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blackpowder guns as SHTF weapon?

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by Noah Vale, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. Noah Vale

    Noah Vale PDX New Member

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    In almost any SHTF situation I can imagine, procuring ammunition is of primary importance, but in many situations may be difficult if not impossible. I was thinking a couple blackpowder firearms (a rifle for hunting and pistol for defense) would be a nice "insurance policy" against ammo shortages as blackpowder can be fairly easily made, and lead ball could be molded without too much trouble (I'd imagine at least). Just have to make sure you keep a sufficient supply of percussion caps (which have the advantage of being cheap and small-thus easy to store/transport).
    Discuss?
     
  2. speelyei

    speelyei Willamette Valley Active Member

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    certainly better than nothing.

    I have cast my own bullets and balls before, heck it's kinda fun. Never tried to make my own black powder, and really wouldn't care to. You can go whole-hog on bullet casting stuff, but I think the minimum would be a set of molds, a can to melt lead in, and a spoon or ladle.
     
  3. Boats

    Boats Flicking A Switch To Open My Third Eye Well-Known Member

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    If you are laboring under the notion that making scratch black powder is "easy" you need to catch the Mythbusters episode where they tackle the bamboo cannon myth from Star Trek. Aside from the nerdy content, they tried and tried to make home made black powder in their shop and couldn't come up with a formulation that even began to approach to power and consistency of off the shelf BP.

    And that was with an entire shop with the supposed ratios and ways to make it right at their finger tips. Making scratch BP is more of a lost art than you think it is. They made plenty of stuff that smoked, or flamed up, but not that would move a projectile energetically. Part of the problem was lack of nuance in making it, rather like experienced bakers make more consistent bread than beginners do, and part of their problem was achieving consistent granulation that allowed for top end performance when compressed and fired.

    Frankly I think you'd be better off getting an inexpensive AK rifle, a spare parts kit, some magazine springs, and a dozen spam cans of sealed ammo in 7.62 or 5.45x39.

    Some big enough PVC pipe with sealed end caps and you could bury some for as long as needed as long as your map making doesn't suck.
     
  4. NK777

    NK777 West of Portland Member

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    Yeah... really... I've heard and known a few people that believe in having a black powder rifle as a SHTF weapon... My question is always why?

    Please hear where I'm coming from. I'm a reloader and have supplies to make bullets (brass, powder, primers, bullets, molds, etc.) I have plenty of supplies if the SHTF since I cerntainly wouldn't be blasting up the ammunition like I do today. Please tell me how I'd be better off with a single shot blackpowder rifle over my high cap semi-automatic weapons that I reload for. Modern weapons are quicker, faster, more accurate, and longer range.

    No disrespect to all you Black Powder fans. They are pretty cool and fun to shoot but I don't consider them a good choice as a SHTF gun sorry.
     
  5. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Ardenwald, OR Well-Known Member

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    Forty plus years of shooting black powder, they are not SHTF fire arms. Better than no fire arm, lot of fun but not part of the bug out kit.
     
  6. Outrider

    Outrider Oregon Active Member

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    I'd sooner go with a bow and arrow than a blackpowder firearm for a situation where there was not going to be a ready, reliable source of gunpowder.
     
  7. Redcap

    Redcap Lewis County, WA Well-Known Member

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    Agreed!
     
  8. M.Link

    M.Link Guest

    Hey boats, where did you get a case of ammo like that? I want one!
     
  9. Dr.Z

    Dr.Z Vancouver/Metro Member

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    I kinda agree with everyone, to a certain extent. I do kinda agree with Noah, a bit.
    While I don't think even a revolver would be a great defense gun. If you were out of supplies and and could not get to your buried treasure, A 50 or 54 cal inline would be a viable means of getting food. If it came down to it, you could turn a regular muzzle loader rifle into a improvised shotgun, for grouse or small game or whatever.
    While over time it would obviously trash your rifling, you could literally throw some homemade powder, wadding and just about anything you want to use for projectile(s). gravel, metal shavings laying on the shop floor, ect...:laugh: (I am half way kidding)
    What I need now is a flintlock, so I wouldn't need caps.:thumbup: I just hate the 'delay' though.

    While I would defiantly prefer my regular SHTF gun setup with hi-cap mags, and a few thousand rounds, I think black powder still has its place. And they are relatively cheap! (depending on what you buy of course)

    Thats my two Lincolns worth....

    DocZ
     
  10. Boats

    Boats Flicking A Switch To Open My Third Eye Well-Known Member

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    I presume you are talking about the one that doesn't say AIM on the picture, right?:D

    You can get the 7.62x39 from http://www.classicarms.us/ammunition.htm, but you need to pop for a full case of 1260 rounds + shipping to get the "hermetically sealed case." So, it's a little steep compared to Wolf per thousand, but you get a real SHTF stash full of brass cased ammo.

    You can get a whole pallet=40,320 sealed rounds for only $7,600.00
     
  11. 45_70Sharps

    45_70Sharps Raymond Member

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    Yep. Better to keep a powder supply on hand.
    Better yet since black powder tends to give away your position just keep modern powder and loading supplies on hand or a large stash of ammo.

    I would suppose that part of the problem that they had with myth busters is that the modern black powder is made into a paste and the granules are made from that. If you mix raw ingredients you are going to have a hard time keeping the stuff from separating to some degree into three different components instead of a perfectly mixed blend.

    Remember also that having a large pile of the black stuff in front of you and grinding down the components and mixing isn't exactly for the faint of heart. There have been a number of disasters over the years where the stuff is made caused by static electricity. That's with people who know what they are doing.
     
  12. Noah Vale

    Noah Vale PDX New Member

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    I guess I wasn't aware of how difficult blackpowder was to make from scratch. The advantage I still see over reloading is that you *could* make bp on the fly, whereas reloading supplies are going to make you more static. I wouldn't want it as my plan b, more like plan d or e.
     
  13. madcratebuilder

    madcratebuilder Ardenwald, OR Well-Known Member

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    To only way to make bp on the fly is to already have the refined materials. Might as well just have the bp. Dry storage is an issue for both black and smokeless. Loaded small caliber ammo in sealed packs is going to be the best bet.
     
  14. Boats

    Boats Flicking A Switch To Open My Third Eye Well-Known Member

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    Yep. Watching them try to make black powder, the Mythbusters forgot to relieve themselves all over it, stir it up, let it dry, and then granulate it. Then again, Capt. Kirk was never shown whizzing on his batch either, so they were playing to the script.:bluelaugh:
     
  15. Oohrah

    Oohrah NorthwestSouthern Oregon Coast Member

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    Even though I own a .50 BP rifle, it would be a last choice for a number of reasons. Yep, state of the art in its day, but survival to me is being able to have the best suited to being number one. Going against better equipped people in competing for food or protection, it would have to be kind of a last ditch effort. I can't see that happening with what I am equiped with presently, and there are too many needed care considerations along with limited uses.
     
  16. 45_70Sharps

    45_70Sharps Raymond Member

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    If you want low tech off the grid killing power for game and want to be off the grid I would say you would be better served with either a longbow or an air gun. You can buy air guns in calibers like 45 that can kill deer sized animals. They have a civilian version of the air gun that Lewis and Clark had with them on display at the evergreen air museum in McMinnville.
    You could do a google search and find some manufacturers of them. I would love to have one myself, but for a weapon when all **** breaks loose I would rather just stock up on ammo. I have the longbows and muzzle loaders but those are not the weapons that would be my first choice in the scenario that you are talking about.