Firearms for Hunting and Home Defence...

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 11/07/2009 - 12:24am.

This column is intended for those considering their first Firearms Purchase.  Given the current economic deterioating social condition in the US,  many people who never considered owning a firearm have now decided to do so. ~ George Potts Thompson 

First let me highly encourage everyone to seek out a good NRA instructor to learn SAFETY.  I won't go into great detail as space doesn't permit it but these are the Four Basic Safety Rules.

  1. Treat every gun as if it is loaded, whether you know it to be or not.  If someone checks a gun to ensure it's unloaded and then hands it to you, check it AGAIN.
  2. Never place your finger inside the Trigger Guard until you are ready to shoot .
  3. Never point the muzzle at anything you do not want destroyed.
  4. Always be sure of your "Backstop."  You do not want a bullet passing through your mark and hitting an unintended target.

Three Essential Firearms to Own

A gun is a TOOL.  A very personal and potentially lethal tool, but a tool nonetheless.  These "tools" need to perform their intended tasks (Engage Targets or Game) at Short, Medium and Long Distances.

Short Distance Work

(Especially for Personal Protection) is best served by the Handgun.  Most US States now will issue a "Carry Permit" for qualified individuals, and many states have "Reciprocity" agreements with those states.  A Virginia License to Carry a Firearm is recognized by Pennsylvania et al.

If you have NO experience with Firearms, the Revolver is the easiest to master as it functions simply. An Autoloader ( Semi-Automatic ) is a better tool since its Magazine (not "Clip") holds up to 16 Rounds ( Cartridges ).  It is also more complex and therefor potentially less safe for a Novice, and many women have difficulty pulling back the Slide on an Autoloader in order to chamber a round.

Any Hammerless "Double Action Only" two inch revolver in .38 Caliber will suffice for self defence against Human Predators.  "Double Action" ( a bit of a misnomer ), refers to the weapon's ability to only function in "Double Action" mode, as in pulling the trigger to rotate the Cylinder and cock the internal Hammer for firing.  The term "Single Action" refers to manually cocking the external hammer on a "Single Action" revolver.  The 1873 Colt Single Action Army is a recognizeable example to anyone who ever saw a Western movie.

Many women learn to easily use handguns like the "Lady Smith" or Smith and Wesson Hammerless two inch barreled .38 Caliber five shot.  At fifteen to twenty feet it is accurate enough, the Trigger Pull Weight and Recoil ( "Kick" ) is manageable, and fifteen to twenty is the range at which most gunfights occur.  The "Hammerless" design leaves no hammer to snag on clothing when drawing the weapon.

Taurus, Rossi, Charter Arms also manufacture similar weapons for less money, but when your LIFE is in the balance?  Buy the best tool regardless of cost. "Cheap" and "Lifesaving" don't go together. Used revolvers are also an alternative provided that they "Lock Up" tightly with no loosness in the cylinder when the weapon is "In Battery" and ready to be fired.

Medium range work

The 12 Gauge Pump Action Shotgun nicely serves in this application.  Shotguns can utilize a variety of "Loads" (Pellet Size and Powder Charge ), including "Rifled Slugs" which are great for harvesting White Tailed Deer out to about 75 Meters maximum range in most cases. This requires an additional barrel with sights which can be changed in less than 30 Seconds.

The Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 are not overly complicated to master, nor difficult to "Field Strip" to clean and maintain.  It is also an excellent Home Defence Weapon.  Even when loaded with Defensive Loads like "Double Ought" buckshot, it is far less likely to Overpenetrate a wall and hit a family member in another room unlike a Handgun round which easily penetrates Drywall.

Shotgun rounds have great Stopping Power, but lose energy rapidly.  In many semi-rural areas deer may only be hunted with Shotguns with Slugs by law, since the Rifled Slugs have far less range than a Rifle bullet.

Long Range Work

The providence of The Rifle.  For our purposes here out to 300 Meters.  Although even the 5.56 MM AR-15 has an effective range of 460 Meters, and a Remington M-40 Tactical Rifle out to 800 to 1000 Meters.  A Novice will realistically not be engaging targets at those ranges.  Becoming competent at 100 Meters initially is more real world.

