AR-15 A2 Civilian M16A2 as a Basic and Reliable Survival Rifle

by Ranger Man on March 8, 2011

I’ve already said I think the AR-15 is the best survival rifle. I’m not trying to rehash that debate now. I’m saying I particularly like the AR-15 in the A2 configuration, because it’s basic and reliable. The AR platform provides an opportunity to easily customize your rifle. The “M16 A2″ style is an older configuration that basically means a full stock, fixed carry handle style upper receiver and a 20″ barrel. It screams “basic training.”

The “A2″ style also includes specific sights, barrel type and other features. I’m not getting into all of those details, but some AR enthusiasts will ask why I like the A2 when, for roughly the same money, I could instead get a basic “M4 A3″ style configuration that could more easily be modified to accept additional features, something more like this:

I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with that argument. The M4 A3 configuration pictured above is lighter and shorter; more versatile and easily carried. The carry handle unscrews to more easily mount optics. I visited one online gun store and, as of right now, one could buy a new Bushmaster in the A2 configuration for $860.00. A new Bushmaster in the M4 configuration is $884.00.

Call me nostalgic, but I still like the A2 and I think it’s a great choice for someone without a basic rifle. These are the advantages to the A2:

  • It’s meaty – it feels like a rifle.
  • It’s solid – there are fewer moving parts in the sights and stock.
  • It’s balanced – the collapsible stock on the M4 is lighter than the full stock, making the M4 front heavy.
  • It’s affordable (if you can call $860 affordable) – an AR-15 gun purchase can quickly rob your wallet for more than just the rifle. Once you start upgrading stocks, sights, optics, etc. you may get stuck with Black Rifle Disease and risk ruining your marriage because you think getting that new flash suppressor is more important than taking your wife out to dinner.
  • It’s a classic.

The A2 provides a great opportunity to learn the basic rifle marksmanship on a modern platform. If you are considering an A2, there are a few extras I’d recommend. This is what I see as a basic A2 package:

Aquality range bag with numerous pockets for magazines, tools, cleaning equipment, etc.
Brifle sling
Cfield repair kit that fits inside the stock
Dsmall M16 technical manual
E – standard magazine
F – ammo (Lake City 62 grain pictured)
Gbasic bipod that easily screws on and off

If you are buying one, there are only a few modifications I’d make from the standard A2. I’d upgrade the grip to something you like, I’d have the feed ramps extended and polished, I’d get a barrel with a 1/7 barrel twist (not 1/9) to better stabilize larger sized 5.56 bullets, competition front post, and I’d upgrade the flash suppressor to the phantom style with closed bottom port. You might want a sight adjustment tool and I recommend this book, AR-15/M16/M4 marksmanship book pictured (and linked to) here:

The book is only 5 dollars more than the small technical manual and is far more thorough and reader friendly. You would be crazy to spend over $800 on a rifle and not spend $25 on a book that describes the ins and outs of it and its operation.

- Ranger Man

BTW: Thanks to the person(s) that used the Amazon search bar in the right sidebar recently for their online shopping. It’s a great way to support the costs associated with maintaining this site.

Roger Ebert March 8, 2011

What happened to the movie review of the film named Collapse?? It was here just moments ago ….

Ranger Man March 8, 2011

Easy come, easy go. I re-scheduled it for next week. Besides, what are you doing up that early on the West Coast?

Jason March 8, 2011

One of those days of little sleep …

Spook45 March 8, 2011

I have never really liked the AR platform. I built one for “situational lagistics” for ammo, mags, and surplus add ons because there is so much available for the platform. Now that Ive had one for a while, I will admit that it has grown on me. The ergonomics are the best thing(provided your right handed) and the manipulations and uses that have been developed from a tactile stand point are really good. They give you lots of tools to work with in a variety of situations. Like any platform, It does have its down sides. The small bullet weights are somewhat less traumatic and longer ranges(say out past 300 yrds) but its accuracy is unriveled in such a light weight and comfortable system. I have two now, one for traveling light with and aimpoint and a ms2 tac sling and the other is outfitted like a spotters weapon with a long range scope and some other specialty items. While I prefer larger calibers like 308, The AR is a more than formitable weapon.

russell120 March 8, 2011

I also prefer the 308.

But if you are looking for a truely basic rifel to start on, why would you start with a black-style military style weapon. If you are in the military, and they are going to train you on their dime: sure. But for civlians? Seems pricey.

