Denzel Washington Survival Gun

Survival Gun “Go / No-Go” Questions & Answers

Denzel Washington Survival Gun

Guest article by Bogan

For the last fifty or more years, an incredible amount of discussion, whether in books, on-line or around the pot-bellied stove has been about the perfect gun for survival, or better yet the composition of the perfect survival battery.

Opinions abound and are strongly put. A few examples are right here on MSB:

Your Everyday Carry Handgun Choices, and Why

Semi-Auto or Revolver For Concealed Carry

If you Carry Every Day, What are some of your Lessons Learned?

These discussions have been one factor in the incredible growth in the number of guns in private hands.

Many preparedness-minded individuals do not consider themselves prepared unless they have numerous weapons, each one carefully thought through for the variety of tasks they are to accomplish. “working guns” v “EDC”, close quarters, long distance, and more. Maybe even some redundant capacity.

I find no fault with this, quite the opposite: taking responsibility for, and acting on, a need to survive is serious business and is one of our biological duties as humans (under the big umbrella of survival of the species).

This article is not about shiny objects: what piece of hardware to select, or what wonderful gadgets to festoon it with. The world is full of information on those things, and abounds with people trying to sell you something.

Rather it is about picking and deploying the one tool that will work when all others have fallen away for whatever reason. It’s more about philosophy and practicality.

So what could possibly go wrong with a gun, any gun? It is after all a manmade piece of equipment, and whatever we make we can break.

More accurately stated, the question might be “what things could cause a gun to be unusable?”

A approach to thinking this through might come up with a number of “go / no-go” scenarios and answers:


No More Ammo

A not too subtle lesson for this concept is vividly driven home in the post-apocalyptic movie the “Book of Eli”. When the character played by Denzel Washington is surrounded by “hijacker” evildoers, the leader says:

“You got a gun, but s*** it aint loaded, They never are. Ain’t that right old man?”
(At around the 1:10 minute mark).

The “go / no-go” answer to this is to have enough ammo.

[Ken adds: “The Book of Eli” is #2 in our top-10 list of survival movies]
10 Survival Movies

[Ken adds: I couldn’t help but post the image of Denzel’s Remington 870 ‘Witness Protection’ 12 gauge shotgun: ]
Remington 870 Witness Protection shotgun used in the Book of Eli by Denzel Washington
(image source:


Caliber Ubiquity

Or lack of. This is a corollary to the “no more ammo” scenario. Uncommon calibers may have many positive qualities, but their prime downside is their…uncommonness.

If you run short of ammo for your .257 Weatherby or your grandpappy’s bear gun, where are you going to find it in a pinch?

The “go / no-go” answer here is to select a dirt common caliber, found everywhere.

These include the .22lr, .38, .45, 9mm, .223, .30-30, .308, .30-06, 12ga and maybe 20ga.


The Mechanism Fails

All mechanisms fail, yet some are more reliable than others. One often cited argument in the discussion of semi-automatic handguns vs. revolvers is the latter offers “six for sure”, driving home the point that simpler is better.

Whatever you have has gotta go “bang” when you pull the trigger.

The “go / no-go” answer to this is to have a reliable a mechanism as possible.

In a rifle, there are some incredibly reliable semi auto mechanisms: the Ruger 10/22 and the Marlin Model 60 in 22lr caliber for example.

But the bolt action or even single shot break action style might be simpler and more reliable (i.e. less prone to breakage), even if slower to reload. Old military rifles from the last century may be long and clunky but they’ll take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’, even if picked up out of the mud.


Optics Fail

Standard telescopic sights are inherently fragile. Those powered by electronics are subject to failure due to exotic causes such as EMP/CME. But also more pedestrian causes such as ….lack of batteries.

The “go / no-go” answer here is iron sights.

A sub-chapter on iron sights will single out peep sights as having two advantages over open “v style” sights or “buckhorn” sights:

Peep sights force the eye (even aging eyes) to focus better and automatically center the bead. The sight radius is longer. Both of these result in a more accurate aim.

Another school of thought is the see-through sight rings, which allow for the use of a scope OR iron sights at a moment’s choice. There are some that sneer dismissively at this option, but it is one that has been tested over decades and proven workable even if sorta goofy looking.


Laws Change

Suppose laws were passed that took away your guns or certain categories of guns. Semi-automatics, or “scary looking”, or those chambered in certain calibers. What if they were subject to confiscation.

This is actually quite common in most of the world, the USA being an exception.

In today’s relatively peaceful environment, most prepared individuals will probably stiffen up when confronted with the idea of enforcement of gun-grabbing legislation. But there are some that may (albeit unhappily) hand them over when their doorways are darkened by someone’s son or daughter sent to enforce the diktat.

One answer is to stay below this radar by having at least one “inoffensive” (however defined) gun in a bolt or break action, chambered in a common caliber.


What To Do?

So where does this leave the responsible prepared-minded individual trying to do the right thing?

