Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch: Quit Bitchin’ About .223 and Don’t Build Your Own AR

In the video below, gravel-voiced Thunder Ranch gun guru Clint Smith (not shown above) pontificates on a number of gunfighting topics at a recent rifle course. After reminding his acolytes that they need to be able to pick up and run firearms discarded on the battlefield, Mr. Smith goes there. The caliber war, I mean.

Captain Thunderpants has nothing but contempt for people who dismiss .223 as a viable cartridge. If nothing else . . .

“Good luck finding all that shit weird ammunition, okay, when the apocalypse starts, OK . . . There’ll be a f*ckload of .223 laying around.”

Just layin’ around? Or maybe laying next to the dead guy whose rifle you just recovered on the local battlefield. And if Mr. Smith is saying .223 is the one cartridge to rule them all rifle-wise, what’s with that ammo arranged in front of him?

As for Mr. Smith’s advice not to build your own AR — buy one that works, then buy another of the same sort, and then buy a third — I can almost hear the sound of rifle makers tapping their keyboards to thank the Thunder Ranch supremo. Good advice? Yes! Unless you like building ARs and keeping Magpul in business.

Anyway, I reckon Mr. Smith would make an awesome muppet, should Disney decide to get a bit edgier than pimping a cloth frog who worries about his pigmentation and fending off an aspiring cross-species love interest. Then again, it might be simpler just to screw-up Kermit’s voice box, give him an AR or three, and a hundred loaded magazines. Just sayin’ . .

comments

  1. avatar Scott says:

    .233/5.56 are completely viable rounds. That being said, I still prefer something bigger and badder that’s still very common. I chose .308/7.62X51 for this reason. There’ll be bucket loads of that laying around too.

    I think people should still build their own AR’s because that will enhance their familiarity with the platform and they’ll be able to run them better regardless if it’s a custom or one that salvaged from an abandoned armory.

    1. avatar pwrserge says:

      +1 on building an AR. There’s a lot of fiddly bits in the AR piston system that most people won’t understand the interaction of until they spend a few weeks trying to figure out why their AR keeps shortstroking.

      1. avatar Nick says:

        LIke the distinct lack of said piston?

        1. avatar pwrserge says:

          Incorrect. The AR IS a piston system. That’s what your bolt carrier is. Much to most people’s surprise, the AR is not a true DI gun as the gas never directly acts on the bolt. Gun Jesus had a very good explanation of it a while back.

        2. avatar 16V says:

          Sergei, Those people who “would be surprised” that an AR is somehow not a “true” DI gun would include everyone from firearms designers to gunsmiths, and firearms historians.

          Last I checked, the definition of DI included operating the carrier. I have no idea WTF this moron ‘gun jesus’ is, but if he’s making the argument that an as originally designed AR-platform somehow isn’t definitively DI, he needs mental help.

          Just because Stoner made a claim of “novelty” for his patent, does not mean that it actually is outside the definition of the term ‘direct impingement’.

        3. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

          What an excellent thing to get in a chest pounding match over, bravo!

        4. avatar Yellow Devil says:

          @ 16V No need to be so salty, but I think he was referring to Ian McCollum, head of Forgotten Weapons on youtube and full30.com, since he usually sports a long flowing beard and hair, hence “gun Jesus”. To be clear, he never called himself that, it’s something fans made up.

          Ian has always been very specific what the AR-15 system is, and pointed out that true DI systems would be the Swedish AG-42 Ljungman/Hakim or French MAS-49.

          To be very specific AR-15/M-16 would be described as pseudo direct gas impingement with a bolt carrier group encompassing an internal piston, whereas almost every firearm with a gas system would have an “external piston” with a separate bolt carrier group.

        5. avatar 16V says:

          I am familiar with Ian, and (some of) his work. I have no idea why/when ‘gun jesus’ became his handle in ‘the community’, but suffice to say, I would readily debate him if this is, in fact, his espoused position.

          Yellow Devil, if you think that was somehow “salty”, do stick around, I brook no blatant stupidity or ignorance, and I’m happy to argue a point with anyone – especially Ian, he should know better. Especially if he has fallen prey to the fallacy that somehow just because of patent claims, somehow Stoner’s AR/M platform is not, by definition, direct impingement.

          Once again, the salient point is that the agreed upon definition of pukes in it’s own mouth, err, direct impingement includes the firing gas acting upon a carrier/block/whatevs.