For a Novice shooter any good Bolt Action rifle in around .30 caliber ( 3/10s Inch Diameter Bullet ) will suffice.  Used Commercial Hunting Rifles can be had for around $ 500.00 and up. There are less expensive alternatives.  You can also pick up a used .22 Bolt Action Rifle to practice with for very little money.

Surplus Military Rifles like the Swiss K-31 in 7.5 Caliber are great, afforable, accurate, reliable and fun to shoot.  Ammunition is expensive, but due to "Obamanitis,"  ALL ammunition has become expensive.  The old Brit Lee Enfield in .303 Cal. is an inexpensive but reliable .30 Cal Rifle.  Surplus ammunition in .303 can still be found unlike 5.56MM or 7.62X51 (.308 ) which has all but disappeared.

Best "bargain" Surplus Rifle?  Russian Mosin Nagant 91-30 or 44 carbine in 7.62X54 MM.  My Son-In-Law bought a Mosin 91-30 for $75.00 new with the Cosmoline Grease still in it.  The trigger pull was 9 pounds, and the recoil was crisp. Because of the heavy trigger, accuracy was so so.  It's not in a class with the US Springfield 03' or German K-98 by a long shot.  But it works and ammo is still plentiful.

Carbines ( a Long Arm which shoots an "Intermediate" powered round ) like the SKS will suffice to ranges of 300 Meters, but the SKS suffers from mediocre accuracy due to their "Short Sight Radius."  It is a simple, inexpensive Weapon which holds Ten Rounds of 7.62X39 MM and does have the advantage of being an "Autoloader" or Semi-Automatic.  Quality varies greatly however depending on which nation produced it.

An overlooked choice

"THE LEVERGUN" or Lever Action Rifle has been around since B. Tyler Henry introduced it in 1860.  Anyone who has seen a Western Film or TV series will easily recognize it, like Chuck Conners', and "The Duke's" Winchester Mod. 1892 "Loop Lever."

Why the old Lever Action Rifle, when Bolt guns have greater range and accuracy?  The Levergun is accurate enough, fast handling, plentiful, and inexpensive if it's a used gun.  They also have Magazine Capacities of 7 rounds of .30 30 and up to 11 in .45 Colt depending on the length of the Magazine Tube.

Marlin, Rossi, Aldo Uberti ( bought out by Beretta ) all make versions of this rifle in both Pistol ( .357 .44 40 .44 Magnum and .45 Colt ) and numerous Rifle calibers, and there are millions of Marlin 336s and Winchester Mod. 94's in .30 30 Cal. in the used market.

A used Marlin Mod. 336 in .30.30 Caliber and NRA "Very Good" Condition can be had for $300.00.  Leverguns in the past suffered from short range as their Bullets by necessity were "Round Nosed" which made the bullet encounter more wind resistant in flight.

They had to be Round Nosed as the bullets sat stacked in a Tubular Magazine under the Barrel.  If they were nice aerodynamic Spitzer ( Pointy Nosed ) rounds the rifle's recoil would make the pointed ends act exactly like a Firing Pin and detonate the "Primer" causing ALL the cartridges to detonate thereby blowing the rifle to bits along with the Shooter.

Hornady solved this ballistic deficiency by introducing a Spitzer ( pointy ) bullet with a soft nose.  This gives the old .30 30 much greater muzzle velocity and greater range. Hornady went to the trouble since the Lever Action Rifle is so popular in North America.

I have heard of Alaskan Bush Pilots stowing .450 Marlin "Take Downs" Leverguns in their aircraft as they have the energy to stop a Brown Bear. The old Levergun also has the advantage of being able to be "Topped Off " when in use so the magazine tube doesn't run "Dry" (Empty).

This column was not intended to be comprehensive, and the guns suggested were for the Novice, and not for experienced shooters, Ex-Infantrymen, or other Armed Professionals who would obviously make different choices. But these firearms will serve the user well.

George Potts Thompson - November 3, 2009 - source CanadaFreePress

Retired US Army, University Graduate, and Private Detective who does lots of undercover work ( I Did, Narcotics Investigations for Likes Bros. Shipping ) & wishes annonymity for Obvious reasons & therefore writes under a Pen Name. George Potts Thompson can be reached at:

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Sat, 11/07/2009 - 12:24am.