When is Ammo Too Old? – Prepper Ammo Storage

What is the single most important firearm type for TEOTWAWKI: Reviewing four modern semi-automatic 22lr caliber rifles.


by Jesse Mathewson

In these United States, we have seen hundreds if not thousands of 22lr caliber rifles come and go over the years. Arguably the Ruger 10/22 is the most well known and oldest version of the semi-automatic 22lr rifles still in production today, originally coming onto the scene in 1964 with a rotary style magazine, as compared to the other rifles in today’s review, which all utilize stick style magazines. This rifle was ahead of its time and served to make Ruger a household name, along with the further innovations in the Mini (14, 30 etc.,) series rifles and a variety of handguns.

It is important to understand that my choice personally for 22lr caliber rifle; for the purposes of this article, is not based on anything other than testing, function, weight, price and overall effective efficiency in filling the role as meat provider for the table in a grid down situation, or even as a defensive tool. (And all arguments aside, 22lr is a deadly round, this has been proven time and again over the years, I will attach links to several factual stories of defense against BG’s with the lowly 22lr, not too mention its use as a premier fly swatter for individuals intent on fulfilling pest control of a two-legged variety of varmint.)** On a personal note I have used it quite actively over the years for varmint control, freezer filling and more, sadly the caliber .22 being banned for hunting in many states now, though this is not a serious issue in a grid down situation. After all, some laws are simply not moral or necessary.

The following four rifles include four of the top brand names and are modern, still in production, semi-automatic magazine fed 22lr caliber rifles. The specifics for each are listed below for your perusal. I am not including bolt action .22lr or tube fed, I am not including any 22lr caliber clones of AR, AK or other military variants. I am also not including conversion kits for AR styled rifles as these have their own set of issues and costs.

Marlin Model 795

  • .22 long rifle
  • 10 round stick magazine, 1 in chamber
  • 18” barrel
  • Sights, adjustable open rear, ramp front sight with grooves in receiver for scope mounting
  • 1: 16 rh twist
  • 4.5lbs unloaded
  • 37” overall length
  • Suggested retail is 239.99

Relatively new, not many aftermarket parts, somewhat based on the Marlin 60 which was a truly fine 22lr and shone in many areas. Very accurate rifle and for the cost is extremely nice. Only ammunition issues were Remington flat tips, otherwise, shoots everything.

I had one, and loved it, however, as the cost is more than the Mossberg 702 which follows, I haven’t invested more in additional copies. And as I am a KISS proponent and fan, it is essential that those within my core group are armed in a similar fashion so as to reduce the number of possible problems when arming, rearming etc.,

Mossberg 702 Plinkster

  • .22 long rifle
  • 10 round stick magazine/ 25 round factory extended magazines available
  • 18” barrel
  • Adjustable sights (replace with Tech Sights) grooved for scopes, not milspec, you will need to get a 3/8” scope mount or adapter, which is easily found on Amazon for milspec additions and rails.
  • This is not abnormal with non AR styled .22lr firearms, to be more pointed, many hunting rifles come with this mount approach. So it is in fact a standard mounting for hunters.
  • 1:16 twist rh
  • Synthetic Stock, Wood Stock and or additional colors available if needed. However, the standard black synthetic stock works effectively.
  • 4lb’s
  • 37” overall length
  • Suggested price 176.00

Based on an older model, several companies make aftermarket parts, however, magazines are still only available from the factory. It is not as popular as the 10/22 and as such suffers from a lack of aftermarket parts availability. Extremely reliable and accurate. Only ammunition issues were Remington flat tips, otherwise, shoots everything.

This is my top choice, they can be found for around $100 at most Wal-Marts, or used for even less depending on location, rarely have I seen them over $160. Pinned barrel, simple action blowback action. A bit of sandpaper and a philips head screwdriver will have the barrel free floated in under 15 minutes. I currently own several, with 10 magazines for each one. An inexpensive one-inch nylon sling, $79 on Tech Sights (Amazon), and you will have a rifle that will easily get you a rifleman badge at the local Appleseed shoot, keep it clean and you will never have an issue with it.

Ruger 10/22

  • .22 long rifle
  • 10 round cyclical magazine/ 25 round factory extended magazines available
  • gold bead front sight (replace with Tech Sights)
  • 1:16 twist rh
  • 18.5” barrel
  • 5.75lb’s
  • 37” overall length
  • Suggested price 379.00

Extremely popular there is no shortage of aftermarket kits, parts, and the bells and whistles you may require to make your survival gun both pretty and relatively functional. Have owned 4 from the mid 80’s through 2009, all were ammunition specific firearms, or finicky. Accuracy was decent, however, magazine issues (factory magazines) and some ammunition feed issues had me selling them all.

After spending two years helping out with local Appleseed shoots in Arizona, I witnessed two or three failures every shooting day of every Appleseed from the Ruger 10/22. Now, this does not mean you wont find solid shooting 10/22s, it just means that during that two year time, my Mossberg 702s never failed, not once, and the 10/22 in multiple configurations from factory basic through $2000 plus add on configured did.

