Guns on our farm???

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Gypsy, Apr 30, 2004.

  1. Gypsy

    Gypsy Well-Known Member

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    Just picked up the May/June Countryside (we still buy at the market) and have been reading with great interest the letters regarding the tragedy suffered by the Davidson family in our home state. This story surfaced an argument which my wife and I periodically will have regarding the necessity of firearms on a small farm.

    Neither Linda nor I have ever owned a gun - I shot a .22 riffle once in the scouts and Linda did a couple of times in Gym class. It is not because of any strong political feelings we have (I’m not trying to start an argument about the second amendment), but rather because we just never before lived in an environment which warranted then ownership of one. It just seems to me that owning a gun is such a huge responsibility - keeping it in good repair, cleaning, storage etc. and that it is something that you always have to be on top of – day, night, home, on vacation, sick, one too many glasses of homemade wine . . . that why would you want to take all that on unless it was absolutely necessary.

    I guess my question is; Is it absolutely necessary? How do I go about determining if it is for us in Central Maine? How do I find out about the things living in my area interested in eating me? I mean I know there are black bears here (in addition to the University of Maine Black Bears). I don’t think there are many wolf because I just read an article about the University reintroducing wolves into the Maine environment, but Cougars – man I wouldn’t have guessed in a million years!!!

    If it is necessary, how much of a priority is it? I mean they are pretty expensive aren’t they. I looked around the internet at places that I know (Winchester, Remington etc.) and see that they cost several hundred to thousands of dollars. We are going to be pretty tapped out just getting the house. Should this be one of the first things we save for? Also, maybe someone could recommend a brand/model for us – cheap as possible, able to stop whatever it might need to stop, but safe as possible (I like my fingers and toes where they are).

    Again, I’m sorry for what must seem like a real green-tree question, but this is something that really has us a bit nervous. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. james dilley

    james dilley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    check with the pawn shops and also you can get a decent shotgun for about $250.00 , if you look the 12 gauge might be what you want or you could find a off brand [still great quality] for a lower price there are a lot of them on the market , the the major shooting supplies or checkout the shotgun news , it lists thousands of good buys on firearms.
     

  3. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    Yes they are necessary. DH has used ours for shooting rabbits eating my garden vegies. Also to scare the neighbors 4 dogs away from my dairy goats. DH used it to run off neighbors cats when they were after our females. Never know when trespassers may threaten you also.
     
  4. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    If you are going to be butchering, it makes life a whole lot simpler, than trying to grab and stick a pig, or a steer etc. You might want to harvest some venison when the deer are at your cherry trees. I've had to shoot one coyote that was attacking my pigs (potbellies).

    With regard to the "cougar" attack, I wonder if it was. Last summer I heard on NPR that in the Ozarks, the Fish and Game dept located and killed two prides of African Lions. They believed but could not prove that they were released or escaped from a private (illegal) zoo. I noted from the article that someone supposedly familiar with cougar tracks said it was the largest he'd ever seen. From a distance or to someone not used to seeing cougars (they usually are very ellusive) a female African Lion might be mistaken for a really big cougar.

    If actual cougars are common in your area and you don't want a firearm, I suggest getting a couple Pyranees Dogs. They were bred to protect sheep and to defend against cougars and wolves. Ours makes short work of the coyotes and gets along well with the sheep and pigs.
     
  5. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    Are firearms neccesary? ? Yes. long guns make wild livestock and predator control easier. Handguns make 2 legged predator control easier. As the old saying goes, "God created all men. Sam Colt made them equal.". As with any tool, you must learn to properly use them. My personal choices are to have a double barrel 12 guage, scoped .22 and 30-06 rifles and a ,22 magnum semiautomatic and .357 magnum revolver to use .38 spl ammo if I choose.
     
  6. MamaWolfInWV

    MamaWolfInWV Well-Known Member

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    IMO they are necessary. That is just me though. They really aren't all that high maintenance. Yeah you have to keep them cleaned and functioning properly but that is just something that you have to do on a routine basis, not an every day thing. To most people I normally suggest a small shotgun (.410 or 20 gauge) and small rifle (.22 or 30/30) just to control varmints, predators, and so forth. All of those are fairly inexpensive and if you just want to something to have around in case it is needed for something like that you really wouldn't need an $800 Remington 300 Ultra Mag (just an example). I don't know about prices in your area but here you can get a new Savage .22 for around $100, Marlin 30/30s for $200, Mossberg 500 12 gauges for around $180 I think, I haven't looked in a while. So, you can get pretty good guns without spending tons of cash. And of course pawn shops are usually cheaper. Cabinets usually range from $79 - $2k. Also, if there are bear and you are going to have livestock I would highly recommend a firearm. GeorgeK made a very good point too, if you are going to be butchering they are very handy. If you do decide to purchase a firearm I would suggest first taking some safety classes, learn basic gun safety, different types of guns and their uses, learn how to shoot and all of those good things. You can sometimes find those classes for free through DNR (they are free in WV I dunno about anywhere else).
     
