Last questions before I take the plunge


Control Group
February 8, 2005, 02:40 PM
OK, I've finally decided the trigger, for lack of a better phrase, on a gun trial/purchase. A couple quick questions before I head out to a shop after work.

First, the gun itself. I'm pretty much decided on a .22 revolver (.22 because most people seem agreed it's the "right" caliber to start with, revolver because its simplicity and reliability will hopefully ease me into proper gun care/maintenance). Any recommendations on specific guns I should be looking at? Anything I should definitely stay away from?

Second, it's intended for target shooting, not personal defense (insert snide Gary Sherman remark here). Cost is most definitely a factor, but I don't want to be stuck with something I'll hate a year from now. I'm perfectly willing to buy used, and looks are unimportant. How much should I reasonably expect to spend?

Third, I'm in Wisconsin. I believe we have a 48-hour waiting period on handguns, can anyone confirm or debunk this thought (links to sites with WI firearm purchase laws would be great)? I expect to have to provide proof of physical address and submit to a background check, is there anything else I should be prepared to do/know?

Fourth (and finally), to anyone who buys or has bought guns in the Milwaukee area: any opinions on Fletcher Arms, The Shooters Shop, or Badger Outdoors*? Those appear to be the closest dealers to where I live. Any positive/negative experiences?

Anyway, thanks in advance for any input you can give me. Hopefully, this will be the last time I come begging for help - in a couple days, I should be posting about what I bought, and how the purchase and my first-ever time firing a gun went!

*My initial inclination is to steer away from Badger Outdoors, since I only know about them through one of Monkeyleg's posts, and they're apparently unwilling to advertise on his web site. But if they turn out to be the ideal store otherwise, I won't stand on principle.

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February 8, 2005, 02:55 PM
Ruger Single Six or Bronwing BuckMark camper

The ruger is a wheele gun and is a pistol that many a kid has cut thier teeth on in my parts growing up, loading and unloading that sucker has you making sure that each shot counts, and little ammo is wasted.

The Browning is a auto loader and is a ton of fun to shoot, but you go through ammo fast, not such a good thing when learning marksmanship, but fun as all get out.

I give a nod to the ruger, because everyone should have a 22 to teach some one else on, and the ruger is pretty simple to operate, and you don't have to worry about a magazine to lose.

February 8, 2005, 03:00 PM
I would go to each store and see what they have and how you are treated. It's more legwork, but gun shopping is fun anyway.

February 8, 2005, 03:04 PM
.22 revolver?

Look for an old S&W model 17 (or a new 617).

February 8, 2005, 03:27 PM
S & W 617. I can't remember what the waiting period is; it's been too long since I've bought a pistol! :o There's a Scheel's by Milwaukee, isn't there? Dunham's are good, I know there's one over there somewhere. (I'm on the WI-MN border.) If you happen to find a Colt Diamondback in .22, buy it! (They are excellent, but have been out of production for a long time. :( )
A .22 revolver will be a gun you will enjoy long after you've 'graduated' to other weapons. You'll find it come along on every range trip, and gets shot, if not by you, by any beginning shooters you bring with you.
Find a range with good facilities and range safety control, and let them know you are a new shooter. They should either have a Range Officer helping you, or they'll know which members there to put you by. Most of us experienced shooters love to teach new shooters, and the range guys should know who is better at it. Safety first! Study the Four Rules, and live by them. They have saved my life more than once. :uhoh: I just wish I could be there; the smile on a new shooters face always makes my day! :)

February 8, 2005, 03:45 PM
Another vote for an older model 17 S&W. I have one that is incredibily accurate.


February 8, 2005, 03:46 PM
The Ruger Single Six comes in two flavors and three barrel lengths. The basic 6-shooter has fixed sights just like a Colt 45. The Super Six has an adjustable rear sight, which is what you should get if you want it for target shooting. I'm partial to the "Colt 45" style, so I have a Ruger.

On the other hand, look at the Taurus lineup. They have several .22 offerings, including a couple that should be good for target shooting.

Both the Ruger Single Six and some of the Taurus models are also available in .17, which makes very small holes but shoots very flat. Since you haven't bought yet, it's worth considering.

February 8, 2005, 03:52 PM
My $.02...

Single Action: Ruger Single Six
Double Action: S&W 617. This (or similar gun, Taurus maybe?) would be my first choice in a .22 revolver. It will allow you to practice your DA trigger pull as well as allow you to shoot SA for precision target practice.

