Some Airgun Options For The Survivalist

Some Airgun Options For The Survivalist

When I was a youngster, I received an airgun for my eighth birthday, and it became the central focus for many an adventure that I went on during that time in my life. I learned to hunt with that air rifle, long before I ever carried a real firearm in the field, and I know that is true for many others of you out there. My Daisy 840 and me were inseparable, and the worst punishment in the world at that time, was to get my BB gun taken away. In this post I’m going to discuss two airguns that I have, and what they are used for.

Years ago I had decided that there are two reasons why I would have airguns in my inventory and those were training, and hunting small game. Fast forward to a few years ago. At that time I was looking at preps for a bugout scenario, or a scenario that involves not having firearms available. I had owned a Crossman 1377 pistol (this is the newer model still available) back in the early 90’s, and ended up trading it off for something else that probably got traded off for something else…… Long story short, I know that I had shot a number of squirrels and rabbits with that 1377 pistol, and I said “Why not?”, and ordered one.

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My Crossman 1377 with shoulder stock. Two tins of pointed hunting pellets shown here. A 500 pellet tin on the left and a 250 pellet tin on the right.

One of the things I wished I’d had back then was a shoulder stock. The 1377 pistol is designed to take one shown here, and the rear sight actually flips upside down so you can use a peep sight with the shoulder stock attached.

Crossman 1377’s flip over rear sight. A peep sight makes perfect sense if you have a shoulder stock.

The Crossman 1377 pistol is a pump air gun. With 10 pumps it develops 600 feet per second in muzzle velocity. 600 FPS muzzle velocity is considered plenty of velocity for an airgun to kill small game such as rabbits and squirrels (At 25 meters, the pellet is going around 450-500 fps), as long as you can place the shot accurately in the head (yes, you can kill it if you hit their heart, but it is a harder, small target to define the location in their chest). The 1377 is plenty accurate enough at 25 meters to hit “Minute of Squirrel Head”, as can be seen in the below photo.

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Three shot fired from an improvised rest (I was resting my side against a vehicle, and my support hand on the side of the quarter panel). I’d say that’s “Minute of Squirrel Head”. A quarter is 1 inch.

A weaver type scope base is available for this air gun, but one of the reasons I wanted this air gun was due to how compact and lightweight it is. A scope would add to the weight, and take away from it’s compactness. The irons are plenty accurate. It is easy enough just to strap this air gun to the side of a ruck, and forget it is there until you need a quiet game getter.

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Which one is real?

So we’ve discussed my choice for a packable small game air gun, now lets talk about the “trainer” I use. A few years ago, I came across a CO2 powered air rifle being sold under the Winchester name. It is called the M14 (read the reviews here to get an idea of what people think of it), and as the name implies, it’s the spitting image of it’s cartridge firing namesake.

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The reason I bought this rifle was to have an air gun that had the feel (grip, safety, etc. but at around 4 lbs, not the weight), shape, and sights of a military rifle (they would make a killin’ if they made this for FAL’s, etc.). This rifle is plenty powerful enough to kill squirrels and rabbits, but it’s main purpose is as a trainer. I am not a fan of CO2, but nothing else will give you the ability to take multiple target snap shots without some form of cocking or pumping mechanism. This rifle would be the perfect clandestine trainer for a resistance group in a city, or a Survivalist group in the country that doesn’t want to give away their position by firing actual firearms (don’t want to attract the “zombies”, right?) and use M14 type rifles as their rifle pick.

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The CO2 cartridge holder with the key that torques the cartridges into the piercing mechanism.

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Besides the normal M14 type “mag catch” there is another catch below that one (on the back of the fake mag) to keep from having the CO2 holder fall onto the ground. The CO2 cartridges also operate the charging handle mechanism (yes, it reciprocates).

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The eight shot cylindrical magazine. There is an identical 8 shot cylinder on the other end of the magazine as well.

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16 shot magazine pictured

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The 16 shot magazine being placed into the mag well. The mag release is the button on the left side of the rifle, just below center (left side in picture) on the fake “Mag” that is pictured.