          Miller and Atkison may not be Otto cycle, but they are still 2/4 stroke ICEs, burn fuel, and move pistons up and down on a crankshaft. They aren’t Wankels, waves, or any of the dozens of other engine designs out there – they’re just a standard ICE piston engine – with some small modifications, and fully fit the definition of piston engine despite their minor digression from the accepted “norm”. (Let’s be honest, nobody has designed another pukes-in-it’s-own-mouth turd since before Stoner’s raygun hit the drawing board, and highly unlikely unlikely that anyone ever will again. There’s a reason for that…)

        6. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          “ic’rp’e.”

        7. avatar Scoutino says:

          This may have something to do with the whole “Gun Jesus” thing:
          https://youtu.be/H0qe45Z8wfk

          Call it direct inpingement or not, the bolt inside carrier does work as a piston. Hell, it’s even got the rings on it.

    2. avatar Clay-in-UT says:

      If i had not built at least one AR i woud have no idea how to fix the ones I have. Or what parts are more important than others.
      BTW: 7.62 x 51/308 is what NATO will be carrying, and the Chineese and Ruskies will have 7.62×39 so diversify its not all about 223

      1. avatar J says:

        Neither the chinese nor russians use 7.62×39……..

        1. avatar Raoul Duke says:

          +1

        2. avatar Tyrone says:

          You are right i guess the AK 15 the possible replacement for the AK 103 (7.62×39) for the Russians and the Type 56, 81 for the Chinese dont exist. I guess you must be smarter than a 2 min Google search.

        3. avatar Weskyvet says:

          Last I heard at the start of the whole Syria fiasco the Ruskies are runnin 5.45 so are the Chinese and the North Koreans. the AK 15 passed trials and will be issued WITH the AK 12 and a new RPK chambered in…. you guessed it 5.45. All this depends on the source and how much they actually know for example Jane’s Defense would be a better source than say Prepper Joe Bob’s Sooper Gun Blog.
          Oh and they’ve been running 5.45 since the AK 74 which was started in 1974….
          http://www.businessinsider.com/russian-militarys-ak-12-assault-rifle-passed-field-tests-2017-7

          http://modernfirearms.net/assault/rus/ak-74-e.html

    3. avatar Hank says:

      I own both an AK and AR, 1911 and glock. Fuck me right?

      1. avatar Primed&Ready says:

        Hahahaha
        Bravo! I love it.
        To quote George Carlin, “Fuck me?… Fuck me??… Fuck youuu!”

        Hey, build it, buy it, just get it! Then run it.
        Caliber war? Not in my house.
        If it’s in the house, it’s in the family.
        Love ’em all.
        Every last one of them.
        That’s what makes it part of a well rounded hobby.

        Smile. You have gun(s)!!

    4. avatar Peaches_Sabrina says:

      Honestly I would go with an AR in 7.62×39. Just my $.02. You can reliably hunt most big game animals in North America. Your not sacrificing all that much in distance. Out of the AR platform, it’s fairly accurate. It’s readily available, even during the post SH craze 7.62×39 was always on the shelf where as .223/556 was never there.

    5. avatar J says:

      Split the difference. Buy a top shelf AR and a decent boltgun in a larger caliber.

    6. avatar anaxis says:

      I generally don’t include “improved” full-power rounds like 7.62 NATO when wading into battle over “normal” intermediate rounds.

      Granted, the .308/7.62×51 is a lot less punishing than .30 M2 Ball, 7.62x54R, or 8mm Mauser…. it has niche applications in AR platforms, but then again, it defeats the purpose of using intermediate rounds for all-round use.

      That said, I prefer 7.62 NATO over 5.56, simply because I shoot better with it…. probably because I spent far more time with it on MGs and G3/CETMEs than I ever did with my issue M16A2 or civilian AR15.

  2. avatar Drew says:

    I generally liked what he had to say. 95% of the people who build and AR either get lucky or have no idea WTF they are doing.

    1. avatar MG says:

      Yeah, well that’s just like, your opinion, man.

    2. avatar Kenneth G Maiden says:

      You lip flapping about me? I have a scruffy bread, tribal tattoos, wear tacti pants, shirts, hats, boots, watch. Hace an DOD ID card. Hell, even were a para cord bracelet sometimes. I know all. Bow to me.

    3. avatar Grant Wordson says:

      I’ve built three, including one from an 80% upper, and guess what? They all work fine. With thousands of rounds through them. The ones I built work just as well as the two store-bought ARs I own. (I also have a Mini-14, just in case things really get ugly and I get attached by broad sides of barns.)

      Building an AR-15 is not hard. And it’s educational. Which feeds right into Clint’s advice to have three rifles and “strip one for spare parts,” if need be. Well that works a whole heck of a lot better if you’ve built a few rifles so you know how they go together. Because when the SHTF, those helpful youtube videos may not be available. So having the tools and experience to actually change out parts on your rifle is not a bad skill.

