Well anyway I've been slacking a little bit lately. Put some much needed admin energy to the blog. Efforts at work have been draining me mentally. Will put out something good for tomorrow.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Well anyway I've been slacking a little bit lately. Put some much needed admin energy to the blog. Efforts at work have been draining me mentally. Will put out something good for tomorrow.
Sunday, February 10, 2013
For whatever it is worth things seem to slowly be getting better as the freedom ban folks seem to be stalled out. Maybe it's just that the folks who wanted an AR/ AK and could pay loony tunes prices have already bought. AK's and AR's are available and slowly but surely prices might be trending slowly down. Unless you are desperate it might be wise to wait this out.
Anyway there is the video to give some advice to folks really trying to get set up today without paying stupid prices.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
TOR replies: First I think it is important to have a center fire rifle because it is part of a basic 4. Different types of guns are tools with unique capabilities and one can often not duplicate the performance of another. This is the smallest set of weapons that will readily meet a large amount of firearms needs. You can easily have a dozen guns and still find a niche for some sort of new pistol or a whizz bang flat shooting rifle. However if you have a decent .22, a shotgun, a defensive caliber pistol and a center fire rifle you can meet most basic needs. There is a .22 for plinking or small game hunting or potting the unpottable chicken. There is a shotgun for shooting stuff with a shotgun. There is a pistol to keep near the bed in case there is a strange knock at the door late at night or to carry on your person while doing chores.
Back to the subject of center fire rifles. First they are useful for hunting large game. As you mentioned (I searched for that comment for like 20 minutes, wish I could have found it) people will not shoot a deer every day after the world ends. However hunting does put a lot of meat on a lot of tables. Also rifles are good for taking out predators, both two legged and four. In particular center fire rifles will defeat soft (the most common) body armor.
The .22/.410 combo is great for hunting pot sized animals such as rabbits, squirrels and birds at close range. For this role they are hard to beat. However they are not particularly capable of harvesting larger game at any range and are a poor choice for any sort of predator.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Saturday, March 6, 2010
For my situation in particular it is unlikely that I will ever live in immediate proximity to my family. While I am working at my current job I will live all over the place and when I eventually settle down it will likely be a full tank of gas away. For flying across the country to a place you visit regularly having some defensive weapons on the ground makes sense if there is a good place to store them. Not that flying with a gun is a huge pain but for regular trips (figure going home at least 2x a year if CONUS) just keeping some there makes sense. At a minimum having a defensive pistol to carry would be good, a pistol and a rifle would be better and ideally a basic 4 (center fire rifle and pistol, shotgun, .22). Of course the applicable magazines, ammunition, etc should be stored also.
I have also been thinking about using PACE when it comes to storing defensive weapons. Obviously the primary need is to have readily accessible defensive weapons for self protection. For me an alternate would be weapons at a place where I go reasonably often. The weapons here would ideally be group standard but if your redundancy does not yet support that anything is better than nothing. This could be a very good role for quality weapons that are not group standard or regularly used. A spare surplus bolt gun and a random revolver or non standard semi auto would do nicely. A good secondary would be the home of a like minded individual or under some insulation in the attic of your "hunting cabin". To me if things are bad enough that I am going to the emergency option for defensive arms I want them safely cached away somewhere.
Also going along this train of thought I have been thinking about storing ammunition and magazines (or course other ancillary stuff like holsters, slings, cleaning kits would be nice too) in different locations. There is a real balancing act here because a case of ammo stored at a friends 250 miles away won't help you fight off those darn zombies. Then again having more mags and ammo than you carry or keep in the car could be very useful if things go all Night Of The Living Dead while at Grandma's. It might not be practical to keep a spare Glock, 870 and AR-15 in a spare location, let alone 2 or 3 of them but you could certainly stash some mags and ammo. However if you carry a Glock and keep an AR in the vehicle and they are the weapons you would want to use having some spare mags and ammo stored for them makes sense. Storing multiple sets of your chosen weapons might not be feasible but storing mags and ammo is.
