Working Guns for Homesteading/rural/off grid lifestyle?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Glamdring, Dec 10, 2009.

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  1. goon

    goon Member

    Jan 20, 2003
    I guess in retrospect...
    I grew up kind of in the country too.
    My personal choices now would be a .22 (probably my 10/22), probably a 30-30 lever action Marlin 336 (I want a guide gun but a used 336 is so economical and will kill any threat in PA) and a 3" SP-101 in .357. I still maintain that I could go without a shotgun and be well provided for by this three gun combo.

    Having said that, the guns that always got used by us to eliminate pests and that got the most meat were an old single barrel 12 gauge and a couple old bolt action .22's. My dad always had a .22 revolver around that was loaded but really, it wasn't necessary other than as a "snake" gun during fishing trips. Although centerfire rifles were always available, they were pretty much always cleaned and oiled and put away until deer season.
    Assorted high or low brass in number 4,5,or 6 shot were fine for the 12 gauge. Honestly, nothing ever seemed to notice what load it had been shot with. Shotgunners may call this a sacriledge but the meat always tasted the same. For the .22's, I'd suggest sticking to solids - they penetrate better and don't destroy as much meat on a squirrel or rabbit. HP's either tear a nasty hole and fill it with hair and bone fragments or they flatten out on something like a shoulder blade and don't make it to a vital. I have seen it happen. I once saw a feral cat (not a PET, which I wouldn't condone ever shooting, but a PEST) take a solid shouder hit with a HP and run away. I've also seen an aggressive wolf/husky mix put down with one round of .22 LRN to the brainpan. Lights out - quick, clean, and painless. So for anything other than aluminum cans, I stick with solid bullets exclusively.
    That worked for us circa 1980-1990 in rural central PA.

    However, the world isn't the same now. I WOULD NOT go without a reliable centerfire handgun with a good holster and a CCW permit. My personal preference, again, is the SP-101. Its compact, durable, powerful, and versatile. To me, it's just about the perfect handgun for MY uses.

    Other considerations - I'd also stick to common chamberings because that's what's the cheapest and most available at the gun stores and walmarts. But I wouldn't go with them because that's what the military or LE uses. If something bad does go down, I highly doubt that the local cops or national guard is going to come along and pass out ammuntion to anyone with an AR-15 or Glock 19. It's just not going to happen. If things are so bad that the military is passing out ammo, odds are good that they'll be passing out M-16's to go along with it. Still, for the common rural tool use or even aftermath of a disaster, I'd say that whatever ammo you have is whatever ammo you will have. I'd say a couple hundred rounds of centerfire handgun ammo, maybe the same amount or so for a rifle, and two or so bricks of .22 (1000 rounds) is a good amount to have on hand for short term insurance policy uses. Everyone would probably like more than that but realistically, lots of people have gotten through far worse than I can imagine with a lot less than that.
    Also, I don't think an AR or Glock is a bad thing to have. Just that for my uses, I'd prefer something firing a heavier round that can reliably anchor a black bear if necessary (I've been practically toe to toe with about five in my life and have NEVER felt threatened by one, but it could happen), which to me says 30-30 class or so at a minimum. But not everyone has that concern.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2009
  2. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    Los Anchorage
    It actually has rifling in it, but that never stopped anyone from loading it with shot. They were extremely popular as surplus arms after the CW. I've seen several references to native subsistence hunters around here using them as grub guns and bear guns.
  3. SPlisken

    SPlisken Member

    Dec 23, 2009
    Northern Colorado
    I have lived rural and remotely most of my life. To address the original question of (2) working tools for off-grid living:

    1. Any quality spring-operated pellet rifle. My preference rather than a .22 as the resource needs and maintenance are extremely low. Easy to store an almost infinite amount of ammo, but also easy to make your own. Get an extra spring or two and some o-rings or whatever is specific to your chosen rifle for maintenance and you can keep your family fed on small game and birds easily enough the rest of your life in the right geographies. I've used a Gamo Silent Hunter 1000 in .177 cal with a scope for a few years now and I have no problems to 50 yds on up to eastern cottontail sized game. I've also never had a single quality/functionality issue with this rifle.

    2. A .308 bolt gun. The mountainous western US (where I am) commonly calls for long range shots on up to elk (possibly moose) sized game. I backpack hunt in remote locations and really like my Tikka T3 in .308, zeroed at 200 yds. It is a middle of the road rifle with a cheap looking but functional stock and a silky smooth and reliable action in a light weight package. Oh yeah, and they make a LH version (thanks Tikka)! If I were north of the 48th parallel I'd upgrade that to .300WM

    I'm not currently a black powder owner but for reasons similar to those I listed for #1 above and based on the suggestions of others in this thread it makes sense to me to add a simple black powder rifle to the collection. It would also benefit you to have and know how to use a bow which can almost take the place of the pellet/.22 rifle. I couldn't get nearly as many small birds with a bow as i could the pellet/.22.

    Thanks for making me think about this one. I had to work this out, as most others here I assume, I have the luxury of several to choose from today!
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2009
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