The Battle Rifle: Origins And Theory, Part One

 

Let’s say the proverbial balloon goes up tonight. It doesn’t matter why; maybe it’s a riot, maybe it’s Red Dawn, or maybe Janet Napolitano’s finally getting around to using that 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition she ordered. You can grab one legal rifle from your collection and hit the road, right now. What’s in your hand? The media thinks it’s an AR-15 or possibly a “sniper rifle”, but we know different, don’t we?

The battle rifle — by which we mean a semi-automatic rifle chambered for a full-power military-spec cartridge, typically with a full-length barrel and stock — is the queen of firearms. At eight hundred yards, it can impart the kind of kinetic energy to the target a .357 Magnum does from arm’s length. Most so-called bulletproof vests are anything but bulletproof to the man with an FAL or Springfield M1A. The doors and glass of a standard automobile will not shield your opponent from a .308 Winchester round at most practical distances.

With sufficient training, most people can reliably make offhand shots at center-of-mass targets up to 300 yards with an open-sighted battle rifle. It’s possible to engage targets from a braced or rested position at up to twice that distance. At the same time, the battle rifle’s weight and characteristics make it far more usable in close-quarters engagements than a scoped bolt-action would be, particularly for stronger or more sizeable individuals. No, you wouldn’t want to protect your apartment with an HK G3, but for a trail-mix of hostile situations across urban, suburban, and rural situations, the battle rifle is a time-tested and satisfying choice.

There’s also something elegant about a proper full-sized rifle. Rahm Emanuel may not be able to tell the difference between an AR-15 and an FAL, or between a Mini-14 and an M1A, but shooters know which is which. The 5.56-caliber rifle is the equivalent of a 600cc “crotch rocket”: you know it’s outstanding for most purposes and a lot of the people have them, but there will always be compromises. The 7.62 NATO rifle is a liter bike: you don’t have to make any excuses and you aren’t just marking time until you buy what you really want. To put it in the dehumanizing argot of the modern marketer, it’s a “destination gun.”

Somewhat ironically, it’s also become a civilian gun in the past thirty years. Modern soldiers are rarely familiar with a full-power rifle, and with good reason. The “battle rifle” was the product of a fundamental and deliberate misunderstanding about how small arms are actually used in combat.

It’s a notion no less romantic than the cavalry charge, combining the assertions of H.W. McBride with the rose-tinted recollections of men decades past their time on the front line. Many lives were lost on all sides of the military engagements of the twentieth century because the REMFs couldn’t give up their love affair with the seductive but ultimately illusory idea of individual marksmanship.

The battle rifle has its origins in the full-power bolt guns of the Victorian era. The military theorists of the time intended to fight the previous wars with new equipment. They seriously believed that it would be possible to take a group of conscripts who often showed up at the train stations for draft intake barefoot, having never owned a pair of shoes in their lives, and quickly train them to deliver coordinated, aimed fire at distances of three to five hundred yards. Only the Swedes bucked the trend, choosing a 6.5mm cartridge with a mild powder charge for their Mauser bolt-actions. The rest of the Western world promptly loaded up their infantry with high-power, new-generation centerfire calibers like the 8mm Mauser, .30-06 Springfield, and the Russian fifty-four-millimeter rimmed cartridge.

The lessons of World War I failed to discourage the marksmanship enthusiasts one bit, despite ample evidence that most troops either failed to fire their rifles at all in combat or simply aimed somewhere in the general direction of the enemy. As a consequence, when everybody lined back up for the second world war, the weapons were mostly the same. The United States fielded a pair of unique rifles: the auto-loading M1 Garand, which continued to use the Springfield round, and the forward-thinking M1 Carbine, which was much lighter and easier to carry and could be fired aimlessly with no less effect but with considerably more wartime economy.

Faced with scarcity of materials, and with a military culture that encouraged principled disobedience and questioning of command, the Wehrmacht quickly realized that a lower-power rifle might split the difference between the useless bolt-action hunting guns and the short-range, open-bolt “grease guns”. The idea had to be snuck past the Austrian corporal who was currently in charge of things, but once the “Machine Pistol 43” was properly revised into the “Storm Rifle 44”, the modern assault rifle had well and truly arrived.

The assault rifle made a mockery of the outmoded Victorian rifles and the American semi-automatics. It delivered high volumes of a lighter, cheaper round towards the enemy. When precise shots in the 100-yard range were possible, it could be used as such; for the rest of the time, it was cheaper and faster to make, required less brass and lead to operate, and added less weight to the backs of soldiers who were already staggering under their combat loads.

When the hot war ended and the Cold War began, the Russians immediately put a product-improved version of the Stg44 into production as the AK-47 before revamping it again for sheet-stamped assembly as the world-famous AKM. The AKM’s cartridge, at 7.62x39mm, was a near-duplicate of the one used by the German rifle. As a fighting weapon for untrained soldiers, the AKM takes some beating and it’s in no danger of walking off the world stage any time soon.

The lessons of the German assault rifle were just as clear to the nations who made up the newly-formed NATO. Several countries went to work on mid-power assault rifles, and for a few moments in the late forties it seemed that the Western world might have an AK-47 of its own. But as we will see, the Americans had other ideas.

160 Responses to The Battle Rifle: Origins And Theory, Part One

  1. avatarchip says:

    “What’s in your hand? The media thinks it’s an AR-15 or possibly a “sniper rifle”, but we know different, don’t we”?

    No….it’s an AR-15!

    • avatarKY1911 says:

      +1

      • avatarLarry says:

        +1 a KISS AR15 with an Eotech. Good enough for man size shots out to 300 for me. Maybe I will get their new magnifier some day. Until then past 300 will be bino’s and evasion.

        Ounces = Pounds = PITA to haul around all day, especially with extra mags, food, water…….etc.

        • avatarHal says:

          Try a trijicon TA-44. Light, fast up close (two eyes open target focused) and just sharp enough to push the round out a little further.

        • avatarBob in Boston says:

          Same here – an AR with an EOTech is dead accurate out to 300 yards, and once I save up enough quarters for the G.33 magnifier, it’ll be good to twice that! Can’t beat a 65/1 degree MOA holosight for versatility!

    • avatarE says:

      I own an AR chambered in 7.62 NATO. In fact, it is my deer rifle…however, if I have to grab one rifle and a butt ton of ammo, in the middle of the night because all hell has broken loose, I’ll be reaching for the Colt LE6920 or perhaps my Arsenal SGL 21-66. I’d choose those for exactly the same reason militaries do. I’m likely to have to lug it around for days, and I want to carry as many rounds as I possibly can. Battle rifle, smattle rifle.

      • avatarJohn Fritz says:

        I was just sitting here thinking the same thing. SGL21 would be my first pick, 6920 the second.

  2. avatarEd says:

    An AR-15 for me too!

  3. avatarCCW Guy says:

    Can’t wait to read the follow up.

  4. “The battle rifle … is the queen of firearms.”

    “The “battle rifle” was the product of a fundamental and deliberate misunderstanding about how small arms are actually used in combat.”

    Woah, what? I’m sorry, the whiplash hurt my head…

    • avatarmountocean says:

      Prescriptivism vs Descriptivism. What is incorrect, the way something should be done, but isn’t; or the way things are done despite the ideal?

      I have a feeling Jack’s going to bring this around in the follow-up.

      • If that’s the case I’m very much interested in what he has to say. However, as this post stands I’m not sure what the point was and I suspect the author is schizophrenic!

        Maybe it is just me though, I’ll concede that as a possibility.

