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#48178 - 09/05/05 07:53 PM Rifle, low maintenance but reliable

I am not an expereinced hunter or outdoorsman, but I do believe in being as prepared as possibe. My main focus when researching/buying items for preparedness is low maintenance. I feel that I or people I'm with will have very little time and be in very poor conditions for maintaining and caring for our goods. In my opinion, in an emergency situation, the time and materials needed for maintenance and care of most items will not be available. As an example, for a sidearm I chose the H & K USP 9, due to its safety (dropped loaded and cocked w/ safety off onto the hammer from 6' onto concrete repeatedly without firing), performance in adverse conditions (submersed in mud for 7 days, withdrawn and immediately fired 10 times with no reduction in accuracy or performance), and ruggedness (fired with obstruction lodged in barrel, then fired again, with minimal reduction in accuracy; also fired 10,000 in succession with no adverse results). Assuming this, I was hoping for advice/feedback on the following:

- I would like to have a rifle for larger game hunting/protection, and have been told a .22 caliber would not bring down anything larger than a rabbit. I have a read a lot that makes this seem true. Do you have any advice on a minimum caliber and possibly make/model of something that would perform best after extended use with very little maintenance/cleaning (ie. a hunting rifle with the same stress-testing qualities as the H & K)?

- I very much like the idea of the "double gun" (I hope I'm using that correctly, when there's shotgun barrel or two along with a rifle barrel). Is there a make/model that excels in low care performance, or is this combo similar to most other multi-function items; the more it can do, the crappier each function is?

- It seems to me that a couple things to stay on course with are materials used in construction (with synthetics favored over wood where there's a choice) and a caliber that is most universal. If I'm reading other forums right, this seems to be the 30.06 caliber. It would also b a good idea if it is relatively foolproof and ambidexterous, in case others in my party become the owner of the gun

If this is the type of thing where some aspect is always a trade-off with another aspect, I'd like the reliability even with no maintenance to be at the top of the list. I don't mind spending the money for a superb quality item, it just needs to be worth it. After about 2,500 rounds out of the USP 9, I can see I made the right decision with that. A comparable longarm, and I believe I'll have the solid projectiles category finished up but good.

Thanks for all your time, everyone, and for your participation on this website.

#48179 - 09/05/05 09:53 PM Re: Rifle, low maintenance but reliable
Chris Kavanaugh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/09/01
Posts: 3824
Two classic responses to this classic question: what exactly do you perceive putting holes into and why? Combination arms are always more expensive and are restricted to a single round in each barrel. The .30-06 is a very versatile round, and also one that takes training to use. Within the parameters of your criteria the various Browning and Winchester reproductions of the 1895 lever action will work. personally, I would stop worrying about cartridge availability. If you are going to drag 10 odd pounds of firearm around it makes no sense not to have 5+ boxes of ammunition for it on hand. Ask a WW2 vet who lugged an M1 Garand how many rounds he used daily with people shooting back at him. Gunfights simply are not all day affairs with brass piling around your ankles like a B17 waist gunner and if you can't down a large game animal in 2 rounds you will be cooking snails anyway.This opens up a whole new world of candidates. A superb firearm for self defense and hunting in abysmal conditions is the british SMLE. You have 10 rounds of a relatively mild cartridge that can be loaded to handle the biggest canadian moose and bear- which it does. The thing was built to survive the filth of trench warfare in WW1 and most importantly, a nice specimen may be had for pocket change compared to a brand new rifle. This saves a whole pile of money for all that other stuff I hope your assembling also. Sleeping bags and rainponchos are never as exciting as a knife or sidearm, but I'd rather have them anyday over my own coastal artillary battery.

#48180 - 09/05/05 11:06 PM Re: Rifle, low maintenance but reliable
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2823
My parents farm has used a .22 short to butcher cattle for generations and it usually brings the cow down on one shot. I have killed whitetail deer with a .22 hornet (minimum legal caliber in WV and first deer hunting rifle dad bought me when I was a kid). So I think it is quite possible to take down animals larger than a rabbit with a .22. The .22 hornet I have is a sawp for a shotghun barrel where you have to take out a screw and pull the barrel of and replace the other barrel with it and screw it back on. Kind of a PITA for a "survival" rifle. I still prefer my semi auto .22, If the first shot wouldn't take something down I could fill it full of 17 more. Gun and ammo are both lightweight compared to something like dads 30-06, I carried it for a day one deer season and was quite sore from the weight.

#48181 - 09/05/05 11:52 PM Re: Rifle, low maintenance but reliable

Having been around when cattle were being killed, I hate that "usually" put them down part of your message.

I think Chris is right on. A good combi gun is great in its place. One of my favorites is a savage 24 in 222 over 20. To go the other way, a good 'battle rifle' like the Enfield, Springfeild, or one of the many Mausers is nearly indestructable, and shoots a very competent round.

There was a firm that was retro-fitting SMLEs for a while, and I should have snagged one when I had the chance. They informed me that they can get no more raw product from Britain.

Go to a big gun shop, and ask if they have any military bolt guns.

But like Chris said, you need to decide what you are going to need to shoot. With all due respect, I would not rely upon a 22 Hornet for a deer, unless I knew I was good enough to guarantee a head shot. I am, but once a doe moved at just the wrong time, and I shot off her jaw with a Nosler out of a .257 Roberts. There ensued a very, very long day that was more painful for her than me, but which nonetheless hurt me in body and soul.

#48182 - 09/06/05 12:14 AM Re: Rifle, low maintenance but reliable
harrkev Offline

Registered: 09/05/01
Posts: 384
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO
Something like this looks pretty interesting...


