Weapons and tools for foraging and self-defense

In this article I’ll be talking about choosing the right firearms for self-defense, and for foraging. I’ll try to keep this as short and to the point as possible while still covering everything that you really need to know, in order to make an informed decision when buying and learning how-to use those tools to feed yourself and your family.


No foraging arsenal would be complete without at least one shotgun. By simply changing shot loads or moving up to slugs the shotgun can be used to take every game and predatory animal in North America out to 100 yards. And let’s not forget that a pump-action or semi-auto shotgun loaded with buckshot or slugs makes an excellent self-defense tool, especially if the shooter knows how to use it to its maximum effectiveness.

The shotgun that you choose for foraging purposes need not be expensive; the simple single-shot break-action shotgun is an excellent tool when foraging for food, and best of all they can be bought new for under $200 in most areas, are light-weight and extremely rugged and reliable.

Add a carry sling and a way to carry some extra ammo (I like the Voodoo Tactical Shotgun Shell Ammo Pouch) and you’re ready to go foraging for small game, foul or even larger game if the opportunity should present itself.

Ammo selection will of course depend on what you’re hunting for; I like to keep several different types in my sling loops, where I can quickly get to it and change out one round for another, if needed. Say for example; that I’m hunting rabbit, and happen to spot a deer in the distance, it’s a simple matter to quietly and quickly, switch from a chambered shot-shell (I like #6 shot for small game) to a rifled slug and effectively and humanly take the deer.

For self-defense purposes I suggest a pump-action or semi-auto (I prefer the pump-action but there are also some good semi-autos available) shotgun in 12 gauge, however for smaller shooters a 20 gauge will suffice.  There are so many great brands and models available that it would take several chapters to go into any detail on each, so I won’t waste your time doing that here.

Two of my favorite pump-action shotgun manufactures are Remington and Mossberg, with my personal home-defense shotgun being a Mossberg model 590 with ghost ring sights and speed fed stock. In my opinion the Mossberg 590 is the best “out of the box” pump-action defensive shotgun available today.

.22 Rifles

No survival “arsenal” would be complete without at least one high-quality .22lr caliber rifle. Because there are literally, hundreds of quality brands and models available, I won’t take up your time by trying to go over the details of each one here, but I will instead mention several of my personal favorites.

My first choice for a semiauto .22lr would be the Ruger 10/22 takedown model; this is essentially the same rifle as the super trusted and reliable standard 10/22 but with the ability to be taken apart for transport and storage.

My first choice for a bolt-action .22lr is the Ruger American .22lr with 18 inch barrel. It’s well made with fewer parts to break than a semi auto, and I’ve found it to be more accurate out-of-the-box than any standard our-of-the-box semi auto .22lr that I’ve tested it against.

Another one of my favorite .22lr rifles is the Smith and Wesson MP 15/22, mine has been ultra-reliable after thousands of rounds, and is a perfect training tool for new shooters or for cheap live-fire practice for AR-15 owners. However it’s not my first choice when small game hunting, the .22lr that most often accompanies me on small game hunts is the Ruger American .22lr mentioned above.

My first choice when adding an optical sight (scope) to a .22lr is the Nikon ProStaff Rimfire 4 x 32 Black Matte Riflescope. I’ve tried other cheaper (and a few more expensive) alternatives when scoping .22lr rifles and found the Nikon ProStaff to be the best option.

Centerfire Rifles

Here again I’ll not waste your time by trying to cover 101 different manufactures and models of centerfire rifles, but will instead elaborate on my two of my personal favorites.

For hunting larger game in my area (Tennessee) I don’t need anything more powerful than a .308 win, however if you live in grizzly and moose country then you may want to move up to something like a .338 magnum or similar to be sure of a clean and humane kill.

My first choice for a .308 semi auto is the Smith and Wesson M&P 10. The M&P 10 is built on an AR type platform with a standard 20 round magazine. I’ve found it to be a well-made, accurate and reliable rifle. It can be used for both hunting large game and as a main battle rifle, however the current, 2015 price tag of over $1,600 will no doubt be a road block for many (I had to save for almost a year to afford it).

