I’m writing in response to the discussion about the “narrow, but deep” firearms philosophy. I agree with the author of that post: start with your main rifle, buy quality optics, and then slowly expand your collection. There are several advantages to having guns in lots of calibers:
- There is always ammo to shoot. I remember several years ago, when ammo was really hard to find in my area. There wasn’t a box of .223, .308, 9mm, .45, or even 30-06 to be found, but I saw several leftover boxes of .40 S&W and .243 Winchester. They were there week after week.
- You are familiar with multiple calibers. This would come in especially handy if you are away from your retreat when the SHFT. It’s a generally accepted principle that in such a situation, if you are without a firearm, you need to quickly acquire one. Chances are, you won’t beat the locals to those DPMS AR-15s. However, chances are you will be able to find a bolt action rifle in a less common caliber, like .222 Remington. While not ideal, it’s better than nothing, especially if you already have a little trigger time with that caliber. This translates over to other situations, as well. Maybe you have to E&E to your retreat as described in Patriots. If you don’t have your firearm, or it breaks, or whatever, you may have to acquire one, or work security at a farm that only has a 25-06.
- You can find what works best for you. For your main semi-automatic rifle, .223 or .308 are your best bets. However, for a medium-long range rifle, 7mm may be your “soul mate”. You’ll never know until you try.
- In the dreaded long-term collapse, you’ll be shooting longer. My estimate is that after so many years, the common calibers will eventually be all shot up. However, there may still be a couple boxes of 10mm running around, since no one has that gun.
- It gives you versatility. If a refugee shows up on your doorstep, and he only has a .44 Whelen, wouldn’t it be nice if you had a box or two to trade or give as charity? Conversely, if he has that .44 Whelen ammo and needs food, you’re now in a position to trade with him without making it a complete loss on your part.
- You can use it to hunt. Suppose we’re a few years in and your running a bit low on ammo. If you go hunting, would you rather use some of your precious .308, which you can use for defense, or some 7mm-08?
- They’re less likely to be banned or confiscated. As the author of the previous post mentioned, at some time, martial law or just plain old unconstitutional law may be in effect. Perhaps this legislation allows less common hunting calibers, but it bans military calibers. If someone shows up at your door and asks what all that shooting was about, you can pull out your 22-250 and explain how it needed re-zeroed. This would also give you a legitimate way to purchase ammo, whose brass you could then shape to your regular rifle’s caliber.
- It makes you less suspicious. If someone accidentally sees your large ammo cache or notices the amount of powder you buy or whatever, you can truthfully say that you have several guns. Subconsciously, they assume that your ammo/powder is divided equally among each gun, not 95% dedicated to one.
- They’re an investment. One of the golden rules of investing is diversity. This golden rule means you shouldn’t just invest in gold, or gold and silver. (No, I don’t mean gold and silver and platinum, either.) While gold and silver (sorry, platinum) are excellent investments, firearms are too. If you ever need some extra cash, before or after SHFT, you can sell off one of your oddball rifles.
In conclusion, I’d like to restate that these less common rifles only make sense to buy after you’ve purchased and decked out your main rifle in .223 or .308. Consider these backup guns. Of particular interest is the Ruger American Rifle. For $459, you can have a decent bolt action in any (or all) of four less common calibers. You can also scour local gun shows for old deer rifles. – Dakota