The Importance Of The Homestead Rifle

The Importance of The Homestead Rifle

There are many reasons that every homestead needs a rifle. We have written about how we carry handguns on a daily basis out here and if you have seen our videos, you can see our holstered firearms. Everyone on the homestead has easy access to a firearm if an emergency should arise and we go over some of those possible scenarios in our article, “3 Reasons Why We Carry On The Homestead”

There is an old saying,

“A handgun is only for shooting your way to your rifle that you should’ve had with you in the first place.”

On the frontier, the homestead rifle was as necessary a tool as a plow, horse, hammer or wood stove. It was a basic tool that every homestead on the frontier needed. Today, we can see the frontier flintlock has given way to the modern AR-15 or AK-47 type semi-auto rifle. Jaimie, Tim and I each have our own rifle of choice and the knowledge to effectively and safely operate it.

There are two primary reasons we have these personal weapons systems.

  1. Food gathering
  2. Homestead defense

Food Gathering

This can be pretty obvious. Our state is split up by hunting zones and as of right now, our hunting zone allows 4 deer taken per year per person. This allows for me and Tim to hunt and bring in up to 8 deer needed for meat that will be used over the winter. Last year, I harvested 4 deer and that went a long way in helping us feed our family over the winter. We will pressure can much of the meat this year in order to save it.

My family is trying our best to be able to raise or harvest all of the meat we consume. The commercially raised meat you find at the store is full of animal anti-biotics and growth hormones. The animal is raised most of its life being fed a genetically modified corn feed that is altered to withstand chemical herbicides like roundup made by Monsanto. That can’t be healthy for you or the animal! The meat we raise is healthy because we know exactly what goes into it. The deer on our land are eating what God intended them to eat.

Homestead Defense

The frontier rifle was also a tool for defense and that is another role our firearms play for us. Without a doubt the state of the world is a mess and that is one of the reasons we decided to leave the city. We have good neighbors and they also have a preparedness mindset with a desire to look out for one another if things should really get bad. Because when it does “get bad” in the cities, many of those there, may try to come here. We are so far off the beaten path its hard to imagine anyone making it this far, but it is possible. We also have a close network of like minded families that know they can come here if times get tough. They are armed too. A close network of people armed and ready to defend their families allowed early frontier settlers to survive armed confrontations.

Many people don’t like to look at this aspect of homesteading. It’s uncomfortable to them. They think that societal breakdown will never happen in their lifetime. History would disagree. Many societies over history have given way to economic and other collapses that ended with many millions dead and suffering.

Some people think that by talking like this, I’m looking for a fight. That’s crazy. If I was looking for a fight, instead of being armed to the teeth out in the country where few people live, I’d be armed to the teeth where many people live in a city. My goal is to protect my family so we live in the middle of nowhere in order to avoid bad problems.

Having a modern personal weapon system with training on how to use it is a valuable skill that any homesteader should have. These days, many who call themselves homesteaders, either rural or urban, are blinded by a false sense of security that the modern 1st world society provides. But if that security was taken away, and the cities became full of people that were having a hard time finding food…homesteads that produce their own food will quickly become known targets and those that are unarmed will eventually be overrun. That won’t be a pretty picture. But that is reality and history bears this scenario out time and time again when a nation goes through some sort of major economic trouble.

Here on our homestead, we each have a rifle. We have a load bearing vest for each rifleman that will carry gear needed to operate that rifle effectively. Each rifle has sufficient magazines and ammo to support each rifleman.

We don’t have these because we are paranoid. We have these rifles because history bears out what happens when a society collapses for various reasons.

zacriflesI prefer an AK-47 platform. Being in the military, I got to use the M-16 while serving in the Army infantry. I prefer the AK for its reliability and my rifle is built on a milled receiver which gives it superior accuracy over a stamped receiver AK. I believe a milled AK is just as good and as accurate as any AR platform. The 7.62×39 round is hard hitting and provides good ballistics for up close or far reaching combat.

My deer rifle is a Savage Law Enforcement model (10FP LE) with 18 inch barrel. I have taken a lot of deer with this rifle. Its outfitted with a Leapers 10 power shrouded scope. Being a law enforcement model, its chambered in .308 which in my opinion is a great round for taking deer. I aim for a neck shot and that usually brings the deer down instantly with this round.

timrifleTim’s rifle is an AR-15. Tim, having served in the United States Air Force in Vietnam was familiar with this weapon platform. The rifle has a CMMG lower receiver that I built with an AR lower parts kit. It has an adjustable stock and a DPMS upper receiver with a chrome lined barrel. The flat top receiver is fitted with Magpul front and rear adjustable sites. You can click on the picture for a larger view. It’s our intention to eventually outfit the rail with an EOtech optics set for quicker target acquisition.

Like all of the rifles we own, it’s important to us that we use common calibers that can easily be purchased or bartered for. The 5.56mm ammo that feeds Tim’s AR is definitely in that category.

