My trip to Doomsday Castle, was an interesting experience. We got to learn about the cast, and spent the better part of the day learning the castle layout and getting a little bit of a grasp of the terrain of the mountain around it.
I had a lot to think about on the drive home, from the gun-geek perspective. While we got to shoot bows and crossbows and catapults (and the cast can back me up that my bow skills aren’t that rusty), my thoughts always revert to firearms, especially since a certain “Doomsday daughter” told me twice how much she enjoyed firing a sniper rifle.
The mountain terrain around the castle is heavily wooded (which you may see for yourself when the show premieres on the National Geographic Channel at 10:00 PM on August 13), and the line of sight in the summer from the castle may measure as short as 20 yards to the nearest natural cover. On the other hand, once the summer greenery falls away, I suspect that the line of sight may be much longer from the castle, and especially from the listening post/observation post (LPOP) and other possible choke-points leading to the castle, up to perhaps 400 yards or so.
A rifle in a survival situation isn’t just for self-defense. It will also likely have to function as a hunting arm. Turkeys, boar, bear and deer are abundant in the area, and so it would make sense to have something to take such game. Keeping in mind that the three daughters on the show, Ashley, Lindsey, and Anne-Marie, make up half the cadre, and they are relatively petite young ladies, large .308 battle rifles like a FAL, PTR 91/G3, or M1A or are going to pose an ergonomics problem, and AR-10 variants, while no doubt capable of being an ergonomic fit, are still on a larger frame, heavier frame, and shoot much heavier ammunition.
Likewise, as a fan of the 6.5 Grendel and 300 AAC Blackout, part of me would like to recommend AR-15s in these calibers, if it weren’t for the near impossibility of finding ammunition for them now, much less in the sort of grid-down future scenario the family is prepping to survive.
I’m forced to concede that the “boring” AR-15 is probably the best choice for a SHTF rifle in this scenario, as it is in many others.
Would they perhaps be better off with a .308 that might perform better through brush and against vehicles, and perhaps also be more effective against big game? Perhaps.
But if I’m looking for something to stop vehicles, a chain saw and few carefully selected trees is more effective on a narrow mountain road, especially if a kill zone is carefully selected.
As for the enhanced penetration powers of a .308 over a 5.56/.223 Remington, while it may be a very valid point, I think there is an argument to be made that a lighter weight rifle and much lighter ammunition is worth the trade-off in a running battle, especially when scrambling up the side of a mountain. I also happen to know the deer and boar in the NC mountains are generally on the smaller side, if plentiful, and our black bears aren’t nearly the size of the massive Brown killed with an AK-74 last week.
I think the castle’s layout and terrain make a good argument for a mix of lightweight Ar-15 carbines with red-dot sights and single-point slings for day-to-day patrolling after the kaka hits the fan, supported by SPR/DMR rifles with 1-4 scopes and simple loop slings for position defense and hunting.
Do you agree, think tweaks are in order, or would you pick something else entirely?