> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Reader Question: What to do with extra firearms?



Reader Question: What to do with extra firearms?

This came up in the comments for the latest chapter in You Took Away Tomorrow:

One question I've had off the top of my head is arsenal wise. If you were a guy that had hunting bolt and lever rifles or extra pistols laying around, would you take those? Say your .243, .270, .30-30? For me I can't imagine leaving them somewhere, but taking 5-10 non tactical weapons that wouldn't help a lot seems like a lot of space and weight to carry! Thoughts?

The idea here being that, for whatever reason, you're forced to evac/bug out from your current location and are faced with the problem of having a bunch of potentially useful but non-core firearms.

If you have room to spare, I would take them and whatever ammo you have. They can be used for their intended purposes (hunting for example), equip someone else who would be otherwise unarmed, or at least used for barter.

With the right skills, a scoped deer gun or a pump 12 gauge and a few boxes of ammo could allow a man to survive for a long time and provide defensive capabilities to boot. Nothing to be snobby about.

If you can't take 'em with you don't have the room to spare--quite plausible--then I would consider the following options:
  • Hide and secure them for potential retrieval in the future. Cache 'em and/or lock 'em up.
  • Leave 'em with a trusted local contact - could be a gift, could be some last minute bartering, could be for safe keeping until your eventual return
  • If unable to do either of the above and you had the time, I would disable the weapons in order to keep them from falling into the wrong hands


  1. I think a nice high powered bolt gun has a necessary place. One of the people in the group I would most likely be bugging out with has only high powered bolt guns (2 Mosins and a .308). He does have a 10/22 as well but his true skill lies with shooting through a scope at a long distance. He has maybe 5 rounds through a pistol in his life so although I wouldn't trust him to save our lives with a sidearm at 10 yards, I do trust him with his rifle at 500.
    The type of gun is not even close to the importance of the skill of the man (or woman) using it. Just my 2 cents

  2. If you have the means to bring them along, then do so. They'd be worth a whole lot to someone that is unarmed so you can barter them for other goodies.

    If you can't bring them along I'd either hide them somewhere nobody would ever find them or give them to the neighbours that I like.

  3. I would recommend spreading your proverbial extra eggs out. Cache them or leave them in convenient locations. [EX if you always meet up at Jim's to go hunting leave the .243 and your big .357mag there with some spare ammo. This means you have couple guns in a place you regularly travel to away from home. Maybe they'll help you and maybe they'll help Jim. Either way it beats them sitting as extras you couldn't move in a bad situation.]

    They key is doing these things, to some degree, now before you need to.

    General diversification strategy aside I would not underrate non tactical type guns. A good .22 and a hunting type shotgun are some of the most practical guns out there and a scoped deer rifle can be pretty handy also. Not tacticool but really useful for game gathering.

  4. what is a "non tactical" firearm? If it go's bang,it works! Granted,it may not be a lethal caliber,but thats the intent of the 223! If you have,or can get ammo,its tactical,whether it be cover fire or hunting. The 223 was designed as a poodle shooter.

  5. This is a great article and I fully agree with Mr. T-Blog with one caveat. Professor Prepper had a very good article about His (key word His) Top 5 Prepper Guns and its worth a read (http://professorprepper.blogspot.com/2013/07/my-top-5-prepper-guns-period.html) What struck me most about his article was his quote that, "There is no security in more guns." I think one key message to take add to T-Blog's article is, more guns does not necessarily equal greater safety or protection. If you have the ability take them for barter, arming Grandma Tilly, etc. great, but remember extra weight uses extra gas, calories, water, etc. depending on your mode of transportation. There will always be a cost to taking them. As long as the cost is outweighed by the benefit it makes sense. Otherwise, cache and hide for another day. But do not take them because you think it makes you safer, on the road during a crisis it is possibly the opposite.


  6. riverriderAugust 28, 2013

    i'd sell or trade them now for more needed preps. that said i have about 40 too many myself. ryan is dead on about caching some too. this i need to get busy on.

  7. jeepboy1991August 28, 2013

    If you can, take them with you! There is a good chance that in a "bugout" scenario, you may end up with some people(friends or family) who are not equipped and need SOMETHING to shoot with.
    reposting part of what I said on the thread that this question originated on, the "odd" calibers are still useful weapons espcially if you have a decent supply of ammo. Standardizing on calibers for a group is a good thing but the other calibers are still good for hunting and sniper use. Sniper work or hunting doesn't use a large amount of ammo and even 5 boxes(100 rounds) will last a LONG time in this role.
    As an aside, I have a 16 gauge pump I inherited and I have been able to find ammo for it even in the middle of the current craziness!
    Talking about sniper tactics, A tale from a book I have on WW2. The british conducted an a raid on Sicily and were engaging a German airborne unit with SMLE rifles and bren lmgs while the germans were armed mostly with MP40 9mm smgs. The germans couldn't effectively reply to the british long range fire (The Brits trained on long range work with iron sights as well as "volly fire".) That was why the german airborne insisted on having a weapon chambered for the standard 7.9 x57mm mauser rifle cartridge when the FG-42 automatic rifle was developed rather than the 7.9 x 33mm of the MP44 and Sgt-45 "assault rifles".
    Handguns in "odd" calibers are still good guns, A .22lr on the belt has plenty of uses as a "camp gun" and is nothing to sneeze at for defense.
    (I would rather have my 1911 in a fight but the .22 can work.)The .38 special/.357 magnum revolver was the police standard for over 60 years and did a pretty good job. Even if you didn't have much ammo for an "odd" caliber, the handgun isn't going to see the same volume of use that a rifle will in this situation so a few boxes will last a while.
    It was said that in ww2 if you turned a us GI on his head, out would come a loaded handgun even before the loaded dice. They were unauthorized but the men wanted them anyway and found a way to get them.
    As someone wiser than me once said, a handgun is used to fight your way back to your rifle or to get one of the other guy's rifles.

