Archive | November, 2013

“Must Have” Prepper Guns (Part 2: Hunting Weapons)

28 Nov

In the last post we looked at “must have” prepper guns for defense. To celebrate turkey day, we’ll look at “must have” firearms for hunting. Most of us in America today, myself included, will celebrate with a store-bought turkey. The majority of Americans don’t hunt for their food anymore. None of it. When our country was first founded, most Americans would have raised their own turkey or hunted for one.

City & Suburban Preppers

For city and suburban preppers, hunting guns make little sense to me. I just don’t see us grabbing our 30-06 and trying to bag a buck. If we’re able to knock off squirrel with our 20 gauge, and not arrested for our efforts, that means 30,000 other people will be outside trying the same thing. In the city, the chances of success are vanishingly small, even for experienced hunters, if people are starving. The competition will be too great.

Driving “up North” to go hunting won’t be a good idea either. We’d need to leave our family and venture too far away in a serious crisis.

Police in many cities today have things called “shot trackers.” If you take a pot shot at a rabbit, you could be arrested if law and order is still present. Put this all together and my advice: If you’re a city prepper who plans to stay put, you don’t need any guns for hunting.

If you’re going to try to procure game in a cityscape, I’d focus on quiet weapons. An accurate spring piston air rifle could take small animals. A slingshot can work. If you developed skill with a bow, you could use it for larger game, but I doubt you’d find much big game. You can even bag birds with a bow if you use Flu Flu arrows.

Lesson: City preppers must store, grow, or raise their food. You won’t survive gigging frogs and hunting deer. You have no “must have” hunting guns.

Rural Preppers

If you’re fortunate enough to live where you might procure substantial amounts of meat by hunting, and you’re already a hunter, you almost certainly have the guns you need. Just stock up on cartridges for them.

As I write in the book, you’re well prepared to hunt every creature on earth with six weapons:

1) A 22 LR for small game. It could be a Ruger 10/22.

2) A varmint rifle for…varmints. This could be a 223 Remington bolt action or your AR-15. Serious varmint hunters like more esoteric calibers.

3) A larger game rifle (“deer rifle”). It could be a bolt action in 308 Winchester, 30-06, 7×57, or any of several dozen other calibers. Many experienced shooters/hunters love the 7mm Remington Magnum.

4) A “dangerous game” rifle, perhaps needed if you live in Africa. The 375 H&H Magnum is a standard choice. The 458 Winchester Magnum is another. If you live in Alaska and want a firearm for large bear, the 338 Winchester magnum is good. Many would consider the 30-06 adequate for everything in North America, including the largest bear.

5) A lightweight 20 gauge shotgun for upland game.

6) A 12 gauge shotgun for ducks, pheasants, turkey, or just about anything else.

If you have a gun representing each of those six groups, you’re prepared to hunt anything anywhere on earth and be appropriately armed. If you want to cut your hunting battery down, most of us don’t need a 20 gauge. It’s handy, but anything it can do, a 12 gauge can do too.

A “dangerous game” rifle isn’t needed by most of us. There aren’t too many rhino running around in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Very few lions charge people in Dallas, Texas. The varmint rifle can be skipped too.

For most rural preppers who see hunting as viable, there are three “must have” hunting guns: a 22 LR, a 12 gauge shotgun, and a big game rifle. You’re pretty much set to hunt anything in North America with those three weapons.

For a 22 LR rifle, it’s good to add a sling for carry (& stability in shooting, if you’ve been taught to use one for that). It’s good to have a low power scope. 4x is good. It’s much easier to aim with a scope than with iron sights. Toss in a few boxes of 22 Long CB caps which are extremely quite from a rifle barrel.

The 12 gauge shotgun probably should have a polychoke or choke tubes. A good barrel length is 24″ to 26.” Goose hunters might like 30″ barrels and turkey hunters stubby barrels, but if you can only have one barrel, you’ll need to compromise on length.

For most shotgunning, a large front sight bead is appropriate.

