The following essay by Ruger McCloud came about on the misc.survivalism newsgroup when a "newly awakened survivalist" posted to the group asking for opinions on how to arm himself and his wife for coming disasters. One person posted a reply in which he suggested staying away from semi-auto firearms, using instead military surplus bolt-actions. This post is a direct reply to that line of thinking.
[I] argue deeply against bolt action rifles in a post TEOTWAWKI situation. To big and cumbersome for home defense and too slow for using in a defensive position. If you want to use one for hunting, why not have a semi-automatic for follow up shots. All rules will be off and the days of "Sportsmanship" will be over.
Besides, if you do use one for hunting, and fire at an animal, you
are going to be making two important statements about yourself.
If your worried about penetrating bullet proof vests, then chances are your going to be outgunned anyway. I'm sure a 7.62x39 or .308 would penetrate just about any vest manufatured and both of these cartridges come readily in semi-automatic rifles or carbines.
If your looking to save money, you cant get much cheaper than an SKS. A very dependable rifle with excellent characteristics. Alot of people put down this rifle because it cant drive a tack at 500 meters. Who Cares? Any experienced shooter can hit a deer or even human sized target with one of these rifles out to 400 meters. If you need to shoot further than that, then you need to take a good long look at your defensive position and plans.
IMHO, there are only 3 types of firearms needed if TSHTF.
Fit the firearm to the individual who will be using it. A .30 carbine rifle is an excellent choice for young children and light framed ladies. No recoil, high capacity, and as much punch as a .44 mag. One step up from that would be a Mini-14 or Mini-30 (or an SKS).
In a defensive fight, if even just to defend your food supply...in actuallity you are fighting for your life. Take every advantage and use all available resources. 2 trained men with semi-auto's can easily take one with a bolt action. This is the first manuever anyone learns in basic training...the flanking manuever. Even the odds for yourself as best as possible. Saving a couple bucks now could mean you life in the future....besides, its only paper right?
Whew, thanks for letting me get that out.Ruger McCloud