Varq’s pick, with provisos: a Ruger Redhawk and Marlin lever-action carbine, both in .45 Colt.
For versatility, it’s hard to beat the AR platform. By swapping upper receivers you can conceivably go from .22LR to .50BMG, and damn near everything in between.
Regardless, I wouldn’t have an AR, because I don’t like the way they look and feel. I feel great affection for my own rifle, which I can’t imagine feeling for an M4 or an M16.
Ditto for anything in the Kalashnikov line. The AK is pretty much the Isuzu pickup truck of the firearms world. It’ll run forever, no matter what you do to it, it’s tough as hell, and ugly as sin. Practical accuracy is minute-of-enemy soldier with the crummy iron sights at as far out as you can hold. Nothing to write home about, but it gets the job done. Kind of like fucking a fat chick.
I’m obviously partial to the M14. It’s as rugged and beautiful as the AR is flimsy and the AK is ugly. And it is deadly accurate out to farther than you can see your target with the naked eye. I have lots of ammunition, plenty of magazines, and a complete set of spares for it, down to the last pin and spring, so in the highly unlikely event that something broke or came loose, I could replace it.
That said, if I absolutely had to choose something else, I would choose the Steyr-Mannlicher Scout rifle in .308. Any rifle conceived by the late Colonel Jeff Cooper has much to recommend it, and although it’s not as aesthetically pleasing to my eye as the M14, it’s light, ergonomically perfect, plenty rugged for the task, and ridiculously accurate.
It’s a bolt-action, which means both that it’ll be relatively safer from the predations of the hoplophobic scumbags in Congress for a while (until they start banning “sniper rifles”), and also that it’ll keep shooting for years and years and years without having to have any parts replaced.
It also means that you can fire Hornady Light Magnum 180-grain loads that are the ballistic equivalent of the .30-06, and that would beat the shit out of an M14 receiver. It can also fire small-game-appropriate underpowered loads that wouldn’t cycle the action of the semiautomatic rifle.
As to that, I’ve been playing with some blue plastic West German NATO practice rounds originally made for the G3. They’re accurate out to 300 yards, are about as loud as a 9mm, and absolutely no recoil. Perfect if you ever have to take small game with a .308.
For the handgun, I’m definitely prejudiced toward the venerable old 1911 .45 automatic, for both sentimental and practical reasons: it was the first firearm I ever owned (twenty-five years ago), it fits my hand perfectly (which is rare), and it has never failed me. One thing that nobody has mentioned yet is the fact that you can get a .22 conversion kit for the .45, which allows you to practice a whole hell of a lot for very little money. Plus, if you ever have to shoot a squirrel or a rabbit for meat, a .22 is going to be more appropriate to the task.
It looks like you’ve already got your .357, which is a very good choice, although if I were to choose a revolver, AND if I had plenty of ammunition, AND if I had reloading equipment and plenty of brass, I’d go with a 4-inch stainless Ruger Redhawk in .45 Colt.
This weapon has all of the ballistic advantages of the .45 automatic, and all of the reliability advantages of the double-action revolver. It’s incredibly strong, and can handle ridiculously heavy loads (more powerful even than the .44 magnum) that would ruin the frame of a Colt or Smith revolver.
You can load your .45 Colt cases with 185-grain Winchester Silvertip bullets and just enough powder to approximate the .45 ACP, and have yourself a superb defense round.
Or you can load them with 300-grain Speer jacketed flat nose bullets and considerably more powder, and have a round that will kill a bull elk or a grizzly bear.
Or, you can load the case with a light bullet and very little powder, for your jackrabbits and squirrels. Or birdshot, for rats and rattlesnakes.
Combine the Redhawk with a stainless Marlin .45 Colt lever action carbine, and you have the ultimate post-apocalyptic survival firearms platform. With these two weapons, you can take out anything on the North American continent, from mouse to moose, with one caliber. Just make sure you have a good Dillon or Hornady press with plenty of brass, primers, powder, and bullets, or a supply of lead (junkyard car wheel weights and fishing sinkers are a good source), smelter and molds, for casting your own.
Hell, if you were really resourceful, you could probably even concoct your own black powder, since the .45 Colt was, after all, originally a black powder round. The guns won’t mind (especially not if they’re stainless), just be sure to clean them extra-specially well (black power is corrosive and burns dirty).
Which brings me back to your situation, Gregus. Since you have already chosen your revolver, why not get yourself a Marlin carbine in .357 Magnum? It would be nowhere near as effective as a .308 or a .45 Colt on larger animals at longer ranges, but for wild pigs and mule deer at 100 yards (or ninjas and zombies at up to 300) you’d be all set.[/quote]
Dude, thanks for the tons of good info. You know i was looking to get the .44 or .45 revolver but the old schoold shooter felt i would be better off with a .357 s&w 686 for all around versatility. Overall i sometimes regret not getting the .44 or .45
I also did alot of drills with the M14 and thought it was a very solid rifle.