    • avatarPaelorian says:

      True. The author forgets that the best rifle for the job varies based on the job. In open fields or desert, yes I’ll generally prefer a battle rifle, although if used at exclusively extreme ranges a high-powered round like .338LM may be more effective. In urban environments, forest, jungle, an intermediate caliber is often more appropriate and effective. I can carry twice the ammunition, with less recoil and more accuracy in rapid fire. However no matter what environment, the most effective weapon depends on the role it is intended to be used in.

      The opening of this article sounds like it was written by the full-rifle-power purists the article derides. There’s good reason 5.56mm NATO is standard, not 7.62mm NATO. Both have their uses but for most combat uses intermediate calibers are most appropriate.

    • avatarJohn Rand says:

      I agree the wording is a bit odd.

      I believe what he’s trying to say is, from a purely technical POV, the battle rifle is superior given infinitely trained users. In practice, reality showed that most troops in an actual land war are not highly trained or highly disciplined and nobody has the time or resources to make marksmen out of everyone. What ended up being easier and more useful was to give your standard ground force a weapon that played to their “strengths”, which was spraying and praying. In combat the first order of most people is staying alive. Shooting at the enemy is just something you do to facilitate the former. If they’re not going to be shooting people at 300-400 yards with any accuracy, then you might as well give them a bullet light enough that they can shoot 2-3 of them at 100-200 yards for every one of the battle rifle rounds. This also facilitated mass producing arms that didn’t have to be nearly as heavy or precise.

      The battle rifle is a “craftsman’s” tool.

      But I agree I wish they had gone with something other than 5.56. Who knows, maybe 300 BLK will gain traction.

      • Eh… I think the biggest point in favor of 5.56×45 is the increased fighting load relative to 7.62×51. Witness the switch to 5.45×39 in Russia and to 5.8×42 in China. Higher-pressure, smaller-caliber rounds seem to be the current sweet spot internationally, despite everyone’s nostalgia for the M1 Garand and its redheaded stepchild, the M14.

        Since Garand’s original design was chambered in .273 Pedersen, I think “battle rifle” cartridge’s endurance is more a product of the large stockpiles of .30-06, 8mm, etc. at the beginning of World War II and the intransigence of various Ordnance Boards than anything else.

        Too, center mass is not going to result in as many DRT hits, no matter what caliber, because almost all the innards that are required to keep you alive are above the xiphoid process. .223 tumbling in the upper torso is going to kill you just as dead as a .308 would. Or a .300 BLK, for that matter. Shot placement matters a whole lot more than caliber.

        • avatarNEIOWA says:

          You don’t think the commies go with “metoo” as design concept in choose a cartridge?

          Most of the advances the Russkis and Chicoms have made in the last 95yr have been stolen from the West (US).

          The AK round certainly is more approriate/useful in wider environment that 5.56. And “our” new 300BLK being a “modern” more intelligently designed counterpart. And useable in “our” battle rifle.

        • avatarint19h says:

          What advances have Russian/Soviet or Chinese weapon designers “stolen” from the US, specifically?

          Soviets had semi-auto battle rifles in service (SVT, AVT) in considerable quantities pretty early on, so it can’t be Garand. 7.62×39 is “stolen” from Germans, not US, so it can’t be that, either. What else?

      • avatarBrad says:

        “nobody has the time or resources to make marksmen out of everyone”

        - Except the US Marine Corps. And it really wasn’t that hard. Two weeks of intensive effort and it was done. They take noobs all the time and frequently produce marksman that can out shoot experienced hunters.

        Unless you’re a ME or African Army and you don’t give a sh1t, only in the most dire circumstances does a professional army send out troops with only enough training to spray and pray. That’s not a valid tactic and it’s effectiveness is proven everytime a professional/Western style army engages another using it.

        A non-professional army uses an AKM variant, which few would argue is a direct descendant of the Stg 44.

        • avatarint19h says:

          No professional army teaches its soldiers to “spray and pray”, not even those armed with AKs. There’s this persistent myth that AK was originally designed with this in mind, and that Soviet infantry training emphasized that, but it’s plainly false, which you can find out by asking anyone who actually served in the Soviet army.

          AKM is no more a “direct descendant” of StG 44 than an AR, which is fairly obvious once you look at the internal design. FAL is much closer to deserving such a title, if anything.

    • avatarMike says:

      I don’t think it’s that confusing… a battle rifle is, from almost all technical aspects and functional aspects, a *better* rifle. It hits harder, has longer range, is more accurate, etc. It’s just that it’s advantages aren’t actually useful on most battlefields and come at the cost of increased weight and price. It’s like driving to work in a civic vs a Ferrari. With speed limits, the Ferrari is a dumber choice all around, even if it’s a “better” car.

    • avatarpat says:

      These ‘whiplash’ statements only make sense when taking the full auto principle into account. The semiauto civilian versions of these firearms are kind of apples and oranges in that they excel at different applications.
      I would use an AR to (generally) defend my home and an M1A in many outdoor scenarios…..and to kill people who are using AR’s, as battlerifles are OFFENSIVE weapons that turn cover into concealment and have greater range.

  5. avatarJim D says:

    No, media thinks it’s an “Assault Rifle” but we know it is an AR-15, big difference!

  6. avatarRoll says:

    I love my M1A, but I covet thy neighbors’ FN FAL(L1A1). Inch pattern please, with a green and baby sh!t yellow paint job.

    • avatarJames says:

      I am a sinner and covet my G-1 and make no excuses.

      Your FAL painted splotchy green and yellow will almost certainly be of the Rhodesian variety but it will be in the metric flavor. It is bad form to paint commonwealth snacks in green and yellow!

  7. avatarPete says:

    Two words…”Mosin Nagant”……oh and “cheap ammo!” I guess that is four words.

    • avatarIn Memphis says:

      This

    • avatarTommy Knocker says:

      Amen brother ! I though will take it one further and note my royal majesty of battle rifles being the M39 Finnish Nagant. Built off of the 19th century Tula receivers, rebarreled and restocked only as a Finn could do the job.

      From Wiki Aftermath of Winter War
      During the four months of fighting, the Soviet Army suffered massive losses. One Red Army General, looking at a map of the territory just conquered, is said to have remarked: “We have won just about enough ground to bury our dead.” The official Soviet figure, issued just after the war, listed 48,745 dead and 150,863 wounded.[14]

  8. avatarBrian S says:

    For “hit the road with your life on your back, solo” situation, I’ll take an AR-15 or even something lighter.

  9. avatarroscoe says:

    I’m an M1 Carbine and M-14 guy. That’s just my personal preference from liking historical long guns.

    But for all practical purposes of capability and utility, it’s the AR15 hands down.

  10. avatarJeff G says:

    Interesting, but it seems the article starts out favoring the .308 Winchester, but then ends up shifting favoritism to the 7.62 x 39.

    Which one of those is the battle queen we are supposed to be wanting?

  11. avatarJohn Boch says:

    Sold my HK-91 (genuine article) in this latest insanity and bought two brand new AR-15s.

    Sold my stock of 7.62×51 ammo and picked up two new EOTechs and some other add-ons.

    But don’t worry. I still have a pair of Garands for when I need to speak with authority.

    And a RIFLEMAN’s patch says that Blue Helmet at a quarter mile is easy pickings.

    John

    • avatarJoe says:

      Hard to beat an M1 Garand with a Rifleman’s patch behind it.