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Front sight in a standard military rifle configuration. It’s a little wide (approximately the width of a tritium M14 front sight), but I didn’t get it as a target rifle. I could easily file it down on both sides (it’s plastic) if I wanted more precision, but I also am keeping it’s intended use in perspective.

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The rear peep is plenty small enough for accurate shooting.

Some key points to remember. First, it’s not a target rifle, but is still pretty accurate. Two, it mimics enough of the features of the M14/M1A military rifle to make it beneficial in training (get an air rifle with controls like your defensive rifle), especially if you run an M1A (here’s just one AR version). Three, running on CO2 (buy them in bulk, $22 for 40), and pellets is still a lot cheaper than firing centerfire cartridges or even .22LR.

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Last, but not least on our list of things to cover is ammo. In this case, I can use either BB’s or .177 caliber pellets for either air gun I’ve mentioned (can’t do that in the high end pellet guns). I use the 7.4 grain pointed pellets for hunting with my 1377, and I use both the pointed pellets, and BB’s out of my “M14”. Considering that BB’s are about $3.50 for 2400, and the hunting pellets are almost $4 for 250, it makes sense to train with BB’s, and not hunting pellets. However, the “M14” is plenty accurate with the hunting pellets, in case I needed to use it to hunt with.

 

Do I have or use some of the higher end Gamo, Beeman, or RWS air rifles? No. I don’t have a problem with those kinds of air guns, and I’ve heard they shoot accurately, and are very hard hitting. For me, they just don’t fit into what I need an air rifle for. Those rifles are full size, full weight tools, and I don’t see myself hunting for small game with a full sized air rifle in my hands, while having a full sized defensive rifle on my back (don’t leave home without it in TEOTWAWKISTAN). As I said in the “Blackpowder” post, this is an option to go to instead of cartridge firearms, that is all. Options are choices. More choices make survival more certain.

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Gamo has earned a good reputation in the air rifle market. They are generally economical, durable tools that fit a niche in the preparations  of some Survivalists

For something around your retreat domicile, there is probably nothing better than one of the Gamo rifles I’ve seen advertised. I’ve heard from friends that they are super accurate. The velocity thing only goes so far (once you get above the speed of sound, you give up the quiet advantage of an air rifle). If that is what you’re looking for, This rifle from Gamo is probably the ticket in price, and capability. The description is a little misleading, since the 1200 fps velocity they are talking about is with PBA ammo (super light pellets), and it actually shoots lead pellets at around 1.000 fps, here’s the Gamo link. If I buy an air rifle of this type, this will probably be the one I buy.

This is just one more tool to think about for your preps. Do you have to have an air gun? No. Can it make certain situations more survivable? Yes, it can. Weigh your options (literally), and draw your own conclusions. As I’ve said many times, these are my experiences with the different tools I’ve discussed. Your mileage may vary.

JCD

"Parata Vivere"-Live Prepared.
The Riotgun And The Bayonet

The Riotgun And The Bayonet

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I was asked a while back if I thought a semi auto rifle like the AR or AK was a good “Anti riot” gun. My response was that although either of those rifles would do fine, I was a bigger fan of the 12 gauge shotgun, specifically one designed with an extended magazine, rifle sights, and is designed to mount a bayonet.

The individual started laughing and said “I don’t see myself doing a bayonet charge, Sarge.” To which I replied, “Do you know of any other firearm that is designed for close in defense, can fire non lethal ammo like rubber balls, pepper dust, or pepper balls in the same repeatable way you can with lethal ammo, can accurately hit and drop a man sized target at 100 meters, and can immediately and effectively disable a vehicle engine with accurate hits?” His answer was “No.”.

Is the shotgun the “be all end all” of fight stoppers? No. Is the shotgun the most versatile weapon available to the average consumer that might get caught in a riot situation? Yes. I have an old friend that had a guy come at him with a knife, and from about 20 feet away, his partner shot the guy in the center of the chest with a full power, 9 pellet, buckshot load. The guy survived the hit.

Three 590’s. Top-590A1 with MagPul stock set, Aimpro Tactical Rear ghosring/rail and Holosun solar red dot. Center- My original 590 bought in 1988. Bottom- 590 Shockwave.