Amongst the gun(s) that you have spent years assembling, for all the good reasons you have been able to discern and execute against, it’s worth considering that you have at least one that fully addresses the “go / no-go” questions.

For me, the answer is a plain jane .22lr with iron sights with a fixed power scope mounted with quickly detachable rings, and a simple sling.


The exact make and model is unimportant, although it is considered common and above average quality.

– Parts to assemble a basic field repair kit are easy to find and inexpensive.

– Although chambered for .22lr it will also handle caps, shorts and longs if loaded one at a time.

– The chambering, and ammunition, is ubiquitous: .22 shells these days (but not always!) are everywhere and are inexpensive, at less than six cents a shot these days for the average “big-box” store fodder vs multiple times that per round for the center fire calibers .

– A person can carry 500 rounds in about the same space and weight as 50-75 rounds of any of the standard military calibers.

– And it goes bang when I pull the trigger. More importantly, it is what works for me. YMMV.

When things get binary, some might pick a pump shotgun, a revolver, or a bolt action military rifle. It’s whatever you have left that still works. The possibilities are numerous.


~ Bogan


  1. 22lr for sure if you are on the fast move surviving from location to location. small game, song birds cats dogs for food. With a suppressor dead quiet when shooting subsonic shorts. Carry a thousand rounds with no sweat.

    If you are in a turtle defensive position of your homestead I would change up to a 223 or 308.

    Sidearm EDC 38spl. But when shft I have switched to full size 9mm auto.

    12 Ga is still something to grab and take. Although can be heavy if you are on foot and you can only take so many shells.

    You go to war with what you got on hand. No sense in bitchen “I should have brought xyz…” Become a Jedi knight with whatever your choice of fire arm is.

  2. ” Beware the man with 1 gun.
    He most likely knows how to use it.”

  3. Buy a break open combo rifle in .12ga and .22lr, or some other calibers to your liking. This way you have a reliable weapon for birds, and small game…and you may take larger game with slugs. You could even use combos, which include the caliber of your side arm, to reduce variety needed. It could be made of stainless with plastic, or blued with wood. These combos are not very expensive, either. A .410/.22lr is a real nice combo, as is a .20ga/.357..etc. A .9mm carbine could be paired with a .9mm could many other pistol rounds, such as .45acp. One could always use a high tech muzzle loader, too…then, you would just need to have a good black powder recipe, as the metal for bullets is not hard to find, lead, zinc, even glass & hog nails.

    A 45/70 carbine can not only serve to shoot whatever beast you wish at nice ranges, it can also fire shot loaded brass at rabbits, birds and such…the same Lee Loader kit will allow you to reload the 45/70 and your .45LC pistol rounds…which can also fire shot. If you want, the 45/70 rifle will fire a .410ga round without a problem, but do not expect to reload them. Not the best shot patterns, but you shoot at only the close targets, which are about the same distance as they would be for a bow & arrow, anyway.

    I know the British developed a water-proof, breach loading, flintlock rifle, which opened like a breaking shot gun, and could be loaded by paper cartridge, or with a horn, which had NO outside hammer. The flint was held by a moving bolt, which was spring loaded and hidden inside the stock. When you pulled the trigger..the bolt was released and the bolt pushed the flint against an internal striker, which protected the powder from the weather, and discharged the weapon. Since it was breach loading the barrel was rifled and a patch was not required. It was capable of a much higher rate of fire, than a regular muzzle loader and it did not care if it was raining.

    I have often wondered about making a modern version of this internal flintlock idea, using all composite and stainless steel materials, and even advancing the ignition mechanism to state of the art, such as a piezoelectric system, or an electric ignition, using a quick charging capacitor. The stock could hold photo cells to allow the ignition system to recharge itself by just sitting the rifle in the sun. A full charge would allow the rifle to fire about 200-500 times. I know the electronic powder ignition idea it has already been developed and sold. A .45 caliber, breach loading, electronic ignition, water-proof, black powder rifle, devoid of flint flinch, made of stainless steel and composite stock, which also has a storage space in the butt…which does not need flint, primers, caps, or ffffg…maybe with a red dot..powered by the same source as the ignition. Barrels could be made in any desired caliber, and could also be smooth bore and choked. I think this kind of rifle would have some appeal. Call it, “The Last Rifle.”

    1. The single shot is often the only firearm found in the jungle. Its two failings (hammer spring and ejector) can be worked around if push comes to shove. If the hammer spring breaks, a rubber band in front of trigger guard and behind hammer can power the hammer enough to fire – simply thumb back hammer and let go.

      If the ejector / extractor breaks, a pointed object can pull out the rim of cartridge. Slow reloading, but much faster than muzzle loaders.

      The single shots can often be taken down for smaller packages, making them easier to conceal. No extra magazines required and easy to teach how they function. They have a lot of advantages.

