Crossing America — 2021

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 couple knives
— a box of 1,000 “strike anywhere” waterproof matches
— a portable water filtration system
— a set of topographic maps of North America
— binoculars and a compass
— a current U.S. Army First Aid kit
ONE long gun (shotgun or rifle) and 200 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 200 rounds of ammo, total)
ONE handgun (and 400 rounds)
ONE rimfire gun (either a rifle or handgun, with 500 rounds).

Yeah, I changed it up a little.

Once there, you’ll be given a horse, a mule and a dog or two — 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 rimfire?

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).

Oh, and one last thing:  you can’t keep your previous choices of firearm;  you must find new ones.  So in my case, for example, I can’t pick the 1896 Swedish Mauser and Ruger Redhawk .357 revolver from last time — so my own new choices are below the fold.

Long Gun
CZ Safari Magnum in .300 Win Mag

…because just for kicks, this time I’d take the northern route across, where there be bears.

Springfield 1911 in .45 ACP

…because I can fix absolutely anything that may go wrong with it — not that anything would.

Taurus Mod 72 in .22 Win Mag

,,,because anything a .22 LR can do, a .22 WMR can do better.


  1. Winchester 1886 in 45/70
    Colt New Service in 357 Mag
    Mauser 22 LR
    At that time a 22 lr or 22 mag would be very capable of taking larger game as they would not be that afraid of humans and could be taken from closer range where a 22 lr could brain shot a deer

  2. 1. Rifle: Enfield No 4 No 2 in .303. Rugged, reliable, 10 rd magazine, good sights, fairly decent round
    2. Pistol: Smith Model 27 6″ barrel. Carry mostly .38 special with a few .357 magnums for social purposes
    3. Rimfire: Any of the Henry lever actions because a guy just has to….

  3. I’d use the guns I already have that have proven effective and reliable.
    Remington 700 in .308
    Ruger 10-22 in .22
    Beretta 92FS in 9mm.
    In 1650 water filtration was probably not an issue.
    I imagine this trek would take at least 2 years.

  4. Rifle: .357 lever action, 18” barrel, heavy (140+ gr) solid copper or hard cast lead bullets for penetration against dangerous critters.
    Handgun: Dan Wesson 715 with 4” and 8” barrels, expanding bullets.
    Rimfire: Ruger Single 6, 22 WMR, 7.5” barrel.

  5. Winchester 1892 in .38/357. (20” barrel)
    Ruger Security 6 in .38/357
    Ruger 10/22 takedown w/ Magpul ‘Backpacker’ stock.

    All weapons in stainless steel. Assume proficiency with all prior to leaving.

    500 rounds .38 / 100 rounds of .357
    500 rds. .22 LR

  6. 1. What long gun would you take back in time with you?

    Henry lever action 357 Magnum Big Boy side loading with iron sights. Powerful. Easy to operate. Sling over shoulder and ready to stop any threat. 357 because I will have common ammo with the handgun I chose.

    2. What handgun?

    Ruger GP100 4 inch stainless 357 Magnum – 6 shot. Durable. Easy to carry. No magazines to mess with. 357 Magnum is enough to stop most any threat.

    3. What rimfire?

    Ruger SP101 4 inch stainless 22 LR revolver. Durable. Easy to carry. No magazines to mess with. Easy to load and operate. Same as the handgun.

  7. Marlin 1894. 10 rounds of heavy duty stopping power.
    Desert Eagle .44, 8 round mag, gives me common ammo with the 1894.
    Marlin XT-22MTR bolt action 22″ barrel, 12rd tubular magazine with .22wmr

  8. This time around:

    Long gun: Marlin lever-action in .357 Magnum (nice-looking octagonal barrel, got it used)
    Pistol: Taurus .357 Magnum (bought when they were built in Brazil on S&W machinery)
    Rimfire: Ruger 10/22 with (now-antique) Butler Creek folding stock

    As many have noted, the ammo load would be split between .38+P and .357 for the centerfires, and HP for the rimfire. I’d also throw in some .357 shotshells for harvesting birds and for snake protection.

  9. CZ 550 30-06
    Super Redhawk .44 mag
    CZ 452 .22lr

    I regularly hike long distances unsupported, and a transcontinental hike sounds daunting. Also, can I trade one of the guns for a cast iron pot? Need something to cook with.

  10. Lever action repeating rifle in .45 LC, or .44 Mag, or .357. Henry, likely
    DA revolver in same caliber as rifle. Smith and Wesson.
    and a .22WM revolver of some sort…

  11. Rifle – my Marlin Guide Gun ~ 45-70 with a super light crisp trigger and Williams sight. seven pounds 37″ long very accurate to 150 yards.

