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Ronald_55

Arming an Army after it falls apart

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Guys and Gals,

Just as a conversation starter, lets say you are preparing for whatever apocalypse you think might happen. You decide that the best bet is to stock up rifles that you can arm the people you form a group with. ( I know giving guns to strangers, bad idea, just go along with it) Budgets are really tight, but you want the best bang for your buck (pun intended). Let's take ARs off the table too. Even cheap ones are above the price range I am thinking of. And you do not already have a closet of assorted rifles to hand out.

It needs to be low cost, preferably not single shot, readily available in quantity, and reliable. I am thinking center-fire only too. 22s are nice, but not much of a battle rifle.

So what rifle would you stock up on?

 

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So how much are you getting AKs for? I would have classed them in the price range of ARs. I left out shotguns, I love them, but the limited range of a normal cheap one presents problems.

Mosin, Mauser, and SKS are good options. Just have to buy them up slowly one by one off the secondary market. Though I do think Cabela's has the "Mosin-Nagant Model 91/30 Rifle" on their site for $249.

Anyway no right answer, this is a what-if anyway.

Anyone else got $0.02 on it.

 

 

By the way before anyone thinks I am creating an armory. I thought this up after seeing an Armslist ad that said this:

"Looking to buy rifles, semi auto or bolt action,or pistols, especially revolvers, in 22Lr, will also look at 22Mag/17HMR, maybe others just tell me what you got I'll take a look at anything. No specific brands or models, just has to be in good shape and functions fine. "

Just seemed odd to me.

Edited by Ronald_55

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So how much are you getting AKs for? I would have classed them in the price range of ARs. I left out shotguns, I love them, but the limited range of a normal cheap one presents problems.
Mosin, Mauser, and SKS are good options. Just have to buy them up slowly one by one off the secondary market. Though I do think Cabela's has the "Mosin-Nagant Model 91/30 Rifle" on their site for $249.
Anyway no right answer, this is a what-if anyway.
Anyone else got $0.02 on it.
 
 
By the way before anyone thinks I am creating an armory. I thought this up after seeing an Armslist ad that said this:
"Looking to buy rifles, semi auto or bolt action,or pistols, especially revolvers, in 22Lr, will also look at 22Mag/17HMR, maybe others just tell me what you got I'll take a look at anything. No specific brands or models, just has to be in good shape and functions fine. "
Just seemed odd to me.


Probably someone that either likes collecting and likes finding odd pieces that typically never get posted or sale, or someone that might intend on buying good deals and the selling them to turn a profit.


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As Sam Elliot's character said in "We Were Soldiers":

"If the tome comes when I need one, I'm sure there"ll be plenty of 'em layin' around."

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Mosin 91/30s are going for around 200 these days. I would skip that and look at new-production bolt-action rifles in a common cartridge like .308. I think some of those can be had for around $250-$300. Same bolt-action benefits/limitations as a Mosin, but available in new production and w/o the oddball ammunition factor. If Trump drops the import ban on goodies from Mother Russia, Mosins might make sense again for folks who want to stockpile them.

The cheap shotgun is actually a decent choice for that purpose, but like you said, range becomes a factor. Slugs would help, but not as much as a real centerfire rifle.

Stepping up to semi-auto, SKS rifles run about 400-450+, with beat up Norincos fetching north of $300. At that price you may as well get in on the flood of cheap ARs that are on the market now. AKs are today's AR of yesterday with WASR 10s fetching $650 while entry ARs are $450'ish. It's madness!

 

Edited by monkeylizard

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I know this was just a hypothetical question, but it is something I've given some thought. My hope is that all my TGO buddies are doing the same thing I am and covering the bases with my family unit as far as arms and training. I don't really intend to arm the unprepared masses. Those that survive whatever caused the EOTWAWKI situation and find their way to our group can do the laundry, gardening, food prep, ect...while we do the dirty work...haha. If at some point they prove themselves to be trustworthy then they might be given some training and a firearm, which there would be extras due to scavenging and various forms of attrition within the group. 

With that being said I would be focused on common calibers that can be found "scavenged" from most homes across the country. I have some novelty firearms in non standard calibers but the bulk of my collection could be fed from most any Walmart, armory, or residence. 

