Prepper Guns: Firearms, Ammo, Tools, and Techniques You Will Need to Survive the Coming Collapse (2016)
The Long-Range Option
Sometimes you just gotta reach out and touch someone.
Aprepper who is “sheltering in place,” as the latest buzzwords like to call it, may see a strong need for a long-range rifle.
If you have a home or compound that is remote enough to survive a social or economic meltdown and have been smart enough to create open space around it, then you will need some rifles capable of long-range use to defend that space.
Here is how I handled that in my novel The 14th Reinstated. I think this illustrates an example of why some preppers will need long-range precision rifles.
After a devastating attack where the protagonist and his family lost control of their home for several days and were robbed of guns and provisions, they decided that they needed better security. Here is a passage from the book on that:
I realized that we needed a more defensible position. We cut every tree around the house for several hundred yards. My neighbors had moved and abandoned their house a few years back. We heard that they were all killed soon after they left, so we reluctantly tore it down, salvaged the lumber and filled in the cellar hole so it could not provide cover for the bad guys. To get to my place then, anybody had to cover four hundred yards of open ground in any direction.
My son, son-in-law and I spent several weeks traveling to farms in the area left empty after the owners left or were killed, collecting the barbed wire and fence posts from the abandoned fields.
We ringed the house, starting at the four hundred yard-line with a six-foot-high fence with ten strands of tensioned barbed wire, strung too close together to climb through and too high to step over. We then looped several strands of loose wire another two feet above that so that anybody trying to climb up the tensioned wires would not be able to make it over the top. Then we repeated that every fifty yards to the one hundred-fifty yard line. That meant we had six fences, one every fifty yards.
For the next fifty yards we scattered random coils of barbed wire, sort of like military concertina wire, for a tangle foot. In random places, we held it up a foot or so on posts or by stapling it to blocks of wood so that it formed a big mess that was impossible to walk, let alone run, through without stumbling.
We planted crops between the fences, but no tall growing plants like corn. I didn’t want any place to hide.
I put signs every ten feet on the outside fence stating that it was private property monitored by armed guards and anybody approaching past the fence would be shot.
We installed gates through the fences using big thick steel pipe that I had traded for years earlier, set deep in concrete. I traded a thousand rounds of .223 ammo to a guy with a diesel-powered welding rig in exchange for putting the gates together. These gates were too big and tough to crash through with a truck. Besides that, we staggered the gates twenty-five yards off center, so that the second gate was twenty-five yards to the left and the third twenty-five yards to the right, or fifty yards apart. It was a pain in the neck for us, but with six gates to get through, this staggering arrangement would prevent any truck ramming the gates from building up enough speed to get through them all.
The gates were triple locked with the locks hidden under welded brackets so that they could not be cut with bolt cutters. When things started to get bad I had the foresight to order three dozen hardened locks. Half of them were keyed alike so one key opened them all and the other half all required their own individual keys.
The gates have spikes sticking up on top to discourage climbing over them and were strung with barbed wire. They were all easily visible from the bunker we made on the roof of the house, so we could shoot anybody trying to breach them.
We kept a .50 BMG rifle loaded with armor piercing ammo at the ready to take out any vehicle. We also kept a bolt-action sniper rifle in .300 Winchester ready to deal with anybody trying to cut through the locks. Plus, we all practice with our AR carry rifles out to five hundred yards. Any one of us could easily handle a problem along the fences with those rifles if the need came up.
We surrounded the house with a double row of sandbags to stop any bullets, leaving shooting ports at strategic locations. I welded up metal doors and window covers in my shop and installed them before it became impossible to get materials or electricity to run the welder. Of course, I had gun ports through them, which could be closed and locked from inside when not in use. We installed a double metal roof to prevent anybody from tossing a torch on the roof to burn us out.
When it came to our guns, we picked wisely. Each of us carried a semiauto handgun and several spare magazines at all times. After that first incident, we also never left the house without a long gun. We didn’t use deer rifles, even though I had a lot of them, or the shotguns that so many others thought were the answer. We picked AR-15 rifles because of their thirty-round magazines and the fact that the empty magazines can be replaced in about a second if you practice; giving you another thirty shots, so shooting was virtually uninterrupted. Our current guns were the best in my collection and they were tested to be sure they would keep running when they were hot and dirty.
