Choosing The Zombie Gun

I’ll have to admit, I’m not really that much into the tactical gun scene. I prefer wood and metal and revolvers. I’ve never really been attracted to AR’s with all the gadgets and doodads stuck all over the things. Give me iron sights and some nice looking wood. Now I do have a Glock and it is fun to shoot, but I’m still drawn to my Smith & Wesson model 10 revolver.

Which brings me to the topic of the day – my recent purchase that has been dubbed “the zombie gun” (I’ll explain later).

I first heard of these pistol round carbines while perusing one of the firearms forums that I frequent. Reading through the various threads and hearing the guys talk about how much fun they were, I was intrigued. Especially when I found out how inexpensive they were. Plus, some guy even took a wild hog with one! How cool is that?
So here it is, my Hi-Point 4095 carbine in 40 S&W. And yes, I’ve put some gadgets and doodads on it. The thing is so economical that you actually have money left over to put gadgets on it, so why not?

I haven’t had a chance to finish siting in the red dot yet, but my first impression of the rifle is great. It shoots great and feels great. The trigger is very nice, much nicer than I expected it to be. It pulls up well into the shoulder. Hi-Point has blown me away with this gun. I can see why everyone loves the heck out of it.

OK, so let me get into why I call it the Zombie Gun. I love me a good zombie movie (and not all of them are) and one day I ran across some articles where gun owners were discussing which gun would be the best gun to have when the zombies show up. Alright, cool. But Keith and I talked one day and decided we’d write a zombie gun article some day also. But our spin would not be which gun we wish we had, but what would we grab from what we own to take on the hordes of the undead.

So here’s my article and why this would be my zombie gun (and hence why it has that nickname now).

So I thought of the firearms I have and which would be better. Of course, the plains rifle is out. A muzzle loader is just going to get your brains feasted on. So its out by default. The shotgun would be good for close range, but not much help long distance wise. Plus carrying enough ammo would be heavy. The pistols, as well, only good for close range. One of them would be the backup.

So that left the Marlins. I’d probably pass the scoped one by as it would just be too cumbersome. No help in close range and too easy to knock out of alignment. You know, you’re running and moving a lot, staying ahead of the undead.

So that leaves a Marlin 336 in 30-30 with iron sights and the new carbine.

Both are light and maneuverable. Both would be good at distances of around 100 yards, although the Marlin would have an edge here as it could poke out further than that. And both would be handy up close.

The Hi-Point has an edge in ammo count though. 10 in the mag and 1 in the chamber for the Hi-Point. 6 +1 for the Marlin. With the Hi-Point I can reload with a new magazine. The Marlin I’d have to load individually. So you have to take into account which one would be easier to reload on the move. The hi-Point would have the edge here – that is as long as you have enough mags. So it might end up being a wash in the end. Ammo for both guns should be readily available and easy to find as both are popular calibers.

But there’s one place where the Hi-Point wins. It shares the same ammo as my Glock. So I only have to carry one caliber. What would totally seal the deal is if the carbine and the Glock shared the same magazine, but that isn’t the case.

I suppose one could say I’d have less chance of jams with the Marlin and the S&W revolver. And that is true, less of a chance for jams. But from what I’m reading, the Hi-Point seems to be a workhorse and can take a lot of abuse. The one unknown is how long any of the guns would shoot when getting really dirty. And most likely, the guns are going to take some serious abuse between cleanings. Think about, lots of running, lots of moving around and staying mobile. There might not be much time to clean the guns.

I really wanted the Marlin and the S&W revolver to win. I really did. It would be to cool taking out the Zombies with a lever action rifle, wearing a big hat and taking names (do zombies have names at that point?). But in the end, I have to go with the carbine and the Glock as a back up. It would just be easier sharing the same ammo in the long run.

So there you go. If the hordes of zombies ever show, I’m ready. I’m curious to see what Keith comes up with on his end.

Keep your powder dry.

Chisholm Trail Gun Show Rifles

Okay so I went little nuts at the Chisholm Trail Antique Gun Show in Wichita Kansas last weekend. I bought five (count em) five guns! I sold two. An Enfield Jungle carbine .303 and a La Corunna Spanish carbine.

