Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Budget Survivalist

Greetings brethren and sistren, welcome to Patriots Cave, the only weblog in the universe capable of escaping the gravity of a super-massive black hole. Patriots Cave wants to know if you have considered the air-powered shotgun as a choice survival tool. If you have not, I urge you to do so. The one I have is the GAMO Shadow Express. I consider it a fantastic survival tool. With this airgun, it is possible to shoot .22 caliber slugs, AND loads of #8 bird shot by way of the GAMO air shot shells. Patriots Cave will be posting a backyard ballistics and penetration test in the next 2-3 days, so you can SEE for yourself what a brilliant little survival tool this GAMO Shadow Express is.
Last Summer, my son and I were plinking out back, and we got the idea to line up some pop cans, and see how many cans a .22 caliber slug would penetrate at close range. We ran out of cans at 9 I believe it was. The airgun pellet (slug) sliced clean through all 9 cans and kept on going. We also did some tests on two heavy gauge steel spray-paint cans. At close range the pellets entered the steel can and left a large exit hole on the way out. At farther ranges, the pellets easily punched through the spray paint cans, but did not exit the opposite side of the can. Hollow-point pellets showed impressive expansion when we recovered them from inside of the spray paint can.
As for the #8 bird shot shells, things were a little different of course. At close range, say 25 feet, maybe 30, the bird shot would put 12-18 holes in a soda-pop can. Some of the bird shot pellets left an exit hole, but not often. The listed muzzle velocity of the bird shot shell is 850 feet per second. We have not actually shot any birds with them, but I am confident that small and medium sized birds could be bagged from up to 35 feet away. My son did shoot a few groundhogs with the hollow point pellets. The stopping power was most impressive, as was my boy's marksmanship. He shot a 30 lb. groundhog from apx. 40 feet away, using only a front bead sight. (The Shadow Express does not have blade sights like a rifle, only a bead, like most shotguns have)
His shot went directly to the head, and into the brain, killing the groundhog in it's tracks, with absolutely zero movement after impact.
If you have ever skinned a groundhog, a.k.a. gopher, then you know how tough and leathery their hides are. They are extremely tough animals, and the instant kill was a testament to the stopping power of the .22 caliber airgun.
This serves as a prime example of how handy this airgun could be in a survival situation. The gun itself weighs only 5 pounds, and could easily be lashed to my back-pack. 500 rounds of hollow point ammunition fit into a small tin, the size of a can of Copenhagen chewing snuff. A few thousand rounds can be easily stowed away in the back-pack, taking up space equal to a few cans of Pepsi-Cola. And think about this: since these pellets are projected at their target by way of air power, you don't have to pay for gunpowder, primers, and the associated costs of packaging and labor. Nor do you have to carry the extra weight. You can buy 5,000 rounds of hollow point pellets for $100.
You could shoot many, many squirrels, gophers, rabbits, birds, and other small-game with 5,000 pellets and all the free air you could need. With this high-power airgun, you only have to pump the break-action barrel one time. No pumping 10 times like the old-fashioned airguns.
Now the air shot-shells are not so cheap. They are kind of expensive. They are 40 cents per shell. So I do not recommend using them just to play around. Of course you want to shoot enough of them to know your range, and to be accurate, but you would not want to use the air shot shells for plinking on soda cans all day. Nevertheless, For your survival stash, it would be a good investment to spend $100 and secure yourself 250 of these #8 bird shot shells for your airgun. Shooting a moving bird out of the air with a regular pellet is not easy. But it is not difficult with these air shot-shells, as they give you a spread pattern of about 12 inches at 35 feet. This makes the odds of putting a few birds in the pot alot better. And you could do this without advertising to the entire forest (or neighborhood) that you are hunting. The stealth of this tool is one of it's most attractive features.
What about as an emergency defensive weapon? Patriots Cave looks at it like this: Can a .22 caliber pellet drop a man-sized target? Probably not. Now there are exceptions to that. A well placed shot to the eyeball of a zombie will most definitely penetrate into the brain. There is NO DOUBT about it. In fact there have been numerous cases of it happening by accident. Airguns ARE NOT toys. They are deadly. But back to our question. Can a .22 caliber pellet drop a man-sized target? Like I said, probably not. But look at it like this: Can a .22 caliber pellet stop a neck? Yes indeed. It would cause a neck to spurt blood all over the damn place. So for emergency self-defense, against zombies, or PCP crazed geckloids, the answer is: no, the .22 caliber pellet will not drop a man-sized target. But it CAN stop a neck. And last I checked, the head does not operate very well if the neck is leaking zombie fluids all over the ground.
Also, for emergency defense, the air shot-shell with the #8 bird shot load, would incapacitate the eyes of a target at close range. The air-rifle could then be used as a blunt instrument of self-defense, pummeling the blinded zombie at will with a butt stroke to the head. Or a butt stroke to the groin, followed through with a butt stroke to the chin. Definitely better than just having a club or baseball bat. The bat does not first send an eyeball shredding load of #8 bird shot into the zombie's face at 850 feet per second. Most attackers would decide at that point that continuing with the assault probably isn't the best option, considering the fact that they are unable to SEE anything.
All in all, Patriots Cave feels that the GAMO Shadow Express, .22 gauge air shotgun is a fine tool for survival and/or emergency self defense against evil doers of dark deeds. Check back with Patriots Cave in the coming days, as Joel the K will be posting a video or two, showing the Shadow Express in action. And don't miss Patriots Cave other features either. This is a dynamic and ever-changing weblog. If you don't check in daily, and scan the entire cave when you are here, you are missing some very cool, interesting, and relevant stuff. For Patriots Cave this is Joel the K, over and out.


Trini Airguns said...

Good choice putting an airgun to use as a survival tool. If you locate an experienced airgunsmith, he could increase that 850 fps by another 100 or 200 fps.

Using heavier grain pellets will produce some remarkable 'live' results. I have found that generally, heavier pellets take down small animals more efficiently than lighter pellets. However lighter pellets will--more often than not--display better penetration on inanimate objects. Like soda cans, plywood etc.

Coming from a country that restricts our airguns to .177 calibre, we use every trick we can to squeeze out more from our guns. This includes swapping standard mainsprings for larger more powerful springs, using heavier pellets, etc.

Have you ever seen a .177 pellet of 10.5 grain go clean through a 5/8" plywood? I do it all the time to impress 'newbies' with the destructive power of airguns. Now how much harder than 5/8" ply is the human skull? Hmmm... I wonder....

Once again, Joel, an excellent informative post.

Joel the K said...

Thanks for the tip on getting some extra muzzle velocity Trinni. I have not seen .177 pellet go clean through 5/8ths plywood, but i do not doubt it. I agree that there are many advantages to .177, I have a shooting buddy who swears by .177 and does not like .22 or .25 caliber pellets. I like the heavier pellets. Walther has a new .22 cal airgun, they are claiming 1200 fps muzzle velocity with the light hypervelocity pellets. That is really fast for .22 caliber. The rifle has a decent price of around $225. I want one. See you later Trinni. Thanks for visiting.

Outraged Patriot said...

Hey Joel, I had the same feelings so bought an air rifle and love it. It shoots two different types of shot and shoots at 1200 fps. I like that it is quiet! I do have other guns but really liked that I could still provied some food without announcing it. I carry it while checking snares. Crazy news going on these days! take care and keep up the good posts.