PODA WEAPONS DEVOLUTION 8
Most important to our fear filled preppers is the subject of long arms ( we’ll cover other aspects of military armament later ) because with a rifle nuzzled against our bosoms we have our security blanket to warm our souls and sooth our angst. As we have discussed, there is little to fear from archery. There is no contest between the two insofar as stopping power. Bows will be helpful with hunting, if limited due to the skill needed ( crossbows are better for the lesser trained ), and will be a weapon “better than nothing” for some poor bastards. But you won’t need to rely on them for your personal weapon, at least in theory. Muzzle loaders with flintlocks are a good backwoods gun in that they are “forever guns”. Once past the barreling and the sparking arm mechanism, they are low tech. You can make your own powder if you raise chickens and pigs and can utilize their enclosure soil. Those far from agricultural settlements large enough to expand militarily can count on flintlocks to be a reliable arm for protection. Again, in theory. A lot of pondering on the subject unfortunately mirrors our frontier history. Which cannot be repeated. The surface fuels and ores are gone, those that remain need high energy and high tech to recover. You can’t reproduce 19th century fledging industry with 21st century depleted resources. Will there be new lower tech industrial industry, even cottage industry, to produce manufactured items?
The black powder rifles manufactured today, replicas, might be all that is available. If industry can’t realistically be introduced, what is left to the fledging empires of tomorrow? Even if you had, say, hydropower, a source nearly perpetual unless it is in the dry West, what about those ores? I’m not sure you could even smelt scrap on that and even if you could the quality issue remains. The Chinese tried that decentralized approach and only got inferior metal as a result. Even with slaves scrapping the last reserves of coal, I can’t see this being a widespread easy process. I think the broad based approach to rearmament is going to be salvage. The rifles manufactured today are going to be used post-collapse because there is little else on a big scale needed for armies. Then, rather than both weapons manufacture AND ammunition problems, you only have the ammunition problem ( smokeless powder and primers ). The cases are probably going to be an issue, but you can lower the quality there easier than with the other two ( salvaged aluminum sheet, nitrate soaked paper, old case base glued to new paper tube ). You can easily manufacture smokeless on a small scale ( burning saltpeter in an airless container, essentially- you can do experiments in a two liter soda bottle ), it’s the scaling up that is the issue. Not insurmountable. The first primers were mercury based. Again, a huge infrastructure issue, but not insurmountable. I can’t see anyone taking the approach of building from scratch flintlock manufacturing, knowing they will then have to turn around and replicate smokeless power, primers and cases to stay ahead in battlefield superiority. It might work out that way if salvage turns out to be impractical for some reason. But expect the path of least resistance.
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