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Which gun, for a one-gun user, in a worse-case scenario?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Gildersleeve, Jul 2, 2010.

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  1. Gildersleeve

    Gildersleeve Member

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    Hey all, Im new here!
    My experience with guns is limited to mid-sized game calibers in bolt and lever action (mostly .270, .32) some shotguns and of course .22s.
    Ive been thinking for a long time about getting a gun for a worse-case scenario event where I have to bug-out, protect myself, family, etc..., live off the land, etc....
    The area of choices, and the costs, are all a bit daunting to me!
    id love to be able to focus on one gun that'll serve most of my needs reasonably well in such a scenario.
    Ive assumed I want a high-cap semi-auto that is accurate to a few-hundred yards (at least), with the right power to serve self-defense needs, as well as hunting needs. I've assumed it should also be extremely reliable, durable, easy to maintain, and pretty dang common as far as parts and caliber are concerned.

    Im sure this debate has been aired a fair bit already. Id appreciate any feedback or thoughts anybody has time for! Or even to just be directed to a previous thread where I might get some direction.

    Incidentally, id also be interested in answers to the same question regarding a hand-gun! Though I feel like the long-gun is much more of a priority ... and my budget is quite limited regarding firearms!

    Thanks, Nick
     
  2. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    What would you be hunting?
     
  3. Gildersleeve

    Gildersleeve Member

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    In a worse-case scenario I'd probably be hunting just about any and everything, which no doubt increases the difficulty of selecting the right "one-gun." It'd be nice to have a caliber that could bring down at least a deer and even an elk (with a well-placed shot) ... but it'd also be nice to not obliterate smaller, and possibly more plentiful, game like rabbits or even squirrels.
    I know it's a tough assignment.
     
  4. sm

    sm member

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    .44 Mag in either double action or single action.

    -Proven
    -Revolvers are not dependent on ammo or magazines to run,
    -One can tailor loads for tasks (i.e. .44 Spl is a great round and will work in a .44 Mag).
    -Robust, and since, if matters are that "serious" you can forget a gun store or gunsmith being nearby.

    -I want .44 mag revolvers again.
    *smile*
     
  5. minuteman1970

    minuteman1970 Member

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    What about a 12-Guage Shotgun, with removable barrels (rifled, choke tube, etc..) and an assortment of slugs, buckshot, and birdshot?

    This should handle most situations and game small & large, up to a couple hundred yards (with quality sabot slugs and decent glass).
     
  6. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    12 guage with a smooth bore barrel will do it all, from bird shot to buck shot to slugs. I would prefer a pump action with 18-20" of tube.
     
  7. XD Fan

    XD Fan Member

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    I concur with Kingcreek.
     
  8. JoeSlomo

    JoeSlomo Member

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    My go to firearm for chaotic defensive and survival needs is an M4.

    Short, light, very handy for up close encounters, and yet has the range and accuracy to take longer shots if needed. Ammo is light, prevalent, and you can find mags pretty much anywhere. While 5.56 is not a great hunting round, you can certainly use it to harvest deer in dire circumstances.

    Contrary to popular belief, the M4 IS a reliable firearm...unless you are a 3rd world peasant who doesn't understand the concept of maintenance. The only environment I have NOT used an M4 or a derivative in is arctic. It fired every time I needed it to...
     
  9. 41magsnub

    41magsnub Member

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    I'm on board with the 12ga shotgun with a normal stock, either pump or single shot, with a smooth bore and swappable chokes. With the right ammo you can literally hunt anything with it.. from birds to bears.
     
  10. Carter

    Carter Member

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    Revolvers are always very common answers for these type of threads. However, I feel if you ever need ammo it would be hard to find. Most ammo stores only carry the common military/leo rounds, and people who have it stocked up probably would be using it themselves or have it locked up to where you couldn't get it. Ammo is found in a barrel or drawer like in Resident Evil...usually :rolleyes:

    A bolt action .223 would be a good firearm to have. Like a CZ 527. I've never shot one but its highly recommended on here and I plan on getting one eventually. An AR would a good choice, but I wouldn't want one in a desert.


    One thing that was brought up in a thread of mine was the WHAT IF question that you had to conceal it at some point, thus making a pistol more viable.


    If you're better with handguns there you go. If you're better with rifles there you go. Same for shotguns, bow, crossbow, etc.


    A ruger mini 14 wouldn't be too bad for short to mid range shots. An ak is always cheap, yet they're always a questionable buy unless you get a saiga and convert it. An AR you'll want to spend a little money on IMHO.

    Chances are you'll never have to road warrior it so an AR with a 100 round drum isn't the most reasonable choice (yet fun). I'd go with a good .223 bolt gun for now...then when you have more money get a high cap rifle or pistol to compliment it. That way you have two weapons for the family. Also, nothing is easier to clean that a bolt action.
     