Seems like there are any number of nice bolt actions to get your start in, including in 556.

jarhead03 March 8, 2011

I own an A2 configuration because it is the civilian counterpart to what I carried in the infantry and know it better than any other weapons system and even if you loose ballistics out at 500 yard/meters it will still put a hurt or drop someone and you have time to bug out and that’s without a scope. My rifle has a 4X scope that I can remove at anytime. I also picked up a CA legal M4 version for my nephew and since that all you can pick up in California now days and since it only cost $200 more than a 16″ barrel would have it was worth it. I now have a back up and can switch out many parts if needed and I have a 24″ barrel for longer ranges or cleaner 500 yard shots with a 10X scope.

Anonymous March 8, 2011

After spending two days in ROTC learning marksmanship with an m16, I can’t wait to get my hands on an AR-15. Unfortunately there’s plenty of things that take priority right now. I don’t have $800 to spend on a rifle right now and I can’t have one till I move anyway.

Spook45 March 8, 2011

Dont buy one, Build one. Anyone who can follow basic instructions for a toy or erector set etc, can asemble and AR. ITs legal(federal) provided you follow basic rules(same as you can leagally buy) and you can build one for around 650 that is better than what you buy for 800. Check local laws for state regs or ordinances before hand but you can find the fed issues right on hte ATF website. They move it from time to time to make it hard to find but it is legal and fun. For some basic info check out M&A Parts in Zurich IL. That is where I bought both oof my kits to build mine. Basicly you get a kit with everything but the lower receiver(the part with the numbers that gets the background chk etc) and you can buy that at you local gun shop or a show. They do the BG chk just like your buying a whole gun. They range in price(by brand a quality) from as low as $69 up to a cpl of hundred. Most are around the $100 mark. Just look it up and follow the rules. You can find intel on this on AR15.com

Ranger Man March 8, 2011

Interesting, I just did a quick web search and found one could be built with a chrome lined barrel for roughly $710.00 (that includes stripped lower and shipping). That is for the basics. Figure in a roughly $30 FFL check and you can get one for about $740.00. Is that worth the savings to assemble it yourself? To each his/her own. You’d certainly gain more experience with the rifle that way, but it’s possible you might bust a few of the small springs, etc. in the learning process. I think you’ll also need specific gunsmithing tools which will drive the cost up.

Spook45 March 8, 2011

I have less than 700 in each of mine in just the rifle. One midlength I built on a DPMS Lower. My Carbine is built on a superior arms lower(its cool, it has an adj screw under the grip that takes most of the creep out of the standard ar trigger). In the carbine, I actually only have about 450 out of pocket in it. I got an SKS real cheap, fixed it up and sold it for 300, then I put some with that and bought my kit and lower. When it was all done, with what i had actually spent, I was only in about 450. But, yea most lowers are around 100 and our BGC ony cost ten dollars and the kit is right around 500. I dont do chrome lining cuz im not shootin full auto or corosive ammo. I can sand bag a 3 hole group at 100 yrds thathas just enough deviation to tell its three holes. They are both milspec so everything fits. No way I will ever buy an AR when I can build for under 650. You can also go down another hundred if you can find a local dealer. Plum Crazy is doing a complete lower for $119 that poly. then buy one of the on-sale uppers from JSE Surplus sales for around 350(complete) and just pin it together.

Ranger Man March 8, 2011

This sounds like a prime topic for a post “how to get/build a low cost AR-15.” Want to write it as a guest post? If so, might as well submit as an entry to the Safecastle competition. Send me an email if you’re interested.

ChefBear58 March 9, 2011

I agree, if you have time to write it Spook, I for one would be extremely interested in reading it! I hope you can, cause I am having a hell of a time trying to find everything I need to have the rifle I want!

russell1200 March 9, 2011

I agree. This would be an interesting post.

Jason March 9, 2011

Do it Spook!

I agree as well, it would be a very cool post.

Box Trap March 10, 2011

just wondering, but is there any whay that you could attempt this with an AK model?

Ranger Man March 10, 2011

C’mon, Spook – the masses are screaming for a guest post! Go Spook! Go Spook! Go Spook!

Jarhead Survivor March 8, 2011

I trained on the M16 as well and have no problem hitting a man sized target at 500 meters. If I were to buy one of these bad boys it would be in the A2 configuration. I can still field strip one of these in less than a minute. (The last time I did it a few years back.)