In addition to stocking birdshot, pack away a few boxes of rifled slugs, which are quite deadly for hunting deer and bear. If you want to use your shotgun for deer and bear, you can purchase a scope mount for it and get a low power (2x) scope. Putting a scope on a shotgun doesn’t make sense to some, but it helps in aiming. While great rifle shooters talk about minute of angle accuracy, shotgun slug shooters talk in terms of “minute of paper plate” accuracy!

The deer rifle should be set up like the 22. It needs a sling and a scope. A 2-7x variable scope is a good choice. For reliability and ease of maintenance, I’d go with a bolt action. The most popular calibers are the 308 Winchester and the 30-06, but any caliber you like is good, as long as you stock up on ammo for it.

These are my choices for “must have” hunting guns. What choices would you make?

“Must Have” Prepper Guns (Part 1: Defensive Weapons)

21 Nov

A common question preppers ask: What are the “must have” prepper guns?

No specific firearm is “must have.” There are always options and alternatives. One prepper can like the Glock 19 for defense, another the Beretta 92, and another the 1911. Somebody will choose the Browning Hi Power. Any of those is a good choice for a defensive sidearm. There are many others.

For defensive shotguns, I like the 870 Remington pump. Others like Mossbergs, Benellis, or Berettas in pump or autoloader. Again, no specific choice is “must have.”

There are a few general categories we should have represented. But even entire categories aren’t always “must have.” Not all preppers feel the need to hunt or are located where hunting is viable. If you don’t hunt, you don’t need firearms for hunting.

Here are some general categories:

1) A defensive pistol. In my opinion, this is as close to a “must have” category as there is. In the vast majority of self-defense or home-defense situations, this is all you’ll ever need.

For maximum firepower, it should be a semiauto. Owning a half dozen or more magazines is a good idea.

2) A defensive rifle. It should be magazine fed and reliable. The FAL, AR-15, MIA, and a semiauto AK-47 are some choices. Some like the Ruger Mini 14.

In a really hard-core, violent without-rule-of-law (WROL) situation, this weapon would be your most useful. If you look at war torn countries without order, you’ll see guys carrying assault rifles. If there’s a riot, a defensive rifle has a lot of firepower to deter rioters. These rifles have more stopping power, firepower, and range than defensive pistols. They can shoot through car doors and can cut through soft body armor.

Some preppers feel a defensive rifle is a “must have.” Things would need to get very bad before you’d need one. Personally, it doesn’t make my “must have” list. It would make my “recommended” list.

3) A defensive shotgun. A defensive shotgun should be a pump action or an autoloader. It could be in 12 gauge or, if recoil is an issue, 20 gauge. The idea is to have a weapon that has good stopping power up close and is more effective than a defensive pistol. Many preppers consider a shotgun to be a “must have.” I’d put it on my “recommended” list.

One advantage to a shotgun is the intimidation factor. If somebody smashes through your door and you point a shotgun at them, they’ll probably chill out immediately, unless they’re on drugs.

The downside to the shotgun is the lack of range. Up close you can expect 00 buckshot to penetrate, maybe, 4″ of pipe boards. But at about 50 yards that’s cut in half. Number 4 buckshot penetrates less. For comparison, that’s about the same as a 25 ACP up close. But, up close, the multiple hits of a shotgun make it extremely deadly.

You can get a magazine extension for your shotgun, which is just a little tube extending the end of the tubular magazine. That’s a good idea.

4) A concealed carry gun. This is a smaller handgun for defense. It’s for day-to-day use when you don’t want to carry a full size pistol, but want to carry something. Some people are OK carrying Glock 19s. For slimmer, smaller folks, larger guns aren’t as easily concealed, especially in light clothing. This weapon can serve as a back up to your main pistol.

Popular choices are the Smith & Wesson J frames in 38 Special, the smaller 9mm Kahr pistols, and the PPK/s in the maligned 380 auto or 9 mm short. I’d say it’s a personal choice whether or not you have one or more smaller handguns. It’s not really an absolute “must have” but, for city preppers, I’d probably make it my second purchase.

