11 11 2008

This is an easy one, everyone needs to have firearms available.

But first the four safety rules. Memorize them and teach them to your children, over and over again.

Rule One – All guns are always loaded.

Rule Two – Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.

Rule Three – Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on target.

Rule Four – Be sure of your target. Know what it is, what is in line with it, and what is behind it. Nev shoot    anything you have not positively identified.

The basics. These are recommendations, however, there are many fine firearms that will not be mentioned. If you are working with a limited budget, learn to shoot effectively with whatever firearm you have available.

Shotgun – This is the most versatile gun you can purchase. If you can only afford to purchase one firearm this is it. The 12 gauge pump can handle small game hunting, waterfowl, large game hunting, self-defense and recreational shooting. Go with a new or used Mossberg 500 or Remington 870. Both of these are very dependable with an almost unlimited number of replacement/aftermarket parts. I prefer the Mossberg because of the ambidextrous safety.

Rimfire – The number two choice is a rimfire rifle or rimfire handgun. My personal preference is a .22 rifle. Ammunition is relatively inexpensive and these guns are just plain ‘ol fun to shoot. Also, for those wanting to move up to the centerfire rifles, this is the most cost effective way to learn to shoot. Rimfires will handle small game hunting very well and can be pressed into service for large game hunting and self-defense. My number one recommendation in the rimfire category is the Ruger 10/22. Like the Mossberg’s and Remington’s above, the Ruger 10/22 has catalogs full of replacement/aftermarket part available, maybe more than any other firearm ever made. The availability of aftermarket parts will let you, if you so desire, to customize your rifle to your heart’s content. This can be very important if you need a shorter stock or different sights. Speaking of aftermarket sights, if you are going to stay with iron sights for the 10/22 these sights are a must! The Marlin Model 60 would be a good alternative to the 10/22 and there are too many quality bolt action .22 rifles to try and list them all here. If you are considering a .22 handgun I highly recommend the Ruger and Browning semiautos.

Centerfire Rifle – This is the go to gun for large game hunting and long range self-defense. There has been a tremedous amount of time and energy wasted on debating the “best” rifle in this category. In my opinion this is due to the fact that no single rifle can cover all the tasks asked of the centerfire rifle. Let’s start with some general philosophy, and then look at some specific models. First, your centerfire rifle really should, if at all possible, be chambered for a standard military caliber. I would include in this list the 7.62 NATO (.308 Winchester), the 5.56 NATO (.223 Remington) and the 7.62X39mm. The availability of ammunition is a consideration that cannot be over emphasized. These three rounds are the top three military cartridges worldwide. The .300 Weatherby Magnum is a fantastic round, however, the likelyhood of buying this ammunition in Bucksnort, TN or Possum Kingdom, SC is very low. I also prefer semi-autos in this category. Bolt actions have advantages in accuracy and dependability (as a general rule) but the rate of fire and magazine capacities of the semi-auto compels me to give them the nod.

As far as recommendation go in this category, let’s start with the less expensive rifle and work our way up the price scale.

SKS‘s (7.62X39mm)

AK‘s (7.62X39mm)

AR-15‘s (5.56 NATO/.223 Remington)

AR-10‘s (7.62 NATO/.308 Winchester)

M1A‘s (7.62 NATO/.308 Winchester)

Centerfire Handgun – This really is the last ditch self-defense option. Again go with military/service cartridges if possible. Some centerfire handguns can be pressed into hunting duties in a pinch. Theses guns are relatively difficult to shoot well and fairly under powered. These should only be considered if you already own the three firearms mentioned above.

That should get the discussion going.





6 responses

11 11 2008

Excellent post. A few things from a lady’s point of view, and to the ladies. Consider the size of the weapon itself, not so much the caliber. What I mean is don’t under-arm yourself because you’re small. I own both a 10.22 and an SKS and both fit a woman’s frame well. Plus, the SKS can be fitted with a collapsible stock to shorten it. In a shotgun, even though I’m quite comfortable with the kick of a 12 gauge and own and have fired many shells through a Remington 1148, I went with a 20 gauge when I bought a new one. I really didn’t want to go down in gauge, but I wanted a youth model and the brand I was buying only offered it in a 20 gauge. I find I’m much more accurate with a weapon that has shorter pull and a shorter barrel, as found in the youth models, probably because I have better physical control over it. The downside sometimes to a smaller rifle in a larger caliber is the kick, but you can get used to that. One other key to shooting comfortably is ear protection. It’s not nearly so intimidating when it’s not so loud.

11 11 2008

Not that I am under-estimating the importance of gun-ownership because it is important. The problem with families such as mine is that $400-$1,000 is out of our market completely. I did (before I was married) buy a WWII 308 for Sixty bucks at a fire-arm auction, and the thing shoots dead-on.

Why can’t we find guns like this again? $1,000 for a gun, or $1,000 for raw wheat berries? I’m putting my money on food for preparedness.

But let me re-emphasize that if you can indeed purchase a firearm with no real adverse effects to your other preparedness strategies by all means do so.

My brother who is single spends a majority of his income collecting fire-arms, so we have a standing deal, I’ll feed him, and he will arm me. 😉 But I think he is getting the better end of the deal. 😉

Great post and God bless you.

11 11 2008

You know it wasn’t all that many years ago you could pick up an SKS for $49.95 at any gun shop. Now, that would have been a good investment. 🙂

We have an AK and an SKS, his and hers. I switched the SKS over to a detachable 30 rd mag that detaches much better than it reattaches. We use it like a fixed mag and load it with strip clips. I don’t even know if they still sell those mags. I bought a 75 rd drum for the AK with a few 30 rd sticks for back up.

I think my all time favorite gun around the farm is my H&R 9 shot .22 revolver. Because its almost always on my hip, it gets used more than any other gun I have. H&R stopped making them a few years ago. If you can get a used one they are a very practical farm gun.

12 11 2008

Judy, thanks for adding those good points! They are applicable to most of us, regardless of gender. Good fit and good protection for the eyes and ears are very important.

Rob, I agree with you. With limited funds, it may be better to get started in food production rather than arming up. I know folks that are still buying old rifles like you are talking about, but the prices are not as cheap as they once were. [Jed, do you have any of those you would recommend?] Also, as Jed points out, a shotgun is a great choice if you were just to have one gun, and I have bought and sold a few over the years in the $100-$200 range. Shotgun shells are relatively inexpensive and easy to reload.

And remember that the gun is not only for defense, but for acquiring good meat to eat also!

Scott, wow you’ve obviously been buying battle rifles longer than I have! I bought my first SKS for about $130. Funny, I added the detachable thirty round clip and had the same experience – it detached much more quickly and often than it re-attached!

12 11 2008

Sure! Quality pump action shotguns can be had for just over $100. WWII bolt action battle rifles can be purchased for well under $100. Keep your eyes and ears open, good deals can still be found!


25 11 2008
Nick Wright

Brand-new H&R/NEF single shot shotguns cost less than $100 brand new. They are wonderful guns that can take a lot of abuse and keep on kicking.

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