Crossing America — 2022

Time to play this game again, as many people have written to ask for it.

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
— a couple of knives, and a small sharpening stone
— 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 300 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 300 rounds of ammo, total)
ONE handgun (and 200 rounds)
ONE rimfire gun (either a rifle or handgun, with 500 rounds).

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 gun?

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 / CZ Safari Magnum and Ruger Redhawk .357 revolver / Springfield 1911 from the last couple of times — so my own new choices for this year are below the fold.

Why not use something a little more modern?


It’s good out to 400 yards (which is about as far as I could shoot anything with iron sights), is capable of rapid fire if needed, and it ain’t gonna break.  I’d just take four 20-round mags and the rest in stripper clips.

CZ  97 — .45 ACP

Weight is not an issue when you’re on horseback.  (And yes, I still regret selling mine, back in the day.)

CZ 457 Classic (.22 Win Mag)

…because, as I said last year, the .22 Win Mag does everything the .22 LR does, only better.

Now it’s your turn…


      1. Well, he could power it with grain alcohol which would have been available and probably in abundance. Building an engine out of wrought iron might be challenging, wood and canvas for the ‘tuther parts should also be available….. wire for the guy wires maybe not so much. Oh yeah….. where’d I put those spark plugs?

        1. Alcohol concentrated enough to burn, 60 proof IIRC, wouldn’t be a problem, but concentrated enough to power a motor would. Fractional distillation needed to get close to the azeotrope was still over a century away. You could brute force it with multiple batch distillations, but…

          1. 100 proof, 50 concentration. As in you can pour 100% proof in a shot glass and put a match to it and it should burn. Thus proving it ain’t watered down and thus is …

            wait for it

            100 proof alcohol!

          2. Don,

            100 proof alcohol is 50%. You need 200 proof alcohol to get 100%. Somewhere in the 190 proof range would make fuel. It might not be great in a piston engine, but there are turbines it would power effectively.

      2. My only intent was to show everybody what crossing America looked like from the air. I don’t see how anybody could make it across those deserts on their own.

  1. LMT MARS-H (16″ AR-10 in .308) with peep sights.

    Glock 20

    Ruger 10-22

    Yeah, I’m boring, I know.

    1. Yes, similar to my choices.
      AR10, Beretta 92FS 9mm, Ruger 10-22 .22.
      I’d like to have a 12ga in the mix but, rules….

  2. Henry Big Boy .44 magnum
    Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 magnum/special
    Ruger 10/22

    Nothing fancy but they all work

  3. CZ 527 in 6.5 Grendel. Sadly no linger produced. Nice lightweight carbine with iron sights. No good for moose or bear, but plenty for most everything else.

    Ruger American in 22 WMR.

    S&W 627. 8 rounds of 357 magnum. Butter smooth double action.

    A water filter sure would be a nice addition to this load out. That’s one item i used daily when out chasing goblins in the big wide world.

  4. Long gun: Springfield Armory Scout Rifle in .308/7.62 x 51mm
    Hand gun: Springfield Armory 1911 TRP
    .22 long gun: CZ 457 American .22 Mag. (in honor of our current scribe and in memory of Tom Knapp)

  5. Long gun of choice would be a Savage Rifle in .270

    Handgun of choice – Sig P229 9MM (boo lits would be 124 Grain Plus P hollowpoints)

    22 of choice – Ruger Single Six , using only the 22 LR cylinder

  6. Rifle: Savage 110 Classic in .30-06. Lovely rifle in God’s own caliber.

    Handgun: Glock 20, 10mm. As heavy as I want to shoot semi-auto.

    Rimfire – Savage 93R17 TRR-SR shooting the .17HMR round. Flat trajectory and double the energy of a .22LR, with a 22″ barrel.

  7. Rifle: Marlin 1894C.

    Handgun: Ruger SP-101 4″ barrel.

    Rimfire: Ruger 77/17 fitted with a good peep sight.

  8. I don’t remember what the heck I picked last time, but my arthritic thumbs have driven me away from autoloaders, to discover the awesomeness that is .357 magnum.

    Accordingly, I can’t see any significant improvement over:

    * Kimber K6S with the 3″ barrel, tritium sights and laser grips. (The 2″ version is my current carry piece)
    * Marlin 1894c in stainless
    * Savage A17 in .17 hmr.

  9. Just to be different from my last time,

    M1 Garand (30-06)
    S&W model 1917 revolver in .45 acp
    Savage takedown pump action rimfire (from my personal collection, probably 80 years old but still shoots like a dream!). No ideal of model number, no serial number, still dirty from the last range trip.

  10. CZ 550 9.3×62
    Can’t decide on my Tanfoglio Witness 10mm or Ruger Super Redhawk in 454 Casull (50 rds 454/150 45 Colt) – Toss-up
    Remington Fieldmaster 121

  11. In one rack or another, I’ve got this covered:
    1) a MAK-90 from the AW ban days;
    2) a Tanfoglio Poly-Witness in .45acp (Ditto);
    3) that CZ 457 in .22WinMag.
    Now, where’s my horse?