My first choice for a bolt-action .308 is the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle, but with a standard rear mounted optic sight instead of the forward mounted “scout” configuration.

All of my .308’s are topped with the Nikon ProStaff 3-9 x 40 Black Matte Riflescope (BDC) optics and also have backup standard iron sights, and a sling. If you’re serious about using a rifle for defense of your property and for hunting then please get a copy of “The Art of the Rifle” by the late Jeff Cooper, it’s a great book that is full of tips and advice that will help to increase your on target accuracy.


This is one of those subjects that I hate to even get into here and that I purposely, avoid discussing in public, because it never ends well, because nearly everyone has their favorite and are unwilling to consider anything else. I too have my own personal favorites, but I’m not like some and unwell to consider other alternatives if something was proven to be better, or just as good but at a better price.

So like we’ve already done above, instead of going into a hundred different manufactures and models, I’ll simply, tell you my favorites that have proven to work for me after years of shooting, hunting, plinking and competition.

Well start with the .22lr – of which my favorite is the Browning Buckmark.  This is the top .22lr handgun made today, period. I’ve carried mine all over the forests of Appalachia, and can shoot it accurately enough to make head-shots on cotton-tail rabbits at 50 yards.

I have no idea how many rounds that I’ve put through mine but it has to be ten-thousand or more and I’ve never had a failure that was not ammo related.

Another excellent .22lr handgun is the Beretta 21A Bobcat. The Bobcat isn’t ideal for small game hunting or self-defense, but it’s weight and compact size will allow you to have it on you at all times, and any handgun that you have with you is better that the one you left at home or back at camp because it was too large, heavy and inconvenient to carry.

I carry mine when I’m on the river fishing, camping, hunting ginseng or just working around the homestead, it’s weight and size make it easy to go armed at all times. The Israeli Mossad has proven the effectiveness of the .22lr as an offensive / defensive tool with its use of the Beretta 70 in .22lr. The Beretta 70 is also carried by Israeli Sky Marshals.

By far my favorite center fire handguns are made by Glock, however they’re not the only quality choice on the market, there are many different handgun manufactures that products worth considering. The most important consideration is to purchase the handgun that fits your hand best. If the handgun fits your hand correctly, you’ll naturally shoot it more accurately.

Out of the Glock line up my favorite model is the Glock model 19. The Glock 19 is a medium-sized 9mm handgun that is the perfect size for open carry, in a belt-holster, yet small enough to be carried comfortably concealed under summer cloths. Another plus is that the Glock 19 has a 15 round magazine capacity, which is comparable with other, larger and heavier 9mm handguns such as the Berretta 92.

When it comes to ammo choices and “stopping power” there are just as many opinions as there are for handgun choices, but my personal carry load in a 9mm round is the Corbon 115 grain +p. Ballistics for this round is close to those produced by the 357 magnum and it is a proven stopper according to both ballistic research and actual real-life use.

Air Rifles

Air rifles are often overlooked by survival planners and this is unfortunate because they have a lot to offer, with the most notable being the ability to quietly take small game out to approximately 35 yards.

However to get this kind of performance from an air rifle you’re going to have to look past the $45 models like those often seen at Walmart, these don’t produce the energy or velocity that is needed to cleanly take small-game. You’ll probably have to spend over $150 at current prices before getting one that will do take small game effectively.

My personal choice and the one that I’ve taken the most small-game with is the Benjamin Titan GP Nitro Piston .22 caliber air rifle. I’ve found the .22 caliber air rifles to provide much better on target effectiveness i.e. dropping small-game in their tracks, than those in .177.

The Benjamin Titan GP .22 caliber air rifle features a 19 inch fully rifled barrel and a muzzle brake, both with a nice looking deep blued-steel finish. I also have a Ruger .177 caliber air rifle and comparatively the finish on both the metal and stock is much nicer on the Titan GP.

