The Gross National Debt

Monday, January 7, 2013

Picking the top three


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An excellent way to start a heated argument, or at least a debate that will last for hours, around folks who appreciate guns is to ask "What is the best gun?"
The BFG.

Since I have a bit of knowledge about firearms, people periodically ask me this question. My immediate reply is "What do you want it for?"

Sometimes that question elicits an answer and sometimes it gets a blank stare. If it is a blank stare, I advise the person to attend a gun safety and shooting class before buying a gun. If the person has a rational answer, then I give my best advice, based on their answer, experience and size. All three are important.

The purpose of the gun is important. If a person just wants something to take a range and pop targets, then it needs to shoot inexpensive ammo. Home defense needs to be easy to handle and not subject to shoot through walls. Hunting, well, whatta ya wanna hunt?

Experience is also important. A novice needs to learn some gun basics and simple guns are best for that.
The Samaritan - as carried by HellBoy

Size is also important. I'm not going to tell someone who weighs 90 pounds to get a double-barreled 10 gauge shoulder-crusher.

But there's also a good and simple answer to the question. The best gun is one you personally feel comfortable handling, shooting and can control.

So, with all that in mind, I say there are three basic guns a person should have.

A medium to big game caliber rifle

A shotgun

A .22 rifle

Very few people are going to argue this as an excellent starting place for a hunter and beginning gun owner who has some experience with firearms.
Deer rifles

Call it a deer rifle. Choose one that can be used to shoot bear and elk in a pinch and if you really know what you are doing, a moose.  The effective range should be at least 400 yards, with 700 yards even better. In the hands of an expert, a .30-30 will go to 400 yards, but finding someone capable of accuracy at that range is rare. I'm partial to the .30-06 just because of the wide variety of loads possible.
Mossberg pump shotgun
A shotgun. I recommend a pump like the Mossberg 500 or the Remington 870. A shotgun can fire everything from non-lethal loads to two-ounce lead slugs that will knock anything running around the United States flat. With exotic ammo, the shotgun turns into a seriously formidable weapon. This is also what I recommend for home defense.

A .22 rifle. Some people will argue this until they take time to thing about it. A .22 has no recoil, is pretty quiet, extremely quiet with .22 shorts, has cheap ammo and is fun to shoot. The lessons learned with a .22 translate to all other shoulder-mount firearms. The humble .22 will also kill anything that walks in North America. A lot of people will tell me I'm crazy, but I have personally dropped an animal weighing more than 1,000 pounds with a single shot from a .22 rifle. I forget how many wild hogs I've killed with it.
Single shot .22 by Cricket.

If pushed to eliminate one of the three guns, the deer rifle would be the first to go. Between the shotgun and the .22, I can feed my family. I know this for a fact because I have done it and continue to do it. The only thing I miss by not having a deer rifle is effective range. A shotgun is good to 150 yards with slugs, 200 if you are REALLY good and the .22 is good to about 200 yards, 300 if you are REALLY good.

If forced to live with just one gun, and thankfully this is not the case, I'd take the .22. The ammo is cheap, plentiful and it will kill everything the other two guns can kill.

And, for those of you who are wondering, all of these guns I list here are fully adequate for defending yourself in case of a zombie attack.

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