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Your advice on guns please (Only non-political discussion)

 
pollinator
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Be sure and check state law if you decide to go the .410 shotgun route.  That isn't a legal caliber to hunt deer in Wisconsin.
 
pollinator
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Travis, when I say I dont like guns, I should hve said ," I dont like guns in some humans hands".
I have had the unfortunate experience here, on two occasions of drunks pointing a gun into my stomach.
The first was angry over a family issue, the second was a mates neighbour coming over to talk about a barking dog, I just happened to open the front door!

switched instantly to not wantng as many guns around the community.
In those dys there were no licensing requirements.
Today, if you want a gun you can get it, but there are controls etc in place.
 
gardener
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We're going down a rabbit hole here.
Jamie asked for advice on a homestead firearm, a tool in a toolbox. Practical knowledge from the group.
Region of the U.S. Would be a consideration in her choices. Even in Oregon high desert side might require a firearm capable of shooting long distance, rain forest side probably not. Hunting didn't appear to be high in her request but an elk at 700 lbs would a different category than general homestead use. Jamie wasn't even sure there would be a firearm purchase. No where was there a question of the firearm being used defensively.
Oy, I wish we could stay on topic or at least close to it. On a homestead in the U.S. One might expect to have to dispatch a predator that lives in the area (no rabid roo here). Dispatch an injured farm animal. Dispatch vermin. Hunt for food. Target practice rather than play golf.
Keeping on topic is so much better than drifting into nonsense or off topic debate. If a query takes you on a tangent start your own thread on that, populating a topic with unconnected parasitic comments wastes interested parties time. Kidnapping a thread with unconnected non-pertinent content is disappointing. Not saying that a thread with that non-pertinent info wouldn't have legs of its own under its own individual thread.  
 
Trace Oswald
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The simple answer here is that the .308 is a great all-around caliber and can dispatch any animal in north america as humanely as possible, and would be my firearm of choice if I were forced to only have one.  It has great range, accuracy, isn't overly heavy, especially if used with a well-fitting sling.  It's a heavy enough weapon that it doesn't kick badly, even for most small-framed people.  
 
Robert Ray
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Trace, I would agree with that being a good caliber, readily available ammo and capable of harvesting any large game in Oregon.Would that be a good choice for a homesteader that was not going to hunt? Jamie. a relative novice might be better served with a shotgun still capable of harvesting large game should it be required. With the many recoil reducing stocks on the market CopStock for example a manageable weapon.
 
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if you need a gun on homestead then you need a gun
when coyote and bobcats start killing off your goats, chickens and other critters its no joke
when all your gardening efforts are destroyed by woodchucks and rabbits youll want at least a 22 rifle
if you have a 30-30 you will have better chance at wiley coyote
and a 12 gauge shotgun might come in handy just in case you you might have up close and personal encounter with predator
 
Trace Oswald
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Robert Ray wrote:Trace, I would agree with that being a good caliber, readily available ammo and capable of harvesting any large game in Oregon.Would that be a good choice for a homesteader that was not going to hunt? Jamie. a relative novice might be better served with a shotgun still capable of harvesting large game should it be required. With the many recoil reducing stocks on the market CopStock for example a manageable weapon.



I'm not a huge fan of shotguns in a homesteading-type scenario except for very specific instances, like bird hunting.  For small game, rabbits, squirrels, and such, my opinion is that a .22 is far better.  Shotguns leave game full of small pellets that have to be picked out and, I think, teach people to be sloppy shooters with that type of game.  A .22 is cheaper to shoot, and cheaper to target practice with, thereby adding more to your skill with a firearm.  For large game, shotguns don't have the range or the power that I like for humane kills.  Their best use in my mind, is for bird hunting, and I don't do that.  For hunting turkey, pheasant, or quail, I think most people would agree that a shotgun is the best choice.  Shotguns do make a formidable self-defense weapon if that is one of the uses.  For an all-around gun, I would choose a rifle, and the type of things you are most likely to shoot would determine the caliber for me.  Hunters already usually know what caliber and weapon they prefer, so the other main use for a homesteader is dispatching varmints.  If you have more dangerous animals, wolves, coyotes, bears, I would say to go with a large caliber rifle.  If it is more likely raccoons, rabbits, and those animals, then I would use the .22.  That's the criteria I used to advise going with a .308 caliber rifle.  If that is just too much gun to handle for a smaller or inexperienced person, or a person with a medical condition that makes shooting it painful, I would lean in the direction of a .223.  They have nearly zero recoil, great accuracy, and pretty good killing potential on all but the largest game.  The low recoil makes them very pleasant to shoot for even very inexperienced people and the ammunition is still very reasonably priced.
 
pollinator
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The right tool for the right use, I think, is the best advice I have seen here, with due respect to people with much more direct experience with the use of and personal politics surrounding firearms.