As with most air rifles of this type, the Titan GP has no iron sights but the rifle is grooved for mounting an optical sight. The addition of a good set of metal sights would greatly add to the overall functionality and dependability of the rifle.

But as a rule, I prefer all of my rifles to have the choice of iron sights as well as scope-mounting with see through mounts. Scopes can break, become fogged, lose zero etc., and the ability to quickly change from one sighting option to the other without losing the target aids greatly to the utility of any rifle.

The Titan GP features an ambidextrous thumb-hole stock with dual raised cheek-pieces, and while well designed, I found the reach from the grip to the trigger to be a bit long. But, this would not be a problem for shooters with larger hands or longer fingers. Even with the longer reach to the trigger from the grip, I have no problem pulling the trigger or shooting the rifle.

The rifle also has a 2-stage adjustable trigger for fine tuning to the needs of each shooter; however I found the factory setting to be very good for my needs so I left the settings as is. But, adjustment is an option and a welcome addition that I’m sure many will find very useful.

One of the main selling points of the Benjamin Titan is the Nitro Piston system and a velocity of up to 950 FPS. The Nitro Piston offers a several advantages over rifles with a metal mainspring system, such as smoother cocking, no spring fatigue, reduced vibration, functions well in cold weather and the Nitro Piston system is also much quieter.

In fact, the Titan is noticeably quieter than my other air rifles, and is much quieter than my Ruger air rifle which is the loudest of the lot.

Bows, Arrows and Blow Guns

I’ve used blowguns for small game since I was in my early teens, and I can assure you that there’re not toys, far from it. In practiced hands (and lungs) the blowgun can be used very effectively, to take small game and are much more accurate and deadly than the slingshot.

There are currently three sizes of mass marketed blowguns in the U.S. one in .40 caliber, .50 caliber and .625 caliber diameters.  Each has different advantages over the other, but I personally prefer the .40 caliber versions, because I’ve found that I can shoot them further with more accurately, and haven’t noted any difference in effectiveness when taking small game.

Fortunately, blowguns are priced so cheaply that you can buy several (or make your own) to see what works best for you. If you’re interested in finding out a wealth of information on blowguns, and how to make your own Michael Janich has an excellent book available to help you with that it’s called “Blowguns: The Breath Of Death” and covers everything blowgun related.

Another favorite weapon for foraging is the bow and arrow. In skilled hands the bow and arrow can be used to take both large and small game and like with the blowgun you can make your own. However it’s likely that nothing that you can make in the home workshop will compare to the power and velocity of commercially manufactured compound and crossbows.

Bows are like handguns in that you should try out several before deciding what works best for you. Personally, I prefer a more traditional recurve bow with a 45 pound draw weight over a compound, but that’s a personal choice and only one that you can make after gaining experience.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of TheSurvivalistBlog.net. He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Aussie Prepper says:

    A good bolt action in 223 is hard to beat for game up to small deer. Accurate enough to take the head off a duck or goose at ranges a 22 or shotty can only dream of.


    • Peter Emerson says:

      Prefer Recurve or compound bow myself, no noise and no dramas with licence.
      Regards Peter

  2. Axelsteve says:

    good article M. D. I agree with it whole heartedley. In my case I would starve if I only had a bow but, that is just me. I once bought a Benjamin pump pellet rifle at a yard sale for ten dollars. I bought it for the scope it had on it,I took the scope off and my dad gave me 10 bucks for the rifle. I am going to see if it is still in his closet the next time I am at my moms. It was an oldie but goodie when I bought it back in 1982 or so.

  3. Great article M.D.! But I see your auto spell feature has betrayed you again! 🙂

    One thing to add to the air rifles – there are rifles out there that are “air shotguns”. I’m not sure of makers or models, as they’re not really on my radar, but I did watch some airgun shooters using them, even busting clays as if they were using skeet guns. For someone serious into having airguns in their “arsenal”, it might be something to look in to.