Spook45 March 8, 2011

I prefer an A3 flavor flattop. You can add the carry handle if thats the sight you like, but with the FT you can hv a flip up rear sight(lots of diff.types) that cowitness with your red dot or other optics. My lil carbine is quik! You can run BEO up close and if you hv to take a fine bead and make a long shot you can always go old fashion(dom eye only fine sighting) and the cool thing is that if your electronic sight takes a hit or dies, just flip up your BUIS and let fly! I love the aimpoint cuz of battery life and ease of use.

sanityjones March 8, 2011

I own a couple of both the A-2 and M-4 A-3 models as each has its benefits. My A-2 are pretty basic 1:9, 16 inch barrels, fixed stocks, and the only additions are a tactical sling and Trijicon front and rear sights. My M4geries on the other hand are built more for LPOP use……….EoTech 557 w/magnifiers all on flip to side mounts, Harris bi-pods, tactical sling, PVS 14′s with quick connect mounts, Fail Zero bolts, one with a 16″ and the other a 14″ barrel. I shoot only Lake city 62 grain ammo and the 1:9 twist rate on the barrels is sufficient to shoot 1.5 MOA on a good day from the bench. I consider the A-2 to be my grab and go rifle; it’s simple, lightweight, and I don’t have to worry about scratches, dings, etc. I consider the AR platform chambered in .556 to be a great weapons system inside three hundred yards, and quite capable out to 500 yds or so, however for the longer shots I prefer the AR platform in .308. Out of many thousands of rounds fired through my .223′s I have only had two FTF issues and they were both due to bad primers in the ammo. I also ran 1,000 rounds through one of my AR’s without any cleaning with zero FTF issues. (It did go through a set of gas rings however). As far as reliability and dependability go the AR is my weapon of choice, but then I know it’s limitations and I do not shoot junk ammo.

Spook45 March 8, 2011

I LOVE junk ammo! I hv seen a lot of ARs that wont run it, mine will run it. Its a digester, eats anythingI put in it. I like to keep a stache of wolf around for training purposes(shoot it and leave it on the ground) When I got my first one I ran a grand thru it before I cleaned it. I had only two failures due to dented cases(had some IMI seconds) other than that it ran flawlessly. I also use the McFarland one pc gas ring to eleminate FF due to gas leakage from alignment. Its a $5 answer to a million dollar question!

sanityjones March 8, 2011

Thanks for the tip on the gas rings, I’ll check it out. My biggest beef with junk ammo is I will not be using it in a life/death situation therefore I will not train with it. It also tends to be dirtier than LC and I like to spend more time shooting, less time cleaning. Thirdly I do not get the same accuracy from Wolf, (or even 55 grain LC FMJ) as with the LC 62′s. If I wanted to hit garbage cans at 100 yards I’d have bought an AK, LOL. The reason I bring up the 100o round test is to discredit those who consider the AR15 to be overly sensitive to dirt and grime due to the close tolerances of the machining. Yes it has it’s limitations, however, a proper understanding of those goes a long way in the reliability and enjoyment of the AR platform rifles.

Spook45 March 8, 2011

It is dirtier, but ballistically it performs about the same and its way cheaper to train with. MidwayUSA sell the gas rings for about 3.85 ea the last time I looked. They are not too hard to find and the proof is in the performance some big names have started putting them in thier guns from the factory. I think Olypic was the first and them Armalite started doing it. Now several makers are doing it from the factory. IT is well worth the money and all you have to do is get it started on the tail of the bolt and spin it/thread it on. You actually get an extra gas ring out of it due to over laps from the tails on each end.

Spook45 March 8, 2011

The AK gets a bad wrap for accuracy because people believe that crap and dont shoot it like a rifle. I hv a freaind who built his own on a nodak spud reciever(a lil more technical due to 922(r) compliance etc) and we took it to the range and spent several hours tweeking the sights. By the end of the day he was hitting a man sized target at 400 yards consistantly. That was with open sights, now I will admit that was not groups like I get with my AR, but still all in at 400 yards is off the chain for an AK!

sanityjones March 8, 2011

LOL, agreed. I actually shoot the AK quite a bit, however do not own any. In fact a friend of mine builds them therefore I get lots of free shooting. He swore he would never own an AR until I showed him what the M4 is actually capable of…….plus there are far better optics available for the AR. You are correct though……….the AK is a fine rifle for any combat situation and is comparable to the Glock as far as harsh conditions and reliability go. I would not pretend that I can shoot my AR after it’s dropped in the muck and stomped on a few time………you can do that with an AK, and still make your mark. The AK has the advantage as far as cost goes as well……..I can nearly buy two AK’s and 1k rounds of ammo for the price of one AR and 1k rounds. Believe it or not if I could only have one caliber for every need I would choose the .22 mag.

Suburban Survivalist March 8, 2011

I like AR ergos but hate DI. After a lot of research, my brothers and I went with the Ruger Mini-14 Tactical (newer models with thicker barrels and no accuracy issues like the older versions). AK-like reliability & durability (long-stroke piston), now close to AR accuracy, eats any ammo (we tried about six types), and just over $600 delivered (via CDNN). Downsides are mags that cost $25 and mounting optics (comes with Ruger rings, but I prefer a rail). We use the Mini-14 for out to 300 yards use scoped Mosin Nagants for shots further out.

