Survival Ammunition

This is a discussion on Survival Ammunition within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I've never hunted anything that didn't shoot back, so I thought I'd throw this out to the several experts we have hereabouts. I'm planning a ...

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Thread: Survival Ammunition

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array tanksoldier's Avatar
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    Survival Ammunition

    I've never hunted anything that didn't shoot back, so I thought I'd throw this out to the several experts we have hereabouts.

    I'm planning a survival cache. I want to keep ammo types required to a minmum, so I have revolver and a levergun in .357.

    I envision the revolver being used mostly for self-defense, and the levergun for SD and hunting deer and such.

    What weight of bullet would provide the most utility in both weapons?

    I'm torn between 158gr and 180gr. Yes, no, maybe?

    Hot load or more mild load? (ie: Buffalo Bore, or something else?)

    Cast Core bone-breaker bullets, or something in hollow point?

    Is this realistic, or should I accept that I have to have different tpes of ammo?
    "I am a Soldier. I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight." GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array Euclidean's Avatar
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    Learn something about your locale... what are you going to be shooting at?

    Also, as an armchair quarterback here, I've tried to educate myself on this subject, reading accouts about people who have had to survive in Beirut, Sarajevo, etc.

    Basically in a survival situation, recreational hunting as we know it is not a viable longterm food solution. Certainly it is useful, but only when it is opportunisitic.

    If the balloon ever goes up, you're going to spend most of your time looking for a lot of things, especially fresh water. You can't count on having the leisurely time and energy to hunt down meat.

    Searching for edible plants, setting traps, raising rabbits, scavenging, etc. are much more efficient ways of obtaining food.

    A lot of survival manuals and texts I have read all point to the same conclusion: a small battery of firearms is highly conducive to urban and suburban survival in both short and long term situations if you have the presence of mind to know when to use them. Firearms are actually not all that essential to rural survival in many terrains even if they are useful.

    The short version is I don't agree with some authors who claim you need this that and the other, but they all pretty much agree you need a .22 caliber rifle, a sidearm, and a centerfire rifle. The sidearm and rifle are for personal protection in this extreme scenario, and the .22 is both a backup and an item to keep at "base camp" to take opportunistic shots at anything that happens to walk by that you might want to eat. It's also good just for general utility, killing livestock, pests, etc.

    There's a whole wealth of this stuff out there, and really some of it I feel is more practical than the rest, but I leave that to you to decide.

    Personally, I'd go for whatever cycled and shot best in my levergun since revolvers are not at all picky. I'm not sure exactly what you hope to accomplish so I'm at a loss to suggest a specific product. I personally keep a more or less random assortment of .38 Special and .357 Magnum cartridges on hand.

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    First off let me say that I think Euc is right but, you still need to think of 2 different ammo supplies, here's why: (if I can explain it properly)

    The rifle and the pistol will utilize the same cartridge but the rounds used in the rifle should use a heavier bullet to penetrate deep into game animals. (I prefer the 158 gr. JSP) The pistol will be primarily for self-defense, so you want a lighter bullet at high velocity (125 gr. JHP).
    You need a slower powder in the rifle cartridges than you do in the pistol rounds. You want as much push down the long barrel as you can get (to get all the velocity you can).
    Factory .357 is designed as a pistol cartridge so it has a fast burning powder. It won't give you optimal performance from the rifle.

    That is why all my survival ammo is handloaded. I was able to pick and choose each bullet, powder and performance factor to tailor it to the gun, (and my OCD )then stash it away for a rainy day. (If I'm into my survival cache, I'm not worried any more about courtrooms and lawyers over what kind of ammo I'm shooting).

    Just an opinion to go PFFFT!! at if you wish.
    Heroes are people who do what has to be done, when it has to be done, regardless of the consequences

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    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acparmed
    First off let me say that I think Euc is right but, you still need to think of 2 different ammo supplies, here's why: (if I can explain it properly)

    The rifle and the pistol will utilize the same cartridge but the rounds used in the rifle should use a heavier bullet to penetrate deep into game animals. (I prefer the 158 gr. JSP) The pistol will be primarily for self-defense, so you want a lighter bullet at high velocity (125 gr. JHP).
    You need a slower powder in the rifle cartridges than you do in the pistol rounds. You want as much push down the long barrel as you can get (to get all the velocity you can).
    Factory .357 is designed as a pistol cartridge so it has a fast burning powder. It won't give you optimal performance from the rifle.

