A rifle concept for POST-SHTF rural patrolling

In my last post, I laid out my thought process for choosing a defensive rifle.  I focused on a concept I called the “defensive carbine”. It is a rifle that you can use to defend yourself and your property out to roughly 500 yards. I think this is a distance well suited for somebody in a suburban area.

One thing I have noticed, is that our weapons are typically much more capable than we are. It’s easy to hit at 500 yards with a 5.56 on a known distance range from the prone, but it’s much different to hit at 500 yards shooting on a side hill over bushes and through trees after you just ran a mile.

Going from my own personal experience, I would say you are likely to see your groups open up two to three times as much under a combat condition vs shooting on the range. So that one minute of angle rifle just turned into a 3 minute of angle rifle in your hands when you are cold and tired, and shooting from a non standard position.

Now that 500 yard limitation is a result of the ballistics of the ammunition used. So basically, if we want to shoot farther we need a different caliber. Of course there are things we can do to try and get a little more distance from our 5.56, but now we are doing things to our defensive carbine system that is changing the dynamic we initially started with, just to get 100 more yards from the rifle. In other words, is the extra money you will invest in a better barrel and more expensive ammunition worth it?

Now we could argue ballistics all century, but to get the most bang for our buck it would be hard to not choose a rifle chambered in 308 Winchester. For a long time I had my mind made up against having a 308 semi-automatic rifle. Mainly because they were always pretty heavy and mounting optics on most of them was a pain. Almost all of your popular 308 rifles were designed in the 1950s before the individual rifleman had optics available to him, so they weren’t really designed with using optics in mind.

Of course people have come up with ways to do it, everything from clamp-on mounts to weld on rails. The only exception (I can think of at the moment at least) being the AR 10 series of rifles with a flat top receiver. But even these rifles came with their own unique issues. Mainly the fact that it still was big and heavy compared to an AR 15. So even a shooter familiar with an AR 15 was basically going to have to relearn how to run an AR 10 efficiently.

That was where my thoughts were on the subject, even though I knew I needed a rifle system capable of shooting past the 5.56. You see, where I live I can just as easily imagine having to do security patrols in a suburban setting as I can in a rural setting. Think rolling hills and farmland and that’s what I mean by rural.

For a long time I was content with the fact that I had a bolt action 308 that was set up as a target / tactical rifle. It was a Remington 700 SPS tactical with a Vortex Viper PST 4-16 FFP. It was very accurate and I had a lot of fun shooting out to about a thousand yards with it. And to enhance its capabilities I equipped it with a detachable magazine setup with 10 round magazines.

Gun

But as time went on and I worked on developing a training plan for a security team, I quickly realized that implementing this bolt action rifle into a small team was not very practical. It might be for a SWAT team or a military unit where they have additional security to rely on, but a small team providing security with no reinforcements and no assets to call on needs all the organic firepower it can get.

Just simple buddy team fire and movement becomes very lopsided when one guy has an AR and one has a bolt action rifle. Now you could say the guy with the bolt action should also be carrying an AR, but I have also set forth a restriction of 60 pounds for total weight of gear carried. Not to mention its just damn cumbersome to carry load bearing equipment, a 3 day pack, a sniper rifle, and another rifle.

So my quest began to find a weapon system that I could bridge the gap between my defensive carbine and my sniper rifle. I also wanted to limit my spending to $1,500 to get this weapon setup. Now had my budget allowed me more I may have had more options, but I don’t really feel like I needed them.

A few more requirements included being able to carry at least 200 rounds of ammunition on my person. I wanted it to be capable of holding a two minute of angle group. I wanted the reload technique to be efficient and quick. I wanted the optic mounting system reliable. I also wanted the ability to clear rooms with it if need be. I wanted it to be able to serve in any  position through the assault cycle of a squad. There was no way I could have done all those things with my bolt action.

So my research began. I looked at a few different weapon systems, but given my $1,500 constraint there weren’t many that really stuck out. The two I looked at the most heavily at first where the PTR91 A3S and the Smith and Wesson M&P 10.  I was actually more sold on the PTR than the Smith and Wesson simply because the magazines are $3 a piece. And then a colleague asked if I’d seen the g2 series from DPMS. I have not, nor have I heard much about them I said. He showed me to a series of videos on YouTube that James Yeager produced running one through its paces.