Spook45 March 8, 2011

I luv the mini, its a great platform that has proven itself over a long life. My only issue with it is the cost and availability of good mags. As for the Nagant, mine is not much more than entertainment. It hits in hte same place everytime, the KY windage is just too much it hits low and left nad the sights are just not very good. I would have to make EXTREME mods to get it to hit accurately. I wouldnt want otrely on it to make a shot that matters. My 300winmag on the other hand….

lumberjok March 8, 2011

I considered building a rifle from parts then gave up on it when I found I could get the DPMS Lite 16 ready to shoot right out of the box. I had a gun shop order it for me last fall and it came in just a tad shy of $700. This is my third DPMS rifle the other 2 are a bull barrelled .223 and a .243. All three of them will fire any ammo fed to them. With factory ammo all three will group one inch at 100 yds (tighter still with handloads).

For flat out fun you can’t beat the SKS….cheap to buy and shoot and both mine will group 3 inches at a hundred yds…which is more than enough to blow up old porcelain toilets.

This has been the experience of this card carrying Maine redneck.
Your mileage may vary.

Anonymous March 8, 2011

The SKS is a great rifle for having fun and hunting. I use it in the California desert and mountains for everything from coyote, deer and even a few wild pigs. I have mine (much to some friends disapproval) painted in a desert camo and another stock in a woodland both wood stocks I had shaved and sanded down to fit my grip when shooting. Your right on cost, at the gun shows I pay about $4.00 per 20 rounds buying in bulk compared to $7.00 on .223 per 20 buying in bulk. Happy hunting!

Jason March 8, 2011

My paintball gun looks exactly like an M4 & I can hit a moving target with extreme accuracy at 50 yards. I’ve got it tricked out with an electronic trigger, sights & other gems.

I figure if the SHitsTF & someone breaches my walls in a quest for food, I’ll set it on full auto and blast away. When they get a hopper or two of welts, they’ll retreat. If they are dumb enough to come back with reinforcements, I’ll get my 18 year old son set up in an elevated position and will triangulate our fields of fire.

They’ll never know what hit them …. yea, we’ll kick ass.

Anonymous #2 March 8, 2011

Really?

Jason March 8, 2011

Absolutely, and if the paintballs are frozen …. oooo-wee they really hurt.

Point being, they get the message & you don’t risk prison time. I’ve been in Soledad State Maximum Security Prison (playing football against the inmates) & would not want to be there on an extended stay. Showering with Bubba & the boys is not a pretty picture.

Anonymous #2 March 9, 2011

Point taken *shudders* just thought you were jokeing and wanted to be sure.

Anonymous March 8, 2011

If that’s a joke LOL. If not *shakes head*

3rdMan March 8, 2011

Just ignore Jason everyone else does!

Jason March 9, 2011

Good one 3rdMan …. and the trombones rang out –

waah, waah, waah, waaaaahhhh …..

3rdMan March 9, 2011

Hahahaha!

Jason March 9, 2011

I’m glad you got it, I was laughing when I saw your response! Good man -

ChefBear58 March 8, 2011

Jason, the paintball idea is actually not a terrible one if you are looking for a less-than-lethal option. I have a Tipman 98 and a Spyder sniper edition, which I plan to load with “pepper balls” post SHTF. From what I hear they are even effective on bears and feral dogs. I bought the “pepper-balls” at a gun show, I got a really good price for them cause I haggled the guy down (500/$120). They might not be legal in your area, some towns/counties/states reserve their use/possession/purchase to law enforcement personnel. I have seen them used for “crowd control” on one occasion, they seemed to be very effective. Just be sure to treat the “pepper-balls” with care and wash your hands a few times after handling them, I even use some Go-Jo just to be sure.

ANYONE-
I am saving to purchase an AR 15, so far I have about $250 put aside for it (but buying my girl a handgun for CCW is the next firearm purchase for me!). Does anyone know of a good AR with a 1/7 barrel twist that is mil-spec for around $600-$800? I have been looking around at a few gun shops and websites, but I haven’t really been able to find many customer reviews/feedback (other than the company propaganda) on the products I liked.

ChefBear58 March 8, 2011

I forgot to mention- I am looking for a basic starter rifle, I don’t need a bunch of fancy features or “bells & whistles”. Just a basic mil-spec rifle is what I am looking for. I have no problem building it from a kit, and would probably prefer it.

3rdMan March 8, 2011

I think you would have to built one for that price. The only one I know of that runs the 1/7 built is Colt and they start around 1,100 new if you can find one. Most run the 1/9 which will handle most ammo until you start getting above 69g than you might want a 1/7 twist. But this is just my opinion and you know what they say about opinions!

