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Your advise on guns please  RSS feed

 
gardener
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I am not sure what would be the best type of gun for when we get out on our land.

A .22  a marlin model 60 semi-auto with a wooden stock is being sold for $80 down the street from me.  Is this a powerful enough gun for utility uses (not deer hunting)? 

And any other gun wisdom for the farm/ranch is welcomed......
 
gardener
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The Marlin model 60 is a reliable and proven platform for a .22 rifle.
If I were to have only one gun a shotgun would be my choice just becasue of versatility. 
 
Jami McBride
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Can you explain versatility to me?

Shotguns shoot lots of pellets in a wide pattern - I would guess this pattern gets wider the farther away one is from the target.... So you don't have to really aim, is that what your saying?
What about collateral damage?

Are there other advantages to a shotgun over a .22?

By the way I'm a really good shot - a hyperactive mind plus exceptional hand-eye coordination helps in this regard.
 
Robert Ray
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A .22 has a longer effective range than a shotgun so depending on population density that might be a consideration for you. Shooting any firearm with nearby neighbors has to be considered.
A shotgun could be used for critter control, harvesting large game as well as foul if the need arised.
Depending on the distance fired yes there is the spread factor. But the array of shot size (pellets), slugs ( one large projectile), even less than lethal rounds (rubber balls/bean bags) a shotgun is a bit more versatile than a .22 .
 
Jami McBride
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....Oh.....

Can you tell  me what kind/types of shotguns are good to buy (shopping tips)?
 
Robert Ray
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Jamie,
I guess before we could give advice on something that might be more than what you require, what is the primary use going to be?
Something you might consider is a combination gun. Savage used to make a model 24 which was an over under rifle/shotgun. Since the rifle is curently out of production you would find it used at a regular gun store/show. Different caliber rifle barrels were available from .22 up to large calibers and the shotgun barrel in either 20 or 12guage on a robust action.
A H&R or NEF single shot shotgun is very affordable basic shotgun. You should be able to find one new at close to that 80.00 Marlin. If it's just going to be for occasional critter control that might be what you are looking for, yet still give you options of the variety of different shotgun ammunition available.
 
 
Jami McBride
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Great, yes that's what I was wanting something for general land/animal maintenance. 

I won't be hunting, unless forced.  Just shooting at threats and problem critters - I assume.  But I haven't been in that situation so I don't really know, that's why I wanted the advise from someone with experience.

That combination gun sounds interesting.... didn't know there was such a thing.

I'm familiar with a 9mm semi-auto, but I know that would be impractical and overkill.  All my experience up to now has been in personal safety - a different duck from ranch safety I'm assuming.

Thanks for your help.
 
steward
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A buddy of mine passed away a couple years ago.  I have his old H&R M40.  Its a single shot 12 gauge.  Good for squirrels, possum, birds and varmints.  For anything much larger its best use is noise production-scare off whatever beast is in the corn.  Its worth maybe 50 bucks.
 
                    
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An ak-47 is always an option or a 50 cal chain gun. JK! Good question. I have a shotgun that I use for general all purpose stuff, but a 22 is nice to have. Ammo is cheaper than shotgun shells and they are defiantly nice to have for raccoons or any other animal trying to get at a chicken or your pets.You don't really want to spray the 12 gauge towards the chicken coop. They are a ton of fun as well. Plus if you have neighbors, a shotgun at certain times can be a bit alarming. My advice is get a cheap single barrel shot gun and a 22. If you do some shopping, you can get a nice 22 and a nice supply of ammo for less then $100. 
 
                    
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Agreed with what people have said so far.  Commonly available ammunition is always good.  Shotguns have a bigger boom for scaring things away, plus a variety of pellet size in bullets, but .22s don't have the kick that a shotgun does. 

How experienced with shooting guns are you?  22s are the classic "beginner" gun.  Whatever you get, get some solvent and oil also, and clean it afterward. 

Youtube is endlessly useful for things like this.  We've learned how to disassemble and clean every gun we own from videos.  I also learned to crochet! 
 