As for how much to stash; I think 3 spare pistol mags with 250 rounds of ammo and 6-7 rifle mags with 500 rounds of ammo will cover all but the absolute worst emergencies. Best of all it is realistic on an average budget. Doubling those amounts would be spiffy. I guess the only real limits are space and money. To do this I would need to increase my total amounts of magazines and ammunition which is never a bad thing. Sticking with whatever your happy numbers are now and just buying whatever you want to stash will suffice.
In thinking about this I am reminded of one of the many benefits of standardization. It is not that complicated to fill an ammo can with a few mags and some ammo for a pistol and a rifle. Aside from expense it really doesn't matter if it is a .357mag and a 30-06 or a .45 and an FN-FAL or a Glock 9mm and an AR or whatever. It would be however more difficult, bulky and expensive to keep a few mags and some ammo for each of those weapons in multiple locations. Choosing something, sticking with it and building redundancy is boring but very practical.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Edited to include. Could well be an urban legend. Personally I wasn't tromping around the Philippines with the guy in the very early 20th Century so I don't know. Either way its sort of a fun demotivator so I will keep it up.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
In particular since the fall of the wall, reunification of Germany and collapse of the USSR I imagine unregistered guns have become more common and easy to acquire. I have heard that it is easy to purchase an AK-47 in the Czech Republic. Any time an item is cheaper or available in a neighboring area and a porous or open border is present said item will come through regardless of the legality. The same way booze and cheap smokes will flow across county or state lines guns will also.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Watch CBS News Videos Online
Specifically I favor high capacity semi automatic rifles. They are not the cheapest answer but for multiple goblins I believe they are the best answer.
I like shotguns for very close range (you could debate the actual distance but 30 yards or so is realistic) and specifically home defense. Pistols are just about useless except for concealable defensive purposes. For serious bad situation defense (LA Riots, Katrina, pretty much every other day in Haiti) I would want a rifle.
Surplus bolt guns are pretty useful in the right hands as noted in this article. However I can not help but question the wisdom of working very hard to make a tool serve a purpose it is not ideally suited for. Practicing reloading and cycling a bolt gun for a very long time will not get the speed of target engagement of a Mini 14/ AR/AK/HK91/FN-FAL/ M1A with half the practice, let alone the same amount of it. These more modern firearms are just capable of engaging multiple targets far faster. They also reload a lot faster and hold at least twice as many rounds as the old bolt guns.
There are reasons one might go with a bolt gun. They are by far the most economical rifles out there so for people on long term low budgets they have a real appeal. While it might fail the common caliber test (close but not quite IMO) 7.62x54R ammo is currently quite reasonably priced which helps one equip those rifles on a lower budget. Ones in good condition can be quite reliable and rugged. Also these rifles have a certain mystique which appeals to folks of certain viewpoints. Having a budget rifle that you can hunt big game with is practical.
A big bayonet and knowing how to use it effectively (prior military training or get a book and practice with a buddy) is a good start. Having a bayonet and a pistol is probably a better approach. In the past I made some sacrifices to acquire a semi automatic rifle well suited to the role of two legged varmint because I believe it is the best tool for that role. You may or may not choose to do the same but if you don't get a bayonet and a pistol. Practice using the bayonet and also shifting from the rifle to the pistol.
Worst case if you can't afford a pistol get a machete as a last ditch backup.
I think this post might win the award for most labels and pics in a normal post to date.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Just thought it was interesting. I would like to own an Enfield some day. Who knows what will happen though. Some of my most favorite guns are ones I would never have though of purchasing and I still don't have a few I would conceptually like.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
To not get too focused on debating this gun vs that gun really the possible combination are almost endless and provided you stick to common caliber (.38/.357mag, 9mm, .45acp for pistols and .223, 7.62x39, 30-30, .308, 30-06 for rifles of course 20 and 12 gauge for shotguns) firearms in common model/manufacturers (S&W, Ruger, H&K, Glock, Sig, Colt, Browning, Winchester, Mossberg, Remington, Marlin, AR, Mini-14, AK, FN-FAL, HK-91, M1A, etc all) you will probably do fine.
