if the gun can be readily restored.
Perhaps you have a dusty old Krag that belonged to your father or grandfather, or you found one cheap at a pawnshop with a cut-down stock and barrel, or maybe you just like weird guns. Either way, the Krag has an awful lot going for it, as long as you can feed it ammo. The best thing about it is that it uses a standard 7.62mm bullet. As long as you load in acceptable pressure range, you can take advantage of the incredible array of .30-caliber bullets available to the reloader. You can load the .30-40 to velocities approaching 3000 FPS with a light 100-grain bullet, or develop energy of about 2,200 foot pounds with a 150-grain bullet moving at about 2,500 feet per second. Either way, it isn’t a shabby round, although a modern .308 can do all that and more.
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As mentioned earlier, it also is a great hunting rifle. The round is capable of taking almost any game in North America (.30-40 lever-action rifles were very popular in Alaska before the development of more powerful smokeless hunting rounds, and were popular purchases for those taking part in the Klondike Gold Rush). While the round is decent, it’s the action that is amazing. The first time I cycled my Krag’s action I fell in love. Never have I handled such an amazingly smooth bolt-action. There is almost no drag, and the bold glides in the action like a fine piece of machinery. If you can find a sporterized Krag beyond restoration, or a complete action, it can serve as the basis of a fine hunting rifle.
Ammo itself is expensive — nearly $2 per round retail when you can find it, but more readily is made from shaping .303 British brass, or buying regular .30-40 brass on the rare moments it is sold. I built up my brass supply the painfully expensive way by buying factory ammo, but unless you are going crazy with your loads, or want to shoot thousands of rounds a year through your rifle, you don’t need a lot of brass.
In correct military form, the Krag can be a valuable rifle, especially a correct carbine. In unsalvageable sporter form, it is a strange rifle shooting a strange round that can become a workhorse hunting rifle if you are willing to invest the time and effort to keep it shooting. These rifles served the United States for a long time, and then became classic hunting rifles. They are obscure, but a joy to shoot, and their extreme age makes them legally advantageous in the face of growing attacks on our right to keep and bear arms, while the handy 7.62mm bore gives them a utility far beyond their age. If you have a Krag, it is worth the bother to make it shoot again, and if you like playing with something different, hunt down an old sporter to play with. No matter what, though, this forgotten rifle can once again give excellent service if you let it.
One of the best things about the AR-15 platform is the amount of options available to shooters today.
Owners can customize the rifle to their own needs with thousands of aftermarket options, from grips and stocks to barrels, sights, rails and other accessories. The AR-15 is of the most user-friendly rifles in the world, and all of these modifications can be performed with basic hand tools. For the ultimate “custom rifle,” the AR-15 can be completely built from the ground up.
Some authorities on rifles will point out that manufacturers are continuously responding to the needs of buyers and that virtually any configuration desired by a shooter can be had in a factory configuration. This is sound advice, as most “home-built” AR-15s can quickly approach the cost of a custom rifle and will not have any warranty or other method to protect the buyer in case of error. The $100-$300 saved can be of small solace if the rifle has a part that is out of spec, causing a catastrophic failure.
However, some shooters look at building their own rifle as more of a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction rather than force of economics, if only for the bragging rights of being able to say: “I built it myself.”
Let’s take a look at the specifics of building an AR-15, concentrating on a few tips that always make the job easier.
How to Build an AR-15: Lower Receiver
The lower receiver is the “part” that makes an AR-15 a firearm. “Lowers” must be transferred through a federal firearm licensee (FFL). Sometimes a lower receiver can be purchased as already completed with the fire control group, stock, pistol grip, bolt catch, magazine catch and takedown pins installed. However, stripped lower receivers containing none of these parts can be purchased from some manufacturers. Additionally, 80 percent receivers can be purchased which require some machining and refinishing to be performed. Such a build is beyond the scope of this article, so we will begin with the presumption that the builder is starting off with a stripped lower receiver.
When selecting a lower receiver, the shooter has a variety of choices. Some “boutique-type” manufacturers make runs with unique markings, pictograms or serial numbers. When assembling a bare lower receiver, the prospective builder will need the following tools:
- roll pin punches
- vise grips
- torque wrench
- rubber mallet
- brass hammer
- set screws
- wire cutter
- CLP/ Break Free
How to Build an AR-15: Protecting the Receiver
One of the hazards of any home gunsmithing project is accidentally peening or scratching the receiver. The AR-15 is prone to this, as assembly requires the use of hammers and punches. The best advice to prevent this is to use thin strips of cardboard and masking tape to “mummify” the receiver and protect it from an errant hammer strike.
The easiest step is the installation of the magazine catch. The catch goes into the lower receiver from the left-hand side. The “magazine catch spring” and the magazine release button are then inserted into the right-hand side. The builder must keep pressure on the magazine release button while turning the catch clockwise. Once the catch grabs the threads of the button, it can be released. A takedown tool can then be used to press the button further into the lower; allowing the catch to be installed in the proper position when the shaft of the catch is flush with the face of the button. The magazine catch can be tested by inserting an empty magazine into the magazine well and ensuring that the catch locks into the magazine and allows it to drop free when the magazine release button is pressed.
Probably the most problematic part of the build is installing the bolt catch. There are two holes separated by one-fourth of an inch on the receiver; the catch must fit in between these holes and then a pin is driven through to hold them in place. Traditionally this is done via a long pin which is struck by a hammer, and when done incorrectly can mar the receiver or damage the part. The safest way to install the catch is to use a padded vise grips and squeeze the pin into place.
The front take-down or pivot pin requires a brass detent and a spring and is tricky to install; however, once installed it seldom if ever needs to be removed. The detent spring is placed in the channel with the detent on top. The brass detent will center itself on the detent spring and can be pushed into place. The front pivot pin can then be pushed through the takedown holes in the receiver to lock it in place. The detent will be under a great deal of spring tension and it is possible for the part to slip and send both detent and spring airborne. For this reason, some builders install this part with their hands, the detent, spring and lower receiver inside a large clear plastic bag. If the parts go flying, they can be recovered. It is advisable to apply a small amount of CLP or Break Free to this area to ease installation. Once in place, the pivot pin should be worked back and forth a few times to ensure the detent has seated properly.
How to Build an AR-15: Detents Made Easy
A frustrating part of an AR-15 build has always been the various detents and detent springs. Initial installation is not too bad, but whenever the end-user wants to change a stock or a pistol grip there is always the possibility of either deforming the spring or losing one of the detents. One method to prevent this is threading the detent channels, cutting the springs and sealing the spring and detent with a set-screw. These two areas are for the rear take-down pin near the butt stock and the safety detent near the pistol grip.
These two areas should be cleaned first by blowing compressed air into them from either an air compressor or a can of compressed air found at an office supply store. The builder can then work a 4-44 tap into the channel, threading it into the aluminum and backing it off several times until the pitch of the threads has been set. The detents are then inserted and the springs cut down by at least one-eighth of an inch. Lastly, these channels can be capped with a 1/8-inch set screw. When installed in this manner, the builder no longer needs to worry about losing or deforming these small parts when changing out grips or stocks later.
For the rear takedown detent, the rear takedown pin is installed first. The detent is then dropped through the channel with the spring behind it. If the builder has opted to tap the channel and trim the spring, it can now be capped off with the set screw. If not, this step will be saved for later.
How to Build an AR-15: Fire Control Group
The fire control group may be the second easiest stage in assembly. The disconnector spring is placed on the trigger. The squared portion of the trigger spring is then placed on the sear and in front of the trigger. As a single unit it is installed into the lower receiver and held in place by the trigger pin. This allows for installation of the hammer, and the hammer spring’s legs are set against the top of the trigger pin. The hammer can then be moved forward to line up with the hole for the hammer pin, which can now be tapped into place. Some aftermarket match grade trigger systems contain all of these parts in a single unit which is simply dropped in and retained by the appropriate pins.
Your safety selector presses in from the left-hand side of the receiver and requires installation of the safety detent and spring, with the detent engaging the safety. If the builder has opted to tap the channel and trim the spring, the spring can now be installed on top of the detent and can now be capped off with the set screw. If not, the pistol grip must be installed.
The pistol grip fits into place and is secured by a single screw into the receiver. If the detent channel is threaded with detent and spring installed and capped off, this is a simple affair. If not, then the detent is seated against the selector and the spring rides in a channel on the pistol grip itself. The builder must take care not to crush or deform this spring while installing the pistol grip.
If your lower does not have an integrated trigger guard, then you need to install one. The trigger guard attaches by a contained detent that fits into a recess on the front of the guard; the rear is then moved into position and held in place by a roll pin.
The last part of the build is the installation of the butt stock. If the rear take-down detent has been installed and capped off, this step will be easier. The buffer tube is then threaded into the rear of the receiver. Prior to engaging the threads over the buffer detent, the builder needs to insert the buffer detent spring and buffer detent. The buffer tube is now threaded to slightly engage the threads just prior to the halfway point over the detent. The butt stock slides over the buffer tube and is installed via a screw in the rear of the buffer tube. Finally, the buffer detent is depressed and the buffer and action spring are installed inside the buffer tube.
In the case of a collapsible stock, assembly differs in that an end plate and castle nut are installed with the buffer tube. The plate engages the rear of the receiver and the castle nut holds it in place.
If the rear detent spring has not been capped off with its channel threaded, the builder needs to install this part prior to the buffer tube. Great care must be taken to not crush or deform the spring in this process.
What AR-15 building tips would you add? Share your advice in the section below:
WASHINGTON — The belief that Hillary Clinton wants to ban or severely restrict private ownership of guns is not a fantasy. There is, in fact, plenty of evidence from Clinton’s own statements, and those of her supporters, indicating the former first lady would like to see an end to Second Amendment rights.
Some of Clinton’s most radical antigun statements even were made on national television.
A review of interviews and articles shows there are at least three reasons we should be concerned about her position on guns:
1. Hillary Clinton does not believe the Second Amendment grants Americans a constitutional right to “keep and bear arms.”
On June 5, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos had this discussion with Clinton on ABC’s This Week, where she refused to give a “yes” or “no” answer to a simple constitutional question:
Stephanopoulos: “Do you believe that an individual’s right to bear arms is a constitutional right, that it’s not linked to service in a militia?”
Clinton: “I think that for most of our history, there was a nuanced reading of the Second Amendment until the decision by the late Justice Scalia and there was no argument until then that localities and states and the federal government had a right, as we do with every amendment, to impose reasonable regulation. So I believe we can have common sense gun safety measures consistent with the Second Amendment, and, in fact, what I have proposed is supported by 90 percent of the American people and more than 75 percent of responsible gun owners.”
Stephanopoulos: “But … do you believe [the Supreme Court’s conclusion] that an individual’s right to bear arms is a constitutional right?”
Clinton: “If it is a constitutional right, then it, like every other constitutional right, is subject to reasonable regulation. And what people have done with that decision is to take it as far as they possibly can and reject what has been our history from the very beginning of the republic, where some of the earliest laws that were passed were about firearms.
“So I think it’s important to recognize that reasonable people can say, as I do, responsible gun owners have a right — I have no objection to that. But the rest of the American public has a right to require certain kinds of regularity, responsible actions to protect everyone else.”
Clinton never answered the question by Stephanopoulos.
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2. Clinton would like to see the US Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Heller overturned.
Heller was the 2008 decision in which the justices, along a narrow 5-4 vote, ruled that the Second Amendment gives Americans the right to own guns for self-defense and bars government from completely banning firearms ownership.