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If we are going for small-caliber & versatility, I think the Springfield M6 Scout is the gun you want. It's only a single shot firearm, but it has duel barrels chambered for both .22lr & .410 (shotgun/pellets). It's light and breaks apart in the middle for easy carry. Also in the butt there is a little flip-up section that holds extra ammo for both type of caliber.

Here's a picture:
 
Jami McBride
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My last experience with a rife style was my BB gun 

All my experience other than that has been with hand guns.

A big boom you say - that is the only part of guns or power tools for that matter that unsettles me a bit, but with practice I can tune it out I'm sure (scary to think of though).

What should I look for when buying a used gun?
 
Robert Ray
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Jamie,
Just like anyrthing else you have to identify how much you want to spend and what you are looking for in your purchase.
So let's say you have decided on the first gun you mentioned the Marlin model 60.
I'd first go to gunbroker.com or a similar site. On that site there you will find comparables and what the going price is. It is an auction site so just like e-bay the current bid might not be the final bid but it will give you an idea of current value both new and used.

Look at the gun like you would a sewing machine is it clean? Wood worn or showing signs of abuse? Surface condition of the metal, does it retain an even coloration and finish? Any signs of rust or pitting?
Never offer what they are asking unless you have to have it now. It doesn't seem like you are in a rush for the purchase so it might take a few trips.
I'm not sure where you are in Oregon but Collectors West holds gun shows all over the state. Look at collectorswest.com that will give you the scheduled events for the year.
 
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Jami McBride wrote:
Great, yes that's what I was wanting something for general land/animal maintenance.  ...  Just shooting at threats and problem critters - I assume. 



You've gotten some good advice but you really need to be clear on your use.  If one of your problem critters is coyote the shotguns range is too short and the .22 is not powerful enough for a reliable kill.  With coyotes don't expect to just "scare" them off, won't last.  If these varmints are on your hit list maybe consider a .227, it's relatively light low kick but enough punch to knock down anything up to a coyote.  When you bring the gun into the house be sure to take a gun safety course for everyone in the house and have everyone handle and fire it including any children.  Hiding it or expecting it to be left alone will result in problems!  Demystifying the gun and emphasizing responsible use will enhance safety.  When not in use keep ammo and gun separated and locked!
 
Jami McBride
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Excellent advise guys - this helps a lot, helps me to wrap my head around this new subject.

Thank you all so much,

Jami
 
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Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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I have a ruger 22 semi-automatic pistol and a single shot 410 shotgun.  I've rarely used them since we started using pyrenees and anatolian livestock guardian dogs.

I do take the pistol when hiking and picking blackberries.  Tough to be stuck in a blackberry bramble with a rattlesnake at your feet. 

Lots of ground squirrels here, can be a problem.  Again the dogs take care of them in the fenced areas and I've built some owl boxes.    Too bad ground squirrels are not nocturnal

Once you are living there you will find ways to keep keep intruders out of the chicken coop, etc.   
 
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If you go for a .22 get  bolt action they are the most accurate they also have less moving parts so there is less to go wrong. If you get  shotgun your best bet will be a Rem. model 870 20ga. they are one of the oldest and most dependable models on the market. I just got one for my wife they are a great little shotgun. When it comes to general purpose guns your best bet is to keep them simple. No bells & whistles you don't need them and they are one more thing to go wrong.
 
                          
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There are so many different calibers of guns because there are so many purposes.  I have a pile and I use them all.
If I had to choose one (and didn't have to worry about bears) it would look like the picture above but I would get .223 and 12 guage.  I believe Savage makes a gun like this. This would cover any small to medium sized predators/wild dogs.  Ammo is cheap (relatively).
 
                              
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Location: GREAT STATE OF IDAHO
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If you do not know much about guns,  I will assume that you have not fired a gun much.  If you buy a 12ga shot gun be prepared that if you shoot it a couple of times today......you probably will need help wiping tomorrow morning.  A  gun is only as good as the person shooting it, and if you are scared to shoot it........ it does nobody any good.  Ask neighbors and friends if they have guns and see if they would let you shoot a little.  I know pawn shops here will let you buy a gun and return it the same day if you don't like the kick or aim of the gun.
 