    2. Oh, yes… I forgot! Make the Last Rifle very pretty…with lots of flowers and acanthus vines decorating it, and offer “organic” models, which feature damascus steel metallic finish, and responsible, renewable, wood stocks…all finely carved. Just so one’s Last Rifle, looks like something Gandalf would carry.

      1. Ision,
        I think the staff of Gandalf the White would be the way to go,,,

        1. Yeah, we could make one that shot .12ga and call it “The Tube of Truth” Ultimate grey man…so to speak. Just a walking stick with a night light on it. Cool idea. An open carry weapon and survival tool…which functions as a quarter staff, walking stick, lantern, tent pole, and shotgun.

  4. Best survival gun? My first and primary criteria: You must have it on you because you cannot put an attack upon your person in your day planner. The gun you have on you is the best gun in the world just like the best 4×4 vehicle to take you up 10 miles of bad road is your friends 4×4 truck.

    I will bring up the old story of when I was a rookie cop doing laundry in a low income part of town with another coworker that was also a cop. We saw a drug deal go down and I chose to do nothing about it while my coworker was getting all hot about: “we gotta do something!”

    The only guns we had on our persons that day was my 5 shot Smith and Wesson Chiefs Special. My coworker that was making the noise about “doing something” had a high capacity 9 mm tucked away in his sock drawer over 20 miles away. The only weapon he had on him that day was a Swiss Army Knife with a blade that smelled of cheese.

    We walked out of that laundromat and reported to a local beat cop complete with descriptions. The town was not our jurisdiction. We had no vests, I had my badge ( it went with the gun.). I was told to be careful and use discretion when off duty by my mentors at a young age. THAT lesson stuck with me.

    These days, I still carry a Ruger LCR in an outside jacket pocket when out and about. It has a shrouded hammer and can be fired from within the pocket with no jamming. For survivalist scenarios, I can cast my own bullets and reload my shells.

  5. for serious security work within the nightclub industry I carried: a Kahr 9mm single stack on my belt in an IWB holster with retention strap with 2 spare mags in my pants pocket. The shroud hammer revolver ( Smith and Wesson bodyguard at the time) was carried in an outside coat pocket on my non dominant side. Dominant side held a charged taser.

    I did not want to let off a can of mace or pepper spray within a crowded nightclub.

  6. – So long as TPTB will allow, I am comfortable with a .308 bolt and a .357 revolver. Should those become a problem, I can change to a 9mm and an M-forgery. If it gets down to what I can use for foraging, a .22 H&R 9-shot revolver with a 4″ barrel and a Savage 24-C with a .22 on top and a 3″ 20 on the bottom should answer the call. In the direst extreme, there are others cached where they are unlikely to be found or damaged by accident. Not the best, but they will do a reasonable job.
    – Papa S.

    1. I have an old Savage 24-D, so old it has no ser # on the gun. Maybe from the 1950’s.

      Works as good as the day it was made. It’s one of my favorite guns, it’s a 22 Long Rifle over a 20 ga.

      Both of my brothers saw it and went out and bought one. I got my 24 for free back in the 1980’s as a gift from a friend.

    2. Papa Smurf, I also have a Savage 24 model V, with a 30/30 on top and a 20 ga. On the bottom. I have a 10 round rifle shell holder on the detachable sling and a 5 round 20 holder on the right side butt stock. On the left side of the butt stock I have an assortment of 20 ga. shotgun inserts ranging from 22lr,22mag,9mm,38 special, .40 cal, .45lc and .410 shotgun.

      9 different calibers in all and it breaks down. Heavy tank but worth it when needed.

      The adapters are made by short lane if you are interested.

      Also have some accelerator rounds for the 30/30.

      1. – Defcon, I have an adapter for my .308 to allow me to use .32 ammo. I find it’s a lot easier to manage than an extra long arm, and some places I have hunted will not allow an open carry sidearm of any sort. The .32 is no louder than a standard velocity .22, but hits more like a .22 Magnum. Mine came from MCA Sports in Anchorage, AK, but I think he is about to give up d/t age. I used to have quite a few accelerator cartridges for my .308, but when my brother borrowed it a few years ago, I had told my DW to let him have a couple of boxes on ammo with it. He had never seen them and took a couple of boxes, said he loved them, but didn’t realize they were no longer manufactured. (I do have the stuff for roll-yer-owns) Have thought about getting either a .30-30 insert barrel or a .357 for the 20 Ga., but haven’t pulled the trigger on either. The .22 LR barrel on top is very nearly as accurate as the Remington 40XB I had long ago.
        – Papa S.

  7. Excellent article Bogan. Probably some of the worst information promulgated on the numerous survival/prepping sites, especially in the comments from readers, is advice on guns. You did a good, level headed explanation as to the what, the why, and the reason.

    In all my travels and experiences during a lifetime affection for the shooting sports, one thing I settled on is the versatility and indispensability of the ubiquitous .22 rimfire. I started as a child with the .22, have owned just about every major caliber, make and model of rifles and handguns, yet, I find myself relying more on my .22’s than all the others combined.

