AR-15 Lower
AR-15

Bugging Out: What Calibur Rifle?

Posted On May 7, 2012 at 1:47 am by / 5 Comments

Just received a great question about bugging out from one of our friends on Survival Blog’s Facebook page: which caliber rifle is best for bugging out?

Great question!

Here’s the deal – I’ll be carrying my AR15 – but I have a conversion kit that will convert it to a .22 by just changing the bolt.

I can literally change my AR15 from a .223 to a .22 in 3 seconds which makes it the most versatile rifle I own. I can hunt small game with the .22 and use the .223 for big game (and personal defense!) without carrying two rifles.

Bug out bag contents - AR15 to .22 conversion kit
Simply pop in this bolt and use this magazine to fire .22LRs from any standard AR15! Costs about $150 bucks.

On another note, I refuse to put any sort of optics on my rifle (carry handle sites only) because I would worry that in a grid down or bug out situation, if my optic broke, it would render the firearm useless if the scope was damaged. Imagine how hard it would be to find a replacement.

DPMS AR15
This is the DPMS AR15 that I’ll be using for bugging out. Note that it has the carry handle sights – less chance of breaking.

I encourage any survivalist to comment below on what rifle they will include in their bugging out, but here are some factors I would keep in mind.

Best Bug Out Caliber Tip #1: Choose a weapon you are proficient with.

The last thing you want to do in a SHTF situation is learn to use your rifle. Make sure you are very proficient with your rifle and that you know it well. You should also stock up on parts that are common for your rifle – just in case. Parts will be hard to come by during TEOTWAWKI.

Best Bug Out Caliber Tip #2: Choose a Caliber you can hunt with.

Whether it be a long or short bug out situation, you’ll need some way to gather grub. Hunting for big game with a .308, 30/30, or 30/06 is standard – even a 12 or 20 guage shotgun will do. A .223 has a smaller round than most hunters would prefer, but where it lacks with hunting, it gains with personal protection.

Remmington 710
This is my Remmington 710 – I love this rifle, great for hunting, affordable, and super accurate. Synthetic stock keeps it light.

Do you know of any good .308 or larger caliber auto or semi auto rifles? Let me know of makes and models in the comments below.

Best Bug Out Caliber Tip #3: Think about who you will be bugging out with.

Will you be bugging out with a friend, spouse, or your entire family? Think of the advantages of bugging out wing others – the more people in your bug out party, the more opportunity you have to bring different calibers and more ammunition.

My wife will be carrying my Kimber .308 sniper rifle (with a great scope) and I’ll have my .223 AR15 (and my .22 conversion kit.)

Kimber .308
This is my Kimber .308 sniper that my wife will carry. I can hit a beer cap at 500 yards!

What Caliber rifle will you be taking and why? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.

5 thoughts on “Bugging Out: What Calibur Rifle?

  1. I would always suggest some sort of sight/scope on a long gun. It greatly increases the effectiveness of a rifle.

    My AR is a flat top from S&W, it came standard with a flip up rear sight and the post front sight. So even if my chosen optic fails then I am no worse off than you are.

    I have an Eotech on it now (which I don’t like, but I got it at a great price). But I also have a 3×9 Nikon sighted in for it or I could go with an ACOG (saving up) to split the difference. None of these can really fail unless I bust them. I trust my life to any of them.

  2. Part of my bug-out set is an old ALICE pistol belt and suspenders set up with two mag pouches (3 mags each), 2 canteens, compass, M7 bayonet, and an ACOG pouch which, at least right now, contains an Israeli surplus SUIT 4X optic with a flat-top mount, which iI can readily swap out for the carrying handle/iron sight. The SUIT is a good combat-grade optic, if a trifle dated, and I have replaced the dead tritium vial with a new one so that it once again has its low-light sighting capabilities. Less expensive than an ACOG, too…

  3. Um, why limit yourself to just one? I like the idea of conversion for the AR but I don’t think it’s all that great for big game. It is great for medium sized game but I don’t think it’s going to take down a big deer effectively and you will have to track the thing…taking you farther away from your family at camp and leaving them vulnerable to attack.

    Aside from that .22 and .223 became scarce and expensive during the last few years so when the SHTF it will undoubtedly go missing again. I don’t like that idea because in TEOTWAKI we will eventually have to scavenge for ammo and therefore I look for weapons that will have a higher likelihood of ammo being available when society goes to shit.

    Keeping in mind that this blog is concerning rifle caliber I’ll add that rifle shouldn’t be the only weapon……My bug out weapons are: Browning BAR in .270 for big game. Never had a problem finding .270 ammo. I also have a Remington Speedmaster 550 .22 that will fire either long or short ammo and a Remington 870 shotgun. Yes I know I said .22 not a good idea but I already had the gun and 1200 rounds of ammo for it so it goes with until we run out of ammo. To supplement those I have three pistols for self defense (one is my wife’s) and I have a compound bow and a take down recurve bow. I also have a variety of knives, tomahawk, machete and even a hunting grade blowgun.

    I know, I know…..that’s a lot of weight to carry right? That’s why we have a well trained horse and a pack saddle with plans to get two more riding horses and an actual pack horse.

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