      • avatarBrad says:

        That’s what scares the shit out DiFi and her disarmament army. That’s why she’s declared you have PSTD. There are legions of former vets going back to Korea and even WWII still that can make a very comfortable first shot, 300 yard center mass hit. That’s got to keep them up at night when plotting their Statist agenda.

  12. avatarRKBA says:

    AR-15 chambered in 300 BLK

    • avatarAccur81 says:

      A 6.8 isn’t bad either – many of the strengths of the 5.56 and .308. Of course ammo for 300 BLK, 6.5, and 6.8 are hard to find these days.

      • avatarAlphaGeek says:

        No kidding. I keep clicking over to 6.8 on gunbot.net to see if there’s any ammo available, but it’s incredibly rare. It think I’ve seen 6.8 available on two occasions, and in both cases the cost was over $2/round. Ouch.

        {Edit to add: and of course as soon as I write that, I see 4 different listings for 6.8SPC on gunbot.net starting at $1.45/round. Still ouch, but at least there’s some available.}

        On the other hand there seems to be a temporary drought of 5.45×39 new stock, too. Hopefully that will change when the next container ship loaded with 2-spam-can crates arrives at US ports, especially since my 5.45 Spikes upper should be waiting when I get home tonight…

        • avatarAharon says:

          Would you like to buy my Winchester ’94 .357 for $1,400?

        • avatarAlphaGeek says:

          You are a very funny monkey. You know I’d love to give it a new home, though perhaps not at that price. Ask me again towards the end of this summer.

          Besides, I’m still strategizing on how to tell the spousal unit that the net effect of random parts trickling in over the last few months is that I’ve added an AR15 to the collection. The upper arrives today, in fact. Guess I’d better sort that out first before I go bidding on anything else. :)

          Or maybe I can put it off a little longer, since I still don’t have a lower parts kit or buttstock assembly for it… {/rationalization}

        • avatarAccur81 says:

          Congrats on the AR! I’ve got a .338 Lapua en route. Mrs. was not happy…

        • avatardom says:

          AlphaGeek,
          Congrats on the new AR. The rule I follow with the wife is that it is not a gun until assembled. Right now, you just have a bunch of parts. She cant blame you if they happen to add up to a new rifle. I use the “oh that? A bunch of parts I snapped together. Piece of crap. Just goofing off.”

        • avatarDJ says:

          .338 = awesome. I have nowhere nearby with line of sight long enough to shoot one.

        • avatarAlphaGeek says:

          Thanks, A81. Still trying to figure out the logistics for an easy meetup halfway between your AO and mine. Perhaps a Saturday overnighter somewhere in Kern County.

          If you think your owner is miffed about the 338LM now, wait until she hears how much it costs to feed one of those. Hope it comes with a reloading starter kit, for your sake. :)

          Dom, I’m sticking to that line until the lower build kit shows up from Palmetto, at which point honor dictates that I disclose fully. Though I might have some explaining to do when the 1080-round spam can of 5.45 shows up from Wideners in the next few weeks…

  13. avatartdiinva says:

    Since this is Jack’s first TTAG piece I will wait to pass judgment. Where to start?

    The German’s used some sound analysis from WWI to come up with the STG-44 but the real reason was that they needed something to stop the Russian hordes before they got within 50 yards or so. The submachine gun also proved inadequate to deal with the wall of lead a company of US Infantry could put out with their M-1s. The STG-44 appeared to be the solution to both problems. More on this below.

    SLA Marshall’s claim that only a small number of US infantry actually aimed their weapons has been pretty much debunked. Whether he merely misinterpreted his data or falsified is still not known. You can read many After Action Reports where US troops laid down devastating small arms fire. As I have cited before, there were times during the defense of the 82nd Airborne’s DZ at Arnhem that the M-1s were fired at such a sustained rate that the wood was charred.

    The US infantry doctrine has deemphasized individual automatic fire and has returned to semiautomatic aimed fire. After the Army Center for Analysis looked at Vietnam combat they found that you were not hitting much with automatic fire so the Army reemphasized aimed fire. Once you go back to aimed fire a battle rifle is the superior choice over a reduced power cartridge.

    WLCE has posted that we have adopted old Red Army squad tactics of having a designated marksman using a battle rifle with each squad. (I hope I’ve got that right.) The Russians developed that organization because their infantry was mostly cannon fodder armed with submachine guns.. We introduced the designated marksman because the standard M-4 does not provide the long range firepower that a battle rifle brings to the table. If everybody in the squad has a battle rifle you don’t need a special soldier to put down long range fire. Everybody can do it.

    • avatarint19h says:

      >> The Russians developed that organization because their infantry was mostly cannon fodder armed with submachine guns

      Most Soviet infantry during WW2 was armed with Mosin rifles, not with submachine guns. Yes, they had disproportionally many SMGs compared to all other participants in that war, but bolt-action rifle was still the primary infantry weapon.

    • avatarHoldover says:

      SDM Program was a response to threats encountered beyond the “normal’ 300 meter assumed effectiveness of the M4 rifleman and much more highly trained sniper teams. Although the DMR (and ad hoc 7.62 rifles) are unarguably better platforms for long range engagement, there’s nothing magical in either the DMR x4 Trijicon (or ad hocs optical magnification), ‘match’ triggers and barrels, nor the programs heavier projectiles – 5.56 or 7.62. Shooters at Perry been doing more with less for a long time, with 5.56 dominating . Not combat, but obviously there’s nothing wrong with 5.56 potential for long range accuracy. Effectiveness stems from additional training from USAMU (augmented by CMP Instructors) much more than hardware – as is always the case.

      The doctrinal shift from automatic to “aimed” (although ‘directed” is a more apt term) arrived with the realization that suppression was not necessarily achieved objectively by volume of fire, but rather a subjective psychological event, METT-TC dependent, secured by proximity of fire. In either case the goal is suppression as a means to allow maneuver – when the enemy is unable to be observed, which is the prevalent condition in most engagements. Accurate fire on a point target with the aim of destruction is obviously preferable, but this is all too often not achievable. A quick perusal of video captured engagements illustrate the difficulty of achieving this goal.

  14. avatarAharon says:

    “You can grab one legal rifle from your collection and hit the road, right now.”

    If bugging out and joining long lines of civilian refugees walking, let’s see what can I carry (gasoline will soon be history assuming a car can be used for a couple days without becoming a major moving target for someone), along with all my other gear: food, water, sleeping bag, tent, cooking kit, first aid supplies, etc etc? I will therefore need a lighter weight gun and then there is the weight of the ammo (and replenishment) to consider. After all, I am no longer a young studly Army Airborne Soldier at the peak of my physical strength. Carrying a battlefield rifle would make me a target to steal from if not from gangs then government forces out to confiscate. I might take a .22 rifle and a center fire handgun. It all depends.

    If not in such a refugee scenario then yes a traditional battlefield rifle seems like it would be the best choice. Beware: ‘Crazy Jim Bowie’ my old Army nic will live again!

    • avatarSouthern Cross says:

      Why does every SHTF scenario have people walking everywhere? Why do people overlook what is in almost every basement, back shed, or garage across North America, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, etc (and Hollywood seems to overlook this BIG TIME!). Bikes. Pedal bikes. There would have to be a few in almost every house. Even if they are not working, you can make a working bike from the parts of two or three with little more than two spanners. And the leftover parts can be used to make a trailer (or a push cart) that could easily carry 50kg (about 100lb) of gear. Even if the bike isn’t rideable, you could use it carry at least 20-30kg of gear as you push it along (like the Japanese Army in Malaya and the VC/NVA on the Ho Chi Minh Trail). And a person on a bike is 4+ times faster than someone on foot.