ChefBear58 March 9, 2011

Most of what I have seen is 1/9, Colt and Bravo Co. are the only brands I have found with the 1/7 that caught my eye, but like you said they are a bit on the pricey side. I want a 1/7 so that I can effectively fire any rounds I come across, including the heavier ones. From what I have read the tighter rifling helps to improve accuracy as well, who in their right mind wouldn’t want a more accurate firearm… unless they are facing the “business end” of course!

Just a thought if anyone can answer I would be appreciative!
If I build an AR 15, can I put any brand of barrel/upper on it?
I read an article by a guy called “Mr. Smashy” on Survival Cache, which said that as long as the parts are all Mil-Spec they should fit up without any issues. Has anybody tried building a “mutt gun”?

**Somewhat related- I am watching a pretty decent show on history channel right now, it’s called “High Impact M-16″. It has traced the design, testing and deployment of the M-16, and it even went a little into the adoption of the AR 15 by law enforcement. It’s pretty interesting if anyone is interested in the history of the firearm, and goes into a lot of the problems that almost ended it’s military career.

Spook45 March 9, 2011

Del -Ton puts out some kits where you can get the 1/7twist, I dont like it I stick with 1/9. You can cheack with model 1 sales, they have lots of options but I hear thier customer service is for the birds, IDK Id otn do business there. I would recommend M&A Parts. The ydo great business and have good customer service and I think you can get the 1/7 as an option(cost slightly more) They use wilson match chromoly barrels unless other wise stated or asked for. They have a lot of add on options that will save you a few bux if you do when you order(they just swap it out in thier shop and charge for the diff) They use LMT uppers and inners and LMT is top of the food chain high quality. You can check out Coffin Arms in Cookville TN. They do good business, I know several people whpo have gotten kits from them and they are good stuff. That guy is a DoubleStar dealer and he realy knows his stuff. No website tho, email is :coffinarmms@twlakes.net and phone is :931-881-5701 good folks. Seems I saw him a while back and he had some 1/7 stuff on the table. Happy HUnting!

Spook45 March 9, 2011

Sorry, morning typing. Thats one m in coffinarms.

Jarhead03 March 9, 2011

I have an Olympic Arms model of an AR and if its quality built they should all be to the specs of colt on lower and upper receiver. I have placed different uppers on mine from 3 different manufactures including my California legal M4 16″ and my 24″ tack driver that I use for coyote and varmit. Hope that helps.

Anonymous March 9, 2011

You are correct third man, the 1:7 is unnecessary for most applications and most shooters are not going to buy the heavier and more expensive rounds anyhow. A 1:9 (short barrel) will stabilize the 55′s and 62′s just fine. Barrel length and intended use of the rifle come into play here however when deciding the twist rate for the barrel.

Jason March 9, 2011

Chef,

Unfortunately, pepper paint balls are not legal in California for non LEO but that’s a great idea. I have some good buddies that are SWAT & they won’t even give them to me to use on 3rd Man – damn, guess I’ll have to ignore him …..

3rdMan March 9, 2011

Jason,
It is Pepperball not pepper paintball. Have one in my car trunk right now with OC and glass breaking rounds.

Jason March 9, 2011

Why on earth do you need glass breaking rounds? I just don’t get why that is necessary to drive around with that stuff unless one is in law enforcement.

The problem with carrying weapons is the temptation to use them & when you do, you run the risk of prison time & or significant legal expense. I have been a martial arts instructor for 20 years (Tae Kwon Do & Jiu Jitsu) & can kick the poopie out of most anybody but never had to use it because I understand that discretion IS the better part of valor.

Without weapons one tends to be more humble & use their brain for solutions. And please spare me with the Jason is a wimp or it is my right to carry and defend myself speech, I lived on the other side of the tracks long enough to know which end is up.

Doctor 111 Trillion March 9, 2011

Any tips on a good place to get martial arts training? Just in general a good way to be able to tell which instructor is really focused on teaching you the art and which one is just trying to make a buck.
Thanks.

Anonymous March 9, 2011

I would highly suggest Jiu Jitsu because 90% of all fights end up on the ground and Jiu Jitsu is the best ground fighting style.

If you YouTube street fights, you’ll notice that not much happens until the fight moves in tight & that’s where Jiu Jitsu will dominate, no question.

This clip is an oldie & Jiu Jitsu has come a long way since.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-SltgKQHDU

By the way, those arm bars hurt!

As far as instructors generally I would look for the following:

1. Watch a few classes & see how he/she is with the students – friendly, helpful, instructional and very importantly do they have a chip on their shoulder – avoid, avoid, avoid them.

