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August 15, 2003

Let the Arguments Begin

Starting next week, I am going to outline the four basic guns that I would recommend to anyone who is thinking of starting a gun collection. Discussing the virtues or vices of a particular gun or cartridge is de rigeur for any pro-gun blogger. In addition, I have noticed in my years on the internet that there is no quicker way to spark a lively debate than to promote or disparage a certain type of gun or cartridge.

My selection criteria will be based on three factors:

1. Affordability. I'm sure everyone, if they could, would drive to work in a Lexus or Porsche. But too often, economics dictate that we drive used Chevys and Fords and Toyotas. Similar with guns. We all have our dream guns, but we also have wives, children, and homes to pay for. Futhermore, not all of us are lucky enough to have wives that enjoy buying guns for their husbands. The four guns I will recommend can all be had for less than a total of $1500, based on current prices here in Northern Utah.

2. Availability. Let's face it, not all types of firearms are available in all states. Some states restrict certain types of rifles, while a few cities outlaw handguns completely. The guns I recommend, with some local exceptions, can be purchased by law-abiding citizens in all 50 states at the time of this writing.

3. Versatility. Owning an antique rifle in an obscure caliber is fine, but ammunition would probably be expensive and parts impossible to come by. Unless you are a gunsmith or a reloader, you would be less likely to shoot it enough to become proficient with it. The firearms I recommend are all manufactured by reputable US companies, chambered to commonly-used police/military calibers. This means that parts can be easily had for a reasonable price, and inexpensive jacketed ammunition for target shooting is readily available at the local sporting goods store. In addition, using the same ammunition as police and military weapons ensures that there will be a supply in case of Total Societal Breakdown (although getting one's hands on it is another question altogether).

I know my reader(s) is(are) quivering with anticipation. Let the discussion begin.

Posted by Captain Holly at August 15, 2003 02:42 PM | TrackBack
You're really trying hard to get Kim DuToit to plug this site, aren't you? Posted by: Blackavar at August 15, 2003 03:37 PM
Shameless, isn't it? Posted by: Cap'n Holly at August 15, 2003 03:45 PM
But what is the collection for? If it is for utilitarian use, obviously you need a rifle, a shotgun, a handgun, and a rimfire of some sort. If it is for defense, you need a rifle, a shotgun, a big handgun, and a little handgun. Perhaps what you intended was, what are four cool guns that everybody would probably like to have? Well, I'd answer that question, with respect to your other constraints, as: Enfield No4 rifle: Cheap, historically interesting, excellent sights, cheap surplus ammo. S&W model 66 .357: Cheap, versitile, fun. Walther PP .32 auto: Try to find a cooler pistol for under $300. Ruger Blackhawk, .45acp/.45 Colt: Because everybody needs a .45. Posted by: Mike Spenis at August 16, 2003 11:03 AM
Mine: Remington 870 12 ga., Marlin 326 30.30, Marlin 781 .22, S&W Model 10 .38 sp. All tried and true, plentiful and cheap ammo, affordable. Pete Posted by: Pete at August 16, 2003 01:11 PM
buy unregistered guns legally ????????????? Posted by: John Anderson at August 17, 2003 06:01 AM
buy unregistered guns legally?

Under federal law, it is perfectly permissable to buy a pre-1898 handgun (or replica thereof) without a license or permit of any kind. In fact, under federal law, you may even manufacture a handgun for your own use.

However, under state or local law these same actions might get you thrown in jail in a real hurry, depending upon your state, and the local laws in effect.

A few states have minimal gun laws. One of the New England states (Vermont or New Hampshire, I get them mixed up) has no state gun laws at all. You may buy a pistol there, load it, and carry it on your belt into the nearest bar to have a beer. That same state also has one of the lowest violent crime rates in the nation, as do most states with minimal gun laws. Lawes are complex, and I'm not a lawyer, but I'm pretty sure this is accurate as far as it goes.