Max Kennedy
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Wombat, I hear what you are saying.  Your descriptions are of the few who spoil things for the many.  They are no less real for that.  This is why in my first post I so strongly recommended hunter education for EVERYBODY.  The vast majority of responsible hunters would gladly help lynch those who would shoot a child's cat or a collie (I own a Lassie look-alike and a miniature version, a sheltie).  No hunter could honestly shoot a cow by accident, the primary rules in the field are IDENTIFY your target 1st before pointing the gun, never point at something you don't intend to shoot, and KNOW what is behind your target in case you miss.  These guys deserve to loose gun, license (for the rest of their life), cars, trailers atv's etc.  I don't know how it is in the states but our game wardens have more power than the police.  They can seize everything related to the hunting experience and few if any hunters that cross these lines get anything back here in Ontario.  I have personally been involved in reporting the shooting of a cow (gave license number to the police, he lost truck, guns and was fined $5000 with 6 months community service) and trophy hunters taking the heads of 3 moose leaving the bodies to rot.  The perpetrators were caught crossing the border into northern Michigan at the Sault with the "trophy" heads lined up down the aisle of a honkin big airstream trailer.  It was a group of 6 hunters and they lost 3 trucks, a boat/motor, 2 huge airstreams, 8 rifles and $12000 they were carrying on them.  When deported they each had the clothes on their back, $20 for meals and a bus ticket to their home towns!  The 1st example was a local, the second one of those "damned Yanks".  Don't take that last wrong, not all Americans are damned yanks just those that behave as if they own the world.  I've known many Americans, most have been kind, respectful people and I would never characterize them as Yanks but the examples are of people who are so full of themselves they don't respect the rights of others nor the privileges they enjoy.  And that is just as true of the Canuck who shot the cow as of the Americans who took the heads.

This being said guns are tools.  Used properly they are a benefit to society.  Used wrong they damage society.  Your point about living in an area where gun's could not be fired safely is valid.  If you have open fields and neighbours in all directions that could be hit if you miss your target with a high powered rifle this would limit your choice to a shotgun, no slugs.  If a shotgun's range would put neighbours at risk then I would agree, no gun.
 
                          
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IMO

22 long rifle, prefer semi auto, rifle. (accuracy, yes a bolt action is most likely a little more accuracy, but most people are not really capable of the ability of the enhanced accuracy of it, unless your bench rested I do not think there are many who could tell the difference from a standing shot from either a bolt or auto loader, 

12 gage shot gun, ,a  pump would be my suggestion,.
(there is a large verity of ammo for shot guns, and yes you have to aim, there not just point in a general direction and you hit the target, depending on the ammo used they can be used in many situations,
some type of hi power,  if your in open country, I like 223 or 3006,

normally I have found little use for hand guns,    (I have been very disappointed with 9mm, and not that impressed with what I have seen with even a 357 mag,  if I was goign to suggest a handgun for the homestead I would most likely say a 22 revolver, why they will shoot bird shot 22's very easily, great for snakes and other small problems in or out of buildings),   


many will have different opinions, but I would say a shot gun ad a 22 long rifle of some type would be my first choices,
 
        
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Robert Ray wrote:
Something you might consider is a combination gun. Savage used to make a model 24 which was an over under rifle/shotgun. Since the rifle is curently out of production you would find it used at a regular gun store/show.
 



The EAA Baikal IZH94 is a viable options as well.  Eastern European built and a great bang for the buck.
 
Jami McBride
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If we could stay on topic - gun types & how to use them on a farm - that would be real super. 

We all know the heat surrounding the topic of guns, so let's leave the heat out of this discussion please. 

Thanks one and all.....
 
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Location: Midwest zone 6
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Buy a gun you like.  If you need another gun later, you can buy another gun. 