5) A target pistol in 22 LR or an accurate air pistol like the Beeman P3. This is a category too often overlooked by preppers. If you can afford to do all your pistol practice with your defensive pistol, that’s great. If you shoot a lot and need to save some coin, pick up a Ruger Mark III or some other 22 LR. If range fees are killing you and you have 10 meters in your basement, get a P3.

The purpose of this category (target pistol) is to save you money in the long run while helping you hone your marksmanship skill. If you’re completely new to shooting, this could well be your best and first purchase.

6) A target rifle. The idea is just like 5). A 22 LR or an air rifle lets you practice for less money. This doesn’t have to be something expensive. A Ruger 10/22 will serve. If you don’t have a place to shoot a 22 LR regularly and cheaply, go with a quality spring piston air rifle.

It’s not just about what you own, but what you can do with them. That’s why I put target weapons on the list as something to consider.

The above firearms comprise a basic battery for self defense. If you have a defensive pistol, a defensive rifle, a shotgun, and a concealed carry pistol, you have your bases covered. Toss in a couple of guns allowing for inexpensive practice.

A few preppers say you should have a “sniper rifle.” This is typically a bolt action rifle with a scope, usually in 308 Winchester. For most preppers, that’s not necessary. If you own an AR-15 or an M1A, by all means, add a scope to it.

If funds are tight, I’d just purchase a defensive pistol and then the shotgun (or maybe an AK-47 instead). You’re good to go. Those would be your only “must have” defensive weapons.


Charlie Palmer -author The Prepper Next Door: A Practical Guide For Disaster And Emergency Planning (link to book at Amazon)

Revolver Versus Automatic Pistol For Tough Survival

20 Nov

I was going to write about the versatile 357 Magnum revolver today, but decided instead to give my opinion about the best handguns for long-term survival under harsh conditions.

Which is a better choice: A revolver or a semiauto? Many shooters will tell you the revolver is a reliable choice. You pull the trigger and it fires. That’s true. Usually. But it does neglect one possibility: extreme weapon abuse.

In the book, I refer to a Guns & Ammo article of years ago where two shooters each selected two guns for defense. One guy chose revolvers. The other autos. They put the weapons through a series of tests. The weapons were pretty equal until they started burying the weapons in mud and sand.

With sand in the action, the older revolvers will grind to a halt. Autos are more robust. The revolver lacks servicability too. With an autoloader, you can strip it and clean it and get it back into action. The revolver takes more knowledge to service. It’s not as easy to fix.

Another issue with revolvers is the weapon can be damaged if the weapon falls on a hard surface or is thrown against one. The cylinder can bind or get out of timing. Revolvers are just more finicky.

I once had a double action High Standard 22 LR revolver which had horrible lock up at the cylinder. It was always well treated. When shooting it, I felt it was spitting lead back at me. Too much looseness or misalignment between the cylinder and the barrel is an issue autos don’t have.

In a perfect world, you’d never get sand in your firearm. You wouldn’t drop your gun. But in the harshest of environments, give me an autoloader.

Today was World Toilet Day. Did you celebrate?

File this one under “those ba*#*ds! just won’t leave us alone…” went to the store to buy some Lysol disinfecting cleaner. Love that stuff. Looked at the bottle and it no longer says it kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria. No active ingredients listed. Went home and Googled it and, yep, you betcha, they changed the formula.

This is the trend in cleaners. Make it safer environmentally, but make it much less effective. They’ll try and tell us it works just as well. That’s BS. It doesn’t.

Watched a good youtube video about propagating roses in the fall/winter. Basic stuff. You take cuttings, use rooting hormone, wrap the cuttings in damp newspaper to keep them moist through the next six weeks or so, etc. In the end, you have little rose plants that can eventually blossom into full rose bushes.

With gardening and farming, you must follow the seasons. You need to know when to start something. This is true of life. Many people fail, because they don’t know when to start.

The best time to plant a tree: 20 years ago. The second best time: today.

Winter Is Coming Checklist

16 Nov

It’s that time of the year when we should be following a “Winter is coming” checklist.
–Empty the gas from your mower
–Clean gutters & flush out
–Check your car /add winter kit to car
–Be sure you have mouse poison/traps…
–Turn off water to exterior faucets that aren’t frost proof
–Be sure you have ice melt/sand… shovel, etc.

