Crossing America – 2019

Time to play this game again.

The Challenge:  You have the opportunity to go back in time, arriving on the east coast of North America circa  1650 in the early spring, and your goal is to cross the North American continent, taking as much time as you need.  When / if you reach the Pacific coastline, you’ll be transported back to the present day.  Your equipment for this journey will be as follows (taken back in the time capsule with you):

— enough provisions for the first five days’ travel
— a backpack containing some clothing essentials
— a winter coat, raincoat and boots
— waterproof sleeping bag
— an axe, and a small sharpening stone
— a box of 1,000 “strike anywhere” waterproof matches
— a portable water filtration system
— a topographic map of North America
— binoculars and a compass
— a current U.S. Army First Aid kit
ONE long gun (shotgun or rifle) and 800 rounds of ammo (but no scope;  and no interchangeable-barrel rifles like a Thompson Center Encore or Blaser;  drillings are acceptable, but you still only get 800 rounds of ammo, total)
ONE handgun (and 1,000 rounds)
— and THREE knives (which can include a multi-tool knife like a Leatherman).

Once there, you’ll be given a horse, a mule and a dog — but apart from that, you’re on your own.  Remember you’ll be traveling through deep woods, open prairie, desert and mountains.  You may encounter hostile Indian tribes and dangerous animals en route, which should be considered when you answer the following questions (and only these):

1.  What long gun would you take back in time with you?
2.  What handgun?
3.  What knives?

Unlike previous surveys, I’m not going to tabulate the answers;  just have at it in Comments.  Reasons need not be given, as the choices will pretty much speak for themselves.  If you must  justify your choices, keep it short (as I have with mine).

Kim’s choices:

Long:  Mauser M96 (Swedish) 6.5x55mm.  Flat-shooting, manageable recoil, super-reliable, and more accurate than I can shoot it, at any distance.

I’d probably add some kind of peep sight:

Handgun:  Ruger Redhawk Stainless in .357 Mag with a 5.5″ barrel and (new from Ruger!) 8-shot cylinder.  Indestructible, and in a pinch can be used for hunting.

Knives:  Fox 440 bush knife, Anza skinner and Swiss Army Champ (no explanations necessary):

Oh, and by the way, I’d take a sharpened roofing hammer instead of an actual axe:

All the above must assume that I would be forty years younger, and have better eyesight than I have now.  At my current age and rickety state, I might as well just give up and lie on the beach on the Atlantic shoreline, eating my provisions and waiting to die…

Over to you, in Comments.


  1. I will trade me a handgun for a pretty injun squaw. Clear me some land close to the Atlantic ocean. Build me a still. Sell the moonshine to the locals. Have the father in law and his tribe build me a bar and grill. Invent BBQ and live like a king. Surf fish in my off time. Make lots of babies (more work crew). Buy more squaws. Forget all that bushwhacking. I ain’t no fule.

    1. Given the choice between a squaw and bushwhacking, I’d be off before you could say “floccinaucinihilipilificatious”.

  2. I remember this the first time, Kim! Dont’ know if my choices have changed.

    Levergun in .357 Mag; probably a Marlin. Ruger blackhawk in same caliber. Obvious reason – ammo interchangeability. And .357, in 1650, will be all the range I need; I won’t have to worry about out-ranging someone else’s boomstick.

    Knives? I’m not particularly a knife guy, but I’d want a really good machete, a combat knife, such as a K-bar, and a multitool, i.e. Leatherman.

    But frankly, the Professor has the right idea. Don’t need to trade the handgun, however – I suspect some of the other items would suffice to trade for the squaw. Frankly, I don’t know if I’d want to come back to the present – I suspect we are soon in for some “interesting” times.

    Coming back to reality – if that’s what’s to come, bring it on. I’ll fight that battle now, thanks, so that my grandkids don’t have to.

    BTW – WWII rifle shoot, Oct. 12, El Dorado, KS. Come on out and shoot some old boomsticks. The Sheriff’s Dept. has committed to bringing a Thompson . . . . .

    1. BAD man for reminding me of the shoot. (Bloody stepdaughter WOULD pick that weekend to get married; youth of today, no consideration.)

  3. 1000 rounds of handgun ammo is nuts unless you do as GMC70 suggests and then you have 1800 rounds of rifle ammo. 44 though because here be griz. I would go double action on the revolver. Probably a Ruger because there won’t be gunsmiths. Going to have to do some research on the lever gun with an emphasis on durability. Stainless and synthetic for sure though. Knives would be a Leatherman, a good skinner and a machete. No combat knife. If you can’t solve an edged weapon, with a machete and an ax, you be dead. In a knife fight the winner goes to the ER and there ain’t no ER.

  4. A lever action rifle and revolver in the same caliber is a great idea. One thing not listed that I’d include–some fishing gear–hooks, line, maybe a lure or two and a bobber.

  5. I’ll play but I’m having difficulty due to the different missions for the firearms.
    I would choose different guns for game than for self defense.
    And part of this journey involves bear country.

    That said, I’ll go with a good .30-06 for the long gun. Like my Remington 700 BDL. You can take any game in North America with it. The downside is slow rate of fire if facing multiple attackers.