    And don’t forget crossbows. Now that I can add yet another Uncle Sam sponsored shoulder injury to my list, I have dropped from basically adequate with my bow to miserable – I can barely even draw it anymore, and it’s set for only 50 pounds. But with my crossbow, I can still use it to take game easily. Looks like one of my boys is getting a bow fairly soon…

    • Steve,

      Probably more than once – I don’t see it though, I’ve scanned it several times and still can’t spot it. That’s the trouble with editing your own work.

      • Old Dog says:

        First line of the shotgun paragraph. Saw it on my first read. It’s not that the word is misspelled, the word is spelled correctly but misused. “on shotgun” : “one shotgun”.

    • hvaczach says:

      Having just had a significant shoulder injury repaired do you have a cross bow suggestions i csn now get the doc to sign off on the crossbow papera fir hunting.

  4. j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

    For pure foraging, also consider the combination rifle / shotgun (Savage 24 – 42, Izmash 94, etc.). They are break open single shot design, but have the HUGE advantage of having both rifle and shotgun in your hand, giving you an instant choice of barrel, shot or bullet. Foraging will be opportunity of target, so having that would be very helpful.

    Don’t forget bow fishing. In shallow water canals / streams, a good choice while waiting for those GILL NETS and TROT LINES to produce. One disadvantage of fish though – it spoils rather quickly without refrigeration, so processing it to meat is a short term thing.

    Can anyone recommend a well built arrowhead ? I have a couple of the old Delma MA3 broad heads, they come in both screw-in and glue on, in a variety of weights and number of blades (2,3 and 4). Most designs I see seem fragile to me – I’m looking for something that can be used over and over.

    Those air rifles M.D. mentions above will be also great for small vermin eradication (mice / rats). Traps may not be quick enough and pests can really make a mess out of storage. This will save your vital rim fire ammunition for other purposes.

    Thank you M.D.

    • JP in MT says:

      j.r. guerra in s. tx.:

      I’ve had 3 of the Savage 24 series guns. The problem with the 30-30/12 and the 223/20 combo guns was the weight. Now I finally got a Camper, 24C, in 22 LR and 20 ga. I’ve added a 10″ 30-30 adapter/barrel for it (which when the funds “show up” I’ll trade in for an 18″ one) and a 10″ .38 Special one (which I’d like to bore out to 357 Mag). Great combo with a lot of variety, and not very heavy either. Mine came with the original carry case too.

      • j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

        Agree with the weight of the last series (24F), they are heavy guns. The blame mainly is mainly that they are all on one frame size, the 12 gauge. I have the 30-30 / 12 gauge that I have high hopes for becoming a feral hog rifle. Put a Bushnell TRS-25 red dot sight – they go together like peas and carrots.

        I have a MCA sleeve (18″ 30-30 barrel) for my combination and don’t be so hasty in decision, if its based solely on ballistics. The additional length also adds weight and that trim little 24C I use it in is now almost 8 pounds with sleeve inserted – back to square one if lightweight is the option. This is really a back-up for my deer hunts, in case my main rifle use gets unusable. I like those Campers but one of mine has a trigger pull that is horrendously heavy! It needs a trigger job very badly.

    • Thomas T. Tinker says:

      J.R. …. imo .. sounds counter intuitive … I’ve shopped through broad heads like I’ve shopped through rifle and the like… Most of the ‘solid’ (one piece.. no replaceable blades etc.) broad heads are the cheaper ones. I am just developing low end journeyman skills with my PSA compound. Wanted a simple screw on broad head that didn’t run me $35.00 ‘a head’ … to own… I’ll head on down to the basement and see who makes em. Muzzy comes to mind. Three blade. All one piece. Screw on. Again …. IMO!

      • j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

        No problem – I’m looking for opinions here, good or bad. I’m a total newbie in archery so any advice I read is good – much obliged !