You need a centerfire pistol for carry and generally being discretely armed. Shotguns are probably the king of home defense and generally a great utilitarian gun to have (we will talk more about them later). Rifles are useful for hunting, plinking, and really the only decent option to shoot just about anything past about 100 meters. I think everyone should also have a .22 (I would suggest it be a rifle) because they are so darn useful and dirt cheap to shoot. These 4 guns will not deal with every possible situation in hunting, plinking and potential defense. The rifle you want if things to truly to hell is almost invariably a magazine fed semi automatic and not the one you would want to hunt Moose with and it might be convenient to get a subcompact carry pistol for EDC. I suggest these 4 basic guns because they will be good for most situations in defense, plinking and sport and are the foundation of any good home firearms battery.
However what would be best for people to get while they are on their way to this basic 4 is part of the question at hand.
I used to say a shotgun but FerFal's wisdom changed my mind. Some folks say a rifle but I think they are more wrong than the shotgun crowd. The thinking behind a pistol is that it is the only weapon you can have with you all the time without being arrested or causing a scene. Also you can answer the door or investigate that strange sound outside armed without giving Granny Smith your neighbor a heat attack. A shotgun is probably better strictly for home defense and a rifle might be better for a genuine TEOTWAWKI but both fail to take into account far more realistic and probable situations.
Shotguns for home defense also came up in the post which inspired this one. I am not saying that a pump shotgun is a talisman. No matter what any add says or infers no gun is going to turn you into a Grizzled Master Sergeant from CAG, sorry. I honestly believe the best all around gun for home defense is a short barreled pump shotgun. Mossberg and Remington are the best options since Winchester kicked the bucket. Some have noted that shotguns hold a relatively small amount of ammunition @5-9 shells and used that for a reason either pistols or rifles are better for home defense. I would mention that the average gunfight is a couple rounds at spitting distance but well we plan for the worst not the best or average. Shotguns are better for home defense than pistols for many reasons. First without getting really far into the weeds on ballistics and round selection I don't think anyone has ever seriously questioned the man stopping power of 12 (or for that matter 20) gauge shotguns loaded with buckshot. Someone who takes a load of buckshot to the torso is probably going to be out of action very quickly or at lest as quickly as any other weapon we are discussing.
The other fact which I think mitigates the relatively low capacity of shotguns is that most people shoot them far better than pistols. No matter what anyone says you have to aim shotguns to hit anything. The reason I say people shoot them better is that the combination of being on your shoulder and a good cheek to stock makes shooting much more intuitive and easy. Take a bunch of folks to the range and have them shoot at a variety of targets at defensive ranges with a pistol and a shotgun, bet almost all of them will do better with a shotgun.
This has turned into a really long post and I am just getting to the actual new unique thought. The just get a pistol and a rifle idea (or getting them first in priority) has popped up here and there from time to time. To be honest I can only see two situations where it makes sense. The first is if you want/ need a rifle and space is really limited (living on a boat, etc). The second is if you had a rifle already, bought a pistol and are waiting till you have the cash for a shotgun. Lastly maybe for whatever reason you just really don't want to have a shotgun, can't see why you wouldn't want a dozen of them but different strokes for different folks.
The reason most people don't just decide they need some guns and go to the store to pick up a Glock, a Remington 870, an AR, and a Ruger 10/22 is that they cannot afford to do so. Guns, particularly modern quality guns are expensive. Really the only reason this comes up at all is that it takes lots of folks some time to save and scrimp together enough cash to get a nice basic firearms battery.
The reason I believe a rifle as a second gun (after a pistol) is a bad course of action is not so much about the individual attributes of shotguns vs rifles but is all about economics. You can buy good used Mossberg or (to a slightly lesser degree) Remington pump shotguns for less than $175 all day long until you run out of cash or get bored. These days you can't touch an AK for much less than $450ish and once you get 20 mags at about $9 a piece the cost goes up considerably. An AR which wasn't made in somebodies basement is going to cost at least $700 or more depending on how name centric you are. Mags cost about $12 for Mil Spec and a bit more for MagPul. I don't even want to talk about how much good semi auto .308's cost, the M1A I want and will some day get is going to cost about a pound of flesh.
For a shotgun all the accessories you need are a sling, a buttstock shotshell carrier. Plus of course ammo. You can get a good shotgun with its needed accessories for less than you will spend on rifle mags alone! Shotguns are far cheaper than quality defensive rifles and thus you can have a long gun and a pistol far sooner by going the shotgun route. This way you will be as well armed as possible while saving up enough coin to get a rifle.