    Kim will weep, but I’ll go with my HK VP9 9mm 15+1 pistol. Any Glock would do, but I don’t like Glocks. Can’t shoot them. Accurate enough for deer at shorter ranges, in practice as effective as any other handgun caliber against humans, and guaranteed to go bang when I pull the trigger. Won’t stop a grizzly, but even with a .44 Magnum or better, that’s a risky proposition.

    The roofing hatchet is a good idea, but I think I’d go with and axe or a boy’s axe, since I have a mule to carry it.

    There are lots of good knives available. It deserves further thought.

    I’d want to add a backup fire kit, cookware/containers, and a tarp and cordage.

    Oh, and I need to be about 40 years younger, too.

  6. I’ll stick with my choices as I remember them from version 1.0. I know that I’m not going to shoot my way across 3000+ miles of continent with 1800 rounds so let’s try to be stealthy when possible and wise in our dealings with people as we pass through their territory.

    Anyway for a long gun I’ll go with a good older vintage 870 Remington I know that shot shells are heavy but I can take birds and small game and load buck shot or slugs for big game or predators.

    Pistol would be a 6″ barrel . 357 – Smith or Ruger would do just fine.

    As others have said I’m not a knife expert and can’t speak to the particulars of high end blades so I’ll just mention general types. I would consider a good Ghurka type Kukri (or however you spell it) as my big blade. I like that style blade for heavy duty camp work and it makes a pretty decent fighting knife as well. Belt knife would be a 6″ blade general hunting style. I have a 40 year old Buck fixed blade that’s served me well. Nothing exotic or high end but it works, holds a good edge and is easy to sharpen. In the multi tool department I like the Gerbers but a Leatherman would work just as well. Now if one of the guys above will sell me some whiskey I’ll be on my way.

  7. I am tempted to cheat and make my rifle a Ruger 77-357 or a Marlin 1894C. Combined with 357 revolver — I’m inclined toward a Ruger Blackhawk — I have 1800 rounds for either. I see a few others are similarly inclined

    Knives are easy

    Swiss Army Knife — The Explorer or Champ.

    Cold Steel Pendleton Hunter

    Cold Steel SRK. I could be convinced to swap the SRK for a multitool.

    The roofing hatchet is good idea, too.

  8. Interesting, in 1650 Concord Massachusetts was the far West for settlers and folks of English origin stayed close to the coast. First thing I would want to do is learn French because the trappers were doing pretty well trading with the Indians across the Great Lakes and I would head out in that direction and it is a lot easier to cross the Mississippi in Minnesota, then I would also want to know Spanish and head down the plains to Santa Fe. This time period was before the plains Indians were well established as horse tribes so that would help moving across the plains. Once in Santa Fe then it would be wise to spend enough time to make good friends with the Spaniards so they could help on the journey to the Pacific, and if might be a good thing to be Catholic during that part of the journey.

    As for guns, I think it might be a good thing to have a Stainless Marlin lever carbine in .357, with Williams peep sight, as well as a nice stainless revolver like and S&W 686 .357 with a 6″ barrel and keep the guns out of sight as much as possible. As for knives I would like an 8″ blade Henkel carving knife, and 5″ Henkel paring knife in leather sheaths along with a good Swiss Army knife. A nice single blade ax would allow me to build decent shelter as I go on my journey because I would plan on spending several years making this journey.

  9. * Red Heeler, at least five-years of us working together.
    * Percheron mule, at least ten-years of us working together (although I prefer camels since the contest rules are similar to Lieutenant Beale and his 1850s excursion authorized by Interior Secretary Jefferson Davis).
    * Gherka mini-sword. (about 6#)
    * Leatherman and Gerber since I’m heading home to Oregon.
    * AR-15 5.56 rifle with muffler and night-vision, strapped to me at all times. (about 11#)
    * AR-15 5.56 pistol with muffler and night-vision, strapped to me at all times. (about 7#)
    * 1,800 rounds of XM855. (about 100#. Criminy!)

    Carry food? Nah. The continent is a super-market, all I can eat 24/7.
    And if I lost all my stuff, I still have my skills.

    Seconded on mixing with the locals, and having the chiefs over for BBQ and beers.

    And, natch, I need a camera crew to document my magnificent journey for posting to ‘face’ book and Instagram.
    My heroic journey. Against all odds. For the children. Because climate.

  10. I have it all now.

    Ruger M77 Stainless bolt in 357/38
    S&W 646 in Stainless
    Kukiri style battle knife for big things
    MoraKnives small fixed blade
    Any Gerber multitool should do
    I agree with the hammer axe.

    Also would like a bow saw and a full length axe. Axes are noisy when you use them on a tree.

    Also might include a take down bow with a batch of arrows.

  11. I’m going to need a 45 – 50 year reset. and throw in several dozen Butane Lighters and few 1200 lumen Solar rechargeable LED Flashlights. and maybe a nice lightweight tent.

    Disclosing pretty much any of this equipment is going to get you labeled as a Wizard or a Witch in any of the English Colonies, particularly Massachusetts. so be very careful not to show it to anyone.

