I have been trying to write this for over a month now and have been struggling with what to put on this 5 guns list, so here goes.
Most people already have their 5 guns list or have already set up their own collection. This is how we came up with our 5 guns list.
Coverage is the name of the game (stolen from Steve Rinella). The five firearms in this list allow a hunter to pursue everything from wing shooting and small game to big game. The following calibers chose are common and relatively inexpensive, but also shtf-proof. Have you visited a sporting goods store lately? If so, you have probably noticed that most of them are sold out of the popular calibers.
With all that in mind, it may seem like a good idea to buy a gun that is chambered in a round other than the common types. The only problem with that thinking is unless you are a reloader, those rounds will become increasingly hard to find in an SHTF scenario or if manufacturers produce the more common rounds to keep up with demand.
12 Gauge Shotgun (Pump/Semi-Auto)
This one may come as no surprise as the Shotgun is synonymous with versatility, dependability, and inexpensive. Particularly the 12 Gauge is one of the most versatile and well-rounded shotgun calibers. With the simple swap of a choke, shot, and barrel you can hunt anything from Pheasant, Dove, Grouse, Rabbit, all the way up to White Tail and Bear.
I have seen people put rifled slugs in a 1-inch group at 100 yards. This is why this makes such an effective well-round firearm to have in your hunting arsenal.
.22 Long Rifle (Semi-Auto)
Now this one may seem a little controversial to many in that there are some very solid bolt action .22 Long Rifles out there. For me though, looking at this as an end all be all 5 gun setup, the semi-auto variant is hard to beat. In particular, I am a huge fan of the Ruger 10/22 Take Down rifles. With a super small footprint and easily storable in a backpack, this makes the .22 a perfect companion for all hunts.
Whether you are hunting squirrel, rabbit, or other small game, the .22 long rifle is super quiet and usually won’t disturb other large game that might be in the area. Also as I stated this can be a companion rifle that comes with you on all hunts, which means even if you don’t find your intended target, there will always be something to eat.
The rounds for this are super small, lightweight, and pack a decent punch. Also, 1000 rounds for $15 bucks isn’t a bad deal. You can stockpile ammo for this and know that you will never be without it. Add a suppressor and some subsonic ammo and this thing is all the fun you will ever need again, hence why it gets the nickname, Plinker!
.308 Win or 6.5 Creedmoor (Bolt Action/Semi-Auto)
Ok, now I do admit, this one is more of a bonus, but hear me out. Everyone has their own personal preference. 308 is definitely tried and true, and the 6.5 Creedmoor has been gaining a lot of notoriety the last few years. Notably because of the smaller cartridge but higher ballistics coefficients.
Both are great calibers and both can pretty much hunt the same animals. I would tend to say the .308 might pack a little larger punch at greater ranges. In all honesty, I haven’t had an opportunity to try a 6.5 Creedmoor out past 300 yards. You can get various grain weights for both calibers; although due to the length of the cartridge being available, from what I have seen the .308 wins in this category. The downside to the .308 is that it is a super popular cartridge and flies off the shelves.
Personally, I have a .308 that I use for hunting and right now I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love the versatility it offers the readily available ammo selection and it is super easy to reload. Ultimately you will need to choose what feels best to you and what your intended uses are for this particular rifle. Side Note: I 100% will be building a 6.5 Creedmoor in the AR platform for LRS Competitions.
.300 Win Mag (Bolt Action)
Now, this is a fun cartridge. Not the lightest weight gun in the world; but super fun to shoot and excellent at handling those longer range shots, that might be just out of reach of your .308 or 6.5 Creedmoor. Personally, I don’t feel like any 5 guns setup is complete without one of these in the bunch. People who swear by the 7MM in contrast to the .300 Win Mag. If forced to take a shot from say 600 yards on a Mule Deer or Elk or any other big game, I would put my money on the .300 Win Mag.
Higher pressure loads and a bullet that to me has better ballistic coefficients than that of the 7MM or similar cartridge. Makes this a great go-to long-range shooter or backup hunting rifle. Let’s be honest, if you only brought one gun to a hunt and slip or fall and break a scope, you are unfortunately shit out of luck.
.50 Cal Muzzleloader
There really isn’t much to say here about this one as it speaks for itself. Been around forever and they are as basic as it gets. They are legal in all 50 states and effective out to 150 yards. (Or so I have been told, as I personally have never hunted with one).
If anything these are super fun to take to the range.
While this 5 guns list may or may not fit for you. The simple fact of the matter is no hunter should be without one. You may want to swap out the .300 Win Mag for a 7MM or even a .338 Lapua. You may want to say forget the .308 and 6.5 Creedmoor and go with a .45-70. Being prepared to hunt in any conditions and in any location is the point of the 5 guns list. I urge every hunter to put together your own.
Lastly, .30-30 is the god cartridge! 🙂