Sam wrapped the old rifle in an olive drab shelter half and secured it with jute twine and rubber bands. This rifle he had saved. This rifle he kept, off the books against the laws written down. Over the years ammunition became ever more expensive, and ammunition components became harder and harder to purchase.
Sam plucked vegetation and stuck it through the rubber bands, breaking up the outline of the wrapped rifle, camouflaging the package to the unaided eye. There wasn't much Sam could do about thermals, but this far into the forest thermals were hardly better than line of sight. The tall evergreens dripped with dew, and the sun shown down on in small patches, almost accidentally illuminating the forest floor.
The bullet molds lasted a long time though, and Sam had been making bullets for years. They weren't as streamlined as copper jacketed projectiles, but for 300 meters and under they were every bit as accurate, and at all ranges they were every bit as deadly. Aluminum cans had been punched and formed into gas checks, not as good as commercial copper but untraceable. Spent primers scavenged from the thugs machine gun range were carefully reclaimed, and filled with match head compound, good for short range work. Others were using primers imported from Canada, but Sam didn't know anyone with connections to the underground.
Sam had "acquired" a few trays of primers from the aftermath of a raid by the thugs. An old man who never hurt anyone had a couple bricks of "milspec" primers that didn't get logged into evidence. Over the course of a few such raids Sam had brought home a "whack a mole" reloading set in the appropriate caliber for his lonely illegal rifle. After that it was simple to develop a load that shot well with the wheel weight lead bullets.
Sam wistfully wished he were as well supplied as the resistance fighters seemed to be. At this stage in the game people who weren't friends with Sheriff's Deputies weren't trying to become friends. Sam didn't care much though, so far no one had shot at him and he had managed to "not find" several of the firearms that the thugs had assured him were registered to residents in his county. But still, it was a hard time to be a cop.
Topographic maps are a useful tool, especially digital ones that can be downloaded and burned to a disk. Geocaching was a good cover hobby to get out in the woods, and a good cover hobby for carrying detailed topographic maps. Sam checked his position again one last time with the GPS before turning off and removing the batteries from all of his electronic gear.
Sam looked at the bundle, which did not resemble a rifle at all now but a small patch of ground cover. Easy enough to dump on the ground and run if needs be. Sam adjusted his faded, blotchy surplus olive drab mechanics coveralls and moved out to the top of the cliff overlooking the intersection of two major highway systems. Using an entrenching tool Sam dug down behind and under a bush to get as low into the dirt as possible, careful to cover the loose soil with pine needles and even poking a few branches here and there to make it look like vegetation had grown up through the soil naturally. Sam unrolled the rifle, lay down in his hole, and spread the old olive drab shelter half over top of himself.
When the roadblocks were set up to catch the rebel convoy Sam had already been in place for five hours, 350 meters away and separated by a river and a cliff from the thugs and their armored personnel carrier and heavy machine guns. Sam kept a constant estimate of the wind conditions down the canyon to his front, his ammunition was good at this range for 6 inches, but to get that accuracy with the lead bullets the velocity was "sedate" to be kind.
The convoy hit the roadblock right on time, and Sam waited until the first shots were fired before he pulled the trigger, watching through the 4 power scope for "splash" to make corrections to follow on shots. None of the thugs who were rocking full auto on the unsuspecting convoy noticed that the thugs to their rear were being taken out one at a time.
Sam methodically worked the bolt on his rifle, charging the 5 shot magazine after each shot that connected. When he missed a target he wouldn't charge the magazine but re-engage while the wind conditions were mostly the same. 3 thugs lay bleeding on the pavement before anyone caught on that there was fire coming from somewhere other than the rebels trying desperately to disengage from the roadblock. Sam concentrated his fire on one thug who was waving his arms rapidly and pointing towards the cliff. A 200 grain wheel weight slug ripped through the thugs jaw and laid him low, the shock mercifully dulling the pain before he blacked out.
Unfortunately from Sam's perspective enough of the thugs saw the indication of fire to their flank that a heavy 50 caliber machine gun slewed his direction and began chewing up the treeline. Sam held rock steady, trusting his camouflage to keep the "searching fire" from zeroing in on his position. When the gunner popped the feed tray on the big gun to reload, Sam put a bullet through his neck, which was close enough to where he was aiming to call it a lucky shot.
As one thug climbed into the gunner's turret to take over a rebel in the convoy caught him with a precise shot from his "liberated" black carbine. Sam kept firing, and more thugs turned rifle and machinegun fire his way. But more rebels were fighting back, and more thugs were bleeding. When Sam's old rifle finally ran dry of his precious home rolled bullets, he slowly crawled backward, and down the backside of the military crest and into safety.
"Here comes the real hard part." Sam said to himself, as he rolled the rifle and spent casings back into the shelter half. He picked up the bundle and began to jog through the forest, knowing that distance was his friend. Dehydrated from not drinking enough Sam had a hard time keeping the pace he tried to set, and the old combat boots he wore saved him from rolling his ankles more than once. It took him 20 minutes to get a mile and a half away from the road, and he didn't know how the firefight ended, but he hoped the rebels made it out.
When he reached the "forest access road" that was his land nav backstop Sam didn't hesitate to run downhill as fast as he could, reaching an intersection where he jumped into the center of the "Y" and began dumping his gear into the cache hole he had dug the day before. An oiled patch through the bore to prevent rust, the rifle went in a plastic case with the empty shells. The case was then wrapped in plastic and sealed in duct tape, then buried with the shelter half and overalls going into a sealed plastic bucket. Picking up his "legal" 30-30 iron sighted lever rifle Sam plugged the batteries back into his electronic devices. Once his cell phone picked up a single bar of service (a sketchy thing this far out) missed calls and text messages began telling him to come in off his day off and go reinforce the thugs out on the highway.
Sam dialed his boss. "Jeezus Tom, what the hell is going on that I have to quit hunting early?"
"For ducks face Sam" Tom responded, "A unit got hit over at the intersection."
"Damn Tom, I'm about 5 miles from there as the crow flies." Sam responded, "But it'll take me at least a half hour to get my ass off this mountain and across the river, but I'm on my way."
Thirty minutes later Sam pulled up, still wearing his blaze orange safety vest.
"Dammit Sam, get out of that shit now, there might still be a sniper around!" Tom commanded. Sam obeyed. The paramedics were putting the last of the dead into body bags, the survivors already life flighted out. Sam spent the rest of the afternoon bagging evidence, and when the rain started that evening he expressed his regret that it would wash away evidence of the snipers trail through the woods.