    Much is discussed about “knock down power” or “killing power”. Truth is, any gun, any caliber, has one function, that is to punch a hole deep enough to inflict damage on a vital organ or disrupt the central nervous system. The .22 does that job. I won’t quote statistics, but it’s been said that the .22 has killed more folks in the U.S. than any other caliber. It’s also said that it’s been used to take every big game animal on the North American continent. That doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for big game, or dangerous game, but it does mean it is a capable cartridge.

    I hope I’m never put in a position of having just one gun for the rest of my life, but if it was, it most definitely would be a .22 rimfire. I just returned from my personal shooting range before posting this comment. If you guess that I was shooting a .22, you are right. I went through 200 rounds shooting steel plates at distances ranging from 7yds to 25 yds with a Sig Mosquito that is a clone in feel and function to my Sig P239 .357 Sig. I would not feel unprepared with either should I need to defend myself.

    1. A word of advice, since Bogan touched on possible problems with part failure on your choice in weapons. Most center-fire weapons can be dry fired with no ill effects. This is not true with rimfire weapons (with the exception of some revolvers with manually operated hammer blocks, like the Heritage Roughrider) Without the brass rim to cushion it, the firing pin with strike the breech face at the edge of the cartridge chamber, battering the tip of the firing pin, in some cases breaking it.

  8. Great article Ken, 22lr is one of my favorite choices for a survival firearm. Lately I have been considering the benefits of a good 20 Gauge.

  9. 12 gauge single shot. Various caliber adapters (Short Lane, etc.). Including black powder supplies. And of course the accompanying ammo👍

  10. 12 ga ammo is heavy– how much can you carry?
    There will be handgun ammo as well, along with survival gear, water, food, etc.

  11. The mental masturbation of if you could only have one gun is really outdated. Why? Because it’s nonsense. Guns are tools, tools have a purpose for a specific job. Do you ever see a mechanic with the only tool in his toolbox being a hammer? Or a carpenter that only carries a saw? Of course not. If you did, you wouldn’t have either one work on your car or house. It’s the same thing with preppers or survivalists. I can’t take them seriously if they entertain the idea of only having one weapon. Everybody mentions that the .22 can be deadly. Yes it can and you can carry 1000 rounds in your cargo pocket of your 5.11 pants. It is the LAST choice for personal protection. When you make the decision to shoot someone, it’s because they pose a deadly threat to you your family or group. The purpose of shooting them is to end the threat as fast as possible. The .22 fails miserably at this task. While the perp may die from getting shot with the .22, the round just doesn’t destroy enough tissue resulting in a quick end to the aggressor. In a perimeter defense situation, where you may need to repel multiple bad guys from gaining access to your supplies food and women, you will have done your family a major disservice by thinking the .22 is all you will ever need.

    It’s strength is in its ability to silence it and the ability to drop all kinds of game without ruining hardly any meat. In the right weapon and with the skill it can be surgically accurate. So yes it deserves a place in a prepper’s armory.

    The survivalist or prepper should have an armory covering close range to long range. This covers everything from pistols up to full power centerfire rifles. Different tools for different jobs. You will not conceal a .22 rifle on your person if you need to go about some business away from your home base. A pistol in a major caliber is the best tool for that job. 9mm, .40, .45 are all good choices. A pistol worn in a holster also has the ability to be with you at all times. When you need both of your hands say building a fence, a rifle will get in the way to the point you will eventually leave it behind. Conversely, if you have to repel a horde of thugs at your outer perimeter, the pistol will be a poor choice. An AR would be a better choice. They are surgically accurate out to its intended range of 300 yards. Plenty deadly with the right ammo, high capacity, reliable, ability to fire fast and accurate follow up shots. While I think back up iron sights are important, they will not be my primary sighting means on my weapon. Optics today are not the optics of yesteryear. They don’t lose zero if you bump or even drop them. They can take absolute beatings and continue working just fine. There are many accounts overseas where optics were even hit by gunfire and continued to work. Now, that isn’t going to be the case when you spend 49.99 on a Ncstar red dot optic. You are going to have to cough up some cash to buy a military grade optic. The big three are aimpoint, EOTech, and Trijicon. There are other good brands but the military uses one of these three sights. When it comes to scopes, it’s the same thing. The are many other brands that are high end and military grade that you will not have to treat as if they were grandma’s fine china. Again, this will not be the case with your 59 dollar tasco. Battery life in red dot optics these days are pretty impressive as well. 50,000 hours on a single battery is a reality these days. Buy 10 batteries and you won’t have to worry about it, ever.

    There is a place for all these weapons in the preppers armory. And a prepper that is serious will have all of these tools with the ability to use them at a high level. That means ammo and training. Anything less I can’t even take serious.