      Plus it’s fun.

    4. avatar Mark N. says:

      Why do you say that? Building an AR isn’t exactly difficult, unless you start with an 80% lower. The only difficulty I had–and I had never owned an AR–was torquing the Hogue unique barrel nut for its free float tubes, and that was difficult only because I couldn’t get Hogue’s supplied wrench to fit. (In fact, I started with an 80% polymer lower, of a design now banned by the ATF, with a hand drill and a dremel because I don’t own a drill press.

  3. avatar pwrserge says:

    100 magazines loaded? That’s a bit much. Most people will have a hard time moving with 3000 rounds of 5.55 in magazines hanging off of them.

    1. avatar Snatchums says:

      Get a pet burro.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        Who wants to feed that damn burro and clean up after it?

        A beater 400cc dirtbike is lots easier to live with.

        Sheesh…

    2. avatar Big Bill says:

      100 loaded mags? He must piss off a lot of people.

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        You seen host videos,right?
        Lmao

    3. avatar Kris says:

      You guys realize he’s convincing everyone else to carry this stuff in anticipation that WE will be killed and HE can scavenge our stuff. That said, I’m going to be a fricken goldmine when they kill me.

      1. avatar Ing says:

        Ha! The joke’s on him. I’m already out of ammo. (Oh, wait…)

      2. avatar Nigel the expat says:

        Hehe. “Carry stuff I want so i can take it from you.”

        Oh, I like that one. +43 cookies to you. 🙂

    4. avatar Flim says:

      But muh apocalypse

    5. avatar Sprocket says:

      That’s why high speed low drag operators, such as my self, have tigers. A tactical tiger with a load bearing rig can handily carry all your extra ammo, spare minigun barrels, and beer. The bonus being, unlike a burro or lama, you can feed them your enemies. I believe this concept was pioneered by Chuck Norris.

  4. avatar Pete says:

    I am no operator by any means but, when he states that with three guns you can always strip one for parts to keep the other two up and running, this is where it would be nice to have the tools and knowledge that you gained by building rifles.

    1. avatar Squire says:

      Details…

      1. avatar Renner says:

        How to disassemble the bolt carrier to change out an extractor or firing pin, how to change a broken spring in the trigger group, how to properly torque and headspace a barrel, you name it. Parting one out to keep the other two running isn’t the worst idea in the world. However, keeping a spare parts kit or two around to keep all three running would be better. Most guys I know that build their own have quite a few extra parts laying around. Besides that, in my experience the home builds have been more reliable than a factory built Sig.

        1. avatar Big Bill says:

          Go to a gun show, and see the multiple tables of parts for the AR.
          Then ask why there aren’t tables of parts for the AK.
          I’m not trying to start a war, just saying that the one that doesn’t need the spare parts cache might be the better bet when the SHTF.
          And, no, I don’t have an AR. I have several rifles that shoot the 7.62×39, and don’t want to have to stock another caliber.
          All of my shotguns are 12 gauge, for the same reason.

        2. avatar Grant Wordson says:

          Amen.

        3. avatar Nick says:

          The AR may be more prone to breakdown than your precious AK, but at least my rifle can actually hit the target.

        4. avatar 16V says:

          My bone-stock $129 (from the good old days) Norinco MAK-90 will reliably hit minute-of-human at 200M. YT is full of AK vids at 300M+.

          /sarc perhaps, because that’s really old mythology….

        5. avatar Big Bill says:

          Nick: “The AR may be more prone to breakdown than your precious AK, but at least my rifle can actually hit the target.”

          Depends on the range. As a practical matter, I (and I will assume, you) am no longer in the long-range killing business. If you want to fantasize about seeing a need to engage at distances longer than 100 yards, be my guest. But as a purely practical matter, my AK will handle any actual probable perp as well as your precious AR will, and with cheaper ammo and far less probability of breaking.
          Also as a purely practical matter, the most probable reason to actually have to use a firearm will be in your home, not out on any long-range battlefield (where, BTW, your 300 yard shot is very rare), where the shotgun is actually a better weapon, as far as the need to stop a threat is concerned. Carbines (whether AR or AK, or any of the other types) work, if you can keep putting rounds where they need to go, but the shotgun is, for the average person, a one-shot stopper. Center of mass, perp is down.
          Practice, practice.

    2. avatar PeterK says:

      I lol’d.

      “I’d really like to fix that rifle, but all I know is how to use a credit card, sooooooo”

      1. avatar Big Bill says:

        That’s why you buy three.

        1. avatar Grant Wordson says:

          And “strip one for spare parts” also seemed to be an important concept. Knowing how to build a rifle is a good thing, not a bad thing. Plus it’s not hard and they work just fine.