      My SHTF rifle would depend on what has the most available ammunition, and that would be the M48 Yugo Mauser. And on-top of 8×57 power (154g @ 2960fps), I also have the bayonet for CQB.

  15. avatarthe last Marine out says:

    You get a battle rifle because it was made for battle, that means shooting all day , or lots every day, and it is built to take hard use… the AR is nice , but it’s never made the battle rifle grade… and the 30 cal. has the punch needed , always clean and lube , but the AR jams with hard use… been their and done it… the M1 and M14 plus FAL all make the grade easy to use and clean …the light weight battle rifle is the AK , but keep in mind less range …

    • avatarJ.K. says:

      Stop spreading fud. Small Squeeze bottle of CLP will make a good quality AR run till you’re out of ammo.

      A battle rifle is just that, for a military battle, where you’re working in a military unit and it has the punch because you can afford to waste ammo at an enemy hiding behind cover/concealment.

      I’d rather have more ammo, because it’s lighter, and use fire superiority to break contact, if I couldn’t avoid the contact in the first place.

  16. avatarGov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    If the 5.56 is the 600cc and the 7.62 is the 1000cc I guess I’d pick the 750cc – 6.8 SPC. Now if the military could reach that same conclusion we could all start buying 6.8 surplus ammo on the cheap.

    • avatarAnon in CT says:

      Except that in a SHTTH situation, you want a caliber of ammo that you can take off random dead bodies.

      • avatarGov. William J. Le Petomane says:

        Well, in a perfect world the 6.8 would be our military round. Anyhoo, if the sh!t really did hit the fan, I’d grab a 10 lb. bag of potatoes (for planting) and a 270 Win. and head for the Bitterroots. Best to stay out of the line of fire IMHO.

    • avatarMark says:

      I like that 6.8 and suspect many TTAG readers don’t fit the cliche of inexperienced conscripts who would not aim or even fire.

      • avatarGov. William J. Le Petomane says:

        What you sacrifice in volume of fire you gain in lethality. Always a balance and I find the 6.8 a balanced approach.

        Hopefully the days of US conscripts are gone for good. Conscription is slavery.

    • avatarAccur81 says:

      Grab the 140 grain Berger VLD 6.8 SPC and I’d say your closer to 800 or 900 CC!

      I’d be happy to see the military upgrade to 300 BLK or 6.8. Screw NATO.

      • avatarGov. William J. Le Petomane says:

        The military would pick the 6.8 over the 300 Blackout because the biggest shortcoming of the 5.56 is the lack of effectiveness at longer ranges. IMHO the 300 is just a way to shoot 7.62×39 in an AR, which in itself isn’t a bad idea, but for experienced soldiers the 6.8 provides the same range as the 5.56 with increased lethality at the not completely insignificant cost of weight.

        • avatarPaelorian says:

          Check out Travis Haley’s comments on 300 BLK vs. 6.8 SPC:

          http://youtu.be/tgKjbySsAik

          300 BLK offers a lot more than just 7.62×39 in an AR-15. A major selling point for me is that 7.62×39 AKs are very loud and 300 BLK AR-15s are much quieter (although if I’m carrying the rifle a lot without firing I’ll take an SU-16C). I like 6.8 SPC a lot (except for the current cost of ammo), but for my personal use I prefer 300 BLK as I anticipate close range battle and sound suppression. From what I hear 300 BLK isn’t significantly harder to control than 5.56x45mm, and for firing rapidly and accurately like I might at close range that’s important. If range is my priority and suppression isn’t as important I’ll go with 6.8 SPC. Although with both cartridges being scarce, being able to fashion 300 BLK out of 5.56m casings and .308 bullets can be a huge advantage.

    • avatarjim says:

      So if a 5.56 is a 600 cc and a .308 is a liter bike, I guess a Marlin 1895 in .45-70 would be an 80-inch flathead Indian or Harley… a timeless solution that still works just fine.

      But speaking of lever guns, every time the just-one-long-gun SHTF discussion breaks out the various 1892/ 1894/ Henry .357s are always a contender, but have you checked out the Ruger 77/357? MUCH sturdier and more ergonomic (have you ever fired a lever gun prone?) than the archaic (but lovable) lever guns.

  17. avatarGreg Camp says:

    My idea of a battle rifle is an SMLE with ten in the magazine and one in the pipe.

    By the way, other nations went with a 6.5mm round, including the Italians.

    • avatarNor'Easter says:

      and the Japanese, the Greeks and lots of 7m/m countries like Spain, et al but he’s right about the major WW I & II participants.
      Geez, this is like the good ol’ days, crewing over the finer points of gunology – a nice break.

  18. avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    A bolt gun in .30-06.

    • avatarAharon says:

      What are the reasons you would choose 30-06 rather than say 308?

      I’ve read that during WW2 the US Army equipped Eskimo troops, fighting against the Japanese troops in guerrilla warfare operations, with the 30-06 and a .22 cal pistol. I don’t know if the 30-06 was a bolt action or the Garand.

      • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        .308 would be fine as well. It is far easier to find .30-06 ammo in every little sporting goods shop all over this country than any other round. Easier right now than .308, certainly.

        • avatarAharon says:

          Thank you.

          What type and caliber handgun would you carry in a balloon goes up/shtf scenario?

          Just an FYI, the handgun/carbine caliber that I have still been able to find locally in Portland on store shelves during the past few months have been 38 and 357.

        • avatarAlphaGeek says:

          Aharon, I’ve been watching ammo prices on 38/357. It’s been amusing to see that the market is so crazy that on a sem-regular basis you can find full-power 357 rounds at lower cost than 38 special.

        • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          .45 colt. I have commonality with .45 ACP for bullets and primers, the same or better performance, and again, you can find the rounds or brass just about everywhere.

        • avatarAharon says:

          AlphaGeek,

          Interesting. I’ve stopped looking at online availability and comparisons of 38 and 357. Locally, I can often find Remington UMC 38 and 357 at the old pre-December prices.

          I’m having trouble relating to my Winchester ’94 as a gun for use or a tool. It is so darn beautiful that I don’t want to take it outside. It belongs in a museum. Still want it?

        • avatarAharon says:

          DG,

          Thanks for your thoughts on the .45 Colt. If you ever start a blog of your own, please do let me know.

      • avatarmiforest says:

        ammo everywhere

      • avatarjwm says:

        Aharon, it’s my understanding that the Eskimo troops in Alaska were equiped with bolt action .30-06′s, mostly in the 1917 enfield package. It was felt that the conditions they operated in were too harsh for the semi autos of the time. Remember at this time the M1 was still new and fairly untested in combat conditions around the world.

        The first offensive operation against the Japanese in the pacific, Guadalcanal was conducted with Marines armed mostly with 03 springfields.

        The first major offensive by Americans against the Germans, the North African Operation Torch saw quite a few of the American troops landing still equipped with the 03 Springfield.

        Part of the reason for the reliance on bolt actions was simple lack of supply of the M1. It took a while to bring the homefront to a complete war footing and convert peacetime companies to wartime production.

    • avatarRopingdown says:

      A bolt gun in .30-06 sounds sensible to me, with a variety of cartridges. And an accurate .22LR pistol and ammo for small-game survival food hunting and emergencies at very close range. On the bolt gun, what sights and optic combo?

      • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        Rear peep. If not military (eg, as on a 03A3), or then a Lyman 57 or similar, with a hooded front post on a situation like a M70.

