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Old 09/15/05, 05:18 PM
2horses's Avatar
I'm a silly filly!!
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: In the beautiful Hill Country of Texas!
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Best general purpose farm gun?

I recently bought 14 acres with an acre pond near a creek and surrounded by lots of huge hay fields and very few neighbors. I'm moving there soon, from a somewhat suburban lifestyle near Houston to this central Texas location, which is bigger, more remote, and more likely to harbor undesirable critters than my place in Houston did. Thus, I'm thinking I need some type of general purpose gun for non-specific, but definitley not antagonistic means. I figure the worst thing I may come up against is the occasional coyote, and that more likely I'll be seeing water mocs and copperheads because of the tank/pond. But maybe other critters as well?

I'll be on the property with my Dobie, a good boy but a city dog, so I don't know how he'd do if confronted with an undesirable - probably bark and run. I'm in the process of having the entire perimeter fenced with livestock fencing, so maybe that will be enough to keep the 'yotes out? I will have horses and possibly goats on the land, and also plan on having chickens, geese, rabbits - all of which I already own and am anxious to have home again! Therefore I also plan to get a Pyr (have owned and shown them in the past and will be glad to have one again), but I haven't had time to work towards that particular acquisition yet!

I still think that having a gun would be a good idea, simply because I've never lived in this part of the country before and don't really know what to expect. I may have cougars - and lions and tigers and bears - oh my!!!! LOL!! So, what kind would be the best to have, given my circumstances and the fact that I'm not exactly an expert? I've shot handguns at a range before (my ex's Glock 9mm), but that's about it. I'm pretty strong, but I don't want something that'll knock me on my hiney if I try to shoot with it! Other than that I don't even know what would qualify as a good one for a woman? Easy to load? Matches the sofa? Y'all tell me!

Am awaiting your expert opinions....

Pam <----- wants to be a gun-totin' outlaw!! Well, not really an outlaw, per se....


My Dad always told me, "Honey, you can do anything you put your mind to." He was right.

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Old 09/15/05, 05:23 PM
Homebrewed Happiness
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Z9
Posts: 602

Well for just critters around the farm, and since it's your first gun, you really only have 1 choice:

get a .22LR (ruger, mossburg.. whatever lights your fire) 5,000 rounds and when your all done shooting that and if you still want another gun, then make a decision with that experience. We cant tell you what is best for you, but it is generally accepted that starting with a .22 is the best way to go weather you are male, female, youngster or adult.

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Old 09/15/05, 05:27 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 259

My vote would be a pump shotgun--either a 12 or 20 gauge. For things like snakes you could load it with standard shotshells with several hundred pellets. For larger critters slugs would be an option. For the random bad guy it would be hard to go wrong with buckshot--plus the noise of a pump shotgun chambering a round is pretty unmistakeable and definately unnerving.

A new, decent shotgun would set you back about 3 bills or so. I would recommend a Remington 870--largely because I have a couple and love them. They make a youth/woman sized gun if you are of smaller stature.

I think this would the ideal all purpose gun for a non-hunting homesteader. If you were planning on hunting deer it would probably be inadequate for your area of the country. A handgun would be pretty worthless as an everyday tool IMHO.


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Old 09/15/05, 05:55 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 186
Thumbs up Gun

A 20 gage mossberg or remington shot gun will fit the bill not to big but enough and you dont have to be that accurate
If you are still mowing the grass then the garden needs to be bigger
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Old 09/15/05, 06:00 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Baree, Mount Morgan, Queensland Australia
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Best general purpose farm gun?

Hi Yes I would say a .22LR would be fine . But I can't go past my old trusty .410 shot gun, I can kill cans with it, as well as snakes, rats, feral cats and foxes don't like it much either. You can shot pigeon & dove and the odd rabbit and hare. and you can get soild for it as well, which what I use on big backfatter pigs.

I would say find a gun shop how has a taget range for testing . Ask them if you can try out and coulpe guns they are normally welcome to help.

P.S I would also suggest you looking to getting a Jack Russel or standard fox terrier.