  7. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    I don't have a gun, or a card to own one. I am familiar with guns and have done lots of shooting in my younger years, but I've never gotten around to getting the card that is required out here.

    I haven't needed one yet.

    It's been a couple years since there were any coyote problems and at that time, my tenant happily took care of them for me. Other predators (coons, possums) that come after my chickens I simply trap (live trap, then dispose of humanely). If the coyotes come back, there are plenty of people around here who would love to come out and night and get them while I'm happily snoozing!

    I refuse to carry a gun out of fear of "them" (as in people who are out to get me).

    If I needed to put a cow down or something, I can get ahold of a gun within a short time, or call the vet to do it for me.

    I'm not against guns at all and I do think they come in very handy, but I don't think it's necessary...at least for me.

    There are a million other things I can think of that I'd rather buy than a gun too.

    Jena
     
  8. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Before you go looking in any pawn shop or picking some type of gun the first thing you need to do is learn how to use a gun and to find out what the gun laws are in your area. Find a sportsman club or someplace that can give you a class in gun laws, gun use and most important GUN safety.

    Determine what you want to do with the gun, Will it be safety in the home, will be to chase off preditors? (2 or 4 legged?).
     
  9. Cedar

    Cedar Well-Known Member

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    How about hunting with an old side-by-side with external hammers :)


    My friend wanted to shoot it once and when handling it exclaimed, “Where is the safety” to which I replied, “Keep you finger off the trigger.” :D
     
  10. Jolly

    Jolly Well-Known Member

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    Do you need a clawhammer on farm? Or a shovel? A hoe?

    A gun is just another tool, it can be used wisely, or foolishly.

    If you are strapped for cash, I'd invest in a decent 22 rifle - something like a bolt action Marlin, or Savage, would be fine - and a single shot 12 gauge, 3" magnum chamber, with a modified choke. New, about 200 bucks. Used, 130-150.

    As you get a little more money, you can trade the shotgun for a decent pump model, same gauge.

    The 22 will serve you well for small pest control, and butchering. The 12 can also serve the pest control function, be called upon to do some hunting, and general farmstead defense. The pump will perform its role better than a single-shot, but the cheaper gun will let you do, until you can do better.
     
  11. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Jolly, they are tools (weapon for hunting and defense falls into the tool catagory in my book.) If you keep your eyes open you should be able to find a decent (by that I mean in good working order, nothing fancy) shotgun for $100 or so. A Marlin or savage .22 can be found for $125 (used).

    It amazes me how "religious" people get one way or the other over these things. I can see there is a difference if you are in a rural area versus in the middle of a major city. I can't picture myself walking down 9th street in Cleveland or State street in Chicago carrying a shotgun.

    Jena, having a weapon because of "them" might be characterized as prudence rather than fear. Having a major arsenal might be considered just a tad paranoid. For the times you might really want one (long term) it might be too late. I look at the few hundred invested as insurance.


    As usual, just my 2 cents.

    Mike
     
  12. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    I like guns(no idea why) and will like to collect more BUT those needed on a farm/rural area would be(in my opinion):

    A 12 gauge shotgun-Remington 870 or a Mossberg 590 are good,easy to find(Wally World if you shop there)and relatively cheap.

    A .22 rifle-everyone it seems loves Ruger 10-22's but a Marlin or Savage(or pretty much anything really)will work.Bolt actions make you take more care aiming but semi-automatic is fun :)

    A hunting rifle-this is a section I am not really interested in so it seems the best bet is to ask those that DO hunt in your area.Around here shotguns work for deer as it is very scrubby and the chance of long distance shots are slim.

    Handguns?I have/had them and don't really find much use except for carrying on your person or in your vehicle.
     
  13. Cygnet

    Cygnet Guest

    Are guns necessary?

    If you've got livestock, absolutely.

    I hope I'm never in the situation I was with my old mare, ever again. The mare colicked. Vet came out, gave me meds and IV fluids. After the vet left, she suddenly she went downhill. I put about a 50 ccs of banamine into her, IV, while waiting for the vet to return without touching the pain. Mare was in absolute agony and I had nothing to put her down with. Took me an hour arguing with the vet's answering service, and then took the vet another hour to get out, to have her put down. Never again. I now keep slugs around for my shotgun, in case something else needs to be put down.