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From what I was taught you arm your "army" with what you have.... then relieve the ones you vanquish of their weapons..... beside the best weapon available to everyone is located between the ears....some are just smaller caliber than others.

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2 hours ago, Ronald_55 said:

 but not much of a battle rifle.

That implies you will be in a battle. I would take one AR in 308 or even 223 over 10 Mosins, bolts, or even AK’s.

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Just now, DaveTN said:

That implies you will be in a battle. I would take one AR in 308 or even 223 over 10 Mosins, bolts, or even AK’s.

Well if you ended up setting up a camp after things fell apart, short of it being a zombie uprising, I figure other people would be your biggest issue. While I agree on a one on one comparison of Ar and Mosin, if you had a number of trusted people, it is better to have them all armed I think. 

1 hour ago, Grayfox54 said:

As Sam Elliot's character said in "We Were Soldiers":

"If the tome comes when I need one, I'm sure there"ll be plenty of 'em layin' around."

And if I was really planning for this, I would not want to leave that to chance. Like money, having it makes getting more of it easy. 

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Ammo is going to be a problem so you need to arm yourself with weapons that you have a good chance of finding or taking ammo for. SO weapons in 9mm, .223, possibly .40.

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31 minutes ago, Raoul said:

Ammo is going to be a problem so you need to arm yourself with weapons that you have a good chance of finding or taking ammo for. SO weapons in 9mm, .223, possibly .40.

I agree, that is why I am looking for a 9mm pistol instead of a 45 myself. .40 is on the fence right now. When all the police used them, it was all over the place. Now most use 9mm. that is the downside of the Mosin and SKS. The ammo locally is much slimmer supply.

 

Throw out price and the KRISS Vector in 9mm would be a great one. Of course at $1500, none of us is filling a safe full of them.

 

 

kriss-vector-gen-ii_crb-e-shroud_pl.jpg

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9 minutes ago, Wingshooter said:

Maybe some Ruger Americans in 308 or 223. Cheap, light, simple.

 

or... High Point carbine in 9mm

I saw The Axis on sale in .308 for $329. It would make a good option too. The American line is just a little more than that.

 

I agree on the high point. I have shot one and it was nice except the 10 round mag. My son actually took his first deer with one this year.

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3 hours ago, Danger Rane said:

I know this was just a hypothetical question, but it is something I've given some thought. My hope is that all my TGO buddies are doing the same thing I am and covering the bases with my family unit as far as arms and training. I don't really intend to arm the unprepared masses. Those that survive whatever caused the EOTWAWKI situation and find their way to our group can do the laundry, gardening, food prep, ect...while we do the dirty work...haha. If at some point they prove themselves to be trustworthy then they might be given some training and a firearm, which there would be extras due to scavenging and various forms of attrition within the group. 

With that being said I would be focused on common calibers that can be found "scavenged" from most homes across the country. I have some novelty firearms in non standard calibers but the bulk of my collection could be fed from most any Walmart, armory, or residence. 

I concur on the common caliber logic.

Assuming the worst and adding reloading to the mix, I'd start narrowing down by ease to reload.

I'm biased towards PCCs, I've got a HP 995 and an M1 Carbine. For defense and effective shooting (and cheap plinking) out to 100 yards, they're great.

Past that I'm going to use a rifle of some sort.

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I guess it would depend on what kind of threat you perceive. An expert marksman with a Mosin and cover might be able to take some people out at distance. But if I think I may become engaged in battle I’ll take accuracy and firepower over quantity of relic rifles any day.

Take Afghanistan as an example. Sure, shooters with relic rifles take out some troops. But unless they can shoot and escape; they are dead meat.

I don’t buy into the SHTF scenarios, but I’ve thought about an isolated incident where I might need to protect my property (Katrina, looters, etc.). My choice is a scoped 308 AR. It gives me the ability to take out a threat at distance, or multiple bad guys close in.

Everything in life is application driven. That’s why there are so many choices in firearms. You will live or die with the choices you make.