    1. J.D.,

      I can’t disagree with much that you’ve said. It is comforting to have a weapon purpose built for every possible need that may arise. I’m sure that many on these pages not only agree, they have prepped accordingly. Some, because they’ve read innumerable posts on “prepper sites” stating similar advice, some, like myself, who grew their collection slowly over the years by trial and error, constantly striving to find the best weaponry for all possibilities and always reaching for a higher level of competency with each. Both ends of that spectrum can bring a level of arrogance. On one end, a false sense of security…….on the other an attitude of if anybody is less trained and equipped than me is fooling themselves.

      What about those who are just starting out in the journey of preparedness, or those whose financial situation dictates almost all their resources go to daily survival? They are following this site because they see the need to prepare, same as folks like you and me. For some, coming up with a couple of hundred extra dollars is tough. Do you tell them that they are wasting their time buying anything less than a tricked out AR platform with a military grade optic sight, and a thousand dollars worth of ammo, plus at least three more weapons of similar quality for every possible threat or use? Or do you tell them to take that $200 and buy a used .22 and a brick of 500rds of ammo and fill that niche of having a gun in preps?

      I’ve seen the aftermath of, and been involved in more deadly force encounters than I care to recall. Size, make and model, or price tag of the weapons used were never the deciding factor of who walked away. There is much more involved than that. I once related one shootout involving a good friend and a trainee I’d only met once. Both were carrying new Colt 1911 .45’s. Their adversary was carrying a beat up, old, rusty, tube fed .22. My friend was badly wounded and incapacitated, his rookie was killed instantly with a shot to the head. All involved got off at least one shot in the incident. We took out the murderer on the side of the road ten miles from the scene of the original encounter.

      Are high quality, higher cost guns worth the money invested? Absolutely. Is it a waste of someone’s money to purchase a “lesser” weapon if it’s all they can afford? Not in my opinion. The closest to pure junk in weaponry I know of were the Clerke and RG revolvers that flooded the country back in the 60’s and 70’s, yet, during that same period I encountered them most as the weapons used in fatalities, by far, both by the good guys defending their homes and the bad guys doing their thing, in the inner city neighborhoods I worked. It would be a hard sell trying to tell those good guys who successfully defended themselves and love ones with that $19 RG22 or that $29 Clerke32 he purchased because that was all he could afford.

      But, I agree that it makes good sense to buy the highest quality possible and to fill every possible use for a weapon………..if you can. But I’ll not advise someone that can’t afford these lofty goals to wait until their budget allows.

    2. This article was not about having only one survival gun. It was about what was left to use when all the dust had settled. For example the wonderful electronic optics (at whatever price point) would all be zapped and useless, the PC police would have completed their dragnets, ammo supplies have dry up (except maybe yours), and any little spring or part that make complicated guns like AR’s work has failed. The weakest link in the chain fails the whole system. Lowest common denominator. Now what. What is the last gun standing….

      1. If the jagazz leftis have completed their sweeps i dont care whats left because ill be in that trench grave with the others who will resist,,,
        If you run and hide you might as well keep on running.

  12. in response to JD: if one hunts and shoots a lot and does competition, periodically one must go through the “mental masturbation” of thinning out your current collection in order to make room for another weapon or realize that you are unlikely to go after Elephant in Africa or Brown Bears in Alaska.

    Case in point, I have not shot in pistol competition since my relocation to my new home state.The Ruger Mark 3 Government Model was also used to help train novices to shoot pistol since it had the weight, heft and balance of a full sized duty centerfire handgun. It was accurate enough to collect plaques and trophies and many a police cadet learned good technique and eliminated their flinch by firing that pistol. The downside is that it is tremendously heavy and the idea of packing all that extra weight on my hip was daunting. so. GO or NO GO. I sold this one.

    The 22 pistol is still one of my serious hunting tools and I have 2 of them suitable for holster carry in order to check the trapline and pop a critter for the skillet. One is a Ruger Single Six and I mostly use and pack the 22 long rifle cylinder when I go about my tasks on the farm trail or ranch. The other is a Ruger Mark 3 in a 5 inch thinner barrel with fixed sights. It rides in an under armpit tankers holster. So..GO or NO GO…both of these are solid GO weapons.

    The Single Six revolver and the Ruger standard Mark 3 pistols have both put more meat on my table due to success at turkey shoots in the fall and ham shoots in the Spring.

    Most of my years pulling over cars for a living was done with a Smith and Wesson Model 66 on my hip or it was a blued model 15. Glocks were not yet being imported into the US at the time. I still have and use the revolvers for several reasons: Sentimentality and ammunition versatility. The 38 Special and 357 magnum are two weapons that I can cast bullets and reload the brass casings for. for all the above reasons, the 38 special and 357 magnum guns are GO weapons.

    One such NO GO weapon I had trouble with was a stainless steel Chiefs Special that would have the occasional light hammer strike. A weapon that is carried for last stand backup use should be 100% reliable. That is why I traded it in for the Ruger LCR and the Smith and Wesson Bodyguard ( Bodyguard owned before the LCR). The fact that these can be fired from within a purse or pocket with no jamming make this a solid GO weapons.