        2. avatar Big Bill says:

          I’m not trying to put the AR down, but…
          The felt necessity to have one for spare parts does not speak well for the reliability of the platform. It’s like buying a second car to have the parts to fix the first one.
          Certainly, knowing how to fix what you have is a plus. It’s a lot cheaper than having someone else do it. But buying a second to have spare parts is, IMO, overkill. Get a parts kit for the parts that are most likely to fail; I understand that. But a whole second rifle?

  5. avatar Judson says:

    My mantra to my students is…”Walmart calibers” because when things get really really bad, standard calibers were developed, tested, marketed and issued for a reason. Are there perfect niche calibers for specific situations? Absolutely! But….the very vast majority of applications can be resolved quite well with standard “Walmart calibers.”

  6. avatar dwb says:

    If it’s the apocalypse we concerned with, in the event of an actual apocalypse you will be forced to scavenge and scrounge parts to replace pieces that are worn out on your rifle.

    You should definitely build your own rifle if for no other reason than to learn how to replace parts

  7. avatar Scott D. says:

    Too late. I just finished my first AR build yesterday. To be more specific, my 13 year old just finished our first AR build together. I thought of it being an 80% build. He did the 80% and I did the hammering of the tiny parts.

  8. avatar Texheim says:

    I’ve never had a problem with my builds except the “staked” Anderson BCG gas key loosening on my 300 blk

  9. avatar mike hunt says:

    every man a rifleman AND an armorer

  10. avatar strych9 says:

    He has good points. Without getting into the differences between .223 and 5.56 both are perfectly viable out to ranges beyond which most people can shoot without optics.

  11. avatar fteter says:

    I’ll throw in my two cents here, which is probably more than my opinion is worth.

    First, I agree on the viability of the .223 round. And – perish the idea – should something apocalyptic take place anytime soon, folks will be very glad they use a commonly-found caliber.

    Second, I agree on the idea of three rifles of the same brand and model. Three is two, two is one, one is none, right? But the issue is that, even with today’s great prices, buying three gets to be an expensive proposition. If money is no object, that’s great. But for the rest of us, maybe a rifle and a full kit of parts?

    1. avatar Peaches_Sabrina says:

      It’s not only that, but ounces equal pounds, pounds equals pain. Throw a couple spare part kits in the BOB, and your golden.

  12. avatar Palehorse says:

    Just buy an ak and be done with it. 7.62×39 is still one of the cheapest rounds to hoard and even cheap century rifles have a life span of 60000 rounds or more. Gosh.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      WOW took almost an hour. When the apocalypse the be TEN f*ckload of 7.62×39 lying around. In every commie hellhole in the middleeast, Africa, Russia etc. In the US? not so much.

      1. avatar Big Bill says:

        I think you underestimate just how much truly cheap surplus x39 is still hanging around in garages and closets. I remember thinking I was being ripped off at $89 per 1000, but I still bought it. And I was far from the only one.

        1. avatar Raoul Duke says:

          Plus the fact every gun store that I have been to also carried 7.62×39 and I have been to many in Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Pennsylvania, and every gun show I have been to.

  13. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    I like Clint and he has good advise, but I still take the things he says with a dose of “this isn’t Syria” and “I’m not wealthy.”

    1. Learning different guns is a good idea. But, obscure ones is overkill and too expensive.
    2. 5.56 will kill you, make no mistake.
    3. I’m a “buy, don’t build” gun guy. It’s mostly laziness.
    4. Three of each gun? Hundreds of mags each? No, I’ll save my money instead. I’m more likely to need to a retirement cashe’ than an apocalypse cashe’.
    5. Unloaded mags are useless.
    6. No do overs, indeed.

    1. avatar samuraichatter says:

      Yeah a hundred + mags?! Three of each gun?!

      How many people are really going to do that? And taking shots at 700 yards?

      https://youtu.be/37OWL7AzvHo

  14. avatar Kendahl says:

    Clint’s a character. It’s clearly something he works at. Not having taken a class from him, I’m in no position to comment on the fighting techniques he teaches. However, his short videos are gold when he talks about the mind set necessary to survive when a sociopath is trying to kill you.

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      Besides getting some serious trigger time in, he has these games you play as a group that make you think and shoot at the same time. And you really don’t want to screw up and get razzed by your class mates.
      I’ve taken quite a few of his classes through the years. Good times.