The shotgun isn’t necessarily a “Death Dealer”, but it generally is a “Fight Stopper”. Do you think that shooting a rioter from 50 meters would be justified in a court of law? Probably not. Do you think you would be justified firing a “Pepper round” in that direction to redirect those individuals from coming in your direction? Maybe, maybe not, but you can show your intent to not shoot to kill someone unless absolutely necessary was there.

The pump shotgun can cycle all the less lethal ammo I know of at the same speed as a full power buckshot load, and that’s something that a semi auto shotgun cannot do. Are semi auto shotguns a bad choice? No, but the caveat is that you will have to hand cycle those less lethal rounds through your gun until it’s time to use the lethal option.

There is also something funny about a bad guy hearing that distinct click-clack of a pump shotgun’s action being cycled and it involuntarily causing their rear orifice to slam shut upon realizing what it is. I’ve seen grown men stop in there tracks, then turn and run away when hearing that sound. Let me tell you something, when you’re the guy it is covering, it is an awesome sound of relief.

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There are a number of good anti personnel buckshot loads out there. Everything from #4Buckshot (.24 caliber) to OOBuckshot (.33 caliber) and OOOBuckshot (.36 caliber) in either 2 3/4 inch standard or low recoil (usually has 8 or 9 OOBuck pellets instead of 9-12 OOBuck pellets in the standard load) or 3 inch magnum (up to 15 OOBuck  or 10 OOOBuck pellets). The #4 Buck has between 34 and 41 pellets in the load depending on if it’s a 2 3/4 or 3″ Magnum shell. OOBuck, OOOBuck and #4 Buck tend to be the most popular sizes of buckshot used, and most law enforcement and military ammo is OOBuck or slugs.

Aimpro Tactical Ghost ring aperture and rail with a Holosun solar red dot attached with a quick detach mount. Red dot zeroed at 50 meters, Ghost ring at 25 meters.

But JC, why would I need to have slugs available for a shotgun in a riot situation? Well, although I have practiced privately and professionally shooting a hostage drill scenario with buckshot, I would much rather take it with an accurate slug. I also would want to be able to fire slugs instead of buckshot at a car that was getting ready to ram a makeshift barricade in my neighborhood or my dwelling. In my riotguns (bead or ghostring sights), I use Brenneke slugs of both the 2 3/4 and 3 inch variety. Below is some ballistic info for both.

The black slug on the left is the Black Magic Magnum and weighs 1 3/8 oz. The lead slug/yellow wad on the right is the Brenneke K.O. and weighs 1 oz.

As said earlier, I suggested having the ability to mount a bayonet on your riotgun. But JC, that seems kinda ridiculous. Maybe, or maybe not. If multiple bad guys are coming through your front door, wouldn’t it be nice to not only have a blunt trauma capability (buttstroke), but a lethal force ability beyond just the shotgun shells in the magazine of the riotgun? So now we’ll talk about the Mossberg M590 nine-shot shotgun.

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This Stoner bayonet attaches to the sheath via a hole in the blade that lines up with a pivot point that protrudes at the bottom of the sheath.

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The wire cutter in the fully closed cutting position.

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The saw on the blade is actually more practical than the average survival knife saw.

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The sheath the Stoner bayonet has, incorporates a quick release belt attachment

 

I bought my first M590 back in ’88, and other than having to square up the angle on the end of action bars from doing a lot of shooting, I have never had any issues with any of the M590’s I own, even after many thousands of rounds fired through them. I also carried a M590 (18.5″ barrel, 6-shot) along with my M4 in Iraq, and never had a malfunction or concern about trusting my life to it.

Why am I a big fan of the M590? First, it has been the military issue shotgun for almost 30 years, and has seen a lot of use without much in the way of complaints. Second, I’m a lefty, and the safety is completely ambidextrous. This type of feature is a big deal, and not just to lefty’s. You should train to fire your long guns off of each shoulder, and having a safety that is able to be manipulated with either hand can be very helpful.

Accessories for my riotguns are generally pretty spartan. I won’t have a defense shotgun without a sidesaddle if it’s available for it. There are a number of different types of sidesaddles available now, but I can tell you that I have had one on mine for over 20 years, and it still works well. Next up is a light. I use the same light I use on all my long guns, and that is the Surefire G2 light with this pressure switch. I use a clamp designed to hold the light to the magazine tube.