2. How many advanced belt students are there? That is usually a good indicator of a good instructor because the students stayed the distance. In Jiu Jitsu it takes 5-7 years to get a black belt if you remain consistent.

3. Talk to the instructor and get a feel of them, you’ll get a sense if they are your style or a fit.

4. See if there is comrade among the students, that is generally a function of leadership. Jiu Jitsu is like a large family in the way the designed the art so, the school should have that same sense.

5. Is the instructor a fat slob who does not workout with the students? If so, he doesn’t walk the walk.

6. To me a good instructor is mellow, quietly confident & has nothing to prove. That’s how their students become & in a street fight that’s how you want to be – in control of yourself & the emotions.

First I did Tae Kwon Do, became a black belt and instructed. I did a lot of full contact (not MMA), just against other similar ranked guys. I enjoyed it but knew that if the action got to tight (in close) I would struggle.

Years back my now 18 year old wanted to do martial arts just like dad but steered him towards Jiu Jitsu because I knew about their ground fighting & I joined in & was very glad I did. The exercise is very vigorous and will whip you into shape & can tell you my son would have had no trouble with anybody in a street fight after 2 years – nobody. I don’t care how big they are, they can get choked out or get locked up regardless of muscle mass.

It is a very effective art that involves chokes, arm, leg, wrist, ankle locks and when you are on your back facing a standing opponent and they move in thinking they have the advantage, they are done. I roll (spar) with my son now and he generally feeds me my lunch because he has worked had to master the techniques.

Hope that helps you, if not – ask more, I love the arts.

3rdMan March 9, 2011

Jason,
Because it is a tool of my job!
The glass breaking round is for what it implies, then you follow up with the OC rounds.

Jason March 9, 2011

3rd Man,

I feel a lot safer now, thanks.

You don’t work for the TSA do you? A little bad Jason humor ….

Jason March 9, 2011

Dr 111 Trillion,

This is a good one & more current than the other one I posted. It shows more grappling without punching and is Jiu Jitsu vs Tae Kwon Do.

I am not a Gracie by any stretch of the imagination but can do all that the Jiu Jitsu guy is doing here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDmwyIh4ryQ&feature=related

Believe me, if you roll (spar) for 5 minutes, you will be sweating profusely & breathing hard – it’s a fantastic workout.

ChefBear58 March 10, 2011

Jason- Some other options you may consider since the pepper-balls are not a legal option for you…
You can find (with a little time on the internet), wooden .68 cal (paint-ball size) wooden balls which could REALLY put a hurtin’ on somebody! You might have to increase the pressure of your gun to fire them effectively, that’s easy with the 2 I have, but it might require tools and some skill, that is if you can “tune up” yours without special tools of couse.
There are also scent marker “paint-balls” I have seen used for hunting, options include doe estrus, red fox urine, coyote urine and especially skunk/muskrat urine will cause a smell so strong most folks would stop and puke their guts out! The fox, muskrat and skunk could prove especially effective, the ammonia and other chemicals present in these can cause skin irritation and a burning sensation in the eyes and nose/mouth/throat. There should be little worry about purchasing/possessing them since they are though of (from what I understand of most localities) the same as hunting scents. Just don’t let one break in your house/car… the smell is hard to cover up and get rid of!
There are also “high-vis” paint-balls you could use to “mark” an intruder with. Some police and security companies use them for “marking” specific “troublemakers” in crowds/riots. Not only would they have the sting of the paint-ball impact, but they would also get a nice splatter of a slightly luminescent paint which would make them easy to spot by the local authorities. The sting of a few rounds could help deter a would-be intruder. Just make sure you aim for center-mass, or at least avoid shots to the face. I have seen someone get hit in the eye without protection, it was NOT PRETTY… The paint-ball hit him square in the eye and “punched” it out, his right eye was literally hanging out of it’s socket! They were able to fix him up at the hospital, but the guy who shot him (it was definitely an accident) faced assault charges, which were later dropped after a thorough investigation. Remember with any firearm, archery tackle, or weapon of any kind, YOU OWN THAT PROJECTILE, you will be accountable for every shot even with a paint-ball gun!

Ranger Man March 9, 2011

CMMG has 1/7 barrel twists. A lot of the online AR-specialist stores either have them or can get them. Even if they don’t mention 1/7, call them. I called Bushmaster once looking for a 1/7 twist even though they had no mention of it on their website (this is when they were still located in Maine). The guy said, “yeah, we just had a few 1/7 twists come off the line actually.”

ChefBear58 March 10, 2011

Thanks guys, the info yall have given me has helped to expand my search and I think I might have the rifle I want “in my cross-hairs”!
(pardon the pun!)