  5. hvaczach says:

    The only objection I can make to the entire write up is foraging rifle caliber can depend greatly on the area your hunting. My choice for a forested area with shots of 75 yards or less would ideally be a 30-30 or the slug gun. But I primarily hunt open areas and like the extra power and bullett selection a 30-06 offers. Plus it provides additional knockdown should push come to shove if you had to take down a “wild cow”.

    • JP in MT says:


      Of course we are talking foraging vs. hunting. My primary rifle is usually a .308 with a .30-06 as a back up gun. But my little 24C is great for what I think we are talking about here.

      Montana is pretty open, but you can get into some woods close to me, where a .30-30 would be plenty for elk at 75 yards.

  6. 177 pellet guns are very effective in skilled hands, a friend of mine takes deer with them (on Tribal Land), the trick is to hit them in the eye and the shot bounces around in their skull. he uses it with a spotlight. another guy uses one to pop the heads on canada geese.

    • Gino Schafer says:

      Is it legal to take deer with an air rifle? I doubt it. Neither is shinning (using a light). At least in Michigan.

      • Thomas T. Tinker says:

        I watched a fella take one on video just last evening. Dragon Claw was the name of the air rifle. cal……. 50 yepper 50 cal. sounded like a heavy bore when it went off. Anchored the doe right on the spot. Video ‘said’ air rifles must be 40cal. or greater……….

    • Leonard says:

      .177? Shoot the eye of a deer? Might suggest your Tribal friend lay off the firewater for awhile.

  7. I have read so many articles singing the praises of Glocks and many seem to prefer the 19 like you and they may be better than fried chicken. However, I just don’t like them very much. Large double actions, auto’s or revolvers, just don’t fit my hand with too long of a trigger pull. Your advice to get a handgun that fits YOUR hand and one you can shoot well is the most important decision a person can make when choosing a handgun. For me that is a small frame .38 or my weapon of choice…….a .45cal 1911.

  8. A good air rifle, crossbow, or bow would be a very good choice. In desperate times a gun shot will attract several armed folks with firearms will be attracted to your location…and, your game.

  9. Chuck Findlay says:

    I want to have a bow but with the motorcycle accident and all the problems it caused I just don’t see t being useful for me.

    But I agree with the air rifle as a good small game tool. every bird on the planet is safe to eat and they are under the mistaken impression they are safe 30 feet up in a tree.

    Steve air shotguns are not something I have ever thought about. They sound expensive, but I’m going to research them.

    • hvaczach says:

      True enough statement! But i wonder if that will chsnge when song birds start getting shot at.

      • Chuck Findlay says:

        I don’t know, most people have no ability to kill birds right now. I don’t see that changing post SHTF.

        • Leonard says:

          Depends on the birds. Where I live, the Eurasian Collared Dove is an invasive species that is out-competing the native Mourning Doves and Bandtailed Pigeons, and may be taken at any time with no bag limit and no closed season, specifically allowing them to be taken with an air rifle as well as shotguns.

    • Uncle Frank says:

      Check out the Parker Concorde crossbow. It uses compressed air to cock/decock the bow. Works well from what I have been told.

      Uncle Frank

  10. JP in MT says:

    Of all the weapons I have available to me, if I had to grab ONE and go foraging with it, it would be my .357 Mag trapper. Light and quick handling, choose 180 gr HC bullets for dead kills at 100 yards, shot shells for small game out to 20 yards or so, and we even have some light loads for game in between.

    With this, if I can find it, we’ll eat.

  11. OKIEin CO says:

    If interested in an inexpensive 12 Ga try Big 5 Sports. they carry a Maverick Defender, 8 shot pump on sale for 199.00.It is made by Mossberg in Texas and is almost identical to the 560 and almost all of the parts are interchangable. Big 5 has an agreement with Mossberg for the price, or so I was told .

