"What weapon would you choose for a survival weapon?"
I've written several articles about his very subject down through the years, and I'm always amused at how my opinion changed as I got older...
When I was very young and living at home on the farm, a bend in the river pretty far out in the 'Boonies', I considered my .22 WMR rifle to be just about the top of the heap.
There was no small game safe, and it made me a good chunk of change when I was fur trapping in the winter & ground hog, coyote & wild dog hunting for money in the summer.
Groundhog & muskrat 'Pest Control' paid between $1 & $2 each out of the neighbors pastures, garden patches and crop fields,....
Chicken & turkey farmers paid between $5 & $10 each for Coyotes.
Sheep, goat, hog, horse and cattle farmers would fork over $5 to $15 each for coyotes or wild dogs.
Not bad returns for a 12 to 15 year old kid,
And bullets at the time cost me about 3.5¢ each, so that made for some real profit margins in my 'Sport'...
Squirrels, Rabbits, Turkeys & Ground hogs on the table and coon hunting for sport. It was hard to be the .22 mag!
It may have stopped more than one deer, and some geese, ducks, pheasants, gunnies, quail, ect...
(but I can't say for sure, since that would have been illegal in this state.
And it put down farm animals, hogs, cattle, sheep & goats when we slaughtered at home on at the neighbors.
It was my constant companion, totally trust worthy and reliable, accurate and non damaging to my shoulder, ear drums or budget.
After joining the military, I got 'Serious' about 'Survival'.
I bought up an AR-15 and about 15 other calibers of rifles and pistols and 'Stored' them for the 'SHTF' day!
Since I was a 'Long Range Tactical Marksman' (didn't have the 'Sniper' program yet then) I just had to have a variety of long range .308 and .300 mag rifles with optics that cost more than my car did!
(Did I mention how expensive this stuff was and how little I used it?)
Of course, that 'SHTF' day never came, and I nearly went broke trying to keep up with security concerns, rotation of the 15 different kinds of ammo, and my stock piles of batteries, 'Survival Food' and all the other crap I though I needed...
Storage and rotation of stock became a large & expensive problem!
After living through hurricane Andrew, I found out what it means to be in a survival situation, and attitude has changed about 360°...
Now that my eyes don't focus in 3 planes anymore (over 40) I need a shot gun for some things, but I sill like my .22 WMR for most things...
Now I have a Over & Under, .223 on top with a .22 WMR insert so I can shoot my favorite rounds, and a 20 Gauge shot gun barrel down low for when my eyes let me down or I run into something bigger than I want to try with a .22/.223 round.
Don't get me wrong, I still have AR format rifles for ammo wasting, some in .223, two in 7.62X39mm, a few other calibers (you can get .22 LR conversions for the .223 rifle and that makes them twice as handy!).
And there are three or 4 long range .308 or .300 mag rifles around here, along with some 12 gauge shot guns I've accumulated through the years, but nothing has brought home more game or taken care of more 'varmints' than the trusty shot gun or .22 rimfires!
My vote is for an O/U in .22 or .223 top and 20 or 12 Gauge lower. There is nothing you can't stop, drop or deal with, with out the worries of a semi automatic rifle or 'machine pistol' type firearm...
No magazines, no clips, no gas pistons, no feed jams, no worries about someone getting the idea to 'Ban' it, no need for mountains of spare parts since these things live forever.
Just a good, solid, reliable, accurate food on the table arrangement!
If you are expecting the 'Heathen Hordes', the may I suggest some thing I leaned in the military...
It's called "Weapons Systems"
or "Weapons Groups"...
If you have a 9mm pistol, then don't buy a .45 cal carbine!
If magazines interchange, so much the better!
A good group would be a 9mm Glock compact, a 9mm Glock long slide, a 9mm carbine that used Glock based mags... Ect.
If you are expecting human waves, then there are scads of carbines and sub guns that fire the 9mm cartridge.
I found out first hand that the 9mm round IS NOT a man stopper in NATO/surplus form.
I personally like the .45 ACP in the 1911 format, so I have a compact, long slide (lots of parts interchange in the likely event something might break), and a 'Camp' carbine that uses 1911 magazines.
Since I have an AR in .45 ACP, that covers my 'Rapid Fire' carbine, but you could have anything from a 'Grease Gun' to a 'Thompson' in the same caliber.
Same thing is true with rifles,
If you choose the .223/5.56x45mm NATO version of rifles, you can have an AR, Mini 14, Cal tech, or a host of others for a 'Lead Slinger' rifle, and pinpoint .223 rifles are very easy to find.
Ruger and Savage make particularly fine shooting BOLT rifles that are very reasonalby priced when you need a tack driver for something.
If you prefer the .308/7.62x51mm Nato, there are some really fine offerings on the market.
Same deal here, An AR-10 is a hyper accurate .308 version of the Semi/Auto AR platform that uses modified M-14 mags most of the time.
If you are not hung up on the military 'Combat Caliber' thing, then you may want to consider an AR-10 in a short magnum caliber.
I have one in .300 WSM, along with a Savage varmint rifle in the same caliber, and I just can't say enough good things about the pair!
If you are worried about ammo, then pick a military caliber.
You can stock pile ammo, and components to reload for cheap!
Most military ammo stores really well and remains reliable for many years if treated with even a little respect.
Here is another bit of food for thought...
.30 caliber is .30 caliber...
Same bullets, same powders, same primers...
.30-30, .308 Win., .30-06, .300 WSM, .300 WinMag, .300 Weatherby, the list goes on for hours...
All .30 cal bullets, all large rifle primers, all take mostly the same powders.
With components and a few sets of reloading dies, you have a new profession that will be in big demand in the 'SHTF' world...