  12. Savage model 11 in 308. Should handle the reach out

    I also like the CZ 457 in 22 Mag

    Any pistol chambered to 357 should work. I would admit a Ruger SP 101 in that duty.

    Although a shot in that time period would have brought all kinds of curious savages.

    I would think that in that time period you could have gone for days and not seen anyone.

    Interesting to say the least.f

  13. Ruger Super Redhawk in .44 Magnum.
    Henry Big Boy in .45-70.
    Henry Classic in .22 Magnum.

    I don’t think I need to travel all the way to the coast. Reaching somewhere with a vantage point of the Pacific, then turning back to a likely place to homestead will work. I don’t see any compelling reasons to come back at this point.

  14. A bolt action rifle chambered in .357 Magnum. Something like the Ruger M77/357. Not a lever gun, because the bolt gun would be more durable/reliable. It would also have ammo compatibility with my S&W 686 revolver. 686 because stainless so less prone to rust. Also stainless for the rifle.

    And like you, a .22 WMR rifle. I have a fine German Weihrauch, which would do do the trick.

  15. I’m starting in Montreal and canoeing across. To hell with all that walking and horse riding. Horses make me sneeze.

    Alexander McKenzie crossed Canada by canoe in 1789, and apparently one can do it with the longest portage being 22 miles. I’ll walk that far.

    If you want to saty in the USA and paddle, a Texan named Rappleye paddled from New York to Astoria Washington in 1890.

  16. Savage 340A in 30-30.
    Colt Anaconda .45
    CZ457 Lux .22WMR

    Nothing too fancy, all well made and accurate shooters.

  17. Lever action rifle in .44 Mag
    Revolver in same caliber
    Bolt or lever action .22 Mag rifle with tubular magazine
    All should be in stainless.
    Note than none have a separate magazine. Losing a mag in the wilderness could be a real problem.
    Pistol calibers limit long range capability, of course, but in 1650 there was plenty of game and relatively easy to get close to.
    I’d also pack a recurve or longbow, and several dozen arrows with steel broadheads.

  18. I’m old, slow and would have a hard time resisting a mag dump if set upon by savages, so no AK for me.

    1) Marlin 1895 SBL Guide Gun in 45-70. Plenty accurate to keep the heathens in the heathers. Will also take down any animal in North America with one shot.

    2) Glock 20, in case the heathens flee the heathers.

    3) CZ 512.

    I already have all these guns in the safe, so the choosing was easy.

  19. Montana Rifle – .375 H&H – one world, one gun! Also of note (IIRC) from Clint Smith – “rifles eat cover”
    Delta Elite
    Browning Buck Mark FLD Carbon Rifle (sadly, never produced in .22 WMR, just .22 LR). Weight out of the box 3.5 lbs, though.

  20. Marlin/Ruger 1895 .45-70. A Winchester pre-63 Model 70 in .270 was tempting, but at close range the .45-70 will do it all from people to deer to bison to grizzlies.
    Nighthawk Custom 10mm (but with Wilson magazines, because it is a 1911) with hard cast Buffalo Bore ammo.
    Ruger 10/22 take-down in a Magpul backpack stock.
    I’ll take both dogs, please.

    Most importantly, what boots and socks?!?

  21. 1. Ruger American Ranch, bolt action, 16.5″ barrel, in 7.62×39 (crazy accurate,
    even with cheap Russian ammo)
    2. Ruger Redhawk, .45 Colt
    3. Marlin Model 60, .22LR

  22. Ruger 77 Mk II 30-06 or maybe 308. I have a peep sight to go on mine.
    Ruger 77/22 for the 22cal
    S&W Model 629 6″ barrel possibly for the handgun. I could use that for hunting and self defense as needed.


  23. Big Horn Armory Model 90A, .454 Casull.
    Ruger Alaskan .454 Casull.
    I’ll take a hundred rounds of full power Casull ammo; the rest can be “Ruger only” .45 Colt loadings in the longer cartridge. Full bore with hard cast slugs will approach .45-70 power in the handgun, and exceed .460 S&W handgun power in the rifle, for those longer shots. “Downloaded” .44 level rounds will handle darn near everything else. And all in the Casull brass, so they’ll feed properly in the rifle.
    And a Ruger Single Six, for the .22.

    I don’t think this is much different philosophically from last year’s choices. I think I chose matching .44 lever and pistol…

    Sorry about repetition on the .22. Some things just work and don’t need changing.

  24. If I have to pick from currently owned, my rifle would be my remington 770 in 30-06( I’ve given the kids my semi auto 30-06’s), the hand gun would be my Dan Wesson .44 mag w/8′ barrel, the rimfire would be one of my ruger 10-22’s. Preferably I’d change the rifle to an AR-10 in .308 and rimfire rifle to a .22 mag.

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