Here is where someone is going to mention surplus bolt guns. I covered my opinions above but lets reiterate as it applies to the long gun for defense. Yes some older style and WWI-II surplus rifles can be purchased for much less than modern quality rifles such AK's and AR's or various .308's but they are almost universally a horrible choice for defense particularly inside the home or in close quarters. They are big and heavy/ cumbersome, slow to reload and a potentially deadly choice given the potential for multiple adversaries in close quarters. For someone married to the idea of a close quarters defensive rifle without the desire to get something semi automatic (and probably mag fed) I would suggest a lever action 30-30 as they are relatively cheap, compact, fast to reload and generally the best of the undesirable options in this range.
In conclusion I think it is smart to buy a defensive pistol, pump shotgun, centerfire rifle and a .22. I believe quality modern guns are worth the money and that most people should make the choices necessary to get them. For those who have no guns buying a defensive pistol first and a pump shotgun second is IMO the best course of action with a centerfire rifle and a .22 to follow at a later date when funds allow.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Also I have barely made a dent in communications gear and could use a bigger fairly heavy 4x4 vehicle. When practical some solar panels and a whole mini power system would be awesome. Of course we haven't even considered 20 acres with a decent house that has a wood stove and a basement.
I realized something recently. While we do not know if any sort of major SHTF will happen we also certainly do not know if it is going to happen at all. I see so many folks freaking out because they are sure the world is going to end in 6 weeks and thus have to get everything they are every going to want with their next pay check.
Guys like Hermit and Commander Zero and Rawles often say something like "yeah I have a lot of stuff...but I have also been doing this for a long time". I recall Hermit specifically mentioning that just about anyone who collected firearms for 20 years would almost surely have a sizeable collection.
To be honest I struggle with this from time to time myself. Enough so that Wifey asked if I was reading this also or just preaching.
Initially getting into emergency preparedness costs some money, doubly so if you didn't already live a life where camping and shooting were involved. Aside from this initial cost (say a used pump shotgun, some shells, food, water, first aid stuff, camping gear) you can take a deep breathe and do the rest as finances and other conditions allow.
Excluding the independently none of us are going to go from a totally normal existence to a stocked retreat in North Idaho that has a small arsenal, a fleet of refurbished emp proof diesel trucks and enough fuel to be flying down the road in 2040 in a month or even a year.
I think too many folks look at the costs of stuff and either totally give up or decide the only way they can afford to do it is by getting a Mosin Nagant and building a shack somewhere (nothing against Mosin's or shacks, just needed to make a point) or just give up entirely. Also I suspect lots of folks decide to get into preparadness and jump blindly head first into it. After a few weeks or months of gear, food, guns and ammo eating up every available penny they get these folks burn out on it all, stash the gun in the closet, eat the canned food and go back to their life as it once was.
You need to have a long view and keep things in perspective. Yes the world might end and you would really with that instead of going to see Uncle John for that weekend you would have bought 4 cases of canned food or instead of going to Hawaii you would have gotten an AR with a few mags and some ammo. Then again you might be lying on your deathbed some day thinking it would have been great to see Uncle John one last time or walk on the beach in Hawaii.
Of course if every time you get a few bucks you go out and buy some new electronic gadget or go on a trip the pantry and gun safe are not going to fill up but also every time you get a few bucks it doesn't need to go to a gun, ammo, storage food, etc.
Have preparedness be a priority and a significant part of your life (financial/ time/ etc) but that doesn't mean it is the only part or that it is your entire life.
Make preparedness part of your life not your entire life.