Savage 64 F

  • 22 long rifle
  • 10 round stick magazine
  • open sights, drilled and tapped for scope mounting
  • 1:16 rh twist
  • 21” barrel length (slightly better accuracy and ballistics should result)
  • weight is 5lbs.
  • Suggested price $140.00

True free floated barrel, several variations available, generally considered to be most accurate out of the box and having shot one or two, I would tend to agree. It is an extremely accurate, ammunition picky, but VERY accurate. It has also been out since 1964, though the first model met with bad reception due to using plastic magazines. Its following is not nearly as large as the base for the Ruger 10/22. Less market share, less possibility for parts being made by companies other than Savage.

I really enjoy this gun, and you will as well. Make sure you can get magazines for it, and check ammunition reliability in it. Otherwise, it’s a great firearm.

22-riflesRemember, in a TEOTWAWKI situation, .22lr is going to be a very important caliber. Local harvesting laws will not matter with regards to game, they are relatively quiet, and with an accurate (sandbagged and properly sighted in) version of one of the above models you will do fine. Personally, I prefer Mossberg 702’s and will gladly submit to competition between any one of the several owned and any .22lr you choose. I do not like the AR styled, AK styled or kits that allow shooting of .22lr in regular firearms. Though I can understand the desire for some people to keep things as similar as possible, in most cases, practice is severely lacking in individuals preaching this approach.

If you need to practice with your AR then, practice with the AR. Recoil, noise and all the accompanying parts of shooting the .223 or 5.56 round is essential to solid practice. If you want to practice fundamentals of shooting and accuracy, the type of firearm will not matter nearly as much as the fundamentals themselves. If you are able to “run and gun” than do so, but make sure you practice and train with legitimate trainers in these areas. In my strict opinion as a lifetime shooter, who does okay for himself when shooting, rifleman basics are not stylistic or reliant on type of rifle, but rather on the approach used and fundamentals practiced.

This is why I do not have, recommend or use three point slings, single point slings or any number of special “tactical” attachments that so often take a 6lb AR and make it a 15lb monstrosity. KISS, always, for the sake of those reading, this is a very easy word to decipher. Keep It Simple Silly. A solid two point sling, understanding why laying down is more stable than seated and seated is more stable than standing and resting the rifle is more stable than standing without resting the rifle is essential to accuracy. Hollywood does a great job of making gun owners stupid, its up to us to ensure we don’t reinforce the ridiculous notions regarding gun owners in the media, politics and Hollywood.

So now you have four choices for a TEOTWAWKI rifle, remember, even in “gun free” nations, .22lr is used and owned in most cases by people interested in hunting, target practice and simply having for self-defense. A .22lr firearm must be cleaned every 300 rounds on average or after every practice session, I clean all my firearms every two weeks with a basic rubdown and lube, in depth twice a year, and after every range session. The sole exception being cached and or stored firearms- which are stored soaked in lubricants and in ZCORR storage bags, review to follow. These .22lr firearms also work very well to introduce non-shooters and or non-preppers to the world of prepping/ shooting without hurting their shoulders, ears and easily showing them the benefits and sheer pleasure of hitting a target where you want too.

Shoot on fellow Wolf Pack members, be safe, smart and above all, be free!

**Links follow, some are graphic in nature, please be aware.

http://www.activeresponsetraining.net/using-the-22-for-self-defense (statistics regarding various calibers used for defense of self)
http://bangordailynews.com/2012/02/20/news/bangor/man-who-shot-home-invaders-in-hermon-i-had-to-protect-myself/ (self-defense with .22lr handgun)
http://www.wlwt.com/news/local-news/news-northern-kentucky/Boone-County-homeowner-shoots-kills-intruder/16463942?item=0 (92-year-old man shoots and kills home intruder with .22lr rifle)
https://www.learnaboutguns.com/2010/04/29/elderly-iowa-woman-uses-her-22-handgun-in-self-defense/ (89-year-old woman uses 22lr handgun to defend herself)
http://gunssavelives.net/self-defense/13-year-old-armed-with-ruger-1022-saves-his-mother-from-intruder-thought-to-be-on-drugs/ (13 year old uses 10/22 to defend family)

There are many, many more verifiable stories, and I am sure if any of us has spent time in the woods, we all know someone who has harvested game with a .22lr, legal or not. (Though I do not openly recommend doing anything that will bring you in contact with authorities, eg., don’t do illegal things. Understand there is always consequences to every action, always.)

Free the mind and the body will follow.

Choose Your Weapons

by Lloyd P

Glock handguns

This is a Glock 23 with three calibers and a Glock 20 with two

In much simpler times when gentleman wanted to settle a dispute of honor they called for a duel. “Choose your weapons” was the traditional start of the events once they had assembled. Dueling pistols, swords, even Bowie knives were sometimes used as tools to settle the disputes. Although it sometimes played out with each party firing into the air and then walking away with honor in tact or regained as the case may be – with no harm done.

