5 Firearms to Survive Pt. 3

5 Firearms you need to survive a major event

Bolt Action/Mid-Range:

  • Key Points: There are very few situations where you need to shoot more than about 300 yards, and your AR is more than capable of that. Issues with Target Identification and articulating a threat are going to be at the forefront of long range engagements, and even though the military trains for longer range engagements, they rarely occur for the average fighter. With that being said, I’m going to throw some .308-ish suggestions in here. I’m sticking with these models because they are all available in .308, most are also available in 6.5 Creedmoor, and will serve for just about any target you shoot at from 100 lbs to around 600 lbs, all the way out to 800 yards if necessary. 7.62X51 is also a common round for the military’s medium-duty machine gun, the M240, so even though they won’t be precision, ammo would be available in a pinch after societal breakdown. Don’t forget that in this category you’re going to need a decent scope and something like a bipod and shooter’s sling might not be bad to add on either. General rule of thumb is that your optic should cost about as much (70%-120%) as your rifle. Much like the AR, there’s loads of customization that can happen down the road if needed.
  • Budget: This category is going to be filled with bolt-action rifles. Bolt guns are by no means guaranteed to be cheaper than anything else (there’s quite a few in the Bougie tier), but they are a cost effective introduction to the mid-range shooting requirement. Most will either have an internal or removable magazine and in many cases the scope will mount directly to the action via direct mount rings or there will be a rail across the top that the rings mount to. Platforms like the Remington 783, Mossberg Night Train, and Ruger Hunter American will fit the bill here. All of these can easily be found for around $700 brand new, sometimes even under $500. This will get you in the game to at the very least start learning about ballistics and fundamentals for these types of weapons.
  • Mid-Tier: Bolt guns like the Bergara B-14, Remington 700 (in various levels), and the Winchester Model 70 are going to run you around $1,500 plus the optic and anything else you need/want to add. These weapons are tuned for more precise, accurate shots, with higher quality components in the stock, better barrels, higher end triggers and more. It’s definitely money well invested if you have access to a range where you can actually stretch them out and learn, but if your local range is only 100 yards you’re already over invested at this tier. It is worth calling out that the Remington 700 is in use by multiple military and law enforcement special teams, so the odds of coming across it in a post-event societal collapse are higher than many other platforms, although not a guarantee.
  • Bougie: If you can’t find a range to regularly shoot at 600+ yards, stop reading now. You don’t need these. If you just want them or are just curious, ok, but I’m telling you, this tier escalates incredibly quickly and you won’t see the benefits unless you can really get into long range shooting. Platforms like the Barrett MRAD, DTI SRS, or Accuracy International AXSR are going to cost you $6-10k just for the platform. Now, they do have a really cool trick up their sleeve, in that each of these can be caliber-swapped in the field. That is, they have the ability to have the barrel and bolt pulled while in the field, throw another barrel and bolt in and boom, new caliber, new capability. You can get these weapons in .308, and if more power or more range is needed, change it to a .300 Winchester Magnum, .338 Lapua Magnum, .300 or .338 Norma Magnum, etc. This is WAY beyond anything that the average shooter or survivalist is going to need or even really be able to appreciate, but it is a thing. Also, keep in mind the rule of thumb I discussed in the key points for this category: 70-120% of the rifle cost goes into the optic. That holds true here, and you’re likely going to be looking at another $4k or so into just the scope on one of these platforms if you want to truly be able to use it as it was intended.Outliers: Again, we have some outliers, not because they are all that odd, but because there are some VERY capable platforms in this category that are not bolt-actions. Semi-autos like the Palmetto State Armory PA10, PWS MK218, LWRC REPR, Knight’s SR25, and even the FN SCAR 17 are all very capable and are growing in popularity among shooters. They do come with their own challenges and, like the outliers above, will be difficult to find parts for in a post-event world, but that doesn’t mean they should be dismissed. Many shooters, myself included, believe that in a real-world scenario the semi-auto functionality may outweigh some of the bolt-gun benefits, but this could be an entire article in itself.