Buying our first gun?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by city_grown, Jul 8, 2006.

  1. city_grown

    city_grown Active Member

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    We are thinking about buying a gun. We have never owned one before and I have only shot one about 4 times in my life once a year in the Air Force not counting the bb guns back when the city was not so big. We have 2 small kids ages 4 and 2. The gun shop I went to has been around for 40 years or so but they didn't really have any safety items just a gun lock that went over the trigger. I am really concerned about safety . I was thinking a gun lock then also locked up in a gun case but we would need to be able to get to it quickly for mean stray dog or fox racoon as I work and she stays home. I am not really worried about shooting big animals but need something that would at least get it to trun around. I think a large dog or coyotoe would be the biggest I would have to worry about expect for a stupid human. I was thinking of a 12 guage shotgun I have seen a few Mossberg 500 for about 200 dollars. What would be the least potent shell to buy and how would I know how far the pellets would go since we would need to test fire so we would not be scared of it when we needed to use it. We have about 65 acres of our family land we live on with an old overground pasture that goes downhill and then back uphill while still being on our property it is very densely overgrown. I could barely walk back there this past winter and would not dare to walk back there at this time of year as I can't see more than about 40 feet in front of me. I hear gunshots all the time out here and we have one of the bigger parcels in this section. Any help on the gun, shell and safety features would help alot.
     
  2. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

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    The first thing you need to do is get you and your wife signed up for a gun safety or hunter safety course. The hunter safety course is sometimes easier to find, they cover a lot of gun safety in the course, and most of them are free through your state's game commission. They're loaded with other information as well, even if you're not a hunter. Don't even think about buying a gun until you complete that course.

    Having said that, a shotgun is a good choice if you're only gonna have one gun. If your wife is going to shoot as well, I would consider a 20 gauge instead of a 12. They're lighter, easier to handle and have nearly the range of a 12.

    Any shell in the gun is deadly at close range, so putting the "least potent" load in the gun doesn't make it safer. As far as safety in the house, you wouldn't need a cabinet for just one gun. Keep the gun unloaded, the ammunition in a different location, but easily accessible to you or your wife, and get one of the locks that lock the action out. You have to open the action and feed the lock through so it's impossible for it to fire. But don't forget to start teaching your children immediately about the guns. Teach them that they can be dangerous, and that they are not to touch them without your permission and supervision. If they're 4 and 2, they're old enough to learn.
     

  3. Gunner0331

    Gunner0331 Well-Known Member

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    First of all, thanks for being responsible enough to ask advice ahead of time! Now enroll in a hunter safety course and fill in the gaps in your knowledge. While there, ask a lot of questions about exposing kids to firearms; the instructors will be old timers with plenty of knowledge in that regard.

    Secondly, whatever you get, practice, practice, practice! There is nothing more unsafe than a firearm in the hands of a person who is not intimately familiar with it.

    Thirdly, in your situation I agree that a shotgun would be a good choice. Even the smallest caliber rifle will send a projectile out nearly a mile, so misses have the potential to do a lot of harm downrange. Specifically, I'd get a shotgun that breaks in the middle to load (rather than a pump or semi-auto) as when the breach is open it is impossible to fire AND you have the best visual notification of a safe condition.

    A summary of shotgun shells: They basically come in lengths from 2 3/4" to 3 1/2" long. The longer rounds have a bigger charge which means more kick, more muzzle velocity, more killing power. But shells also come in different sizes of shot; the larger the number the smaller the shot from 00 buckshot (big) to #8 (tiny). It's uncommon to see anything larger than #6 in the short shells, commonly referred to as "target loads," which also happen to be pretty inexpensive.

    My wife doesn't understand any of this, so I have an assortment of shells laid out on the ammo rack labeled just for her: #8 for squirrels or anything larger she just wants to annoy or scare off. #6 for rabbits or doves fairly close up, or if she needs to sting a predator to convince it to go away. #4 if she's serious about bringing something small down. And 00 buckshot when it absolutely, positively has to die. She used 00 to kill a fox raiding the henhouse -- looked just like Linda Hamilton in Terminator II except that each magnum round knocked her off her feet and left her pretty bruised up, but she managed to put five rounds into the critter! I managed to salvage the tail.

    Of course the smaller the shot the more spread you have, so the less effective range you have. And the bigger the shot (and charge) the greater the effective range. And those rules can be modified by changing out the stock choke with an aftermarket version that gives you tighter grouping. There are also slugs available for bigger game, but they require a special barrel, etc.

    Hope this helps.