  15. avatar Stinkeye says:

    I can’t decide who is more amusingly deluded, guys who make purchasing decisions today based on concerns about hilariously unlikely post-apocalyptic scenarios, or guys who carry a rifle in their car on the off chance they need to stop a terrorist attack. They’re both pretty harmless, but I think the “battlefield pickup” guys are probably just slightly more ridiculous.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      What does a big ole hurricane say to you? Change the channel to Oprah?

      1. avatar Swarf says:

        It certainly doesn’t say “post-apocalyptic hellscape.”

        1. avatar J says:

          “certainly doesn’t say “post-apocalyptic hellscape.”

          Someones never seen hurricane damage at ground level.

      2. avatar Stinkeye says:

        Having lived through big ole hurricanes when I lived in Florida, and now living on the edge of Harvey’s footprint in Texas, it says to me, “a couple days of flooding and bad weather, a couple weeks of scarcity of common goods, and several months or years of rebuilding while normal life goes on”. It doesn’t say, “complete breakdown of society with gun battles in the streets and scavenging ammunition”.

        A hurricane is a “your EDC pistol will do just fine” scenario, not a “I’m going to expend tens of thousands of rounds of ammo” scenario. Of the thousands and thousands of people desperately in need of supplies after Harvey, I’ll bet exactly zero of them were worried about ammo.

        Or did I just miss the news coverage of all the police stations and National Guard armories that are being looted to supply widespread street fighting in southeast Texas right now?

        1. avatar IdahoBoy says:

          By any chance does it also say to you “Move somewhere where there aren’t any freaking hurricanes?”

        2. avatar Stinkeye says:

          Meh. Everybody’s got something to worry about. Hurricanes, wildfires, blizzards, ice storms, pollution, tornadoes, volcanoes, flash floods, nuclear power plants, earthquakes, whatever. Life is risky. You can live on lock down in an underground shelter a hundred miles from the outskirts of East Bumfuck if you want, but bad shit will still find you, and you’re still gonna die someday. Might as well live somewhere interesting while you’re here.

        3. avatar Ing says:

          I’m with Idaho Boy on this one. I can do without tornadoes and hurricanes, and you couldn’t pay me enough to get me to live where those disasters tend to happen.

          Still, every place has its drawbacks. Wildfires and earthquakes are possibilities I’m willing to live with.

  16. avatar Specialist38 says:

    One day Clint will come out of his shell and we will know what he really thinks.

    I believe he has good advice but it is still advice.

    Run what you like but 9mm and 223 are certainly very common rounds.

    I have a pretty decent amount of each.

    That said – I have at least 200 rounds for any other weapon/caliber..

    As Colonel Cooper said – “By the time you go through 200 rounds, it will have already been determined whether you get to keep your weapon”. – Not exact – but I’m not looking at his book right now.

    1. avatar Jon in CO says:

      The last bit here is pretty sound advice, but I’d still rather have more. If it’s that bad that we’re needing that amount of ammo, you’re really only going to be able to take what you can fit in a vehicle or two, and you’re going to need more than just ammo at that point. (Assuming you don’t stay in your domicile, and wait til everything runs out.)

      I think 100’s of mags is overkill, but I’m just a dumbass civilian that works a bluecolar job. No matter how many mags, they should all be loaded though. (I think the only spare parts you really need for an AR is a spare BCG and a spring kit.)

  17. avatar Juice says:

    He’s not talking about having fun on the range or competing in 3-gun. It’s a SHTF situation where you and your family will need to defend yourselves. I understand the “multiple copies of the same gun” idea, and have family who have done just that. He’s not saying 55gn 5.56 is ballistically the best, but that it’s just fine within its ample limitations and is orders-of-magnitude more common than heavier or bigger loads. And while you’re assembling your family armory, you may as well throw in a lot of loaded mags.

    All of this is best taken in context.

  18. avatar miforest says:

    Clints advice is sound, and I believe well intentioned. the ammo in front of him is the US army issue cartridges starting with the 50/70 through 5.56. A lot of his students are LEO/military orgs. so some of his advice is geared that way . most of us are better off with standard rifles from a reputable manufacturer, you need to keep some loaded clips for your firearm around cause in an urgency you don’t want to have to load. ETC. He’s just putting it in terms you can remember.

  19. avatar mercutio says:

    Building the poodle-shooter is most of the fun. It’s Lego’s for adults.

  20. avatar Badgerman says:

    I don’t understand the snobbery about AR builds. I can build my AR to my needs, and it is just as or more reliable then most manufacturers rifles. What’s the problem with that? I’m not going to buy his rifle, just because he thinks my build or any others that build are not good rifles. I think it is a great way to learn every part of your rifle, and if something breaks you know how to fix it. Building an AR is not rocketry.

    1. avatar Grant Wordson says:

      Amen to that. Not so easy to use your third, broken rifle for parts if you have no idea how the rifle goes together in the first place.