  19. avatarborekfk says:

    So what exactly is the SKS, it’s not a battle rifle, and yet it’s not an assault rifle? What is it? Does the SKS belong in it’s own category???

    • avatarAnotherMatt says:

      The SKS is like the M14. The last in the line of the old way of thinking.

    • avatarint19h says:

      It’s a transitional fossil. It dates from the time where the benefits of intermediate caliber were already fully realized (by the Soviets, at least), but they were still balking at the notion that your average grunt can be trusted with a full auto weapon with a detachable magazine.

  20. avatarPwrserge says:

    AR-10 or an SVD clone if I can find one. Nothing like a full power rifle cartridge to speak with authority. As for ammo load, since I don’t have a giggle switch, I doubt I will go through more than 60-80 rounds in a single engagement.

  21. avatarjwm says:

    As a California resident I am limited in my legal choices for one rifle to hit the road with. In my case I chose a Russian SKS. It ain’t perfect but it don’t have a bullet button either.

  22. avatarDaniel Silverman says:

    Choices:
    MP 40 cal pistol a must.

    Rifles:
    Tavor would be a first choice if I could legally own one in CA.
    AR-15 would be a second.

    If this was a SHTF bug out scenario the bolt action hunting rifle would get placed in the car too, just so I have it for long term food needs.
    So 3 guns and I am off to the races. A tactical shotgun would go to if I had time, but it would be the last on the list.

  23. avatarJR LORENCZ says:

    I’ll take my HK91 with a PSG1 trigger, but someone else will have to carry it…

  24. avatarAnotherMatt says:

    7.62×39 was influenced by 8mm Kurz, but it’s considerably more powerful and has a much more useful range. 8mm Kurz was a somewhat anemic little cartridge that fired a 8mm bullet with very poor BC at a slow speed. It was also short and fat which made the 30 round magazine awkwardly long.

    The AK doesn’t really have much in common with the Stg44. Different bolt design, different operating mechanism, different FCG, etc. Really the only similarities are purely cosmetic. The actual mechanics of the AK have more in common with the M1 Garand.

  25. avatarPyratemime says:

    Given you specified from my collection it would have to be my AR-patter rifle. Heck if it didn’t have to be from my collection it still wouldn’t be an MBR but rather a TAR-21 or (drooooool) CTAR-21. Not because the MBR is a bad idea but because they are heavy, the ammo is heavier, and at the end of the day if I am humping this as suggested that means I have my food, water, clothes, medical stuff, and any other equipment I need in a balloons-up world. Every pound of gun and ammo is one less pound of food and supplies. Additionally, depending on the color of the balloon I may have wife and daughter in tow which makes that accommodation for space and weight even more important.

    In the later situation with family in tow I have no interest engaging target at several hundred yards. At that distance I want to escape and evade. I want to run and hide. I want to GTFO of sight because engagement is not in my favor no matter how powerful the rifle is I am toting. Come to think of it the intermediate power cartridge becomes a force multiplier for me and mine in that situation because my wife will not shoot with any comfort or accuracy a full size rifle round but she may be able to handle the 5.56 so now I have two people to handle the rifle rather than just lonesome ol’ me.

    Now if I can stay put at home well then please give me an MBR which can sit in my shooting roost or follow me on short walks about the neighborhood. At that point weight and round count is far less an issue and the ability to tell someone or some group of someones that they are profoundly unwelcome from 600-700 yards away appeals to me.

    • avatarAlphaGeek says:

      Come to think of it the intermediate power cartridge becomes a force multiplier for me and mine in that situation because my wife will not shoot with any comfort or accuracy a full size rifle round[...]

      Exactly. My oldest offspring and I do just fine with my 20ga semi-auto loaded with anything up to 3-inch magnum slug and buck rounds. Offspring #2 can handle his 20ga with 2.75″ buck and light slug rounds. My wife? No frackin’ way on either of those.

      With my new 5.45×39 AR, though, I’m certain that both she and my youngest could put 5.45 rounds downrange with no fear of recoil-induced pain.

  26. avatarZeb says:

    And the winner is a Scar 17s with a 1-4 variable powered scope, its lightweight highly reliable no recoil and packs a punch, if you cant get one of those then a M1A Socom 16 is the next best thing Has alot more recoil but its still accurate and light and packs the same wallop

  27. avatarإبليس says:

    Used to own a pristine Swedism M96 made in 1905. Sweet shooter, but always hit 1.5 feet high with rear sight lowered. Just didn’t have the heart to drill & tap it. So I sold it. My only true gun related heartbreak….

  28. avatarPaul says:

    I love the AR-15, but for reliability and simplicity I’ll take the AK-47 any day. It may not be as accurate, but it’s probably better than I am, and it will never fail me.

  29. avatarKD says:

    I’ve slowly been educating myself on .308 and I’m convinced the SCAR 17 is the way to go. It was very expensive before “Firearmageddon” and I can only hope it returns to the sub $3K range.

  30. Well, I’ve tended gun shot wounds on an ICU, so if the Russians/Chinese/North Koreans drop from the sky, or Yale lecturer Jim Sleeper gets his “bloody” little “civil war” to annihilate the “gun lobby”, I’m going to do what the Navy recruiters asked me as an RN to do the last several years (that is, until the nonstop calendar turned me into a fogie): emergency care of the wounded.

    Not that I won’t need my Glock’n’Wesson(!) in the pick’em’up truck on the ride to the hospital, just in case Comrade Col. Strelnikov blocks my route with his Ruskie tank. Come to think of it, I better upgrade to a Mini-14. imfdb.org/wiki/Red_Dawn_(1984)#Ruger_Mini_14_GB Wolverines!

    I’ll also probably take along my old copy of the Book of Worship for United States Forces, for use if the padres are spread too thin.

  31. avatarIng says:

    These articles are fun to read. Educational, too. I haven’t been immersed in firearms history like a lot of people here, so I learn a lot whenever these articles come down the pike.

    Plus, it’s great to have a break from all the angst and doom. The political battle is important, but it’s dreary stuff. Guns aren’t just serious, they’re seriously FUN.

    • avatarAlphaGeek says:

      +1. I also really enjoyed reading this. Especially after my blood pressure spike when I clicked through on the UK gun article.

    • avatarGyufygy says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who giggled in anticipation in the discussions to come when they saw this article.

      Well, maybe I’m the only one who giggled, but…

    • avatarg says:

      +1

      Indeed.

    • avatarint19h says:

      If only the article in question was actually accurate. The moment it claimed that “the Russians immediately put a product-improved version of the Stg44 into production as the AK-47″, its credibility went right out of the window. It is a very popular myth in gun circles, and also one that generated considerable controversy – and, consequently, has drawn a lot of attention, and has been thoroughly debunked. For anyone with even basic knowledge of history of firearms, to make such a claim with a straight face in 2013 is inexcusable.

      The reason why this myth is so persistent is for three reasons. First of all, the guns look visually similar, largely due to the shape of the front sight and the magazine, and curvature of the latter. Second is the fact that both used the then-new “intermediate” calibers instead of traditional full-size rifle calibers. Finally, it is a well-known fact that number of German weapon designers, including Hugo Schmeisser himself – the designer of StG44 – were captured by the Soviets, and worked for them for a while.

