Saturday, February 25, 2012

Firearms for Preppers, ... Pro/Cons of the Rifles

Dear Preppers and Survivalists,

The last two articles in this series, I wrote about bolt action rifles and semi-auto rifles. This article is about some of the pros and cons of these rifles.

All of the bolt-action rifles, I listed, are rugged rifles. They were designed by the military to be used by soldiers that had little experience at war. They have survived, for over 100 years, for many reasons. They work, they are relatively simple, and millions were manufactured.

The Mosin-Nagant rifle design is over 100 years old, and there is a problem with that. The Mosin-Nagant lacks a safe method of expelling gases, if a cartridge is ruptured during shooting. In other words, the hot gases will shoot back into the shooter's (your) hand or face, if there is an accident. Ouch!!!

Another problem with the Mosin-Nagant is its cartridge. The cartridge isn't used by any major country, so you will have to stockpile more ammo.

There are a few great things about the rifle. The rifle and its ammo are inexpensive, so a prepper on a very tight budget can at least afford a military-grade rifle.

Just like the Mosin-Nagant, the Lee-Enfield is a 100 year old design, but the Lee-Enfield has a safe way of expelling gases from a ruptured cartridge case. Just like the Mosin-Nagant, the Lee-Enfield .303 round isn't used by any major military, so you will have to stockpile ammo for this rifle. Lastly, the Lee-Enfield is a little bit more expensive then the Mosin-Nagant.

Mauser M-1898 Rifle
The Mauser '98 rifle, except rifles rebarreled to 7.62 NATO, primarily uses the 8mm cartridge. The 8mm isn't used by any major military power, so you have to stockpile more ammo, again. Plus, certain '98 Mausers are a little bit more expensive then the Lee-Enfield.

Springfield 1903 series Rifle
Just like the first three rifles, the 1903 Springfield rifle uses a cartridge that isn't used by a major military power. The rifles have become collector items, so they are a lot more expensive then any of the other bolt-action rifles mentioned in the previous articles.

CETME/HK-91/PTR-91 Rifle
CETME rifles are inexpensive, HK-91 rifles are very expensive. Magazines for CETMEs are expensive, but the CETME can use inexpensive HK-91 magazines. Almost lastly, CETME will probably need some work from a professional to insure the rifle is reliable. Lastly, the HK-91 messes up the cartridge case making it hard (almost impossible to reload)

Parts are cheap, but magazines have gotten expensive. ($20+) Plus, it's a long rifle, but according to Boston's Gun Bible, it is #2 after the ...

The M1A is a great rifle, but it has problems. You must cant the magazine to load the rifle. It's expensive, some versions of this rifle are very expensive. Magazines, in the past, can be very expensive, so you will have to make sure you stockpile a lot of M1A magazines, upfront. Lastly, a plus, the M1A uses a cartridge that is used by most major militaries.

There is a reason the AR-15 is still used by these United States military. The rifle is easily used by a solider because of the AR-15's ergonomics and light weight. The 5.56 NATO cartridge is a lot smaller and lighter than the 7.62 NATO cartridge, so a person can carry more 5.56 ammo. Plus, parts are plentiful and magazines, too.


The rifle and ammunition has problems. The current ammo (M855) can easily penetrate a person (not wearing body amour), so you use 2 or 3 shoots to finally kill a villain. Plus, it's the 'evil' assault rifle everybody wants to ban, just like the ...

AK-47 series Rifle
The rifle is rugged, designed to be used by peasants, but it has problems. The 7.62X39 cartridge is basically like the Winchester 30-30, so the round has some limitations. The rifle is loose, so it's not as accurate as other rifles. Plus, the folding stock (underfolder wire stock) sucks if you plan to use proper firing techniques. Plus, the 7.62X39 cartridge isn't used by these United States military.


The AK-47 is inexpensive, and it uses 30-round magazines.

I believe the SKS rifle is the best all around rifle for the urban and suburban prepper. It is inexpensive, and the SKS doesn't need a detachable magazine. Most members of your family will be able to shoot the rifle. Plus, it doesn't need a lot of gear to make it an effective defensive rifle, but it has limitations.

The magazine only holds 10 rounds, The 7.62X39 cartridge doesn't have a lot of distance making it a poor weapon for the rural prepper.

Semi-Auto Vs. Bolt-Action Rifles
I have a bias towards semi-auto rifles because of my military experience. I believe semi-autos are faster in the follow-up shot, and you don't have to get out of your firing position to load another round. Modern magazine fed semi-autos also allow a prepper to reload the weapon a lot faster then a bolt-action rifle.


A bolt-action rifle, especially the Mauser '98 and the Mosin-Nagant, have less parts when compared to most semi-auto. Bolt-action rifles are also not sensitive to ammo. If the ammo goes bang and the bullet will leave the barrel, a bolt-action can shoot it. A semi-auto on the other hand has a limit to what kind of ammo the rifle will properly shoot and function properly.


The bolt-action rifles in 7.62R, .303, and 30.06 are long distance man killers. The semi-autos in 7.62X39 and 5.56 have a limited range.


Semi-autos are usually more expensive then bolt-action rifles. Plus, (except for the SKS) semi-autos need detachable magazines to easily load a cartridge into the rifle, an added expense.

I have excluded many military-type rifles from this list because I believe rifles like the Israeli Galil, Swiss K-31, Daewoo DR200, Sig Sauer 556, Valmet M76, Mauser 1893 and 1895 series of rifles are either too rare or unsafe because they lack modern safety features.

With that said,

I have provided a brief overview of the military-style rifles available for you and your family to defend yourselves during a disaster, so make sure you do more research and choose a rifle for you and your family's needs.

OK, one last bias.

I believe the typical hunting rifle is inadequate for defensive purposes because the rifle was designed to only be shot, maybe, 20 times a year while a surplus military rifle was designed to be shot a few hundred times in a day.

Now, don't get me wrong. The typical hunting rifle (Savage, Ruger, Winchester, Sako, Marlin, Weatherby, and many others) with a quality scope would make great precision rifles (sniper rifles) for the prepper.

But, honestly ...

Do you have the time to learn all of the skills a sniper needs (camouflage, tracking, stalking, range determination, lead, and ...) to survive?

No comments: