Letter Re: Advice on Buying Legislatively Resilient Guns

Hello Mr. Rawles:
I appreciate your suggestion on purchasing/acquiring some Pre-1899 or otherwise standard language weapons ban legislation immune firearms that could prove effective and “legal.” (I use the term facetiously) in the event of a successful statist gun grab. (God forbid.) Other than the M1 Garand, could you perhaps provide a list of other firearms that may prove a prudent investment?

God Bless, – Jason in Kansas

JWR Replies: The following is is an excerpt from my Pre-1899 Antique Guns FAQ:

Q: What would you consider a basic battery of pre-1899 guns for a typical shooter that wants to diversify and “hedge his bets” by buying some pre-1899s for his family?

A:  I’d recommend buying the following pre-1899 production guns:

* Two big bore S&W top break double action revolvers (.44-40 or .44 Russian, but get both in the same caliber.)

* One Winchester Model 1897 in 12 gauge

* One pre-1899 .22 Long Rifle.  (Winchester Model 1890 pump or Winchester Low Wall single shot rifles are ideal.)

* Two Model 1893/94/95/96 Mauser bolt action rifles. (I suggest 6.5×55, 7×57, or 8×57, but regardless get both rifles in the same caliber.)

If you have a big budget, you should also invest in few additional pre-1899 Colts and Winchesters that are chambered for commonly available factory made ammunition.

For those who live in states with already tight restrictions (such as California and New Jersey), I’d recommend doing some research and finding semi-autos that were overlooked from their ban lists. These might still include the Ruger Mini-14 (in “vanilla” sporter configurations), FN-49 rifles, M1 Garands, Remington Model 81 Police (extended magazine) rifles, Remington 740 Woodmaster series hunting rifles (for which 10-round magazines are available), Winchester Model 100 rifles, and SKS carbines (with a few fairly limited magazine options.) Saiga-12 shotguns may also still be overlooked in some states with bans. Be sure to check the latest enacted editions of your state laws before making a purchase. If possible, buy rifles without a paper trail. When I last checked, rifles that are more than 50 years old could be purchased from private parties in California by a fellow resident without any FFL and DOJ paperwork.

By the way, although they are often mentioned as “loophole” guns, I don’t recommend M1 Carbines, because they shoot a relatively weak pistol-class cartridge with a looping trajectory.