“Clinton believes Heller was wrongly decided in that cities and states should have the power to craft common sense laws to keep their residents safe, like safe storage laws to prevent toddlers from accessing guns,” Maya Harris, a policy adviser to Clinton, wrote in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg Politics. “In overturning Washington D.C.’s safe storage law, Clinton worries that Heller may open the door to overturning thoughtful, common sense safety measures in the future.”
The Washington, D.C., law essentially banned the ownership of handguns within the city.
The Heller decision was written by Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February. Scalia’s replacement apparently will be appointed by the next president.
The four dissenting justices signed an opinion that read: “There is no indication that the Framers of the Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution.” That dissenting opinion also said the Second Amendment protects guns only connected with militia or military service.
3. Clinton has called Australia’s ban on guns a good idea.
In 1996, following a mass shooting, Australia banned semi-automatic rifles and pump-action shotguns. The law implemented a mandatory gun buyback program that resulted in 1 million rifles and shotguns being confiscated.
During a campaign rally in October 2015, Clinton said of the Australia gun model: “I don’t know enough details to tell you how we would do it or how it would work, but certainly the Australia example is worth looking at,” she said at a campaign stop in New Hampshire.
Australian law also prevents guns from being purchased for self-defense. “Personal protection will not be regarded as a genuine reason for owning, possessing or using a firearm,” reads the 1996 law, known as the National Firearms Agreement.
Do you believe Hillary Clinton wants to ban guns? Share your opinion in the section below:
An old saying goes, “There is not very much that a man can’t fix, with 500 bucks and a .30-06!”
For more than a century, the caliber .30, year of 1906, has been America’s cartridge. From the trenches of World War I, to the battlefields of World War II, to the Korean War, the deer stand, and the rifle competitions at Camp Perry — the ’06 has been there.
The story of the versatile .30-06 actually goes back to the 1890s, a decade before its introduction. The US military was desperate to get away from black powder and the trap door, single shot Springfields that fired the massive .45-70 cartridge. At the time, nations all over the world were adopting smokeless powder and bolt-action rifles for their respective militaries, and there was no reason for the US to be left behind.
After a few years of trials and much political haggling, the US Army adopted the .30-40 chambered Krag-Jorgensen rifle, a Norwegian design. The rifle was obsolete from the get-go. It had to be loaded one round at a time, and it had a magazine cut-off. These two features encouraged the rifle to be employed as a single shot, with the magazine held in reserve if needed. This was utterly foolish, and proved just as stupid as it sounded on the battlefield during the Spanish-American War.
Another weakness was the ammunition. It was a short-ranged round and did not have the power equal to the ammunition used by the Spanish and their fine Mauser rifles. The US suffered enormous casualties at the Battle of San Juan due to the superior Spanish rifles and ammo.
After the war, the US copied the Mauser, in the form of the M1903 Springfield. It was a beautiful rifle and was originally chambered with a .30-03 cartridge. This was updated in 1906, much to the credit of then President Theodore Roosevelt. The new cartridge was based on the 8mm Mauser round used by the German army and was just as powerful. Thus, the .30-06.
The cartridge saw its first action in the Philippines, Mexico and France during WWI. After the war, soldiers brought back their Springfield and US Enfield rifles (also chambered in .30-06). Many were sporterized by hunters and taken afield, where the .30-06 proved a very capable hunting cartridge. The ’06 could handle any game animal in the US, and most other game around the world.
Another World War came, and afterward millions of rifles and billions of rounds of surplus ammunition flooded the civilian markets. By now, civilian hunting rifles chambered in .30-06 became more and more common. Deer, elk and moose hunters especially carted .30-06-chambered firearms into the woods to bash their hoofed quarry into submission and fill the freezers back at home. In fact, the .30-06 was the most popular sporting cartridge after the venerable .30-03 in the post-war years in America.
The .30-06 also has served as the parent cartridge for many equally successful loads, especially the .270. In fact, between the .270 and .30-06, more elk have fallen to these two cartridges in the past 70 years than any other chamberings, other than perhaps the .30-30.
In the 1960s, Remington introduced the model 700 hunting rifle, millions of which are chambered in the ’06. The age of mass-produced, relatively cheap hunting rifles had arrived and has not stopped. Today, the .30-06 maintains its place as the king of American hunting cartridges, long after its military service has ended.
The .30-06 can be found in many different bullet weights and powder loads. There are loads tailor-built for whitetail or mule deer hunting. There are loads for elk and larger game. There are even loads for sportsmen to take to Alaska and Africa to take dangerous game such as the coastal brown bear. Just about every gun shop or sporting goods center carries .30-06 cartridges. While more expensive than it has been in years past, it is still affordable. Cheap import ammunition still is available and makes the price much more affordable for the budget-minded shooter.
More than 100 years after its introduction, it’s clear why the .30-06 remains one of America’s favorite calibers.
What advice would you add about the .30-06? Share your thoughts in the section below:
Before, during, and after World War I, almost every army on the face of the planet carried bolt-action rifles. These rifles fired a full power cartridge, and most came equipped with two-foot-long sword bayonets.
The concept behind these firearms was to give the infantryman an effective accurate repeater that also could be turned into a spear when the need arose. This was all well and good during World War I, where firefights still occurred more than 300 yards away, and trench fighting was common.
But World War I taught us that the age of the frontal assault was coming to a close. This was coupled with the fact that automatic weapons had made bayonet charges nothing but sheer butchery. Fire and maneuver became the new tactic of the day, as trench warfare was replaced and forgotten.
The US army was the first to adopt a “battle rifle,” per se, in the M1 Garand. This was the first semi-auto rifle that was the standard long arm in any army. Even though the M1 utilized an 8-round en-bloc clip rather than a detachable box magazine, it is still considered a battle rifle by most historians.
It was during World War II when the M1 Garand proved itself effective and reliable. It was also during World War II that the Germans designed the world’s first mass issue assault rifle, in the Sturmgewehr 44. The SG44 was revolutionary in the fact that it fired an intermediate cartridge rather than a full-power rifle cartridge. This made it much more controllable in fully automatic fire.
After the war ended, the Russians developed the assault rifle concept further into the Avtomat Kalashnikova model 1947, or the AK-47. The Allies declined at the time to pursue the assault rifle, instead preferring a full-powered cartridge. The US and its NATO allies standardized the 7.62x51mm cartridge, also known to civilians as the .308 Winchester.
Soon, adoption of the rifles that fired the 7.62x51mm round followed. The British, Belgians and others adopted the FN FAL. The Americans developed the M-14 from the M1 Garand and adopted it. Taiwan later produced their own version of the M-14, and the Italians updated the M1 Garand into their own battle rifle, the BM59. The Western German army adopted the Heckler and Koch G3. Several other battle rifles were adopted at this time, such as the Spanish CETME, a kissing cousin of the G3, and the AR-10.
The battle rifle concept soon proved that while it provided excellent knock-down power, they were mostly unwieldy in full automatic. Soldiers also could not carry as much ammunition as they could with a rifle such as an M-16/M4 or an AK platform rifle. Starting in the 1960s, the move from battle rifle to assault rifle started.
However, there are areas the battle rifle shines in that most assault rifles simply cannot. For one, accuracy. The longer barrels and the 7.62 cartridges themselves lend themselves to better accuracy. Second is knock-down power; a .308 has nearly twice the energy of the projectiles fired in an M-16/AR-15 or AK series rifle. Last, is range. The effective range of the .308 is also roughly twice that of an assault rifle. With good optics, battle rifles now find themselves at home on today’s battlefield in the role of designated marksmen rifles, or for heavier firepower in CQB situations.
For today’s shooter, one has the choice between a modern sporting rifle, which is the civilian equivalent of military assault rifles, or a semi-automatic battle rifle. Let’s take a look at the most popular choices on the US market.
1. M-1A/M-14: The M1A, or semi auto M-14, comes in many shapes and sizes. Even in today’s military. the M-14 is not used in full automatic, and so it is with the civilian M1A/M14. The M1A uses a long stroke piston, similar to the one used on the AK-47. In fact, the M-1 Garand’s piston is the father of both the M-14 system and the AK gas system. The M-14 is known for its exceptional reliability, almost to AK-47 levels, and accuracy. The M1A is one of the most common firearms in civilian target competitions. It is not difficult to mount an optic to the top.
M-14s are made by several companies, the most popular being Springfield Armory, which markets the M1A. Fulton Armory and James River Armory are two other well-respected manufactures. Any of these three companies is a good choice. Expect to pay anywhere from $1,200 to more than $50,00 for your M-14.
2. FAL: FAL rifles are another popular option for shooters. Though not as popular in the US as the M1A, the FAL is well-liked by shooters for reliability and handiness. Not the equal to the M-14’s accuracy, it still shoots a heavier round than the AR-15. The 20-round detachable box magazine lacks the capacity that the AR or AK has, but the 7.62x51mm has much more knockdown power.
Most FAL shooters in the USA believe there to be no better rifle. It is a unique club. If you want to join, plan on spending around $1,100 for a good DSA FAL.
3. CETME/G3: These rifles are so very close in design that we will lump them together. The G3 can be found in large numbers in the US. Not as popular as the M-14, it can still be had for much less. You can get a G3/CETME for starting at around $600.
4. AR-10: The most popular battle rifle in America. Like it’s little brother, the AR-15, AR-10s are highly customizable. They are also affordable. The AR-10 is the erector set of the battle rifle world, meaning you can buy or you can build you own custom upper and lower receivers. AR-10s are frequently used for hunting, and many are chambered in common hunting calibers. The most common AR-10 chambering will be the .308.
You can pay around $700 for a DPMS, or up to $5,000 for other brands.
What advice would you add on buying a battle rifle? Which is your choice? Share your thoughts in the section below:
I didn’t grow up with guns in the house because my family didn’t live in the continental United States. Due to my Dad’s job, we were all over the globe and living in places that didn’t exactly have Second Amendment rights. However, during my high school years, two of my older buddies were finally of age and could legally go through the process to purchase firearms. We started target shooting. Not advanced shooting classes, but just shooting for fun.
Living near the ocean, we would sometimes go out to remote places where we could shoot into the water. We’d throw empty gallon milk jugs into the water and then do our best to shoot at them while they were bobbing on the waves. This, by the way, wasn’t exactly legal! At other times, we went out into the boonies and shoot at anything we could: soda cans, bowling pins, and even lizards. Those were not easy to hit! They were skinny and constantly moving!
My first advanced shooting class
During this time, I didn’t have any formal training. I just went shooting for the pure fun of it and the personal challenge of getting better each time. That changed during my college years, though, when I was allowed, as a civilian, to participate in a semester-long police firearms training academy. The other civilian was my lizard-shooting buddy, Paul.
It was during this semester that I learned, in a more formal setting, the fundamentals of shooting, and how to effectively shoot shotguns and pistols. This was probably the best firearms education a person could ever have. Our group went out every single Saturday for four straight months. We spent 8 hours on the range, getting about an hour of instruction and then 6-7 hours of shooting drills. I don’t think I even ate lunch on those days! I would be starving on the drive home.
Our 2 instructors were Mr. Hill, with a background in the prison systems and the main firearms instructor for this shooting academy, and Mr. Dennis, a former police/narcotics officer. Mr. Hill was a behemoth of a man and very effective with a shotgun, in particular. Both these instructors lived to shoot — maybe they were married and had families, but guns and shooting seemed to be their first loves. They were determined that not a single student would leave the class without being highly competent in shooting skills and comfortable with their “use of force” decisions.