It did not always end without loss and there are some very famous duels in our US history. While I’m very glad we don’t settle disputes this way any longer, the fact is many of us feel we are involved in a different form of dueling today. We are dueling with much more complicated situations, events and scenarios more significant than simply defending one’s honor. In fact, many people feel that any number of possible events could occur that might justify or require the ability to protect ones, life, liberty, property or loved ones.

While the polls show that a majority of Americans believe our leaders are not leading the country in the right direction, there are some good things going on out there. One huge area of improvement is the increase in the numbers of people arming themselves and getting training on the safe and proper use of firearms. State governments across the nation are strengthening and even encouraging the use and personal carry of defensive weapons, both concealed and openly carried.

This has had the result of lowering violent crime to its lowest level since statistics have been recorded. This includes every place where private carry and use of firearms has been loosened or confirmed and the only places in the nation where violent crime has increased is those localities where the local governments have bucked the trend and have made it harder, or continue to restrict the personal carry and use of personal firearms. Things can change quickly and you do not want to be a victim of violent crime. If I may adapt an old adage here – you can only be a victim if you haven’t been warned, after that you are a volunteer.

With so many entering the firearms market it is understandable that people are asking questions about what weapons to consider and what choices should be made concerning ownership of firearms. While we have all heard the adage “experience is the best teacher”, I do not subscribe to this opinion. In fact I believe experience is not the best teacher, someone else’s experience is. Who wants to learn about a rattlesnake bite or a hand grenade by experience?

I bet most of us wished we had not learned about having a car accident by experience! And so it is with firearms and related issues, what we can learn from others can be indispensable in the long run. Even if you are in a position to have unlimited choices of firearms and ammunition it makes little difference as you cannot use all of them at once or have everything available to you when you are in a critical position of need. So choices must be made, and if the right choices are made from the beginning even as other items are added the expense and time involved will not increase exponentially.

Experience is not the best teacher, someone else’s experience is.

Choosing a general purpose hand gun is often the first consideration when a person decides to enter the world of firearms ownership or the world of firearms for preparedness. There are so many options, colors, calibers, sizes, materials and the list goes on and on. How about starting with the idea of keeping things simple, useful, effective, flexible and commonly available?

Before actually choosing which hand gun might be your best staring point it is quite advisable to look at what caliber you will want in a defensive handgun. One should, of course, choose a cartridge that is adequate for the purpose of self-defense. But it should also be available, affordable and shootable by the person who will use it. You could choose something like the .38 super and you would have a cartridge that is totally acceptable as a self-defensive round, but it is not readily available or particularly affordable, so why consider it except for specially purposes?

The handgun … an entire class of arms that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense…it surely elevates above all other interests the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home. U.S. Supreme Court, District of Columbia V. Heller June 26 2008

Let me keep things simple for the sake of discussion – the most commonly available, affordable shootable cartridges that are at least adequate for self-defense in a handgun would include the .380 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol), the 9mm (9mm parabellum / 9mm Luger), .38 S&W (Smith and Wesson), .357 S&W Magnum, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. There are other great cartridges such as the .357 Sig, 10mm, .41 Magnum, .45 Colt, and .44 magnum, but these each fall short of our criteria in at least one area or more.

The .9mm is the most popular center-fire handgun cartridge in the world. This is supported by the fact that it is the military handgun cartridge for more militaries in the world than any other, including the NATO nations which includes the USA. Having a firearm that can be fed by readily available ammunition is a wise choice so long as the cartridge also meets all of our other standards.

While the 9mm has been replaced by the .40 S&W as the choice of carry for most police departments in the USA, the civilian still has a greater choice of useful ammunition available than the militaries of the world who are limited to the less effective full metal jacketed bullets, also called ball ammunition, because of treaty obligations. Police departments actually use handguns as their primary weapon where as militaries do not. So when in comes to handgun use perhaps it is wise to consider what the vast majority of police departments choose to use. This would be the .40 S&W. So while the 9mm is the most widely used cartridge in use by militaries, the .40 S&M is the most widely used by police departments across the USA.

The 9mm is cheaper to purchase in most cases, and it is widely available. If you consider that shortages might be a possibility in the future (they have been in the past) – a lot of people choose the 9mm in part at least with the thought of future availability as a major factor, even though the .40 S&W has more “stopping power“. Unless you are able to purchase a lifetime supply of ammunition at the time you acquire your handgun, this is a consideration.

But why not start with a choice of firearm which allows the use of both – or even more? This gives the flexibility of not only stocking up with your primary choice of cartridge, but also gives you the option of using another widely available cartridge should that be the available one in the future. While the 9mm is generally more available, what if in the future your source for ammunition was more closely related to your local police department than your national military?

“The .40 S&W caliber is the overwhelming top choice of police departments today.” Massad Ayoob – Police officer & internationally renowned firearm and self-defense instructor.

Those who choose a .357 revolver know the flexibility of having the possibility of using .38 Special ammunition for cost savings and enjoyable practice shooting with less recoil, yet using the same gun for both types of ammunition. But is this possible with the semi-auto pistol? It is if you plan ahead properly.