    Pistol – .22 Win Mag ~EAA Bounty Hunter Pistol 22 Long Rifle/22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire 4.75″ Barrel, 8 Round Blue, Walnut Grip. 2.4 pounds

    Rimfire – Henry Magnum Express Lever Action Rimfire Rifle 22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire (WMR) 19.25″ Barrel Blued and American Walnut 10 rounds, 5.5 pounds 37″ long

    This would give me 900 rounds in Win Mag for most of the game shooting up to deer with the 45-70 for buffalo, moose or elk which would be a lot of meat to dry out for jerky.

    I am thinking the south route, learning Spanish because Santa Fe was already there, I am familiar with a lot of the Santa Fe trail and it is not as cold as going through the North route. I also think the horse and mule would do better on the Southern route but I have no idea how to cross the rivers with live stock so it would be an interesting trip.

    1. Sorry folks, I think I am the winner with 900 rounds with . 22 Win mag , I will drop all of my food needs and with 200 rounds of 45-70 for self defense for big bad things or folk I might encounter. Those Win Mags would be about the equal of the Kentucky Rifles of Davy Crockett times and even more accurate which is all you need to make meat.

  12. Wait.
    I get to go to 1650… but, then, I have to come back to this, this 2021 nonsense?
    Not bloody likely.
    I may think of you fondly.
    Not often, and that will fade as the decades blur by.
    Thanks for the captions!

  13. I have no idea what my previous choices were, or if I even responded back then. So… Blank slate.
    Like others above, I would want ammunition commonality between rifle and primary sidearm. My choices (based on current predilictions) are as thus:
    Rifle: 16″ barrel 1892 clone in .44 magnum, with hard cast 240g slugs, and a full charge of IMR 4227 behind them. I have chronographed this load from one of my 92 carbines, and it achieves a solid 1650 feet per second. I’m not likely to be taking any long range shots any way, but this load will do for nigh any game at .30-30 ranges.
    Handgun: Ruger Redhawk .44 magnum with a 5″ tube, again with the same load. I chrony’d this too, and it gives me 1350 feet per second quite reliably. There isnt much in North America that would successfully argue with it.
    As for rimfire… I’m looking at small game hunting, but also packability. Now, my mind could be changed on this, but I’m thinking handgun, and looking my own inventory. From that, I would select a Ruger old model Bearcat, 4″ tube. It’s NOT ideal as a do everything small game hunter, but it makes up for that with its small size and easy carriage, enabling me to have it handy and ready to hand all the time, without having to deal with shuffling two rifles around in order to get a shot at a rabbit before it spooks. Plus, I’m a reasonably fair shot with it.

    I had the thought of swapping the .44s for .357s for the savings on weight and recoil, but there were grizzly as far south as central/southern New Mexico as recently as the late 1800s, and while a hardcast .357 can still kill a big bear, I want the bear to KNOW its dead before it kills me too. Such an encounter may be quite unlikely, but then, even more so is the idea of being time travelled backwards 371 years. 😜

  14. Could I trade some ammo for a hammer and chisel? I’d like to write “Let’s Go Brandon” in a few rock formations. It would drive anthropologists crazy for a couple hundred years.

  15. My old choices excluded, I’d take.
    Instead of a moisin, m44. Now take a kar98 in 8mm Mauser.

    Instead of a Ruger gp100, probably a glock 9mm europellet, but with extra 15rd magazines. .45 would be lovely but im looking for volume here.

    Rimfire. Ruger 10/22 in 22mag. (I’m not completely sure the 10/22 comes in that offering though)

  16. I have most of what I would take.

    Henry Big Boy in 45 Long Colt SS
    Single Action Colt Replica in 45 Long Colt
    600 rounds of long colt
    I would have one of the stainless steel Rugers in 22WMR. That should suffice.

    I think it is easier to have two pistols and one rifle that any other combination.

    Might add some flints as 1000 fire proof matches would be a good amount but might be better trade stock.

    1650 the Indians were more curious that militant beyond there normal militancy. Or at least my readings of men who did this seem to enforce that feeling.

  17. Longarm – Ruger 77/44 from John’s Guns suppressed the length of the barrel (discrete)
    Handgun – Ruger Alaskan 44 Mag (when no discretion desired)
    Rim fire – Ruger 10/22 with folding stock

    Effective firing range would be limited to about 125 yards but that should be adequate for the time period

    I’d take two mules rather than a horse/mule mix and a brace of Catahoula dogs

  18. Looking at the gear, I’m already wondering if I wouldn’t be needing a tactical wheelbarrow or maybe a pushcart like some of the Mormons used on their way to SLC. I don’t know enough about management and care of pack/riding critters to even know how much I don’t know and that probably wouldn’t be the time, place or situation for self taught OJT. With my luck, I would get everything loaded up In some sorry fashion and the darned beasts would run off with the gear flopping around as if to wave goodbye, never to be seen again.

