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From Collector to Prepper: A Look at My Changes Pt. 1 Caliber Choices

Today I want to start a series of articles covering some thoughts and some things I have done with my own “arsenal” over the last few years. This just is not the country I grew up in and for the much worse. I was  mainly a military rifle collector and a most any kind of pistol collector, now, not so much. I am trying to prepare myself and family for a day we may find ourselves on our own. So if you are thinking like I have been and you have a large, diverse collection you may have been thinking of making some changes. I have made a lot of them in the last two years. This also may be of value to the new gun owner uncertain of how they want to prep for an entirely possible bleak future. Over the next few segments I will go over some of them. My main focus today is caliber choices for the prepper.

The most important changes I made were due to “Logistics”. As a retired military man I know the importance of not only keeping things simple but trying to make sure that logistically I can support myself for some time. So the interchangeability of parts, magazines, ammo and accessories were some of the first things I looked at.

One of the main focus’s of my Collector to Prepper transition has been thinking further into the ammunition to stockpile. I had a lot of factors to consider which I will discuss here. That is going to be the main focus today.

So I asked myself what’s common and available? What would be most likely to be available in a situation where ammo was no longer “on the shelf”? What would be most easily reloaded? What range of cartridges do I need to have all my basic tasks covered? What are my basic tasks I may need a weapon for?

I decided I wanted ammo choices that were mainstream and in use by the military and law enf. That helps insure they will be able to be “acquired” or reloaded or otherwise “scrounged up” in the event things go further south for this nation. The US military and L.E. Agencies will probably be using 5.56 and 9mm, 308 and 12 gauge for quite awhile. This insures there will be at least some new production ammo too.  In short I decided that the mainstream military cartridges were the best way to go. Due to the sheer production numbers. Yes, less popular calibers may be still on the shelves when the military ones are gone but in the long run I think it will be easier to find a case of 5.56 over a case of 300 Blackout. (Just an example, not badmouthing the 300)

Without ammo all the weapons in the world are worthless right? So I made my caliber choices first and have stockpiled a lot of it since. I need to be able to do two basic things I’ve decided. 1. Put food on the table. 2. If necessary, defend ourselves from bad people, from point blank ranges to afar.

Pistol Ammo: I chose the 22lr, 9mm and 45acp as my main focus for pistols.  They are all common and should be easily found or reloaded. I phased out of my collection all of the 22mag, 32acp, 38 special, 357 magnum, 10mm, 44mag, 454 Casull and 460 Rowland weapons and ammo. I phased out most of the 380acp and 38 Super weapons and ammo as well. I have some sentimental issues with a couple of them so I just kept 3 guns and a few hundred rounds each for them. I probably will phase out the 45acp down the road somewhere too as I don’t have a 45acp rifle where I DO have 9mm rifles. I know that sounds plain “Un-American” for me to say phase out the 45…but logistically I do not want to carry a 45 pistol when I might be carrying a 9mm UZI. For now though I have 2500 rounds of 45acp in storage, plenty enough for quite awhile.

It hurts to phase out stuff 🙁 I was genuinely sad to see the 454 go but I don’t feel it is common enough to bother keeping around and I don’t have anything to shoot that requires that kind of handgun power. I love the 38 Super cartridge but again it is often times difficult to come by and not a mainstream military or LE load. I was excited as hell over the 460 Rowland yet have never been able to find a box of shells I didn’t buy over the Internet. These kinds of things needed to be phased out in my new grand master plan for things to come. From collector to prepper…..

Anyway, I feel like that covers pistol ammo enough for now. You can hunt small game and if need be defend yourself with a 22LR, with a 9mm or 45 you can cover yourself while you run and grab your rifle.

Rifles: I chose the 22, 9mm, 5.56, 7.62×39 and 308 as the calibers I am keeping. The 9mm for obvious reasons, so I have rifles that are compatible with my main defensive pistol ammunition. I chose the UZI over the MP5, just personal preference, not a recommendation. I had 3 of each and decided I preferred the Uzi’s. The H&K’s sold for a ton of cash which I turned into more ammo.

The .22LR again for reasons which I will go over in Segment 2 of this series.

The AK’s 7.62×39 made the prepper list because of how many weapons there are in the world and how much cheaper ammo is for one now over say 5.56 and 7.62×51. I kept 5 AK’s and 7000 rds. All my mags interchange and because they are all Romanian but one I think most parts should interchange as well. I will say this choice is like a “back-up” for me. Not my first choice for a SHTF rifle or ammo but good enough if I had to fall back on it. AK’s are “Plan B” so to speak.

The 308 made my keeper list due to US Military use and the fact that the right ammo in the right rifle with the right shooter can be a 1000 yard “defensive rifle” we’ll call it for PC sake. Not too mention also with the proper load you should be able to drop most beasties for chow in the first 48. Anything around here for sure will go down under a 308.

The last is the 5.56 which is a no brainer. Millions of 223’s in this country. Availability of this ammo should outlast most of us I would think. If not off the store shelf then off of somebodies supply shelves or off their people….however it works out. I think it will be readily available if I lose or use my pretty good stash of it.

So wrapping rifle ammo up I phased out the 5.7×28, 303, 8mm Mauser, 7.62×54 Russian, 300 win mag and 30/30 to name some and scaled way back on 30 Carbine and 30’06. I would have eliminated them entirely if they didn’t come from my Grandfather but sentimental me could never let them go. So I kept the 2 rifles and 1000 rounds each. I think of the 30 Carbine and the Garand as “Plan C” I guess.

Summary: Now you know what calibers I have focused my efforts into. It may seem to still be a bit much and I can see your points. If I had to trim off the excess fat and get down to bare bones absolutely “must have’s” Then I would choose the 22, 12 gauge and 5.56mm to stock a ton of and a smaller stash of 9mm. Those four I won’t be caught dead without or I might very well be “caught dead” without them. I will continue the series with the other calibers included so we can discuss other options and not just my idea of what is ideal. My ideal or situation may not be yours. So we will keep an open mind. It’s not like we even know for sure what the bad situation will even be.

In the next few segments I will go more in depth on why I chose those calibers as my main ones and why I chose the weapons that fire them are the best for me. (and maybe you too). We will discuss topics like why the 22LR guns might be one of the best prepper things ever. An overview of the pistol in a survival role as well as a segment on shotguns for a rainy day. I will have a segment on what I think are the 3 best prepper center-fire rifles and then probably some kind of summary page.

So that’s what I will be posting as soon as I can get it done. As always thanks for reading and train often.

By: Cary Kieffer

 

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Cary Kieffer

USMC Infantry/Combat Veteran - Med Retired LEO/8yrs.

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