Its pretty easy to get too wrapped up in firearms when youre talking about ‘survivalism’/’preparedness’. In fact, the usual image people have of anyone who calls themselves a survivalist is some misanthrope in camouflage carrying a rifle and looking like a refugee from Beirut. At the same time, you cant really exclude firearms from your plans since you need to a) be able to protect yourself and your gear from predation and b) you might need to put meat on the table using a firearm. I mention this because since Im going to be talking about guns in this post I dont want to give the impression that Im that sterotyped image.


Took the AK out for a spin the other day and I continue to be impressed with it. Sure, we all know Kalishnikov’s gun is the benchmark for reliability and we shouldnt be surprised that it simple does. not. But, still, I am constantly impressed with it. Ive had the Chinese AK knockoffs and they were reliable and all but this Bulgarian AK is just wonderful. Its gotten to the point that if I had to grab a rifle and a bag full of magazines in a mad dash out the door, Im not sure if Id take the AK or my AR. However, heres some interesting comparisons on the Ak/AR in terms of money. Obviously, other factors should be considered (magazine/ammo availability) if one were to choos between the two, but just from an economic standpoint:

Magazine, 30-rd – ($15$20~) AR —– ($14.95 or $9.95 if you buy 10)
Ammo – .223 55 FMJ S&B brand, $179.90/1000 ($0.18 @) —– 7.62×39 FMJ, $84.50/1000 ($0.09@)

(Prices do not reflect shipping, prices from Shotgun News 8/1/2004)

So AK ammo is half the price, mags are about half the price in quantity, and the gun is as reliable as a rock. Tradeoffs? Well, the .223 ammo is more common (as are the mags). “But Commander”, I hear you cry, “Since ammo is so cheap I’ll just stockpile 10,000 rounds and availability will no longer be an issue, right?” Wrong. Heres why: You can, for whatever reason, find yourself away from your stack of 7.62×39 (house catches fire, youre caught at work, house is robbed, whatever) and you have to use whatever ammo you can find. Assuming its a TEOTWAWKI sort of day, therell be cops, military, and Nat’l Guard running around and theyre all gonna be carrying .223 and magazines. You can strip them off the dead or trade amongst the living. (At this point, someone will say ‘No cop or NG is going to give ammo out to civillians’…and thats true. But if you strip some ammo out of a wrecked cop car, overturned humvee or off of a dead NG its going to be .223. So at least you always have that option)

Naturally, theres an ‘on the other hand’……… SKS rifles are so cheap, and AK’s are cheap compared to AR’s, that theres alot of guns and ammo out there in 7.62×39 in civillian hands. If you have to trade with Billy Joe Pickuptruck down at the creek, he’s more likely to have 7.62×39 than .223 since he’s more likely to be carrying an AK/SKS rather than an AR.

Me, Im playing it safe…I have both.

Another thing I like about the 7.62×39 is the ammo is packed in steel cans. A nice touch.  Paint ’em with roofing tar and they’ll keep in any environment for a long, long time. A tin of 800 rounds or so is the size of a shoebox and easily tucks away in a closet, truck box, or under a doghouse.

There are other factors I have to think about as well..the AR tends to surpass the AK in accuracy but at the same time I think that if youre going to have to do any shooting its going to be at ranges so short that accuracy is going to be fairly even between the two. That is to say, in the semi-urban environment Im currently in youre shooting across a street, down an alley, etc….ranges that the AK and AR are plenty accurate enough for. In the longer distances (200 yards+) Id say the nod is to the AR for accuracy. Then again, out to 300 yards or so I’d probably rather use the .308 bolt gun.
In less dramatic news, my tomatoes have started to produce itty bitty tomatoes. I am pleased. I grew these plants from seed and am looking forward to having a shelf in basement lined with shiny Ball canning jars full of ripe, red Roma tomatoes and spaghetti sauce. I’ve got the pressure canner sitting at home just waiting. One of the things I need to do is head up to WalMart and pick up a few cases of quart jars and lids/bands. The idea of growing your own food and preserving it for future consumption has a very liberating feel to it. One of the things I need to do is pick up some non-hybrid/heirloom seeds for my tomatoes (as well as other vegetables) so that I can use the seeds from one plant for the next year. Also need to build a nice, lightproof cabinet in the basement to keep the jars of canned food in.

8 thoughts on “

  1. AK’s and such

    I went with the AK for the very reasons you describe, except here in TX I can get 30 rd mags for $10 a pop and 1K rounds of 7.62 for $75 at most gunshows.
    I have a serious question for a newly-birthed survivalist type such as myself: Do you cache your food, ammo gear etc. offsite? I have all my supplies here in my home. I have been thinking about purchasing some land south of here and building some sort of storage site but have not done it. The house I live in is not particularly hardened, and I would be worried about making a stand here as my house is relatively modern, and quite burnable. If the starving hordes post-SHTF day decided that my house was chock full o’ goodies I would last as long as the ammo held out. So I am thinking of preparing an offsite bolt-hole where I would cache some gear.
    Also, I have been to Amazon where there are tons of “survival” type books for sale, each with authors who are former spec ops types (right, sure) who recommend disparate ideas. If you could only take 5 books into the bunker with you regarding “how-to”, what would they be? I need to get up to speed, fast.


  2. tomatoes

    might also try sun drying tomatoes, then pack in vacuum sealed mason jars. extra lids and jars make nice gifts or barter items. buy now while still available. also ever tried tomatoe chutney or tomatoe wine? as for storage ever considered old upright or chest freezers for jar storage? Wildflower

  3. Re: AK’s and such

    readers digest “back to basics”
    the entire “foxfire” set
    “u.s. army special forces medical handbook”
    “u.s. army survival handbook”
    carla emery’s “the encyclopedia of country living”
    try those for a beginers set. Wildflower

  4. Re: AK’s and such

    Strictly subjective, but my five…

    1) Where There Is No Doctor
    2) Carla Emerys book
    3) Making The Best Of Basics
    4) Patriots, Surviving the Coming Collapse
    5) …………

    Couldnt really think of five. #4 is a bit of post-apocalyptic fiction but I include it because if gives alot of how-to advice in the stories. More importantly, it makes you think about various scenarios and responses that you imght not come up with on your own.

    Books I dont recommend: anything by Ragnar Benson…theyre just not living up to their hype.

    Nuclear War Survival Skills by Kearney is a good read if youre expecting nukes or wanna make expedient shelters.

    My own library is heavy on food production/storage and mediacal info. THings to add would be great books on do-it-yourself things like plumbing, woodworking, electrical, etc.

  5. Re: AK’s and such

    try reading
    reader’s digest “crafts and hobbies”,”fix it yourself”, “do it yourself” books
    and also by them “practical problem solver” ” and how to just do anything” books
    also a decent encyclopedia set and desk dictionary be usefull too! Wildflower
    agree about benson whom is actually several persons sharing that same sigle name. better to read the tom brown’s survival books or dean ing’s “chernobyl syndrome”

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