One of my M590’s (pictured) has a Magpul stock and forearm. A Spec Ops shotshell pouch is attached to the side of the buttstock and holds 12 rounds of buckshot. I carry 6 slugs in the Sidesaddle. I would recommend that if you carry less lethal ammo for your riotgun, that you carry them (and only them) in that location. When you think about it, if you are carrying lethal ammo in the Sidesaddle, you have 21 rounds of buckshot, and 6 rounds of slugs, and that’s just on the gun.

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Finally, the bayonet. A Mossberg M590 will take any standard M16 bayonet. The bayonet I usually use is one I’ve had for decades. Some will recognize it as a bayonet designed by Gene Stoner for his rifles. It has the wire cutter device and a small tooth saw that is actually much better for that type of cutting than some of the other knife blade spine saws out there.

Do you need a Mossberg M590 with a bayonet? No. There are plenty of well made shotguns out there that will do well in that roll, but very few have the ability to attach a bayonet in it’s stock configuration. The Mossberg M590 is a good value for the money, and is one of the best deals on the market.

What about a rifle with a bayonet? Well, they are available, but unless you get something like an M1A with a standard stock configuration, performing the battery of arms for a bayonet drill with something like an AR15 requires you to relocate your firing hand from the pistol grip to the wrist of the buttstock. A standard M1A is a great rifle, and would perform as well or better than most other rifles in this role. The primary disadvantage of a rifle like a standard M1A is it’s size. In this case however, the M1A’s size might be a huge asset.

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Top is an M590. Bottom is a Match M1A. Both work very well with a bayonet attached, and make great blunt force weapons (buttstock) using the manual of arms for use of the bayonet. The scope on the M1A has a QD/ZH SEI mount, so taking it off and returning it to zero is not a problem.

Considering the situations that have presented themselves over the last few years, if you have not thought about how to handle things like a riot in your neighborhood, you are lacking in a realistic perspective for preparedness. When they want what you have, all they have to do is wait for something to happen to give them the “excuse” (it doesn’t have to be right or make sense to us, they just need the media or liberals to forward it as “righteous”, correct?).

A lot of guys will try to make out that “Old School” doesn’t work simply because it’s “Old School”. Riots ARE “Old School”, and discounting techniques or equipment because they are not “High Speed” is ridiculous, and the sign someone fixated on what’s popular, not what’s useful. Right or wrong, Robert Roger’s Standing Orders are just as valid in context today as they were when he wrote them in the 1750’s. Keep that in mind when you are evaluating equipment and techniques for defending yourself and your loved ones.

JCD,

"Parata Vivere"-Live Prepared.
Raising Kids With The Survivalist Mindset

Raising Kids With The Survivalist Mindset

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This was taken the day before my first deployment after having children.

One of the toughest and most rewarding jobs you can have is raising a child from infancy to adulthood, and finding out that you “Did it right”. When my children were born, the biggest thing I remember thinking was how much greater a sense of love and protectiveness I felt for them than I had ever imagined I could. While raising them, there have been many lessons I’ve learned, but I think the greatest one was that of teaching them how to think, not what to think, and how to figure things out for themselves.

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Make Survivalist oriented things fun for them.

As much as we’d like to indoctrinate our children, giving them the freedom to come to their own conclusions about different topics is prerequisite to setting them up for success. The biggest hurdle is being a good example and living “what you preach”. You can say whatever you like, but if your actions don’t reflect what you’ve said, it will eventually fall on deaf ears (especially with teenagers), and maybe even push them in the opposite direction.

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Top, Bryco “Jennings Jr”, Center “Red Ryder”, Bottom is a Cabelas double barrel cap gun

My children started shooting at the age of 3. Initially, they started out with a Bryco “Jennings Jr.” .22LR (I used a .22, because they could cock the action themselves, Red Ryders were too difficult) shooting Aguila Colibri rounds at cans 15 feet away (kids love and I believe need the immediate feedback of reactive targets, especially at that age).

