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lester
Survivalist
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Think there is some romanticism here, at least with the .410/.22 and similar vein guns like shotguns and .22 rim fire.

Ammunition is the big determinant. An AR-15 with heavy 75/77gr bthp match bullets has a lot of power. Sierra Ballistics program shows at 500yds the heaviest mag-length match bullet delivers more power than a .357mag 158gr at 25yds. No tricks on short barrels or other .357 minimizers… Those match bullets might bend like a pretzel when fired into a rock backstop, but they hang together. The long bullet also has decent sectional density for penetration. No contest for weight viability, the .223 heavy is half the weight of a .308 150gr, and with less recoil, easier to shoot with precision. Handload? These rounds are fairly cheap to assemble.

We can hunt with a .223. Shoot a large animal with a well-placed shot or a few, and you have meat. I question the whole “hunt to survive” concept. Live in a bonafide wilderness up around the Canadian border, maybe you’ll have game to hunt an no other human competitors out in the brush. Not too likely. A .177 pellet gun will do whatever a .22/.410 will do and not make firearm report. SHTF weapon implies self-defense capable. Goes to the Mel Tappan idea of working guns and fighting guns. Fighting gun can work for a hunter, but a working gun like a Browning BAR sporting rifle won’t hold up under continuous firing rigors. Fighting gun, or military pattern weapon, usually more readily repaired in the field and has parts more readily available. Pretty easy to swap a barrel on an AR rifle, not so much on others. Talking barrel swap, not upper-swap. Easy to replace a broken bolt or barrel extension, or any other broken part on the whole gun. 1911 type pistols same way. Garand rifles not so easy…

Hard to do better than a fixed-sight A2 w/20 7 or 8 twist barrel, especially if chrome-lined quality like a Colt, FN-H, or Armalite, 5″ 1911 in .45acp or 10mm Auto for handgun. If in wilderness, maybe choose the AR-10 in wide range of .308win case variants from .260rem to .358win. Whatever you want in the backwoods; supposedly you will be handloading and casting bullets anyway… Might choose an FN-H Patrol or Police bolt gun in the backwoods. Chrome-lined match barrel. Find one in .300wsm maybe. Then there is the Winchester 70 Classic stainless in .30-06 or a magnum if deep in Canada or Alaska…

Nice to have a versatile scope and iron sights. Maybe a .22 Conversion kit for your 1911. For sure you have a spare parts kit with ejector, extractor, firing pins, springs and maybe a spare barrel or two. Maye another upper?

I think you’d best have a year or two of food on-hand so you don’t have to hunt; but always be ready to take game if it appears. That means a real 250yd capable gun and shooter able to make a snapshot from offhand with a sling. Battle Sight Zero works for you in that regard. Handloading gives you all the options with premium bullets in your stash…

Then there is cleaning gear and gunsmithing tools… Nice to have more than the basics. Coated cleaning rods to keep your barrel from damage. Lots more to it if you are planning.

Many reasons to choose the AR-15 or an AR-10 type rifle. Not so many, I think, to choose a carbine or M-4.