I’m left with a Yugoslavian SKS and a pristine Universal M1 carbine. I’ll probably sell or trade the SKS. The M1 I plan to hang onto.

The rifle that has really captured my heart however is the one rifle I almost passed on. I bought a US Springfield Model 1898, 30-40 Krag-Jorgenson. After the US government replaced the Krag with the Springfield model of 1903 (30-06) literally thousands of these fine old Krags were dumped on the market. The NRA obtained a large number of these rifles to sell through the NRA Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). The NRA had a number of these CMP Krags “sporterized” by bobbing the barrel to 25 inches and cutting the stock accordingly. AN NRA modified Krag could be purchased through the CMP in the 1930’s for between seven and twenty dollars. For many Americans this was the first opportunity to buy an affordable, bolt action, smokeless powder hunting rifle.

The Krag was prized by hunters for its reliability as well as low cost. To this day the Krag has the smoothest bolt action of any rifle ever produced. The 30-40 round was designed around a 220 grain bottle nosed bullet. At 2200 to 2400 feet per second this round could reliably crack the chest cavity of any North American Game animal.

I bought this rifle the Sunday morning of the gun show. In short order two men told me nostalgic tales of the first deer they ever killed. With a Krag rifle.

The Stauth Musem in Montezuma Kansas houses the mount of the largest elk ever killed until 1957. This elk was harvested with a 30-40 Krag (Man that’s a big elk!).

Ultimately the Krag is cherished to this day for the rifles legendary accuracy. The Krag was banned from military shooting competition soon after it was phased out. The other military weapons of the day simply could not compete (This might only be legend. But when legend meets fact, print the legend!).

This is not to say the Krag did not have its drawbacks as a military firearm. The bolt of the Krag contains only a single locking lug instead of two. Hence the unbeatable smooth action of the Krag is inherently weaker than the Mauser and Enfield. The Krag magazine protrudes from the right side of the weapon. Consequently stripper clips can not be utilized for rapid reloading (Loading single rounds into a magazine in the heat of battle is a serious disadvantage!) Also the Krag magazine can only accommodate five rounds, a disadvantage in a military weapon competing with the Mauser (eight rounds) and the Enfield (ten rounds). The 1903 Springfield that replaced the Krag was closely copied from the Mauser design.

The Krag enjoyed a brief but colorful career in the US history of armed conflict. Krag carbines made the charge up Kettle (often wrongly identified as San Juan) hill in Cuba with Teddy Roosevelt. The Krag also fought the Spanish and the Morro in the Philippine conflict of the same time period.

The US Army Department of Ordinance, impressed by the performance of the Mauser held trials that led to the adoption of the 1903 Springfield.

Recent historians, relying on letters and journals written by soldiers and officers during the conflict find few complaints regarding the Krag and no ill comparison with the Mauser. US Soldiers often described favorably the powerful 30-40 cartridge to the opposition they encountered.

From my own perspective the CMP did a wonderful job in sporterizing the Krag. It feels handy. The twenty-five inch barrel is still rifle length, but definitely preferable to the original thirty inches. Other than being cut to half-stock the rifle maintains its original military dimensions. One can easily discern the original military design of the rifle but unlike most military weapons the Krag is quite slender. Due to the magazine protruding from the side of the rifle the weapon has an almost “needle gun” quality.

Perhaps I have seen too many Mauser’s and Enfield’s in movies depicting WWII and later. The Krag, elegant looking with its old world machinery exposed on one side looks like it belongs in the 19th instead of the twentieth century. In a line of weapons that includes the trapdoor, the Martini-Henry and the rolling block, the Krag looks more like what it is, a bridge to the Mauser’s, Enfield’s and Springfield’s that dominated martial conflict in the twentieth century.

My sporterized Krag seems more at home on safari in Victorian Africa or in an early twentieth century deer or elk camp than on a battle field in the time of mechanized warfare.

In closing I will say that a 30-40 Krag Jorgenson still in original military configuration will cost dearly beginning at around $1,000. A carbine will run over $2,000. An NRA CMP Krag might set you back between $500 and $700. I might mention the workmanship on these conversions is superb.

Ultimately if you enjoy vintage shooting with a rifle in a proven hunting cartridge, a sporterized Krag might just be the ticket!

The Lum