      However, once you start digging, you quickly find out that all of these are random point that do not actually form a coherent picture. Similar look is largely coincidental, or (in case of magazines) a consequence of the caliber picked. The concept of intermediate rounds was developed largely independently in Germany and USSR during the war – USSR work on 7.62×39 began later, in 1942, but it was already finalized and officially in service in 1943 (hence the designation M43), when StG was only first put into service on the Eastern Front by the Nazis. And Schmeisser may well have been involved in the design of AK – though it is most likely that the bulk of his contribution was to AKM, as Soviets didn’t have much experience with metal stamping, and the first AK was milled rather than stamped – but even if he is the real designer of AK, and Kalashnikov is just a Soviet figurehead (as some conspiracy theories claim), it still doesn’t mean that one weapon is a derivative of the other.

      AK is actually much closer to M1 Garand (both are long-stroke piston with rotating bolt). If you had to find the closest living relative to StG, it would probably be FAL (both are short-stroke piston with tilting bolt). But even then, if action commonality is sufficient to claim derivation, then StG is also just an “improved version” of Soviet SVT-40 (also short-stroke tilting bolt).

  32. avatarLeo338 says:

    I had an AR 15 but I recently sold it to get a POF P308
    . I prefer the .308 win round because I feel the 5.56 is too small and underpowered for certain situations. The .308 round coupled with the AR platform is the best of both worlds and you only add a couple of ounces to the weight of the rifle. It’s great for open spaces because your effective range is extended over the 5.56. I also believe it’s superior in urban spaces. That extra power comes in handy if they attempt to take cover behind vehicles or cinder block walls.

  33. avatarready,fire,aim says:

    I’m taking my ak-47….keep your ar’s

  34. avatarschizuki says:

    I tend to trust the invisible hand of the free market. I’ll have an AR-15 when the opportunity arises.

  35. avatarMark N. says:

    The only thing I took issue with was the line: “and the forward-thinking M1 Carbine, which was much lighter and easier to carry and could be fired aimlessly with no less effect….” No less effect? I’ve read that it would bounce off the thick winter clothing used by the Chinese in Korea, not something that would happen with a 30-06. The Carbine isn’t even as powerful as a .223. It really is just a long barrelled handgun with an effective range not to exceed 100 yds. Not to say that I wouldn’t buy one….

  36. avatarSkyler says:

    I think the digs at marksmanship are a bit harsh. You get what you pay for. I think experience shows us that if your training emphasizes marksmanship, you get marksmen. If you just do rudimentary training, you get poorly trained riflemen (note the Jessica Lynch shenanigans).

    I think many of Jack’s points are stained by a mindset resulting from the work of the thoroughly discredited S.L.A. Marshall. He put out the theory that soldiers do poorly when confronted with diversity, such as never firing their weapon or not aiming it, among many other myths, but even his own son agrees that he fabricated his data.

    My experience is that most Marines fire well aimed shots. I would prefer they had larger rounds. I’ve had too many experiences where gut-shot enemy jump back up and run away.

    • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      I agree about SLA Marshall, your assessment on same, and would point out there’s a further complete contradiction in his assumptions.

      He talks about the misconceptions and mistakes of governments, and the experiences of troops who are ordered into fire zones. But he first poses a question to the TTAG reader, who isn’t in the situation of being in active military combat under the authority of a uniformed command, in the hypothetical situation of bugging out…, ala Red Dawn, or Big Sister going through menopause, or… whatever.

      I, personally, am in neither category of “military” or “government pinhead postulating how troops are going to fight on the battlefield.” If I’m being asked this question (the OP’s first para), I’m not responding with “my experience in the service” (because I have none). I’ve been in the private sector my entire life, and suffer from no delusions of competence-by-authority. To quote the movie “Ghostbusters,” “You’ve never been in the private sector. I have. They expect results.”

      I’m not going to do something like walk into a MG position. I’m not going to use “volume of fire” to “suppress” anything. And, unlike many people, I do know how to shoot. If it’s man-sized out to 600 yards, and I have a “battle rifle” with a rear peep in ’06 (a round I know intimately, inside and out, from loadings, bullet choices, ballistics, drift, etc) I own it unless a twister springs up in that quarter-mile+ of distance. An ’06, (or 8×57 or 7×57) will kill anything from rabbits to elk (or moose) when it comes time to eat. Oh yea, eating. That’s what the above scenario implies I’m going to have to do on my own. As in “You don’t get to stroll into your local sushi restaurant, plop your buttocks down on a bar stool next to a cute girl and put in an order of tuna belly, salmon skin roll, spicy tuna and a nice bit of saki…”

      When an ’06 bullet gets to 500/600 yards, it has about the same kinetic energy as the .223 started with at the muzzle. Most people don’t read ballistics charts or run ballistics programs… because they spend far too much time playing running/jumping/shooting/squeaking games, and it doesn’t take much kinetic energy to put holes in cardboard or knock over a popper. My ’06 is going to put a lot more meat into my belly than a .223 ever will, not in the least because when you’re hunting vermin, you need to worry about all manner of diseases that will kill you dead. Plague in squirrels, tularemia in rabbits, etc. Worst that can happen from eating big game is I get a prion disease… but the death from that is 20+ years down the road.

      Put up the ballistics charts for a 5.56 and we get to see just how pathetic the round really is…

      If the OP wanted a different answer out of a guy like me, he should have asked a different question.

      • avatarBlake says:

        dyspeptic, what is the flight time for an 06 round at 600 yards? Is it possible to cycle the bolt, get back on target and put another round down range before the first shot arrives?

        • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          At between, oh, 0.75 to 0.9 seconds, depending on the load, with a Springfield or M70, probably not. There might be guys who can, but I don’t think I could pull it off reliably.

          If we were talking about a really slick cock-on-close bolt action like a Sauer ST-200, then maybe I could do it reliably.

          Now we’re getting into esoterica and extreme levels of training with a bolt gun – which, while good things to learn, aren’t common in the US. I certainly don’t train to try to put multiple rounds in the air at a time. For hunting, I work at getting the first one where I want it, so I don’t have to send a second one before the target moves. For target work, when I try to push harder than about 2 sec/round, I start jumping the trigger.

          However, if people want to see what’s possible with a bolt gun, look for “Sauer ST-200″ on YouTube:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EuvkUAHEDg

          He’s not rushing himself at all. There are guys (other Norwegians) who are faster with a ST-200. If I could choose any factory-built rifle at all to put rounds on target as fast as possible at a distance >= 300 yards, it would be a ST-200 or something similar with cock-on-close, in a 6.5mm bullet. 6.5×55 Swede is better than a huge amount of stuff out there, has been forever, but in the above hypothetical situation, you’re going to be really hard pressed to find ammo, and you can’t make it easily from American parent brass.

        • avatarBlake says:

          Dyspeptic, thank you for your reply. I wasn’t thinking about game so much as two-legged predators.

          Since my SHTF rifle is bolt action, doing some work to improve speed may not be a bad idea.

      • avatarJ.K. says:

        You speak as if you’ll make use of all the meat such a large game you took out at extreme distances that even most hunters would not take.

        1. I’d like to know your plans to carry all that meat back to your camp and how you plan to preserve it long enough for full use.
        2. I’d like to know how you plan to do so when the loud report from your MBR caliber rifle grabbed the attention of everyone for miles around.

        No, someone with a combo of subsonic and HV .22lr rounds would likely eat just as well as you on small game, sometimes even mid to large game, and not have to deal with the human predator they won’t attract.

        • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          You cache the meat. In the hills and mountains of Wyoming here, it remains cool to cold in some places for most of the year, so I’d be using Mom Nature’s reefer to store my meat. BTDT in the past. Works fine.