Hokie March 8, 2011

I think it’s important to better differentiate “survival rifle” from “mailbox protector.” Less moving parts and more simple the design the better! One of the reasons my “survival rifle” is a hearty 308 bolt action with a good scope. That said, a well built and well maintained AR15 will run like a top and put a lot of lead down range accurately and in short order.

I’m kidding, sort of. I will say that I’m a huge fan of the AR15. Specifically the short flattop version. It’s compact, light, and can be accessorized with some key kit like an optic and light. SHTF is a 24/7 event after all, is it not?

Let’s also not discredite a good shotgun. Certainly a versatile and affordable option.

I like the paintball option though – gets em’ thinking!

Joerocker March 9, 2011

I love the AR-15. Go Bushmaster!

Michael March 10, 2011

My “survival rifle” is a .38/.357 lever action. Using low velocity .38′s it can be fairly quiet and bring down small game. Using jacketed soft points it can bring down deer out to 100 yards or punch through a cars windshield and ruin the drivers day. It also tends to blend in well. The old Savage under-overs in something like .22/20 gauge would also make a good “survival rifle.” If I were in a survival situation I’d probably take some time messing up my guns pretty walnut stocks and nicely blued barrels (hurts just to think about that!), so no one would get to thinking I had anything special.

Now, if I were looking to defend a small farm I’d probably look for a military style rifle like an AR or Mini, but that’s a home/farm defense rifle, not a survival one.

Good luck eating that rabbit you just shot with your AR. ;-)

ChefBear58 March 10, 2011

The .223/5.56mm round is effective for small game, and it doesn’t mess up the meat in my experience. I have shot rabbits with a NEF single-shot .223 on several occasions and had no problem with obliterating the meat. Now when it comes to squirrels, I wouldn’t go for anything other than a head shot just in case, but they are a good bit smaller than a rabbit around here. The .223 is also a good round for whistle-pigs (woodchucks/groundhogs) and predators such as coyotes. I imagine that since the terminal ballistics are pretty close in whether the .223/5.56mm is fired from an AR or from the single-shot NEF I used, it would be a fair assumption to say that the results on small game would be similar with bot rifles. The .223 is actually very popular for hunting small game here in VA, I haven’t heard of anyone having trouble with destroying the meat by shooting rabbits/whistle-pigs or other similarly sized animals. I have however heard of a couple times when folks have put a round right up a rabbits “tail pipe” and it ended up all but gutting the animal! That would be a handy little time saver!!

3rdMan March 10, 2011

It seems to work on the 2 legged coyotes as well!

Jason March 10, 2011

3rdMan,

Two legged coyotes ….. aren’t those the guys that lead the illegals over the border?

Ha, ha

Michael March 10, 2011

ChefBear58,

Yeah, realized I oopsed about the rabbit right have I hit submit. Why can’t I realize that just before instead!!! I always think about .223′s and small critters in terms of what happens when you use ballistic tip ammo on them…

I’m also stuck thinking about “survival rifles” as they were traditionally defined in terms of downed planes, sunk boats, and other various other stuck in the wilderness waiting for rescue type situations.

Angry Mike March 14, 2011

OK how do I put this? I love and hate the AR/5.56? I like the AR/M16/M4 platform. I know it well. It has its problems. Its not really as tough as I would like it to be. It jams if it gets dirty and in combat that happens in 2 hours and before you fire a shot. The 5.56×45 cartridge is, in my humble opinion, not much more than a high powered .22 and I have my reasons for this perspective on it.

I would hands down take a 7.62×51 (.308) chambered AR over a 5.56 but these tend to be very expensive and prone to the same problems as all AR’s. The 5.56 is a frikin wimp of a cartridge. If I had to take just one production assault type weapon as my only, all around weapon I would opt for an AK-47 chambered in 7.62×39. I AM NOT a big fan of the AK. I find it inaccurate and tricky to quickly change mags due to the angle of insertion. It is however very, very reliable and has plenty of knock down power. You can puke and poop in the chamber and it will still fire!

In many states across the US it is illegal to hunt deer with a 5.56×45 but not a 7.62×39. The reason is simple, it will not kill a deer even at close ranges unless its a head shot. A 200 pound deer doesnt drop at 100 yards…chances are a 200 pound man wont either, this I have witnessed. I cant say the same for 7.62×39 or the 7.62×51 rounds.

Look at it this way: 9mm or .45 ACP? Those who chose the 9mm just died. Dont believe me, look up some ballistic charts and ask an Vietnam/Afghanastan/Iraq combat veteran.