      My home built rifles, including one from an 80% lower, run just as well as the M&P 15s I own. And I shoot them a lot.

    2. avatar Aaron says:

      Nothing’s wrong with assembling your own AR.

      But if society has collapsed to the point where the only way to get a gun is to assemble it yourself, the gun is the least your worries.

      Even in the tribal areas of Crapistan – I mean Pakistan – they have rudimentary gun manufacturers making guns by for sale by hand.

      If things are so bad that that there is no commerce, no industry, no civilization at all it means that the earth is a molten slag that got hit by a giant meteoroid.

  21. avatar Mark N. says:

    In an apocalyptic circumstance, I will die soon enough that all this prepping is an exercise in futility. I don’t hunt–city born and raised, I was never taught, and if I shot an animal or a bird, I wouldn’t know what to do with it next. My wife doesn’t walk, so I’m not heading to the hills anyway, just going to hunker down here until the drugs or the food runs out–or both. I live in a largish and fairly homogeneous town; rioting is extremely unlikely. So no, none of my AR mags–the three ten rounders I own–are loaded. At my age, they way I do things isn’t likely to change either.

    1. avatar Aaron says:

      Here’s a hint: in an apocalyptic scenario, the preppers (they used to call themselves survivalists) will be dead, too.

      People have been farming, trading, running shops, and manufacturing for thousands of years for profit. If all that is wiped away, you got bigger problems on your hands than can be solved by an AR and some MREs.

  22. avatar Peter says:

    Word, word… 😉

  23. avatar Richard Steven Hack says:

    Clowns who say use .223 because there will be tons “lying around” after TEOTWAWKI are idiots.

    First, NO ammo will be “lying around” – it will be in someone’s bunker, even if it wasn’t when the SHTF. If you want it, you’re going to have to take out the owner first.

    Second, there are literally tens, if not hundreds, of MILLIONS of rounds “lying around” in this country TODAY. Yes, that includes .308, .30-30, 7.62×39, and .22 (regardless of any “shortage”)and probably a dozen others. That ammo isn’t going anywhere (except into someone’s bunker at some point) regardless of how much SHTF. So the difference between how much .223 and how much 7.62×39 is completely and utterly irrelevant.

    Third, it only matters how much ammo is “lying around” if you’re planning on being PART OF the SHTF, i.e., you’re planning on getting into fire fights on a daily basis. That makes you a moron and certainly soon to be dead shortly after the SHTF.

    Even if you plan to be a “guerrilla” fighting the US military or street gangs or whatever, you are an idiot if you plan to be in firefights, constantly needing more ammo. This isn’t going to be US army vs Russian army conventional warfare – unless you are an idiot.

    Stupid, stupid notion. This is the sort of buzz phrase no one bothers to think through because they’re too biased for their favorite whatever.

    1. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

      +1 Thinking one is going to live through thousands of rounds of gun fighting (unless one is on the big side of an extremely asymetrical match) is indeed arrogance and idiocy. Only 15 year old FPS heroes should think that.

      1. avatar Aaron says:

        As David Hackworth purportedly said, “if you find yourself in a fair fight, you didn’t plan your mission correctly.” – that’s only true if you have an enormous portfolio of advantages, like SOF pulling a raid or ambush at the time and place of their choice.

        And even then, pull enough ops and you still risk gettin killed.

        If survival of yourself and family is your goal, then it is stupid to look for unnecessary armed conflict.

    2. avatar RightToArmBears says:

      Most are probably thinking of the zombie apocalypse where the ammo won’t be used if you get bitten. Personally I don’t see an issue with cartridges like 7.92×57 or 300 Blackout for the reasons you mentioned. If you have a stockpile, good enough. Mainstream preppers have action movies, video games, and zombies in mind.

    3. avatar Aaron says:

      Even in Wild West, there was more cooperation than combat.

      Even in most collapsed societies there is more farming and trade and commerce than deadly violence, although there is of course an unacceptable level of violence when order is degraded.

      Guns and ammo are good tools to have. But they are just one category of tools (and toys).

  24. avatar IdahoBoy says:

    If you have to kill a person, a coyote, or a bobcat, 223/556 is just fine. If you’re trying to kill something bigger, it’s not enough gun.

  25. avatar Ironhead says:

    Building my second ar and whats wrong with magpul?

  26. avatar Aaron says:

    If TEOTWAWKI occurs, it will be because if something worse than a mere collapse of a government. In which case, ammo won’t make a bit of difference.

    Guns and ammo are for the less-than-total collapse. In which case markets, farming, commerce and industry will still exist, albeit perhaps degraded.