Hope this helps



Mick&Karin Blake Karmic Aviaries, Sculptor,Potter www.karmicaviaries.comThere is only one God,Only One life so live it to the full,no regrets as you are dead a long time"Mick Blake

Last edited by Mountain Mick; 09/15/05 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 09/15/05, 06:18 PM
Homebrewed Happiness
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Z9
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problem with shotguns is they teach flinching quite effectively, and the ammo is expensive.

do it right, not macho. get the .22, 5k rounds and when you're done you can make an educated decision for where to go next, if you still need a "next."

$250 will buy you what, a few hundred rounds of buckshot? maybe 100 rounds of slugs? or 5-10k .22lr rounds.. trigger time is trigger time.

the breathing, sight acquisition and trigger control remain relatively constant.

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Old 09/15/05, 06:24 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Ark. Ozark Mtns. (Marion County)
Posts: 250

A shotgun is a good choice, but they're rather tiresome to lug around while doing chores. The same applies to rifles - even .22s.

Since you've shot handguns before, I'd suggest getting a .38 revolver. With a revolver, you can alternately load shotshells (often called "rat shot") with regular hollow point ammo. The shotshells work well on snakes and the hollow points work well for "more serious" duty. The .38 has sufficiently low recoil so you shouldn't have a problem.

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Old 09/15/05, 06:28 PM
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Location: Canada
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Originally Posted by 2horses
I'm pretty strong, but I don't want something that'll knock me on my hiney if I try to shoot with it! Other than that I don't even know what would qualify as a good one for a woman? Easy to load? Matches the sofa? Y'all tell me!

Am awaiting your expert opinions....

Pam <----- wants to be a gun-totin' outlaw!! Well, not really an outlaw, per se....

Get yourself a winchester or marlin 30:30. One that is lever action is small, quick and easy to use, yet not imposing. A good brush gun, or for mid range. It will nail a coyote or badger if you really had to. It might be a bit 'over calibered' for squirrel or small game, so I might also have a good ole pump 20 guage marlin that also has nice woodwork to got with the sofa.
You need to be a 2 gun handler. Practice with both shotgun on trap and the rifle on target for handling and accuracy. Suggest maybe check with your conservation department about gun safety courses. That would be a great start and also a confidence booster. You'll also learn from them the game and vermin/varmints around that could trouble you or make you an extra stew.


The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.

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Old 09/15/05, 06:29 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: WI
Posts: 605
Best General Purpose Gun


Before you buy anything, sign yourself up for a hunter safety class in your area. They are generally free and it will give you firearm basics and depending how it is run, may teach you how to shoot various weapons. I think every woman (as well as men) should be trained how to safely handle any weapon that is going to be in her house. Knowledge, respect and confidence will eliminate fear and reduce accidents.

If you are looking for only one gun, then I would recommend a 20 gauge pump shotgun (either a Remington 870 or a Mossberg 500). The 20 gauge because it will have less kick than a 12 gauge. Pump because it is a simplier action. And there is no more distinctive and awe inspiring sound than the cycling of a pump action shotgun to a stranger. It gets everyones attention!

After you have a shotgun, then I would look at a .22 rifle. It is good for practicing your shooting skills, plinking and dispatching of small vermin that could indanger your animals (rats, gophers and such).

After the shotgun and the 22 rifle, I would then get a rifle that will be effective on coyotes. I like military surplus firearms, they are well built, simple, tough and inexpensive to own. So an SKS would be a good choice IMHO. Relatively cheap (under $150 or so), low recoil, cheap ammo and effective on small to medium game or varmints. My oldest son will be using one for deer hunting this year. He is 5'7" and about 100 lbs.

One final thing, learn how to clean and keep your weapons in top condition. Nothing is more pitiful than a gun that doesn't work because it is fouled (dirty) or rusted to the point of being an expensive club.

I hope that helps.

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Old 09/15/05, 06:36 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 29

You don't really need anything for snakes but a large rock. You probably will never need a gun for mountain lions and bear in Texas. I think a 22 LR and a 20 gauge shotgun would be all you need. A pump 20 gauge is good for human varmits if you ever have need for one. Both can be used for a variety situations of hunting and varmits around the homestead and are enjoyable to shoot. You get good with both and you can probably outshoot most men and their bigger cannons. If you get proficient with a 22 LR, you may want to getting a larger varmit and/or deer rifle.

