You’ve decided that you’re not going anywhere. It doesn’t matter how far down the rabbit hole the world falls, you’re situated in a reasonable location, you have your food stores and a measure of land to grow a garden, enough surrounding land to hunt for game, and let’s face it…at some point there’s not going to be anywhere else to go.
Considering all the choices in firearms out there, which weapons would be the better option for meeting any of your hunting or self-defense needs? There is no one-weapon-fits-all-scenarios available, so after doing a little bit of thinking, these are the four I’ve narrowed it down to.
The .22 long rifle
The .22 cartridge is the most common and the most economical cartridge around. The .22 short is the oldest cartridge still being manufactured today, and was first used in a Smith & Wesson pocket pistol introduced in 1857. The .22 long rife cartridge was introduced by Peters in 1887 and is the most popular and useful of all the .22 rimfire cartridges.
A .22 rifle has minimal blast and recoil. This rifle is not expensive to purchase and the ammunition is affordable by anyone—forty .22 copper-plated hollow points by Federal is less than $2 a box.
And that’s the more expensive stuff. You can purchase a box of Winchesters containing 333 hollow point rounds for target practicing for $13 online.
A .22 rifle is an excellent choice for small-game hunting. This would include rabbits, squirrels and coons. It’s the perfect “varmit” gun for taking care of possums or any feral cat or dog. The .22 comes in a variety of rifle types—bolt action, pump action, lever action, and semi-auto. Most every gun manufacturer makes some type of .22 rifle.
The shotgun puts a wide spray of pellets into the air and is the excellent choice in hunting birds or any type of running rabbit or squirrel. However, the different types of shells available (from bird shot to slugs) make it ideal for hunting any type of game—from birds to deer.
It’s also one of the best self-defense weapons around.
Shotgun sizes run the gamut from the .410 up to the heavy-duty 10 gauge. A 12-gauge is about the most versatile all-around shotgun and the most common. We started our children out on a .410 single action to break them in to hunting, and as soon as they became proficient with the weapon (and had bagged a deer or two) they graduated to a 20 gauge and then a 12 gauge shotgun.
The High-Powered Rifle
The most common calibers in high-powered rifles include the .270, the .308, and the 30.06. Smaller rounds include the .223 and .22/250. If you’re not planning on hunting larger game at longer distances, or if you don’t have large or mean predators that you have to contend with, this is the gun you can most do without.
These guns come in bolt action, pump action, lever action, and semi-auto. They are a little bit pricier, starting at around the $600 range. However, you can find great deals on used guns at gun shops in your area.
There are a variety of handguns available for self-defense purposes. Previous articles have listed the pros and cons of each type, including the choice of our own Carmen! Those most commonly used are either J-frame revolvers or semi-autos. The calibers range from .22 up to .44 Magnum in revolvers, with the .38 special or .357 being the one of choice for most people.
You can also purchase a semi-auto handgun in calibers ranging anywhere from 9mm, to .40, .45 or a .357 SIG. The weapon you choose should feel comfortable in your hand, and you should arrange to practice with it frequently. If you’re going to rely on this weapon for self-defense, it’s important that you know it inside and out.
These guns are not the end-all to what you can have in your home arsenal. These recommendations are simply a starting point as you consider you situation and what issues you face or feel you will face in the future. The important thing is that you’re prepared for as many eventualities as you can imagine.