  27. avatar Phil Twiss says:

    First, no one really builds an AR… Even the “AR Manufactures” assemble the parts from a few background foundries that cast / mill the parts to Mill spec. As long as you don’t go to far off the Mill spec reservation … All you really need is a good YT video and a few special punches, an armors tool and bench vice to assemble an AR.

    Spend your life using a tool and an AR is no where near the challenge setting the vale lash or run out on a ring and pinon…

    BTW… If you don’t have any idea about later then maybe you’d be better off buying yours until you have built something that is mechanically challenging before you attempt assembling an AR

    1. avatar maynard says:

      I think the same thing — look at the Retro section of ARFCom and you’ll see an occasional thread on Air Force GAU-5 Alph/abet/soup guns. A complete mishmash of parts, still running.

      1. avatar Eric Lawrence says:

        My first issued rifle was a GUU-5P (slab side lower, commando 14.5 inch upper) and it sent rounds downrange as reliably as the M4A1 and SOPMOD Block I used later in my career.

        I only own firearms I use on a daily basis (CC handgun and full size tactical handgun are all I need) and feel much like Sgt Maj Plumley in We Were Soldiers Once. I have a good plan to get out of the suburbs into the country well before it’s too late and multiple friends with extra temporary living space and extra long arms, and if the time comes that I need a rifle well before then, there will be plenty of common (AR or AK) rifles in common calibers around to acquire/steal/take/etc.

  28. avatar Aaron says:

    In the tribal areas of Crapistan, er, I mean Pakistan, the world as we know it doesn’t exist. Yet there is still trade, commerce, farming and rudimentary industry. Lack of guns and ammo isn’t much of a survival issue – but tribal allegiances and power ARE.

  29. avatar Lucas D. says:

    Love the pic. “Hi ho, motherf*cker!

  30. avatar Larry Cowden says:

    Now for my 2 cents worth! Having read most of the posts to this article, many folks have very valid points for what they see as vital essentials. As to the video guy, I have to disagree on don’t build your AR, buy one! There are many guys that do lack the equipment, patience or skills to translate that desire to build their own into reality. And that is NOT a detriment to them. Buy 2 or 3 of the same rifle, same caliber and practice, practice, practice! As to 5.56 or .223, I have read articles supporting problems with the use of .223 in 5.56 rifles! Those include jams due to case expansion. In the middle of a firefight, that is not where I want to be! I say keep to the caliber your rifle is chambered for as long as you can! I support building your own AR even if it includes machining the lower. I would start with an 80% lower, no registration required, and work up from there. That way, you know your rifle, it’s parts, how it’s built and functions. And that translates to any other AR you may come across from battle field pickup, to a friend’s rifle. Make sense so far? Keeping a hundred mags loaded at all times concerns me about the springs functioning when stored so long. You don’t know who made them, what their tolerance is, and ability to perform after long term storage. And with the rapid reloaders now available, perhaps 25 at a time would be reasonable with cycling them to unloaded status while another 25 are loaded. Comments? And mark your magazines with date loaded, and load. Everyone knows that certain conditions require different loads! For .308/7.62 fans, I suggest keeping one rifle chambered that way all the time. And keep the change kits available for your ARs on hand. I also like that caliber for all the reasons cited above. But we do know that the AK platform is not the most accurate when accuracy counts. What’s your experience?
    I still have a soft spot for the M-1 Garand and M-14 though. Knock down, durability and feel are my reasons. And ammo is still plentiful. Another is the 1911. Solid battle tested and reliable. Feels good in hand and plenty of ammo available. Yes, there are a lot of you that prefer 9 mm. But I trained on the 1911, carried it, and it works best for me. And at any rate, if TSHTF, you must be prepared and set up to load your own! Comments anyone?

  31. avatar Vincent says:

    Fudds and Fud advice everywhere in this comment section. Keep dreaming about your fantasies Fudds

  32. avatar John Haley says:

    Big Bill – About more parts for ARs than for AKs being available at gun shows, the MAIN reason for that would not be your point. It would be that there is more and wider interest in the AR platform, period, and especially in building and modifying them. For which parts are needed. Because it is more popular does not translate to, it breaks more. Just doesn’t.

    Note I say nothing about which breaks less. I know nothing but the reputations. And that a simpler, less ambitious design should break less.