Edited to include: If you WANT to have a shack and a Mosin Nagant that is fine and good. If you are concerned that the world is going to end and your next paycheck is all you will have to prepare and go for that it is probably a mistake. Of course you could buy a Mosin Nagant and build a shack now then down the road pick up an AR/AK/M1A and replace the shack with a nice travel trailer or a little cabin but that is another discusssion. Brass, Never had scrapple but I do like moon shine. I could bring my Springfield and we could have bolt gun bonding.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
While I am not planning to do the whole gentile poverty thing I do advocate living significantly below your means.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
He specifically decided he should not own more than 5 guns. He currently has 4:
a bolt action .270
a ruger mini 14 .223
mossberg partner 12 gauge
and some sort of a 9x18 soviet bloc piece
He wondered what my thoughts were on his collection. In terms of individual guns I can find little to argue about. Mossbergs and Mini's are pretty darn common and well liked. The .270 isn't as common as a 30.06 or a .308 but it passes the country store test so I can't say much. As for the pistol I would stock PLENTY (3+ cases) of ammo because unless I miss my guess you may be able to pick it up at a well stocked store in the big city but other than that it is mail order.
As for what you should get for the fifth gun I can observe that you do not own a .22. Maybe you don't like plinking and choose to practice with centerfire weapons, I am not sure. In any case you mentioned maybe getting a .44 magnum. Can't say anything bad about them in terms of power and such. My advice is that unless you life in Grizzly country go with a .357. The odds of finding .357 magnum ammo are far better as everyone and their mom owns a .38 or a .357mag. Since the pistol you have now is definitely an odd ball getting something very common could be wise.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Remington Model 870- This is your standard "boom-clack," able to be configured into basically whatever you could want, and lasts forever (Rudy Etchen put 4 million rounds through his 870 with just some minor parts replacement to keep it going). It basically doesn't get better than that. And, as is true with all shotguns, there is basically nothing it can't do.
Ruger 10/22- This is basically the king of the .22. It is the most versatile .22 I have found; if there is something that a .22 can do, the 10/22 can do it better then most. Ammo is just about as cheap as it gets, making stocking up also cheap.
Lee-Enfield- Personally I just love this gun. Its a nail-driver, and has the sweetest bolt I have ever felt. There is a big down side, called the British .303, but this gun gets me hard just thinking about it. I might be biased, but I love this damn gun.
Glock- I didn't list a specific caliber, because, well, I didn't want to turn this into a .45 v. 9mm debate. Glocks are great guns. They are basically invincible. Enough said.
AK 47- There is a reason this is the most popular weapon in the world. Designed to be buried in a rice field for 50 years, dug up, and able to kill the invaders, this piece of stamped metal is a epic weapon (as long as you are within 50m of what you are trying to kill). There is a reason it is on everyone's list. Cheap ammo is a plus.
I know there is nothing new here, but I thought it would be fun to write it down... And it was!
Monday, April 27, 2009
(TOR notes: Hermit was kind enough to help me out by writing a post on surplus rifles and ammo. I will make some comments in italics)
I first began collecting military surplus rifles in 1986. I’d just left the Marine Corps, and moved up into the
In the 1980’s, surplus military firearms were very cheap and there was a huge variety on the market to choose from. In a town 50 miles from our place, there was a general merchandise store that specialized in these older weapons. Not because there were many collectors about, but because the guns were cheap, reliable, and prized as useful tools by the local people. Money was in short supply and there was little enthusiasm for expensive hunting rifles. Hunting was a practical part of life, associated not with sport so much as with obtaining food. If a person could fill his freezer with meat using a 1903
On weekends, I’d drive down to this town with my wife. While she looked at things we needed for the household, I’d look at guns. The store had a layaway policy with no time limit and very liberal payment terms. They received shipments of surplus rifles frequently and the weapons were always in very good to excellent condition. The store manager was careful to keep a supply of the appropriate ammunition for any guns he sold, so affordable ammunition was never really an issue. Bearing in mind that most people bought one or two twenty round boxes for hunting season, it wasn’t difficult in those days to keep adequate quantities of ammo on hand.
If the main objective of your gun buying was not hunting, as was the case with me, then shooting relatively costly hollow point or soft point ammo at targets made little sense. Aware of this, the manager also kept military surplus ball ammo on hand at bargain basement prices. Through the late eighties and into the late 1990’s, surplus ammo was never a problem. You could get .30 carbine, 30-06, .308
By the end of the 1990’s, the older rifles were beginning to get harder to find and they became more costly. The General Store I frequented was purchased by a
Being a smart guy who watches the tide of events Hermit was able to get some relatively last minute ammo before the window was closed and supplies ran out. Broadly speaking last minute plans have a pretty high chance of failure and should not be depended on.
