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Discussion Starter #1
Friends All....Over the years I have been asked many times what I thought would be a real wilderness firearm. I am sure I may ruffle some feathers, but here goes! The firearm I will describe will do nothing for your ego, it will not be your "show off" gun. and will do nothing if you need a psychological boost to your manhood.
Get a Plain Jane Savage/Stevens 12 ga. 3" mag double gun. Chop the barrels to 18 3/4" and have Remington long choke tubes installed. Get the Improved Cylinder, Full choke (they have one for steel/lead), and one of their super tight "Turkey Tubes". Using fine grit, sand blast the thing, and apply Brownells baking lacquer and a poly finish on the wood. Install a Lyman 2-blade folding rear sight and a "Fire Sight" front rifle sight. Install sling swivels. Buy an extra set of all springs and firing pins.
As for loads....Now you can shoot everything from buckshot, single ball loads, muli-ball loads (3-.570" lead balls), rifled slugs, and birdshot! Think about it! Now for heavy and dangerous game...Load Marshall's 12 ga. hourglass slug (525 grs. of hard bullet alloy) @ 1300/1400 fps. That's a old time buff load! Set one of the folding Lyman blades for that load @ 75 yards and the other blade for one of the other muli-ball loads. Leave both blades down for birdshot.
You now have the most versatile firearm in the world!
Best Regards, James



<!--EDIT|James Gates|Mar. 27 2002,07:29-->
 

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Sir James,
I don't think anyone can dispute your choice.  It would work for just about anything.  Simple, practical and can handle anything from birds to squirrels to moose to bears.  Yep.

I guess if out in the open plains another consideration would be a 12 gauge/30-06 over and under, but it would not be as utilitarian.
 

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Mr. Gates,

Which Savage/Stevens is that?  I'm only familiar with the 24s.

If it breaks down that would be best.  I'm look for a plane gun to fit under the rear seat.  I was thinking of a 1894P til now.  

(BTW- a pilot killed a brownie that was attacking him and his family - they were treed on the wing - with a Ruger 44mag carbine.)

Regards,

Charlie

PS - maybe you could build some up and call them the "Gates Klondike Survival Gun," like Jim West does with his "Alaskan Co-Pilot."
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Righto....I was speaking of the basic Stevens 311 series. The same design with more frills has been made under both company names and also some brand name business. Yes, the 311 breaks down like doubles do.
When I was discussing choke tubes, I failed to mention "rifled choke" tubes. They work like the early English "Paradox" guns with a few inches of rifle twist near the muzzle. It's somewhat amazing to see the stabilization these put on a slug. Certainly enough for a lung area shot at 100 yards.
Best Regards, James
 

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My youngest brother was a small town police officer and eventually chief. He had  a 311 cut down for a cruiser gun. Quicker to get into action then an 870 out of the rack. Chose the load for the occasion. I know what the potentialis for a good slug gun after 30years of using it for whitetails in Ohio.
I was going to try a little R&D on Lyman 58Cal MiniBall loads in a 20 gauge, but my co conspirator had an untimely accident and we never could get it rolling. Does anyone think this idea has merit?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
There's also a 20 ga. hour-glass slug under consideration and test now.
Best Regards, James
 

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Charlie Z adds new requirements by specifying an airplane gun. When I fly where I think I need to carry a rifle or am required to I take my M600 350 Rem. mag. with both full power 250 grain Speers and hard cast 158 grain SWC's at .38spcl +p equivalent. This same rifle is what I would grab from the safe if I had to head to the wilds with one gun.

Mr. Gates' shotgun suggestion would be very rugged, capable, and have some redundancy to ensure against breakdown, but suffers from the same fault as any shotgun for aircraft carry -- heavy, bulky ammo. Combination guns partially solve this but they are usually heavy themselves. Range is of course limited with any shotgun ammo as well.

I am looking for a permanent airplane gun myself and have narrowed my choices to:
      * Legacy Arms Puma .454 Cassul - Light, holds more rounds and best buy price
      * Marlin .35 Rem. mini GG - perhaps a little underpowed in the north but nice
      * TC Katahdin Carbine .444 or .45/70 - Takedown, light, powerful, but single shot.