    1. "Handguns in "odd" calibers are still good guns, A .22lr on the belt has plenty of uses as a "camp gun" and is nothing to sneeze at for defense."

      People talk about "lethal calibers" and stuff like that all the time, but quite honestly, I wouldn't want to be shot with any thing, even a .22.
      Not to mention, I would mush rather have a .22 pistol for a woods gun that a 1911 or a Glock. I wouldn't want to wast my "battle ammo" on a snake that slithered into camp, or to retrieve game from a trap that I set. Plus, .22 is cheap (or was) so you can stock up on it and have a "utility gun" for camp, then a "battle gun" for fights. .22 is the only caliber that you would want as a utility gun in, so you could use any other gun for fighting. If you might not need a glock with extended mags and what not for your mission, you could just bring your .38 special revolver and save ammo for your other gun. Revolvers were standard military issue at one time, so it is not like it is not lethal to anything.

  8. While I like having all my guns close to home so that occasionally I can oggle them ;) I think it is so important to spread the wealth...

    The reality is, as Katrina demonstrates, that confiscations CAN happen, door to door, via roadblocks, or even legitimately because you are involved in a violent confrontation and your firearm is taken as evidence. Therefore two is one and one is none and 100 is better still!!! BUT to really play it safe you can't keep all your eggs in on basket.

    Personally, every gun I have at my family home has a destination in the hands of one of my family members or friends who I know will need a weapon--from the trained adults with ARs to the children with less tactical rifles. Above and beyond that I keep my other rifles along with ammo in various other caches, including in friend's gun cabinets, my BOV, and BOL.

    I do agree that if you need to leave a weapon out of your direct control it is probably prudent to disable the firearm, I usually do this by removing the bolt.

  9. There are plenty of 'non tactical' firearms I would want to keep for just in case. Ruger single action revolvers are a bulletproof design that don't require magazines to maintain readiness. Combination firearms (rifle / shotgun) break opens are great foraging guns, particularly the rimfire / shotgun combos. Hideout handguns, particularly .22 rimfire are good 'just in case' firearms to stash. A heavy baggied with two extra magazines and two boxes of ammunition for it - about the size of a brick and hiding places for it can easily be found.

    The sporters or old military pattern with rare cartridge chamberings - those are the ones I'd cache away. Protect spare scopes and binoculars - those will become very valuable if their manufacture is no longer possible.

    1. Jeepboy1991August 29, 2013

      Just a comment about .22lr in "pocket" guns. I read this YEARS ago, that most malfunctions in these types of guns could be traced to ammo problems. Some of them do not like the "hypervelocity" ammo like cci stingers and such.
      Also most misfires with .22s will fire if a different part of the rim is hit. .22 ammo is made in huge lots and the process of getting priming compound along the rim can miss a spot. (this is REALLY rare but it can happen) The author of the article recommended that if you carried a .22lr as a hideout weapon that you spend the extra money for a box or two of "match grade" target ammo. It is made to higher quality control standards. He recommended ELEY competition ammo from England. (It was running $7.95 a box of 50 when regular ammo was $0.99 a box. Yes this was about 2 decades ago, I'm showing my age) I have since learned that the Aguila brand of ammo from Mexico is made with the ELEY priming compound so it may make a good choice for a "pocket pistol" in .22lr

  10. I think cleaning kits/products are going to be extremely valuable and scarce in an ongoing SHTF scenario. There will be plenty of firearms floating around but the means to effectively clean them will soon vanish. Folks always talk about the ammo running out ... but not having any quality oils or CLP to work with will be a nightmare for all those guns.

  11. i have plenty of toys and they all have thier purpose for know and the future my m1a is my deer rifle if the shtf it becomes my denfense rifle and my mosin nagant with 880 rds becomes the deer rifle .

    if im bugging out its a ruger 10/22 for me with some bx 25 mags and lots of ammo ive considered a lot of options but if i have to abandon my home and head to my freinds property i will just not be able to carry 1000 rounds of 308 as efficiently as 22lr . with a 22 i can take a deer to a squirrel and defend myself im not planing on fighting day and night but getting from a to b and moving fast .

    what i leave behind ill give to neighbors i know can make use of them other will go in a predetermined hiden area for family to retrive off site .

    every gun has its purpose thier all tools unfortunately i havent found the leatherman of guns yet