Around 6, they received “Red Ryders”, and were able to go on their own mini safaris while camping or in the back yard. At the age of 10, they both started with an M4 (low recoil, adjustable stock and I have the .22 kit for it) and a Springfield XD 9mm (high capacity, smallish grip, and I like the grip safety for kids). By the time they reached the age of 12, they could put many an adult to shame with their shooting ability.

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Many a “hunt” they took their “Doubles” on.

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Getting ready for the “Big Hunt” in the back yard.

Safety started with Cabelas toy side by side cap shotguns at 4 years old (they didn’t walk around the house with any “gun”, toy or otherwise, before that) These toy guns had a working safety and cartridges that could be loaded and unloaded, and if they were playing with them, a surprise inspection better show they were in a safe condition.

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Kids love those reactive targets with the Red Ryder or the .22LR.. “Enemy bottles, 12 O’clock!”

By the time they received their M4’s and Springfield XD 9mm’s, they were about as safe as one can be in handling a firearm (Muzzle, Trigger, Safety). They have continued to practice and get better over the years, and I have never had to worry about whether they were safe (the most important aspect of firearms training) when given a loaded firearm.

From 10 to 12 years of age, they never did any rapid fire shooting with any semi automatic (but they sure wanted to!). Slow aimed fire was the rule (only hits count, right?), so when they finally got to the point of being able to rapid fire, they always hit the target they shot at.

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100 Meter practice with the M4

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First time rapid fire with the xd. 6 shots, 5 hits at 15 meters

When it comes to survival firearms training, it is important to give them experience on all types of weapons. My children have learned to use most military and civilian type (actions) firearms, simply because you never know what you might pick up and have to use in an emergency.

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Springfield Model 1922 .22LR

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Shooting the AKMS

I have given my children training in basic Small Unit Tactics (they have gone through the same stuff I teach in the Rural Buddy Team Essentials Course [RBTEC].) They have learned the basics of wilderness survival, simply because it is the most basic individual survival skill a person should know. Even if you are anti-violence, ant-gun, an ExCon or whatever, you should know how to survive in the woods.

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Down time during a Survival class.

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Practicing patrolling techniques

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If you can combine survival skills with having fun, what’s not to love?

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Cuz deer is yummy, and huntin’ is fun, right?

Although teaching good habits and solid techniques with firearms and other survival skills is important, we have to know how to keep it in perspective, or you will make them sick of it and probably grow to hate it. I am not really a “sports guy”, but I understand it is important to give kids a sense of camaraderie and “team”. Being involved in sports is a good way for them to do that. Another thing about the sports stuff that is important is requiring that they keep it in perspective in regards to what’s really important in life.

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When you’re 5, and one of your favorite movies is “Blackhawk Down”, and you’re going on a Halloween “Op”.

I always encourage my kids to find out why something is the way it is. Don’t take anything earthly on blind faith. Question what is the truth, and toss out things that don’t stand up to realistic scrutiny. Do they sometimes question things that I tell them? Sure, what kids don’t? Do I give them places to go to find the same truths I did? Most definitely. That’s my job. Another thing I have stressed is learning the history of where we’ve been as a nation specifically, and the world in general.

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Teaching them our national history has a huge part in giving them direction. You can’t know where you are going if you don’t know where you’ve been, right?

If you give your kids a solid foundation that includes personal survival skills, understanding how the real world works, and to always be prepared for the worst outcome happening, while still hoping for the best. You will have given your children something upon which to build a lifestyle that exudes confidence, and is free of a lot of the fears the average person has about their future.

A Survivalist should be someone people look to in a time of trouble. They are people who can be decisive because they have the confidence that only being prepared gives them. They have prepared and thought through the possibilities and the probabilities of future bad situations, and they have a plan for the continuity of their lives during those situations. Don’t we owe our children that?

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Back from a deployment…….AGAIN!

Don’t be a talker, be a DOER! Back up what you say with an example that endorses your words. These are just some thoughts I have based on how things have gone with my first two children. My Wife (WMD) and I actually have one on the way now, and what I’ve written about above will be the exact way our next child will be raised. This is the least that we owe the future generations.

JCD

"Parata Vivere"-Live Prepared.