The muscle memory developed from dozens and dozens of hours of (mostly) handgun shooting remains with me and is ingrained in my body, even after all these years. Techniques I learned to improve my accuracy are still effective, and I’ve taught them to my wife and kids. I feel very, very comfortable with a firearm in my hands, but it wasn’t until I took another class many years later that I was challenged on a whole other level.
Advanced shooting class with a military twist
This time it was, again, my buddy Paul who invited me to join him in an all-day class on a military base where he worked. The invite was irresistible. I would be spending the day with a group of Air Force combat personnel who were preparing to be deployed and were required to take this class in urban warfare. Naturally, I jumped at the chance, and nobody questioned my presence or credentials. I kept my mouth shut — definitely a don’t ask, don’t tell situation!
For the first time in my life, I was in a scenario in which live fire was being used and I wasn’t exactly behind the firing line. There was no firing line! We performed exercises in which we were constantly moving and engaging targets, tactical reloading while moving, maintaining communications with team members, and doing all of this under non-stop pressure by the instructors who were screaming and cussing and deriding us. One guy’s gun jammed and the diatribe by the instructor was merciless and, I have to admit, very funny at the time.
Initially, I had the jitters because this was very exciting to me and the setting unfamiliar. I had always wanted to be in a scenario like this — but without being a target by a real criminal with a real gun! Been there, done that.
After a few minutes, my mind and body became accustomed to the adrenaline and excitement. My nerves calmed, my breathing slowed down and became more regulated, and I was able to make the quick decisions and reactions being demanded of me. By the end of that day, even though I had been shooting for years and had received so much instruction and practice, I knew my shooting expertise had reached a new dimension.
Without the many years of casual and formal practice and instruction, there’s no way I would have been ready for such an intense training experience. A few of the Air Force guys in the group left that day realizing they needed more practice. When I think about the low training requirements of nearly all law enforcement officers — this is what they actually need, each and every year as our cities and streets become more dangerous and hostile to police officers, in particular.
Reasons every shooter needs advanced classes
So, why must you take advanced shooting classes? In a real life situation in which self-defense is necessary, you need enough practice hours behind you so that muscle memory is there each and every time you pick up that gun. You won’t be standing behind a line with your pistol on a bench and with a motionless paper target. You need to spend hours under some kind of pressure, so you become comfortable with all aspects of shooting. You’ll have to make lightning quick, on the spot decisions. Everything about shooting, from stance to grip to aim should all be so familiar that the only decision to make is whether or not to pull the trigger.
In my case, my upbringing and where I lived in the world was a little different. I happened to be at the right place and, apparently, had a connection or two that allowed some unique experiences to come my way. However, a good shooting range will offer advanced classes, and I encourage you to take as many as possible. When you find a good instructor, take every class he or she offers. Classes you might consider are concealed carry classes (if allowed in your state), defensive handgun, defensive shotgun, and tactical firearm classes. Courses that integrate mindset, marksmanship, and individual/team tactics under realistic conditions will not fail you.
Prepare to be challenged in every way possible. Your physical endurance will be tested. You’ll learn a lot about yourself and how you react under extreme duress — something that most people never experience in their entire lives. One more tip: be sure to get a good night’s rest the night before. You’ll need it.
Disclaimer: Know your local, state, and applicable federal laws. Shooting at lizards may not be legal where you live and I don’t recommend it anyway!
See larger image The .50-caliber Rifle Construction Manual: With Easy-to-Follow Full-Scale Drawings This is the book that do-it-yourselfers anxious to try building their own .50-caliber rifles have been demanding since the best-selling Home Workshop .50-Caliber Sniper Rifle videotape first came out. In this companion book, Bill Holmes uses easy-to-follow foldout drawings and precise dimensions to take you step-by-step through the process of designing and constructing your very own .50-caliber rifle easily and inexpensively. Find out this master gun maker’s professional secrets to fashioning the receiver, barrel and accessories, bolt, trigger assembly, buttstock, scope mount, bipod and muzzle brake using commonly
As discussions turn to “survival rifles,” most of us consider a semiautomatic version capable of accepting detachable magazines, or a surplus bolt action capable of taking big game with a single shot, perhaps something on the order of a Ruger 10/22.
One option most people may overlook is a single-shot rifle. We were dismissive of it, too, until we laid hands on a Harrington & Richardson Handi Rifle commissioned by Advanced Armament Corporation (AAC) chambered in 300 Blackout.
This rifle was bought on impulse. As a silencer collector, I noticed it in the used area of a favorite sporting goods retailer due to the AAC Blackout Flash Hider that was perfect for installing an AAC 762SD. I noticed the Picatinny rail for scope mounting, but most importantly, the AAC logo engraved on the receiver.
A quick call to a friend working in R&D for AAC confirmed that this was a paradox rifle.
“When we contacted H&R with our specs,” my friend said,” they had to retool as they had never made a Handi Rifle with a barrel as short as 16 inches, one chambered in 300 blackout, or even a threaded barrel. After H&R tooled up to make this design, they remarked that they had never made any rifle in the quantity we were asking. It proved to be their bestselling Handi Rifle model of all time.”
After walking out of the store with it for around $200 (almost half the MSRP, not including the Blackout Flash Hider), I mounted a Lucid Optics Red Dot on the rail, installed a sling and mounted a 762-SD.
One advantage of using a full-sized 308 can on a Blackout rifle is that you can interchange the subsonic and supersonic ammunition without damaging the silencer. A 9mm pistol suppressor may be lighter and cheaper and perfectly fine for use with the subsonic load, but an accidental supersonic 300 Blackout round will ruin your day as well as the silencer.
You don’t have to be a slave to AAC suppressors, either, as the muzzle is threaded 5/8×24 tpi for most 30 caliber silencers.
This compact and lightweight rifle tips the scales at around 5 pounds. The single-shot action makes it extremely quiet when suppressed, and you can go from the ballistic equivalent of a 7.62 X 39 for large game to the equivalent of a subsonic 9mm pistol round for something smaller in your sights as well as being virtually silent.
It makes a perfect scout rifle for foraging or even varmint elimination if you find coyotes or feral dogs in your AO. Plus, its smaller profile looks much less threatening than a typical semiautomatic “black rifle.”
The Handi Rifle can easily be broken down and stowed in a pack if necessary, and I have met a few gun owners who replace the factory screw with a takedown screw from a tripod mount to make this task easier without the use of a screwdriver.
As you might have guessed, the single shot rifle is capable of sub-MOA groups all day long, but if you change ammo types frequently, note that the supersonic loads will have a significantly different shift in point of impact than the subsonic rounds.
For this reason, I might have preferred iron sights over the rail, but there are a variety of dual-reticle sights made these days for use with 300 Blackout.
Have you used an H&R Handi Rifle? What did you think about it? Share your thoughts in the section below:
If you ever want to start a debate on a survival or shooting forum, just ask, “How much ammunition is enough for an emergency stockpile?” Then take cover. You’ll be amazed at every single armchair general who comes out of the woodwork to offer his or her opinion on the matter. Some folks are minimalists: “Only what you can carry” is their cry as they announce their plans to survive by scrounging their way through the apocalypse. Others say, “Buy it cheap, and stack it deep!” These fellas are the ones who plan on getting into a gun fight every single day as soon as the power goes off.
Many folks out there don’t fall into either group, and they don’t believe there is any reason to stockpile rounds for an emergency. In fact, I know plenty of shooters who always say “buy only what you shoot.” I used to be that guy. But I had to be honest with myself that this isn’t the Pax Americana anymore. Turn on the news and each day we are confronted by the realities of our existence in an increasingly unstable world. Now, I’m a realist.
As a gun writer and firearm instructor, I have heard the question more and more: “Hey Zach, how much ammo should I have in case something happens?”
Well, I just ran out of battery power for my crystal ball. But I can say that you should have enough ammunition to protect your family and feed them with fresh game and meat if needed. Here is the amount I recommend and strive to keep stocked in my own closet.
There is no better tool out there to constantly bring home game than a .22. From squirrel to rabbit, a .22 can bring home the bacon. Every homesteader and survivalist should have at least one reliable .22. During the depression, .22s kept families fed, and they can do it again. I strongly recommend aiming for at least 1,000 rounds per .22 — ideally 2,500-5,000 rounds. Start where you can.
In addition to a .22, homesteaders and survivalists should have a .12- or .20-gauge shotgun. The shotgun can be used for small game like a .22 — for waterfowl and wild turkey, for instance. A round of 00 buck or a common deer slug can be used for much larger game. I cannot speak highly enough of the reliability of a good pump action over a semi-automatic shotgun.
I have two 12-gauge shotguns and a 20 gauge. I have two different barrels for each — one for slugs and 00 buck, and one for birds and small game. The slug barrels I keep are 21-inch barrels with a smoothbore and rifle sights. I have four-different chokes for each bird barrel.
At a minimum, I keep 200-400 rounds of game load for waterfowl, upland bird and small game, 100 rounds of 00 Buck and 100 slugs.
The Big Game Rifle
Although many claim that within months after a disaster there will be no wild game or anything to hunt, I think they are wrong. The person with a game rifle may be able to put more meat on the table over the person who does not.
I try to aim for around 200 rounds minimally for big game rifles. I shoot common calibers such as .30-30, .243 and.308.
The Semi-Auto Sporting Rifle
A modern semi-auto rifle can be a great all-around firearm. For hunting, personal protection and home defense, these rifles can put a lot of rounds on target with decent accuracy.
For my AR-15s and AKs, I have about 4,000-5,000 rounds each. These rifles shoot a lot of lead, and have the potential to be “bullet eaters.” If you are on a budget, aim for at least 1000 rounds per rifle as well as 10 magazines.
My wife and I carry common caliber handguns — mostly in 9mm. I carry a Glock 19 daily and she carries a Smith and Wesson M&P Shield. I always aim to keep about 400-500 rounds on hand for each handgun.
What type of stockpile do you keep? What advice would you add on stockpiling ammo? Share your advice in the section below:
Firearms are tools and often represent technological trends, if you think about it. Today’s firearms are lighter, more durable and sometimes more accurate than they were even a generation ago.
That does not, however, mean that older guns like the ones your grandfather owned should be mothballed or turned into scrap. As a matter of fact, some of Grandpa’s guns are almost essential to own today.
Let’s take a look at five:
1. Winchester 1894 Lever-Action Rifle
You do not see too many-lever action rifles in today’s gun market, unless they are specifically designed for Old West reenactors. But these rifles literally tamed the West and have brought meat to the table for over a century and a half. The 1894 represented the ultimate refinement of the design. Purists prefer their Winchesters made prior to 1964 due to manufacturing changes, but even a post-1964 rifle is still a keeper.
A Winchester ’94 chambered in 30-30 Winchester represents a fine hunting and brush rifle, even for today’s shooters.
2. Smith & Wesson Model 19
One of the finest double-action revolvers made this side of the Colt Python is the Smith & Wesson Model 19. Built on the classic K-Frame, this mid-sized revolver served as a police sidearm and is still in use today by hunters and outdoorsman. They can be a bit hard to find and were eclipsed by the slightly larger models 586/686 built on the L-Frame.
Chances are that if your grandfather owned a 357 Magnum wheel gun, it was most likely a model 19.
3. Colt 1911
If your grandfather served in the US military, it’s more than likely he carried a Colt 1911. This 45 semi-automatic from Colt is an iconic handgun made by numerous manufacturers today and has been popular with those who participate in shooting sports.
