> TEOTWAWKI Blog: More budget firearm thoughts & run down



More budget firearm thoughts & run down

A few follow-up notes from the post below.

Remember the guy from Doomsday Preppers who almost blew off his thumb? He's selling a $450 collection of 10 caliber adapters for single shots. Check it out here at Soldier Systems. Lots of people trying to cash in and sell stuff for the "survival" single shot. Think carefully before you drop your dough.

Quick run-down of the sub-$400 options out there (for long guns):

One at under $200 that I haven't mentioned - the Hi-Point Carbine, which is hideously ugly, but is also cheap and apparently runs without troubles. I wouldn't buy one, but have heard good things in general about them.

Outside of a $200 price, you get into more pump action shotguns, and you can definitely get into a 10/22.

At around $300, more shotguns. I think $300 is the going rate for SKSs nowadays, too. Sad - they were a great buy at $150. Entry level bolt action deer guns here, too. But, you've generally got to throw a scope on those (no iron sights), so that generally knocks them outside of $400. The Kel-Tec Sub-2000 series of pistol caliber carbines are around $300, too.

At $400, you used to be able to get an entry level AK-47, but it looks like you're at at least $500 for those now. So $400 gives us some pretty nice shotguns, some more entry level bolt actions and we start getting into lever guns. You can also get into some of the WWII submachine guns like the Suomi and the Sterling, though I've heard mixed reviews of the quality on these kit guns, and they're a bit over $400 - around $420 from a little bit of price shopping. But most of the lever guns are a hair over $400, so we'll call it a wash.

So...shotguns at a variety of price points. Shotguns can do a lot - big game, small game, birds, bad guys. The range limitations aren't as big a deal when we're talking self defense, and in anything less than a near total collapse scenario. Heavy ammo issues don't matter as much in a home defense or bug in scenario. If you've got under $400 to play, a pump action shotgun is a pretty good choice.

A lot of people like bolt guns for all-around, knock around guns. As mentioned, you need to scope 'em, but let's say you found a deal on a used one or bought one for $300 and threw a $100 scope on it. Lots will dismiss bolt guns as long range only, but properly set up and with a good shooter, they can work for closer ranges too. Here's a pretty good example from some boar hunting in Europe - he's running a hunting-model Aimpoint and mowing down boar left and right. A bolt gun should have good accuracy, range and plenty o' stopping power if you need it. If you get into reloading or subcaliber inserts, you can press it into service for small game, or rely on a sidearm for bunny duty.

A lever gun ain't a bad choice, and they come with iron sights, too! 30-30 is pretty common, taken a bazillion deer, packs some oomph. Just checked, and with Hornady Leverevolution ammo, the .30-30 is capable of longer range work than I thought it was. Out to 200 yards easily without much in the way of bullet drop. A .357 lever gun is going to be hard to find for under $400, but if you do find one, you can share ammo with a revolver.

With AKs out of the price range, that leaves us with spendy SKSs and the WWII kit rebuilt SMGs. Even at $300, the SKS is a pretty good buy. I like the Norincos, personally.

If you could get a reliable Suomi or Sterling, you'd have a pretty sweet package, and my choice of the bunch for combat purposes. 9mm, so you could share ammo with your Glock, too. Both are heavy, limited production and reportedly spotty in quality/reliability. Sad.

The Kel-Tec Sub 2000 carbines are pretty much "the answer" if concealment is a priority. Neat design folds in half and allows the rifle to stuff inside an average backpack. Not only shares ammo with your Glock, but magazines, too! Light and generally reliable from reports. Cheesy materials, though. It looks like they're hard to come by these days though, and running over $400 on the secondary market - CDNN has them listed at $350, but I'm not sure if that's in stock or not.

Just as you wouldn't expect one tool to do the job of an entire toolbox, different firearms serve difference roles. Keep your future plans in mind as you start building your collection/arsenal/toolbox of boomsticks. What other guns are you planning on getting? If you have zero interest in getting a revolver down the line, then a .357 lever gun probably doesn't make a ton of sense. If you're planning on an AR-15 later on, a shotgun or a .22 make more sense than say an SKS.

Also keep in mind the role that you need the firearm to fill. Are you learning to shoot with it? A .22 is probably the best choice. Want it for home defense? A shotgun or pistol caliber carbine are probably your best bets. Deer hunting? A shotgun, lever gun or bolt gun could work. You get the picture.