  12. messenger says:

    All those weapons are fine and good, but how are we to carry all of them. If people would go to the woods and prep from there instead of from their living room then the art and science of prepping would make a lot more sense. I have a KSG keltec, a 22lr, and a judge pistol. Carrying them, with ammo, is enough to break a mules back on a day’s journey. Throw in the water to keep me going and I’m sorely exhausted by time the sun sets. This is just critical applied practice. Granted I don’t live in Grizzly country and if I did no rifle would be too big. thanks for the article and God bless

    • messenger,

      Why would you want to “carry” all of them? I think you have becoming “a wondering in the woods starving refugee” confused with prepping. Please read the following article…


      • messenger says:

        You attempt to degrade the comments of a person telling the truth. If we still have fuel, vehicles, and a bug out cottage then where is the shtf. As far as starving we have tons, yes tons of food, water, and medical supplies buried deep in various locations. If I still have the means to transport weapons and other supplies why not just stay at home. A photo op standing in the woods doesn’t make you a survivalists. That the difference between people out here that wish the best for our fellow man and people that want to sell ‘stuff’. thx4urtime

        • messenger, porkybeans, pantsupdontloot, plowboy, towtruck, or whatever name you’re posting under now…

          You need to look at history and see what really happens after a real disaster, pandemic, economic collapse etc . If you want to go to the woods, then by all means go for it, that’s your choice.

          But I live at my retreat, and have a huge support group of family, neighbors and friends and have no intentions of leaving, unless absolutely necessary…

  13. tommy2rs says:

    Wrist rocket with black bands and a bag of marbles. I’ve taken game from cottontail all the way up to jackrabbits with head shots. Perched doves, quail, snakes, bullfrogs, squirrels. Rats, mice, pigeons off the rafters as well and you don’t shoot holes in things like barn walls. All easy prey for a slingshot if you know how to stalk. It’ll even discourage feral dogs from chasing the cats.

    I get marbles in bulk off of Amazon.

    • Awhile back I picked up a couple of old pachinko games. Mechanisms were shot but I woundup with about 10 lbs of steel balls that work perfectly with my wristrocket. Now I watch every yard sale and flea market.

    • Thomas T. Tinker says:

      I get em bulk at the craft store in the plastic flower section.

  14. Gino Schafer says:

    I am in agreement with everything except a couple statements:

    “I’m hunting rabbit, and happen to spot a deer in the distance, it’s a simple matter to quietly and quickly, switch from a chambered shot-shell (I like #6 shot for small game) to a rifled slug”

    I live in Michigan, I’m an avid hunter, and have been hunting since 1971. Unless you are not adhering to the game laws, you cannot hunt small game during deer season. On top of that, if you were rabbit hunting, especially with beagles, you will never, ever see a deer.

    And quickly and quietly switch from rabbit load to a slug? Really? With a pump or semi automatic? The deer will be gone before you can rack that slug. I have deer hunted. A lot. With shotguns. They live in the woods and hear everything. Especially unnatural sounds like a round being racked.

    These statement makes me think you aren’t much of a hunter.

    • Gino Schafer,

      If you go back and read the article you’ll see that I was talking about a single shot break open shotgun and not a pump or semi-auto. So yes really, it’s easy to do, quickly and quietly… as for hunting laws… who cares about hunting laws post collapse or when you’re hungry… We are talking about foraging for survival not sport hunting.

      As for your statement “about me not being much of a hunter” that’s an awfully big assumption on your part, don’t you think…

      • M.D. I love it when people half-ass read an article then jump straight into posting comments to try and make it look like they know more than you. When in reality they don’t have a clue and only make themselves look stupid.

        • Bwhntr59 says:


          Agree 100% with that comment. But now you can see why there are people that voted for Obama-twice! They don’t really get in depth thinking or common sense. Of course this blog and others like it are not talking bout sport hunting. Sheesh, people get a clue, and read everything in the context it was written.

          good job, MD. Although I admit I am not particularly fond of Glocks, I do realize they are very reliable and excellent protective instruments.

      • It always makes me wonder why someone from NY or CT or in this case Michigan thinks that because something is illegal in their local area, it’s the standard that everyone must adhere to, without even considering there’s 50 other states with different laws, not to mention when SHTF most people will be operating illegally anyway to feed their family.