    Also, do you REALLY want to try to take out, say, a seventy pound rabid raccoon, with a SHOVEL? I also had a neighbor who was attacked by a stray rottweiler, in the neighbor's own yard.

    It also may not be a problemw here you're from, but where I live, rattlesnakes over a certain length can't be killed safely with a shovel.

    Leva
     
  14. whiterock

    whiterock Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I would say get a 12ga shotgun first, 3" mag and you can pick your loads to do pretty much what you need. A .22 lr next. After that it would be up to you and your location.
    Shrek's recc. works well in mho.
     
  15. Don Armstrong

    Don Armstrong In Remembrance

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    I agree with Jolly. Anyone who has crops probably needs a firearms to deal with scavenging wildlife. Certainly anyone with livestock or animals should have a firearm. I say that deliberately. If you haven't seen what a predator can do to two dozen hens in a hen-house, or two dozen sheep in a pasture, then you can't quite appreciate how much you need a firearm, but try to imagine it. Lets say those sheep have been attacked by a pack of free-ranging town (or neighbour) dogs. They've been savaged, throats torn, legs ripped half off, stomachs torn, run the length of the field and back again dragging their guts. Half of them dead, the other half need to be. You owe it to the animals to put them down quickly and humanely. You owe it to the next lot to put down the predators that did it to them. Anyone who elects to keep animals without keeping firearms is deliberately electing, at some stage, to ensure cruelty to animals. As a personal aside, I feel that anyone who tries to legislate to prohibit the availability of firearms to farmers and graziers is trying to legislate to enforce deliberate cruelty to animals, and should be treated in that light.

    Learning is essential. Shooting clubs, NRA, police referrals: take a basic course. You'll also find people there whose opinion you can ask. They won't necessarily know more than people on this board, but interacting will be easier.

    A .22 rimfire is basic. Repeating is better than single shot, but single-shot will do. Most repeating bolt-actions can be used in single-shot mode (safer) while you're learning. Get a .22. I've never needed more than a single-shot, although I've used them. However, there are times when I've been using a single-shot and wished for a repeating shot. Like when that second rabbit slid away.

    Next is a respectable-sized shotgun. 12 gauge is best. 16 gauge is a tad smaller and less recoil, but not terribly common. 20 gauge is smaller again, and more common than 16 gauge. .410 calibre is actually about 50 gauge, and while it's touted as a beginner's gun it actually takes an expert to use it well. I'm not a shotgun person - I've never owned more than a single-shot break-open 12 gauge, although I've used that to good effect. I'd really recommend the 12 gauge: if recoil is a consideration you can get low-recoil skeet loads that are still way better than a smaller gauge, and you can find a whole raft of cartridges for the 12 gauge just everywhere that you might not be able to find for smaller gauges anywhere. Not forgetting big-ball buckshot and slugs which can do a good job on bigger animals (bucks, bears, feral people). I remember reading about someone (think I read it on this board) who went to buy a single-shot 12 gauge shotgun from an ad in the paper in Alaska, I think. Was a retired National Parks ranger selling, and that had been his bear gun. If they had to take out a troublesome grizzly bear, that was their preferred firearm. Only took one 12 gauge slug per grizzly, the gun was light and handy to carry, almost foolproof and unbreakable, and if necessary quick to reload.

    Next, if necessary, would be a biggish calibre centre fire. Oh, you could get a .223 - quite a good varmint round, lots of inexpensive firearms and inexpensive ammunition. The doomsayers favour it because it's a military round and there's a better chance there'll be ammunition available for it. However, it's not really an adequate round to use on people, military or not, let alone big deer, pigs or bears. Might be JUST adequate here in Australia, but if I were picking a single centre fire cartridge in bear country that wouldn't be it. NO WAY. NO HOW.

    Next choice would be the 7.62x39mm. That's a Russian, Chinese, North Vietnamese military round. Just as fat as the 7.62mm NATO (.308), but the bullet is shorter and lighter, and the velocity is lower. Still, it's a good cartridge out to about 220 yards. Nothing wrong with it, plenty of cheap ammunition available, low recoil. I'd say for you that would be the way to go. Self-loading rifles give you quick multiple shots on black bears if you need them.

    Next step up is a whole raft of long-distance military cartridges. A stand-alone is the 6.5x55mm in a Mauser bolt-action rifle. Long skinny bullet, holds velocity for a long way. Low recoil, superbly accurate out to incredibly long distances. Karamojo Bell killed thousands of elephants with this cartridge, although it's by no means ideal for the job - he was (and needed to be, with this cartridge) an expert shot.