  11. ForumSurfer

    ForumSurfer Member

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    I'm not good at these "end of the world" scenarios...but the option for something in .223, preferably bolt action seems appropriate. Ammo is cheap and easy to find and store. With a bolt action, you are less likely to be left with a paperweight. The .223 will take up less space for ammo and let you carry other important things...like food and water when on the move. With a bolt action, I'm not dependant on magazines that can malfunction.

    A 12 gauge may be appropriate, but if I had to grab my kids and run into the woods I would much rather have lug 1000 rounds of .223 than 1000 12 gauge rounds. A box of 25 count 12 gauge shotgun shells would hold 200 loose 223 rounds or more very easily. When I head off to the back of my property to shoot skeet, I have to lug around a rather large box of 200 shells. If I carry my AR, 2-300 rounds and a few mags, it all fits on my person and I have two free hands (cargo shorts and a tshirt) assuming I'm using a sling on the weapon.
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2010
  12. alohachris

    alohachris Member

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    12 Gauge. Remington 870 pump action.

    Reliable, no magazines to damage or lose, broad range of ammo for any type of situation, little or no maintenance.

    The only downside I see is low capacity & short range (100 yards).
     
  13. dondavis3

    dondavis3 Member

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    +1 Kingcreek

    Except I like a auto loader.

    :cool:
     
  14. Gildersleeve

    Gildersleeve Member

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    Thanks for all the ideas so far guys. Very interesting, I hadn't even thought of the shotgun option. Id always assumed it would be something in .223 or maybe .308, but that's food for thought for sure.
    I also hadnt thought about how much more maintenancep-intensive auto-loading is compared to bolt-action. Think this outways the firepower in a potential self-defense situation? So many pros and cons!
    Also, I would love to of course have more than one gun along. Perhaps my wife carrying one, etc.... Does it change any considerations if I have two long-guns in my "crew"?
     
  15. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer member

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    I'd also go shotgun. It limits range, but it's so versatile that it's hard to beat. Small game is probably going to account for more protein than large game especially when everyone and their cousin is out blasting game. With buck you've got a terrific short range defensive weapon. With slugs you can reasonably take big game out to 100 yards - more if you have an extra slug barrel. Bird shot for rabbits, fowl of all types.

    I'd also want a .22 rifle of any brand or make.
     
  16. jeepguy

    jeepguy Member

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    bring a 12 gauge or .223/.308 semi auto rifle .22lr rifle and good defensive pistol. use the .22lr to take small game, ammo is light & cheap. 12 gauge or semi auto rifle for large game. the .22 would be alot quiter & would be less likely to draw unwanted attention. you could double up on ammo if you went with a rifle & pistol that took the same ammo. like .357mag or .44mag this way you have more then one option & if you had to defend yourselfs your wife would be armed as well. perfaeably one sidearm each, one semi auto rifle & one .22lr rifle. better yet team up with some family members or friends.
     
  17. minuteman1970

    minuteman1970 Member

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    If you're in the position to bring a second long gun for your wife, I would recommend going with an AR rifle in .223. With proper optics and removable mounts, you can quickly switch it from a close quarter weapon to mid-range tack driver. The low recoil will be more agreeable to friends/family members of smaller stature. The commonality of popular ammo, replacement parts and magazines may prove to be critical at a later point in time.

    As a third choice, I would recommend a good .22 such as the common Ruger 10/22 to handle small game tasks.
     
  18. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

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    Presuming adequate education, my answer to the what one gun should infrequent shooters tuck away for emergencies question is their personal choice of



    A) Military pedigree mid rifle caliber carbine
    B) 12 ga pump or
    C) Levergun in 30-30, .357 or .44
    D) Pistol caliber autoloading carbine (a sadly diminishing market)

    The options are listed in order of preference, given estimates of power, reliability, durability, and ease of use. Cost is a secondary factor. If cost is primary, drop A to the bottom of the list, and eliminate from the list anything you find personally or legally problematic in your jurisdiction.
     
  19. Black Knight

    Black Knight Member

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    I would say forget about the one gun idea and look to a two gun combo, and mybe even three gun. All should be good to high quality that is 100% reliable and relative low maintenance. For a handgun I would consider a 357 Magnum revolver with a 4 or 6 inch barrel. You can fire 38 Special ammo as well as Magnum ammo in it. You can somewhat tailor the ammo to the circumstances you expect. It also is good to have a gun that can use two seperate calibers (I know the magnum is a stretched 38), your ammo is not so restricted. Also you should have at least one long gun. I recommend a 12 Gauge shotgun. The ammo selection is great. A pump shotgun with twin actuator bars should fit the bill nicely. For a rifle this is more of a personal choice deal. Do you plan mostly to hunt with some defensive use or more defensive use than hunting? The rifle is an optional item. I believe you could do very well with the handgun and shotgun combination.
     