      • Leonard says:

        MD, there MIGHT be concern about “Game Laws”, depending upon the severity of the financial collapse. My father lived through the depression, when one would have thought that states couldn’t afford to hire flunkies who couldn’t deliver enough funds to justify their pay–YET, his family poached deer several times a month year in and year out in northern Wisconsin, and had several run-ins with Game Wardens over the years. They were able to outrun them every time because they knew all of the backroads–and in-car radios didn’t yet exist, or wouldn’t work in the dense forests of the region. Still, they came close to being apprehended a few times. In a modern collapse like many of us believe is in the future, Game Wardens–whether paid or self-appointed–may be out there shaking down unlicensed or out of season hunters. Nowadays, where I live, Game Wardens may seize any vehicle used for illegal hunting/fishing/trapping on the spot. This could make it worthwhile for states to make sure that Game Wardens, Park Rangers and other “fundraisers” are out there cleaning up whenever they find desperate people trying to live free in a tent, or hunting, fishing etc–an unarmed drunk that refused to pay a $6.00 camping fee at Elephant Butte State Park about 10 yrs ago was shot 3 times in the back and killed by a park ranger. More recently, a homeless guy camping in the desert here, who didn’t want to go to a shelter was shot and killed by local cops when they sent a vicious dog at him, and he brandished a hunting knife at THE DOG. When they called the dog back, the guy placed his knife back in it’s belt scabbard. He then acquiesced, said he’d allow himself to be taken to a shelter. The cops fired a flashbang grenade at him, then shot him to death. They said he threatened the life of a police officer–referring to the dog. I fear that the calibre of people being handed guns and badges by governments across the country will be more cruel and murderous after an economic crash. We’ll have to make sure we have all relevant licenses wherever possible if only to mollify the fundraisers and keep from getting killed. Where I live it’s not too hard, as there’s no closed season on hunting small game (not most game birds), fishing in most waters or trapping non-furbearers (read: Rabbits, Squirrels) so long as you have the licenses. Having the licenses might buy you out trouble, if the fundraisers are still being paid and managed to any degree…

        • Leonard.

          It may not be a “financial collapse” that gets us, who knows – personally, I worry more about a deadly pandemic that kills 75 to 80 percent of the world population in a matter of months. There are so many tipping points and potential EOTWAWKI type of events that would be worse than an economic collapse… but still an economic collapse would not be “fun”.

          The game warden would be the least of my worries post collapse… but that’s just me.

  15. Chuck Findlay says:

    I’ve only hunted deer a doz times and I never changed ammo in the gun doing so. But I do know that movement is quickly noticed by deer. If you swap rounds in any kind of gun you have to move around a bit and it’s likely to make some noise.

    I’m sure it also depends on the deer, early in the season you have a better chance of getting away with the ammo swap. But late in the season probably not. Late season deer have made it through a lot of close calls and will react to things that many of the not-so-smart early season deer didn’t react to and therefore got killed.

