If you could only have one gun

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by clunker, Apr 30, 2017.

  1. clunker

    clunker Monkey

    I am planning to purchase my very first gun, and I need some advice from a homesteading perspective. Don't get me wrong. I have fired several guns in my youth, and I am still a good shot. I've just never owned any of those guns. Also, having never been a huge gun enthusiast, I have limited knowledge of what has happened to the gun market in recent years. My research suggests that many makes and models that used to be exceptional quality are now junk made overseas. Hopefully, you all can tolerate my ignorance on the subject.

    Here's the deal. I have budgeted $600 for a firearm, and I need it to do two things. I need to take down deer and possibly elk, and I need something I can use as a last resort in the event of a bear attack. You can't really hunt for deer with a handgun, so it is pretty much a question of which rifle. After a lot of research, I decided that the Ruger American 30-06 was a good, inexpensive, all-purpose rifle except for one problem. It doesn't have iron sights, and I don't think a scope would do me much good when a bear is charging from 50 ft. at 30 MPH. Any suggestions?
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  2. Tevin

    Tevin Monkey+++

    Ok, well, before anyone jumps on this, the problem with your question is that the answer is different for everyone.

    The "if you could only have one gun" and its evil twin "what is the best gun?" topics are choking the internet and IMHO, have become a tiresome, ridiculous trope that always descends into arguments, pissing matches, and hair-splitting over the various technical attributes of various guns.

    If you're not sure what you want, don't buy anything yet. Try out different models (most ranges will let you rent them), or visit a local gun club and someone will probably let you shoot whatever they have.

    Eventually you will find something that feels like "your gun". That will be the answer to your question.

    There are many, many guns thought I would love only to be disappointed when I actually tried them out.

    Good luck sorting through the $hitstorm that will surely follow this post. I hope I've helped.
    Last edited: May 1, 2017
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  3. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    It is a little over your budget, but the Ruger Gunsite Scout with synthetic stock, iron sights, and chambered in .308 Win would be my choice. It is a carbine length (16") bolt action with a detachable 10 round magazine. The .308 is fully capable of taking deer, elk and the occasional bear if need be with the right ammunition. I have seen this rifle for less than $800, like in the mid $700 range.
  4. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    And, it's off to the races!!! My experience dictates a good hard hitting bolt action with iron sights is going to do just fine in all aspects. For this recommendation and for a first time owner/shooter it's hard to find a good rifle that fits the bill, but Ruger also takes the top vote, BUT, I recommend the Guide in .30/06 as the best choice, it has a good set of iron sights, is in stainless with a laminate stock, and has a good recoil pad. Another bonus is it comes with a good set of claw mount rings for scope mounting so you could get a nice 1X4 scope to get a good hunting rifle all around. I own this vary same rifle, and I prefer the carbine size 20 in barrel with built in muzzle brake to take the recoil out during a strong string of shots. I have put down two big ass grizzlies with a bolt action rifle and this one is about the fastest bolt gun you can find with irons. For even slicker, a Tikka T3 light stainless set up with good irons ( will need to find a good gunmith) AND you would have bolt action perfection!!!
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  5. 3M-TA3

    3M-TA3 Cold Wet Monkey Site Supporter++

    If I was in big bear country I'd consider a 338 Win Magnum, outside of there a 30-06 or 308 will likely kill a smaller bear before he kills you back. I second @Ura-Ki advice above for the Ruger Guide rifle, but the MSRP is over twice your budget.

    A 1x4 variable scope will give you a nice wide field of view for close up shots and you can shoot with both eyes open, and 4x is powerful enough for longer shots. I have one on a 30'06 BAR and it's very handy. My favorite for all around use, though, is a 2x7 scope. A scope and mounts, though, is going to bust your budget, even with a Ruger American. You can join gun forums and browse the classified for good deals, though.
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  6. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Consider this one.
    Marlin 1895 G .45-70 Guide Gun 18.5
    It will hurt you if you pay insufficient attention when shooting it, even if you are very well practiced. It meets your budget and will do everything you want it to do.
  7. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

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  8. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Your right about it hurting you!!!
    When you have a bear 8ft from you, You don't feel the recoil and barely hear the muzzle blast!
  9. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    X's 2
  10. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey+++

    Savage Axis is also good, and they have with scope packages cheap enough for you to get plenty of ammo and a sling for it, though I have nothing against the ruger. for $600 with the trimmings, hard to get all the good things these days.

    Y'all may joke, but a .45-70 levergun is on my short list.
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  11. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Not joking at all. The man wants a rifle that will do what he needs done within his defined purposes. The cautionary note is needed, since as he said, his experience is limited. 45-70 is serious business.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2017
  12. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    The only way to fire 3 shots in about a second is with something with 3 round burst and I can't hit shit with 3 round bust. Needless to say something with 3 round burst is going to cost $15,000 to $20,000 or more.

    45-70 would be good because you can actually find low power rounds for old timey 1800s trap door rifles and ammo for the modern lever guns. The modern lever gun ammo packs a good bit more punch than the original spec ammo.
    Ura-Ki likes this.
  13. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    Article "Bear killed self defense with a .454" ,sold me on the caliber .
    I got a Puma stainless lever gun $600. I can shoot .45 long colt for practice and .454 for hunting.
    With a lee loader you can sit an load your own .
    Weigh what practice will cost , and don't figure on doing any hunting with out sufficient practice.
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  14. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey+++

    Even a .22lr and small game is better than trying to hunt large game without any skill. Heck ,a pump or side by side 12 gauge will do a LOT, come to that, and you could still afford a good 10/22 or model 60 .22 to get good at rifle stuff with.

    And don;t knock those old 405 grain springfield loads, they'll still kill most anything on the planet, and have. Thinking about the hunting ammo reminded me of the shotgun (slugs) which is why I brought it up, fyi.
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  15. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey+++

    Bought 1.5 your budget, but I have a savage scout with good glass on it. If you had $750 for bare irons or $900 with glass, I'd say PM me, I get at least shoot you some pics and stats.

    Personally been debating (again, honestly, liquidated a lot of stuff recently) as to whether I want a .45-70 lever or a Scout to keep long term/new main carry style. Starting to have problems with bear, coyotes, and hogs around the homestead, and my confidence level in my .45LC is not at martyrdom levels.
  16. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    Just for the record, I always carry a back up rifle when in big bear country! That rifle is either my .375 weather mag with 345 gr soft points, or a Marlin XLR lever action .45/70 loaded with 465 he solid lead bullets!!! If I am using my .338 win mag, I can usually forgo the back up! Yes, we have serious bears here, and I wouldn't trust a .308 to reach the boiler room unless I had a semi auto!!!
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  17. AxesAreBetter

    AxesAreBetter Monkey+++

    Black bear here.
  18. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Just this year started casting a 330 H.P for my 45/70's Pretty serious thumper so far.
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  19. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Ever shot a fish in the water from above? You'll eat for the day.
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  20. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    I have had really good results with a 330 gr hp in .45/70 and the 405 gr solids do very well on the large elk and bear. The 465s are too much for taking meat, but they excel in swiftly ending a charge. Lyman has the mould for the great planes buffalo bullet, that is a great choice as well when using a harder pot melt.
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