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Old 09/15/05, 07:00 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Whiskey Flats(Ft. Worth) , Tx
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....................Pam , in reference to shotguns , you should give consideration to the type of Pattern that the barrel is designed to deliver...there are (3) , Open =short range , BIG shot pattern , blunderbuss type where the shot "scatter out" and lose their energy quickly . , Modified = probably the most widely chosen as it gives longer range , tighter pattern and a higher concentration of "hits" into the varmit you're aiming at . Full choke = smallest shot pattern , highest concentration of energy and range delivered to the target . Full choke is what I prefer for quail and dove hunting .
...................There are calibers of varmit rifles just a shade larger than a 22 that are shooter friendly and deliver a significantly higher kill capability such as the 220 swift , 218 B , etc. so see about trying some of these larger caliber of rifles and actually shoot them to get a feel for something other than just a 22 . fordy...

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Old 09/15/05, 07:03 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Wisconsin
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The best gun which can't be beat

A over under it has a 22 on top & 410 on the bottom.

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Old 09/15/05, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Paranoid
problem with shotguns is they teach flinching quite effectively, and the ammo is expensive.

do it right, not macho. get the .22, 5k rounds and when you're done you can make an educated decision for where to go next, if you still need a "next."

$250 will buy you what, a few hundred rounds of buckshot? maybe 100 rounds of slugs? or 5-10k .22lr rounds.. trigger time is trigger time.

the breathing, sight acquisition and trigger control remain relatively constant.
With 250 you could by a .22 and a single shot 12, 20 or .410 around here and still have 50 to kick around for ammo.

Check out "The Modern Homestead", a small, helpful, friendly forum.

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Old 09/15/05, 07:10 PM
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870 pump ...good all around gun and not easy to miss with. Then move on to a 22 ...then a small frame 38 for in the house.


I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."
Thomas Jefferson

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Old 09/15/05, 07:25 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Indiana
Posts: 613

Very happy with my new Ruger 10-22. Synthetic stock for easy maintenance. I don't care how it looks. It's a tool. Lots of coons would be rather upset with it had they survived the encounter. Also have a Sig Sauer .380 pistol for something a little more forcefull / personal.

The .22 is not a bad idea. Ammo is stupid cheap. I think I spend $8 for 500 rounds (at the chain sporting goods place so probably not the best price). I need to go get a few boxes and really work with it.

Next is a shotgun. Need to do my homework there. Wouldn't mind getting a deer permit and taking one this fall. They wander by so I won't even have to "go hunting".


I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence - Doug McLeod

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Old 09/15/05, 07:42 PM
Homebrewed Happiness
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Z9
Posts: 602

2 guns she doesn't know how to use, and not much ammo.

Buy *1* gun and *lots* of ammo.

Shotguns are nice, and she should own one, but it should be her second gun after she has had 5-10k .22lr downrange.

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Old 09/15/05, 07:51 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 183

I'd say a 20 gauge shotgun, I have a Mossberg. Make sure you get someone to teach you to use it properly. I always wear a padded vest, ear & eye protection when I shoot mine. Practicing with field load is NOT that expensive. One you get the hang of it, try some buckshot and slugs. (They cost more and kick harder).
I'm 5'7" and weigh 135 lbs. I can shoot dh's 30-30 and am comfortable with it --- but it kicks HARDER than my 20 gauge. And for some reason, a woman with a SHOTGUN just really seems to put fear into the most hard headed man.
Handgun --- your call there. Whatever you feel comfortable with. I don't think I'd want to be carrying a Glock around livestock. DH always says the only purpose of a handgun is to fight your way back to your long gun anyway! My favorite is our black powder Navy Arms 44. Not a practical carry gun though --- too big.
Since you said your Dobie is a "city" dog, I'd think getting a PYR and a small "alert" dog would be the way to go. Just make sure they can all get along.
Sounds like you're thinking things thru. Enjoy your property!