Edited to Add: If you're new to shooting, get a .22 rifle. They're not expensive, ammo is the cheapest you can get, they're a great platform for learning on, and it will stay useful even as your collection grows. While you can certainly learn on other guns, you're probably going to enjoy your initial shooting experiences more with something manageable like a .22, and you can get plenty of trigger time for not so much money. The 10/22 is pretty much the best of the bunch.

If you've already got a firearm or two, look at where the gaps in your capabilities are. What will Firearm X get you that you currently lack?

Anyways, there's some rambling from me for ya. Now discuss amongst yourselves!



    Using magnification optics for CQB-
    Lets face it, scoped volt guns own the 300 yard plus range.
    And iron sights-1x DOT optics own 50 yards or less.
    Now, the ranges between 50-300 yds is up for argument.
    This BTW is why the ACOG was invented.
    But to my point...
    If all a shooter has is a scoped bolt gun, please don't think our isn't capable of CQB work.
    Just crank the scope down to the lowest magnification (usually 3-4).
    Then depending on what your reticle looks like, learn what reference point gives you quick hits at 50 yards and in.
    This technique is requires for the ACOG when running CQB, so it isn't at all.impossible. This isn't ideal, but it default works I'd thats what is in your hand in the field.
    You could leave it on 3-4 power and only turn it up if taking a long shot.

  2. Just a comment about the sterling carbine. I read somewhere that the british had it designed to be able to use sten gun magazines as well as the roller follower equipped sterling magazine.
    I had a friend who had one years ago and we tried it and it worked.
    So you do not need to buy the expensive stirling mags and can get the cheap sten surplus mags.

    1. Ya, the Sten mags DO certainly work with the Sterling. The Sterling mags are supposed to be much nicer, but they are also spendy.

  3. Definitely keep the Hi-Point carbine in mind. It is hideously ugly with the old stock. I picked up an aftermarket stock that makes it look like a Beretta Storm. Talk about a great plinker. I have fired about 600 rounds through mine with not so much as a hiccup. (I have the 9mm version) I can easily knock down my 8-inch iron targets with it at 50-yards.

  4. I think the Ruger 10/22 and a pump shotgun should be the first firearms a prepper should have.

    One important note about pump shotguns. Make sure you get one that has at least a 3" chamber and preferably one that will take 3 1/2" shells. This will allow you to use the broadest possible range of shotshells. Thus you can get the maximum utility from a single firearm by simply changing the shot shell you load in it. Some bottom of the range pump guns don't take 3 or 3 1/2 shells.

    Another great little firearm that should be considered is a .17 HMR rifle. It recoils like a 22 LR but has much better practical range that a .22. Granted, the ammo costs more than .22LR but it is still cheaper than centerfire ammo.

    As for the small .17 HMR bullet, I believe hits count more than caliber.

      I read a significant comparison study between the .17HMR and the .22Mag. The conclusion was noteworthy. What I recall is as follows:
      At minimal yardage, they are comparable in most regards-interchangeable
      Beyond 100 yards, the accuracy of the .22Mag falls behind
      Up to 100 yards, accuracy is similar between the two
      50-100 yards, .22Mag has more energy-foot lbs.

      Therefore, if you have to reach out to 150 plus with sniper accuracy, you benefit from the .17HMR. But if you will stay in the 100 yard envelope, you have better performance from the.22Mag.
      Add to that the cost difference and scarcity, and it seems that the .17HMR is more of a specialized and mission specific round. Examine the role that the varmiter will fill-and don't discount the advantages of the .17HMR, that extra range may be necessary.

    2. The 17 HMR is essentially a 22 mag necked down to fit 17 caliber bullet. As for scarcity of ammo where i shop, there is no real difference. Given the improved performance at distance coupled with the fact I live in a more rural area I would choose the 17 HMR round over the 22 mag. Your needs may vary.

    3. I'll agree that the .17 has more reach. No Question at all.

      If, in a TEOWAWKI situation, you run across some dead guy with a totally-broken small caliber firearm and most of a box of ammo, what's your bet? .17HMR, .22 magnum, or .22 LR?

      I'll stick with the 10/22 and Walther P22 (and hopefully a Ruger Mark 3 later this month)


      True, gonna be a 22LR. But the one thing that all three have going for them is the ability to stock up cheap and CARRY massive quantities on your person. There woulda be no need to acquire more ammo if you are carrying 1000 in your person plus your thousands more in the car or cart.
      And by the time you run out, likelihood is that you could have upgraded weapons along the way if needed

  5. Old trick for a scoped gun or silenced weapon when uou cant use the scope because of short distance/time or if sights are blocked by can.....paint white stripe diretcly center of barrel or scope with white out....actually works pretty well out to about 15 yards, depending on length of weapon....basically just a quick reference point for center mass on a man size target that should pop up danger close and unexpectantly.

