The AK, garden

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

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 simply does. not. fail. 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.