  20. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Realistically, assuming some earthquake destroys the town and you have no choice but to get out of there, you'll be best served by a quality rimfire rifle. The CZ 452 would be at the top of my list. A brick of 500 rounds is cheap and easy to tote. To the extent you actually have to live off the land (and you should be planning to avoid this option at all costs!) you're going to be targeting mostly small game because it's going to be the easiest to get to. And the .22 can be used to poach in an emergency with minimal noise. When I did my little homesteading experiment the expensive heavy centerfires got left at camp and I used the CZ almost exclusively. Big game means lots of preparation and facilities. It's a big job. Too big to deal with if you're on the run from something or trying to lay low.

    Remember, IRL "bugging out" means becoming a refugee or dying badly. Or both.
     
  21. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    1) 12 gauge pump action shotgun with three or more choke tubes. (Remington, Mossberg, Winchester, Benelli, or Beretta)

    if at some point finances permit another firearm:

    2) .357 double action revolver four to six inch barrel (S&W or Ruger)
     
  22. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    I already said 12g but I gotta add that choke tubes are great when shooting sporting clays or hunting but choke tubes are not essential. a barrel choked IC or Mod will still do it all. I don't really like playing these SHTF scenarios but if I did, I would be thinking simple, uncomplicated basics. My 3" chambered 870 with 20" smoothbore, a QD sling and a selection of shells and I'm good to go- anything from wrens to rhinos. If I'm truly in a worse case situation, I'm gonna have a lot of other things to think about besides choke tubes or weapon types.
     
  23. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    I would recommend a reliable 9mm pistol with good capacity, a holster for it, and a couple of spare magazines, as the first priority. Odds are that in most disaster scenarios, you won't have the option of having a rifle in your hands everywhere you go and whatever you find yourself doing. A semiauto rifle or pump shotgun is superior to a handgun for defending against a home invasion, but if you're driving from point A to point B in a car, or using a chainsaw or an axe to try to clear that tree out of your driveway, or filling a water bucket, or loading your car, or whatever else you're doing, that rifle or shotgun is not going to be immediately accessible like a holstered handgun would be, and the most likely threat is going to be up close, not 300 yards away. So IMO get the handgun first (my own first choice for a rainy day would be a Glock 17, if I were starting from scratch), and then supplement with a semiauto carbine with good capacity when you can afford to.

    A 7.62x39mm AK is three feet long, probably ten inches high, a couple of inches thick, and weighs at least eight pounds loaded, plus an additional two pounds per loaded magazine.

    No, not at all. If an AR or AK gets messed up enough that it stops cycling---which is exceedingly unlikely in realistic scenarios---what you are left with is a straight-pull bolt-action with a 20- or 30-round magazine. Is that so much worse than a bolt-action with a 5-round magazine? And not maintenance-intensive; a shot of oil (heck, motor oil) in the works every once and a while and you're good to go. Just buy decent magazines, and before you buy the rifle, inspect it to make sure it's put together right (which can be a problem with both AK's and AR's).

    If I were on a budget, I'd look hard at a 5.45x39mm AK. If I couldn't afford that, I'd see if I could find a Saiga (.223 if I could get it) and convert it to use full-capacity magazines. 7.62x39mm is a little better for hunting deer and such, and penetrates cover a little better, but subsistence hunting of big game animals is not realistic for most Americans due to geography and competition.

    Personally, I'd get a full-size 9mm pistol first, then a long gun.

    Also consider that in a crisis, you may not end up facing any armed threats, but you will have to eat and drink. Prioritize accordingly; self-defense is important, but food and water are even more so, so don't skimp on the latter. We had a couple of hurricanes hit us when we lived in the Florida panhandle, and we didn't have any looters but did had to survive without electricity for a few days and without running water for a week.
     
  24. Gildersleeve

    Gildersleeve Member

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    Yeah, Ive actually procrastinated this whole subject for a long time, and for some reason it's recently gotten to bugging me too much to ignore, so Ive deciding to start addressing it in a real way. Believe me, I really dont want the S to HTF. I actually dont enjoy camping very much, and rather doubt I would enjoy camping-on-steroids, with some Lord of the Flies thrown in, for the rest of my life.
    But, prepare reasonably and hope you dont have to use it.

    I'm definitely seeing that a one-gun setup is pretty undesirable. Im liking a lot the idea of getting a 10/22 and a pump shotgun, soonish ... I think that setup would be well within budget in the near future, and would satisfy alot of imaginable needs. As time passes Ill begin thinking about a possible semi-auto rifle and handgun.
    My wife and anyone else with me can handle the extra guns. We need to start training together. If Im alone in that situation, god help me anyway, and I dont think any gun could do much for me.

    On the subject of a best semi-auto rifle ... any takers?
     
  25. mgkdrgn

    mgkdrgn Member

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    Couple hundred yards? Only if you intend to make your living as a sniper.

    IMHO, the best "all around gun to have if you only have 1" is the standard 12 gauge pump shotgun. Remington 870, Mossberg 500, Chinese or Charles Daly clone ... take your pick.

    Stone simple, reliable, and capable of knocking down anything that walks on the planet.
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