          As for the report: In big country, no one notices a single shot. It took my neighbor setting off a couple pounds of tannerite this past weekend before anyone in this rural residential area poked their heads up. Single shot in the hills or mountains? Pfah. Multiple shots? Eh, maybe.

      • avatarpat says:

        I think a Marlin 22lr with 10 round mag would be a great SHTF gun. My only worry about your theory of getting the big game is that many people, depending on location, will decimate the herds within weeks of SHTF. By the way, I did get a Springfield M1A for SHTF as well, and a Colt AR, and…..lets just say (probably like you) that I like many guns for many applications. 5.56 is pretty good defense wise, at close range because it does put the energy of a 44 magnum in the bad guy, and with the right ammo, all of that energy is put in the BG body.

  37. avatarJohn Moses says:

    My AR-15 in 5.56mm and Sig P229 in .40 with a 9mm conversion kit. They use the same ammo that is being produced by the ton and may or may not be common amongst my potential antagonists. Makes resupply more convenient.

  38. avatarShorr Khan says:

    The story of the battle rifle and the assault rifle controversy in the US military:
    http://www.amazon.com/Misfire-Story-Americas-Failed-Military/dp/0684193590

  39. avatarHauptgefreiter says:

    What is wrong with defending my apartment with my HK G3?

    • avatarBrad says:

      Nothing if you are shooting at outside targets. Don’t shoot it in your house unless you like hitting your neighbors and your neighbor’s neighbors.

      • avatarDerek says:

        Lol. It’s great if you’re planning on the shooting the burglar in the kitchen… of the house down the street.

  40. avatarthe last Marine out says:

    I have as my backup battle rifle the Enfield #5 bolt in 308 win/7.62 NATO , in new , like in mint condition from down under one of the last bolts made , it is very well made , 10 round magazine, plus one in the tube …. and can be loaded by stripper clips… it’s right on as a shooter too… so do not over look the bolt action military battle rifle ,, made to go to Hell and back…. the 308 Win and the 3006 Spring. are about the same 3006 has a very small Vol. over 308 but most shooters will never see the difference … and last one very good battle rifle most over looked is the 1917 U.S. Enfield in 3006 Spring, that is the rifle Sgt. York in real life used…it’s the shooter too that counts……

  41. avatarAragorn says:

    The best rifle in the world is the loaded one in your hands when you need it most.

  42. avatarBlake says:

    If I wind up in a firefight and have no pre-planned exit route, it means I screwed up.

    My idea is to quietly fade into the background and avoid putting myself in a corner. Ammunition load means little, because no matter what, the amount carried is finite and should be considered irreplaceable. A pitched battle scenario is to be avoided at all costs.

    The kind of rifle means very little in a true SHTF situation. You gotta dance with the one what brought you.

  43. avatarJeh says:

    Ill be taking my AR with me when I hit the road. Now if only I was able to use dot-sights or had a place to train with scopes…

    Its hard to find anything written by people who have actual trigger time (none CoD) anymore, making it hard to find articles like this, bravo.

    To be fair it seems most gun owners have a hunting rifle or shotgun of some type instead of an AR AK or an actual sniper rifle.

  44. avatarRambeast says:

    I have the choice of my standard AR15 or my 7.62×39 AR. I chose these 2 configurations for availability of ammunition, and the ability to swap uppers depending on what ammo could be scrounged in a TEOTWAWKI type of situation. AR10s are nice, but the cost of ammo and afformentioned availability played into it being eliminated from my choices.

  45. avatarDrDave says:

    Scar 17S! Next question please.

  46. avatarDisThunder says:

    I’d probably grab my SLR-106SBR, and not look back.
    Although, if the balloon goes up 6-7 months from now, I think I might grab my corrected-barreled Thompson instead. Oh, sure, it might be just semi, and fire from a closed bolt, but after a short trip to the gunsmith, that damn thing is every bit as steady and reliable as any one of my AKs. And it’s hard to top the intimidation the ol’ chopper brings with it. I’ll just aim low, since armor won’t do a damn thing to save your thighs or kneecaps when they get hole-punched.
    I’ll trust one of you good gents to rock your 30-06 or your 308 and give me some long range cover. If this horse has well and truly bolted, I want to get up close and personal with the bastards that have come for us.

  47. avatarensitu says:

    Intermediate fire power is designed to be used in an environment populated by dozens of types of supporting munitions from the 40mm grenades to 8″ Howitzers (and Larger aerial munitions)

  48. avatarOldLawman says:

    I’ll take one of my FALs, or PTR 91, over any of my ARs, if I have to choose. Rifle too heavy ? Put down the beer, and do a few more pushups.

    I do like my Sig 556s, or Steyr AUGs for carbine use. But they don’t travel as far, or hit as hard. Simple as that.

  49. avatarihatetrees says:

    The doors and glass of a standard automobile will not shield your opponent from a .308 Winchester round at most practical distances.

    +1. Add a cinder block wall to the above.

    Great history. I think the US Army looked at switching to .270 Winchester between the wars, and it would have been the better choice (IMO).

  50. avatarTacticalDad says:

    The kid gets the Appleseed suppressed 10/22.
    The wife gets the Marlin Lever gun with 44 specials.
    I grab the AR-15.

    With my luck, when the balloon goes up I will be out of pocket 3 hours from home at some damn quilt shop hop.

    • avatarBrad says:

      If I had to go with what I have, right now,

      11 y/o gets the AR-15 and the Rossi .38.
      8 y/o, Ruger 10/22 w/ three 25rd mags and a half a dozen 10 rd’rs in his pack. Beretta 21a in .22LR (commonality of ammo)
      Wife, 20ga 870 youth model (nice, low recoil) with a mix of #4 buck and a few rifled slugs for hunting. .380 Auto Mustang (wish I had another .38 revolver but I don’t)
      I will take my FR8 Scout in .308, .357 Model 19 with a deep concealed 9mm Sig P239.

      Maybe, maybe i’ll take my AKM as a back up. Break it down into several components, spread the load and take only three mags.

  51. avatarWA_2A says:

    I’ll take the “assault rifle” school of thought one step further and say a 9mm carbine, preferably capable of taking +P+ ammo, would be ideal. Follow-up shots are easy; accuracy out to 100 yards is absolutely possible. It’s compact and lightweight, and so is the ammo (the fact that it’s the cheapest centerfire round doesn’t hurt either). I don’t see myself shooting past 100 yards and, while less than ideal, I would be able to take down a deer with Buffalo Bore +P+ Penetrator ammo. In addition I can use the same ammunition as my sidearm, which means carrying more ammo since there is only one kind to carry around.

    • avatarLarry2 says:

      Good points

    • avatarJ.K. says:

      Though I’d prefer a longer ranged rifle round, you make great points most people don’t think about: streamlining one’s ammo types to as few as possible and to the most commonly found.

      I’ve personally streamlined to 5.56 for rifle and 9mm for pistol, with .22lr training versions of both for practice.

  52. avatarMack says:

    I was issued the M1, M14 and M16. First choice in a long bug out is M1. Throw it in the mud and it still shoots. Field strip it in the dark. Mrs. Mack can bring the mini 14. Short trip, Berretta 9mm carbine and Sig 9mm pistol.

  53. avatarLarry2 says:

    When THAT time comes, I won’t be going out alone: 3 man team – two with ARs and one with an M1A for punching trough the heavy stuff. Same reason the military has designated marksmen. Different tools for different purposes.

    • avatarWA_2A says:

      I like the way you think. In fact, give one of the three a 12ga shotgun and I bet you can harvest any game animal in the lower 48, and defend yourself from attackers effectively at any (reasonable) distance.