I took the additional step of learning to reload, and acquiring the appropriate components and tools to do so. Reloading is not difficult to learn, not expensive to get started in, and is very rewarding. Not only does it furnish you with loaded rounds for your weapons independently of any action a repressive government may take, but it is an extremely satisfying and relaxing hobby. You get a lot for the money you spend on reloading. I know an individual who, like me, chose to live as far out in the bush and away from “society” as he could arrange. He maintains enough powder, bullets, brass and primers to satisfy any foreseeable need for the rest of his life, and he’s a shooter. Reloading gives you flexibility and independence.
One thing a wise man I knew told me is that you do not save money by reloading, however you do get to shoot a whole lot more;)
If you are considering buying a Mauser, a Mosin , an
TOR here: First of all lets give Hermit a big round of applause. He knows more about this subject than anybody I know. This post was interesting and informative. I would really like you to note that commonly available calibers can and do become unavailable. Supplies run out and government edicts can cut off supplies, sometimes with short notice.
As a final thought with every decision there are positives and negatives. The positives can be enjoyed and the negatives must be managed. The positives of surplus bolt guns is that they are accurate, readily available, super reliable and inexpensive. The negative (aside from minimal round capacity and slow rate of fire but that is another discussion) is that ammunition supplies can and do dry up for various reasons. If you can properly manage the negative by purchasing ample supplies of ammunition while it is inexpensively available and potentially reloading down the road owning surplus rifles will almost surely be a positive experience for you.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
I am almost positive that I wrote about this at some point. In any case between talking about 30-30's and the insane explosion in the price of semi auto rifles and full capacity magazines it seems worth discussing it again.
Maybe you live in a place where gun ownership is greatly restricted. Maybe you are just getting into firearms ownership and are priced out of semi automatic rifles and pistols. Maybe you just plain like older simpler firearms. Enough maybe's.
I will speak in some generalities but this is specific enough that you will get a good idea of what I am thinking.
My intention with this post is to give a blueprint for a basic firearms battery that is readily affordable and could be owned legally anywhere in the nation (as always consult local laws blah blah blah).
Rifle: Marlin 30-30 or Mosin Nagant. If your budget is low and or you live in wide open spaces the Mosin Nagant would be the rifle for you. If the budget has a bit more flexibility and you live in a thickly forested area the Marlin 30-30 could be a better choice. Many factors could go into this decision but either way you are getting a darn good rifle.
Pistol: 4" .38/.357. These are super common and with a bit of looking a good used one can be had in the $300 range or a bit more depending on the manufacturer. A good compromise between price, concealability, shootability and of course legal anywhere you can have a gun. These pistols will not disappoint.
Shotgun: Plane Jane Remington 870 with a wood stock and an 18" barrel. These will do everything a super tricked out tactical CQB shotgun will but look just like Grandpa's old bird gun albeit with a shorter barrel.
.22: Plane Jane Ruger 10/22 with the standard 10 rd factory magazines.
This is not the cheapest or the "best" basic four but if you live in Kalifornia/ NY/ NJ it would be a good way to go.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
First of all I think it is over simplistic to use the black and white approach where a caliber is either common or oddball. Between black and white are many different degrees of grey just as there are calibers of different degrees of commonality/ oddball status. For instance I would not call 22-250 a common caliber but it is far more common then .219 zipper or 221 fireball. For the sake of simplicity I would make a third middle category of readily available calibers.
Next I thought about what exactly makes a common caliber common. If I recall correctly Massad Ayoob gave by far the best and simplest explanation (to paraphrase) "you can get it at a Mom and Pop hardware store". Some of you who live in big cities might not know this but outside of major cities hardware stores SELL BULLETS. Usually there are a couple of short rows of various rifle and pistol cartridges plus some assorted shotgun ammo. Since these places have a very limited amount of space dedicated to ammo and don't want to tie up a bunch of money on inventory that doesn't move rapidly they have limited amounts of ammo. What is available will differ somewhat regionally but you can generally rely on being able to pull in and leave with: .22, 9mm, .38/.357, 40S&W, .45acp, 30-30 win, 7.62x39, .308, 30.06, 20 and 12 gauge respectively. .44 mag very well could also be present and I might have missed another but that list is at least an 80% solution. These tend to be guns which lots of people own and shoot regularly.