Griff March 20, 2011

Angry Mike, I’m not sure if you have tried the Arsenal Inc. SGL series of AK or not, but I highly recommend them to anyone who wants a high quality, accurate and affordable AK variant. Mine shoots under two inches at 100 yards with wolf HP all day long from a steady position and I paid 756.00 out the door for it. I purchased ten new Bulgarian steel magazine for 92.00 shipped. My 9 year old can shoot it well and so can my wife.
I can’t say enough good thing’s about these rifles, I have more than one, and would easily choose a quality AK over my FN FAL, AR15, or my FN SCAR if it were to come down to one gun. I will be the first to admit that I would cry as I walked away from my SCAR though. It is easily the hands down superior to the M4, or any other AR15 in my opinion, and a beautiful weapon in function.
With all due respect, I’d only recommend an AR15 for a SHTF scenario, if the stuff that was hitting the fan wasn’t going to be hitting it that hard. The AR15 has several design flaws that preclude it from being a viable EXTREME SHTF weapon. One of the biggest problems is the ejector being mounted inside the bolt. This little part requires special tools to replace it and it can malfunction with brass shavings being introduced. The bolt itself is another problem to contend with. The bolt has thin walls around the cam pin and the lugs are also rather delicate as well. In fact, I recently witnessed two broken bolt lugs. One was from a Bushmaster and the other was from a CMMG. Ever see a bolt lug break off of an AK?. With an AR you need to carry an extra bolt and pray that you never need it. If your bolt breaks at the cam pin hole you will have a heck of a time replacing it before you run out of luck. To further compound these problems, not all AR’s are created equal. For instance, Bushmaster can be a decent rifle, but they don’t shot peen or MPI every one of the bolts they put into a rifle. That is a major issue for anyone who want’s a good solid AR. You will need to have extra rings and extractors, and know how to replace these parts. An AR15 specific chamber brush is also a necessity as well. You can keep an AR going for a long time if you have one, but what if you can’t get any of these parts? Then what? What if you get seperated from your extra parts and cleaning kit, ect. Are you willing to bet your life, or the life of your child, on a weapon that has so many what if’s attached to it? It has been my experience, that it doesn’t help my piece of mind wondering if my weapon is going to break or if it has enough lube. The AR15 is a more refined weapon than the AK to be sure, but “when it all goes South” is that what you need? Or would you rather have a weapon that is very unlikely to malfunction or require any maintenance under extended use and neglect. If you need to lube your AK, go over to an abandoned truck, there should be plenty around, and puncture the oil pan.
The AK series is not without it’s short comings, like getting replacement magazines and 7.62×39 ammo, but since you can get an Arsenal AK in 5.56 at least half of that problem can be solved. I have to say that I would rather try to find more AK magazines than an AR15 ejector and the tools to replace it.
I like shooting the AR and M4 quite a bit and have put thousands of rounds down range as a SWAT officer and Marine Corps 0351 anti tank assaultman, but the M16 failed me and my brothers at the worst possible times in the desert. And that was with an armorer following us around who had all the parts in the world you could want to fix an M16. Problem is, the uncertain and dynamic environment of combat, or survival, can bring on many hazards. These hazards are certainly unpredictable and can push you and your weapons to unimaginable extremes. In a truly bad situation, where you are on your own, the AR is going to give you that much more to worry about.
The ammunition is another factor as well. 7.62×39 will be harder to come across than 5.56 to be sure. And magazines can be a problem if you don’t do your reloads with retention. I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers, but I’d rather start with the 7.62 and it’s capabilities than the 5.56. Let’s say you wake up to the horror of a breakdown in civil order. Not long after that a car load of violent would be rapists shows up in front of your house and demands you send out your wife and daughters, which they know you have because they have already cased your house. Now suppose that they are hiding behind the car and using it as cover. Well, it’s not cover if your using a 7.62×39. Right now you can purchase a case of Russian ammo online for about 220.00 bucks in either caliber, but it will be steel case and might not run well in the AR.
I’m not trying to say that the AK is the “Holy Grail” of all SHTF weapons, but I think it has much more to offer as a general purpose weapon in the worst circumstances, than the AR15. Really, I guess it comes down to what kind of SHTF situation you think you will be getting into. Since you don’t know, doesn’t it make sense to grab a rifle that can handle the worst possible abuse with the least care?
In regards to the 9mm vs .45 comment, I think it is best summed up by an unknown British commando who stated, “I never met an NRA terrorist who didn’t die, because he was shot with a Browning High Power”.
Best Regards, Griff

Griff March 22, 2011

Please forgive my hasty proof reading, I meant to sat “IRA terrorist”, although I’m sure if you ask a few leftists they would say NRA.

Best Regards, Griff.

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