I have to stress, though, that what I believe appropriate, as some others here might think, changes based on the specific situation. I don't feel the need for a gun in an urban environment, as much as I would like to shoot all the squirrels and racoons that devastate my gardens each season.

In a rural environment, it might be dangerous not to have that tool in your toolbox, however. If the feral hogs in your county get to 500kg, I don't want to be standing there with my shovel and my thumb up my ass, or even a really great hunting crossbow. I want something appropriate to the task of dispatching something rushing at me with bad intent, and I want it dispatched promptly. And I think sometimes that a bayonet might not be the worst idea in the world, but maybe that's just my taste in leisure reading showing.

If there's a thread, or if someone wants to start it, in the Cider Press where we can discuss the merits of different views on gun policy, please do let me know.

Me, I want a big zapper. Not a ray gun or a phaser or even a taser. I want a zapper, with a little control knob or dial or slider or whatever. If something I don't want injured over the long-term needs to be stunned but left conscious in a short time, they get a low-level zap. If they annoy me or need incapacitation for a longer period of time, I give them a juicier zap.

Those are the two settings that would apply to people. Only those. I am really very comfortable with the concept of "Zap them all, and let the authorities sort it out later." So maybe that could be the anti-personnel version.

And then I'd have my beefier version, with the fold-out charging pedals, for when the 500kg boar tries to give me what Robert I Baratheon got, or for when Mr. Bear turns out to be not-our-friend.

And until then, I think that I would make shooting a regular practice if I found myself needing to carry it at all, complete with regular firearm safety drills, no matter how dumb it makes me feel.

-CK
 
steward
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One of my favorite rifles around the farm is a pellet gun. It's great for pigeon hunting, but only if I hit the head. Small target, if I miss, the bird doesn't even know, and I haven't damaged the roof of the barn. If I hit, it's instant knock-out.

 
pollinator
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I prefer the 17 HMR for our farm.  It is strong enough to take a varmint at 100 yards.  It is accurate enough to take a sparrow at 100 yards.  It is cheap to use.  I can get ammo at most stores including my local grocery store.  The bullet is designed to disintegrate when it hits something.  It is only a 17 gr bullet "copper, plastic and lead", so if shot in the air it is not dangerous when returning to earth at terminal velocity.  The tiny amount of lead is less pollution compared to a 22 or shotgun.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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Christopher Shepherd wrote:I prefer the 17 HMR for our farm.



I've always wanted a 17 HMR. Do you find that the rimfire casing is suitably reliable for you?
 
Christopher Shepherd
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The ammo seems to be much more reliable than the 22s I have.  I have only had one misfire since 2003.  The misfire I assumed was from me leaving it in my pocket and my wife washed it.  I am still using ammo from 2004 because I bought a case of ammo back then.  Its so accurate I don't need to shoot much.  Pigeons don't get away and sometimes it takes 2 with one shot.  They got to be real close to each other though.
 
pollinator
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The thread's original question was for advice on guns, albeit 9 years old.  I will add mine.

Like any other tool, there is no 'one size fits all' solution.  Like any tool, one must understand the strengths and weaknesses of the tool; and define the goal to make the best tool selection.  If one is only interested in one tool, then find the best compromise between the most common chores one's own situation demands.  

The most used tool in a homestead kit, would likely be a .22lr gun.  It is very versatile, easy to operate (very low recoil), cost effective; and ammunition is ubiquitous.  It is good for 'pest control', small game, and teaching marksmanship, all at a very low cost.  It is not suitable for anything other than pests and small game, as the round is too light and too fast to deposit energy to a target.  There are special cartridges that carry 'shot' for a 22lr that also make the caliber very attractive.  I believe no homestead should be without a .22lr.  At around $100 new and less used, it is a good first purchase for seeking advice on guns.

The next most useful tool in my opinion would be a shotgun.  20 gauge for smaller framed folks; or someone recoil sensitive.  12 gauge for anyone wanting the extra power and does not mind a bit of kick.  A shotgun can handle small game and pests with 7 or 8 shot (many small pellets), predators like raccoons and coyotes with 4 through 6 shot.  Larger predators with buckshot or slugs.  In short, a highly versatile gun that is adaptable and customizable to the different needs of a homestead.  A shotgun can be found for under $200 new if you look around.  A used gun with a reliable mechanism can sometimes be found for half of that.  It would be the next tool I would recommend to someone looking for the advice above.

