Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Before you buy a gun: Here are some considerations

Few actions require more fore-thought than purchasing a firearm. But more important than the style, caliber, action and size is the reason for buying one in the first place. Why do you want a firearm? Do you really need it? Would you be better off without a gun? You might be surprised.
by Leon Pantenburg
For me, owning firearms was never a consideration. I come from a long line of hunters and shooters, and some of our firearms have been passed down for generations. I grew up on an Iowa farm, and all my peers hunted. Some of my first memories include my dad teaching me gun safety and how to shoot. The first item I saved up to buy was a Ruger 10/22 rifle.
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These three long guns are good, reliable choices for the beginner with no experience.
The Ruger 10/22 (top), Remington 870 pump action shotgun and Remington 700 bolt action rifle are good choices for the beginner. (Leon Pantenburg photo)

In my Dad's locked gun cabinet were firearms of many configurations, ranging from pistols to shotguns. Dad, a World War II infantryman, had an M1 Carbine, and a couple loaded clips. That was the weapon he reached for when things went bump in the night on the farm. I never occurred to me to use that M1 "assault rifle" with the extended clips to do harm to anyone.
But suppose you have no firearms background whatsoever, and are considering buying one. Let's say you are concerned about self defense, and want to be able to protect yourself and your family during a potential disaster or emergency. As a side benefit, you may want to eventually get into hunting, or think it might be a good idea to learn how to shoot accurately.
Buying a firearm is not something to take lightly. Here are some of my opinions, based on experience, that will hopefully impact your decision process.
  • I support the National Rifle Association and believe in the Second Amendment right to bear arms. But I don't think everyone should own a firearm! Anyone unwilling to invest the necessary time to become proficient with a firearm, could become a danger to himself or others. If you are mentally unstable, a convicted felon or otherwise impaired from the responsible use of a firearm, you should not have one.
  • Before you buy any firearm, take a gun and/or hunter safety course or a concealed weapons class, even if you don't intend to carry concealed. There are many educational opportunities available, and contacting the sheriff or local Fish and Game Department is a good way to locate a class. Have a safe, secure place to store the firearm and ammunition before you go shopping.
  • Why are you buying a gun? Self defense? Hunting? Recreation? Target shooting? Learn the differences between firearms - a .38 caliber snubbie for self defence will not work very well for deer hunting. And that scoped, bolt action hunting rifle might not be the best choice to repel intruders inside your apartment.
Here are some things to think about as part of the gun-buying decision process:
Where will you secure the gun? Owning a gun that can't be stored safely is irresponsible, and in my mind, is a good reason NOT to have one.

A firearm is neither good nor evil. It is an unthinking machine until someone picks it up and decides how it will be used. Possessing a gun won't keep you safe. Like anything, you must develop the skills to use the weapon.
A semi-automatic weapon, with high capacity magazine, does not make the best self defense weapon. Large capacity magazines encourage a lot of "spray-and-pray" IMHO, and the only shots that count are the ones that hit the intended target.
Last year, I interviewed U. S. Marine Kyle Thompson of La Pine, OR. Thompson had just come back from deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he had served on Recon teams. The Marines, all of whom were sniper school graduates, were frequently dropped in Taliban territory to track down terrorist bands and help defend isolated villages.
With any weapon at their disposal, Thompson said the Marines frequently relied on the bolt action, .308-caliber M-24 scoped sniper rifle. The Taliban were armed with
My Remington 700 in 7 mm magnum caliber is my choice as an elk hunting rifle, but it is not the best choice for an overall self defense weapon.
My bolt action Remington 700 in 7 mm magnum caliber is my favorite elk hunting rifle. It is not the best choice for an overall self defense weapon.

fully-automatic AK-47s. A common ambush situation, Thompson said, was that a Taliban terrorist would open up on a patrol and empty a 30-round clip in a continuous burst. The Marines could stay out of AK range and respond with a M-24. Results were predictable.
Probably the most important self-defense question is this: Are you willing to kill someone to keep yourself or loved ones safe? This question needs to be answered honestly before you go any further on the self-defense firearms purchasing path.
In his book On Killing Lt. Col. Dave Grossman argues that many people could not kill someone, even when threatened with lethal force. Killing from a distance, Grossman writes, such as artillery or bombing, can be relatively easy. But a close encounter, where you can see the other person and witness the affects of pulling the trigger, he comments, can be extremely difficult for most people.
Brigadier General S.L.A Marshall discovered this in surveys of combat military personnel.
"In World War II, only 15 to 20 percent of combat infantry were willing to fire their rifles. In Korea, about 50 percent," Marshall writes. "In Vietnam, that figure rose to more than 90 percent."
If trained military people have problems pulling a trigger during combat, what will your chances be? Your unwillingness or inability to use your gun under dire circumstances could cause you to be disarmed. Then you have armed a perpetrator.
If your mind in not made up on these points, don't buy a gun. It will do you no good, and may cause harm.
Check out this video regarding extended clips.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Top three firearms for the beginner outdoorsperson

A consistent " Where do I start?" firearms question keeps coming in from beginner outdoorspeople/preppers/survivalists. If you don't have any firearms, what should you buy and what do you need? Here are my top three choices.
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by Leon Pantenburg
I like and enjoy shooting anything that goes "boom," with a special affinity for traditional blackpowder long rifles. I support the National Rifle Association and the Second Amendment. Every year, time permitting, I hunt elk, deer, upland game, waterfowl and whatever else I can legally pursue.
These three long guns are good, reliable choices for the beginner with no experience.
These are my top three picks