    That is why all my survival ammo is handloaded. I was able to pick and choose each bullet, powder and performance factor to tailor it to the gun, (and my OCD )then stash it away for a rainy day. (If I'm into my survival cache, I'm not worried any more about courtrooms and lawyers over what kind of ammo I'm shooting).

    Just an opinion to go PFFFT!! at if you wish.
    I was going to say same thing but you beat me to it.

    Also for my survival Stuff i dont pick a Rifle and handgun that matches yes i know more ammo.

    But since i have to load 2 different rounds anyways i might as go full on with a Rifle.

    Right now if i had to go i would grab 223 got the most ammo on hand, Though it would be a tough choice between it and my 300 mag.

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    Thumbs up Great Post By Euclidean

    And acparmed DITTO: "The rifle and the pistol will utilize the same cartridge but the rounds used in the rifle should use a heavier bullet to penetrate deep into game animals."

    Good worthwhile addition Bud.

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    Not disagreeing with acparmed and the two bullet weights but - for many years my std .357 load has been cast gas check 158 SWC's and, they not only do well thru my '94 but also are pretty effective from revo - so I could actually ''manage'' as far as I am concerned with just the one for all. It's a round I know and trust.

    Certainly too - a .22 in the picture - always a .22, somewhere.
    Chris - P95
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    Senior Member Array tanksoldier's Avatar
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    I've read that the .357 is acceptable for medium size game, like mule or whitetail deer, say 200-300lbs. The Marlin site indicates that the M1894 in .357 is suitable for black bear, but I think that would be pushing it from what I've read.

    Generally speaking black bear are the biggest natural threat here in Colorado, some meduim size cats too... tho a huge mule buck beat the cr@p out of my dog in the back yard a few weeks ago... 8 or 10 points, hooked him with an antler and just threw him down... and this is a 100lb rot/ ridgeback mix. Buck hung out in the yard all day waiting for doggie to come out and play again, sayin' "Yup, I'm bad..."

    Oh, and I have the .22 thing covered with a 10/22... also have a Winchester 120 Ranger 12g pump.
    "I am a Soldier. I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight." GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

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    IMO, HP's work best of animals and humans. Also a .22 LR rifle will drop most game with proper shot placement.

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    In a real survival situation a suppressed rifle will reign supreme.

    Think about it. A shot will draw attention,not only for self defense, but for food.

    Also, the .357 is marginal for deer, any deer hunter in his right mind wont use one. If you want dual cartridge capability a .44 mag would be a much better choice. If you are on the verge of starvation, the last thing you need is a deer running off after its been shot.

    If you must you it for deer hunting, the Keith semi wadcutter would be a good choice at it outpenetrates every load out there.Plus, with a good bullet mold you could always find a way to cast bullets.The hollowpoints are not 100 percent, escpecially on a bear, as they will clog up and act as a solid bullet.

    As for self defense, against wild dogs,domestic dogs that havent eaten, bears and two legged predators, the .44 is the best choice.

    If the .357 is all you've got, it'll have to work but why handicap yourself ?

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    Member Array NaturalSelection's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tanksoldier
    The Marlin site indicates that the M1894 in .357 is suitable for black bear, but I think that would be pushing it from what I've read.
    the .357 magnum handgun is quite popular up here (montana) for hunting black bear.

  12. #11
    Distinguished Member Array AutoFan's Avatar
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    I think the shotgun is the most useful by virtue of being versatile. But that assumes a variety of loads - birdshot, buckshot, slugs.

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    I have hunted and scored on black bear using a .357 mag in a Ruger 3 Screw Blackhawk with a 6 1/2" barrel.

    It did it's job under ideal conditions but I did feel undergunned.
    Heroes are people who do what has to be done, when it has to be done, regardless of the consequences

    "I like when the enemy shoots at me; then I know where the ******** are and can kill them."
    ~George Patton

    DE OPPRESSO LIBER

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    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    357 will do it for deer with a dead on shot but i would want something more.. 41mag at least and preferably a 44mag

    For bear again 41 or 44 sure 357 will do it but i want a little edge to my side..

    Sure one of the largest bears on record was killed with a 22 that was a Grizz if i rember right. But im not going to let it get close enough basically put the muzzle in his ear like the lady did that shot it.

  15. #14
    Member Array NaturalSelection's Avatar
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    having played in the woods with both, there is a lot of difference in black bear and brown. i honestly wouldnt hesitate to hunt black bear with a .357 magnum handgun. its so popular up here, for whatever reason, that im convinced its plenty for black bear. that said, ive only encountered one grizzly that made me feel genuine fear, and with my 12ga. 20 yards away and the bear less than 50 yards away, my 629 .44 magnum felt completely inadequate.

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