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Like a lot of things this question is sort of location specific.  I'm not going on the run, on foot, for weeks on end and I honestly think that, for most of us, that is more a fantasy than a reality.  Personally, if I am going to die then I'll do it at home, in my own bed, with a lukewarm beer (as electricity and, therefore, refrigeration would be gone) beside me rather than lying in the mud and leaves wondering what in the hell made me suddenly think I was John Rambo.  There also aren't too many places I can think of where I could go that would be much less likely to have the kind of trouble I'd need to BUG out from than my home.  For that reason, I think of the topography around my home.  There honestly isn't anywhere in my yard, driveway or even really much on the road where I live where there would be a clear shot that would exceed the likely effective range of a shotgun with a slug.  Pump shotguns are pretty simple and easy to use and decent 'budget line' shotguns can be found at lower prices than many rifles, etc.  Shotguns also allow for stocking up beforehand on fairly cheap practice/small game ammo (although slugs and buckshot aren't as cheap) and pretty wide ammo variety.  One could arm one or two particularly good shootists with higher powered rifles and appoint those folks as the full-time sentries if there were a need for such while arming the main group with pump and/or semiauto shotguns (I'd lean more toward pump guns, myself.)  Good, solid single shot shotguns (with appropriately adjusted LOP and good butt padding) could even be given to younger and/or less experienced members of the group as well as others who might not be called upon to be part of the main line of defense.  Those could work well for them to practice and become more proficient as well as being at least minimally armed and still use the same ammunition.

Edited by JAB

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Maverick 88 shotgun in 12 gauge. Identical to a Mossberg 500 except the safety is on the trigger guard, a better place, and it is only $200 new. Shotguns are pretty versatile because of the different types of ammunition that can be found EVERYWHERE. They are also easy to maintain and use. If I wanted to stand up a group of people that is what I would buy them. It is also less likely to be outlawed by any type of gun grab legislation. Shotguns are pretty low powered cartridges so you could easily load them using black powder.

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17 hours ago, Dolomite_supafly said:

Maverick 88 shotgun in 12 gauge. Identical to a Mossberg 500 except the safety is on the trigger guard, a better place, and it is only $200 new. Shotguns are pretty versatile because of the different types of ammunition that can be found EVERYWHERE. They are also easy to maintain and use. If I wanted to stand up a group of people that is what I would buy them. It is also less likely to be outlawed by any type of gun grab legislation. Shotguns are pretty low powered cartridges so you could easily load them using black powder.

I have a Maverick Security 88 - the 20 inch model - as one of my HD shotguns.  Obviously, that means not only would I trust it with my life but, in that role, I do.  In fact, the Maverick 88 security and/or field model was pretty much the shotgun I had in mind when I made my previous post.

I also have a Savage/Stevens HD model of the 320 which I have read is a clone of a Winchester model.  I like the 320 because it came stock with a full buttstock with integrated pistol grip.  It was also maybe $20 or $30 cheaper than the Maverick (both bought brand new) but I got it on sale at Academy so regular price might be about the same.  I have to say, though, that while I 'trust' the 320 for HD and so on in an 'extended event' I'd go with the Maverick over the Savage/Stevens any day, especially if building up a supply of them to potentially arm a group.  It just gives an overall impression of better quality and higher durability than the Savage/Stevens, IMO.

Edited by JAB

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52 minutes ago, JAB said:

I have a Maverick Security 88 - the 20 inch model - as one of my HD shotguns.  Obviously, that means not only would I trust it with my life but, in that role, I do.  In fact, the Maverick 88 security and/or field model was pretty much the shotgun I had in mind when I made my previous post.

I also have a Savage/Stevens HD model of the 320 which I have read is a clone of a Winchester model.  I like the 320 because it came stock with a full buttstock with integrated pistol grip.  It was also maybe $20 or $30 cheaper than the Maverick (both bought brand new) but I got it on sale at Academy so regular price might be about the same.  I have to say, though, that while I 'trust' the 320 for HD and so on in an 'extended event' I'd go with the Maverick over the Savage/Stevens any day, especially if building up a supply of them to potentially arm a group.  It just gives an overall impression of better quality and higher durability than the Savage/Stevens, IMO.

I keep looking to possibly pick up one of those. I agree they would be a good solution to the problem of arming several people.

18 hours ago, Dolomite_supafly said:

Shotguns are pretty low powered cartridges so you could easily load them using black powder.