I shoot a lot of 9mm ammunition for practice and fun, and I don’t do it in a 9mm hand gun. How is that possible you might wonder? It is possible by using a .40 S&W handgun with a barrel designed to fit that firearm, but chambered for the 9mm. It is not possible to use a .40 S&W barrel in a 9mm, so it is necessary to choose the .40 S&W from the start even if you will be shooting 9mm as your primary ammunition choice, but then you will have the option of shooting .40 S&W if and when you choose to.

I do this with Glock pistols. All that is required is using an aftermarket 9mm conversion barrel designed for the handgun in question from suppliers such as Lone Wolf Distributers and also using the factory magazines for the caliber in use. A 9mm magazine works perfectly in a .40 S&W Glock. There are also after market conversion barrels for the Springfield XD pistols from Bar-Sto.

If you live in Delaware, Dallas, Maine, Tennessee, Virginia or other places where the .357 Sig is used by law enforcement you might choose a handgun in this caliber and use the same drop in barrel to shoot the .9mm. In fact the .40 S&W and .357 Sig factory barrels can be exchanged readily and the same magazines are used for both cartridges, but most people do not have a reality available source for inexpensive .357 Sig ammo.

After your basic firearms – invest in ammunition! The more you have, the better off you will be for a number of reasons. The cost isn’t going down. Ammo is also a good barter item. Unless you reload your own ammo you are vulnerable to the market on both price and availability. You never know how long you will need to depend upon the ammo you currently have.

Kel-Tec-2000 and Glock handgun

This Glock and Kel-Tec-2000 use the same caliber & magazines

Let’s face it, once you have your basic firearms stocking up on ammunition would be a priority. Without ammunition the handgun is useful for a paperweight or an attempt to bluff an attacker, neither of these would be high on your list of reasons to purchase a firearm. After you acquire your basic battery invest more in ammunition than on additional firearms. You don’t want to have more firearms than you can feed.

If you run out of ammo you will need to locate some, if you have extra you are in a position to barter – or practice more. If you choose a system which is flexible from the start, you have more options. I know a lot of people who choose a 9mm as their primary cartridge simply because it is the most readily available adequate cartridge even though they would like the added security of a more powerful cartridge like the .40 S&W. Why limit your choice?

By choosing carefully you can have the option of using both. While I have read of some problems with aftermarket conversion barrels – after firing thousands of rounds of ammo through mine I have not experienced any failures. I have learned that the barrels work best with some slight lubrication on the outside where as the factory barrels work best with no lubrication.

The flexibility does not end here either. Once a hand gun is acquired with conversion barrel, you might like to add a carbine such as the Kel-Tec Sub-2000 in either of your cartridges and use the same magazines as you use in your semi-auto handgun. This gives the person a real broad flexibility with a minimal expense just by planning ahead when purchasing the primary defensive firearm & cartridge.

The 10mm is not a widely popular hand gun cartridge because it is more powerful than necessary for most self-defense situations. Because of this it is more expensive to shoot. So why is it so popular in local areas such as the Rocky Mountain west? Because there are four-legged varmints as well as two-legged ones there! Lions, and wolves and bears (oh my!). So what if you live in an area like this and would like the added power of the 10mm but you don’t want to give up the flexibility, affordability and availability of the other cartridges listed? Simple, use your 10mm barrel when in the wild, and drop in a .40 S&W barrel when you are near pavement or the shooting range.

The Glock 20 10mm even has a factory drop in barrel available which is designed specifically for handgun hunting, something not available for any of the lesser cartridges. There’s even a 10mm conversion carbine available from Mech Tech (Also many other caliber choices) for those who want to have the flexibility of a carbine for certain uses such as hunting or patrol. While I love the 10mm, I do not suggest it as a choice for the average person for reasons listed earlier, but it is totally possible to have a common cartridge such as the .40 S&W for common and general use and have a specialty cartridge like the 10mm available for the same firearm if proper planning is done before purchasing your weapon.

There are other options available also, while not quite as simple or as inexpensive as a conversion barrel for a .40 S&W to 9mm, a 10mm Glock can be converted to shoot .45 ACP by simply purchasing a new slide & barrel for the similar sized frame. Since only the frame is considered the “firearm” by the BTAFE, a new slide can be ordered through the mail thus avoiding additional paperwork and expense of purchasing an entire new firearm. This is also possible for those who have a .45 ACP but would like the 10mm, perhaps for hunting. The magazines from each caliber fit perfectly in the grip of the other. Glocks are not the only brand for which this is possible, but check before you purchase if you feel you might like this flexibility later. Along the same line, there are .22 conversion kits for various hand guns that convert your 9mm, 40 S&W, 10mm or .45ACP into a .22 rimfire for practice, plinking and flexibility to shoot and stock up on very cheap .22 caliber ammunition.