–Fire up the snowblower, if you have one…
–Fill in cracks in concrete steps/sidewalks  so water doesn’t get in, freeze, expand, and break up the crack
–rake lawn…
–drain all water hoses
–fire up boiler and be sure it works


How To Start Prepping (For Survivor TV or Anything Else In Life)

15 Nov

A question new preppers ask: “How should I start prepping?” You start prepping survival preparations like anything else. Don’t just jump in without thinking about your objectives and goals. Why do you want to prep? What are you preparing for? How much time and money and effort can you devote to this new undertaking? The answers to questions like these guide your preparations and help you set priorities and goals.

As with anything you start in life, you need to find out what supplies you need, what personal skills you should develop, and what physical and mental preparation is necessary. The best way to get started is to learn about the situation you could face.

I write a lot about disasters like hurricanes, economic turmoil, and people stranded in their cars during winter storms to show what conditions develop in these situations. Seeing what others go through can guide our preps.

We have a comfortable bird’s eye view of people on reality TV. Have you ever watched a TV show like Survivor and wondered how you’d do on it? Have you ever wondered how contestants prepare for these shows? Have you ever wondered how you’d prepare for this or another show?

Watching a season or two of Survivor tells you a lot. You see contestants in a tropical environment with a beach. I’ve never seen snow or the arctic. You’ll see the groups struggling to make fire. You’ll see them build shelter. You’ll see groups and individuals competing in competitions, usually involving swimming, diving underwater and doing things, untying knots, solving puzzles, throwing things for accuracy, and balancing. You’ll see them schmooze with each other and plot and plan.

If you were going to be a Survivor contestant, after watching the show, you’d have a great idea of what you would need to do to prepare yourself. You’d want to be a good swimmer. You could solve puzzles. Etc. Developing a Survivor-show personal improvement plan wouldn’t be difficult.

You wouldn’t be allowed to bring any gear. No bug proof tent. No insect repellant. Not even a lousy toothbrush. In many real world situations, you can have equipment which makes survival much easier and much more comfortable.

The third important aspect of prepping for Survivor would be the mental and physical conditioning. Could you function on little food which is mostly a meager rice ration? Would you be capable of eating the living, squirming local delicacies?

If you prepped for Survivor, you’d be well prepared for that environment. What if you were rejected by Survivor and accepted by The Amazing Race, another reality show? It would be a whole new ball game. Preparations often need to be tailored to the environment and your unique situation.

Contestants on The Amazing Race race around the world.
Booking airplane flights, rappelling, and bungee jumping from tall heights are some of the themes the show likes. Some knowledge of foreign languages could be useful. Contestants must perform unusual tasks that relate to the culture of other countries. Some of the tasks are quite physical, demanding strength and endurance.

Whether reality TV or survival in a real life situation or when starting any new endeavor, learn as much as you can about the conditions you’ll likely face. Try to list the skills that appear important. Get a feel for the mental and physical preparation necessary.

We can all reject being on reality TV. I don’t want to eat live grubs. I like brushing my teeth. I’m not a bungee jumping sort of guy. Unfortunately, when it comes to disasters, we can’t sit back and just watch other people survive them. We can be thrown into those situations unexpectedly. We’re forced to compete.

Everybody is suited to basic prepping. Why not have at least a 1 week supply of food and 1 week supply of bottled water? Why not improve your home’s security just a bit? By taking a few simple steps and planning you’ll be ahead of most people when disaster strikes.

There is a quote that goes something like this: “Plans are nothing. Planning is everything.” Plans run into reality and are forced to change. The process of planning prepares you to adapt to changing situations. It forces you to consider possible scenarios and contemplate how you’d respond.

The better you are at planning in general, the better prepper you’ll be. As an exercise: Plan something. Anything. It could be a butterfly garden.

Some related posts:

Planning For Economic Collapse.

Three key preps for daily life.

Here’s a basic list of preps to get you started.

Developing Prepper Skills.

This is a very complete list of challenging bodyweight exercises.