A .22 carbine is the best gun for a beginner.  Ammo is cheap and low recoil, so you can practice and become comfortable with it.  A gun which is expensive to shoot or has painful recoil will sit in your basement.

 
steward
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I would like to remind folks that when they signed up, they agreed to "be nice."  I would like to direct folks to take a peek at this threadhttp://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/2296_0/tinkering-with-this-site/be-nice

I would like to remind folks that they can edit their own posts by clicking on the little button that says "modify."

There's a lot of passion about guns.  Stating what your position is is a good thing.  Bashing somebody else's position makes me uncomfortable and gets my delete button finger itchy. 

I would appreciate folks cleaning up their own posts in this thread. 

Thanks!
 
paul wheaton
steward
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Done pruning. 

If anybody wants to talk about my pruning (as opposed to the topic) please take it up in the "tinkering" forum.

Thanks!
 
                    
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Jami, I couldn't see where the type of varmint critter(s) you might have to deal with was identified. That ikey, as others have mentioned. My wife wishes there was a universal solution, a one gun does it all.     There's to be at least 6 answers to 'whats the best gun' when you ask 6 people and all will usually be correct in their own.

Size of target(s) needs to be identified first.

If varmint getting runs up into the coyote size it is my opinion that it is hard to beat a 22-250. It shoots flat and fast. It's a bolt action.

That said I/we love target shooting. We belong to a gun club with a great range.  In the mountains we have our own range with berm backing it that we use mainly for 22's and black powder fun..

A nice 22 for plinking is the Ruger 10/22 (semi-auto). One can also add all sorts of impr8vements to it.

 
Jami McBride
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Boy, you are right... I didn't mention a specific varmint or situation because I don't know what I don't know    Isn't that the way it goes - ha!

I'm with your wife, I want it simple - sigh.

But everyone who has responded has given me just what I needed - PERSPECTIVE.  Now I know about ease of use, type of use, over-kill & under-kill scenarios and where to buy.  It is everything I didn't know to ask - perfecto!

I was just thinking of small predators really, picturing a populated area as that's all I've ever known, but that is naive to be sure.  I hadn't thought about the other possibilities.  But then I know I don't know everything, so allowing people to free-advise has turned out to be a bonus.

Thank you for the suggestion of Ruger, and target practice.  That would be a great idea for making sure experience and control of a weapon are mastered before it's use - yes?

 
Robert Ray
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The 10-22 is a good choice as Don indicated there is a large number of aftermarket upgrades for that particular rifle. It will cost a bit more than the model 60 Marlin but if you look at resale I think you will find the Ruger retains more of it's value over the long run.
For small predators the .22 is adequate for things you will encounter on your side of the Cascades.
A cougar  mauled a horse a couple of weeks ago about a mile from here and the horse had to be put down. For that type of scenario you'll have to think larger or should think larger. 
Many cat hunters used a .22 for taking a cat(cougar) out of a tree after their dogs did their work, when it was legal in Oregon to hunt with dogs. I'm not a cat hunter so not my cup of tea.
For occasional afordable target practice and  de-verminizing the 10-22 would be a good choice.
I own a couple of them in different configurations and have had no trouble with the weapon.
 
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My 'Ranch Rifle' is a Marlin 336 in 30-30.  We have remote acreage surrounded by thousands of acres of public land so there is plenty of room for a 100+ year old cartridge to do anything I'd need it to do.  We have big critters too, including Moose, Black Bears and the occasional Grizz.

The versatility and economy of the 30-30 is its big advantage.  There is a wide variety of commercially available ammo that is 'comparatively' inexpensive - from standard hunting rounds, to soft shooting "cowboy" loads, to high velocity sabot  varmint rounds.  Handloading makes it even more versatile.  A '0 buckshot loaded over a little bit of fast burning pistol powder makes a great plinking and garden vermin eliminator.  As quiet as a 22 with no recoil and very accurate out to 25 yards and decently accurate out to 50.  Another load I use a lot is a 115gr cast bullet over a tiny bit of fast burning powder gets me 850 fps and is perfect to harvest grouse (legal to do so in this state) without sending a cloud of feathers into the atmosphere and leaving a greasy spot...  I also shoot a lot of cast bullets for critters up to and including Deer at various velocities.  A 170 grain cast bullet jogging along at 1400 fps has very little recoil, is plenty for a chicken coup raiding Coyote and will even reach the 200 yard Rams in the levergun silhouette matches I enjoy.  Beyond that are jacketed bullet loads made with premium bullets and suitable for big game including Elk.

