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View Diary: Are YOU ready for disaster? Part 5 of 5 - Conclusion (223 comments)

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  •  Model 94 not my 1st choice for survival (4.00)
    I own 2 out of the 3 weapons reccomended in Alpha Geek's post. I've never owned a handgun but Katrina has made me rethink that.

    He's mostly right about the Winchester 94 - I've got one in .32 WS carbine that belonged to my great grandfather. It's a beautiful rifle and I wouldn't sell it for any amount of money. However, I do want to point out that the '94 is a big pain in the ass to disassemble. If you have a problem of almost any kind in the field then basically your rifle has just become a club. There are just too many parts to deal with. I've been trying to unstick the firing pin in my 94 for the last 2 weeks with no luck yet. And this is in my house with proper tools. If you're going to be in an outdoor survival situation for a while and your life depends on it, this is not the one rifle to have. There's a reason why Winchesters were never adopted by the U.S. military - though God knows I'm a Winchester fan.

    I would suggest looking for a rifle that can get dropped in the mud and knocked around some without becoming useless. Many hunting rifles do not meet this standard. You need a rifle that could survive a hard slog out through a Katrina-type situation and bring down some game when you've realized that FEMA is air-dropping MREs any time soon. I suggest a bolt-action 30-06 or a 30-30. Maybe a Ruger, a Savage or a Remington. A bolt action is generally going to be easier for the novice shooter to maintain in the field.  Both of those rounds are cheap and easily obtained anywhere in the country. Does Walmart even sell .357? I don't think they sell any handgun ammo around here. That's probably where you'll be raiding your supplies from so make sure that your rifle is chambered for a cartidge that you can find there.

    For the truly dedicated, nothing compares to the good old AK-47 (not that I have one myself). Not because of the 30 round bannana clip, when you can get 30 round clips for plenty of more pedestrian guns. And not because of the power of the cartidge, when there are plenty of civilian cartidges around with more power. The thing about the AK is that you can drop it in the mud, swim a few blocks to the next exposed rooftop and use the butt as a hammer. It will still safely fire. It doesn't often jam and if it does you can take it apart in just a few minutes with minimal tools to clean it out.

    This is the main reason why gun nuts get so indignant about banning military-style weapons like the AK-47, AR-15 or even the SKS. The military design gives you something that will operate reliably and can be disassembled in real-life survival situations. They last forever. I have a 110 year old French military carbine that I would not hesitate to grab if the looters were at my door. I'd pick that rifle up before grabbing either my model 94 or my modern autoloader.

    •  Good prices, too. (none)
      There are lots of places to find AK variants at very reasonable prices. The reliability of the AK in general combined with the price makes it an excellent compromise choice compared to more pricey (and finicky) weapons.
    •  Winchester 94, AK/AR/SKS (none)
      Regarding the Winchester 94, I respectfully submit that your experience with your great-grandfather's gun does not necessarily correspond directly to someone else's experience with a brand-new 94.  I'll freely admit that I found field-strip maintenance on the 94 to be challenging at first.  Experience is key here.

      Regarding the AK/AR/SKS: yes, these are all solid choices.  However, in a number of blue states (CA in particular) these are not even an option, hence their omission from the Diary.

      There's also the question of visual appearance.  In my opinion, someone carrying an AK with a banana clip will give a different impression than someone carrying, say, a Model 94.  This is more of an issue in one of my own risk scenarios, i.e. the long walk out of an earthquake disaster zone on foot, than it would be for someone in a rural area.

      Thanks for your comments.

      -AG

      You are so evolved it boggles my fragile little mind. Now give me a 4, fucker. (Bill In Portland Maine, to Meteor Blades)

      by AlphaGeek on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 10:27:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's essentially the same gun. (none)
        The only thing that has really changed since my 94 was made in 1942 is the addition of the safety. Adding parts tends to add more things that can go wrong. If anything, I suspect that pre-64 Winchesters are probably less prone to maintanence trouble what with the forged steel.

        However, you are right that sufficient experience will make field-stripping the 94 go more smoothly. Anyone who has a 94 shouldn't feel like they don't have a dependable rifle. Lots of people use 94s for truck guns.

        My point is that if you are buying a new rifle specifically for a survival situation and you are not really all that into guns then you are going to be somewhat better off with something along the lines of a bolt-action 30-30 carbine. Heck, you can pick up a Mosin-Nagant in unissued condition and a couple hundred rounds of ammo for less than $100 at any gun show. For shooting within 100 yards in a survival situation, I suggest that the neophyte gun owner on a budget would do quite well. Like the AK-47, the Mosin has loose tolerances in order to avoid freezing up in real life, all-weather situations.

        Now, the model 94 still wins the contest for 'most beautiful.'

        •  If we're back to the neophyte shooter... (none)
          ...then the recommendation is pretty clear: a 12ga pump-action shotgun with an 18-20" barrel, loaded with reduced-recoil shells.  

          I've instructed a number of beginners in basic rifle skills, and I can't say I'd feel comfortable turning any of them loose with a rifle for defensive purposes.  Maybe after six months to a year of monthly practice sessions, or an intensive class at GunSite, but definitely not in the early stages of their education.

          Regarding the 94, I was commenting more on the age of your gun contributing to your perception of its reliability.  Remember, the plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data'.  :)  

          I've seen a few well-maintained older rifles (pre-1950) completely disassembled for cleaning and refurbishment, and one thing that always struck me was how they get this hard oily glaze on parts that are difficult or impossible to reach during routine field-strip cleaning.  The reachable parts were mostly bright or very slightly carbon-glazed, the hidden bits (e.g. firing pin) were pretty nasty looking.  Perhaps, after 63 years, it's time for your 94 to get a checkup?

          -AG

          You are so evolved it boggles my fragile little mind. Now give me a 4, fucker. (Bill In Portland Maine, to Meteor Blades)

          by AlphaGeek on Tue Sep 20, 2005 at 05:18:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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