A midsize caliber like a .243 is also a good versatile tool for the homestead, but one that would be needed less.    A .243 will dispatch medium to large size game.  It can put a suffering animal out of its pain.  It will hunt/forage for game up to deer size.  It has low recoil for its energy level.  It has a flat trajectory to increase accuracy at range.  Ammo is not too expensive compared to other mid range calibers.  Most people are comfortable with the recoil.  A single shot medium caliber rifle can be had new for under $200.  The cost/benefit is a little harder to justify on a homestead budget, so I would give a 3rd place ranking.  

When looking at calibers such as .308, .270, 30-06 or even higher, (my opinion only!) is they have little utility to a homestead.  They are 'big game' calibers.  The recoil is high.  The cost per round goes up.  It is too much energy for anything below an elk, bear, or ...?  These calibers are more specialty tools.  Nice to have to round out one's tool kit; but more specialized in nature with limited utility on a homestead beyond hunting or in an area where large predators are not an issue.  

My opinions for what it is worth for someone with limited experience with firearms.  
 
Robert Ray
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I love the .17 HMR and have experienced the same thing as far as reliability over a .22 rimfire, however I shoot far more .22 than .17 hmr so that may be a factor. Flat shooting and very accurate. The ballistic coefficient @.125 outshines a .22 Long rifle. After about 100 yds the .22 begins to fade where the .17 is still moving on. I have a very expensive biathlon rifle but never shoot at distances over 100 yards with it, the same platform in a .17 would be a kick. When you start buying biathlon ammo for specific temperature ranges it can easily get as expensive as .17 HMR,  ammo for the .17 is more expensive just like it's parent .22 magnum but its a different animal.
 
Trace Oswald
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Jack Edmondson wrote:
A midsize caliber like a .243 is also a good versatile tool for the homestead, but one that would be needed less.    A .243 will dispatch medium to large size game.  It can put a suffering animal out of its pain.  It will hunt/forage for game up to deer size.  It has low recoil for its energy level.  It has a flat trajectory to increase accuracy at range.  Ammo is not too expensive compared to other mid range calibers.  Most people are comfortable with the recoil.  A single shot medium caliber rifle can be had new for under $200.  The cost/benefit is a little harder to justify on a homestead budget, so I would give a 3rd place ranking.  

When looking at calibers such as .308, .270, 30-06 or even higher, (my opinion only!) is they have little utility to a homestead.  They are 'big game' calibers.  The recoil is high.  The cost per round goes up.  It is too much energy for anything below an elk, bear, or ...?  These calibers are more specialty tools.  Nice to have to round out one's tool kit; but more specialized in nature with limited utility on a homestead beyond hunting or in an area where large predators are not an issue.  



I agree with much of your post, and appreciate the thought you put into your choices.  I would note that the calibers you listed, .308, .270, and 30-06 are used by probably 90% of deer hunters in this area, so, for the upper midwest at least, those calibers could very well be the most used weapons on many homesteads.  Many people use them for coyotes, although here, .223 is preferred.

As far as price, most times I can find .308 cheaper than .243, but they are close enough that this is a wash for me in a weapon you may only fire a few times a year.

 
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One thing to keep in mind too is, some guns can fire different sizes of rounds, like a 223 can often be easily reconfigured to fire 22 ammunition, so for target practicing, a person can really save some money. That is just an example, other calibers are similar.
 
Robert Ray
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Good point Travis. Firearms can be expensive. Adapters or caliber conversions are something I didn't  consider. I have a .223 to.22 conversion for a rifle and a .45 to .22 for a pistol. NEF/H&R sells single shot break action rifles where the barrel can be changed and the Contender interchangeable barrel platform has been around a long time. Caliber conversion sleeves for single shot shotguns are available as well.
 
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I'd like to put in a word for the .30/.30 rifle... or "bush gun".

They're short, easy to carry through brush, not great for distance shooting but powerful enough to save you from a charging feral pig or a bear (usually).

It is fine for hunting deer or pigs, the ammo expensive relative to a .22  but you don't need to fire it as much as you would the .22, which is used for all the common vermin.

