Ready! Set!! Prep!! – Hunting Rifles
So. We’ve been discussing PKGs, that is People Killing Guns, that will be useful Prepper Guns in a SHTF or a TEOTWAWKI type situation. Earlier, in Part 1, we talked about some Classic or older Military Surplus Rifles. These weapons, while old, can still be used to good effect and, if properly taken care of, can still give good service.
That being said, if you can afford or a acquire a more modern PKG then you need to do so. Once acquired you need to become very familiar with its operation and comfortable with its usage. You should practice with it as often as you can afford so that you will be as proficient as possible. The experience you gain with your PKG now can potentially save You and Yours later. You need to use it enough that it becomes a extension of you.
Thankfully even in this day of Liberal Gun Hatred you have a wide selection of PKGs to choose from. There is such a variety that I’m only going to cover a few selections here. In this post I’ll focus on Hunting Rifles — Lever Action, and Bolt Action Rifles. Each of these will have its good and bad points, and its Fans and Detractors. The main thing they’ll have in common is that they are all capable of taking care of You and Yours and getting the job done, whether the job is taking game or putting down a threat.
Hunting Rifles – Lever Action
The first PKGs we’ll talk about here are common hunting rifles; the type that you can pick up at Walmart, your local Gun Stores and most Pawn Shops. Right now our main interest will be in PKGs that are chambered in rounds capable of taking large game and two legged threats. The common .22 caliber weapons, while valid and important Prepper Tools, are a topic for another discussion on another day.
One of my personal favorites is the old fashioned Lever Action Rifle. Yep. Think Cowboys. Think John Wayne, and Clint Eastwood. Lever Action Rifles are typically short, light, and handy. While not very Tacti-Cool they are easy to use, accurate, quick to put in to action, capable of rapid fire, and powerful. They are (or were) made by Winchester, Marlin, Henry, and Savage and can be found new or used.
I’ll talk here about the Winchester 94 as it a model I own and have spent many many hours in the woods with. I have a lot of confidence in this little weapon. The Winchester Model 94 is a lightweight hard hitting carbine that is SERIOUSLY underestimated in today’s Prepping world. Usually found chambered in the 30-30 Winchester these little Carbines have been chugging along since, well, since 1894 !
The Model 94 can also be found chambered in oddball calibers, like the .375 Winchester and .307 Winchester — hard hitting rounds, but rarely found rounds. If you have one of these oddballs be diligent about acquiring a stockpile of ammo for it because in a SHTF situation it’s going to be hard to come by, unless you’ve the supplies, equipment, and ability to reload. I’ve owned one of each of these chamberings and they’ll do the job. The .375 Win is simply a hammer out to about 200 yards and the .307 Win, which is a rimmed version of the .308 Win, will reach out and flatten them at 350 to 400 yards, even farther if you do your job.
The most common chambering, the 30-30 Winchester, is underrated and unappreciated. Don’t make that mistake. It’s got plenty of power for up close work with its typical loadings being more powerful than the 7.62x39mm of the AK and SKS rifles. A Winchester 94 with a full load of 150gr or 170gr round nose or hollow point 30-30 bullets will work. New factory loads make it even more versatile. Everything mentioned about the Winchester 94 can also be said about the Marlin 336. The Marlin can also be found in rounds like the old 45-70 Govt., a big heavy bullet that carries considerable thump.
Hunting Rifles – Bolt Action
Next up for discussion is the modern Bolt Action Rifle. There are a multitude of variations and calibers. Enough to keep us in discussion for days and weeks.
The modern bolt rifles produced by Winchester, Remington, Savage, and other manufacturers are capable of delivering outstanding accuracy and lethal killing power. A bolt rifle with decent optics can put lead on target at tremendous ranges. Calibers range from what I consider small, like the .223 Remington, to Magnums like the .338 Lapua.
A bolt action rifle is easy to use and use well. The sheer amount of different models available make it easy to find one that fits you and that you will be comfortable with. When choosing a rifle as a Prepper tool, again you have to remember WHY you’re getting it, and WHAT you’ll be using it for. You do not need a fancy boutique rifle that can cost several thousand dollars. You’re not out to become some Super Sniper. You’re out to survive, NOT to conduct Offensive Operations like some kind of Prepping Patton. Know your role and your mission. Stay on task.
Now. Do not let the huge selection of rifles available confuse you. A good sturdy, powerful rifle is what your looking for. Any of the following would be a good choice. Rifles like the Ruger M77 or American, Savage 110s, Howa 1500, Winchester M70, Remington M700 and Marlin X7 are all capable of being a fine Prepper Tool.
These are sturdy, dependable, accurate, PKGs, and buying one with a decent supply of ammo won’t break the bank. Howas, Marlins and some models made by Ruger and Savage can be had with scope in the $400 price range if you shop around and they are very capable of outstanding accuracy. I have a Howa 1500 in .308 with a Nikko Sterling scope that I bought from a Pawn Shop and I trust it out to 800 yards on a man sized target with good ammo. It’ll do work on man or beast all day long and it cost me under $325. Federal makes good 150gr hunting ammo for it and it can be found frequently for under $20 a box. With the Federal ammo it will consistently shoot 3-shot groups in the 1″ range at 100 yards.
You need to think carefully, and put thought into choosing a rifle that fits your frame, and that you will be able to carry for extended periods of time. Don’t buy a rifle just because a guy in a magazine recommends it, or a friend of a friend has one. Take the time and shop it out. Your life and your loved ones lives could depend on it — seriously. Outfit it with a suitable sling and a scope or you can buy a package deal from most manufacturers that consists of a rifle with scope. Scopes are another topic that we will tackle later as there is much to say about them. Make damn sure it’s in a suitable caliber for large game and — like it or not, people — because chances are in a SHTF situation you’ll be using it more to defend yourself from aggressors than on hunting game or critters, and your rifle needs to be powerful enough to be able to end a threat immediately. Your going to need to shoot it well so pick a caliber that has a recoil that won’t bother you.
Again, select a rifle in a common caliber so that you will be able to build a supply of ammo for it easily and will be able to secure a resupply later if necessary. Rare and exotic calibers are fun to collect and shoot at the range but when the proverbial SHTF it’s gonna be a lot easier to find .308 Winchester, .243 Winchester, 30-30 Winchester, 30-06, 7mm Rem Mag and .300 Rem Mag than exotic rounds like the 6.5x.284, .240 Weatherby Mag, .26 Nosler, or the 8mm Earschplittenloudenboomen. Don’t screw yourself here. A rifle without ammo is a useless burden. A rifle with ammo is a useful tool.
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