I’m not talking about an accurized modern handgun made from CNC, MIM or stainless steel. I’m talking about the original, slab-sided Colt version. These were hand-fitted pistols assembled by master craftsmen and saw service from the World War I through Vietnam.
A great addition to any collection, US Property-marked Colts are going through the roof in price now. Runner-ups include those made by Remington Rand, Savage, Union Smith, and Signal and Ithaca. Barring that, a commercial Colt as late as a Series 70 will suffice.
4. Springfield 1903
The 1903 Springfield is a classic bolt-action rifle based on the 98 Mauser action that saw service as late as the Vietnam War. Chambered in 30-06 Springfield, this rifle became popular as a hunting rifle between wars.
In its original configuration, it is a fine example of a classic military rifle. But even a sporterized version makes for a perfect deer camp candidate.
5. Winchester Model 12
This pump-action shotgun has probably dropped more ducks and taken more deer than just about any other model in existence. Originally offered in 20 gauge only, the model 12 was soon offered in the more popular 12 and 16 gauges and later in the 28 gauge.
More than 2 million were made between 1912 and 1954 and included riot and trench gun variants and deluxe pigeon-grade variants with better wood and finishes. Winchester’s first internal hammer-pump shotgun set the standard by which every other pump shotgun produced since then is judged.
Even if your grandfather didn’t own any of these firearms, these five examples represent what I think are the true classics of days gone by.
What would you add to this list? Share your ideas in the section below:
When most people think of survival rifles, they picture a compact, lightweight, single shot or semi-automatic rifle chambered for the venerable .22 LR ,or perhaps a drilling chambered for a .22 LR and .410 or 20 Ga.
However, when people think of the AR-15 rifle, they tend to automatically picture a home defense rifle or a US Military battlefield rifle, and certainly not a survival rifle! But, when properly configured, the AR-15 platform does make an excellent survival rifle. In fact, because of its .223 inch bore diameter and a chamber sized for either a .223 Remington or a 5.56 mm NATO cartridge, it makes an excellent choice for medium-size game species such as whitetail deer, feral hogs and wild turkeys at close to medium ranges, as long as the heavier bullet designs are used. On the other hand, it is also easily converted to fire the .22 LR cartridge via one of several different, readily available, drop-in conversion kits and thus, the AR-15 is a survival rifle extraordinaire!
When I think of a survival rifle, four criteria immediately come to mind. First, it must be lightweight so that it is easy to carry. Second, it must be compact so that it is easy to maneuver. Third, it must be extremely durable and well able to withstand the extremes of the elements — as well as harsh treatment and lack of care. Third, it must be able to fire the .22 LR cartridge.
While there are several extremely well-designed survival rifles out there chambered for the .22 LR, the AR-15 is a far better choice than any of them, because it is able to fire both a high-powered rifle cartridge and a low-powered one by simply exchanging the bolt with a drop-in replacement, and then exchanging the magazine. Also, by installing a collapsible, skeleton, stock in conjunction with a 14 ½-inch or 16-inch barrel, the rifle becomes both very compact and relatively lightweight. Plus, .22 LR drop-in conversion kits are readily available that will easily enable any AR-15 chambered for .223 Remington or 5.56 NATO to also fire .22 LR cartridges, without making any permanent alterations to the rifle.
So, simply by carrying the rifle in its standard configuration chambered for .223 Remington or 5.56 NATO along with a drop-in .22 LR conversion kit, you effectively have two rifles in one that will enable you to harvest game animals, ranging in size from squirrels and rabbits to medium-sized deer and feral pigs. Plus, because the AR-15 was specifically intended to be a battlefield rifle, it was specifically designed to function correctly every time it was needed, even in extremely harsh inclement weather conditions. It also was specifically designed such that all of the internal components can easily be replaced in the field by someone with only a moderate amount of mechanical skill. The AR-15 platform also meets my criteria for a survival rifle that is both extremely durable and very reliable.
Another reason that I feel that this rifle is such an extraordinary survival rifle is because it was specifically designed to be a modular system so that the rifle could be quickly and easily reconfigured to meet the needs of various missions. This has given rise to different manufacturers offering alternate caliber conversion kits in addition to the .22 LR, such as the 6.8mm Remington SPC (special purpose cartridge) or .300 Whisper.
By adding a second upper receiver/barrel assembly with a 14 ½-inch or 16-inch barrel chambered for 6.8mm SPC or something larger, you would have the ability to harvest larger game animals at much greater distances than you would with the .223 Remington, but you would also retain the ability to hunt medium-size game with the .223 and small game with the .22 LR, simply by sliding two pins out from the lower receiver and then exchanging the upper receiver at will.
If you have never considered the AR-15 to be a viable survival rifle, then perhaps you should take a second look at this amazing modular rifle. Not only is it compact, lightweight and extremely durable, but it can be easily reconfigured to fire any number of cartridges, ranging from low power to high power and thus, it actually makes the perfect survival rifle for hunting wild game species. Plus, if you happen to find yourself in a location inhabited by large, predatory animals, then having an AR-15 as opposed to a .22 LR can provide you with the means to defend yourself if necessary. As you see, the AR-15 is truly a survival rifle extraordinaire!
Do you agree or disagree? Share your thoughts in the section below:
The AR-15 rifle is by far the most popular rifle in the US, especially among survivalists and people serious about home defense. The rifle is accurate, powerful enough, and endlessly customizable. The AR-15 has its detractors, and they have their arguments, but ultimately it is still the most popular rifle out there.
The AR-15 is typically chambered in 223/5.56, a caliber that is common, as well as small and compact when compared to rifle rounds. In fact, their size was one of the many reasons the US government chose the AR 16/ M16 platform over the larger, heavier, and more powerful 7.62 rifles. The average soldier can carry more 5.56 ammunition than they could ever carry with the heavier 7.62 rounds.
But even the 5.56 is still a giant when compared to the diminutive .22 LR round. The .22 LR is another popular rifle with survivalists who already own a main defensive rifle. The .22 LR round may be a poor defensive round, but it’s handy for hunting small and medium game, fending off predators, and as a general utility round. The .22 LR is also very small, quite light, and you can carry a box of 500 in a cargo pocket.
The small size, low recoil, low cost and easy shooting ability makes it the perfect round.
So what does all of this have to do with anything? Well, what about the ability to convert your AR-15 to shoot .22 LR? You have probably seen these kits before and heard about how unreliable they are. That is generally true but, thankfully, CMMG has produced a kit that actually works. The CMMG kit is a stainless steel bolt that is an all-in-one kit.
This kit comprises of a bolt, a long extension that acts as a chamber, and an internal buffer. The kit requires you to use a 5.56 or 223 rifle. The internal 223/5.56 bore is close enough to the diameter of a .22 caliber long rifle that the round will remain accurate for shooting. The kit itself is a one-piece design that simply drops into the upper receiver of an AR-15. All you have to do is remove the 5.56 bolt, drop in the CMMG kit and close the receivers.
The kit does require the use of a specialized magazine, as one would expect. The kit comes with one polymer magazine, which will fit with any standard AR-15 lower receiver and locks in rock and ejects easily. The main difference, besides the caliber, is the fact the bolt will not lock open after firing the last round.
But Is it Reliable?
Most of these kits fail in some way. I believe the reason the CMMG kit works so well is because of its polished stainless steel. This allows the weapon and bolts to run with the dirty .22 LR round consistently, round after round. CMMG has had some minor problems with some of their more experimental rifles, but this kit has run like a champ over 450 rounds of Federal auto match. And I didn’t lube the rifle or the kit before firing it. I just dropped it in, threw in a magazine of Federal auto match and started shooting.
The kit’s magazine loads 25 rounds and is easy to load until those second two rounds, where it gets pretty stiff. The charging handle only goes back about a 10th of the standard charging handle range. This is a bit odd at first, and takes some time to learn how to do it. At first, I would instinctively try to rip the charging back.
After 450 rounds, I had 10 misfires. These were rounds that failed to fire, which I chalked up to the standard unreliability you get with bulk .22 LR rounds. Cleaning the kit was as simple as spraying on some CLP, rubbing it down with a rag, and brushing the crevices. That stainless steel finish is a huge aid to cleaning the bolt.
Overall, the kit is excellent. It ran with some basic, cheap bulk ammo. I plan to do more testing with different ammo types, and a variety of brands. If the kit keeps working, it will replace my dedicated .22 LR for my rim fire needs. The only downside is the small loss of accuracy and having to purchase extra magazines online. The magazines cost around $25 apiece, which is somewhat expensive. But the CMMG kit is rock-solid so far, and it’s by far the best .22 LR conversion kit I’ve ever used.
Have you ever converted an AR-15 to a .22? Share your tips in the section below:
The man sat on a chair across the table from me, a phone cradled to his ear, hunched over the clipboard in front of him in an effort to block out the din of the packed arena. He carefully spelled out the letters of my name and address to someone on the other end of the line, and went on to fill in other details.
He was reading the words off a federal form 4473 which I had just filled out and handed back to him. I stood waiting in nervous and happy anticipation while the gun dealer ran my information through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.
It wasn’t that I was afraid of anything bad turning up. My background is about as squeaky clean as they come. It wasn’t that I am anti-government, either. It is indeed true that I would rather not share any more information with the government than I have to, including whether or not I drink raw milk or keep farm animals and whether or not I own a gun, but had already resigned myself to the fact that this is the way it’s done.
It was that it was my first-ever gun purchase. Although I am not new to guns — not brand new, anyway — I had never shopped for and purchased one for my own use.
I am not really a “gun person.” But when my husband and I took up homesteading I began to see the usefulness of gun ownership in a whole new light. My husband taught me the basics on his hunting gun — just enough that I might be able to defend myself and my barnyard if I absolutely had to — but I recently began to consider taking it a step further.
The idea of having my own gun crept up on me. It seemed preposterous at first. I mean — me?! Owning a gun?! My husband and I discussed it, and the conversation got serious last summer when livestock predation was on the rise. The firearms available to me were not adequate — they were either too big for my comfort or not accurate enough for the job at hand.
And it wasn’t just the animals that I became concerned about protecting. The world is changing, even way out in rural America where I live. It is becoming the kind of world where we hear about meth labs and opiate addictions in communities startlingly near to us. Violent crimes, home invasions, and robberies are no longer restricted to metropolitan areas.
An elderly lady was beaten in her own home in the next village over from me. Another neighbor had a man walk right into her house — and when confronted, he pretended to have mistaken it for someone else’s home and left. These are anomalies, but that may not always be the case.
I walked into a gun shop one day and began my education. My husband is savvy about guns, but I wanted to learn on my own.
I had done enough research to know I wanted a small shotgun. Between the two generally standard sizes — 12-gauge and 20-gauge — I knew I would prefer the smaller 20-gauge. Shotguns come in an even smaller “410 bore” as well, and I asked some questions that would help me compare and contrast the two smaller options.
Gun aficionados had advised me that a multiple shot is a better choice than single, and that a pump action is best.
What I learned at that first gun shop is that 20-gauges are a lot more common and only slightly more expensive than 410s, but ammo for the smaller gun is a lot more expensive.
“A lot depends on what you’re going to use it for,” the guy explained. If I was going to do a lot of target shooting, cost of ammo was a factor. If it was strictly for the occasional varmint or for self-defense, or “for the house,” as the salesman phrased it, cost of ammo was irrelevant.
The way he talked so casually about a woman owning a gun for self-defense, as if it were the most normal thing in the world, made me feel less self-conscious about it.