If you shop wisely you could start your battery with a pistol and conversion barrel that will shoot two or more common calibers of ammunition, a carbine that shares the same magazines as your handgun and as much as 1000 rounds of ammunition for the current average cost of one AR-15. However if you already have an AR-15 you also have a very flexible firearm. Most AR-15s shoot the useful and widely available 5.56×45 /.223 ammunition. If this is what you have you, have the option of adding a drop in .22 LR conversion to shoot .22 rimfire cartridges through the same barrel. Of course the AR family of rifles can be easily switched from one caliber to another by changing one upper for another.

This gives many options for other barrels, like longer for more velocity, heavier for heat displacement or other calibers. However, when it comes to our criteria of simple, useful, effective, flexible and commonly available we are primarily looking to the .223, .22 and the 7.62×39 which is currently widely available and quite reasonably priced. There are also uppers for pistol calibers which use special magazines.

For those who have a pistol in 9mm, .40 S&W or .45 ACP who also would like the simplicity and reliability of a revolver there are a number of revolvers which are chambered for these calibers. Charter Arms has a revolver chambered for the .40 S&W that is quite nice and does not require the use of moon clips to hold the rimless cartridges most used by pistols. For those who use the .45 ACP in their pistol the S&W Governor is a revolver that can expand your flexibility.

The Governor is a follow up of the very popular Taurus Judge which will chamber both .45 Long Colt and .410 shotgun shells. The Governor matches this and also accepts the .45 ACP. While I like the .45 Colt cartridge it does not meet our requirements of wide availability and reasonably priced, but with the right ammunition it is functional as a handgun hunting cartridge or for use against lager predators. While you might not purchase a dedicated .45 Colt revolver, if you have a .45 ACP and would like a revolver in this caliber having the .45 Colt adds flexibility. While the .410 shotgun shells are advertised as being great for self-defense personally find them very useful for small game, vermin, venomous snakes and game birds up close.

These ideas are meant as helpful suggestions with which you can increase your flexibility with your personal defense arm by careful planning and forethought. Flexibility, dependability, and adaptability are each keys to survivability. Choose your weapons – thoughtfully.

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By Andrew Skousen – via The World Affairs Brief 

Learning to reload ammunition yourself can be daunting. After all, we are talking about assembling cartridges for a controlled explosion that will launch a bullet at high velocity. But there is more than just safety in the learning curve. There are many brands and varieties of reloading materials including the various weights, shapes and material used for bullets of even the same caliber. If that wasn’t enough there is a lot of technical details to making accurate ammunition including balancing the complicated physics involved. Not enough powder for the size of bullet can affect the accuracy and force of the bullet. Too much powder and you could damage your firearm. Bullet and powder manufacturers carefully research the best balance of these factors to give shooters accurate and safe loads, and they publish this load data, which is essentially a recipe with precise measurements for the type and amount of powder for each caliber and bullet weight. A good reloading manual can help you navigate all these hurdles and catalog most of the load data for common rounds.

Reloading manuals are most often produced by makers of reloading equipment or materials and consequently favor that manufacturer’s products, sometimes with fewer details about the other options. On the flip side, the best information for a specific product line is the one produced by the same company.

I started with Modern Reloading by Richard Lee ($20), maker of the prevalent LEE reloading presses. His impressive 720 page manual focuses on the value and benefits of his reliable and cost-effective presses which still have a strong following. His explanations at the beginning describe how to reload in a very easy to read fashion with many in-depth, practical tidbits about the potential problems to look for and avoid in any reload. Don’t be put off by the size; the bulk of the manual is a very comprehensive set of load data (the “recipes” or tables showing amount of powder to use according to caliber, powder type, and bullet) covering all the most common bullet and powder types—and many of the uncommon ones as well. I was disappointed with the lack of index and it could stand a glossary of terms for those unfamiliar with everything ballistics, but overall it is a respected guide among even experienced reloaders.

The Lyman Reloading Manual is also a popular manual, often called the “gold standard.” They strive to stay up to date and are currently in their 50th Edition ($25, but the 49th Ed. sells for $11). At 450 pages it covers the most common loads and has data for many cast bullets as well (Lyman sells bullet casting molds among other things). Reviewers were disappointed; however, that some common calibers only had information for metal jacketed bullets and left off other common types of bullets.

The powder company Hodgdon also produces an annual guide with 140 including load data. The 2016 Annual Reloading Manual is only $9 making it the cheapest option. It has popular reloading articles and seems more like a large magazine with an expansive table of load data. Most reloaders like to use this as a good 2nd reference manual for a second opinion about loads.

For more general reloading advice I recommend The Beginner’s Guide to Reloading Ammunition: With Space and Money Saving Tips for Apartment by Steven Gregersen. This has an easy to read style but is still very informative including when to resize the casings and the differences in powder types. It does not have load data so you will need another manual like those mentioned above.

I recommend buying a manual early in the reloading process and referring to it often when buying supplies and equipment to verify you have the right load data. As manufacturers develop different varieties of bullets and powder, your manual may go out of date. In this case just download (and print out) the more specific information for any specialty bullets or powder you buy that is not covered in your manual.