Posted by: Mike Spenis at August 17, 2003 01:35 PM
I'm not sure what is meant by "unregistered guns", since no federal registration is required for firearms (excepting machine guns and the like). I think what the poster meant was to buy guns without having to go through a licensed dealer. After viewing the link, I'm not sure how legal this example is. The minute one converts a muzzle-loading pistol to fire centerfire cartridges, it becomes a firearm, and the 1968 GCA would apply. Posted by: Kevin at August 17, 2003 03:27 PM
The Du Toits noticing and plugging a good gun article? HA! Posted by: Mrs. du Toit at August 18, 2003 08:30 AM
No matter what the other three are, always start with a Ruger 10/22. Inexpensive, cheap to shoot (22 long rifle ammo is usually 500 for under $10.00 at most any Walmart, etc.) These guns are usually quite accurate and can be used to instill good marksmanship practices. For a little extra money, better trigger assemblies can be purchased and installed with simple tools. A semi-auto is a lot easier for a beginner to learn to shoot than even the old standby bolt action single shot. Pop in the magazine, strip a round into the chamber, DISENGAGE THE SAFETY (you did put the safety on before loading, right?), and proceed to shoot. Kids (and adults who have been firearm challenged) usually love it. I have taken fire breathing anti-gun dragons to the local range with my 10/22s of various configurations (rebuilt to target standards) and with a little coaxing and cajoling, some coaching on safety and trigger pull mechanics, have had some really good ol' times. Don't always make a convert, but usually ameliorate the anti-gun rhetoric somewhat. As for the other three guns, wide range of opinions, depending on where you live. For me, a CZ527 .223, Model 70 featherweight .243, a Browning BLR 7mm-08, and a Browning 20 gauge pump (oh wait, that's five isn't it). Gee, do I have to stop? Posted by: oldgeek at August 18, 2003 09:18 AM
Without specifying what the intended use of the guns are it's difficult to make a realistic suggestion. Still, here goes:
  1. Ruger 10/22-available everywhere and can be modded into totally unrecognizable forms. Being a .22 it's a cheap thing to shoot and is a great everyday plinker. Cheap too-Dick's Sporting Goods has them for $149.00.
  2. SKS-yes the ultimate cheap utilitarian Commie battle rifle. Because it's a C&R weapon and not classified as an assault rifle it dodges many of the bothersome rules and regulations nationwide. Like the 10/22 it can be modded, although one has to wonder why. My suggestion would be to simply replace the sights with a Williams Firesight/peep combo, and to not bother with a scope. Accurate enough out to 200 yards to be useful as a self defense weapon, and 7.62x39 mil-surplus ammo can be bought for not much more than good .22 ammo. Also useful as a club if needed. Oh, and it's also cheap-$100 to $300 will get you one.
  3. Any old 12 gauge pump shotgun-a Mossberg 500 would be an excellent pick. With the proper set of barrels you can hunt nearly anything (at least here on the East Coast) and use it to blow holes through walls if pressed. Did I mention cheap already? Every pawn shop has at least a few used pump shotguns in stock.
  4. Mauser 98k-kinda pricey nowadays but it's really one of the nicest "classic" bolt action military rifles around.
The reason why I didn't mention handguns was to try to make the list as universal as possible. Unfortunately some places like Washington DC are totally anal-retentive about guns, even the vanilla list above wouldn't fly there. Posted by: Mike Trettel at August 18, 2003 09:28 AM
Found the site from Mrs. Du Toit. Yeah, I'm one of those right wing gun nuts. Surprised that I'm responding to this article? Probably not.

Top 4 guns to start off a collection with? Hmm... Depending on what you want them to be for can be a large factor in this search. My personal list?

#1. Enfield #3. .303 British Surplus ammo is cheap but not always in good condition. More accurate than 90% of other bolt action rifles in creation, more history than about 90% of the same. Accurate, under $300 on average for the rifle, and a work of art.

#2. 1911 style pistol. Either a clone, a colt, what have you. It's THE definitave cartridge that all others are judged against, and damned fun to shoot. Also, the dinner plate sized hole it leaves as it exits the nice intruder/robber/mugger/what have you leaves a defenite impression.

#3. SKS/AK-47. Sure it's not legal in some states, but hell, who doesn't want to piss off a few lefties? Besides, ammo for it is cheap as all hell, and it's fun as shit to shoot.

#4. .357 Revolver. Bedside pistol. Able to shoot .38 special and .357, with a pistol able to do both and do it well, you'll have excellent practice, which means you'll get better with said firearm, and be able to defend yourself far better.

Of course, you can continue the list further at which point I start including things like the M1A or the M-14. The Garand, the KAR-98, the P-38, maybe a 10/22, possibly a Mossberg 500, and you keep going from there.


Posted by: Duncan at August 18, 2003 02:51 PM
ok, glock 21 and sks. and any decent 12 gauge if you live in an apartment. no sense taking out the neighbors with the intruder. Posted by: tanya at August 18, 2003 10:25 PM
I'm with Duncan, at least most of the way. I would dump his #3 (AK-47) and sub a good basic pump action 12 gauge. As $$ is an issue, a Remington 870 short barrel would be my pick. If we are stuck in an urban environment at the end of civilization, I'd go for a M-14 or M-1 in .308 instead of the Enfield. Posted by: Pete the 2nd at August 19, 2003 10:20 AM
At then end of civilization, in an urban environment, Pete? So you've been to Washington DC, to Florida Ave & North Capitol Street, Northwest?* * FYI - there's a gas station there where a fellow was shot to death last spring. A number of patrons pulled in, tanked up, and drove off, leaving the man to bleed out on the concrete in front of the gas pump. Nor did the attendant call the cops. The end of civilization indeed... Posted by: Blackavar at August 20, 2003 04:41 PM
OK, I gotta put my two cents in. #1: 30-06. That's just a favorite of mine. Yeah, I'm biased. #2: .357, because as someone stated, you can use .38 ammo as well. Bonus! #3: Pump action 12 guage. As a SGT once told me, "Have faith in the spread pattern, my son!" #4: .22 rifle. Varmint hunting, rabbit hunting, practice, cheap but reliable, and enough tiny rounds (as a last resort) and the charging bad guy might not be charging anymore. Like I said, just my two cents. Posted by: Raging Dave at August 20, 2003 11:51 PM
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