He had a wide variety of actions on hand to show me, as well. The “action” of a gun is basically how the shell — in a shotgun — or the bullet — in a rifle or handgun — gets into the chamber. There was a “break action,” where the end of the barrel snaps open and the shells are loaded into side-by-side chambers, and a “lever action” which loads the shell when a handle under the barrel is flipped forward and back. He also showed me pump action guns, which are generally able to store four or five shells in the magazine and load them one by one when an outer casing on the barrel is slid forward and back. There were single shots as well, which is just like it sounds — one shell is loaded right into the chamber.
There are also bolt actions made, but they don’t appear to be common. There are also semi-automatics, but the guy could tell I wasn’t ready to look at or pay for anything like that. Later in my shopping experience, I did consider the merits of semi-automatics. These are firearms which, once the first shell or bullet is loaded, the next one pops into the chamber automatically as soon as the first is shot out. I found a lot of them on the market, which may be because they are popular, or possibly because they are significantly more expensive — usually about twice the price — and the cheaper choices get snapped up first.
I had to chuckle at the pink camo 20-gauge pump shotgun he showed me, regarding it as a novelty. Little did I know in those early shopping stages that — pardon the pun — targeting women is a burgeoning trend. Pink is in!
As a busy homesteader who rarely leaves the farm, there wasn’t much time to focus on gun shopping. In the eight months that slipped past between the time I first made the decision to purchase a firearm and finally doing so, it seemed to me that the selection diminished and the prices rose a bit.
Wandering in and out of gun shops intermittently throughout that period of time, I felt that as a woman shopping alone for a gun, I was mostly treated courteously. I did encounter one gun shop owner who got pretty overbearing and pedantic when I told him I was new to guns. Later, when I went back to the same shop with my very knowledgeable husband, the man was less obnoxious.
I live in a state where guns are easily and legally sold between individuals, and I spent some time exploring that option. By the time I started looking at online classifieds, however, I had come to the realization that a regular-sized gun would not suit me. After handling dozens of guns at shops and a few friends’ guns, it was clear that I needed a short stock at the very least, and perhaps the whole firearm needed to be small.
My husband advised me against a couple of brands — not because there’s anything wrong with them, but just not ones he likes. Factoring that into my search for a youth sized model 20-gauge pump action at a reasonable price, within a reasonable driving distance, made for slim pickings in the personal sales realm.
I ended up finding what I wanted at a gun show. I walked a little taller as I carried my purchase out of the arena, my receipt handy in case security had any questions at the door and almost a little crestfallen when they didn’t.
It can be intimidating to consider buying a gun if you are new to them, and difficult to know where to begin. Based on my experience, I would encourage anyone in that situation to give it a try. Do not be afraid to shop on your own, and treat each encounter as an opportunity to learn, but follow up with your own common sense research and evaluation. Give yourself permission to be new, and do not accept being judged for inexperience or trepidation. No one has the right to treat you as if being uncomfortable around guns is a character flaw — we all start somewhere. If you do have someone in your life whom you trust and is comfortable with guns, get that person’s advice before you make your final choice if you can.
And above all, be safe, and get trained. This article is a about the fun and challenges of buying a gun, and not about safety and training. But please don’t interpret that to mean that those things are not important — they are absolutely crucial and should not be dismissed or minimized.
Whatever your style and whatever your choice, may your journey into gun ownership be fun, productive, and safe.
What advice would you add for women shopping for a gun? Share it in the section below:
Defending your home, and more importantly your own life and the lives of your loved ones, is a serious undertaking. If there is one thing that is true out there in the world of home defense it is that there are options.
Of course, specific needs can vary based on the individual and the layout of the home. An urban apartment dweller will have very different requirements than a rural rancher with thousands of acres.
But if you can own a gun where you live, these are the first five firearms we recommend for someone interested in self-protection in their home.
1. Pump shotgun
Based on reading Internet forums, one might conclude that the shotgun is an obsolete and antiquated tool for home defense. However, the shotgun has certain advantages that cannot be matched by any other weapon.
First, there is the power factor. The shotgun may not be able to reach out and touch someone at 200 yards, but in the confines of your home, very few threats will engage you at a great distance. At close range, the shotgun is king when used in 12 gauge or 20 gauge and stoked with the appropriate loads like No. 4 Buck shot.
A short barrel will make the shotgun more maneuverable within the confines of the home. The federal legal limit is 18 inches. Anything less will require a federal tax stamp and National Firearms Act (NFA) registration. I recommend using a comfortable butt stock and attaching a white light to identify threats in the dark.
The actual brand is not important, but I recommend something reliable with a minimum caliber of 38 special or 380 ACP.
For residents in areas of the country where gun ownership is restricted, I highly recommend choosing the same type of pistol and ammunition in use by local law enforcement, if permitted.
The only other requirement I look for is a rail to mount a flashlight and perhaps the addition of fiber optic sights (tritium night sights are largely useless outside of dawn and dusk).Backup handgun
3. Backup handgun
Sometimes a more discreet handgun is needed. Maybe one that can be quickly dropped in the pocket of a robe when answering the door or checking on a strange noise in the basement. For this I prefer a five-shot revolver chambered in 38 Special with an interior or concealed hammer.
It may seem like overkill for home defense, but sometimes your home or business may be attacked by multiple opponents – particularly in a riot-type situation. And threats may appear beyond 25 feet, with rifles of their own.
This is rare, but it can happen and when it does an AR-15 variant may be more comforting than a 380 ACP pistol.
I like to keep my rifles simple with a mounted flashlight, sling and usually a sight of some type.
5. Pistol caliber carbine
A rifle chambered in a handgun caliber may seem like an unusual choice as the extra barrel length seldom offers a ballistic advantage. But optics or simply the longer sight radius and stable shooting platform makes these carbines more accurate. Also, they can be legally bought by adults 18 and over. In certain areas, handguns cannot be purchased until a person is 21.
I recommend various AR-15 carbines chambered in 9mm: the KRISS Vector in 9mm or 45 ACP, or various lever-action rifles chambered in 357 Magnum or 45 Colt.
The disadvantages of the long gun come into play when the homeowner needs to call 911 yet still remain armed. For this reason, I recommend the use of slings – or even a pistol grip – to hold and control the weapon with one hand while calling the police.
What would you add to the list? Share your gun advice in the section below:
When selecting an air rifle for survival or simply small-game survival hunting, it is extremely important to choose one with both sufficient muzzle velocity and pinpoint accuracy. Therefore, it is imperative that you invest in a high-quality air rifle from a manufacturer with a longstanding reputation for producing air rifles that are both very durable and highly accurate.
But, with so many different manufacturers and models on the market today, how do you determine which air rifle to buy? Well, to start with, you should be aware that air rifles are categorized by the method they use to propel the pellet and that, for small game hunting purposes, air rifles that employ either spring pistons or gas pistons are the best choice. Those that use pumps or Co2 cartridges do not produce sufficient muzzle velocity. Those that employ a pre-charged air chamber are inconvenient because you have to use a pre-charged scuba tank, carbon fiber tank, or a specialized bicycle-type pump to fill them. The five air rifles listed below are all from well-known manufacturers and they all employ either a spring or gas piston to propel the pellet.
1. Gamo Hunter Extreme SE Air Rifle – The Gamo Silent Hunter SE is a special edition, single shot, .177-caliber air rifle that is capable of reaching a muzzle velocity of 1,650 fps using PBA pellets and a muzzle velocity of 1,250 fps using standard lead pellets. Also, this air rifle features a Monte Carlo stock with a raised cheek piece made from beech hardwood and a ventilated, rubber, recoil pad. In addition, it features a rifled steel barrel sleeve with a bull-barrel configuration, a single-cocking spring piston, break-barrel action requiring 58 lbs. of cocking force and an automatic cocking safety system. Plus, it also has an adjustable, 4.5-pound, trigger pull with a manual trigger safety and a 3 to 9 x 50mm air rifle scope with an illuminated, glass-etched reticule. A single-piece scope mount is included. Suggested retail: $449.99.
2. Gamo Whisper Silent Cat Air Rifle – The Gamo Whisper Silent Cat is a single-shot, .177-caliber air rifle that is capable of reaching a muzzle velocity of 1,200 fps using PBA pellets and a muzzle velocity of 1,000 fps using standard lead pellets. It features a weatherproof, synthetic stock with a rifled steel barrel sleeve covered with a fluted, polymer jacket with an integral noise reduction system that, Gamo says, is capable of reducing the noise of the pellet exiting the barrel by up to 52 percent. It has an adjustable, two-stage trigger pull with a manual trigger safety and a 4 x 32 air rifle scope with a single-piece scope mount. Fiber-optic front and rear open sights are included. Suggested retail: $269.95.
3. Benjamin Trail XL 1100 Air Rifle – The Benjamin Trail XL 1100 is a single-shot, .22-caliber air rifle that is capable of reaching a muzzle velocity of 1,100 fps using PBA pellets and a muzzle velocity of 950 fps using standard lead pellets. Also, this air rifle features a very ergonomic, hardwood thumbhole stock with a rubber recoil pad and a rifled steel barrel. It also features a two-stage, adjustable trigger pull, a manual trigger safety and a center point 3 to 9 x 40mm air rifle scope. A single-piece scope mount is included. Suggested retail: $349.99.
4. Benjamin Trail NP2 Air Rifle – The Benjamin Trail NP is a single shot, .22-caliber air rifle that is capable of reaching a muzzle velocity of 1,100 fps using PBA pellets and a muzzle velocity of 900 fps using standard lead pellets. This air rifle features a very ergonomic, hardwood thumbhole stock with a rubber recoil pad and a rifled steel barrel with an integral sound suppression system. It features a single-cocking, break-barrel, second-generation, nitro piston gas spring (Benjamin Trail says it’s 15 percent faster than the previous version with double the effective shooting range). It also has a two-stage, adjustable clean break trigger with a manual trigger safety and a center point 3 to 9 x 32mm air rifle scope. A single-piece scope mount is included. Suggested retail: $299.99.
5. Crosman Nitro Venom Air Rifle – The Crosman Nitro Venom is a single-shot, .22-caliber air rifle that is capable of reaching a muzzle velocity of 950 fps using standard lead pellets. This air rifle features a very ergonomic, hardwood thumbhole stock with a rubber recoil pad and a rifled steel barrel with an integral sound suppression system. It also features a two-stage, adjustable trigger with a manual trigger safety and a center point 3 to 9 x 32mm air rifle scope. A single-piece scope mount is included. Suggested retail: $199.99.
While there are more expensive hunting air rifles on the market, the five air rifles listed above were all chosen because they deliver sufficient muzzle velocity for hunting small game along with pinpoint accuracy. In addition, each of the air rifles features an adjustable, two-stage trigger and they all include a variable power scope, which is a must-have item for hunting. Lastly, they span a broad range of prices that are specifically designed to fit most any budget. By choosing any of the air rifles listed above, you are certain to receive a high-quality firearm that will provide many years of service and will serve you well for the purpose of hunting small game.
What air rifles would you add to this list? Share your tips in the section below:
There are countless stories of folks getting stranded in the wilderness unarmed and with few supplies. And in many cases, their lack of preparation cost them their lives. There also are many stories of people who get lost and end up surviving. What’s the difference between those who survive and those who don’t? The vast majority of people who survived were sportsmen who came prepared with knowledge and supplies.
One tool for survival which can make the difference between life and death is the firearm. Food, defense and signaling are all possible with a good gun.
Here are my top picks for survival firearms.