    Next comes the 30-30. It was a military contender, but the 30/03 (later the 30/06) beat it out. More deer taken with this cartridge each year in the USA than with any other. Short range (up to 200 yards), not really any better than the 7.63x39, except that it mostly comes in a lever-action rifle.

    Next come all the ex-military .30 calibres (except the 7.62x39, which is lighter and smaller). While there's a range of them, whatever they hit is unlikely to notice the difference. 7.5mm Swiss (excellent rifle, expensive ammo), .308 (7.62 NATO), .303 British, 7.62x54R(ussian) (their WW2 round), .30/06, then a bit of a step to the .32" 8mm Mauser. Any one will do, but don't get them in short-barrelled carbines if you value your hearing: there's a lot of carbines in 7.62x54R.

    And that's about it for cheap and friendly. The ex-military rounds cover it. There are others: I might even choose others myself (although I am rather a fan of the 6.5x55, there are animals you're not allowed to hunt in Australia because they say it's too small). Taking ammo costs into account, and allowing that if you don't practice you can't use it, go for .22 rimfire, 12 gauge, and one of the cheap military rounds.
     
  16. EricG

    EricG Well-Known Member

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    Start with a "safe hunter" course. Your local fish and game office or gun shop can tell you where to find information on one. Even if you have no plans to hunt this will teach you the fundamentals of gun safety and handling. Also you will be able to shoot a little bit to get used to handling a .22.

    In my opinion your first rifle should be a .22 I prefer a bolt action or single shot rifle. They don't kick. They aren't loud. They are a great learning tool. They are very useful for small game and varmints in the hen house etc..Good ones can be had used for about $100. This will allow you to become proficient in handling a firearm. Ammo is cheap ...about $10 for 500. After you are comfortable with a .22 you can decide if you want to progress into handguns, higher powered rifles, shotguns etc...

    At the very least you will be more knowledgable about guns so you can make informed choices about how you handle situations on your homestead or teach your kids.

    Eric
     
  17. Cedar

    Cedar Well-Known Member

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    Whatever you do, don’t support these Commies by buying their guns and ammo! The only people who do just want to be “different,” besides the fact they are to cheap to by domestic.

    Certain guns are popular for a reason. Best all around bolt-action rifles are the popular 30-06 and the .270‘s. Don’t even try to get a straight opinion comparing the two, the owners argue it out like a Chevy-vs.-Ford debate. At the lower end is the .243 and the upper, .308.

    Another important consideration is brand…speaking from experience, I know. Remington vs. Winchester debates can get more heated than a Chevy-vs.-Ford debate with a token Dodge guy pumping fuel into the inferno. Ironic how Ford owners tend to side with Remington and Chevy with Winchester. Probably some history there, but I don’t know about it.

    My advise, I notice when I carry a Winchester, more women tend to look my direction. :D

    Seriously, despite all the nicks and knacks, any mid caliber gun will kill a deer.
    No use arguing ballistics at 2000 yards when the men arguing probably can’t even see that far.
     
  18. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    Well most 'commie' rifles and ammo isn't anymore.

    Most of these nations selling firearms and ammo here in the USA are now 'free'.

    Romania,Yugoslavia,Czechoslovakia,etc.

    China is not of course but it is now illegal to import ammo and quite a few firearms from there.

    An SKS is a good cheap choice but some may find it 'offensive' in its appearance.Ammo is $80/1000 rounds or so.Rifle about $120.

    For a full power rifle cheap rifle that is cheap to shoot as well look at the 8mm Mausers avaiable from various places-Yugoslavia,Czechoslovakia,Turkey.

    You can pick one up for $80 and up and ammo is $50/700 rounds.
     
  19. Cedar

    Cedar Well-Known Member

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    A straight bolt rifle!!! How about we go the whole nine yards and buy a Japanese gun made from tin and lead with a bent nail for a sight?!
     
  20. scarface

    scarface Member

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    Guns are always a hot topic. I used to keep a loaded hand gun under my pillow when I lived in a garden level apartment in the "Cities". 'Never knew who might kick their way right into my bedroom. I target practiced semi-regularly and was very familiar with it and comfortable. I never needed it and gave it away when I moved to the country and started my family. I was concerned about a one of my kids or one of their friends finding it and using it. (Shudder) I didn't know about the different locks you can buy. My husband has a small collection( 22's and various shot guns) for hunting. I use the 22 when I need to for protecting my chickens though I wish I didn't have to. But I will always miss my little semi-automatic for light weight and convenience. Look in your local classifieds for used guns. If you aren't able to get comfortable with what you buy you can sell it for your purchase price. Safety first. Whatever you wind up getting keep in a locked gun safe.