Great topic
 

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Wilderness gun ? Well i believe the Germans have just the ticket ! I cant remember the correct term for the type of gun but i have seen a few and they were all of German make.

The best i have seen was a double side by side 16 bore with a rifled 6.5 x 55mm underneath ! What a cracking gun , i will have to buy one next time i see another one.
You can also get them in 12 bore with heavier calibre rifle underneath 8mm +

Now James you must admit that one of these "muti- guns" could handle any creature when loaded correctly. Also they are really beautiful guns and "point" very well indeed.

Does any one know the correct name for these guns, its really annoying.

Reagrds Englander
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The three barrel gun is a "Drillinge", two barrel hammer shotgun is a "Hahn-Doppelflinten", two barrel hammerless shotgun is a "Selbstspanner-Doppelflinten", a four barrel gub in is a"Veirling"...JCG
 

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Sauer made some beautiful "Luftwaffe Drillings" for aircraft (esp. Africa bound) during the war.  Very nicely done.  It would give me the creeps to own one, though.

Charlie
 

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Thanks for the name ,i knew it just could remember today. I dont see why you would have any problem owning one of these guns, they were not to my knowledge "anti-personal" guns more survial guns for pilots. My Grand father was in North Africa and was used as target pratice by the germans on more than one occasion ! He made it back.

One thing you have to admit is the Germans were and are excellant engineers and have always made superb quality firearms that are suited to the task they are required for.

Regards Englander
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Come on Now, Let's rethink this thing! What I suggeted uses one hull, one powder, one primer, and can shoot one ball, multi-balls (3-.570"), slugs, buckshot, some 10 different size birdshot, nails, 10 dimes, and even small gravel. Can be reloaded with the most simple kind of tools. Can be loaded with smokless powder, blackpowder, Pyrodex, Clean-Shot, and even match heads. In fact, about anything one can get to fit into the shell. One can clean out a room with two loads of red pepper powder. 12" of copper wire rolled up in the shell makes an excellent defensive load. Fence stapes also work great as do carpet tacks.
Oh well, It's time to feed my bulldogs!.....James
 

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Hey, when we're talking all kind of lethality in the scatterguns, don't forget split #4 buck crimped onto a piece of piano wire..... some kind of ugly!

Yep, I like the idea.... now, what about loading tools... you mention minimum of loading necessities, what would your suggestion be for this application, with what's available now?

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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Discussion Starter #14
OK...Let's say "Push Comes To Shove" and we have to go real primitive!
First...Get a 100 or so of Activ 2 3/4" hulls (never need sizing), 500 primers, a slug or ball mold(.690/.700") an adjustable shotshell shot/powder measure (blackpowder, Clean Shot, and Pyrodex @ equal volume powder to shot), a few Lee dippers in cc's to cinvert to grains of smokeless powder, a Ballistic Products roll crimp head (can be used by hand, a 6' saction of 12 ga. barrel, sharpened, for a wad cutter, a wood dowel with nail (less head) to deprime with, and a wood dowel to prime with. Lead can be carried or scrounged. primitive shot can be made by pouring melted lead in a coffee can with holes about the size pellets wanted, drop into a pot of water. Buckshot made by rolling pieces of lead sqousre between two hard surfaces. Wads can be cut from cardboard, etc. Filler wads made from bout ant material from moss to rags. Additional pellets can be about anything you have to use, even marbles. If worse comes to worse....prime a hull, put it in the gun and muzzle load the rest.
From this low level up to whatever equipment you can dig up! By the way..Match heads do woeks as does old pieces of cello movie film! Blackpowder can also by made if you rob a drug store. Try all this with your other modern firearms.
Best Regards, James
 

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James, as I said before, I do think you've got what I would head for the hills with.  Just to broaden the scope, though, the early fur traders and mountain men made out extremely well with their plains rifles.  Not quite as utilitarian as the double shotgun, but quite adaptable under all conditions.  Other than smokeless powder restrictions and the use of caps (I guess you could go with a flintlock), you can shoot whatever you can patch and cram down the barrel in a worst case scenerio.  Like I said, I would definitely try the shotgun if available, but wouldn't feel too compromised going with a smokepole, say 50 or 54 cal.