  16. Leonard says:

    Beware of “tactical” add-ons for your .22 semi-auto—especially a Ruger. Though not a great shot, I once entered a timed, tactical smallbore competition with my 40+ year old Marlin model 60-something. When I saw what the other guys were shooting, I was embarrassed by my humble weapon. Not for long, though. They had so many stoppages, that I actually won–first place in the division. I did have to keep topping up my tube magazine to stay in the game, but my competitors, with their aftermarket high-capacity magazines, “tactical” barrels, oversized magazine release levers and aftermarket “tactical” stocks had endless failures. If I’m to depend upon any weapon to feed myself—or defend myself in desperate times, I’d leave the cool-guy tactical add-ons home.
    My experiences with semi-auto Remington 12 ga shotguns is limited to a model 1100 acquired in the early 1970’s, and a borrowed, old Belgian Browning Auto 5. The Browning required that you find the load that works best for that shotgun, and it seems they’ll never fail you. The 1100, however was a real disappointment. It was a safe queen for decades, with a 20” bbl, 8 round Choate aftermarket magazine, tactical extended bolt handle intended for defense against home-invasion scenarios. One day, I decided to take it outside into the “real” world to use it for duck and goose hunting, and so removed the aftermarket goodies, and went with a factory bbl, and stock magazine tube and went out looking for winged prey with a small group of friends. Tripping on a vine on a sand hill in nasty weather, I fell, getting sand inside the ejection port. Rather than risking damage to the rest of the gun by using it with sand, I borrowed a friend’s 12 ga pump, and left my Remington in the truck. Once home, I tore the gun down and thoroughly cleaned it. To do so, I took the gas system apart, removing the rubber-like plastic o ring. I found that removing the o-ring required slight stretching, which caused the ring to deform slightly, destroying its ability to seal the system. This turned the gun into a single shot weapon. I figured “no problem”, I’d check out Numrich and get another o-ring. Surprise! They’re out of production and no longer exist. Luckily, I was able to determine that the 11-87 Remington o-rings would work. Sure to be available until that model is out of production. Then what? Because of the plastic from which they’re made, stocking up on these could prove fruitless, as over time, the o-rings are sure to dry out and present the same problem once their elasticity was lost. Ended up selling the Remington and getting an older Model 500 Mossberg—with a STEEL trigger housing, and I’ve never looked back.

    • Thomas T. Tinker says:

      Leonard … You have given us yet another story of the true Evolution of the male iron collection. Good job! Good choice too!

    • j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

      Yes sir, I definitely agree on picking the pump action over the semi-automatic shotgun. My brother has several 1100s and all of them are pretty finicky eaters – they require full power shot shell to function reliably. A manual action eats up ammunition with a variety of power. No contest for me either.

  17. Great article MD! I love my Remington 870 12 ga shotgun-with
    easily switched out security and hunting barrels. In the NE WA
    mountains where I live I love my .22 bolt action rifle because of
    quiet and economic verstility. We do have cougars and big bears,
    so I do carry a good hand gun for backup. Go light foot in the
    freedom of the hills, but go adequately prepared
    Kind Regards
    Jim Pacific NW

  18. Two ideas on “Weapons and Tools for Foraging”…

    1. They’re making the Ruger 10/22 in a new pistol style called the Charger. It exactly the same gun in a pistol mode, and you can even get it in a “breakdown” model. The advantages are weight, commonality of parts/magazines with your standard 10/22, and it comes with a 10 inch threaded barrel, and costs about $250-$350 depending on model. http://www.ruger.com/products/22Charger/models.html

    2. If you’re foraging and trying to be quiet, a .22 suppressor would really come in handy, especially with the threaded barrel of the Charger mentioned above. .22 suppressors run about $300-$400 and the federal stamp costs another $200, and the lowly .22 has been known to take down lots of big game animals. Some people may say that a suppressor will put you on a government list, but then I think we’re all already on those same government lists just by visiting sites like this and by being Veterans, Christians, Constitutionalist, home schoolers, etc.

    • j.r. guerra in s. tx. says:

      Jumbo, a long barrelled (26″ >) action and standard velocity rimfire ammunition will also cut down on the decibels as well. You might also want to experiment with the small pistol (.32ACP) adapters for deer rifles. In some rifles, they are pretty accurate inside 50 yards and are quiet to boot.

  19. Mac Coakwell says:

    The Glock 19 has the same frame and magazine as the Glock 22. The only difference is the barrel and the slide. The G22 is designed for .40 caliber, however by changing only the barrel it will also fire 9MM ammo. The G19 cannot be converted to fire .40 cal because the slide cannot handle the extra pressure of the .40 cal round. It only works going down in ammo size. There is also a conversion (barrel, slide and magazine) that changes the G22 to fire .22LR. The Glock 22 is the better buy.

  20. Love the article, For bugout/ camping/ survival purpose I love my 10/22 breakdown. Very compact and reliable. I’m not a gun nut, I just know what works good in my system and the 10/22 fits the bill for me!

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