I'm in favor of always carrying a firearm in the woods, after being attacked by a bear in New Mexico, fortunately when I had a .22 rifle with me, the firing of which caused the bear to turn and run before reaching me. This was during the drought in 2013, when the bears were very hungry. She was headed for the apple orchard, but seeing me decided on a meal of meat instead, apparently.

I also have a 9mm pistol which is louder than the .22 rifle, so I now carry it for bear protection. Once you've seen a bear coming at you, it is something you always think about when outdoors. I'm quite sure my "make a big bang" tactic would be less effective on grizzlies; I'm always in black bear country in CA, NM or here in VA & WV.

I'm not a fan of shotguns since they leave pellets in the meat, if you're shooting something edible.

 
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The short answer would be that it depends what your needs are, and one gun might not do everything you need a gun to do, and ammo prices vary widely.
 
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Having read through this long discussion one can see the multitude of correct suggestions. Ultimately,  it is your choice.
One my homestead I carry a Ruger single six revolver loaded with rat or snake shot. I carry it for the copperhead snakes that are common here. I've seen coyotes on my place and shot at them with the rat shot. The noise scared them off, but that's only temporary.
Protecting your livestock and property with proven techniques like fencing and sound buildings is the best bet. Shooting at predators should be your tertiary or knee jerk defense. Trapping should be secondary. I use a live trap on the raccoons and relocate them. I always drop them in the same location so maybe they can hook up again. The same with possums.
As far as calibers go, one should consider distance to the next home and the effective range of that round. Consider what you want to accomplish with that round. The initial cost of the weapon, and the availability and continuing cost of ammunition for practice and use is a consideration.
Additionally, a firearm isn't the only way to go. There are pellet rifles, bows and crossbows. Here a black powder weapon isn't considered a firearm. It can be mailed through the postal service without restrictions. Pyrodex, a black powder substitute, and ball are readily available in sporting goods stores.
Hope this helps...
One poster suggested gun safety education and I think that's a great idea!
 
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Much depends upon your location and needs.  The first firearm I purchased was a cheap 20 gauge shotgun.  This is a good all around weapon. It will take down a deer.   I would not deliberately go after anything bigger. I do have a 45 carbine that I have shot a few trees with that were next to a coyotes head.  I like it because it is relatively short range. A 22 has its place, but I do not feel it is heavy enough for most jobs. I am in a heavily wooded area with no black bear.  Poisonous snakes are rare. And, there are two state highways within a mile and a half of me. If I lived in Alaska, Wyoming, or any number of other places, I might have a different opinion. My needs are for a projectile that is decisive at short range and doesn’t travel too far.
 
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I haven't seen anyone mention the ability to do custom loads on shotgun shells.  Anything from rock salt (which will sting but not really damage an animal you want scare off) to no pellets at all (just a loud noise).  You can also get slugs for your shotgun that are capable of stopping most anything or bird shot if you decide that the ducks or geese are looking particularly tasty this year.  At least here in Texas, feral hogs are a HUGE problem and make no mistake about it, a 400# wild hog will see YOU as a menu item.  Being able to defend yourself from them is an absolute necessity.  
 
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At this time (Spring of 21), guns should be cheap as dirt, all ammunition from .22 to 8 gauge has been unobtainium for 4 months plus.
If you do not have a stock  of ammunition, save your money and buy baseball bats...they will be equally effective.

Currently, the most effective "at range" weapons are the reverse draw crossbows:

https://smile.amazon.com/Scorpyd-Aculeus-460FPS-Crossbow-MossyOak/dp/B07GY2JP12/ref=sr_1_53?dchild=1&keywords=reverse+draw+crossbow&qid=1612759140&sr=8-53

Broadhead arrows have the added benefit of cutting easily through Kevlar, impact plates will stop them cold.

In practical effectiveness if you are looking to discourage predators light draw weight (40-60 lbs) recurves and field points will fill the pot and do little damage to pelts, broadheads are expensive and damage easily, but ensure more humane kills. There are poly broadheads that are less expensive.

Air rifles are available up to .45 caliber, but velocities are low. Terminal performance is dependent on shot placement.
Air powered arrows are available but are illegal to hunt with in most states.

Pump up air rifles in .22 caliber can offer equivalent performance (without quick follow-up shots!) to powder actuated .22's for varmint and rodent control.

Black powder weapons are currently only slightly less impacted, black powder itself has dried up, pyrodex and 777 are marginally available, to minimize market manipulation, true flintlocks are your best bet, as caps are just as manipulable as any other source of ignition.
 
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