30-06/308/223 for deer, 12 gauge for all manner of smaller critters. If you also add a .22 pistol, such as a Ruger Mk II, you should be ready to bag almost any game that you can imagine.

Of course, these are not any good for the targets that are trying to shoot you. I guess that there is no such thing as one "super-gun" than is perfect for defensive use, as well as being able to bag ANYTHING that is edible.

But the spartan looks like one of the most versatile food-getters around.
Darwin was wrong -- I'm still alive

#48183 - 09/06/05 01:01 AM Re: Rifle, low maintenance but reliable

.223 Remington for white tail? Irrr..... OK, I'm better now.

.223 is just not suitable for white tail unless you are talking one of the tiny subspecies that you find on islands and such. It doesn't have the energy on target you need to put it down and not destroy a bunch of meat. A .30-30 or 7.62x39mm is really the lightest I like. You can go smaller, but it has to be faster; .243/6mm is about the smallest bore I'm likely to suggest.

In those weights, I suggest for most people a box-fed (detachable or internal, doesn't matter) pump or bolt action with a barrel not much over 20". If you want to go ultra-light, a good break action IS lighter, but it's defensive applications are very limited. (You picked a USP for your sidearm, so I'm guessing you want something with a defensive role.)

That being said, looking for deer might not be the best use of your time. You are more likely to find something smaller. There are ways to do this with a bigger rifle- adaptor cartridges, which let you fire a lower powered, usually pistol, cartridge of the same caliber from a bigger cartridge's chamber. .30-caliber is pretty much a must now. For example, I have adaptors for .30 Carbine into a .308, and 30 Mauser/Tokarev in .30-06. Or you can get someone to light load something for you. But, you will never have the right found in the chamber, and small game will be gone by the time you have the right one in. And adaptors have little finicky, easily lost bits, while cold loads look pretty much the same as a normal load.

Instead, I suggest a good .22. I own an AR-7, and I like it, but I accept it isn't as accurate. If I have the bulk, I'm more likely to select a simple bolt action .22LR or possibly a .22 Magnum. .22WMR would give you bunnies, woodchucks, muskrat on the beach, and the like.

And both of them are better if they hit in a fight than if you miss with a better round. .22 is a fraction of the cost of a the bigger centerfire rounds, which means you can practice more.

The best compromise round would be a hotter handgun round in a carbine. I like .44Mag, but other than the Ruger bolt action carbine, AFAIK there is only lever actions and breaks in this round. (Sorry, I just don't have the same faith in lever actions for durability as a lot of people do.) With a good softpoint, it will thump deer and small bear out to 50m, and if you can head shot or have lighter rounds you can bag bunnies and the like easily enough. (I might have the bunny round in the chamber, then the hotter one under it, so for bigger, slower, easier to hit things, you have a proper round pretty much at hand. But you have the same problem with the rounds looking a lot alike.)

#48184 - 09/06/05 02:05 AM Re: Rifle, low maintenance but reliable
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2823
That was a .22 short remember not an LR so it has a lot less power and sometimes the cow would move at the last second or once it had a real thick skull but for the most part a short was plenty so an LR would have no problem.
.22 hornet was fine, one was a shoulder shot and the other was a head shot. I have heard some saying that the normal 30-06 is too high powered for most deer as it destroys a lot of the meat, my little .22 hornet downed both just fine and last years head shot wasn't bad considering it had been 15 years since I shot a gun. I wouldn't mind having something more for deer hunting but have a list of things to buy that is too long already so I just realize the limitations of what I have and don't shoot unless I'm fairly close.

#48185 - 09/06/05 02:24 AM Re: Rifle, low maintenance but reliable
UTAlumnus Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/08/03
Posts: 998
Loc: East Tennessee near Bristol
Have you seen the Velocitors from CCI? 183 muzzle ft-lbs in .22LR

#48186 - 09/06/05 04:57 AM Re: Rifle, low maintenance but reliable

Re: meat destruction -- that's why I do head shots. I haven't hunted for horns in over 30 years.

This whole issue of survival weapons is kind of misplaced, I think.

The selection of a proper weapon begins with (1) training, goes to (2) environment, and ends with (3) intended target

If you are asking this question, you aren't trained to shoot people, so scratch that except REAL close and last ditch. Where do you want to kill something? what range? Finally, what for you want to kill?

Honestly, you can find extremes of position on ballistic adequacy all over the place. A 22 Hornet on deer is, sorry, an extrenme position. By some minds, so is a .223, but because of bullet selection, not because of other factors.

In my environment, if you want to feed yourself with a gun, it is going to be with birds, or sqirrel, or rabbit. Deer you can do, but don't count on it ever day in every way.

#48187 - 09/06/05 12:09 PM Re: Rifle, low maintenance but reliable
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2823
I don't hunt for horns either, both I have gotten were doe.
22 Hornet is not extreme, I have known people who have taken plenty of deer with less, I have an uncle who is fits the stereotype WV'ian, he lives on his place back in the woods, in a house build with his own hands from trees he cut himself, hunts and fishes whenever he needs food weather its in season or not, the local DNR knows him and knows hes not hunting for horns either hes lived that way for years and doesn't hurt anyone so they overlook it. He has taken quite a few deer with a plain old .22lr, but then again hes a one bullet kill guy and never misses. He was talked into going to a national shooting competition one time when it come to WV and had never competed before but took first place.
Anyway a .22 hornet is certianly better than the shotgun slugs which is all that is leagal here in OH, those things I'd swear you could reach out your hand and catch the slug they are so slow and low powered.

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