Now I’m not one to say that everything on the internet is the gospel, and I wasn’t very familiar with James Yeager. But what started to sell me right away was his attitude towards 308 ARs in his first video of the series. He was just as skeptical that rifle would make it a thousand rounds or be worth having as I was. But after thousands of rounds and no cleaning, and splitting the rifle down the center by Remington ,and they found nothing wrong with it, I was starting to be convinced that it might be something worth looking at.

So after much googling and video watching and looking at one in the store I decided that would be my rifle. A local farm and fleet store actually had a year end clearance going and they had a g2 recon and a hunter on sale for $1,250. So the day came to purchase the rifle and I walked into the store and the Recon was gone! They just sold it the day before! So I was quite dismayed at first because naturally this was the only model I looked at since it was their tactical model. Standing there looking in the shelves I started to get another thought in my head.

I asked to handle the hunter, and at seven and a half pounds it felt amazing in my hands. And for $1,250, I figured I could afford to get the barrel threaded. And since I had an extra Silencerco trifecta mount at home for a 308 making it suppressed wouldn’t be hard. It actually came with the stock I prefer versus the collapsible stock that came with the Recon. So home she came with me.

I still have some work to do on the weapon including mounting some rails on the fore end, and installing some sling mounts.  I would also like to install some back up iron sights as well. I think I will also cut some holes in the handguard for ventilation. Similar to the PRI carbon fiber handguards.

As for ammunition, since I reload I could make a custom load for this rifle, but I have chosen not to. I simply am cloning the 175 grain Federal Gold Medal Match load. And from what I’ve seen so far, there’s no need to change. This rifle is easily a half minute of angle rifle and that is shooting from off my 3 day Pack, not a bench rest.

I recently had it out to the range and at 425 yards I was shooting a 4 inch group consistently.

425 group.jpg

So far I have about 60 rounds through the rifle, and having used six different magazines and I’ve had no issues whatsoever.

So what’s the big difference between a g2 and an AR10 you might be asking? A g2 is a complete redesign by Remington and have they improved vastly from the original AR 10 design. You can check out all the details on their website but the biggest seller to me was that their lower receiver is the same dimensions as a 5.56, except for the mag well of course. This mean same parts, same stock, and exact same manual of arms.

2 AR.jpg

.308 not on safe, shame on me.

This was very important to me because that meant I don’t have to relearn how to run the weapon. It also means all the training I do on my 556 transfers over, and vice versa.

There are a few things to get used to, like the longer and heavier bolt throw. But with practice now these are minor issues. I am definitely planning on changing out the charging handle latch to something a little easier to get a hold of. I am a big fan of the BCM Gunfighter charging handles, and I hope they come out with one for the G2. It is actually funny when I get on my 5.56 AR I feel like I’m going to break it. I can understand how the guys back in the sixties must of felt when they were issued an M16 for the first time.

And you know what is crazy? Unloaded with optics, both my G2 and my AR15 weigh the same. 10.5 pounds each.

So what about optics for this rifle? Should I have kept my Vortex Viper? Should I get an ACOG? These were questions I was asking myself. But just like the initial process to choosing a rifle I had to go back to my needs. What optic would allow me to satisfy my needs?

First off, what were my needs? I needed this optic to allow me to do the things I could with my defensive carbine, but still give me most of the capability I had with my sniper rifle. There really are not a lot of optics out there that really fit this role. ACOGs are great as a combat rifle optic, but I wouldn’t really say they make a precision rifle optic. The same could be said for most any precision rifle optic as a combat rifle optic.

I actually thought about running two optics on this rifle on quick detachable mounts. Basically an ACOG would stay on there most of the time, but I would have a precision optic in a QD mount if I needed to shoot past 600 yards. I’m a firm believer that having 1 power of magnification for every 100 yards you want to shoot makes things a lot easier. (10x for 1000 yards, 4x for 400 yards, etc. So when you are picking an optic, think about that for a second. Ask yourself, “What is the max range I need to be able to engage?” If your answer is anything more than 200 yards, I would say you need to look at a magnified optic. Now, if your answer is 500 yards for example, I don’t think you need a 4-16x optic. A 1-4, or 1-6 would probably be excellent. More to come on that subject.)

Then I happened across the Pride Fowler Rapid Reticle scopes. Having never heard of them and having no experience with the company I was very skeptical. What I was attracted to was the rapid reticle design. It was actually designed for the US Army for use on their designated marksman rifles.

It gives the shooter the ability to quickly range and engage targets with minute of man precision. Not that the scope isn’t capable of more accuracy, but the reticle is really designed for a combat environment.