1. Glock 17/19
The Glock has arguably the finest reputation in the handgun world for reliability. I have carried a Glock 19 daily for a long time. It has never once failed me — not once. The 9mm is not a choice chambering for bear defense, but for hunting and defense against smaller critters it is plenty adequate. Magazine capacity is excellent with 15-round magazines standard for the Glock 19, and 17-round magazines for the Glock 17. If you carry a couple extra magazines you should have plenty of ammunition to get you through. The Glock safe-action trigger may unnerve newer shooters, but it is completely safe if you practice gun safety.
2. Springfield XD Service model or XDM
Springfield has built an excellent polymer framed handgun in the XD model. The XD, like a Glock, has an excellent reputation for reliability. The XD features a grip safety similar to those found on 1911 model handguns and it has a Glock style trigger.
XDs are available in many different chamberings, including the big three for auto pistols: 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. Magazine capacity differs slightly between the service model and the XDM, but is comparable to a Glock.
3. Smith and Wesson Model 29
Go ahead and make your day. If you are in bear country and in need of a handgun that will give you a fighting chance against a brown or grizzly bear, my go-to handgun is a Smith & Wesson 29 chambered in .44 Magnum. Recoil is stout and most new shooters will shy away from such firepower.
4. Taurus Judge
The huge advantage of the Taurus Judge is the ability to shoot both .45 Long colt and .410 shot shells, including slugs, 00 Buck and bird shot. This gives you a wide variety of munitions and you will only be limited by what you pack with you.
5. .22 Pistol
I also want to say that having a .22 pistol in your pack is a great tool for harvesting small game for sustenance. Semi-auto or revolver — anything that is accurate to 20 yards and allows you to hit baseball-sized targets with regular consistency is a good pick.
6. Remington 870 or Mossberg 500
This is kind of a no-brainer, and survival shotguns have been argued to death in article after article. Either one of these shotguns will do the trick. Both are reliable and I wouldn’t hesitate to use either. In bear country, slugs and 00 Buck is the ticket, and you can keep shot shells in your pocket for small game. A slug from a .12 gauge will handle any big game in the world under 75 yards. It has put down elephants, hippos, water buffalo, polar bear and Kodiak bear. You will be limited to range, but not on firepower.
If you are out elk hunting and you get lost, you’ll be stuck with your elk rifle. A .30-06, .270 or just about any big game rifle makes a fine survival firearm as long as it is reliable, accurate and has some extra ammunition. I’m not going to list hunting rifles here, as the list would be longer than my arm. But my top picks for hunting rifles are both the Remington 700 and the Savage 11. Both are outstanding rifles. They would do well in a survival situation and are very simple in their operation and upkeep.
7. Marlin 1895G
The 1895 guide gun fires a .45-70 projectile. The .45-70 is a very old and very large hunk of lead that has been in use since the 1870s. With the right loads, it will put a grizzly in its place, put down a bison and bring home the bacon with any large game in North America. You’ll be limited to about 150 yards at most.
8. Ruger 10-22
The perfect lightweight carbine for small game is a great choice if you are not in grizzly country. The rifle is chambered in .22 long rifle or .22 WMR. This small game rifle is utterly reliable, uses a 10 shot magazine and can be had for about $230.
The US semi-auto AK variants on the market are fine choices for survival. I would rather have an AK than an AR in a survival situation, as there are fewer moving parts. The 7.62x39mm round is capable of taking up to deer-sized game. It is perfect for a truck gun or in a disaster scenario. The rifle feeds from a 30-round, detachable magazine and has plenty of firepower.
What firearms would you add to this list? Share your tips in the section below:
Winter brings to mind wonderful visions of snow-covered fields, perfectly round snowballs and ice skating. It also brings memories of scraping ice off of car windshields, shoveling sidewalks and desperately trying to keep your footing on slippery walks from the house to the car. If you have ever experienced an early morning of ice scraping, sidewalk shoveling and slipping your way to your car, the idea of using deicers has certainly crossed your mind.
There is one thing to know about deicers. They aren’t made to remove all ice and snow from an area. Deicers are designed to break up the ice enough to shovel it away. There is a bit of chemistry involved based on the knowledge that the freezing point of salt water is lower than that of fresh water. When the ice melts from the deicer, a layer of water is created under the ice that allows the ice to be broken up and moved.
What’s Wrong With Using Salt?
The most common way to deice driveways and sidewalks is to use rock salt. Although cheap and easy to use, rock salt is concentrated and very corrosive. It affects plants, pets, water and even paint.
Rock salt can be found in nature, but it is spread out, unlike how we use it in our neighborhoods. Because the salt dissolves in water, it can flow and absorb into all sorts of ground and water areas.
The effect of this salt on your grass and other surrounding plants is simple: rock salt = dead plants. It will ruin your lawn because it limits the growth of plants. And it can drain into the ground water.
Animals that drink the salty water or eat the salty grass often develop health problems. The most dangerous issue is salt poisoning. If you have to walk your dog on the salty city sidewalks, you have probably noticed how raw or inflamed the dog’s (or any animal’s) foot pads get from the salt.
Alternatives need to be healthy, safe and durable. They should contain ingredients that are non-corrosive to metals, plastics, paints and pavement. Having non-chemical alternatives will help keep your children, plants, pets and wildlife safe. Most alternatives are non-staining as well.
Organic salts, or those that have acetate in them, are more biodegradable. Some examples of these salts are potassium acetate, calcium magnesium acetate and sodium acetate.
Here are some other mixtures and products that can be applied to ice to help break it up or make it passable:
- Mix one teaspoon of dish soap, one tablespoon of rubbing alcohol and ½ gallon of hot water. You can use more rubbing alcohol, if needed.
- A mixture of beet juice, alfalfa hay, tiny gravel and a touch of table salt. (Yes, cities are even using beet juice now.) There are different recipes, so experiment.
- Epsom salts will melt both ice and snow, and is said to be harmless to plants and animals.
- Sand or fine gravel provides more traction than ice-melting.
- Rubbing (Isopropyl) alcohol slows freezing, and is often used in commercial deicers.
- Snowmelt mat: Made of electric wires, this mat heats from underneath.
- Heated mats: Stays on the surface of the desired area, and melts snow and ice.
When to Use Deicer
If you have a powdery, dry snow, then don’t use deicer. Simply shovel or sweep the snow to prevent it from forming hard, packed layers. For heavy, wet snow, use deicing methods as soon as you notice the snow. For freezing rain, apply deicer before the freezing rain sets to prevent a buildup of ice.
If there is more than two inches of snow, you must shovel first. Putting deicer on thick snow will not melt enough to be helpful. When you get to a packed layer, or when you are near the bottom layer of snow, you can add deicer.
Remember: Always start by using the smallest amount of deicer and increase as needed. Within 15 minutes of application, the ice should start to melt.
What are your favorite organic deicing methods? Share your tips in the section below:
One is the respected Brown Bess and its variations, which saw the uniting of the crowns into the United Kingdom and the rise and expansion of the British Empire. Another would doubtlessly be the Enfield Rifled Musket, which saw action in the Crimean War and was used by both sides in the American Civil War. The Snider-Enfield and Martini-Henry Breechloaders followed, and were used throughout the colonial wars of the later 19th century.
But one modern rifle served the British Empire and its commonwealth through the two largest wars in history and is still available on the surplus market: the Lee-Enfield.
The .303 bore Lee-Enfield was adopted by the British Imperial Forces shortly before 1895. It saw use in the bloody Boer War, where teething issues were experienced, particularly when the rifle went toe to toe with the German Mauser rifles utilized by the Boers. Beginning toward the end of the Boer War, the British started a push to switch from the Enfield to a rifle that incorporated a Mauser action. During this time, a new variant of the Enfield, the “Short Magazine Lee-Enfield” or SMLE for short, entered service with the British Army in 1904, with a further change in 1907. This, consolidated with enhanced .303 cartridges, extraordinarily extended the rifle’s range, and increased its accuracy. With the start of World War I, the effort to replace the rifle with a Mauser-type firearm was ended.
During WWI, the Enfield beat almost every other rifle in the combat zone. With its 10-round magazine, and a one-of-a-kind cock on close action, the Enfield could be discharged by a trained infantryman at a rate of 30 rounds per minute. At the battle of Mons, the Germans reported coming up against machine gun fire, not knowing it was British Infantry discharging volleys during a “Mad Minute,” using the Lee-Enfield.
When the Canadians entered World War I, they were equipped with the accurate-yet-lethally defective Ross Rifle. After tragic results, the Canadian troops happily turned in their Ross Rifles for Enfields. The Enfield turned into the standard long arm of Canada for the following three decades.
It was later said that the French had the awful rifle (Berther and Lebel), the Germans had the best Hunting Rifle (Mauser G98), the Americans had the finest target rifle (Springfield M1903), and the British had the best military rifle (SMLE).
At the finish of the First World War, the SMLE became the No.1 Mk. III rifle, and the push to modernize the rifle further was started by the Brits. Toward the start of the Second World War, the SMLE equipped the majority of the British Empire, and also Australia, Canada and New Zealand. It was joined and in many ways supplanted by the No. 4 Mk. I rifle, which was a modernized Enfield. The new rifle was intended for large-scale manufacturing and was much less expensive and simpler to build en masse than the SMLE. The No. 4 Mk. I was equipped with a spike bayonet reminiscent of Napoleonic days rather than the sword bayonet utilized by the SMLE, but it kept the dependable Enfield action and 10-round magazine of the prior No 1 Mk. III. The Mk. IV saw wide usage in World War II and Korea, as did the SMLE. In World War II, the SMLE was the most widely used British rifle in the Mediterranean and Indian theater of the war, while the Mk. IV was for the most part utilized in Europe.
During the 1950s, the Enfield was supplanted by the L1A1 in both British and Commonwealth service and many surplus rifles flooded the surplus firearms market in the USA and Canada. The Enfield still sees military use with the Canadian Rangers, who are finally in the midst of replacing their aged rifles with modern .308s
The .303 Enfield has been to the Canadians what the .30-06 M1 Garand and M1903 Springfield rifles are to the Americans. It is an excellent hunting rifle, and throughout North America has killed a huge number of deer, elk and moose, and bear.
I personally have enjoyed the Enfield as a range gun. The 10-round magazine is very unique for a bolt gun and provides more “plinking time.” While .303 isn’t sold everywhere, you can find surplus rounds online. The rifle is accurate (not as accurate as an M1903, but more accurate than an AR-15). I have seen it used for deer, and can attest to the lethality of a soft-tipped .303. The occasion it took a large whitetail in my presence, it was a one-shot kill that dropped the deer in its tracks.
An Enfield can be employed in a home defense role, but be careful if you choose milsurp rounds as they will easily puncture walls, bricks, chimneys, etc. Most mil spec rounds on the market are armor-piercing, not unlike much of the .30-06 surplus from the 40s and 50s M1 Garand owners use. Hunting rounds are a better option for home defense for the Enfield. Its fast bolt action will come in handy here.
An Enfield can be a good all-around multi-purpose rifle for hunting, self-defense and scavenging.
Have you use an Enfield? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:
Transcription provided by American Preppers Network
Number of speakers: 2 (Tyler & Crystal)
Duration: 3min 53sec
Guns & How to Choose the Right Gun For YOU!
Tyler: “Hey this is Tyler with T Jack Survival. We are here in Provo at Discount Guns. Lots of stuff in there. I am here with Crystal. We are going to help you choose what guns are good for you so stay tuned!”