    Over time, your situation and needs change. a little thought put into the decision on what to carry and when may be in order from time to time. Now, if you will pardon me, I have to go wash my hands…mental masturbation makes me feel icky…

  13. me personally i dont think there such a thing THE perfect gun they all have pluses and drawbacks while a 22 is great for small game what if you need something for something MUCH bigger or need something to reach out a LONG way while handguns are are great for self defense there is NOTHING like the maw of a 12 gauge shotgun staring at something
    while a 12 gauge is great for short range when its fired its LOUD giving away your position something smaller may not stop what your aiming at so i dont have all the answers this is just one old mans thoughts

  14. Eli also carried an HK 45 , (I think it was a tactical), used in the street shootout.

  15. – I have and frequently use a Crosman M1377 .177 air pistol. It is very quiet, and I have killed those durn windshield-decorating grackles as far away as 70 yards with head shots. Yes, they are quiet and cheap ( I think I saw one at Academy the other day for 69.95). Good pellets are around $3 for 500. So far as larger game goes, I have gotten rid of 3 German Shepard mix feral dogs at one time or another over the years. None went more than two steps after being hit. I also know a couple of homicide detectives who will vouch for similar weapons as being effective on humans.

    So yeah, they will work. Just follow the directions as far as taking care of them, and don’t over-pump them. Ten is the maximum, or you will damage the seals and require rebuild before they will approach maximum power. Mine with PBA pellets ( the gold colored ones) is supposed to hit around 800 fps.
    – Papa S.

    1. Papa S
      This is most likely a stupid question,
      I have a break barrel pellet gun, if i open and close it more than once, twice? Three or more times is that increasing pressure? Never tried it honestly, the thing just sits, and never really fooled with it, somebody gave it to me.

      1. Tommyboy,

        You didn’t ask me, but that’s never stopped me from before, :-)

        The answer is no, it won’t. When you break the barrel over, you are compressing a spring loaded piston and locking it back with the trigger sear. When you pull the trigger, it releases the compressed spring piston which in turn compresses the air suddenly in the cylinder and driving the projectile out the barrel. Once that spring is compressed, that’s it. No further action will increase the power. The advantage of this system is you are storing the power of the spring, not pre-compressed air that could leak out around the seals in pump-up guns. The disadvantage is they tend to make more noise when the spring is released.

        1. Dennis,
          Thank you sir, i didnt think it would change the charge.
          Merry Christmas

  16. -Tommyboy, definitely not a stupid question. A “break-barrel” (yeah, that’s what I call ’em too) or more properly a spring air gun (or springer) has only one power level. It won’t change by working the barrel more than once, sorry. It’s more like a centerfire in that respect. A pneumatic, or pump air gun like my cheap little pistol is more like a black powder arm. You can vary the power with every shot if you so desire. Normally, the manufacturers will tell you not to use less than 3 pumps or more than ten. Buy a tin of cheap pellets, and set up somewhere you can clean out the rat population after you sight it in. I believe that for the price of that tin of pellets and half of one of the dollar menu burgers, you will have a lot of fun!
    – Papa

      1. – Actually, what you have is probably the more powerful. Because you don’t have seals and the capacity for them to leak, your shot is more consistent and probably more powerful. That is what the serious competitors use all the way to the top. The pump-ups are the cheap ones you get for kids.
        – Papa

      2. – BTW, Dennis – Thank you for a good concise explanation of what I forgot to explain!
        – Papa

      3. – People that are serious hunters with air guns use still another type called a PCA, or pre-charged airgun. Typically they are charged with Scuba tanks or the pumps used to fill them. They aren’t new; the Lewis and Clark expedition used one to overawe the native tribes they met. 25 or more shots before the thing had to be recharged, and would cut a 2×4 in half at 100 yards. Thing was, after their “firepower demonstration”, someone would have to spend a couple of hours with the hand pump to recharge it.
        – Papa

        1. – Forgot to mention, I think I remember it using 46 caliber balls.
          – Papa

        2. Papa S
          I have a Benjamin Marauder in .25 cal
          Is not bad, not as accurate as the custom PCP airguns like the big bores but still fun to shoot

  17. Ruger GP100, 4-inch, is my go-to hand gun. May not be as refined as a S&W 686, but built like a tank (had a 686 and still like the smoothness of that action). Mossberg 500, Marlin 336 (30-30), and single shot Winchester .22 are what I have.

    Thinking of a multi-shot .22. The Ruger 10/22 is very popular, but seems a PITA to clean, and, at the the risk of being old-fashioned/outdated, I kinda like bolt action rifles (what I was taught to shoot with). Also, from a ‘stay grey’ viewpoint, WA (Seattle metro) is increasingly ‘political’, and non-semi firearms seem to be ‘below the radar’, no sense drawing unneeded attention.