I would say that common calibers are those in which lots of people own guns in and ammo is commonly available. These weapons tend to be used by civilians, LEO's and the military (at some point) often 2 out of the 3. The only exception I can think of to that general guideline is .22lr, since it isn't an anti personnel cartridge it has not been commonly fielded by LEO's or the military.
Back to my original thought about 7.62x54R (and by default numerous other war surplus bolt gun calibers) being a common caliber. Do not confuse cheap with common with cheap. Currently 7.62x54R is dirt cheap if your purchase surplus ammo from a mail order or online dealer, some gun shops will either sell it by the case or bust open cases and sell 20 rd boxes (or bandoleers or whatever it comes in) for a modest markup. If you were only able to purchase newly manufactured commercial ammunition this caliber would probably be pretty comparable in price to .308 and 30-06.
Someone with decades of experience collecting military surplus firearms could probably write this better then I can but here is how it seems to go.
The cycle of surplus firearms:
1. A country decided to remove a rifle from their inventory. Nations tend to hold onto old guns for awhile (never know when a crazy war might happen) so these weapons were probably replaced a decade or two ago and have probably just been sitting in an arsenal or warehouse.
2. The government decides to sell these rifles so they can make some cash and empty out their arsenals and warehouses.
3. These weapons are bought by various people, imported to various places including America.
4. Tens of thousands of rifles and millions of rounds of ammo (the two seem to come together for the most part) flood the market. These guns are cheap enough that getting three of them to make a tripod to hold something up would be economically reasonable. Everyone has bunches and bunches of these guns and cases and cases of ammo.
Some time passes.....
5. The supply of old ammo dries up. Since this nation doesn't use that type of ammo any more they would have no reason to make more ammo to sell at dirt cheap prices. Rifles can be sold again and again but generally individuals buy ammo and then shoot it or squirrel it away.
6. Now supply and demand kicks into effect and the price of ammo skyrockets. Surplus ammo is now rare and commercially made ammo is just plain more expensive.
7. Unless the rifle/ round got pretty popular (.303 Enfield) no major commerical manufacturers will bother to make the round (took too much research to find an example) and you will pay far more then before for ammo when it is available.
8. Rifles still pop up from time to time when someone sells a few cases they've been holding onto, onesies and twosies in used gun racks and pawn shops, etc. Cases of surplus ammo appear less often but not in amounts large enough to really change the supply to demand relationship and prices will stay relatively high.
* The wild card to this whole thing is that at any time firearm/ammo/ accessories importation could radically change overnight. Remember when Clinton banned "assault weapon" imports? 1, 2.
To finally answer the question (IMHO) 7.62x54R is not a common caliber because it is not readily available all over the place and what ammo is regularly available could dry up at any time.
By default (and various federal limitations on importing other guns) I have been talking mainly about bolt action WWII era rifles here. In the context of my earlier article I think these guns are great for training and plinking because they take the cheapest center fire rifle ammo available. I think it would be a good idea to take a couple cases of ammo (or at least some ammo), stash them away and forget about them because a machete is more useful then an empty gun.
As for the other question of whether to have one of these rifles as your primary rifle? My thoughts on this are already a matter of public record. To save you searching the archives I think these rifles are the best option for those on really limited budgets. I am not going to say I think they are as good of a weapon as something in a military pattern that is fed with a large capacity magazine because they aren't, period. However if a dirt cheap bolt action rifle is the best you can possibly do then by all means get one.
For the people who rely on a surplus bolt gun (other than the rare .308 and 30.06 variants) I suggest digging deep and stocking up on cheap (or reasonably priced) ammo when it is available. A few cases in the basement will give you ammo security. Enjoy shooting the cheap stuff while it is still available. When (not if) ammo becomes less available and more expensive just do most of your practicing with the .22 rifle which rounds out your basic 4. If you want to put some ammo through your surplus rifle from time to time to stay proficient with it just you purchase a box or two of the more expensive ammo (and keep you stash intact!) every couple months to stay in practice (you are shooting the .22 a lot more:).
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