You really wouldn't have to worry with the bulk of empty hulls or priming.  All reloading accessories and supplies are fairly compact by comparison.
 

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I have been waiting in the wings befor I pounced on this one.  I think for a ONE gun survival gun it would be tough to beat the side by side. However, some of our posters have mentioned the drawbacks, namely, size and weight of the ammo for packing. Thus limiting the amount you can carry.  Also, you are limited to two shot, hopefully you won't need more or you have a heck of a reload practiced and like to carry gun in one hand and extra shells in the other! It is definatley short, light and handy.  Also as a "survival" gun you shouldn't need to use it beyond short range, playing in to the guns useful range very well. Having said all that - I don't pack one. I went with a little more complex choice of three weapons, only carring two at a time. One long gun and one pistol. Here's why I choose what I did. When I go into the woods in my Super Cub here in Alaska (or for that matter, anywere) I always carry a 1911A1 LongSlide in .45 Super with a .22LR conversion kit.  In the lower 48 - a standard 5" govnmt model .45 acp would be fine.  I think these calibers and the 1911 are highly over looked as survival guns. I can carry 200! rounds of .22LR ammo in the same space as 8 or 9 -  12 Gauge rounds. Truth be told there are very few animals including people that won't fall to a sneaky guy with a .22! I always carry it in the .45 Super make up - loaded and locked. The .45 Super has about 70% the power of a .44 Mag.  Twice the power of a .45 ACP, which I also cary a clip of(anti-personnel-you never know). The .45 Super is my compromise last ditch "bear" gun for if he ever has me on the ground and is eating me. Also I would use it as a hunting handgun. As for my longun I carry a short barrel M870 12 Gauge or a Win M-94 .444 Marlin Timber Carbine. I think the best rifle for this would be a short light " scout " type bolt gun, but I like the lever guns. I don't think lever guns are as durable in the field as a bolt gun after a nasty jam I experienced on a fly in hunt in bear country (Montague Isl.) with my Guide Gun .45-70. But thats another story I will tell if you want. Granted nothing beats the double barrel for dependabilty, I think , but I like to have more shots in the gun and the option of actualy hunting when I get there. I carry the 870 when there is no hunting to be done, then its for bears or birds if in season. So there you have it, a .45/.22 pistol and a M-94 .444 Timer Carbine or a M-870(18" barrel and folding stock) 12 gauge.  But does my choice beat the Side by Side? Maybe not, but don't rule out the "scout" type bolt guns either. I just carry my choices because I like em!!!
 

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Muzzeloaders, and loading a side by side from the muzzel - very good gentlmen! That would work great! But you could cary a lifetime supply of .22LR in the same space as a couple pounds of powder and ball!
 

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FA18CUB,
The Dobe Grant character (was he a real person?) in Skeeter Skelton's articles favored a pump .22 as the one last gun.  Dobe and Skeeter were handgun folks, but when push come to shove for an all around survival tool, Dobe went out to the barn and came back with Remington pump .22.  That was his choice.  The .22 is a wonderful choice too.  Glad I don't have to make that decision.  If that decision is made for me, it'll likely because of a plane or helicopter crash while I'm going to or fro hunting, working or fishing.  Whatever I have with me at the time will have to do, I guess.
 

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Thats one of the reasons I like the 1911. Its so easy to carry on a thin holster. IWB or belt or shoulder holster. An extra slide and .22 ammo will fit in a pocket or pack or buttpack. It does lack the power of the SxS though.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Splendid Indeed! This has been an excellent run. I should have named the post "Extreme Wilderness Survival Firearm". There have been some excellent choices mentioned. It goes to show that we all have an idea what we woild need to feed and proyect ourselves.
I got to thinking about this thing and agree that a double muzzleloading shotgun would be tough to beat. I hunt with a 10 ga Davide Pedersoli Deluxe and would not be concerned at all if that was what I had to survive with. All the loads mentioned would work. Less gear to carry (loading tools)and subing caps for primers.
Great run! Best Regards, James
 
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