Beyond Collapse

Surviving and Rebuilding Civilization from Scratch

Dow Jones

So, You Want An “Assault” Rifle…

With all of the buzz and media extravaganzas surrounding “assault weapons” (never mind that no one really gets the definition right), I figure it’s time to look at these firearms and how they pertain to a post-collapse situation. For our purposes however, let’s concentrate on semi-automatic rifles with high-capacity magazines here…

machine-gun

 

 

 

 

 

You actually have a wide variety of choices out there, but that’s not what we’re going to discuss. What we’re going to look at involves a few things first and foremost, so let’s start with the important bits

Before-Collapse Considerations

  • cost
  • potential legal issues
  • accessories, parts, etc.

Beforehand, one of these rifles are going to set you back by a lot of ducats (and getting more expensive by the day from the looks of things). Potential legal issues? Well, we knew that already, didn’t we? To be fair, any firearm falls under this threat at some stage of governmental degradation, though the semi-auto ones will likely be picked on first. Just know that if you decide to get one of these bad boys, you’ll want to set up and put a good hiding spot to use before anyone else does. You can go crazy with options and accessories – scope, laser sights, alterations aplenty, stock options (and we don’t mean “Dow Jones” here) are among the bewildering variety of things you can do to make one of these as unique as you are. Thing is, the costs rack up, and it is all too easy to get caught up in it. Oh, and did I mention that the ammunition is extremely expensive too?

After-Collapse Considerations

  • ease/costs of maintenance
  • availability of ammunition

Okay, forget about all the picking and choosing for a moment… let’s talk about what happens after the balloon goes up, shall we? Because most of the issues beforehand can be justified, honestly rationalized, or worked around in some fashion. Barring doing anything stupid (like, oh, having an accessory such as a night-scope that requires batteries), odds are good that you can have one in your hands while it all goes down.

Let’s talk about ease of maintenance. You got enough spare parts for that thing? They tend to go through parts more rapidly, especially given the more complex mechanisms. There is also the fact that you’ll probably go through more ammunition when you use one in a combat situation (why? Because for anyone who is not a trained SEAL? If you can, you will, especially if you’re scared. It’ll take a lot of time and training to suppress the urge).

Let’s talk about ammunition, because these things can really eat a lot of it. Finding the military ammunition can either be incredibly easy, or impossibly hard. If governmental troops are in a nearby battle and there were a ton of casualties, you may come into a gold mine of ammunition. On the other hand, and in any other situation, well, good luck with that. Mind you, this goes for any other rifle that doesn’t have a common, cheap cartridge. You see, unlike .30-06, .30-30, or other common hunting round, you either have a ton of ammo and reloading supplies stocked-up, or you’re liable to wind up with a goofy-looking club. As mentioned in the book, at least 1,000 rounds is a must, and if you’re toting a semi-auto, expect to keep at least 3x as much in stock at the very minimum – preferably 5x as much. Why? Because you’ll have a much harder time getting hold of that particular caliber (be it by scavenging, barter, or whatever). The good news is, the stuff keeps better than most, because the military is very good at specifications that lend towards reliability and long-term storage.

Mind you, this ammo thing will still be a long-term problem when it comes to any firearm that isn’t a muzzleloader (assuming it’s a match/flintlock). So, the only question is, how long until the bullets run out? For a semi-auto (or worse, full-auto) rifle with a non-hunting caliber, that date will probably come sooner than most, unless you have free access to a good military stockpile. If it’s any comfort, the exotic hunting rifle owners will likely run out before you do.

So, What To Do?

Back to the present day. You’re sitting here, reading this, and thinking: should I get an AR-15, an SKS, or a Mini-14, or…? Well, first and foremost, ask yourself: How useful will one be to you?

If you’re just buying it to be scary-looking, or because it holds a buttload of cartridges which you can spray at inbound enemies? Don’t. There are few situations where a semi-auto with a high-capacity magazine is actually useful – most of them are in urban situations where you expect to shoot a lot of people wanting to kill you, and are at ranges of 10-50 yards. less than 10 yards and a semi-auto pistol is more useful. Anything beyond 50 yards, and the shorter barrel isn’t going to give you the same accuracy that a decent long-rifle will.

All that said, there are advantages to the likes of an AR-15. The large-capacity magazine means less time between reloading – a very good thing in combat. The shorter carbine-length barrel makes it easier to swing around in tighter quarters. The design makes it almost perfectly easy for an experienced owner to strip down, clean, and re-assemble with very little in the way of tools.

Alternatives?

So you don’t want just a hunting rifle, but at the same time you don’t want something that may get banned before Christmas? No problem…

First, allow me to introduce you to the M-1 Garand. It is reliable, solid, quite accurate without a scope, and it uses common (.30-06) ammunition. If you know how to look, you can cheaply stock up enough spare parts and ammunition for it to last a decade or more. Overall, not a bad deal.

Second, an uncommon suggestion: The humble, evil, but paradoxically loveable Mosin-Nagant. You can get them extremely cheap – enough to buy multiple rifles of the same model for use as spare parts. Reliable? If you select the right ones at purchase (hint: check the inner rifling), they are nearly indestructable. The ammo, though non-standard, is cheap enough to buy in stupendous quantities, and the stuff is amazingly reliable (that is, if you find a good supplier). There are exactly two downsides: First, they kick like a constipated elephant… a butt-stock cushion of any sort is a must (they come with a steel plate on the butt, if that tells you anything). Second, they are loud beyond belief, so don’t expect to find anything resembling a silencer.

Still Gonna Do it then? Okay…

In those situations where a semi-auto carbine with a big magazine would come in handy, go for it. Just don’t get stupid with the accessories; for instance, anything needing a battery should not even be considered. Keep to the basics, and learn to be proficient in it, and without all the crap hanging off of it.

Buy it with cash, preferably through a private sale. This leaves no records for the authorities to follow to your house if the topic of confiscation ever does become law.

Keep it in perfectly clean and working order. Know how to take it apart and put it back together with the bare minimum of tools. Be doubly certain to insure the magazines are in perfect working order, and keep spares around – mis-guided cartridges are among the biggest causes of jams.

Be certain you have a damned good hiding place for it and its ammunition. Odds are good that as government gets more fascist (or if you prefer, anti-freedom), it may go from banned sales to banned possession. My suggestion would be to find a place where lots of metal is located, dig a hole next to or under that, then put your rifle and ammo in waterproof containers before burying them. Another alternative would be to have more than one rifle, hiding one where you can get to it quickly, then burying the other one. Be sure to do the same with half of the ammunition. By the way, this also goes for your magazines, accessories, receipts, and anything associated with your rifle.

Don’t write anything down, but maybe take a picture of your spouse, dog, or suchlike standing next to the concealed burial site(s), so you remember where to go look when you need to dig ‘em up. For instance, if you bury it next to a metal fencepost, have your sweetie pose for a portrait standing next to that fencepost, taking care to not photograph the fresh dirt at her feet. Print that picture, and post it in the same room you keep your gun cabinet/safe. Suddenly, you have a map of your hiding spot sitting in plain sight – neat, huh?

Sadly, this next bit is necessary for way too many of you out there: DON’T BRAG On THE DAMNED THING! Don’t take pictures of it, and especially don’t take pictures of you standing near or next to it. The point is that this rifle is a tool for survival, not a prop to make you look like a badass. Those who mistake it for a prop, even in jest, will quickly lose it.

Finally, keep a very sharp eye out on the political situation, so you know when to do something about these rifles, and all of their gear.

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Thursday, January 10th, 2013 Before Collapse, Generic Musings, Long-Term, Short-Term Comments Off

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