I have noticed a strange new phenomenon on the range these days; people are training with rifles they will most likely never use except in a close quarters combat role. If home defense is the primary reason you bought that AR15 pistol, you made a decent selection. But what if you find yourself away from home? What if the situation arises and proves to be out of range for that Micro Poodle Shooter you spent 1100$ customizing?
Barack Obama sold more guns than any one man could hope to sell if he sold them for a living. Eight years of a seemingly looming semi automatic rifle ban took its toll on all of us. I myself am guilty of a panic purchase or two. Now that the times have changed and political winds have shifted, our arsenals remain safe for the time being. Join me on a journey to the center of your gunsafe, I suppose we may find a few useful rifles in there, no?
Most people today don’t see the potential in the 99$ (ok 199 now) Mosin Nagant, or other surplus cousins like SKS’, Yugoslavian M48 Mausers, SMLE Enfields, Swiss K-31s, K98’s et. al. yet most of us have one or two of them for our perusal. These should not be relegated to last resort rifles. Some of them are capable of performing alongside and sometimes outperforming their non surplus modern counterparts. Mosins can be fine tuned with new and innovative stocks, detachable magazines, scope mounts, muzzle brakes, you name it.
Pictured above for example is a K31. Using a Swiss Products bipod adapter and scope adapter, I was able to mount a Harris bipod and Weaver K6 scope to mine. At a total investment of 500$ I have a rifle sighted in and ready to go for the box MSRP of that Remington 700 you’ll still have to scope.
The K31 is precise in every one of its design features, like a Swiss watch. Inside those wooden handguards rests a free floating barrel, something not so easy to get for under $500 today. Yet the K31 can be had for as little as 300$ on the C&R market.
What can the K31 do? Hunt! The 7.5×55 Swiss is ballistically between the .30-30 and .30-06. With a well placed shot the K31 will take down any game animal in the lower 48 United States. What it won’t do, however, is provide a reliable enough platform to play with Mr. Grizzly Brown. That’s where we enter the world of large bore.
A large bore rifle is any rifle that shoots in calibers like .35 Remington, .375 H&H and larger. The above photograph shows a Marlin 1895GBL, retailing around 500$ and packing a punch chambered in the legendary .45-70 Government–the only Government worth trusting. But what is this tool for? You name it.
The 45-70 as a cartridge is capable of defeating elephants. Would I use one? Probably not. But I have no problem trusting this caliber with my life against any predator or large sized mammal from here to Alaska. These bullets travel at low speeds but their .458-459 diameter bullets usually weigh in around 350 to well over 600 grains. At 1300 fps, a 405gr 45-70 round would bring the equivalent force of taking a freight train head on. Shot placement means almost nothing, so long as you can hit and accommodate for the rainbow bullet trajectory beyond 100m. But in hunting we want clean kills to prevent animal suffering, so kill zone shots are still preferred. Obviously a slow and heavy bullet will continue to travel onward after clearing a man sized target, so home defense should rarely be in mind when reaching for one.
That brings us to the next gun in the picture. The Tactical shotgun is possibly the best innovation since somebody figured out how to slice bread. As we await President Trump issuing an executive order overturning Obama’s Russian gun ban, we are left with some okay options. The Catamount Fury is a NORINCO clone of the popular Saiga. Priced around 350$ including its cleaning kit and five 5Rd magazines the Fury and Fury II are easily converted and can take many of the same parts we would use on a Saiga if there were any to be found. It takes a little effort but in the end, home defense and even hunting can both be enjoyed with this shotgun and it screams “3 gun” all over its travels.
Finally, we come to the pistol category. In the picture we have a Glock 23, chambered for .40 S&W. The two most popular handgun cartridges in America today are the 9mm and the .40. .45 and 10mm both deserve to be in the discussion as well. Pistol selection is personal. Do you need a back-up weapon hunting? 10mm or .50AE/GAP/Etc. Is this your first pistol? 9mm is a safe starter. Do you want something with power but less shots? Revolvers come in .44 and .45 magnum and there is even one in 45-70!
The size of the shooter should only come in play where training is involved. Don’t relegate your girlfriend to .380s and 9mms when she can be taught how to handle a .40 or .45 like you, tough guy. If your training pistol is a 9mm, use a 9mm for your home defense pistol. Remember, however that a pistol is a tool. As a tool it has two purposes. Purpose one is to kill a man or up close and personal bear. Purpose two is to fight ones way to his or her rifle, or to replace an empty one.
At the end of the day, shooting a gun will always be a matter of responsibility. Your first gun is your first taste of the power to decide between life or death. Do not take this power lightly. Take a safety course or at the very least take heed to the safety section of your owners manual before ever loading a live round. The Right to Bear Arms is not a privilege, but failure to treat that Right as serious as it is can ultimately lead to unconstitutionally vague legislation with the goal to disarm the lot of us. Should that day come, look to the poodle shooter side of the gunsafe but remember this: 7.62x54r is all you need to acquire a better gun in the event of living in a war zone.