From the AR15 to a nice sturdy Luger revolver, there are tons of firearms available on the market for use in all manner of emergencies, for recreation, shooting practice, or hunting. There’s no doubt whatever your favorite weapon is, it would be a valuable asset should you have to enter a prolonged survival situation or need to protect your home.
But there is another option that, in the event of a prolonged survival situation, could provide you with a firearm that can be cared for, cleaned, loaded and reloaded using items you might find around the house.
You’ve probably guessed already that I’m talking about cap and ball and muzzle-loading firearms dating back to the late 18th century. Before you roll your eyes, I do not intend to suggest that a cap and ball gun can replace your standby firearms. Antique weapon designs that fire black powder ammunition have some significant drawbacks compared to modern firearms. You do not want to get into a gunfight with nothing but a single action revolver that you have to take apart to reload. However, with the right knowledge, skills, some preparation and a little bit of equipment- having an old-fashioned single action cap and ball gun can give you the ability to make your own ammunition without access to infrastructure.
Imagine a natural disaster, war, or martial law forces you to take your family into the hills or cuts you off from replenishing your supplies. In this situation having nothing but ordinary firearms would eventually leave you unarmed when your ammo run dry. But with a a cap and ball gun and a little bit of know how you could have a loaded gun by your side at all times- no matter how long you’re forced to live off the grid.
All of the materials you need to run a cap and ball firearm can be scavenged or fabricated. Black powder can be made from household items. Caps can be made from aluminum cans and black powder. You’ll need a punch tool to form the caps. Your lead ball ammunition can be made from scavenged lead.
To shape lead into ammunition, you will need a special mold which can be found at Cabelas or Taylor’s Firearms, (preferably before martial law is enacted). Vendors like these will carry everything you need for your kit- except the aluminum punch. These can be found online or you can use a hole punch made for paper to pop circles out of aluminum cans.
Caring for a black powder gun can be time-consuming, but only because black powder residue must be cleaned off the firearm completely as it can cause pitting. Fortunately, a simple gun cleaning kit and hot water are enough to care for your cap and ball gun.
Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, gunslingers, cowboys, and lawmen cared for their guns in the wild with little else but hot water from a campfire and the simple tools they had on hand. The advantage they did not have which you do is the ability to create black power and caps from materials that you might find around the house. You’ll have to do some research to learn how to make your powder but once you do you’ll find it can be done rather simply. And when you’re out in the wild you’ll find plenty of spare time to spend caring for your guns.
While it’s true that these ancient weapons cannot stand up to modern firearms- when it comes to surviving long periods of time outside of civilization- a black powder gun may be the only gun that can remain viable over the long haul.
~ American Gun News