    1. avatar Big Bill says:

      I would agree, if the marketplace agreed with you.
      Again, I’m going by what I see.
      How many parts kits do you see for the AK? Then look at how many parts kits you see for the AR.
      I’m talking about kits to repair the guns.
      Maybe it’s just the way my mind works; form follows function, not the other way around. There’s a reason there are only a few ways air superiority fighters look: aerodynamics dictate the form. To achieve certain flight parameters, there are certain way the wing and control surfaces must be made. The pilot must be in a certain position to be able to see what’s going on. The COG must be in a certain place to ensure both maneuverability and stability (as a gun platform). Once those factors are met, then the philosophy of the designers (dictated by the government) starts to enter the design.
      Works the same for guns. Both the AR and the AK work extremely well for their intended role. But they are very different in design philosophy, even tho both work towards the same goal. The AK is cheap to build, easy to operate, and extremely reliable. The AR, OTOH, is not cheap to build, took several design changes to become reliable, and is more labor- and parts-intensive to maintain.
      That doesn’t make it bad, don’t get me wrong. But it does mean one needs to examine more than just how it makes one feel.
      Because I’m more of a form follows function guy, that colors what I buy. Color of a car, for example, means little to me (which has exasperated several car salesmen). I’m much more interested in how well a given vehicle will fit my needs. Which is why my current vehicle is a mundane, grey, 18-year-old Expedition XLT. It just keeps working. Just like my AK does. And, I’m positive, the vast majority of ARs do.
      I will probably never need to make a 300 yard shot with my AK, just as the vast majority of AR owners will also never need to make a 300 yard shot. Not that they couldn’t, just that they will probably never need to.
      Again, the AR is a good platform, but it isn’t the be all and end all.

  33. avatar GS650G says:

    Exactly what does Thunder Pants think TEOTWAWKI is going to look like? Piles of .223 all over the place? We need 1000 rounds of magazine stuffed ammo ?

  34. avatar Kenneth says:

    Exceptionally good advice. Anyone who would pay for advice from Capt Thunderpants shouldn’t be allowed inside ANY firearm, not even an AR.

  35. avatar I dont know says:

    223/ 55.6 is ok

    I just hate are AR rifle

  36. avatar Lowell says:

    Clint ain’t wrong here. LOGISTICS should be the most important factor in deciding on a fighting rifle/pistol. A gun that you can’t easily find parts and ammo for will very quickly become a paper weight. And the AR15 is the standard, end of story. I don’t care how much money you have in your AK or SCAR or Bren 805 or FAL or G3 or M1A, or whatever, your main rifle SHOULD BE an AR15 in 5.56 NATO(NOT .223 Rem, NOT .223 Wylde because a milspec NATO chamber feeds the widest range of ammo). Anything other than an AR15 and you are dependent on a stationary weapons cache at least for parts. Hell, I left the Marine Corps with a deep abiding hatred of the DI M16A2 and even I am following my own advice.

    As for his assertion not to build an AR15, it’s good advice for most people because most people don’t know what they’re doing with tools or bother to research parts based on compatibility and reliability. Result is that they end up with a gun that short strokes or has weird feeding issues or whatever. Mookie said much the same thing, you either build guns or you use them – you don’t hear a lot about Samurais hammering out their own katanas back in feudal Japan. Meanwhile factory guns of any quality are dialed in and just work.

    Here’s where I’m breaking with Clint. I built my M4orgery. I’ve got enough spare parts that I will build another very soon. I’ve also been in the trades for over fifteen years so I’m very comfortable with tools and taking my time. And I even messed up some of the milling on my 80%. It functions, but my next one will be good, not just functional.

    As for the viability of 5.56, it ain’t the best but it WILL get the job done(especially the 75+grain stuff). It can take deer sized game and it will obviously get you through a firefight. AVOID GREEN TIP. It sucks at everything except punching through a sheet steel helmet at 600 meters, which is what it was actually designed to do. It doesn’t group well, it’s very vulnerable to wind drift, it doesn’t tumble inside soft tissue and basically just icepicks .22 caliber holes. It’s also lots more expensive that steel cased ammo so it’s not even good for training.

    ALL of Clint’s advice is based on Murphy’s law, and therefore it’s all GOOD ADVICE. Having a hundred loaded mags on hand means you can just toss away a mag without wasting time on it PLUS it means that others can resupply from you. Nobody that ever got into a firefight ever said, “OH GOD WISH I DIDN’T HAVE ALL THIS AMMO.” It doesn’t happen.

    1. avatar Lowell says:

      The AR15 has a bunch of quirks, too. James Yeager recommends keeping a spare fully assembled bolt in the battery compartment of your grip just in case you break an extractor or shear a locking lug because the AR15 bolt will do both. The design actually kinda sucks, but its too damn late to change it now.

      The entire industry SHOULD revisit the triangle bolt design from the Leader Dynamics MK2 and engineer a retrofit for the AR15. Until then, I have a spare bolt in my grip.

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