We also had a few highly accurate bolt-action “sniper” type rifles with removable magazines to handle any long-range precision problems such as a sniper or some jerk on a machine gun. We kept several extra magazines with each rifle so it could be reloaded very quickly.
In addition to carrying one of the AR rifles whenever we stepped outside, we also kept at least one more in every room of the house and plenty of loaded magazines near each one. It was a risk because we might lose them again, but the benefits outweighed that risk.
What a bolt-action precision rifle primarily brings to the table is power. The secondary benefit is accuracy. There is no doubt that some semiauto rifles can be incredibly accurate and there are times when they might be the better choice. But the semiauto guns that provide that level of accuracy are limited in the size of the cartridge, usually to the .308 Winchester and similar cartridges. These don’t have the ultra-long-range capability that some bolt-action rifles can provide. The short-action carbines also do not have the power needed to penetrate some barriers or stop a vehicle.
This is a head shot at 1,000 yards. Rifle is a Remington Sendero converted to tactical use. Cartridge .300 Winchester, Federal ammo with 190-grain Sierra bullets.
On average, the precision bolt-action rifles will have a bit more practical accuracy than a semiauto rifle—partly because of the design of the gun and partly because they will generally have a better trigger. Finally, a bolt-action rifle is very reliable, can function under conditions that will stall a semiauto and will run poor ammo that a semiauto won’t tolerate.
The prepper defending his home against a long-range threat will have two types of targets. The first is bad guys making an attack. If you planned well with your location there will be something to keep them at a distance, at least temporarily—open space, fences, or other barriers, something to stall them at longer range so that you can defend your property and family without letting them get closer. They may be wearing body armor and will certainly be using any cover they can find, so the need for precision and power is critical.
The second need for preppers defending their homes in this situation is the ability to disable vehicles or other machinery, perhaps even something like a machine gun.
I can see the eyes rolling now. But we need to think this through and try to predict every possibility as best we can. In a total melt down, if the government breaks down there is no predicting where any of the military gear will end up. It’s a very plausible scenario for a gang of bad guys to have a black market or stolen, vehicle-mounted machine gun. This calls on a big powerful cartridge with a bullet that can break stuff.
On the other hand, if they show up with a tank, run away! You are out-gunned on that one.
I suppose we probably should look at the possibility that you are under attack by government forces as well. It’s hard to think about that happening in America but we must, because it is a very real possibility. The truth is, you can’t win that one either. If you try, they will kill you. Again, run away. It’s better to live.
Nothing is ever completely off the table and we must try to consider every possible scenario, but we are not fighting an offensive war and we will rarely be justified in shooting at any threat that’s not on our property. Of course, that is a very wide-ranging list of possibilities. My property is probably not the same as your property.
For example, I know several different people who live in remote locations, more or less in the center of a large property. Most of them are in western states where the terrain is relatively open. In most situations, their land is fenced and the boundaries are well marked. Anybody on their property is knowingly trespassing, and in a survival situation I suppose anybody trespassing on the property is probably there with bad intentions and could be considered a threat.
For those preppers, it makes sense to have a rifle capable of shooting at ultra-long-range and delivering a bullet with enough whack to do the job. Somebody on a remote ranch in Texas with open terrain will probably need more long-range capability than a prepper in northern New Hampshire living on fifty wooded acres.
.50 BMG rounds.
Once again, it comes down to knowing your situation, trying to envision every reasonable possibility, and then customizing to your needs when buying guns for prepping.
If you are defending a smaller compound, say, something more like what is described in the book excerpt above, you may be legally and morally bound to not shoot past the boundaries of the property. In that circumstance, a cartridge that’s very capable at 500 yards is adequate, where the prepper in Texas may have use for a rifle and cartridge capable of ending a threat at twice or even three times that distance.
Unfortunately, a civilian does not have the options of the military. We can’t call in an airstrike and we are not allowed to own weapons like a rocket launcher or Claymore mines. Besides, this is a firearms book and guns are the only options we are exploring here. There are other sources of information on other methods to defend the perimeter of your property, but I am not going to get into them here. This book explores the firearms that a civilian can own and what are the best firearms to protect your property. For that, a precision rifle is a critical tool.
If you are a prepper living in a remote or semi-remote area you should probably look at getting one or more of these rifles.