I am beginning the process of uploading material to this blog that I hope will help you in your Survival/Preparedness planning. This is the first article, submitted by a listener in Oregon, which also happens to be my home state. I welcome other submissions and will credit each author however they want to be credited. :)
THE "POOR MAN'S" SURVIVAL GUNS
Darrell in Oregon
At this time there is a tremendous amount of interest in survival firearms. I believe that for purely defensive purposes semi-auto rifles cannot be beat. I have a few SKS's and a Mini-14 for those purposes. I also have several bolt action rifles that could serve as dual purpose guns (defense and working). However, many people who want to prepare for an uncertain future lack the finances to purchase M1-A's and AR-15's. Thus, the purpose of this article is to inform these people of what I consider to be a viable alternative.
The Harrington and Richardson (H&R) firearms manufacturing company has been making weapons for more than one hundred years. Down through the years they have made untold numbers of handguns and rifles. Today, however, they make mostly single shot rifles and shotguns. They also sell pump and semi-auto shotguns. I want to write about their line of American made single shot firearms. The vast majority of the time a single shot should suffice for survival shooting. Michaels of Oregon makes a 9 shot sleeve that you can put on the stock to carry extra ammo. A plus feature is that these rifles don't carry the stigma of "evil assault guns". One of the best features of H&R products are the prices. You can purchase one of these rifles for less than $300. Although they are available in a number of calibers, I recommend what I call the "Big Six." Having owned numerous guns for the past 55 years, I have learned that the most popular rifle calibers are: 223 Remington, 243 Winchester, 270 Winchester, 30-30 Winchester, 308 Winchester and 30-06 Springfield. Someday you may find yourself in need of ammo in some podunk village miles from the nearest city. If you locate a little store that sells any ammo at all, you'll probably find one or more of these calibers (if these shortages ever end). That cannot be said about exotic calibers such as 257 Weatherby, 300 Remington Ultra Mag or 308 Norma Magnum, etc. You get the idea. Stick with common calibers. H&R shotguns usually sell for less than 150 dollars. They also have a line of low cost rimfire rifles (.22, .22 magnum and .17 HMR).
I recently purchased an H&R in .223 Remington. It uses the same cartridges as my Mini-14. I also wanted a rifle that shoots .308 Winchester, so I bought one of those. Another caliber that found its way into my battery was a 45-70. This caliber violates what I just wrote about having common calibers. But I always wanted a gun in that caliber to play with and it was very low priced so I yielded to temptation. I now have 3 H&R single shot rifles. But, get this! You can send the receivers back to H&R and have OTHER CALIBER BARRELS fitted to them! Then you can change calibers in a minute! For example, I plan to send in the receiver from my 45-70 and have 270 Winchester and 30-06 Springfield barrels fitted to it. One Gun - three calibers! I also want to send in the receiver for my .223 and have a .243 barrel fitted. Inasmuch as I already have a Marlin 30-30, that will enable me to shoot ALL of the "Big Six" calibers. You can also have shotgun barrels fitted to these rifles. Furthermore, you could buy one shotgun and have it fitted with several different barrels such as rifled barrels for slugs, long or short barrels, and different gauges, etc. And you could purchase one rimfire rifle and have it fitted for the 3 available calibers. So, how much does it cost for an extra barrel? According to the H&R website, extra barrels cost from $90.00 to $120 for rifle calibers. Shotgun barrels run from $44.00 and up. Rimfire barrels range from $61 to $70. There is a small fee for fitting the barrels and of course there are shipping costs. I figure that the cost of the two extra barrels plus fitting them to my receiver and shipping will go like this: Cost of Firearm (45-70) $243. .270 and 30-06 barrels $180 labor to fit 2 barrels $30 shipping and handling $20 Total $473 Dividing $473 by 3 (the number of calibers), you find that it will end up costing me $157.67 per caliber! Can you get brand new guns for that kind of price anywhere else? These costs are from the H&R website and their Barrel Accessory Program brochure (effective February 1, 2007, so labor and shipping might be a bit higher today).
Of course, these rifles are based on technology that has been around for decades. But, what's wrong with that? If they function well (and all three of mine do), sometimes the old ways are very acceptable. A really good feature of these firearms is that they come with exposed hammers which must be manually cocked before firing. They have a transfer bar mechanism similar to Ruger revolvers. This insures that the hammer cannot contact the firing pin. It is neccessary to hold the trigger all the way back for the gun to fire. Without a finger on the trigger the gun will not go "bang"! I consider this to be very safe. Also, they all use the same type of scope mount base so you only need to purchase one scope and one set of rings which can be easily switched from gun to gun. I do it all the time. Just for the record - this author has NO connection to ANY gun company! (Chip's note: The web site for the company that makes these rifles can be found here: www.hr1871.com )