There are millions of them out there and they can usually be had inexpensively.  They are generally lighter and handier and anyone that has watched a cowboy movie can probably figure out how to make it work.

If you have the elbow room and are willing to practice, it would be hard to beat.
 
                    
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Nice Yonderosa


There's something about a lever gun that I find attractive. 
 
                          
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As one can see guns are personal, ever one has there favorites, and the reason why they like them, and most are all good reasons, for the choices,

but if there is a common thread, 22 of some type,
shot gun (most would suggest a 12 gage)
and if conditions warrant it a hi powered rifle, (personally I think this is were the real personal choices come in, and likes and dislikes,  semi auto or bolt action, (guess with the 30 30, lever action), and then the chamber size,  like said your more common and older calibers there is a wide choice of ammo one can buy that will extend the firearms utility,
(I my self would choose some thing that is common and not a more or less specialty round),
at one time I really liked the military calibers as the ammo was dirt cheap as surplus ammo, and one could target shoot for a reasonable cost, that currently is no longer the case, and many of the military calibers are or have a wide choice in bullets and options in the civilian side.

but fire arms are like tools there designed for an application, and when used appropriately they usually accomplish that reasonable well, but when you use one out side of it application range, the results are not as assured,  not saying one can not bring down a deer with a 22, but the chances of a clean kill are less than if the correct tool is used, (why most states have rules against using a 22 on deer),

all I am trying to say there is no one size fits all, different tools for different jobs,
If I had to start some place I would either go with the 22 or 12 gage shot gun,
 

 
Mo Smith
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Totally agree, No one size fits all. 

To those who enjoy great outdoor writings a few excerpts on the topic:

The New Way of the Wilderness, 1958 by Calvin Rutstrum

"Guns and ballistics have fascinated me since boyhood, and I hope this elemental pleasure will endure, for it has offered me a great deal of pleasure as well as kinship with others that only ballistics and a cozy campfire could possibly create. Such cartridges as the .270 Winchester, .300 H&H magnum, .30/06, and even some for the big-bore British favorites are as interesting to me as though magic were contained in these combinations of figures....

What has been the result? I have reached up to the gun rack and taken down the .30/30 carbine by some process of natural selection, not condoned perhaps by many experts by easily explained by those who spend long periods in the wilderness areas. The .30/30 Winchester carbine is light, short, easily worked through dense forest areas and, when carried over arduous trails, lends itself well to canoe, pack-horse, and dog-team travel. Also it is vested with the crowning glory-the open hammer and the lever action, which symbolize the outdoors as do the pattern of a snowshoe or a canoe."

and,

Way of the Wilderness, 1946 by Calvin Rutstrum

"Gun lovers have their own guns and it is not well to argue with them. For many years I carried restocked Springfields, Mausers and others. Now I carry a 30-30 Winchester carbine with sling. The much improved cartridge in this weapon will stop a moose or a bear without trouble. The gun is small, light, has good balance for carrying, and is convenient. For safety the sling is looped around a thwart in a canoe and around a cross bar or a lash rope on a dog sled"
 
pollinator
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The Winchester 30-30 is a classic, and for good reason.  Now if I could just convince my ex to get mine in the mail to me, grumble, grumble!  (He says he'll do it, and he actually dug it out, but hasn't actually mailed it, and it's been over a year!)

Kathleen
 
                          
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follow all rules and laws if you choose to mail ( USPS) the firearm?
and or any other shipper you may choose.
 
Kathleen Sanderson
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Birdman wrote:
follow all rules and laws if you choose to mail ( USPS) the firearm?
and or any other shipper you may choose.



Yes, of course.  We've already checked on that, and it's okay to mail it.  Although, at this rate, my oldest DD may be bringing it in her checked luggage when she comes to visit in a couple of months!  (I'm going to have one of my Granddaughters all summer!  Yay!)