I thought of reloading, but had not thought you could do it with back powder. I know in a pinch coins, pea gravel, marbles, or bearings could be used for projectiles. If you were really prepared, you would have a stash of lead and buckshot molds. Because no matter how much ammo you stockpile, you will run out at some point. Any idea on how you would deal with primers if you ran out?

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On 1/6/2017 at 0:30 PM, Ronald_55 said:

I keep looking to possibly pick up one of those. I agree they would be a good solution to the problem of arming several people.

I thought of reloading, but had not thought you could do it with back powder. I know in a pinch coins, pea gravel, marbles, or bearings could be used for projectiles. If you were really prepared, you would have a stash of lead and buckshot molds. Because no matter how much ammo you stockpile, you will run out at some point. Any idea on how you would deal with primers if you ran out?

I have never reloaded or retooled shotgun shells but I THINK Dolomite has talked about doing this, before.  If one had a slug mold and some sort of lead smelting set up then I wonder if one couldn't buy el cheapo bulk pack rounds, open the crimp, dump and melt down the pellets, use the lead to mold slugs, re-insert the slugs into the shells, maybe re-set the crimp and - not counting the one-time expense of buying the mold and smelting setup - have 100 slugs for about $22 or so without ever having to worry about priming or powder charges.  I further wonder if basically the same thing wouldn't work with a buckshot mold.  Having never melted down lead or done any bullet casting, I also wonder if there would be much/any slag or waste if you stuck to using only the lead from the bulk pack rounds.

Of course, one would still have to have room to store them but I would think that - over time - an investment of a few hundred dollars would net one the materials to make a couple of thousand slug or buckshot loads.  With a decent supply of factory slug and buckshot loads on hand the bulk pack stuff could be used to stay in practice just for running the gun and provide a backup supply of materials to make the more serious loads.  They might not be 'competition' level loads and certainly wouldn't be 'magnum' powered loads but for a shotgun in the kind of situation we are talking about who cares?  That possibility plus the possibility of making 'wax slugs' if worse came to worst is actually one of the reasons I think shotguns would work well in this role.

Edited by JAB
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6 minutes ago, JAB said:

I have never reloaded or retooled shotgun shells but I THINK Dolomite has talked about doing this, before.  If one had a slug mold and some sort of lead smelting set up then I wonder if one couldn't buy el cheapo bulk pack rounds, open the crimp, dump and melt down the pellets, use the lead to mold slugs, re-insert the slugs into the shells, maybe re-set the crimp and - not counting the one-time expense of buying the mold and smelting setup - have 100 slugs for about $22 or so without ever having to worry about priming or powder charges.  I further wonder if basically the same thing wouldn't work with a buckshot mold.  Having never melted down lead or done any bullet casting, I also wonder if there would be much/any slag or waste if you stuck to using only the lead from the bulk pack rounds.

Of course, one would still have to have room to store them but I would think that - over time - an investment of a few hundred dollars would net one the materials to make a couple of thousand slug or buckshot loads.  With a decent supply of factory slug and buckshot loads on hand the bulk pack stuff could be used to stay in practice just for running the gun and provide a backup supply of materials to make the more serious loads.  They might not be 'competition' level loads but for a shotgun in the kind of situation we are talking about who cares?

With the slug and buckshot mold and a friendly attitude at the local junk yard, you could make plenty of slugs ahead of time just from wheel weights. Never done it, but my Dad used to melt lead for sinker molds on a Coleman stove. Of course he also melted battery lead which can be a big no no due to the fumes. That stuff is not pure lead due to the chemical reactions. He used to re-load 12ga until his buddy stole his equipment.

I assume you will always have some waste as the lead sticks to the melting pot or ladle, but that could be minimized by scraping it off each time. 

I know a local shooting range that recovers the lead shot from their skeet range every so often. They sell 5 gallon buckets of shot for almost nothing. That way they keep the EPA happy. Makes the reloaders happy too. I am betting if you hung around during a skeet match day, you could pick up a ton of re-loadable hulls for free. 

Saw someone melting aluminum cans in a small hand made smelter. It would not have the energy of lead, but cans would be a easy to come by source if things happened. It might be possible to do the same with copper. Be easy enough to gather wire and copper pipe if all the electricity is off.

