Letter Re: A Reader’s Perspective on Assembling a Survival Firearms Battery

As far as a perfect survival firearm you are right there is no one fire arm, I have seen many people give there opinion on this and in calibers also. As far as I am concerned there is only one all round weapon of perfection, that would be the 12 gauge shotgun with the many different types of ammo offered for slugs to bird shot it is an all around must have in the pending days. As for a protection in a high capacity fire arm I would be trust anything less then a 7.62×39 it has enough stopping power where one round will stop a threat. Which is what your looking for unless you have all the ammo in the world to waste. Now the other thing that you would want to think about is servicing and repairing your weapon now the best in this area is the AK-47. Their design is perfect for rough usage and great for field use they all fire when wet, in sand, in the heat and the cold. Their ammo is also is fired by the SKS which is a great scout gun, and “starter” gun for the people that have kids that are just getting to the age to shoot. The next model which is my personal favorite is the M14 which has the same great “fire every time and in every circumstance” as the AK. It chambers the .308 which is a sledgehammer of a round and is a easy round to find.

Next is the pistol category now this one is a touchy subject with most because of persons opinions they like a revolver or an auto it really isn’t a dime’s difference between the two except you can get the larger calibers in the revolver. Being able to hit your target is the most important thing. If you are using a pistol for you main protection gun then your not using the correct tool for the job. Now in a revolver I personal like the .45 “Long” Colt or the .41 Magnum for their stopping power and I do have both in the Ruger, which I prefer because of price. As far as autos go, I also like the P-series models by Ruger. They are a double action and for the price you can not beat them. And there are aftermarket magazines that are very easy to obtain. Bottom line you should find what guns feel good to you and shoot them regularly because that is only way you will become good with them. Please try to keep your armory down to 3 to 4 calibers. It is nice to try to have ammo that will work in multiple weapons. Please remember when you see ammo on sale of different calibers you should buy it–you might be able to use as trade.

In my personal armory I have:

12 Gauge Shotguns:
Browning Auto-5 with 3 barrels–nice to have extra barrels if you have to alter one.
Remington 870 pump with 8 shot magazine tube
Coachman style double barrel
Remington 1100 auto with 2 barrels

Remington Model 700 BDL 25-06 (a great caliber)
2 Semi-auto M14s .308
Remington Model 700 BDL .308
2 AK47 rifles
3 SKS rifles
Remington Model 700 BDL .338
Savage Model 99 .308
.22 [Long Rifle] bolt action
[Ruger] 10/22 [.22 Long Rifle]
Now you can see that I have a lot of the of the 700 BDL models.This is because they have the same “feel” as my my shotguns, and I used to shoot trap.

Ruger .41 Magnum
Ruger 45 Long Colt
3 Ruger P85 9mm with 20 15 round magazines and 10 30 round magazines
2 Ruger P90 45 ACP with 10 15 round magazines
1 Calico 9mm with a collapsible stock with 50 and 100 round magazines
2 Thunder Five .410/ 45 Long Colt (My wife carries one at all times)
2 Browning 22

Miscellaneous Ammo for Trade:
I have these varieties of ammo that I have found on sale–acquired for barter
.300 Short Magnum
7mm Mauser
.357 Magnum
.44 Magnum
20 Gauge
.25 Automatic [ACP]
.30 Carbine
I do not have a lot of this ammo, but I do keep it for trading purposes.

As you can see that I have tried to keep my armory in interchangeable ammo which keeps your money well spent and be able to use on multiple weapons. I recommend the .25-06 because it is a real tack driver and has great ballistics. The only drawback is I have not been able to find bulk ammo in this caliber and it can be quite spendy. – Chad

JWR Replies: Thanks for your input. When acquiring extra ammunition for barter, I recommend that SurvivalBlog readers first research which calibers are popular for deer hunting in their particular area, as well as what calibers the local police and sheriff’s departments issue. Concentrate on those calibers for barter.

I am not fond of the Ruger P-series pistols. They are a bit bulky and have unwieldy safety levers, but admittedly they are fairly reliable. I also dislike Ruger’s anti-gun ownership politics (particularly their advocacy of magazine bans), so I generally buy guns from other makers, when possible.

I noticed that you mentioned “10 30 round magazines” as some of your spares for your Ruger P85. Those are not made by the Ruger factory. My experience with aftermarket pistol magazines has been very disappointing. The quality control of most of the aftermarket makers is pitiful. Many aftermarket magazines refuse to feed reliably. I’ve even seen some that even refuse to be fully loaded. The “Brand X” or “no name” makers such as (Triple K, PMI, USA, etc.) are notorious for either under-heat treating their magazine feed lips. This eventually causes all sorts of failure to feed problems, even for magazines that start out life feeding fairly well. I highly recommend that you thoroughly test all of your spare magazines before depending on them for self-defense use!

A decade ago, I was fairly dogmatic about exclusively buying guns in standard calibers. But these days, I tell clients that it is fine to a have a rifle or two that is in a “pet” or oddball chambering–even for a wildcat cartridge–but only if they first stock up adequately on standard caliber guns and ammunition. (Such as .308 (7.62 mm NATO), .30-06, .223 (5.56 mm NATO), and 7.62 x 39mm.) After you own a couple of FALs (or something similar like an M1A, AR-10, or HK91) and several thousand rounds of 7.62 mm NATO, then by all means go ahead and buy your “.396 Belchfire (Improved) Magnum”. If you buy any rifle in an unusual caliber, then don’t neglect buying plenty of extra ammunition and/or reloading components. I agree that the .25-06 is a great choice for a long range deer and antelope rifle. Just be forewarned that your chance of finding .25-06 ammunition for sale after TSHTF will be just about nil.