But I try to stay away from writing about firearms. There is so much of it, good and BS, on the internet, that anything I contribute will be adding another drop to an already overflowing bucket.
But readers keep asking. So, here's my top three long gun choices for people starting out. You need a .22 caliber rifle, a shotgun and a centerfire hunting rifle.You can worry about handguns, black rifles and tactical guns later, once you get the basics.
Also, variations of these firearms are easy to find. If you shop around and watch your sales, you may be able to acquire all three of the suggested firearms for under $1,000.
Here's were to start with building your prepper/survival battery:
.22 caliber rifle: Everybody needs a .22. A beginner needs a manageable rifle to start out with, one that doesn't belt them in the chops every time they pull the trigger. A .22 allows a person to learn the basics of marksmanship, which will transfer over to centerfire rifles. For the beginner, a .22 is perfect. It has no kick, low noise, and ammunition is on sale all the time.
In addition to target practice, a .22 could be used for self-defense. In the hands of a cool marksman who places his shot correctly, a .22 rifle can take deer or larger game. Pick the action you like best, but some experienced shooters recommend getting the same action in your .22 as with your centerfire hunting rifle, so the muscle memory and training carries over.
Shotgun: A shotgun can be a close range weapon and a tool for harvesting small game. But properly loaded with buckshot or a slug, a well-aimed shotgun can put down any big game animal in the western hemisphere. For the newcomer, the choice of gauge narrows down to 12 gauge or the smaller 20 gauge. Any of the less common gauges might make it harder to find cheap ammunition.
Bolt action centerfire rifle: I like bolt action rifles and have hunted with them all my life. Even in the thickets of Mississippi while hunting deer, I never felt handicapped with the slower operating bolt action, as opposed to a pump or semi-automatic.
The bolt action is the choice of many top snipers and marksmen, and in addition to being a fantastic hunting rifle, the bolt action also tends to be very accurate.
My personal choices for the beginner battery are the Ruger 10/22 .22 caliber semi-automatic, a 20 or 12 gauge Remington 870 pump shotgun, and a scoped, bolt-action Remington 700. Here's why.
Ruger 10/22: I bought my Ruger in 1966, when I was 14, at Red Fox Sporting Goods, in Boone, Iowa. The Ruger cost $54, and I worked 54 hours, chopping corn out of beanfields to buy it.
The Ruger 10/22 is a rugged, reliable .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle.
My Ruger 10/22

Since then, I have shot tens of thousands of rounds through that little carbine. Plinking at targets was one of my favorite past times when I was a kid. I also shot rats at the dump and hunted small game extensively.
While I frequently rely on iron sights on other traditional-styled rifles, I like a four-power telescopic sight on my .22. In brush, the magnification allows you to see holes to shoot through. The scope helps you place your shots more accurately, making for more efficiency.
Remington 870: If I could only have one gun (Perish the thought!) is would be a 12 gauge Remington 870. Properly loaded, this gun can put down anything from flying doves to big bears.
It would be my weapon of choice in virtually any close range gunfight, and it is the weapon I reach for when things go bump in the night.
The Remington 870 Wingmaster 12 gauge is a good choice if you could only own one firearm.
 Reminton 870 Wingmaster 12 gauge

This classic American-made pump shotgun has sold over four million copies, and is the standard for many law enforcement and military agencies. A 12 gauge is the standard, but for small framed people a 20 gauge might be a better choice.
In 1982, I bought my first 870, a 12 gauge, for hunting deer with buckshot or slugs in the thick brush of Mississippi. That gun got used hard during all hunting seasons. It was also my waterfowl gun, and never failed in the mud, water, cattails and swamps. I liked it so much, I later bought a 20 gauge 870 Wingmaster for upland game. Then I bought a synthetic-stocked 870 12 gauge for my son. He can use any of my guns for hunting, but prefers the black one because of the looks.
There are any number of aftermarket upgrades that can make the 870 look badder and more tactical. But as a perpetrator deterrent, nothing quite matches the 870's signature "slicky-slick"of a round being chambered.
Remington 700: This bolt action rifle uses the same basic action as the U.S. military's M-24 sniper rifle. I own a model BDL in 7mm-08 for deer, and a synthetic Remington 700 in 7mm Remington Magnum for elk and everything else.
This Remington 700 synthetic 7 mm is my bad weather rifle and has been carried extensively elk hunting in the west.
Remington 700 synthetic 7 mm
[I also own other bolt actions, including a Ruger Mark V in .223. A Winchester 670 went through my hands a few years back. My brother Mike's Winchester pre-64 Model 70 remains one of the most accurate 30.06s I've ever fired.
No American manufacturer can afford to make a shoddy, junky bolt action centerfire rifle. If you have a favorite major manufacturer, stick with them and you won't go wrong.
As far a caliber goes, find one you can shoot, and that the ammunition will be easy to find. The.308 and .223 are military rounds and the ammunition is common and cheap. A 30.06 is never a mistake.
For a slight framed person, the light kicking .223 or .243 will be good calibers to start with.
I'm sure my personal list will cause debate (and isn't that half the fun?)
But I believe we can all agree on this: Before you buy any firearm, get some training so you are able to handle it safely. Have the means to secure the firearm in your home, and always treat every gun as if it loaded!