Jaimie’s rifle is an AR-15 chambered in 9mm. I originally traded with a web client for a Sig Sauer 550 that you see pictured here. Jaimie did not like the rifle at all, as it was too heavy for her. She wanted something much lighter and so we settled on an AR-15 in 9mm. A mother is designed instinctively to be able to protect her young. If you think of a mother bear, she will ferociously defend her young if she senses danger. My wife’s rifle needed to be designed for a close quarters engagement as she is our home’s last line of defense with the children. It needed to be lightweight and easy to operate while still giving good magazine capacity. She didn’t need a battle rifle or a patrol rifle. She needed what is sometimes called a PDW or Personal Defense Weapon. My first option would have been for her to have a Steyr Aug as they are very light weight, compact, ambidextrous for left hand use and still chambered in 5.56. An arms company called Microtech had plans at one time to develop such a weapon in 9mm but I don’t think it ever came into being. This AR-9mm is lightweight and is equipped with EOtech optics and has a mount for PVS-14 night vision.

The multi-cal lower is made by Scorpio Tactical and the upper is made by Rock River Arms. I had the upper tweaked and the feed ramp polished to ensure reliable feeding from the uzi magazines. Each mag holds 25 rounds. With the PVS-14 mount, I’m about out of room for any backup adjustable rear site but Jaimie prefers the EOtech optics anyway. At the moment, this rifle also serves as a great coyote and predator gun to have around the homestead as well.

So there you go. Many of you have asked about firearms on the homestead and what we use and recommend. In the future, we will be doing videos and additional reviews online concerning firearms. Stay tuned and be sure to subscribe to our youtube channel.

Do you want to watch An American Homestead Videos? Please visit our YouTube Channel

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About Zachary Bauer

Zachary lives with his wife, two sons and his wife's parents on An American Homestead deep in the mountains of the American Ozarks. They all moved there together in July of 2013 where they began to build the homestead. They are off-grid with the exception of a phone line.

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  1. An enjoyable read Zachary and covered a lot of good points about how different people have different needs and preferences for a homestead long gun.

    I personally don’t keep a long gun handy because I have several handguns sprinkled through out my home. I live in a semi rural area in NW Ohio but have several close neighbors. Yeah, I’m probably in trouble if the SHTF because most of my long guns are in gun safes.

    I do understand having a long gun in house. My cousin and his family live in NW PA in a very rural part of the country and I was amused to see a 30.06 with scope in the bathroom where a window offered a view of the pasture where he could be sitting on the toilet and shoot a deer, bear or turkey.

    Or defend his home.

    Snake Plisken

  2. I enjoyed that article and like your choices. But I think that having a standard rifle platform for all would be a better choice. That way you could swap magazines and share ammo if the need arises. For me the AR platform is the best choice for a multitude of reasons but the AK is more than well proven too.
    It is so nice to see someone promoting homesteading who also understands the need for a firearm. Owning firearms really isn’t about killing as it is about saving your life or those of your loved ones.

  3. Hooah!! Great choices! 🙂

  4. I beg to differ on several points. I too served in the U.S. Army Infantry. The M-16 is a fine rifle for what it was designed for. The AK platform is also a fine military weapon. Is is the equivalent of a lever action 30.30. The lever action is my choice in either 45.70 or 30.30 depending what you are hunting (or what is hunting you). I subscribe to the “gray man” plan. Hide in plane sight and do not alert anyone to your preps or homestead locale. OPEC (operational security) is paramount. Much better to avoid a fight. The lever action can hold many rounds and be loaded on the fly will readily available ammo. Semis seem to need extra maintenance and jam at the most inconvenient time. For your wife a .44 or .357 rifle/pistol combo can be had for the price of a decent AR-15. Just an old man’s opinion.

  5. I enjoyed your post very much and look forward for more to come.

  6. Josh Whittenton

    I was, at first, surprised that the three of you chose different caliber rifles… but I can understand. The AK round is soooo cheap and it has no problem firing the steel cased ammo which isn’t much more expensive than .22lr. The 9mm rifle seemed an odd choice until I remembered seeing a video the other day where you said that your wife and you both carry 9mm chambered handguns. All three rounds are very common and should be in supply in many scenarios. I might suggest using a Meprolight optic instead of Eotech… it doesn’t need batteries, which would help in a grid down scenario, and the cost is similar. Again, another enjoyable, informative article. Thanks.

  7. . The milled Ak is no more or less accurate than a quality stamed receiver, the trunnion is where the barrel mounts . The 7.62×39 is not a long range round 300 to 450m max. And the 5.56 out of a cromed lined 16 inch barrel is only about a 500m max set up. Your 308 is a fine deer round. Your lack of irons worries me on the savage ,but more so on your 9mm Ar. Your night vision and red dot should be on the 5.56 Ar for maximum effect. The Uzii mags for the 9mm set up are also available in 32 rnd capacity. This is only my opinion !

  8. I agree 7.62 x39 is the modern day 30 30 all purpous inexpensive round

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