So the actual scope I bought was part of their RR-Evolution line. It is a 3 to 12 power optic that is illuminated and first focal plane. A great feature I was very surprised to find out about, was the fact that it actually has a second reticle that appears in about 5 power and below.

PFI 3x

3x at about 15 Yards.

It has large brackets that frame the main reticle on the left and right, and the bottom stadia is very thick. At 3 power, this along with the illumination make for a very quick reticle to pick up in a close quarters situation.

6X at about 300 yards

PFI

3x at about 100 yards

PFI (5)

12x at about 1000 yards

PFI (4)

Mind you, these pictures were taken with my cell phone, so don’t judge the scope based on these alone. I can tell you that the glass is every bit as good as my Vortex was. I will be posting a full review of this scope soon.

I will post more about this optic the more that I use it, but suffice to say I’m very impressed. Especially considering the fact that I got it for $250 shipped.

So there you have it, my concept of a go to gun for providing ‘retreat security’ in a rural setting.

A rifle concept for POST-SHTF rural patrolling

On choosing A Rifle system for the prepared..

So, I thought I would start off a post about something that everyone likes, guns. Or more specifically, the rifle. As I stated in my last article, I am preparing to be able to provide food, water, shelter, and security. Now, I personally feel that without solid security, it will be very hard to provide the other 3 items on the list. So what defines “solid security”? I would say security, that adequately protects you from the most dangerous threats to you and your family. So, it could be as simple as some pepper spray for a pesky dog when you are out for a walk. But, if you are preparing to defend yourself from pesky people, or more specifically dangerous, deadly people, pepper spray isn’t really going to work. Hence, the rifle.

Now, I am a fan of pistols and shotguns too, but a rifle in capable hands is unmatched in it’s broadness of capabilities. So, if you are getting started in preparing, I would recommend you look into acquiring a rifle. But, what kind? (I’m sure many of you can hear the siren from the incoming artillery shell that is the ‘AK vs. AR’ discussion) I will only tell you what I personally use and why. I’m not going to tell you that it is the only rifle that will work. One thing I want everyone to remember is software over hardware. I am a capable marksman by almost any standard, and I can tell you that I would still be effective with any rifle even if it isn’t my preferred rifle of choice. The next things everyone talks about, is caliber. Once again, I will only give you my preference and why I chose it. Feel free to comment about why it is a bad idea or why you feel something else is better.

What you really need to consider, is what are your needs? What do you need to be able to do with this rifle? I would say, since you are getting a rifle for defensive purposes, you need to be able to defend yourself and family with it. Like what I did there? So, what is a defense? Dictionary.com says it’s “the practice or art of defending oneself or one’s goal against attack”. So what kind of rifle is good for that? I would say a “defensive carbine”. That, my friends, is a compact (as in, not any bigger than necessary) and maneuverable rifle, capable of quickly, and accurately, engaging threats to the limit of your line of sight. So what does that mean? It means, if you live in a suburb, you want a rifle that can reach out as far as your line of sight extends from anywhere in your home. Or, if you live in the country, you want a rifle that can reach out to the nearest cover or key terrain around your home. (Within reason there “Carlos Hathcock”. If you can afford to put a scope on a Ma Deuce, be my guest. But for the rest of us working guys, something that can reach out to 700 yards might be sufficient.)

Now, the rifle that suits the suburbanite may not be the best for the rural guy, and vice versa. See why you need to determine your needs before you start buying stuff!! If you run out and blow a ton of money so you can look like recoil magazine just puked all over you, you may find that half that stuff is really not that useful to you.

Now there are many more things to consider when looking at a weapon. To me, a working class guy, cost is always a concern. But not just the cost of the actual rifle. How about the cost of the magazines to go in it (If you are allowed to have them)? How about the cost of the ammunition? How about extra parts for said rifle? How about cleaning gear? How about miscellaneous tools you might need to adjust sights, etc.? How about equipment to help you support the weapon, like a sling, some form of gear to carry magazines, your cleaning gear, etc.? What about a white light so you can see if who you are aiming at is a threat so you don’t kill somebody you shouldn’t have? What about optics to help you engage easier? How about a way to mount said optic to said rifle? These things all cost money, and each rifle has unique things to consider when it comes to these needs.