Crystal: “People often ask me which gun is the right gun for me. Well you’re asking the wrong question. Guns are like shoes, you can always use more than one pair and each shoe works different with an outfit. It’s the same with guns, whatever your purpose is a different gun is going to be best suited for that purpose. So small guns have a purpose and small guns are usually used for concealed carry because they are light and easy to carry and they are easy to conceal. Larger guns are usually used for people that need a higher round capacity. Larger guns are also easier to manipulate so when you are on the shooting range and practicing malfunction drills or even shooting a larger gun is going to be better and more comfortable to shoot for a long period of time and be more accurate with.”
“We have a couple different guns here. The first one is a little unique and maybe you would use this gun for hunting. It has a longer barrel; you can put a high capacity magazine in it. It shoots the .22 long rifle. It would be great for shooting some squirrels.”
“You gotta come over here to a mid-sized. A duty gun which is great for law enforcement or a concealed carry weapon. Then we move over here to the Ruger 22. Maybe you just want to do some target practice. This is a great gun to work on your accuracy. Maybe shoot some rodents.”
“You got these smaller guns. The colt mustang and it’s a great gun for concealed carry. It’s small and light weight. It’s great for women to put in their purse.”
“Then we have this revolver 357 magnum. Maybe you need a ranch gun. Maybe you need to take care of some predators on your ranch or some varmints. Great gun to do that.”
“Once you know how to fit the gun to your hand and you know what purpose you’re gonna use that gun for and you can choose the right gun for the right purpose. Then you gotta know how to use it. So stay tuned this month and we will talk more about that in this series.”
“If this video has been valuable to you please subscribe, comment below or like us. Thanks for watching, this is T Jack Survival.
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When contemplating the purchase of a hunting rifle for the purpose of wilderness survival, most hunters automatically think of the venerable .22 LR. They are relatively inexpensive, readily available and the ammunition is both cheap and easy to transport. However, they also are noisy to shoot and a bullet fired from a .22 LR can travel over a mile.
An excellent alternative to the .22 LR is a modern air rifle. They cost about the same and are quieter when fired. In fact, members of the Lewis & Clark expedition carried air rifles for hunting in hostile Native American territory for this very reason. Also, depending on the rifle and caliber chosen, they can be used to hunt both small and large game.
Before purchasing an air rifle it’s important to know they are available with four different types of power plants – spring pistons, gas pistons, pre-charged pneumatics and pumps. Air rifles with pre-charged pneumatic power plants are the most accurate of the four different types, but they also are the least suited for wilderness survival. That’s because they require the use of a pre-charged scuba tank (or similar reservoir) and a special regulator valve, or a special type of manual pump to charge the integral air reservoir.
In addition, air rifles with pump-up power plants also are not the best for wilderness survival because they have a relatively low pellet velocity and as a result do not generate enough kinetic energy to humanely harvest even small game species. Both spring piston and gas piston power plants, on the other hand, are great choices. Neither type requires any sort of special equipment to charge their air reservoirs and both are capable of generating a significant amount of kinetic energy. Plus, they are plenty accurate for the purpose of hunting since precise accuracy is only required when participating in formal air gun competitions.
In addition, air rifles with pump-up power plants also are not the best for wilderness survival because they have a relatively low pellet velocity and as a result do not generate enough kinetic energy to humanely harvest even small game species. Both spring piston and gas piston power plants, on the other hand, are great choices. Neither type requires any sort of special equipment to charge their air reservoirs and both are capable of generating a significant amount of kinetic energy. Plus, they are plenty accurate for the purpose of hunting since precise accuracy is only required when participating in formal air gun competitions.
In addition to the four different types of power plants, modern air rifles also are available in a myriad of different calibers and it is important to choose the appropriate caliber for your needs. For instance, neither the .177 nor the .20 caliber models are capable of firing pellets that are heavy enough to be particularly useful for hunting. While .22 caliber are by far the most popular choice for air rifle hunting, air rifles also are available in .25, .357 (9mm), .45 and .50 caliber. By simply choosing the proper type of power plant combined with the appropriate caliber, a person could easily hunt most any game species that is available in their area – and supply themselves with enough protein to remain healthy in a wilderness survival situation.
Lastly, there is the matter of appropriate pellet type. For instance, .22 caliber pellets are available in weights as light as 9.8 grains and as heavy as 32.4 grains (440 grains equals one ounce). They also are available with flat noses, round noses, pointed noses, hollow point noses and ballistic tips. However, it should be noted that although lightweight pellets move faster than heavy pellets, they do not penetrate as deeply. Therefore it is important to choose both pellet type and the pellet weight according to the type of game species you intend to hunt. For example, if you’re shooting small birds, lightweight pellets with hollow points work well. But, if you’re hunting squirrels and rabbits, somewhat heavier pellets with either round noses, pointed noses or ballistic tips are a far better choice. In addition, .357, .45, and .50 caliber pellets are all available in your choice of flat-nosed, round-nosed and hollow-point designs and they are an excellent choice for species such as wild turkeys, feral hogs and whitetail deer.
By purchasing a modern air rifle with the appropriate type of power plant and using the correct type of pellet, a hunter can easily get fresh meat and do so without the noisy blast of a .22 LR. An added bonus is that the lead pellets for an air rifle are significantly cheaper to purchase than a .22 LR’s metallic cartridges and also not as bulky to carry.
Have you used an air rifle for survival or hunting? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:
I absolutely love multi-purpose gear which can be used in a wide variety of scenarios, settings and applications.
But selecting an optic for your rifle can become tricky, because you just don’t know what ranges you will be pressed to engage (whether, say, five yards or 500). Thus, to slap a 20x piece of glass on your AR’s Picatinny rail could leave you at a major disadvantage. That’s why I’ve put together a list of optics that would be ideal for just about anything.
Here’s my criteria for what made the list…
Our selected optics must be operationally independent from batteries and have a high level of:
Also this means that, unlike actual Pentagon-approved military combat missions, we won’t be able to change up and top off our loadout between engagements after a quick stop at the PX … or await extraction via Blackhawk medevac when we’re in a tight spot and losing blood.
Here, then, is the list, starting with No. 4:
No. 4 – Trijicon 4×32 ACOG
Yes, I do know that this particular optic will run you a whopping $1,700. I get it.
However, let’s consider a few things concerning this particular piece of glass. First, I do believe that if you can drop that kind of cash on an optic, then this would be a ridiculously strong option. Not only did it prove to be terrifyingly effective for our Marines in the battle of Fallujah, but it also seems to have been sturdy enough to absorb the energy of an enemy round upon impact -as discovered by Sgt. Todd B. Bowers.
Anecdotal credit aside, the Trijicon ACOG is an optic that extracts ambient light to illuminate the reticle without burning through battery power — and 4x also appears to be a highly versatile magnification. Considering you can shoot with both eyes open, while still quickly transitioning to targets at ranges long enough to stretch the 5.56’s capabilities, I’d call that a win.
No. 3 – Nikon Monarch 3 Rifle Scope 1-4×20
The coolest aspect about “safari”-style rifle scopes is the fact that they enable the shooter to take game at long ranges; while at the same time, they can also be dialed back to 1x for defensive “gee-willakers, Batman, where did that huge lion come from!?”-type of CQB situations.
For this reason, the Nikon Monarch 3 makes for a great optic because it does offer that same transitional magnification power. Also, it’s made for the ruggedness and durability needed to survive Jumanji.
Combine that with its $280 price tag, and you’ve got a great option. And heck, you don’t even need to worry about batteries.
No. 2 – Leatherwood Hi-Lux ATR 2-7×32 Scout
Let’s change this up a bit…
One unique optic possibility is mounting an LER (long eye relief) system, rather than using the traditional kind that sits about five inches from the eye. This setup does offer a few solutions to several fast long/short range-transitional problems, and it’s also one reason why I picked the Leatherwood Hi-Lux ATR 2-7×32 LER. Not only does it offer greater magnification capability than you might get from a 4x scope, but the Jeff Cooper-style ‘scout rifle’ concept is certainly a valid configuration to support your objectives. To further explain, here’s Midway’s description on this particular Leatherwood model optic,
“The long eye relief of the Leatherwood Hi-Lux ATR is designed for forward mounting scout style rifles. The maximum 13 inch eye relief gives the shooter a unique advantage whether shooting at targets long range or near point blank.”
It’s a fantastic system and worthy of at least giving it a try. Heck, for less than $140, you don’t have much to lose, even if you eventually end up mounting it on a wayward and greasy Mosin Nagant project rifle, because you couldn’t stand the LER configuration.
Hey I do understand, such a system doesn’t work for everybody.
No. 1 – Leupold VX-2 3-9×40
Leupold is probably one of the greatest and most well-known rifle scope manufacturers of all time, given the rock-solid reputation for quality and customer service throughout the many decades that they’ve been in business. They probably manufactured the scope that was on your grandpa’s old 30-06, and they’re still making scopes that you’ll probably be able to give to your own grandkids. And then, of course, it doesn’t get much more tried and true than the 3-9×40.
The reason I placed the Leupold VX-2 3-9×40 at the top of this list is because there will be absolutely no doubt in this scope’s ability to perform above and beyond expectations.
Based on the familiarity-factor and quality of this optic, the Leupold VX-2 is el numero uno on my list. And by the way, here’s a quick tip to expand your CQB abilities…
RifleHack: Have Your Scope and CQB It, Too
Don’t want to sacrifice your cheek weld with a see-through mount, but you still want to have your 3-9×40 and CQB it, too? Well, if there’s one thing that three-gun matches have taught us, it’s that innovative methods, on how to increase target acquisition speed and sight picture versatility, have created quite a few three-gun winners.
That’s why I mount rapid transition sights on my AR, which are irons that provide a sight picture that’s simply canted 45-degree offset — and yet still sits on the same rail as the primary optic. This enables you to utilize a higher-powered magnification (without it being obscured), and still quickly engage those up close and higher-threat targets by simply tilting the rifle sideways.
Food for thought.
What optics would you add to this list? Do you disagree with anything on the list? Share your tips in the section below:
Let’s have a look at some of the best shotguns that money can buy because there’s no survival or home invasion scenario that a shotgun can’t get you out of. Maybe you won’t even get to use it, as the sound of pumping your shotgun would be enough in sending chills down the spine of whomever means you harm. But if this fails, know that the large caliber ammo in use is more than enough to even stop an elephant in its tracks; what it’s capable of doing to a human assailant is not even worth mentioning. But shotguns come in a great variety of shapes and sizes and you’ll need to be aware of the differences before getting your own. Maybe the most important criteria to consider is the firing
method, as you can get a pump action or a semi-automatic. Length is also important, as it makes for greater maneuverability in certain situations, not to mention that a more compact one would be easier to carry
around all day as it will most probably be lighter.
The number of rounds that it can hold is a big deal, especially for those of you who aren’t good shots. It deals a world of hurt, it’s true, but you’ll need to hit your target; so the more chances you can take at gunning down your target, the better. The grip shouldn’t be overlooked either. Most shotguns come with a standard rifle-like grip, but some have a grip similar to pistols.
Remington 870 Express Tactical
This is not state of the art when it comes to shotguns, but it’s still one of the most used shotguns out there. It’s made a name for itself, and its capabilities are undisputable. This is a 12 gauge destroyer that has a capacity of 6 + 1. Its reloading system is based on pump action and it measure 18.5″ barrel. For precise aiming (as precise as aiming can be) it comes equipped with a fully adjustable XS Ghost ring and a removable front sight. It uses a SuperCell pad which can reduce recoil by about 40%-50%, depending on the situation. The whole body is covered in a weather resistant Carakote coating, which makes it perfect for those that are used to wandering outside in all sorts of weather conditions. It’s not a cheap shotgun, as it costs around $500, but it doesn’t cut corners in quality and precision.