    That said:

    I would be perfectly happy with my JM-proofed Marlin ’95 SBL and 10 boxes of the venerable 405 gr SP .45-70 load that Remington has made forever. Stainless, great sights, full length mag tube and already wearing a sling.

    I’m awfully tempted to say my old Auto Mag Model 180 for a handgun, but I worry too much about it breaking already and figure it would likely go down before ending the trip. I have a S&W 629 Classic with 5″ barrel that gets the nod instead. Might swap the rosewood Hogues that are on it for the Ahrends that are currently on the PC 327 .357 8-shooter; they’re less bulky and wouldn’t be as obtrusive while on the hip nonstop. Warm loaded 240 gr hard cast Keith style SWC is what I want for it.

    I agree with the logic of going .22 mag over LR, and with only owning one rifle chambered for WMR, it’s an easy pick to grab the Marlin 1894M. If I had enough advance notice, it would get sent in for one of those high tech, low maintenance finishes before heading back when.

  19. Springfield M1A .308 Win 180 grain Nosler BTSP
    Ruger Blackhawk .44 Special loaded MY WAY! 265 grain LSWC
    Ruger 10/22 that I got when 13 years old. Aquila Super ammo.

  20. I’ll take a Marlin 336 CS in 30-30, a Ruger GP100 stainless in .357, and a Marlin Papoose in .22LR cause it’s stainless and breaks down for the pack.

    I’d save a good amount of ammo to dissuade anyone who tried to convince me to go anywhere near the west coast.

  21. I”ll play.

    Long gun; Ruger SR 762
    Handgun; Colt Python .357
    Rimfire: Browning BL-22 .22LR

    Tally Ho!

  22. Lee Enfield. Enough range, enough capacity.
    CZ 75, because a Bren gun isn’t a pistol.
    A silenced 10/22.

    Probably still be murdered in my sleep.

  23. Hmm….There are strong arguments for going .45LC or .44 Mag, same caliber for rifle and sidearm. But everybody else has picked those. So I’ll go Outside the Envelope.

    Long gun: Remington 870. Mix of slugs, buckshot, and bird shot…probably 60/60/80. Second choice would be a M1917 Enfield in .30-06.
    Pistol: I’m going to cheat here…S&W Model 48, although a Ruger Single-Six would be tempting. Both in .22 Rimfire Magnum.
    Rimfire rifle: Anschutz.

    1. Yeah, my alternates from the armory for the .44 lever and handgun would be a .45 Colt lever, Ruger Blackhawk in the same, and some 255g Keith style SWC slugs over a stout charge of 4227, 296, or 110 (probably still 4227 to take best advantage of the rifle’s longer barrel). I would prefer the S&W 25-7, but I definitely do NOT want to subject it to heavy and high pressure loads.

  24. Folks here have way too much faith in .357. It’s OK, but not substitute for a full power rifle round like the .303 that will feed my :

    Mk IV No 2 Enfield. Modern soft point ammo on stripper clips, please. And a bayonet.

    S&W Model 29 .44 Mag, 6 or 8 inch barrel. The gun that’s going to be on you at all times damned well better have enough horsepower to deal with any anticipated threat. The Ruger equivalent would do as well.

    The rimfire is going to be the primary small game getter and needs to have decent (rear aperture) iron sights. I’d take a S&W 15-22 and as many magazines as you’d let me have to do the game getting and serve as a backup savage repellent.

  25. A Ruger Scout rifle in .308.
    A S&W Model 629/5″ barrel, with Millet rear sight (the stock sight is pretty easy to break), painted flat black. (I know, it’ll come off-but it’ll keep the shiny to a minimum for a little.
    A Henry Pump Action Octagon chambered in 22 Magnum.

  26. Springfield M1A scout (No semiautos – 1903A3)
    Para Hi-cap .45 auto
    Savage MkII .22 bolt gun

  27. A Winchester 1895 in 405 Winchester. Because when I shoot a bear, I don’t want it to debate me about it.
    A Dan Wesson model 15 .44 Magnum pistol pac. Comes with multiple interchangeable barrels, so I can hunt with it if I want to but still carry it all the time with the little 2.5″ barrel.
    Volquartsen superlight in 22 WMR, because Ruger isn’t making a 10/22 in WMR.

  28. I believe I would just stay home with my cousins who were comfortably living in the Connecticut river valley in 1650. Send me a postcard if you get there.
    If pressed to go, I would probably think seriously about:
    single shot shotgun with a variety of loads
    Ruger Single-Nine in .22WMR
    CX-45x in .22WMR.

  29. I know, I know, I’m late to the party.

    Rifle: the good ol’ .30-06, Weatherby Vanguard, stoked with 180 grain Nosler Partitions

    Handgun: S&W model 657 .41 Mag.

    Rimfire: Marlin model 60, small game and hostiles medicine

    Of course, both rifles would be fitted with aperture sights.

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