Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > Firearms Advice For Beginners

One rifle for rabbits and deer?

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NorIDhunter:

--- Quote from: Bigredmt on March 20, 2013, 08:41:05 PM --- my goals are to be able to use it for small game and deer. Is that possible?

Do you need two different rifles typically to hunt rabbits and deer?

Actually how can I get better educated about purchasing a rifle?

Thanks for any advice or steering in any direction.

--- End quote ---
Jmtc - Yes it is "possible". But just because one "can" do something, doesn't always mean one "should".

I like to look at guns like other devices; hammers, pliers, screwdrivers etc as they're all "tools". There's tack hammers for small jobs, framing hammers and sledgehammers. One isn't generally well advised to use a sledge for a tack job but it "could" be done if you REALLY had to. Would you use a Phillips on a slotted screw? basically, using the right tool for the job at hand. The legalities of your particular locale will also dictate what you are allowed to use as well. For example, many game regulations require a minimum of .243 caliber for medium/big game hunting.

I would suggest that you find a gun shop or shooting range near you and ask for a reference to a NRA qualified instructor before buying anything. Similar as one might rent clubs and take golf lessons before plunking down a big chunk of change on a set of clubs. There is such a wide range of types of rifles out there, that one should get at least a working familiarity with them before picking one. Plus, different rifles have different "feels" and it is very important that a person is comfortable with the firearm and that it fits them.

Imo, if I HAD to pick just one firearm to to do the job that you describe, it would likely be a Savage Model 24 S over/under combination gun, in .22 LR & 20 ga. .22 would be acceptable for small game, pests & varmints, as well as a finishing shot on a deer that was fatally wounded but not dead; the 20 ga barrel would good for running rabbits, game birds and waterfowl with the appropriate shotsize and could take deer with buckshot/slugs.

nelson96:

--- Quote from: NorIDhunter on March 21, 2013, 08:33:32 AM ---Imo, if I HAD to pick just one firearm to to do the job that you describe, it would likely be a Savage Model 24 S over/under combination gun, in .22 LR & 20 ga. .22 would be acceptable for small game, pests & varmints, as well as a finishing shot on a deer that was fatally wounded but not dead; the 20 ga barrel would good for running rabbits, game birds and waterfowl with the appropriate shotsize and could take deer with buckshot/slugs.
--- End quote ---

I have to disagree with the over/under.  This exagerates the terrible "one-gun" solution.  Having one gun is bad enough, but having one gun that is a bad representation of each caliber is worse. . . .  If you're going to hunt deer with a shotgun you want a minimum of a 12 gauge using slugs.  And having a single shot shotgun or .22lr isn't handy for any use.

Pic a caliber for each task and choose the right rifle to shoot it with. 

NorIDhunter:

--- Quote from: nelson96 on March 21, 2013, 08:53:03 AM ---I have to disagree with the over/under.  This exagerates the terrible "one-gun" solution.  Having one gun is bad enough, but having one gun that is a bad representation of each caliber is worse. . . .  If you're going to hunt deer with a shotgun you want a minimum of a 12 gauge using slugs.  And having a single shot shotgun or .22lr isn't handy for any use.

Pic a caliber for each task and choose the right rifle to shoot it with.

--- End quote ---
@ nelson96  - I don't disagree with you that the "one gun solution" is not really the best. And if you will, I did note the "picking the right tool for the job" and "just because one can...should". I referred to the Savage in the "if I HAD to pick" vernacular, you know the way Jack says "if someone had a gun to my head and I was forced to choose".
But - Bigredmt asked, "is it possible?", and it IS, despite not being optimal.
I know a guy that shoots the heads off of grouse & rabbits with a .30-06, that doesn't mean it's optimal either, though it is "possible". :o
And legality not withstanding, more deer than we can count have been taken with .22 LR.  :-X

I have to disagree with you about "a single shot shotgun or .22lr isn't handy for any use". I've got a 24 and it does have it's "handy" applications. It's especially been useful for training beginners on proper firearms handling. The break action is very simple for most newbies to operate and it's extremely easy to check on if it's loaded or not. And the weight of the gun makes the recoil of a 20 load tolerable for first timers, even when it's not held "quite" right, as can be the case.
 I often take the Savage out in the woods/garden as a work gun when doing other chores and it's brought home it's fair share of grouse and squirrels for the pot, with both barrels.

Also, in regards to the 12 ga w/ slugs "minimum" for deer statement. What you "want" and what you can "have" are sometimes very different critters. There are several areas where one is required to use buckshot for deer hunting. And a carefully placed 3/4 oz slug from a 20 can kill a whitetail when ranges are respected, like 30-40 yds.

Big, I'm sure this is getting confusing and I know that's not what you intended, so I apologize for that. As you can see, "the right gun" is a very personal choice. That's just another reason, imo, why you should get a mentor/instructor and more hands on time before you make your initial purchase. I hope you'll post back and let us know how things progress.
Take care, stay safe and good shooting!  :)

nelson96:

--- Quote from: NorIDhunter on March 21, 2013, 10:59:16 AM ---@ nelson96  - I don't disagree with you that the "one gun solution" is not really the best. And if you will, I did note the "picking the right tool for the job" and "just because one can...should". I referred to the Savage in the "if I HAD to pick" vernacular, you know the way Jack says "if someone had a gun to my head and I was forced to choose".
But - Bigredmt asked, "is it possible?", and it IS, despite not being optimal.
I know a guy that shoots the heads off of grouse & rabbits with a .30-06, that doesn't mean it's optimal either, though it is "possible". :o
And legality not withstanding, more deer than we can count have been taken with .22 LR.  :-X

I have to disagree with you about "a single shot shotgun or .22lr isn't handy for any use". I've got a 24 and it does have it's "handy" applications. It's especially been useful for training beginners on proper firearms handling. The break action is very simple for most newbies to operate and it's extremely easy to check on if it's loaded or not. And the weight of the gun makes the recoil of a 20 load tolerable for first timers, even when it's not held "quite" right, as can be the case.
 I often take the Savage out in the woods/garden as a work gun when doing other chores and it's brought home it's fair share of grouse and squirrels for the pot, with both barrels.

Also, in regards to the 12 ga w/ slugs "minimum" for deer statement. What you "want" and what you can "have" are sometimes very different critters. There are several areas where one is required to use buckshot for deer hunting. And a carefully placed 3/4 oz slug from a 20 can kill a whitetail when ranges are respected, like 30-40 yds.
--- End quote ---

I think in reality we both agree with each other, at least part way. ;)  My comments were geared toward the fact that he wanted help choosing a "hunting" specific weapon (for both small and large game) and I just think that choosing one gun, one that offers a single shot, or is less than the optimal caliber or projectile is the wrong way to tool up. . .  To be legal and most effective.
.

endurance:
There's a handful of options that I see:

1)  Savage Model 24 with a .22LR barrel over a 20 gauge shotgun barrel.  You could use it as a two shot small game rifle with one  round of .22 and one round of #6 shot.  Obviously slugs could be used on large game.

2)  357 lever action and carry .38 squib loads you've loaded to about 550-600fps and full house .357s.

3)  There's somebody out there that, at one time, made a .22 over a .308, so the stories go, but I've never laid eyes on one and I'm not sure it's anything more than a rumor at this point.

4)  Carry two guns.  I've shot squirrels and rabbits with my handgun while carrying a hunting rifle.  Since most of the meat on a rabbit is in the hind legs, if you're good enough to hit the heart/lungs/head of a rabbit with whatever caliber of handgun you carry, you won't lose much meat, regardless. 

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