Beretta AL391 Teknys Gold Target
This is a 12 gauge shotgun that is very well built and it’s fairly easy to shoot. It weighs at about 8lbs 11oz and when it comes to autoloaders, it’s simply one of the best (if not the best) you can find on the market. It has a 30” barrel and it might seem a bit heavy considering its weight, but it doesn’t feel heavy at all while you’re shooting. It has a removable recoil reducer in the buttstock, and if you’re eager of making it lighter, you can simply take the recoil down and drop about 0.5lbs from the overall weight. The self-compensating gas system it’s equipped with runs very smoothly and it reacts very fast, making the shooting process feel incredibly comfortable. It costs $1,200, and in my own personal opinion, you can’t get anything better in this price range.
This particular 12 gauge shotgun produced by Winchester has the latest and greatest when it comes to pump technologies, meaning that the SXP pump systems are extremely diverse and reliable. It has aluminum oil receivers, which are lighter and cheaper than steel ones; and despite popular believes they work perfectly. You can get a barrel length of maximum 30” and as far as looks go, there’s a great variety of models to choose from: camo, wood-stocked and synthetic black with chromed elements. It comes equipped with cross-bolt safeties, an Inflex pad that mitigates a great deal of recoil and a rotating bolt head with four locking lugs. This should cost you about $470, and if you ask me, it’d be money well spent.
Mossberg 930 SPX
Moosberg are well known for the quality of their products, and they’ve certainly made no exception to the rule when it comes to the 930 SPX. It’s a 12 gauge shotgun that has an 18.5″ barrel and a capacity of 7 (+ 1). It’s not exactly a cheap shotgun (considering you’ll need to throw away about $700 to get one), which won’t seem that much if you take into account that it’s a semi-automatic we’re talking about. The top of the gun is equipped with a rail that allows you to fit any sort of aiming system you find compatible; you can install a red dot, a scope or even a holographic site. Loading the magazine is very simple and It can be done very quickly: open the bolt lock, place a shell in the ejection port and push the bolt release.
There’s nothing more to be said about shotguns. We all know them, and we all love them. All you have to do now is find the one that works best for you. Usually prices vary from a couple of hundred $ to many thousands. It’s up to you on how much you’re willing to spend. But just know that if there’s ever the need for it, a shotgun will save the day.
By Alec Deacon
I love my kids. The energy they bring to our home, the warm embraces I receive every morning when they wake, and the joy of watching them learn and grow. All of these things make life beautiful.
I want them to grow up knowing the Lord, following God, valuing life, to be handy with a shovel, able to use a tractor … and a crack shot with a rifle. I desire them to be able to hunt game, dispatch a rabid coyote, and be able to drop a sexual predator with a well-aimed barrage of gunfire. In short, I want my kids to learn not only how to handle a firearm, but to respect that firearm and the responsibility that goes with it, and shoot extremely well.
As a firearm instructor, my top concern on the range is safety. This has to be our step one as a parent when it comes to teaching our children to handle guns. Every child needs to be taught to respect a firearm. They also need to be taught that a firearm in an inanimate object, and it is only dangerous if in the hands of a dangerous or evil user. My wife and I know a woman who was raised by her parents to fear guns. To this day she is deathly afraid of the sight of a rifle, shotgun or pistol. This should never be our goal as a parent.
Teach your young children to never touch a firearm, except with Mommy or Daddy’s permission. I let my 5 year old handle a firearm unloaded. I am already instilling in her little mind that her finger never touches the trigger until she is ready to shoot, and to keep the muzzle pointed in the safest direction possible. I am always right there when she handles it, and it is always unloaded unless she is firing at a target with my help. Our firearms remain locked up.
Our goal should be to see our children become confident, yet not cocky. Respectful, and not fearful. I want to raise my children in such a way that if they were to come across a firearm at a friend’s house someday left out and loaded, my child could safe that weapon — meaning he or she can determine safely if it was loaded or not, and unload and safe the firearm if needed.
I have an example here in my own life. As a teenager, I once came across a potentially dangerous situation at the home of a farmer I knew. I used to hunt and work his property part-time. During deer season one year, the farmer who never practiced the best firearm safety had gone into town with his son. They left a few rifles and shotguns in a common building on the farm fully loaded. One of their shotguns, a Browning Auto-5, had a round in the chamber, and four more in the tube magazine. The muzzle of the shotgun was completely full of hardened mud and pebbles.
I was aghast at the sight. I had grown up as a hunter and around firearms and I knew my way around them extremely well. I grabbed that shotgun before some of the other part-time employees who were a wee bit reckless came to work. I unloaded the shotgun, and then proceeded to unload the other firearms, a Remington 700 and a Mosin M1991/30. The shotgun with the plugged barrel sure made me feel uneasy, so I raced over to the tool shed, retrieved a cleaning rod and gun oil and gave the barrel a thorough cleaning. By the time the other knuckleheads arrived to work, I had stored the guns in a safe place out of their sight and told my boss. He shrugged as I handed him the ammunition I retrieved, but I knew deep down I did the right thing.
That is how you want to raise your kids to behave around a firearm.
Shooting a Firearm
Never start your kids on a high-powered rifle. I have seen so many idiots — and idiots is too kind a word — hand a youngster a .12 gauge or .30-06 for their first time shooting. When the kid is naturally bruised or knocked on his rear, the adult explodes in rip-roaring laughter. I honestly want to grab the firearm and wrap the barrel around the adult’s neck when I see this.
We should desire to see our kids grow up to love shooting, hunting and the outdoor sports. The first time out should be with light cartridges and small guns. Even a BB gun is great. A .22 is terrific for youngsters. Get them comfortable shooting, and then work on accuracy.
A .22 bolt action is the best tool to teach a child how to shoot. I never let a youngster use a scoped rifle unless they really need one. Start with iron sights and build confidence. Gently teach, and encourage your child. However, be strict with firearm safety. You must never waiver with a stern hand when it comes to safety.
Also, never let your child handle a firearm that they are not capable of handling. Many of us can remember last year when a firearms instructor in Arizona let a little girl handle a UZI submachine gun with tragic consequences. Let’s not let that happen. Start slow.
If they are going to start deer hunting, why not a light kicker like a .223, which contrary to many armchair gun expert’s opinion, has dropped plenty of deer. If you must go heavier, think a .243 or .7mm-08. A .30-30 can do fine for an older child.
As your child gains confidence, feel free to teach them how to handle larger chamberings. I strongly suggest waiting to introduce the shotgun until they are comfortable enough to handle recoil. I have found many larger 8 and 9 year olds are ready for a youth .20 gauge and turkey hunting.
Stay safe, and God bless!
What advice would you add on teaching a child to shoot? Share it in the section below:
For those of you lucky enough to live in pro-rifle hunting states, you have the opportunity to achieve some of the greatest successes that hunting has to offer with nearly unlimited range and the power to fell any size game from whatever distance. Of course, you also have the chance of adding your name to […]
Host Johnny Kempen broadcasts live from the wilds of Alaska about all things gun related. Call in using +1 (213) 943-3444 when the show is live every Friday at 6pm Pacific/ 9pm Eastern to ask questions and participate in the show. Call in and participate!
Host Johnny Kempen broadcasts live from the wilds of Alaska about all things gun related. Call in using +1 (213) 943-3444 when the show is live every Friday at 6pm Pacific/ 9pm Eastern to ask questions and participate in the show. Call in and participate!
Host Johnny Kempen broadcasts live from the wilds of Alaska about all things gun related. Call in using +1 (213) 943-3444 when the show is live every Friday at 6pm Pacific/ 9pm Eastern to ask questions and participate in the show. Call in and participate!
Click widget below to listen.
Click widget below to listen.
So you hear something in the middle of the night and you grab your gun and then the door begins to open and you see a silhouette of a figure in your doorway, you take aim and fire…the target goes down….Celebration? No, not at all. In the case of Oscar Pistorious he shot and killed his girlfriend killing her instantly and now stands trial for murder in South Africa.
This shows how important it is for you to have proper, in-depth and quality training when you own a firearm.
I was lucky enough to have a lot of it over the years between my time in the Marine Corps and working as a security contractor, i had endless hours on the range practicing what is called “Target ID” or Target Identification. This is extremely important; as important as it is to be able to accurately and efficiently put fire on a hostile threat it you must also be able to in a split second recognize whether or not your target is a ‘hostile’ or a ‘friendly’.
It goes without saying, but accidently shooting a loved one or innocent person would be just as damaging as not shooting a hostile, more so in your mind. I have seen what killing an innocent person can do to people, it tears them up and forever scars them, some never let it go and some take their own life, thus two people were killed that day, the innocent and years later the man who made the mistake.
I have been caught in complacency, in training a few times and shot an innocent. We would be going through room clearing time after time after time, and being in a good rhythm you start to just go on auto pilot, this isnt necessarily a bad thing, however in my case i turned off my internal target ID and learned my lesson. After one of the run throughs of the scenario, instructors went in and pasted a few Hands over where the weapon was on the target, I came in as number two man through the door, saw a target, fired and moved on to the next threat. However at the end of the scenario, the instructors brought us back through and asked me If i had shot the target (pointing at it), I looked and confirmed and saw what I had done…I did not look for a threat, I assumed all ‘targets’ were threats; This was a dangerous and deadly mistake, one that would have ramifications beyond just my own psyche, but would put every brother in arms i served with over there in danger. Every innocent killed was a recruiting tool for our enemy and often family members of innocents join up for revenge. I learned my lesson and never repeated it.
So how can you train for his scenario? Well you wont be worrying about clearing rooms full of hostile insurgents, however a scenario where you are creeping around your house weapon ready is a very likely scenario (not in general but as far as scenarios go where you will be using your gun, it is much more likely than going into a home full of hostile Al Qaeda members!).
Remember the story about Oscar Pistorious I mentioned above. South Africa has a very high rate of burglaries and Mr. Pistorious was very worried about this, which is why he had multiple weapons, however even with the right mindset of protecting himself and his property he still made a mistake…a life changing/destroying one. Learn that lesson.
When you go to the range or wherever you shoot, most likely you will be shooting with friends, make up scenarios for each other. I recommend that you bring 5-6 standing target stands and past targets on them, however a few of them past hands over the gun to simulate “innocents” (You could buy targets of non shooters for this, they make them, but the point is to have yourself be faced with extremely similar targets, exactly the same, but not all have a gun). Have your friends set them up at varying distances if you want and mix the hostiles and friendlies up. Have your back to them as they do this.
Always have your pistol unloaded and holstered (in the case of the rifle unloaded and pointing downward or on a table, our rule was alway no hands on a weapon when people were downrange setting up targets, do not touch them to clean them or check them, do that when everyone is behind the firing line!!!!)
Once they set it up, load your weapon, return to holster then turn and face your targets and unholster and “present” your weapon (that is bring it out of its holster and aim) and begin to fire. Do this slow at first take a second or two to recognize the target as a threat or not. Over time speed it up, and you will get very proficient at this. After many many many hours you will automatically be looking for a threat in the target and firing immediately if there is one, and not if there isn’t.
Remember that you are the always responsible for what you do with a firearm, even if you think you were under a threat and it turns out you were not your are still and should be held responsible.
Always have positive Target ID before you fire, the second you pull the trigger there is not take backs or do overs, this is a very serious situation where life and death hang in the balance.
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