  6. I've heard a lot of good reports about the new Ruger BX-25 magazines. It would be worthwhile trying them out in your Ruger and see if it works well. If so, purchasing a few would be worthwhile. Might even be good trading stock later on, Ruger 10/22s are VERY COMMON, the design was introduced in 1964. They have sold a few.

    Building on Ugly Rooster's note above on scopes - if your reticle has the duplex crosshair design, learn where the bullet impact is if you use the junction of lower thick / thin spot (you will be holding on a lower spot for certain). It is easier to see in the dark and learning where to aim is useful information.

    1. I've seen really good reviews on the BX-25 as well. A lot better reviews that the other aftermarket 25 rounders. I have a clamp that holds 3 of the standard 10-rd mags together. Works nicely, and is pretty cheap.

  7. My goto guns are a Kel-Tec Sub 2000 in the .40s&w Glock mags, along with my Glock 22 and 27. I bought my Sub2k when they were cheap and plentiful. Mags work with my Glock 22 and 27. Win-Win. Combat accurate out to 100 at least, and a tack driver 50 or less.

    Today, if I only had $200 or $400 to spend, it would be on a 10/22. Buy the gun, then spend the rest on magazines, ammo, and maybe a scope. Mostly because you could get lots of ammo, and it's a gun the wife can shoot.

    Of course, for that $400, you could get a Mosin Nagant, and close to 1000 rds of ammo.

    1. I'd get the 10/22 as well. With a scope, mags, ammo. And get shooting. You're going to have a hard time finding a better platform to learn on, and a more fun plinker to boot!

    2. Absolutely. I didn't think much of the learning platform, but that's a big deal too. So is the fun factor. And, it's the only gun I have that I can afford to shoot. Provided I can find ammo to buy...
      Right now, there are 2 guns in my GunVault. My Glock, and a Ruger 22/45. I asked my wife which one she would grab if I wasn't home, and she didn't hesitate. "The 22" As much as I would love my wife to want to shoot the Glock, she doesn't like the recoil/noise. She loves the .22, and is confident with it. To me, that translates to more well placed, accurate shots.
      Sorry for the ramble...

    3. The Ruger 22/45 is a great gun. I just bought one of the new "Lite" models. This is the first 22 I have owned that will cycle all 22lr I give it including subsonic. Plan to add a legal suppressor soon via a NFA trust.

    4. It sure is. Mine will eat anything, too. Jambs occasionally, but I can usually track it to shooting the cheap stuff, and not cleaning it well enough.

  8. I'm taking my firearms training course (Canada) in a couple of weeks. Unrestricted and restricted. I plan on putting my deposit down on a Ruger 10/22 Takedown this weekend just to hold it until my license comes in. I did some looking around and any model Ruger 10/22 is damned near impossible to find here right now. Apparently Ruger is 18 months behind in production orders.

    1. I doubt they're 18 months behind...maybe for a Canadian specific model?

      Mr. Canada is right, more or less. Ruger can't keep up, been that way for a while. Depending on the model in question, of course. Some of their stuff it's not behind.

      Sell your Microsoft stock and buy Ruger, I guess.

    3. That's what a couple of dealers told me in person. Basically, they said if I can find a Ruger 10/22 I should buy it. I'm sure they are out there because some shops have some, but not many models to choose from. Where I am going tomorrow doesn't have any other 10/22's, just the Takedown.

  9. Maybe a regional thing, but an SKS runs in the mid-$400 range around here, but not uncommon to find mid-$300 lever action Marlin 30-30.
    Most like the Ruger 10/22. A couple of years ago I needed to find a replacement for the Marlin model 70 I had since jr high. Tried a 10/22 and it was crap!! Store had a 30 day return policy, so I took it back. Found a hardly used marlin model 70 in the used rifle rack(still had the factory stickers on it from the late 80's!!!) $100??? F-YEAH!!! For those that don't know, the model 70 uses a magazine, and the model 60 has a tube feed. Other than that, they are pretty much the same rifle. Don't let the overgrow of the 10/22 distract you from other .22 rifles is what I'm getting at. I also have a Savage model 64 that has treated me well.