    Anyone have experience/thoughts with bolt action .22s? The Ruger American series looks interesting.

    1. DLS,

      My experience with bolt guns has been that dollar for dollar, Savage has the best accuracy straight out of the box for the price. I’ve got three, a 22 mag, a .223, and an old 1950’s 30/30. They are all accurate to a fault. Their actions are not as smooth and their not near as purty as my high dollar Ruger .270 that’s a safe queen, but they are just as accurate. Your money, your decision, FWIW.

  18. Question. My buddy has an old topper 12 GA. Anybody know what length of shells it can shoot? And can it shoot slugs?

    1. Livin,

      Most likely 2 3/4 inch if it’s an older Topper. Yes, it will shoot slugs. Some say not to if a shotgun has a full choke, but I’ve never had a problem. If a dime will drop through barrel, it’s not a full choke.

      1. Another note, Livin. An unfired 2 3/4 inch shotgun shell will measure 2 1/4 inches long. A 3 inch measures 2 1/2 inches. Only after being fired and the crimp is flattened against the chamber wall do they measure the 2 3/4 and 3 inch length.

        1. Thanks Dennis. Is it possible that it can shoot 3 inch? Can we measure the depth to the smaller counter bore. It is a m 48 I think. It is so old there isnt serial #s that we can find.

        2. Livin,

          If it’s a Model 48, it was made between 1943-1957. If it has the case hardened receiver (striped), it is pre-1955. Three inch chamberings were offered, but not standard in some shotguns in the early 1950’s. All shotguns will be stamped next to the manufacturer’s name as to gauge, and as having a three inch chamber, if it does. The 3″ shells will fit into a 2 3/4″ chamber. But remember what I said before, the 3″ shell is actually only 2 1/2″ long unfired. When fired the crimped portion flattens out on the walls of the chamber to increase the length to 3 inches. If fired in a 2 3/4″ chamber, this would overlap a 1/4″ into the narrower diameter barrel portion of the gun, causing a restriction for the shot and wadding trying to enter the barrel. This restriction will greatly increase the pressures the exploding powders put on the chamber area of the gun. I would not attempt to use 3″ shells if it were mine.

          Hope this helps. In reality, 3″ loadings usually increase the size of the payload (bird shot-buck shot) not the power.

        3. You asked about measuring the chamber length. Look into the chamber, if you see a distinct ridge where the chamber ends, yes. Just take a tape measure and butt the end against that ridge and measure to the back edge of the outside of the barrel (not the recess for the rim). Some later model guns don’t have this ridge, rather, they have a gradually tapered “forcing cone” at the end of the chamber, with no identifiable beginning, but it’s doubtful a gun as old as this one would have that type.

        4. Dennis
          I know i should not suggest or even mention this but i believe Brownells and a few other tool makers sell a reamer for changing shot shell chamber lengths,
          Use at your own risk,,,,

        5. Dennis,
          Found my link,
          Pacific Tool and Gauge sells the forcing cone and chamber reamers to modify shotguns

  19. Dennis. 3 inches deep. So does that mean he can use 2 3/4 and 3 inch? He has used it with 2 3/4 game loads without problem.

    1. Livin,

      If it’s 3″ deep, it will handle the 3″ loads. I know it’s confusing, but older shotguns than this one were designed for shells with a rolled crimp rather than the star crimp. These shells only reached 2 5/8″ total length when fired, and the chambers were cut for that length. The reason for this is that the payload (wadding and shot or shot cup and shot) are the same diameter as the bore, while the outside diameter of the shell is is larger. Theoretically, the gun will perform to optimum when the final length of the shell case is the same length as the chamber. If the final length is shorter than the camber, there will be slight leakage of expanding gasses around the projectile prior to the leakage being sealed off as it enters the bore. There will also be a slight deformation of some of the pellets. In reality, it would only be noticed by a top notch trap and skeet shooter.

  20. For long guns, I like the pump action Remington 870. I grew up carrying one through the fields and thickets since I was a child. They were the standard issue within patrol cars during the years I drove a black and white. They have enough heft that I can fire magnum loads from them without getting a nose bleed and I know how to field strip them and clean the action after being submerged in water or a really heavy rain.

    I grew up shooting a 20 gauge and graduated to a 12 gauge as a young policeman. On days off, I still liked to pick up the light fast swinging 20 gauge to bag the occasional rabbit or crow that flies too close to me. These days, I shoot the 20 gauge when I get tired of cleaning all the stations with a 12 gauge when I shoot trap.

    It is what I grew up with and I see no reason to upgrade.

    1. Calirefugee
      Im a fan of the pumps as well, had a mossberg 500 for years, used it for all sorts of hunting, i sold it and got a 590A1 with ghost ring sights, dialed it in with some saboted 350g hornady slugs i load and its consistant out to 100 yds, i like having the sights, doesnt have chokes so its sort of useless for birds, but with heavy slugs and 00buck is excellent. Saw it advertized sold with bayonet lug and a free bayonet so was why i picked it up, figured what the hell,,,,
      Merry Christmas!

