.22 rifle. The ammunition is cheap and plentiful. The gun is lightweight, and easy to use. This gun is common, and will serve most purposes very well.
Hopefully it will never be necessary for me to only have one gun, as there are uses for other types of guns as well. I have several types of guns, just as I have several types and sizes of screwdrivers.
Personally, I don't think you get a "one gun" ideal gun.
That said, a 12 gauge shot gun can bring down large game, small game, and is even decent for self defense. Sure you can't reach out and touch someone, but we're talking homesteads here and not zombie hordes.
I think if you had a .22 like the Ruger 10-22 and a good 12 gauge you would be all set.
That's difference I see more pronounced as you head west. You folks have all that open land and the .243 is effective for those longer shots on the big game. In the situation I think of (in the midwest/east) I think of the shotgun as being the primary game-getter, and the .22 is the primary lead slinger, small game, everything, cheap to fire and practice with gun.
I'd say a shotgun too. You don't have to be the greatest shot to take small game and/or unwanted creepy crawlers. Taking a flying birds, snakes, etc with a 22 requires considerable more skill . If you want to hunt larger critters you can go with slugs. As long as you don't let an intruder too close to you a shotgun makes an excellent home defense gun too.
The first firearm almost anyone should buy and if you only have one it should be a shotgun, 12 ga unless you are just not physically able to handle it. FIY, if a small 12 y.o. girl can lean to fire one almost any one can.
The main reason is it is the most versatile weapons out there. Let's look at the reasons most homesteaders need firearms for.
#1 Gathering food
A 12 ga shotgun can be loaded so it can kill anything from quail to moose. With one gun you can fairly easily fill your meat freezer. While you can't take down critters at 300 yards with todays modern saboted slugs you can take deer 50 yards with a standard barrel and if you buy a second, rifled bbl you can double that range.
#2) Protecting your garden and animals from critters.
Its kinda hard to hit that 'possum, ****, weasel or dog that comes running out of the chicken house with a rifle of any caliber. And you have to be a good shot with a 22LR to kill that pesky deer that keeps eating the green beans you are planning on canning for the winter.
#3) Protecting you from critters.
Very few weapons have the raw stopping power of a shotgun. When its YOUR body on the line you want something which will stop that rabid dog and will stop it NOW. If you have to deal with two legged critters the big hole in the business end of the old 12ga has a very, very large intimidation factor, ask anyone who has been on the wrong end of one. So which would you rather have with you while you are waiting for the police to show up after you dial 911, a rifle or shotgun?
If you were truly absolutely limited to ONE firearm... 12 or 20 gauge shotgun. Although, honestly, for 250-300, one could obtain new shotgun and bolt action .22 rifle, less if you don't mind used (which I don't...most of my firearms are older than my grandparents...)
I know Savage used to make an over/under that had a .22 as the top barrel and a 20 ga. underneath, I wonder if they still make it? Haven't seen one in a long time so probably not. Maybe take a look around gun shops for a used one?
Also, I saw an ad a few weeks ago for a Rossi interchangeable-barrel gun that I think was a .22, .243, and a 20 gauge. That might be just the ticket.
If I could only have one I'd pick a reliable, bolt action .22 LR with a scope for reasons already stated. Ammo is cheap...I just picked up a brick (500 rounds) for $14. Realistically, I'd also like to have a 12 ga shotgun to go along with that. Kind of like hammers...you won't want to use a sledge for driving tacks or a tack hammer for driving spikes.
I fall into the you really need two group.
My choice would be a good .22. Ruger 10/22 comes to mind. A and shotgun, but I differ with most here. My choice would be in 20ga. Out to 50 or 60 yds the 20 is very reliable on a par with a 12ga. In home defense with buckshot there is no difference to speak of.One advantage is that a smaller person can use easily without the fear of the heavier recoil.
just my .02 worth.
For a "one gun" scenario SunnyJim may have hit on the ideal which is a combo gun. The one he is referring to is the Savage 24 series. Many variations were made over the years with 12 and 20 gauge and .410 bore shotgun with the rifle half being .22, 22 mag, .222, .223, .357, .30-30 and 22 Hornet. The only downside is that these are single shot which is not good for home defense. Shotguns are amazingly versalite firearms and with slugs are capable of taking large game at closer ranges. In reference to seedspreader's comment, here in Appalachia the most common game getter would be one of the following: .243, .270, .30-30 or .30-06.
A forum community dedicated to living sustainably and self sufficiently. Come join the discussion about livestock, farming, gardening, DIY projects, hobbies, recipes, styles, reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more!