Sunday, August 21, 2011

SHTF Rifle

So this is just the funniest thing I've seen in ages. I mean, I pay for my bandwidth by the meg but I've still watched it every day since it was posted!

I, myself, have agonised far too much over what guns to buy and what order to buy them in. Should I wrap my entire life around trying to fulfil the requirements for a C class license? Should I hold off on buying a pistol until I can start silhouette shooting and fulfil the requirements for owning a .45 ACP?

The answer in each case is an emphatic "NO".

I humbly submit that your priorities should be:
1) A cheap 22LR rifle.
2) A reliable (hopefully cheap) pistol of calibre no higher than your significant other can handle.
3) A .223 bolt action rifle of mid to high range quality.

Here's my reasoning.
The cheap 22LR rifle will get you out on the range and shooting for very little outlay. Rifles with only iron sights can be had for as little as fifty bucks. The ammunition itself is very cheap and works out at roughly 5 to 7 cents a round. The sooner you get out to the local range the sooner you'll start meeting fellow firearms enthusiasts who are typically a wellspring of tips and pointers for new shooters. Shooters in Australia have their backs against the wall these days and as such tend to welcome newcomers into the fold quite eagerly. Don't concern yourself with appearing to be a "newbie". The fact is that you ARE a newbie and they'll know it. Turning up with an Arms International .338 Lapua Magnum (a very big, expensive gun) only to have difficulty figuring out where the bullets go will result in people laughing AT you, not WITH you. Don't be discouraged by the bevy of forum posts where new shooters talk about "going straight to the .308" or such nonsense. They're probably posting in between rounds of the newest Playstation war game. Talkers talk. Shooters shoot. Get shooting as fast as you can. The 22LR is the cheapest, easiest way to start. The other reason to get that lump of wood and steel in your hands ASAP is because if the SHTF then you'll want something to point at any potential looters in order to shoo them away. A looter isn't going to look down the barrel of a rifle and think "I'm pretty sure that's just a 22LR so I'll take the bullet and rob this person anyway". They're going to think "that's a freaking gun so I guess I'll go rob someone else for the time being". To me that's worth fifty bucks right there.

The pistol is your go to gun if ever something goes bump in the night. Remember, it's illegal to buy the gun for self defence purposes, but not to USE it for self defence if you HAVE to. When it comes to home invaders I'll take my chances with the legal system, not the criminal scumbag. So you buy your pistol for target shooting at the appropriate club. The requirements for getting your "H" class license vary from state to state but typically you have to becomes a pistol club member. You join the club and attend as regularly as able. You will still be limited to .38 calibre weapons unless you fill the aforementioned criteria for owning a larger calibre handgun. Still, as I mentioned before, bigger is not always better. Shot placement has been proven to be more important than the size or velocity of the bullet. In layman's terms, you're not going to stop someone you don't hit. Furthermore anyone capable of (legally) using the weapon should be taught to do so. Your teenage daughter might be persuaded to fire a revolver chambered in 44 magnum but afterwards she'll never want to hold a gun again. Everyone that can be legally armed in your household SHOULD be and standardising your armaments means everybody knows how to use everybody else's weapon. It means everyone will be using the same ammunition, the same holsters, the same magazines and the same accessories. Into the future it also means that the weapons can be stripped down for spare parts to keep their counterparts operational. Finally, the weapon doesn't need to be A grade accurate or made of advanced tritanium polymers. Most modern firearms when well maintained will last a long time. You're looking for rugged reliability here. If the enemy is so distant that accuracy is an issue then you should be using the next gun up. I.E.

The .223 bolt action rifle. This is a military round (equivalent of the 5.56 NATO) so it has a huge following and ammunition is cheap (for a centrefire rifle anyway). It's shootable by even the frailest of folk and it can be used for hunting pretty much any kind of animal a novice is likely to encounter. If the rifle is well made then this round can be accurate to quite a distance and is an excellent platform for turning rookie shooters into professionals. Sure, there's no shortage of gurus telling you that this cartridge or that cartridge out-performs the humble .223 but for anyone learning the arts of distance shooting then I don't think you can go far past this time tested round. In a SHTF situation for anyone living on a farm (or bugging out to the wilderness) this is an excellent choice for ranged defence or hunting. You could opt for the .308 Winchester round but once again it comes back to everybody in the family being able to use the weapon without flinching. I advise that this weapon would be a good one to spend some extra money on. This is because, at distance, quality counts. You don't want to be down at the range wondering if it's you or the gun that's the problem. 

So then, if you've gotten those three tools, you can look into that "300 WinMag for 1000 yards", but try to keep your family out of that FEMA deathcamp :)