    2. Like the mossy 500 myself but where do you live that has flying rabbits LOL

      On days off, I still liked to pick up the light fast swinging 20 gauge to bag the occasional rabbit or crow that flies too close to me

  21. Response to Tommyboy:

    Sounds like you have the weapon system used by the Marine Embassy Guards in overseas consulates. I have used a shotgun with sights to take blue grouse with bird shot. It is a bit slower than using just a straight bead butt if the bird is standing still..the sights work just fine.

    That is why I love the shotgun…it is designed for targets of opportunity be it small game or bigger game just use the appropriate load. Many a day I remember packing to go out after dove or quail only to run across some brush rabbits. They are all good in a skillet.

    I always had some 10 rounds of buckshot on me for gangbangers rather than bears in the places I hunted upland birds. Several time I return to my truck only to have local yahoos checking out my buggy. There were no bears in those areas.

  22. Traded in my Henry Survival for a Ruger 10/22. Rimfire casings do not stack well in a straight magazine like the Henry, in my experience.
    Ruger has a rotary feed. You can get a 10/22 that has iron sights and a scope mount and sling swivels on the same rifle. They also make a take-down model…
    And its the VW of 22 rifles as far as available parts and mods goes.

  23. Check out the Chiappa X-Caliber Survival Shotgun. Not a bad little setup.

  24. All – My 11 year old grandson would like his very own 410 shotgun and I will buy it for him. Do any of you have opinions on a make/model that you might recommend? He is currently 4’10” and his growing spurt will probably continue so we are not necessarily looking for a youth model. Any helpful opinions will be gratefully accepted.

    1. Northern Sarge,

      You might also want to look at the Taurus/Rossi Circuit Judge. Five shot revolver carbine that shoots both .410 and .45 long colt.

      I bought one when they first came out several years back. Fun to shoot, decent accuracy with .45 colt, good tight pattern with .410 with the shotshell choke tube…and can still be purchased around $500.

      It sits in a corner of our bedroom as the primary “long gun” for the girls to grab if the need arises. No safeties to deal with…can either cock the hammer and fire or just pull the double action trigger.

      Just something for you to add to your search.

      1. Dennis – Thank you for the suggestion. I found and watched a youtube video from hickok45 who seemed to have a lot of fun shooting and reviewing this gun. It’s an unique looking gun and I’m oddly attracted to it. I will show my grandson the video after school today and get his opinion. I’d not use it for a main hunting gun but I can see where it could be a lot of fun to use.

        1. Northern Sarge,

          The gun is unique. It’s not the best .410 available, nor is it the most accurate .45 colt rifle available, but the ability to handle .45 colt and the myriad of loadings for .410 makes for a very versatile package.

          I’ve not taken a deer with it (yet), but I took my first several deer way back as a teenager when I didn’t know (sarcasm) that my antique 38/40 caliber Marlin 1894 wasn’t powerful enough…all one-shot kills.

          I have taken numerous skunks with the .410 loaded with #9 birdshot when I was close to the house and wanted them dead before they could spray. I accomplished that feat every time.

          Even with the rifled barrel, it throws 5 triple-aught buck pellets from the 3″ shells into about a six-inch cluster at 15 yards.

          It’s short, lightweight, and easy to carry and maneuver. Got plenty of other options for shotguns and rifles, but this one earns the right to live outside the safe and get used regularly.

  25. My neighbor bought one of those Henry’s 410, we shot it last week, and it sings……I first hunted with a 410 and evidently graduated to a 16 and then 12 …..some suggest (I am one) using a 12 from the start because most 410s are full choke and requires more accurate shot placement. Getting harder to find 410 shells, they are pricey, and shot size selection is limited. Just saying and in a prepper perspective it another caliber that you have to acquire.

  26. Scout/Soul Survival/Realist – Thank you both for your replies. I must live a sheltered life up here with break-action and pump shotguns because I’ve never ever heard of a lever action 410. I did some online research and have to admit that from what I’ve read, it’s a beautiful, smooth handling gun. Although the sticker price did shock me, I have limited funds but I will speak to my son today to see if he perhaps would like to go 50/50 on a purchase.
    I love lever actions anyways as evidenced by my 32 sp, 30-30, and 30-06 collection of ‘deer’ rifles. My grandson already shoots his father’s 12 gauge with trap (light) loads and although he isn’t experienced enough yet to distinguish what an open choke vs choked gun is, he has his heart set on a 410 break action. Having said that, he hasn’t seen a picture of a Henry 410 yet. Heck, it’s a beautiful gun….Methinks you guys just cost me triple my original budget…

  27. Realist:
    Valid points on the choke and also future upgrades. I will wait perhaps 30 days to see if his desire to own a 410 changes. If it doesn’t, well, he’s my grandson….

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