Author Topic: New to firearms  (Read 5745 times)

Offline jvoorhees

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New to firearms
« on: April 27, 2009, 01:41:37 PM »
I have long been interested in survivalism, but with recent events in the economy, the country, the world, and my life, I am seriously making plans to live off grid and become as self-sufficient as possible.

I view gun ownership and efficiency as an important aspect to survival.  However, I was raised in a family who did not believe in guns, so I have very little familiarity.  I have never been hunting, and only shot a shotgun once at my uncles years ago.  So as far as firearms are concerned, I am a complete novice.

What is a good gun to purchase for my first firearm?  Is it best to begin with a handgun or rifle?  Where is a good place to go for proper education on how to use, maintain, and store a firearm properly?

Thanks for any advice!

Offline quietmike

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Re: New to firearms
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2009, 02:15:59 PM »
First you need to decide what you want to be able to do with the firearm.
Will it be used mainly for defense? Two or four legged?
Hunting? large or small game?
Short range or long?
Honestly how much time are you willing to invest in practice?
What's your budget?

Not trying to be mean, but it's kinda like asking which golf club is best...a lot depends on the situation.

Offline PistolWhipped

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Re: New to firearms
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2009, 02:31:11 PM »
Before you buy a potentially lethal weapon GET TRAINING!  Find a friend who is knowledgeable, or go to a local gun club and pay for training.  Many offer various rifle, pistol, and hunting safety courses.

And as a first weapon, a 12 gauge pump action shotgun, such as a Remington 870 or Mossgerg 500/590 series, is hard to beat.  Great for defense and hunting of both large and small game.  So you can take doves and squirrels with birdshot, defend your home with buckshot, and take deers, elk and even up to bears with slugs.

Edit: Also, where do you live?  Local laws will influence availability and choice of firearms.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2009, 02:39:13 PM by PistolWhipped »

Offline jvoorhees

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Re: New to firearms
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2009, 03:16:41 PM »
Thanks so much the response.  I am so new, I don't even know the correct questions to ask.

I guess the main reason for owning a gun is for defense.  Primarily 2 legged (more important), but also four legged (more frequent).

For budget, that isn't the largest concern.  I am not in a rush and if it costs more, I'll just take longer to save up for it.  I guess I'd prefer a lessor expensive one to start with to keep the investment small at first until I really know what I am doing.

I currently live in a suburb of Minneapolis MN, but plan on moving to outstate MN a few hours north of the cities.  Definitely Bear Country, but not the largest concern.  Would be nice to shoot a pest gopher or rabbit eating at my garden.

Long term, I envision owning several guns of different types.  But now, I am really looking for a place to start.  Is it best to learn the basics of safety and proper handling of a firearm with a handgun or a rifle?  Or does it really not matter?  Where is a good place to get Proper Training when I don't know anyone personally who can teach me?  Are there any particular models are at good for novices because of their ease in maintenance or other factors?

Offline PistolWhipped

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Re: New to firearms
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2009, 03:22:54 PM »
I'll stick with the pump 12 gauge then.  Takes MAYBE 2 minutes to take down, another 3 to clean, an another 2 to oil and assemble.  It is about as reliable as weapons get.  With rifled slugs (or sabot slugs in a rifled barrel) it is a great bear gun, and is good for deer and elk too.  With the right size shot, it'll take any critter you run across.  And with buckshot it is the premier manstopper.  Police and the military have used pump actions for  long time due to their reliability and second to none power at short to medium ranges.  Good to start with.

For training, look for a local gun club.  I have a friend in the Minneapolis area, I'll ask him for some recommendations.  Most offer some level or training.

Offline quietmike

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Re: New to firearms
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2009, 04:32:34 PM »
If portability and concealability is a concern you would want to go with a revolver or semi auto pistol. The revolver is easier to learn for a beginner. Semi autos offer extra capacity(usually) faster reloads and a slimmer design that would help with concealment, but take more practice because of the extra variables associated with them.

If extra range and power are a bigger concern a long arm(rifle or shotgun) is the way to go.

A shotgun definately offers the most versatility as pistolwhipped has mentioned, with a 12 ga. pump being the standard for which all others are judged. The 12 ga. may be a little intimidating for a new shooter though, depending on the type of shells you use. Shotguns can cover ranges from point blank out to about 125+/- yards.

Rifles are usually for the intermediate to long range or when extreme power is needed at close range. Depending on the setup rifles can be effective past 1500 yards.

For me I started shooting with a .22 rifle as I would bet the majority of shooters did.

Jack did a show on the advantages of the .22 and there is a good thread about them by some knucklehead. ;D
http://thesurvivalpodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=687.0

My best advice is to find a local gun range or other shooting club in your area and make a friend or two.
Most folks would let you try their guns to see if you like them if you explain that you are new to guns and are looking to get into them. Even folks who have been shooting all their lives will disagree on what is best. All that matters is what is best FOR YOU, nothing else matters, if it's right for you, it's right.

Goober Pyle

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Re: New to firearms
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2009, 05:31:11 PM »
A .22 rifle.

Offline PistolWhipped

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Re: New to firearms
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2009, 11:06:04 PM »
Directly from my friend near Minneapolis.

Quote
Bill's Gun Store and Range - www.billsgs.com - two locations in the area.

They have the Minnesota CCW course and some other safety courses as well.

They also have range rentals for handguns. The staff at Bill's is really helpful, even if they can be expensive at times. He may or may not want to buy from them, but they'll be more than willing to help him learn guns, even if he's not buying the same day he's learning.


If he's looking at just basic firearm safety like for hunting (which can be applied elsewhere), I could look up where some of the Minnesota DNR firearm safety classes are held - they're more of the hunting/firearm safety survival courses, which has some useful things and a lot that isn't needed if you're already used to the outdoors.