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Old 09/15/05, 08:04 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 665

I think a revolver would be better for carrying with you while you work your farm. I like a .357 or .44 mag with a longer barrel for better accuracy. I would put shot shells in half the chambers and slugs in the other half. This would be good for snakes or other varmints within 50 yards.

Since coyotes rarely come that close, you will probably need something with better range. I did some checking and although people recommended all kinds of guns, will probably go with something in the .223 caliber. It is the same round that is in the M-16 that I shot in the military. Even without a scope, it was easy to hit targets 150 yards or more.

I found a site http://www.bushmaster.com that has several .223 caliber guns. I was going to order a Bushmaster Carbon 15 Type 21S pistol with a shoulder stock and a scope. At 3-5 lbs. it is real easy to carry around and it should still have good range. It also looks like something that no two-legged varmint would want to mess with. I'm going have to reorder it when I get to Oklahoma since the company can't ship to The Peoples Republic of Connecticut.



Last edited by rickd203; 09/16/05 at 06:43 AM.
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Old 09/15/05, 08:15 PM
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Posts: 5,239

I like the .22/.410 over and under idea. Used to have one and I've kicked myself over and over for selling it. They are kind of expensive. If not that, a 20 gauge pump would be hard to beat, esp. for snakes and such. Two or three guns are ideal, however, as others have suggested.

Wow, a pretty girl posting a question about guns. Bet this thread goes to over a hundred replies real quick.

BTW - how's that 8N working out?

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Old 09/15/05, 08:19 PM
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I use landmines and flame filled ditches.

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Old 09/15/05, 08:22 PM
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Paranoid has it right -- learn first to shoot -- the lessons apply to any gun after! But for snakes? a good sharp hoe works fine! Coyotes? Live and let live the first year -- or use the 22. Idiot neighbors? A broom at close range! 22 rifle first, match with a 22 pistol second -- ammo cheap!


don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority."
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Old 09/15/05, 08:49 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: southern ohio
Posts: 212
o.k. ....it's my turn !!!!

IMHO .....

For your first gun get something the will reach (and kill) to every corner of that 14 acres.... 22-250, 30-06, 30-30, ......308 is cheap to shoot but might be an awful big bang for a newbie .....search for an HK G3 (semi auto)... or a remington 700 (it will let the neighbors know your serious) ...... a 9mm pistol is nice and cheap to shoot .... search for a Browning High Power (it's nice to carry a pistol, a rifle is always getting in the way and they get heavy after awhile)

A Jp Sauer Drilling would be perfect ...... but it cost as much as the fence

the coyotes will always be just a little further than you can shoot...so get something that will cover the farm.

Just like the fence .... cover the perimeter first .....


Last edited by scott; 09/15/05 at 08:54 PM.
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Old 09/15/05, 08:56 PM
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Location: Carthage, Texas
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Get a Ruger 10-22. It's a .22 rifle, with a shorter stock than a normal rifle or shotgun. A .22 bullet will solve all of your small varmint problems, up to and including coyotes, if they're close enough. A vast array of add ons are available, from stocks to barrels, and everything in between, to truly customize the gun to your taste.

If you buy one and don't like it, PM me, I'll buy it. Got one already, but can always use a backup.


Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Seneca
Learning is not compulsory... neither is survival. W. Edwards Deming

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Old 09/15/05, 09:26 PM
r.h. in okla.
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I'll go along with TerryJ and steve. I have a Savage over&under. 20 guage on bottom and 22 L.R. on top. I grew up with one glued to my hands. It will take care of small game as well as large game, also game birds and coyotes. You might shell out some bucks for one tho as they don't make them anymore.


check this site out and look for Savage over and unders. They are just the right size for kids and women. My over and under barrel is only about 20 inches long with about 12 inches of gun stock. Making it a great gun for women and kids to use. I plan on passing my over and under to my children to use and then they can fight over it when I die.

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Old 09/15/05, 09:48 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 6,419

Trouble with snakes is they allways appear when you do not have that rock or hoe in your hands.