Once you learn the basics, you will find that reloading is not difficult, but it does require careful work and attention to detail. Experienced reloaders like Richard Lee provide invaluable advice, but nothing compares the trial and error of doing it yourself and finding what tools or information you were lacking to get the job done right. Get them before hard times hit

The Preppers Arsenal – Choosing The Best Survival Firearms For Your Needs Now and Post Collapse

Today we present another article in our non-fiction writing contest  Jeff C

Survival gunsI live in a small town in the Midwest, not on the outskirts but smack dab in the middle. There are about 5,000 people in my town, not a large town by any stretch of the imagination, but big enough for my tastes. A preppers mindset has to make a bit of a shift when living in town, versus a more rural area. Namely, your garden is smaller, you can’t keep chickens and your ability to maintain a watchful perimeter is greatly diminished. These are all challenges that we need to adapt to, and as such your firearm choices need to adapt as well.

The premise of keeping firearms for more than just sporting purposes has been around ever since the first flintlocks were invented. So it makes sense that we should keep that tradition going. I have read many articles from people who have boldly proclaimed that a .50 caliber muzzleloader is all you need as it can be used to take small game, big game, waterfowl and defend your home. And while that’s true to a certain extent, a 30-50 second reload time between shots, combined with a 200-yard maximum range doesn’t appeal that much to me. As such, here are my musings on what I consider a prepper’s arsenal should look like, along with my personal choices for each category.

The categories are

  • Sporting
  • Defensive
  • Handguns
  • Backups
  • Trade


Survival gunsFor Sporting firearms, you should have a .22 for small game, a shotgun for waterfowl, and a long gun powerful enough to legally take the largest animal in your region. Here in northern Indiana, that means a shotgun loaded with slugs.

My choices:

  • .22 Mossberg 42M with 1950’s era 1.5x Weaver scope.
  • 20ga Remington 11-87
  • 20ga Mossberg 500 with a 3-9×50 Optic.

Since I am a sportsman at heart and participate in all deer seasons possible around here, I also have a .50 Hawken and a .50 CVA Kodiak inline. The reason for two muzzleloaders, with the right tools and some training, casting your own rounds for a Hawken rifle is not only fun but immensely rewarding.


Survival gunsThis is the category that tends to be the hardest to fill. Mainly due to the huge (and always growing) variety of options out there. Primarily it should consist of a shotgun for home defense, optional rifle for inside the home/under 100-yard engagements, a rifle for 50-300 yards and a rifle for 200-500 yards. The ranges on the last two are adjustable based on your location. Since I live in Indiana, there is not a whole lot of areas one can safely practice/shoot longer than 500 yards. If one lived in a place such as Utah or Wyoming, a rifle capable of reaching 800-1,000 yards may be necessary.

My choices:

  • 12ga Mossberg 500 for home defense16″ DPMS Oracle with a red dot sight for under
  • 16″ DPMS Oracle with a red dot sight for under 100-yard engagements.
  • 20″ Del-Ton AR15 with a 3-9×42 Optic for 50-300 yards..308 Mossberg ATR Night Train with a 4-16×50 Optic for 200-500 yards.
  • .308 Mossberg ATR Night Train with a 4-16×50 Optic for 200-500 yards.


Survival gunsA solid selection of handguns should consist of the following, one for Every Day Carry, one for home defense and one for practice. Optional, nightstand gun. Any choice you make for a nightstand gun should be extremely simple to operate, as you would be using it in a state of half awake/ half asleep.My choices,

My choices:

  • Kahr CM9 for EDC.
  • Kahr CM9 for EDC.Glock 19 for home defense.
  • Glock 19 for home defense..38 Spcl S&W 10 for practice.
  • .38 Spcl S&W 10 for practice.
  • S&W 5906 for a nightstand gun.


Survival gunsThese should be firearms to compliment/ replace what you’ll be using. Ideally, they will be ones that will escape notice if the government decides to push confiscation of “assault rifles”. No magazines over 10 rounds, and in calibers other than your primary firearms. That way if the government confiscates your ” assault rifles”, “high capacity handguns” and “military grade ammunition”, you will still be armed. You should also have a holster for your backup handgun.My choices,

My choices:

  • Mosin M91-30
  • Romanian SKS
  • 30-06 Sears 53
  • .45 ACP Tisas 1911A1

Survival gunsThe premise of firearms for trade is that you should develop zero sentimental attachment to them, they should be in generic calibers and be simple enough that anyone can use it. That way, if you have to/ want to trade for something in a situation where the economy has gone belly-up, you have a very useful commodity on hand and ready. The second reason for keeping firearms for trade on hand is that they can turn a neighbor/local friend from someone to be viewed as a liability, into an asset.

I have two different friends across town who do not prep beyond a 72-hour kit due to the chance of tornados. And as such, they do not/aren’t able to invest in acquiring firearms and training for themselves. I have taken them to the range and both are competent, if not familiar with guns. And in a crisis, my ability to hand them firearms to defend themselves and their homes creates two new allies.