There is a list of classes on the left side of that site.  As I hear, they are good guys.  They should be able to point you in the right direction.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2009, 11:09:36 PM by PistolWhipped »

Offline khristopher23

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Re: New to firearms
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2009, 11:43:12 PM »
IMO there are 3 guns you should try to acquire as soon as possible. Opinions will vary greatly as to the order, but I think all three are important. My personal preferences in order would probably be:

1. A centerfire handgun (probably a 9mm Glock, or a S&W .357 revolver- whichever you feel more comfortable with)

2. A pump shotgun (either a Remington 870 or Mossberg in either a 12 or 20 gauge)

3. A 22 semi auto (a Ruger 10/22- first choice by far, maybe a Marlin 60 as a second choice)

Prices would be around:

1. $500 for the Glock
2. $250 for the 870     (a little cheaper for the Mossberg)
3. $200 for the 10/22  ( a little cheaper for the Marlin )

Total -$950 for an excellent basic battery

The next step would be to add a good centerfire rifle, but then you really have to think about what you want/need the gun(s) for. The first three I listed are very general purpose.

A great article about a basic battery:

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/ayoob114.html

Offline jvoorhees

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Re: New to firearms
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2009, 12:50:23 PM »
Thank you all for your feedback.  It is great to hear everyone's opinion on a good starter gun.

I will definitely be checking out Bill's Gun Store and Range in my local area.


Offline theaccidentalsurvivor

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Re: New to firearms
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2009, 12:59:56 PM »
Thank you all for your feedback.  It is great to hear everyone's opinion on a good starter gun.

I will definitely be checking out Bill's Gun Store and Range in my local area.



Gun? Gun? You seem more like a machete kinda guy to me.......

Offline jvoorhees

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Re: New to firearms
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2009, 04:04:25 PM »
Gun? Gun? You seem more like a machete kinda guy to me.......

LOL

Yeah.  But I already have a ton of them!

Offline PistolWhipped

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Re: New to firearms
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2009, 09:56:28 PM »
As a first weapon, I'd usually suggest to avoid handguns.  I started on them (Ruger Single Six .22 revolver, fun little gun actually) , but one thing about them is that they don't offer the range, power, and versatility of other weapons.  Another is they are a little . . . how do I put this . . . easier to handle incorrectly.  A long arm is larger and heavier, and MUCH simpler to remember to watch muzzle position.  a handgun can be spun in an unsafe direction in less than a second.  And I REALLY prefer people get the whole muzzle control issue down before they go to handguns.  Newbies can tend to let their barrels wander.

That said, if you want to go into handguns first, as long as you are vigilant in safety and focused on learning, you can do well.  I handle handguns comparatively better than rifles, not because rifles are inferior, but as I am cross dominant and I can line up my dominant eye with the sights better than with a rifle.  AND as the ammo is cheaper, I have practiced more with them.

Offline theaccidentalsurvivor

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Re: New to firearms
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2009, 08:12:28 AM »
Just a follow up---- If you are going to go for a handgun, I would recommend a revolver.... a .38 or a .357 are nice sizes and less chance of failure than in a semiauto.... full disclosure: i own semi autos as well and have only had a few misfires and jams after putting thousands of rounds through them.

Offline Rom

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Re: New to firearms
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2009, 09:42:58 PM »
J,
   I would suggest starting with a Hunter Safety course. Not only do they teach proper firearm manipulation and safety, it enables you to get a hunting permit, and typically (always actually, I believe) the last day is a hands on day which will give you the opportunity to handle a few different types. From there you can make your own choices on which role is most important to you. A few chunks of advice though.
   On handguns, I would suggest finding a range that rents by the caliber. I hope they have those in areas other than my own. The set up at a local range here is you go in, get a quick safety briefing, pay a rental fee, purchase range approved 9mm (or any other caliber) and you can shoot any of the 9mm handguns they have in stock, one at a time. As long as you purchase from a reliable company (and the firearm fits your purpose), person fit is the most important aspect of buying a handgun. Glocks may have the most outstanding reliability record to day, but I know a decent group of people who have difficulty with the grip angle, or semi-autos in general. Your gun needs to fit you.
  On rifles, in my honest opinion, the best place to start is with a .22 LR. They can be found for very reasonable prices. Bolt, semi, etc, doesn't matter too much. I would recommend a Ruger 10/22, but that doesn't mean you should pass up a nice Marlin or H&R for a lower price. If you decide to compound on the rifle for hunting, 'Curio' style rifles (bolt action Mausers, Mosins, and Endfields) can be found for around a hundred dollars in medium to large game calibers. A mid length lever gun in 30-30 or .308 could fill a hunting/personal protection role. The .308 is a solid caliber for just about any application. Back to starting out, the .22LR will provide you inexpensive and easy beginning phases to the learning process, and building your foundation.
   Shotguns, plain and simple... Remington 870. It is not often I strongly suggest a single solution, but in this category the 870 is just simply the best. There are two approaches to owning a shotgun that can fill all roles. One is to buy a shotgun with the shortest barrel legal to hunt with (22" if I recall correctly). 22" is not overly awkward in a self defense role in my experiences (I currently own a Winchester 1200 with a 22" bbl), but if it is for you, a guy can always put a youth-size or reduces length of pull stock on. The other approach is to purchase two different sets of hardware for your 870 receiver. My brother bought an 870 with wood furniture and a 26" bbl at a show (at a screaming price) and then obtained a synthetic youth stock, hogue foregrip, and an 18" bbl (all at used prices) for tactical style shooting.
   And lastly, since you asked, for general purpose firearm ownership, I would recommend a shotgun, pump action. Most adaptable to the most applications. As always, your mileage may vary. Good luck and safe shooting.