If you've gotten Real nervous apond engaging a copperhead, then that 20ga is Far easier to put an end to your nervousness.

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Old 09/15/05, 10:15 PM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Idaho
Posts: 4,332

DW's absolute favorite gun now is a tiny Rossi single shot 410 shotgun that also has a 22LR barrel and a carrying case. She kept the birds far from the garden this summer, shot the one gopher who tried to set up shop, and hunts jackrabbits with both barrels. It weighs maybe 3 pounds. And it costs $139, retail.

Until you have some experience, you won't do good or enjoy shooting a 30-06 or any other similar rifle. And a medium to large caliber handgun is also a waste of time. You can and will learn how, but start out with a 22LR rifle and/or pistol to learn the basics. If you have coyotes that are a problem, get a rabbit whistle and a squeaker and call them up close to shoot them.

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Old 09/15/05, 10:16 PM
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: NC
Posts: 806

I love threads like this. Such diversification of choices. 2Horses I bought my daughter a Rossi .410/22LR interchangeable barrel combo as her first gun. Being a single shot it teaches you to aim and hit your target. Being able to change out the barrel in about 45 seconds gives you a choice of a 22 rifle or a .410 shot gun.

It's lightweight. add a simple sling and it carries easy. Put a rifle bullet holder on the stock and when in .410 mode you have 9 extra shells waiting to be used. I mix my DD with express .410 shot shells, slugs, and 00 buck a little something for most that shes likely to run into.

A 10/22 is an excellet choice if you need a slightly smaller rifle. Get a couple extra 10 round magazines and a 30 round magazine and your ready to have some fun. $50 will get you 2750 rounds of Remington 22LR at Wal-Mart. Mine prefered CCI MInimags till it got broken in then it eats all the 22LR fodder I care to give it. Ruger 10/22 Rifle will run around $150-$219 for plain jane depending on where you live.

If you went with my first choice Rossi combo then a 10/22 in 22 magnum might be a good second choice for coyotes.

If your like me One gun will never be enough. Just remember this. If you find one you like, can hit with and is 99% reliable. NEVER SELL IT!!!! You'll miss it for years to come.

Kenneth in NC

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Old 09/15/05, 10:17 PM
CG CG is offline
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 14

Like everyone said, a .22 is good. So is a Remington 870 express 12 gauge, especially if you get the extra barrel, rifled, it's much better than using rifled slugs. I've used that to hunt deer in places where rifles aren't allowed.

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Old 09/15/05, 10:20 PM
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Pam, I have a non-descript, second-hand 22LR which I bought at a used-gun shop years ago. Can't remember what brand it is. It works like a charm on anything that I've been getting on my little place here over the last 9 years, ammunition is dirt cheap (so you can practice 'til you fall off the stump), and with the optional scope, it's just fine for hunting too (if you practiced until you fell of the stump). It's relatively light-weight and easy to carry "out of the way" with a sling.

I also have a 20-gauge shotgun (same deal, used gun shop, cheap) which works fine, but is too loud and too heavy for my taste. The good thing about a shotgun, IMO, is that it's safer than a rifle. Meaning, if a bullet goes astray while you fall into a ditch, it might bop into your neighbor in his outhouse. A shotgun doesn't go that far, and the shot spreads out. I use the shotgun if I have to shoot something at night, in the dark, where I'm a few percent less sure just how high the bullet-catcher dirt behind my fence is.

Handguns, I don't know. I find them harder to be accurate with, but maybe that's just me. I'd probably miss a skunk from 10 feet away, with the handgun.

As for practicing, I'd say that once you can consistently hit .22 shell casings on stumps 150 feet away, uphill and downhill and level and across water, you're fit to carry a gun. Less than that, I'd get nervous around ya, LOL! Oh, and find out about the local laws... in some places, it's illegal to shoot a gun after dark, or within a certain distance of occupied buildings, or along or across a road, or from a vehicle (this includes boats), etc. etc. You have to at least KNOW what the law is

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Old 09/15/05, 10:39 PM
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: NC
Posts: 806

So 2 horses have you made a choice?

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