My choices:

  • 12ga Stevens double barrel
  • 12ga Ithaca 37
  • .22 Marlin 81
  • 20ga H&R Pardner

There you go. That’s just my two cents worth of opinion. Any criticism is welcome, and appreciated. I am always ready to update and improve my defenses, mindset and safety.

Prizes for This Round Include: (Ends July 29, 2016)

First Prize:

Second Prize: 

Third Prize:

Please read the rules that are listed below BEFORE emailing me your entry… my email address can be found here – please include “writing contest entry” in the subject line.

The more original and helpful your article is, the deeply and less basic it is, the better the chance, that I will publish it, and you will win. Only non-fiction how-to-do-it type articles, please.

The One Gun – ASIL Bulldog, in 12 Gauge…

This is an entry in our Non-Fiction Writing contest – by Mike

Firearms are like everything else. There is not a single one that can do everything that you want it to. That’s one of the reasons most of us who own firearms have cabinets with more than one. Here in Canada I believe the average number of firearms each licensed owner has is 8 per person. It’s probably higher than that in the United States.

That presents us with a problem. There may be a situation that arises where we have to leave our house and leave it right away. If that weren’t true there wouldn’t be nearly as much emphasis on having bug out bags ready to go. It would be nice to bring a shotgun for hunting birds and other fast moving game, a large calibre rifle for deer and other large game, and a pistol and semi-automatic rifle with a higher capacity magazine for personal defence. But how are you going to get all that ready and carry it with you if you have to leave right now? Let alone carry the ammo you need for all those firearms with all the other gear you’re going to want to have in your bug out bag.

This is something I have thought about. Obviously, if I’m going to grab just one, it’s going to be a compromise, of that there’s no doubt. But what is the best compromise? Is there something out there that can fit most applications? Maybe it won’t fit them perfectly, but will be adequate for almost anything that comes up.

Well, I believe I found it and I’ll describe why I think it would be a great ‘if you can only grab one gun’ firearm. After I’m done I would love to hear your thoughts and maybe even blow a few holes in my arguments, after all, we are all here to learn right?

The gun I’ve chosen is the ASIL Bulldog, in the 12 gauge shotgun calibre.

guns for preppers - ASIL Bulldog, in the 12 gauge shotgun

First, a little bit about the gun itself. It’s a Turkish built shotgun strongly patterned after the Remington 870. It’s a short barrelled shotgun with an 18″ barrel but it takes screw in chokes. It comes with 3 chokes, cylinder, modified and full. However, the chokes are patterned after the Browning Invector style chokes, and I’ve confirmed that by purchasing a Browning Invector style rifled choke that fits the barrel perfectly. The chokes themselves protrude from the end of the barrel and are knurled so you can remove them by hand. The capacity is 6 in the magazine and 1 in the chamber for a total of 7. The stock is, interestingly shaped. It actually feels pretty good and shoulders well and comes with a nicely padded butt. It also has another little surprise which I’ll get into later. Finally, it has a magazine disconnect tab on the left side of the receiver which I’ll also get into later.

So why a 12 gauge shotgun, and in particular, why this one?


Remember, in this situation, we only have time to grab our bug out bags, 1 gun, and the dog. Oh, and the rest of the family if we have time after making sure the dog is safe (don’t lynch me I’m kidding!). If we grab our long barrelled high calibre bolt action hunting rifle that’s great if we’re in the mountains of New Zealand where there’s lots of big meaty tasty animals roaming around but not many humans. But not too many of us are in that situation, so we want something that might not be fantastic at doing one thing but pretty good at doing a lot of things.

My choice in 12 gauge fits the bill. Simply because by changing the load and the choke, you can do many things with this calibre. With the ASIL Bulldog, you have a relatively short barrel for working in confined environments (and the higher capacity helps too). It might be a shorter barrel but you have screw in chokes that can be removed and replaced by hand so you can be ready to go with the right choke and the right load provided you have a few minutes to prepare before you enter the situation.

The Special Stock

I said the stock came with a bit of a surprise. Well, it does. ASIL engineered the butt pad of the stock to come off by simply unscrewing the rear sling holder, as pictured below:

prepper guns - ASIL Bulldog, in the 12 gauge shotgun

This was designed so that you can swap out the longer butt pad for a shorter one the shotgun comes with to reduce the length of pull from 14 1/4″ to a tad over 13″. Personally I’d like something in between that but I’m keeping the longer one because the short one has no padding (and who wants to shoot buckshot or slugs with no padding right). However, that also gives you the opportunity to keep stuff in the stock for easy access later. To show this, I’ve easily fit the 12 gauge innards of an Otis pull through cleaning kit as well as two chokes as pictured below:

prepper guns - ASIL Bulldog, in the 12 gauge shotgun

I could easily fit a few more things in there. To me, that’s useful as I can grab the gun and run and I’ll have those gun related things I might not have in my bug out bag but I’m sure we could make use of a cleaning kit and those extra chokes, right?
Availability of Ammo

As I’ve mentioned before, 12 gauge is very versatile ammo. While it’s large and bulky, just about everyone has a 12 gauge shotgun. I mean, it would be nice to be lugging around a .338 Lapua or have a big honking 45-70 government lever gun. But if you’re going to be scavenging in abandoned sporting goods stores, Wal-Marts, and abandoned homes (especially in smaller towns/rural areas), the most common type of ammunition you’re going to probably find is 12 gauge shells. And lucky for me, my ASIL Bulldog is chambered in 12 gauge.