You see, when you are picking a rifle, you are really picking a rifle system. I know lots of guys who have an AR in the gun safe, and 2 magazines for it. That’s it. Pathetic. So what is a system exactly? I would say it’s kind of like a three legged stool. The rifle itself, the gear to support it, and you. If any one of these three things fails, the effectiveness of your rifle system is compromised.

So, by now if you are still reading this, you are likely saying “Okay smarty, what do you use?”

I use an AR-15. (don’t quit reading AK guys, just pretend I’m saying “AK”, the concepts apply to either rifle) I use it because I am familiar enough with it that I do not see the need to change. My three legged stool is very strong with me running an AR. Not as much with an AK or any other weapon system. I also use it because the other leg, the “rifle support gear” is plentiful, and cheap. You can also say that about an AK. With my preferred AR, I can supply an instant 0-500 yard ‘bubble of safety’ around my family. Probably further, but I won’t get into that here.  I can’t personally do that with any other weapon.

So what about ammo? My go to round is actually M193 ball. It does more damage to unarmored targets at defensive ranges than M855, and is cheap enough that I can buy a lot of it. That means more practice, which means my three legged stool just got stronger. And, it’s also cheap, while still being made to NATO standards, which are pretty good compared to wolf, or some other cheaper rounds. I guess I have more peace of mind, knowing that I have something that is made to military specs. Not that that is the ‘be all, end all’ of ammo, but at around $ .35 a round (at published date), it works for me. Feel free to comment your thoughts.

My “500 yard bubble maker”

SPR.jpg

So what about past 500 yards? I bet if your smart you determined that I most likely live in a suburban area from my choice of weapon. But, what if I find myself out in the country? What weapon would I choose? (Spoiler alert: Not an AK)

This one

g2spr.jpg

It is a DPMS G2 Hunter. For those of you who have not checked out the G2 series of rifles from DPMS, I cannot recommend them enough. I will do a whole article on this rifle soon, but I am still getting it set up.

So basically, you want the rifle system that gets you the most bang for your buck, while being reliable enough to bet your life on it, and helps you to provide the best security you can for you and your family.

But yet another thing to consider,  especially if you are a novice shooter,  is how easy will it be to become an expert with your rifle?  Not just proficient, but a true expert. Someone who knows enough to teach others. I know that there is more than enough proven knowledge and techniques available to take a novice shooter to expert and beyond for the AR. This is also something you should consider when selecting a rifle system.

Because you see, this is the only way you are going to improve the “you” leg of your rifle system.  You can have the best rifle with the best gear, but if you suck with it, you are really just a living, breathing resupply point for somebody better. On the flip side, you can have a mediocre weapon and gear, and as long as you know how to expertly use it you should come out ok.

So you see, there are alot more variables to selecting a rifle than just the type of rifle. Oh yeah, and another tidbit of advice. Don’t get caught up in hype. I’ve seen it so many times, from calibers to piston AR’S to optics. IF you choose an AR as your first defensive weapon, go for something as close to mil spec as you can. No pistons(unnecessary added weight), no 6.whatever calibers(expensive and less common ammo), no SBR/ pistol length (piss poor ballistics ) Just a standard 16 inch carbine in 5.56.

But whatever you choose, get off your ass and go train with it.

 

On choosing A Rifle system for the prepared..

My concept of being prepared

I thought to go along with my introduction I would write a post on what I am trying to accomplish with my preparedness activities. I think there are multiple levels to being prepared, mostly defined by what you are prepared for. But irregardless, I think you need to be able to provide food, water, shelter and security. I think those four groups encompass everything you need, and the longer you can provide them, the better off you are. It is a goal of mine, to be able to provide these things indefinitely. I think the only way I will truly be able to do that would be through a complete life style change.

But if you scale back a little bit, I think providing those things to get you through a small disaster is pretty easy to do. It’s easy enough, that I think if you can’t do it for a month, given a likely disaster in your area, then you are guilty of being negligent. (If you are just getting started in this, or even if you have been at it awhile, I would recommend to you The Survival Podcast. I happen to like episode 1486 as a great starting point for preparedness.) Now, by a likely disaster, I mean things like weather related emergencies, or even social emergencies. If you live in L.A. for example, you’ve got a massive population, combined with the possibility of a massive earthquake. Sounds like a great recipe for hell on earth.