    Gunner
    Chief Warrant Officer of Marines
     
  4. CatsPaw

    CatsPaw Who...me?

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    There are a number of combos you can get. They have interchangable barrels (you buy the combo with both barrels as a package.) So, you can get a 20 ga. or maybe a 410 and a .22. Plus, although i haven't hefted one, but, I think they're smaller and can be used to train children later on down the road.
     
  5. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

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    Shotgun -- practice -- use when necessary
     
  6. backwoods

    backwoods Well-Known Member

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    Exactly,Exactly,Exactly.

    Right on advice.
     
  7. silverbackMP

    silverbackMP Well-Known Member

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    Trap loads (#8 or #9 Trap) for practice and I recommend #3 or #4 Buck for self-defence and predator control. #6 for small game. 870 Remington would be a good choice. I prefer ribbed barrels myself. 12 gauge witht the trap loads really does not have that much of a kick. Don't be afraid of it becuse if you are you will jerk the trigger, flinch, close your eyes, etc and not hit you target and develop bad habits.

    2 3/4" for practice and small game; 3" is good for the other. 3 1/2" is for those folks who think more is better. The only people that actually need it are duck hunters who are forced to use steel shot (rather than lead).
     
  8. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

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    I absolutely aggree that both you & your wife should take some kind of gun safety course Before you decide what kind of gun that you want. I also aggree that a shotgun will best suit your needs. Arrange to shoot several shotguns of different guages. All guages of shotguns have quite a bit of recoil for beginners. It's a real shock the first time you shoot one! It's a very good thing that you have chosen to seek advice, but don't you have someone in your life that could give you more Personal instruction?
     
  9. Dave S.

    Dave S. Well-Known Member

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    Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 are great choices for a shotgun, they are cheap, reliable, and available, especially used. +1 on training. A cable lock through the open action should be adequate. Buckshot is ideal for up close work on coyotes, or dogs, and a slug will certainly take care of anything else. Savage makes a combo gun, a shotgun and your choice of rifle. A 12/20gauge with a .22lr or .223 could also be versatile, although it would not have the quick follow up of the pump shotgun.
    As for me, I wouldn't want to shoot at an animal unless I was sure I could kill it. I don't think that wounding it is a good idea. For a non-lethal method you may have to consider pepper spray, JMO.
     
  10. jill.costello

    jill.costello Well-Known Member

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    When I get a shotgun, it will pretty much be useless unless I can keep it loaded.
    That being said, the simplest way I would keep it out of reach of the kids and yet still available for dire emergencies would be to invest in a horizontal wall-mount rack. I would hang the weapon above head-height, just within my reach, but TOO HIGH for a child to access with a chair.

    (this would have to be modified when the kids get taller)

    Another smart thing I've seen is to do all of the above, but scotch tape the shotgun shell to the strap or barrel or hand grip. An adult can whip that shotgun off the wall, tear the tape, and lock-n-load, but a child would find it nearly impossible to figure out.
     
  11. tulsamal

    tulsamal Well-Known Member

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    I'm torn over the recommendations here. I can't deny that a shotgun has two big things going for it. It has the power to kill most anything at close range while also being reasonably safe at extended range. And the spread of the shot makes it the easiest for a newbie to get a hit with.

    But, all that said, I personally own more firearms than I will admit. And that includes four shotguns. No doubt, I fire FAR less shotgun shells in a year than anything else. I might haul out the trap machine once a year and have some fun. And I have used one a few times around the house to kill some vermin or another. But when the situation comes where "I need a gun" it almost always seems like something else in one of my safes is a better fit than a shotgun. Yes, the shotgun is powerful. At close range. A coyote at 35 yards and running away is unlikely to be impressed. A shotgun at medium to long range is close to worthless unless you put in a lot of time learning to use slugs in it. You are giving up long range precision like you would have with a rifle.

    Compared to a handgun, a shotgun is an unwieldy thing. Especially with some long 28" "sporting barrel." You don't just walk around with a shotgun while you are working. On the other hand, I carry a handgun anytime and anywhere that I'm working on my property. I don't _expect_ to have a coyote come out of the woods and just stand there looking at me when I'm riding on the lawn tractor but it has sure as heck happened. And he was very surprised when the Glock 17 on my hip nailed his butt right there. The handgun is the gun you carry when you don't think you will need a gun!

    And finally, my biggest objection is that I hate to see somebody "get their first gun" and get one that isn't going to just be fun to shoot. In my experience, a newbie with a shotgun will practice with it just enough to "do the job" and then that's it. You don't spend an enjoyable afternoon plinking cans off the fence with a 12 gauge! They kick, they roar, ammo is bulky and expensive, triggers are crappy, and sights are rudimentary. We would have never become a "nation of marksmen" if we only had shotguns.

