Episode 95 S3-14
Choosing a Long-Term Survival Rifle
The Walls of Freedom Ch 14
In The Walls of Freedom adventure, Erika and her family are relieved to find out that Daniel is going to recover but there is never a slow moment when you are on the run. Here to talk with us about choosing a survival rifle is Ben Branam author of ModernSelfProtection.com and host of The Modern Self Protection Podcast.
Ben explains that his top three survival rifles are all AR-15, rifles that use different types of ammunition. On a quick side note, for those of you wondering the truth about the name "AR" it actually stands for ArmaLite Rifle, after the company that originally developed it. Today the "AR-15" is made by many different companies. Because it is a semi-automatic rifle the mainstream belief is that it's name stand for "Automatic Rifle" which is a falsification.
Ben explains that this weapons system can be used for hunting, long range applications, and self-defense, depending on the set-up of the weapon. The parts that compose this rifle are very interchangeable, providing hopes of salvaging parts along your long-term survival journey. You will have to make sure you learn all the details of your weapon system in order to perform these on the go repairs. Ben warns against making your weapon system too heavy by adding heavy accessories to it.
In reference to a Ruger 10/22, that I love to shoot, Ben explains that this weapon is useless on a battle field but it should not be overlooked. In a true long-term survival situation, it would be a great weapon to have. It is super light, accurate and it's ammunition is very lightweight and easy to carry as well. .22 caliper weapons are able to take down 80-90 lb deer, if you shoot it in the head. Although, killing an animal this large may not be such a good idea in a long-term survival situation because you will have to take time to preserve a lot of meat. It is definitely suited for hunting smaller game which will provide you with a quick meal so you can keep moving if you have to.
The bottom line, as Ben says, is that you need to pick the weapon that you are most comfortable with. Even if you pick the biggest baddest gun on the market, like the "SAW" the soldier is shooting in the picture on the left, if you don't know how to load it, clear it, and maintain it, you won't be worth squat to your group. What weapons system to you know best? That's the one you should choose. The weapon system includes the rifle, magazines, how it's carried (ex: sling), ammunition, basically, everything that goes with the weapon and it's care.
Long Range Shots
Ben is currently using a .308 AR 10 but wants to start learning the 6.5 Creedmore system because it handles wind-drift better.
Drop and wind-drift have a big effect on your bullet. As soon as the bullet leaves the gun, gravity goes to work. Everything falls at the same rate due to gravity but the faster the bullet is shot and the more speed it is capable of holding in the air, the longer it will stay in flight. You have to calculate the amount the bullet will drop for each shot and adjust your scope accordingly. If you want to find out more about these critical calculations Milletsights.com did a fantastic article that breaks down all the calculations and presents multiple forms of calculation for the shot.
The other factor you have to consider is the wind-drift. The wind is going to blow and it will blow your bullet to the left or right. Ben refers to this calculation as "SWAG" or a scientific wild ass guess. This calculation should not be underestimated though because at 500 yards the wind may blow your bullet a couple of feet away from your target.
Choosing between a long range rifle and one better suited to short range battle grounds is another major consideration. If you are going to survive in the country you may want a longer ranged rifle but if you are considering surviving in an urban environment the short range 5.56 is going to be the better choice.
Another major consideration when choosing the best rifle for you is ammo. If you can't carry the rifle weight and the ammo weight then choosing that rifle doesn't make much sense. When scavenging, Ben feels the ammo that will be most prevalent is .22 caliper. 9 mm ammo is next. then you will find 5.56 ammo or .30-06 depending on where you are located in the country.
I have heard multiple opinions about shooting the .223 ammo out of a 5.56 barrel or the 5.56 ammo out of the .223 barrel. Ben explains that there really isn't a problem with either but it comes down to accuracy and life of the weapon. The barrel with the slower twist rate requires a lighter bullet. You can put heavier bullets in it but you are going to lose a lot of accuracy and the bullet will have a significant wobble. Ben feels that shooting the 5.56 ammo out of the .223 barrel in a survival situation is better than shooting nothing. There are various opinions on this topic though. Exclusive.multibriefs.com did a comprehensive article on this topic that is worth checking out if you want more details.
The AR platform is going to hold up well in harsh weather conditions as long as you know how to maintain it. When you are on the go and you stop, your first concern should be the maintenance of your weapon. Then you should check your gear for operational efficiency. Finally, you can get water, shelter, food and personal needs taken care of.
Being knowledge able about maintaining your weapons system and having the proper tools to accomplish that is essential. You need to have a gun cleaning kit in your go-bag. Ben's super easy gear suggestion is to carry a cleaning rod. You can use this as a bore punch to clear obstructions as well. A rag made from an old t-shirt, about four inches by four inches, should also be included. When the rag gets dirty wash it just like the rest of your clothes. You should include an all purpose brush. An old toothbrush can work for this job. Finally, you need to carry CLP, cleaner lubricant preservative. The military uses Break Free but Slip 200, Frog Lube, and Hoppe's are some other brands. These will all work good unless you are in the extreme cold. Then you will need a special oil that won't freeze and gum up.
Colt AR15A4 Specs available at Colt.com
Ruger 10/22 specs available at Ruger.com
Colt .308 specs at Colt.com / 6.5 Creedmore available at CheaperThanDirt.com
The Changing Earth Series
"I’ve loved shooting since the first time I pulled a trigger at age 8. During high school I volunteered at my local PD where I learned more about handguns. I joined the Marine Corps Infantry after high school. I was a reserve for 10 years with 2 years of active duty and 1 tour in Iraq in 2003. I worked for an armored car company for almost 7 years mostly in the LA area of California. During all that I also got a degree in law enforcement and went through two different police academies. Being a cop never worked out, but through it all I’ve always been training people to fight. I spent all of 2008 in Iraq again as a private contractor defending a base. There I got to teach and train with the US Army and others. Now I want to bring that experience and my joy of teaching to others. I love teaching firearms and want the good people of the world to be able to defend themselves. It’s now my mission and purpose in life.." -Ben Branam