The Magazine Disconnect

So let’s say I’m out in the woods trying to get a deer or a hog or some other big, meaty kind of game. I’ve got 7 rounds of buckshot in my ASIL Bulldog. I’ve been hunting all day and haven’t been having any luck. I startle a pheasant or a quail and it does the forest ground bird thing of flying off the ground and away from me in a straight line and lands back in the foliage about 100 yards away. Now, I want to eat that pheasant but if I try to go after it and manage to tag it with my buckshot I’ll be lucky to be sucking up raw pheasant soup from the forest floor and probably the 3 dozen trees I’ll splatter with bits of the poor bird. I would really like to go stalk that bird with some #6 shot or something but I know I’d have to cycle 7 rounds out of the chamber and my luck I’d shoot the pheasant and a deer would go bolting out of the brush in front of me and I’d have nothing to shoot at it with. What to do?

Luckily the ASIL Bulldog has a magazine disconnect tab. I just flip that tab, unload the shell that’s in the chamber by opening the pump and all the rest of the buckshot shells stays in the magazine. I then pop in my #7 shot shell, walk to where the pheasant landed, startle it up again, shoot it dead in mid-air (because I’m an awesome shot), startle the buck that was hiding in the undergrowth, bring it down with two well placed buckshot loads (after remembering to flip the disconnect switch back) and all of the sudden I’m having a meaty good dinner for the next while because I also remembered how to make campfire jerky. All thanks to the ASIL Bulldog and my amazing shooting skills. Or something like that.

Materials of Gun Construction

We’ve all (probably) carried a shotgun around the woods with a blued steel receiver and wood furniture. It gets really heavy after a while. Ounces become pounds very quickly. The ASIL has an anodized aluminum receiver and polymer furniture. That weight saving material plus having a shorter (lighter) barrel will save your arms and if your arms are less tired you’re more likely to react more quickly to any situation and to be more accurate.

Price vs. Quality

Turkish built shotguns in particular offer a very, VERY strong quality to dollar factor. The ASIL Bulldog is actually the third Turkish shotgun I’ve purchased, as well as the least expensive. I’m not sure if you can buy Chinese made shotguns in the states, but I once bought a Chinese Remington 870 clone, shot it a few times, then sold it. It was a little bit cheaper than an actual Remington but it didn’t come close to the quality of the 870 I already owned. Not so with the Turkish shotguns. They are quite a bit less expensive than their American made counterparts but I would say the quality is at least as good. The ASIL is no exception. I don’t know how it will stand up to the test of time, but it cycled and fired everything I put into it right out of the box (after I cleaned and oiled it of course). If it’s anything like my other Turkish built shotguns I have no doubt this one will also stand up to the test of time.

I paid $239 Canadian for this shotgun. I don’t know what the conversion rate is, but I’m pretty sure $239 Canadian is like, what, $8 American? Anyways, it’s a great price and well worth the testing I’m going to put this gun through.


This shotgun came with a front sight that looked like it should have had a fiber optic rod in it. It did not though. It probably should have came with one but for the price, I’m not complaining. Still, I went to my local gun shop and they actually gave me a tru glo rod for free (threw it in with some other purchases). The other criticism I have is the way the gun aims. The rear, well, I don’t know what to call it. Maybe a half rail? The rear half rail has an indent in the middle that when you sight the gun it looks like you’re supposed to sight it like a rifle by putting the front post in the middle of the indent. Which I found weird because when I shouldered the gun as I would any other shotgun with a rail and a bead the front sight floated above the indent. When I sighted it like a rifle, it would hit low all the time. It turns out that you need to sight the gun like I had it first, and treat the rear sight the same as you would a shotgun with a mid bead. The front sight must be centered above the detent. It definitely take some getting used to but it is accurate when you do.

As well, the stock is pretty funky and it works really well – when you get used to it. It does feel and handle a bit differently.


While I wish I was inspector gadget and could carry an entire arsenal quickly available to expertly handle any situation, that’s just not a reality. I feel that because of the load versatility of a 12 gauge, that’s the one gun you grab when you have to grab one and run with it. I feel that the ASIL’s price, short barrel that accepts screw-in chokes, and all around versatility as I’ve described make this one of the better choices for your emergency grab and go gun.

If there is any flaws in my thinking, I’d love to hear them from you all.

Prizes For This Round (Ends July 29, 2016) In Our Non-Fiction Writing Contest Include…

First Prize:

Second Prize: 

Third Prize:

Please read the rules that are listed below BEFORE emailing me your entry… my email address can be found here – please include “writing contest entry” in the subject line.

The more original and helpful your article is, the deeply and less basic it is, the better the chance, that I will publish it, and you will win. Only non-fiction how-to-do-it type articles, please.