Yeah, I agree, at some point having live rounds, albeit homemade, are much better than having none. High end ammo is great, but I would take 100 rounds of Walmart ammo over 20 rounds of boutique stuff any day.

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Just had another thought and looked up some info online to verify.  I have long thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a black powder pistol for a last-ditch option if things went bad for the long term.  The lead balls that Hornady sells as bullets for a .36 caliber black powder revolver are actually .350 in diameter according to the information I found for ordering them at Sportsman's Warehouse : http://www.sportsmanswarehouse.com/sportsmans/Hornady-Lead-Round-Ball-Black-Powder-Bullets/productDetail/Bullets-and-Sabots/prod9999002186/cat100013 (I think there is a typo there - they list .36 caliber twice but I think the second listing should actually be .38.)  Interestingly, according to the Hornady website, the pellets Hornady sells for 000 buckshot are also .350 http://www.hornady.com/store/000-Buckshot-.350-Diameter/ .  So to me that says that - after our imagined end of society as we know it - one could use the same lead balls for bullets in a .36 caliber black powder revolver and as 000 buckshot pellets for a shotgun.  This means that a .36 caliber ball bullet mold could do double duty, as well.

To go a step further, thinking of the single shot shotguns that could go along with the pump shotguns for arming our hypothetical group, in one of his YouTube videos Dave Canterbury demonstrates a way to use a single-shot 12 gauge as a 'muzzle loader' and I wonder if one couldn't 'muzzle load' a shot charge of those .36 caliber lead bullets.  Of course that is more for subsistence hunting than for defense against human aggressors but to be honest I believe that if one were to survive the initial stages of our hypothetical 'long term event' then in the later stages subsistence hunting would likely become the more common usage of a firearm, anyhow.  In fact, to be completely honest, I believe that in some areas that subsistence hunting role might be the main use of the survival firearm even right from the outset.  That is yet another reason I like the idea of shotguns for the main weaponry for our imagined group - they offer a range of ammunition that can effectively take anything from small birds (because I think that the reality is that people would be eating a lot of sparrows, pigeons, starlings and the like) to squirrels, rabbits and raccoons all the way up to deer, wild hogs and even bears while also being effective against human assailants.

 Along with Canterbury's method of using the single 12 as a muzzle loader one could throw in a few sub caliber adapters for some of the single shots and could also use ammo for .38 Special, 9mm, .223, .45acp and more from that same single shot 12 gauge.  Those inserts can get expensive when bought in full sets - especially if the longer, rifled versions are purchases (and I think that for the purpose we are discussing I'd want the rifled version.)  The full set from 'X-Caliber', for example, has a price tag of $450 and they do, of course, only work with break action shotguns.  I guess that a person could just pick a couple, though, in order to keep costs down.

Just for the example, here is the link to the X-Caliber set.  I don't own any of them or any other adapter at this time so this isn't an endorsement, just an example.  There are other manufacturers of similar products:  http://www.guns.com/2013/03/27/x-caliber-ammo-adapter-set-for-shotguns/

 

This is the Canterbury video I mentioned in case you are interested.  Everyone may or may not agree with everything he does or discusses in the video but I still think it is interesting:

 

Edited by JAB

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You can also open up the shot shell and pour the pellets out. Then heat them up with some candle wax and pour it back in. Makes a wax slug that falls apart as soon as it hits something. A few on here have seen me do it at the range. I shot a cardboard box and had a 3/4" hole on one side and a much bigger hole on the other. It doesn't work to just pour wax over the shot, it cools too quickly.

Read up on cut shells as well, they work too but if they fall apart and you try to unload the gun it will lock it up with the smaller shot.

I know a guy who would reload primers using child's caps. He would pry out the anvil then use a flattened nail to iron out the primer cup. He would then put the child's cap inside primer with the anvil. He would then slowly seat the primer. He said it worked most of the time but not all of the time.

Availability of reloading components will also come into play. If you have that weird, oddball caliber eventually you will run out of brass to reload. Pick the most common caliber in your area. If you live in a very rural area it might better serve you to have a 30-30 or 30-06 because a lot of houses have one of those sitting in a corner with a box of ammunition.

And in case anyone doesn't know they make solid brass shot shells. In a end of the world scenario they would last a lot longer.

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