-On the subject of podcasts, if you don’t listen to them you are missing out on a massive amount of information. Blogs are great, but actually hearing some of your favorite bloggers or their influences discussing their ideas and sharing knowledge is something you don’t want to be missing out on. I happen to use an app called “podcast addict” to keep track of my favorites. –

So for me, having the ability to provide for my families needs for one month was my starting point. There are still a few things I need to augment before I feel I am truely ready for one month of off grid living.

Once  I am good to go for a month, I’ll start over and add another month,  and then another. I’ll continue to do this until I have 6 months worth of food on hand and other necessities.  I will also be starting to garden eventually and sourcing more local food.

I feel one of the most important things we can be doing as preppers and patriots is to network locally.  Maintain a level of security, but don’t be bashful about meeting like minded people. And if you can support another like minded person by purchasing goods from them,  it will make your whole local patriot network stronger.

You see, I don’t really have the bunker mentality or the bug out to the mountains mentality. If something catastrophic happens I plan to stay in my home as long as possible. I’m lucky enough to live in a town where I’m not too afraid of the population turning hostile, and people are still fairly old fashioned when it comes to helping their neighbors.

So part of my preparedness planning actually involves networking and helping to convince my friends and family members to become more self sufficient.

This is a touchy subject with a lot of people, but over the last year or so it has become easier to approach people simply because of the failures of our government and the economy. I think the average person no longer believes that everything will be better in the future. Throw in people’s uncertainty about how the government has handled our border security, Isis, and a bleak outlook for their retirement and it is not hard to at least get people to consider being more prepared.

Another reason I think we should be more prepared, at least at the one month level, is so we can better help other people during situations that only cause a temporary disruption. If a massive blizzard comes through and knocks out power for a week, and the grocery trucks can’t get to town because the highways are closed, it sure would be nice to be able to help your neighbors.

It also would be nice to not have to worry about getting to the store for the last bits of groceries that everyone is scrambling for. It would be nice to be able to sit in your nice cozy, warm house rather than have to go out in the cold.

So you see, its not really about surviving and living in the mountains. It’s about being able to help those who can’t help themselves. Its about being ready to help when the opportunity comes.

When a lot of people think of preparedness, the 80’s movie “Red Dawn” comes to mind. They imagine living in the mountains fighting an invader. But it’s more about being the old couple who were hiding their nieces. The people who had the supplies and the knowledge to put to use when the time came.

 

My concept of being prepared

An introduction, and an explanation…

I thought I would make my first post about myself, and why I have chosen to start a blog. As for myself, I am an average guy in some ways (depending on how you define average..) and quite abnormal in others. The average part of me wants to see my children grow up to be happy, to see success from my career, and to leave something lasting for my (future) grand children. The problem is that my ‘abnormal’ side was awoken a few years ago, and once that happened my outlook on life changed.

I’m not saying I still don’t get enjoyment from life, but I am witnessing changes in my country and the world, that I believe will make it so that my children won’t be as happy as they could be when they get older; changes that are starting to make me realize that the harder I work isn’t necessarily indicative of the success that I will have; and changes that are showing me that it is going to be harder to leave behind something for future generations.

I am also seeing events unfold that give me the idea that knowledge, and ideas, are the best things we can give future generations. There are a lot of groups and ideologies that are starting to metastasize into something very sinister and dangerous for those of us who still believe in the American ideals.

So now I find myself at a cross roads. With the knowledge of the way our country and world is decaying, and the desire to provide the best life I can to my family, I have started to prepare myself for a changing world. A world, that in the future, will look more like the distant past than the past of my childhood. I once heard a man say that “his great-grandfather rode a horse to school, and more than likely so will his great-grandchildren.” I think that is a good way to summarize my thoughts as well.

So this will be a blog about my journey towards being more prepared and more self-reliant. It will not necessarily be an anti-government rant blog as much as a pro-self reliance blog. I certainly do consider myself a patriot in the old sense of the word, and feel that the only people who can consider themselves really “American” are those who support the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in their entirety. These were the beliefs held by the first “Americans” to ever exist on this planet, so I feel that it is only proper to use them as a qualifier for who is really an “American”.

I want this blog to be somewhat of a guide for other people in my position. I want people to be able to learn from my successes and mistakes. I don’t consider myself an expert in many things, and most of what I will be putting on here will be in the form of “after action reviews” from following other peoples preparedness advice. But I also have some expertise and experience in things that I feel will add to the plethora of information out there.

So with this I will end my little introduction, and wish you all the best. May you find the strength to confront the truth, and the courage to engage in the actions necessary.

An introduction, and an explanation…