When you first get started as a serious prepper, the whole process can be overwhelming. You hear about preppers with years of food and water stored.
Some have built underground bunkers. Some have arsenals of weapons and ammunition. There is so much to learn, so much to do, and so much to buy. One point I want to make upfront is that knowledge is your best tool, and it is free. Learning about survival and prepping should always come before buying gear.
However, some of that knowledge will help you buy less and spend less to accomplish your goals.
It is a widely debated topic, but most serious preppers feel that a good selection of firearms is essential to survive an SHTF scenario. These weapons serve the purposes of both hunting for food and self-defense. I have a fairly decent selection, but I always feel like I could have more guns.
In addition, I have a common dilemma with my weapons. I complete several survival challenges each year. On these challenges, I sometimes take a weapon with me. However, I try to pack light so I never take more than one gun. This limits what I can do with the firearm that I choose to bring.
For example, a 12-gauge shotgun is great for self-defense. I can use birdshot for small game or slugs for bigger animals. However, shotguns are very loud which draws attention. They have a long barrel and are heavy. They also have a limited range. I could bring my 30-30 rifle with a scope instead.
This can be effective for self-defense and larger game but would blow apart most small game. I could bring my .22 survival rifle which breaks down small and is light. It does great for small game but is not ideal for large game or self-defense. A chamber adapter can help with the issue of deciding what firearm to buy or bring.
What Is a Chamber Adapter?
Searching for information on this particular tool can be difficult as it has several names. Chamber adapters are also known as cartridge adapters, chamber reducers, chamber inserts, sub-gauge inserts, reducer sleeves, barrel insert bushings, and caliber conversion sleeves.
These are all more or less the same thing. A chamber adapter is a metal tube that is inserted inside the barrel. It allows you to fire smaller ammunition in a larger caliber weapon.
Initially, chamber adapters were designed for large shotguns to fire smaller shells. They were first designed for clay shooters to convert their 12-gauge shotguns to fire 20 gauge or .410 shotshells.
These smaller shells have fewer lead shots inside, so they make accuracy that much more important. The conversion simply made clay shooting more difficult so marksmen could challenge themselves. These smaller shells also make the gun kick less when fired, so they sometimes help young shooters get used to firing the gun without destroying their shoulders.
There are limits to which firearms can use a chamber adapter. Shotguns need to be break action, so your pumps and semi-automatics are out of the questions. Rifles must be bolt action, so lever action and semi-automatics are out for rifles. You can buy chamber adapter kits for large caliber revolvers if you want to shoot .22LR rounds from a handgun.
The New Market for Chamber Adapters
I just the last few years, chamber adapters have found a whole new group of fans in addition to clay shooters. That would be the survivalist or prepper.
In addition to reducing the variety of firearms you need to purchase and stockpile, having chamber adapters allows you to scavenge for ammunition. For example, if you are primarily using a 12-gauge shotgun and you run across an ammunition case filled with 20-gauge shells you may be able to use them with a chamber adapter.
I would not be a responsible writer if I did not mention that you should use extreme caution when looking for supplies, especially ammunition. There are plenty of scenarios that could lead to a collapse of our society. In many of these cases, there would be some abandoned homes and businesses with ammunition present.
The tough part is finding ammunition that has been truly abandoned. If the owner is present, you are probably not walking away with any new supplies.
How to Select a Chamber Adapter
You can purchase chamber adapters in a variety of lengths. You can also get them in rifled or smoothbore version. Typically, the longer rifled versions are more expensive, but still, cost much less than buying another firearm.
You must realize that all chamber adapters will be less accurate than using a firearm designed for that round.
For example, firing a 20 gauge round out of a 12-gauge shotgun is going to be less accurate than firing it out of a 20-gauge shotgun. However, at closer ranges adapters can definitely get the job done.
My suggestion is to always get a rifled chamber adapter and to get the longest one you can find. The longer the chamber adapter, the more accurate it will be. This is a similar principle to why barrel length affects accuracy.
For example, firing a .22 round out of a pistol is not as accurate as firing out of a .22 long rifle. The longer the barrel, the more guidance you provide for trajectory. This makes longer barrels more accurate, and also makes longer chamber adapters more accurate.
A good comparison is using a 30-30 chamber adapter in a 12-gauge shotgun. I can get a kill shot on a deer from about 200 yards with my 30-30. However, putting a 30-30 chamber adapter in my 12-gauge shotgun gives me accuracy out to roughly 50-100 yards.
Obviously, this is not nearly as good as using my 30-30 rifle, but most of the shots I take on deer are at less than 100 yards. I cannot be a sniper with a chamber adapter, but I can still bag a deer if I need to.
You do have the option of purchasing firearms with the ability to change out the barrel and magazine for different calibers.
The CZ 455 is a line of rifles that let you fire .22LR, .17HMR, and .22WMR round by swapping out the parts on the same rifle. The cost of the primary rifle is typically reasonable, and the barrel sets cost about as much as a quality chamber adapter.
Because the barrels and magazines are specifically designed for each caliber, your shots would be much more accurate than using a chamber adapter. Rossi also produces some options with interchangeable barrels.
From talking to shooters that have used a variety of different chamber adapter types, the response has been consistent. If you get a longer, high-quality chamber adapter used for shotshell in shotguns they are surprisingly accurate. If you convert a shotgun to a .45 or .22 round, it is good for close range only. However, even at close range, it was suggested that you get in plenty of practice.
For the cost, I think chamber adapters could be a solid option. However, I suggest you buy one and try it out to see how you like it. If you are happy with the accuracy at your normal firing distance, then go out and get more of them. The bottom line is that you get what you pay for.
Do not go out and buy the cheapest adapter you can find. Instead, do your research and be sure you are getting a quality adapter. This will give you a much more accurate idea of how they fire.