Kathleen
 
                    
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Telescopic sights and hunting...  Hmmm.   From my perspective a hunter with a properly sighted in scope is a more humane hunter than one who hunts without optical sights. A scope allows me to see my target with greater clarity. That greater clarity makes it easier to place a shot that will kill the animal right then, instead of simply wounding the animal.. Or at least it's much more likely to get a clean kill with optical sights. A wounded animal must be trailed and put down, hunting regulations and etiquette demands that.


 
paul wheaton
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I have deleted a lot of stuff. 

I deleted every post that had the potential to be interpreted as somebody on permies might be less than perfect.  Please review the be nice thread.  There was one post that suggested that people on permies might be murderers.  I wish that that post could physically manifest so I could buy a gun and shoot it in the head.  That post was so offensive, so wrong, that  the decent thing to do is utterly destroy it.  Simply deleting it doesn't seem like enough.  I hope I never see anything like that on these forums again.

I deleted anything that had to do with gun control laws.  That's a political topic.  There are lots and lots of political forums on the internet.  This isn't one of them.

There was a lot of good stuff about some other gun related stuff, but it was getting kinda wrapped up with other things, and rather than fish through every post and whittle out the stuff that I was not comfortable with .... I decided to just delete the whole post and hope that folks will forgive me for being so heavy handed.

This is the homesteading forum.  This thread is about getting advice on which gun to purchase.  I think this is a really good fit for these forums.  Another good thread might be about living in the country where there are problems with neighbors or problems with strangers coming to the neighborhood and behaving poorly.  Sometimes with their guns (bullet holes in people/houses/critters being an example). 

I was really impressed with the folks that were faced with something terribly awkward and they kept a cool, clear head.  I feel a little bad that I deleted your stuff.  It was nice to see people being entirely decent when faced with something less than decent.  Very admirable.  I'm glad to hang out in the same place you guys hang out.



 
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Location: Sacramento
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Understood, Paul.

As far as recommendations go, I think a pump-action shotgun is the best utility firearm around.  As others have stated, there are plenty of shell choices, from birdshot to buckshot, and slugs too.  I do suggest going to a range to try one first, to see if it meets your needs.  Birdshot is very small, but it also tends to have the hardest "kick".  Buckshot has less, and if recoil is a real problem there is buckshot available for home defense; sometimes it is labeled as "tactical" shot, which only means that it has less recoil.

The standard size is 12 gauge, but even with reduced-recoil shells it might be too much for you.  The next common smaller gauge is 20,* which has most of the options that 12 has, in a lighter package.

As for handguns, you really want to try them out before you purchase one, because how it fits your hand is important.  That said, if I were going to recommend  for a beginner who only wants one handgun, I'd recommend a .38 Special revolver.  There are a lot of ammo choices for whatever application.  One option that is available for revolvers that semiauto pistols can't use are snakeshot cartridges.  Instead of a bullet they are topped off with a cup of very tiny shot pellets, smaller even than birdshot (which is usually #8 or #9 shot; snakeshot is #12).  This is good for shooting threatening snakes, because it is too easy to miss a snake with just a single bullet.

In all things, but especially in firearms, I recommend trying and reading before you buy one, just as you would test drive a car.  Gun magazines have good info--just be aware that you'll never read anything negative about the model featured, because advertisers pay the bills!  There is a Consumer Reports type periodical called Gun Tests, which neither advertises nor accepts free guns from manufacturers.

If you have any questions feel free to PM me.

* Whereas caliber refers to the diameter of the barrel interior in thousandths of an inch (.45 Colt) or in millimeters (9 mm Luger), "Gauge" is the number of pure lead balls the diameter of the barrel needed to equal on pound.  So 12 gauge would have 12 balls-1 lb, and 20 gauge would have 20 balls=1 lb.  There are hunters who use 10 gauge, and online I've seen a Russian made 4 gauge!  Yikes! 
 
Jami McBride
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Thank you Antibubba, I will pm if I get any specific questions.

I appreciate the information.

Jami
 
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