    1. Ya, regional price differences will come into play, tho you can always buy online. Buds has Chi-com SKSs for $299.

      Certainly, the 10/22 isn't the only choice. I haven't heard many people have bad experiences with one, though. Bad magazines can cause jams with any firearm, and .22 semi autos are usually picky when it comes to ammo, too.

    2. I have three 10/22s, two from very early 80's, one early 90's. The trouble seems to be with the newer models.

      If you are interested in rimfire topics, I suggest the RIMFIRE CENTRAL forum - a lot of great rimfire specific information there.

  10. Interested in your thoughts and those of your other readers. Here's the TEOTWAWKI scene from where I sit. Suburbia, fairly well armed relative to the rest of the Northeast. Nearby city of about 200k and about 70-90 miles from 2 major metropolises.

    At this time, I have a family of 5 and am basically set up as "hunker down and defend the home front" with food, firewood and arms. I have a .40 semi auto handgun and 12 ga shotty. Looking to add an AR (with scope of course) in the near future, but mostly considering one in .22 because its cheap to shoot (lots of practice is a good thing), and figure I have the close range covered with my other arms.

    Of course if money were no object, bigger is better, but seeing the great job done here with prepping on a budget, I'm interested in the opinions here as i look to develop in increments.

    Sincere thanks!

    1. An AR-15 in .22lr doesn't make a ton of sense to, unless you want it as a training gun for a rifle-caliber AR-15 in 5.56mm. Sure, they are cool looking, but you'll spend $500 on what a 10/22 or similar can get you for a lot less. And, if you get a dedicated .22 AR-15, you may not be able to switch out the upper half -- I know the S&W M&P-15 22 is like that.

      If you want an AR-15, get one in 5.56, and then buy the $150 conversion kit so you can shoot .22lr out of it, too! Best of both worlds.

    2. Meant to say "make a ton of sense to me" - it's late.

    3. jeepboy1991October 02, 2014

      A thought about .22lr conversions on ar-15's. They do not work with the fast twist barrels. .22 lr uses 1 in 16 or 1 in 18 twist rifling. They will work ok for training (not preciscion shooting) with a 1in 12 twist (such as a M-16, M-16A1). When the military went to the 1 in 7 twist for the M-16A2 and up, the .22lr would "strip" in the rifling and lead the bore badly as well as foul the gas tube with leading. That was why all the .22 lr conversion kits were surplused off and became available at gun shows. I have one and it "sort of" works in my 1 in 9 twist barrel but accuracy is nothing to brag about.


    Hey, mazzefr!
    Regarding the location, check out a book called Strategic Relocation, 3rd edition. It is top in it's class. It would be particularly helpful with dangerous evacuation zones-routes. It also has fantastic proximity maps and overlays. If you evaluate your situation, your may find value in back up location options, if your place is too close for your liking.
    As far as arms are concerned, consider force multipliers. Keep that .22 LR fresh in mind. Consider "how many" gunners will be available. If it is just you and mom, you need to maximize the two of you. If you have three buddies, then YOU might get an AR. Then mom can learn the 12 ga using lighter loads, if needed. But here is a wild card... If any of your three children are of size and maturity to learn to run a combat weapon, then you have a ready made team member. Just use caution when judging his-her level of training and decision making skills.
    I have three young boys who are not yet ready as gunners, but the story will be different in a few years. I would rather have three teen boys with semi auto .22 rifles than one man with an AR. Equipment costs are similar in these two scenarios.

  12. I agree with mr. Wolf-a dedicated .22 AR doesn't make sense if money is tight.

    The problems I had with my brief dabble with a 10/22 were multiple- ftf, fte and horrible accuracy. Tried a few different brands of ammo with no difference. To me, a truly excellent .22 should eat anything.

    1. That doesn't sound like most 10/22s I've encountered. They're tack drivers.

      .22lr semi autos though don't (and won't) have the reliability that we're used to in centerfires. So you have to go in with the expectation that it probably won't eat anything and everything well, and that you'll have a few hiccups along the way. Not a big deal, but you'll get more practice clearing malfunctions...

      Some take some use to get broken in, too, so you'll see more jams up front. Many firearms are this way.

      If you want a .22 that will truly eat anything, you're probably going to need to run a bolt gun or a revolver. Both of those will actually eat anything and everything without troubles.

  13. Ruger 22/45 for $310. Yup yup.