    I guess I'm saying that I think people should start with .22's if at all possible. You can get a nice .22 rifle for less than $200. Actually you could probably get a single shot .22 and a single shot 12 gauge for $200 total if you really looked around in some pawn shots.

    Sorry, but when I hear "first gun" I think "future gun owner/collector/shooter/hunter." I like to recommend a gun that will lead to fun as well as utility. And that fun will lead to more guns. The sickness will spread to your children and they will be gun owners. It's sort of like that "Pay it Forward" movie but with gun ownership rather than good deeds! (As if encouraging someone to be a gun owner isn't a good deed!)

    Gregg
     
  12. EasyDay

    EasyDay Gimme a YAAAAY!

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    You can get a double-barrel, over and under (22cal on top and 410 on the bottom barrel). Two guns for the price of one!
     
  13. papaw

    papaw Well-Known Member

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    I agree all the way, Gregg ..... 1st gun = .22 ..... move up from there.
     
  14. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Cant argue with that.Hands down favorite guns for me are the .22s.
    Just remember that 1+1/4 mile range.
    They can really reach out far beyond what you might be shooting at,been there done that.And can kill inadvertantly at that range.

    Folks tend to underestimate the damage they can cause unintentionally. Newbies especially be aware of that.

    Really miss my old single shot .22 that was stolen eons ago.Learned how to shoot straight with that thing.
    Just ordered a Ruger 10/22 Thursday.Cant wait to get it!

    BooBoo
     
  15. Gideon

    Gideon Well-Known Member

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    City Grown, We be neighbors. I live just off Olive Branch Rd on Old Goldmine, one mile behind the store toward Harmony Ch. Look for the steel beams and old trucks and come visit. We will open up a box or two of various ammo and just plink away. Try 221-1495. The 22 is good advice and will serve many needs. The Mossy md 500 will serve you well-we have several of them and a Ruger 10-22 would be my choice for a rifle. Again, give me a call and will gladly show you a shooting iron or two. My wife says I am a gun nut but she just doesn't know the half of it-lol. wc
     
  16. catahoula

    catahoula Well-Known Member

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    The .22 is pretty versatile as well, You can buy birdshot shells for shooting sparrows out of the barn without poking holes in your roof, the same goes for the hen house. Ammo is cheap, cheap, cheap. Aside from the bird shot you can get shorts, longs, long rifle, subsonics and even tracers, in case you need to start a brush fire. I have several .22's, my favorite is a Henry lever action.
     
  17. mberryrfd

    mberryrfd Well-Known Member

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    My first gun was a .22 bolt ( wish I still had it ) as a kid i traded it for a .410 also a bolt which I still own today. I have taught the wife to shoot this and she does a bang up job on the rattlers with it
     
  18. pigeonracer2k

    pigeonracer2k Well-Known Member

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    Got to agree with all those taht go with the .22 I have guns and handguns of all calibres and apart from when I am deer hunting the 22 is favorite. Just for fun I also have a black powder revolver
    Ammunition for the 22 is cheap, its good for kids to learn to shoot and you can spend hours plinking away at targets.
    Its been my observation that children brought up with guns in the house and that are used to handling them know grow up knowing the dangers and become responsible at a real early age.
    Just remember how far these things will shoot and sign up for a hunters ed or gun safety course. Also put your children through them at a early age.
     
  19. Kenneth in NC

    Kenneth in NC Well-Known Member

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    city grown, go over to Gideon's and try out a couple different calibers, take your wife and kids with ya. WC can give you a lot of good pointers and recommendations.

    Personally I say a .22 single shot / .410 Rossi combo as your first gun. My DW took over mine and now my daughter is eyeing it as well. It takes 30 seconds to change out barrels. It offers a 22 to learn accuracy and a .410 to dispatch snakes, coons, possums. We use Express 3" rounds and slugs in the .410. So far this year DW has killed 4 rattlers 1 coon and 1 possum. :)

    I'm sure you are already explaining to the kids that firearms are tools and that they have to be treated with respect. Same as skill saw and drills. MOst any tool can be misused.

    If you want to try out the Rossi PM me were not that far from you either. :D


    Kenneth
     
  20. Kenneth in NC

    Kenneth in NC Well-Known Member

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    City Grown that's a nice looking old house are you living in it?

    [​IMG]

    Kenneth