    Spanish colonies in California didn’t get really going until the founding of San Diego in 1769 and the first French explorers on the Mississippi were Jolliet and Marquette in 1673 , so after you cross the Hudson any indigenous people are going to consider you either a GOD or an Evil Spirt once they see your equipment, both of which are likely dangerous to your success in crossing the continent.

  12. I’ll join you on the beach.
    With my bad back and arthritis I’d not make it more than a few miles.

  13. Long gun: Browning BLR Lightweight 81 Takedown in .270 WIN.
    Handgun: Smith and Wesson M29 revolver in .44 Magnum.
    Knife/Edged Wpn: Victorinox Swiss Champ, Fallkniven F1, and Gerber Downrange Tomahawk.

    A shotgun would be handy for hunting birds for an easy feed, but “a man’s got to know his limitations”. (H/T Clint).

  14. Rifle: US .30 M2 Carbine
    Pistol: Ruger Blackhawk in .30 Carbine
    Which means 1,800 rounds interchangeable, good to 200 meters (yes I have hit targets out there with a Carbine), and the fun switch on the M2 comes in handy to quickly even the odds and/or scare the locals.

    Knives: Becker BK-21, Leatherman Charge, Swiss Army Lots-o-tools.

    I’d also throw in a good compass, a US Army tri-fold E-tool, 1,500 feet of 550 chord, a damn good hat, four rolls of duct tape, a can of WD-40., and ten cans of Tony Chachere’s (Hey, I’m a Coonass.)

    Finally, I’d throw in an adventurous, 20-something Sandra Bullock, for warmth, light housekeeping, and covering fire, but that may be bending the rules a bit too far.

  15. Late to the party but I’ll play. I think for my long gun I’ll take my Rock River Arms .458 SOCOM, ’cause well…griz, and for the handgun my 1911 Springfield in .45 acp. Those two ought to impress the natives enough to have them hand over my pick of the young maidens…maybe more than one. Remember what Lewis and Clark was able to do with a repeating air rifle? Anywho, for my edged tools I’d take a Gransfors Bruk short forest axe, and a Bushcraft knife from Pacific Northwest Bushcraft, A Buck Skinner and a Buck Stockman three blade pocket knife.

  16. Savage Scout in .308

    Colt .45 LC with as long a barrel as I can manage (backup for hunting)

    Cold Steel machete
    Cold Steel Laredo Bowie
    Messermeister meridian elite 10” chefs knife (it’s what I know)
    Plain old food service grade flex boning knife
    Victorianox Swiss army Camper

  17. The ammo load should be limited by weight, not volume. This stuff has to be transported, and if there is one thing I have learned about ammo, it is Heavy.
    Make my rifle a .22Mag. single shot over a 12 gauge single shot. 20 rounds Brenneke slugs, 20 #4 buckshot, the balance .22.

    Can I trade all the pistol ammo for equivalent weight of antibiotics and ibuprofen?

  18. I was traveling and missed this when it went up. My picks:

    Long gun – AK-47. Actually the M+M Industries M10X-DMR (a little bit longer barrel for better velocity). This caliber will take deer-sized and smaller game without much problem. And even if it’s not a reliable one-shot stopper of grizzlies, a magazine-full WILL suffice. The rifle will let me bag game, but also ups my odds if it comes down to combat (if I’m in a situation where I can’t fight my way out with a black rifle, then no other rifle is going to save me, either). My ammo for this would be custom loaded with a quality expanding bullet (bonded soft point or something like the Barnes TSX).

    Handgun – Browning Buckmark or Ruger MkIV, 6” barrel, and the best suppressor I can find for it. Ammo is 400 rounds high-velocity, and 600 rounds subsonic. Rabbits, squirrels, grouse, etc. are much more feasible foodstuffs than large game. With the quiet setup, I could hunt and a miss wouldn’t necessarily mean I go hungry.

    Big knife – Tops Tex Creek XL. It’s a good all-round hard-use utility blade. (Alternative pick: a vintage Cattaraugus 225Q.)

    Small knife – Esee Zancudo. It fits in my pocket, it locks up dead reliably, and it opens and closes with one hand. (I find myself increasingly unwilling to carry a pocket knife that won’t, as I always seem to have something in at least one hand when I want to use my knife.)

    Leatherman – one of the models that takes hex bits. I currently have a small pencil roll, with a bunch of 4 and 6 inch bits, that I keep in my backpack with my Leatherman Crunch. It’s like having a whole toolbox. I don’t think the Crunch is the model that I’d pick for Kim’s exercise, but I’d like the same ability to expand my tool selection.

    I like the carpenter’s hammer idea, but I’d probably go with the Estwing model. I have bad luck with wooden handles on hard use tools.

    PS – I like the idea of allocating ammo load by weight and not count. Kim’s choice works out to approximately 48lbs. of rifle ammo and 40lbs. of pistol ammo. With that weight allowance, I’d up my 22LR to 3500 rounds (28lbs), and have the balance of the load be for the AK, (giving me about 1600 rounds).

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