    • avatartdiinva says:

      The “designated marksman” is the modern equivalent of the WWII and Korean War BAR-man except the BAR-man had a better weapon. The only reason the Army has taken the designated marksman approach is because we don’t use a battle rifle. They don’t give a man an M-14 because we have a good personal weapon. They do it because the M-4 doesn’t cut it.

      • avatarpat says:

        It seems that a guy with an M-14 and three more with ARs would be the best of all worlds (unless all four had 6.5 Grendel or something) because the ARs are handier, easier to shoot multiple shots, or go full auto (military only unless you convert after SHTF). The M-14 can deal with cover and has better range, so it can suppress the enemy why allowing the ARs to get in position.

    • avatartdiinva says:

      Some further thoughts.

      In the SHTF scenario you want everyone using the same round to simplify logistics. So my three person team has two M-1As or AR-10s and either a Winchester model 70 modified to take stripper clips or a Remington 700 BDL. I would also want everyone to have either a Browning Hi Power or a 1911 depending on whether we would go with 9 or 45. The next step after pistols is hand-to-hand and I want a bludgeon in my hand and not a piece of plastic.

      Amateurs talk tactics. Professionals talk logistics.

  54. avatarJoke & Dagger says:

    Where the heck is everybody going exactly when the SHTF? I’m not going anywhere. :-)

    • avatarMark N. says:

      Most won’t. I can’t, my wife can’t, and we wouldn’t survive long if we did. There is not enough game in the forests to support a couple hundred million people. I live in a “city” of a hundred thousand people, and the largest big city is about two hundred miles away. I live within walking distance of very large source of fresh water, I have food, clothing and shelter, and when the pharmaceuticals run out, neither of us will live long anyway. I am far better of holing up in situ.

      • avatartdiinva says:

        You aren’t c0mpeting with “a couple of hundred million people.” You are competing with a small subset of people who will have access, means and the skills to hunt game. My in situ game plan is to deplete the neighborhood of squirrels, rabbits and ‘coons with a foray into the local park in the first day or two to get a deer before I tap my emergency food supplies.

        • avatarBrad says:

          Disagree. They may not have the skills but when they get hungry enough they will try, then they’ll simply make a mess of things stomping through the woods, scaring anything and everything away. Even if you are successful, they will be desperate enough to try and take what you got away.

          I am not a prepper but I enjoy watching some of the shows for entertainment value. I have two theories based on my life experience and watching these shows on a plan for urban environments.

          Theory 1) Create a set of bug-out trip wires for your area. Things like series food shortages at the grocery store or food shipments stop (or are stopped as in robbed/looted). Gas rationing, shortages. Power brown outs or failures. 911 service overwhelmed, etc, etc. Set them in a sequence and when you determine in your spectrum that you should leave, do so. No second guessing or debate. Have a planned destination in mind and get out before the overall collapse. I don’t subscribe to the idea that it will be a rapid sudden collapse. Not in the US. Unless it’s a natural disaster, it’ll be gradual and noticeable.

          Theory 2) Stay put and stock up on enough food and fresh or renewable water source to last a year. Reinforce your house and create a defense plan. Bunker’s are good for this but often cost prohibitive. Sheltering in place is risky unless you maintain a very low profile. You have to leave eventually and even though most things will have calmed down, you’ll most likely be on foot as any moving vehicle will be a target for those who survived (i.e. the strongest).

        • avatartdiinva says:

          My plan isn’t to wait until my stocks are out. I plan “to get there furstest with the mostest.” By the time the desperate get going I wlll still have a full supply factory produced food and water. Then I will sit back and watch the fun, shooting anybody who doesn’t knock politely.

        • avatarRambeast says:

          Factory produced foods to keep you going for the first season, maybe. Get a good stock of heirloom seeds and learn to hunt. Use a bow/crossbow to keep a low profile. The most important detail, have a group of healthy and reliable people to work with. You have to sleep sometime, and you’ll need someone to watch your back.

        • avatarJoke & Dagger says:

          Tdiinva. I’m LMAO here. While you are out scavenging for squirrels in the first days with a big target on your back, I will simply open up a can of tuna fish. Seriously?

    • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Exactly. I’m not going anywhere other than my backyard. My rifle choice is dictated by what I see out the back door.

      And unlike lots of urban dwellers, I don’t have to learn how to hunt. I just hunt. Matter of fact, it’s about time to put in for this fall’s paperwork…

  55. avatarCharlie says:

    It’s an AR-10BNMF or 10BF depending on which one El Kid carries (and I hope it’s the heavy one ;) . But it won’t be far, because SHTF we’ll already be where we’re going. lol

    Charlie

  56. avatarBryan Hyde says:

    Great conversation fodder, Jack. I’ve come full circle on battle rifles now having sold my M1A Scout and replaced it with a Ruger Gunsite Scout. I’ve finally accepted that I’m not getting more high speed/low drag as I get older and I wanted a lighter, handier rifle that required greater emphasis on marksmanship rather than firepower. The cost and availability of ammo has reinforced my decision. Just between us, I secretly long to build a nice mid length AR in 6.5 Grendel so I can enjoy the best of all worlds.

  57. avatarNathanredbeard says:

    I’m with the AR-15 crowd, chambered in 6.8 SPC if anyone every gets uppers in stock. Didn’t make my rifleman’s patch, only shot a 180, but I feel confident with my abilities out to about 300 yards, which is the effective maximum range of 6.8. Again, this exercise is a question of tradeoffs, power vs weight, long range accuracy vs repeat shots, and I think 6.8 is the best answer to that. Also gonna have my .40 S&W Springfield XD on my hip with at least 4 mags for that and for the rifle.

  58. avatarzeos386sx says:

    For me it would have to be my k31, because it is the only thing I have ammo for right now.

  59. avatarGeorge says:

    I live in a small town in the foothills in maine. I think we will more be defending the town from the city folks than defending my individual farm. Its great that all you city dwellers have bug out bags packed for your “escape” to my rural area where all the “food” is but what makes you think that we are going to let you all in?

    • avatarRambeast says:

      Numbers, desperation, and determination. Defending a house is doable. Defending fields and orchards…at night…not so much. You will have some that are willing to trade, you can do well by them. The ones that are going to take what they need, those will be your problem. Government will be along as well trying to restore order and collect resources. You will be up against the world with few true allies. You will be absolutely depending on your neighbors, so don’t burn bridges over small stuff during the easy times.

  60. avatarJohnnyNRA says:

    Look like the USG hand at play here.

  61. avatarJohnnyNRA says:

    Mean while My stocks are worthless.

  62. avatarAuthor says:

    I find it interesting how Jack omits SVT from the picture. Which one do you think was made in larger numbers: it or Garand?

    • avatarint19h says:

      Garand, of course. SVT was never the main battle rifle of the Soviet army, and so the quantities it was manufactured it was never quite as big – Soviets never had the time to properly switch to it, so most factories stamped out Mosins like crazy, and that’s what the bulk of wartime production was. In contrast, for US, Garand was the main battle rifle, and was the bulk of production.

      Of course, Soviet wartime army was bigger than US army, since it was dealing with a bigger and stronger opponent in a much more dire situation that required total mobilization, so its demand for rifles in general was proportionally higher. Still, Wikipedia gives only 1.5 million for SVTs, and 6.25 million for Garands. For comparison, Soviets manufactured 18 million Mosins during WW2, and 6 million PPSHs.

Leave a Reply

Please use your real name instead of you company name or keyword spam.