February 8, 2005, 03:53 PM
cant go wrong with a ruger..

I'm assuming this is your first gun? If so, better start saving your money :D

February 8, 2005, 03:53 PM
If you like single actions then the Ruger Single Six would be nice.

If you want a DA then IMHO the S&W 617 or 17 is at the top.
They are finely crafted.
BUT...expect to pay the price of a centerfire S&W revolver. The cheapest I've seen a new 617 is $650.
If you're one of those people who appreciate attention to detail and high quality then the 617 is worth the money.

For half the cost you can get a Taurus Tracker 970 or a model 94. The 94 is smaller than the tracker and comes in shorter barrels, but overall design is similar.
The tracker comes in only a 6.5" barrel.
I had a Tracker 970 and for the money it was a good gun.
I'd say it's 3/4th of the quality of the S&W at half the cost.
I sold it to get a Ruger GP-100 357mag and have regretted it since, but because they aren't expensive I know I can eventually get another.

February 8, 2005, 03:59 PM
I don't want to be misunderstood, but you sound apprehensive! I remember my first gun purchase (Ruger 22/45 which is a 10 round, semi-auto in .22) I spent many hours researching everything ever written about guns and finally settled on the Ruger which I still have, still love and still shoot!

Go with the S&W 617 revolver, I have one of those also. Great gun, perfect for basics, eats all the 550 rounds of Federal ammo you can feed it!
Have fun with it!

February 8, 2005, 04:02 PM
I would look at a Ruger 22/45 or one of the new Ruger Mark III. They can be had for under $300 and are super fun to shoot. In the state of WI they make you go to the dealer fill out all the paperwork then go back 48 hours later to pickup your gun.

February 8, 2005, 04:05 PM
S&W Model 617. A great revolver, and you get 10 shots out of it instead of the usual 6 or 7. Here's one I put a red-dot scope on...

February 8, 2005, 04:09 PM
Dunham's are good, I know there's one over there somewhere. (I'm on the WI-MN border.)

Dunhams quit selling handguns years ago.

February 8, 2005, 04:10 PM
When I went what you're going through, I got a Ruger Single Six, and I've never regretted it. I like the fact that you can shoot LR and Magnum ammo both out of it due to the interchangeable cylinders. It's accurate, durable, and generally a nice quality gun that is easy to shoot. It's also a classic, one that I've never seemed to outgrow or get tired of. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

February 8, 2005, 05:40 PM
I like the Ruger single six for single action.
Double action, Smith or Taurus.
The Ruger 22/45 is a great little pistol, lots of fun to shoot. Don't rule it out for a first gun.

Let us know what you get! :D

Standing Wolf
February 8, 2005, 05:44 PM
In my admittedly slightly less than humble opinion, the smart money is on going to ranges with firearms for rent. Try before you buy may cost a little more up front, but you won't waste hundreds of dollars on guns you won't like.

February 8, 2005, 06:18 PM
I would look at a Ruger 22/45 or one of the new Ruger Mark III. They can be had for under $300 and are super fun to shoot.
Didn't the man open this thread by stating that he wants to buy a REVOLVER?

February 8, 2005, 06:21 PM
I won't give advice on the gun, Control Group, because I'm not familiar with all of them.

The waiting period is 48 hours for handguns, no waiting period for rifles. You'll need your drivers license. As for what not to screw up, just read the 4473 carefully. Every so often the BATFE changes the questions slightly.

All three shops are good, and each with its own positives. Badger will likely be the lowest-priced on a particular gun if they have it. Shooters Shop may be a bit more than Fletchers, but not much.

In terms of firearms knowledge, I'd give the nod to the guys at the Shooters Shop. Kevin (the owner) hires people who are near-experts in their own areas, and any questions you have will be directed to the guy who knows the most about that subject. And, if you've never seen or handled an Ed Brown, Les Baer or Wilson pistol, you'll find plenty of them there to drool over.

The people at Fletchers--especially Terry--are really down to earth, great guys. Their selection is good, although you'll notice the store has that "older gun shop" feel to it. I think the owner, John, likes it that way. There's a table where the regulars drink coffee and shoot the breeze. They even allow smoking. :what:

I don't have anything personal against Badger. Mick, Wally and I have been friends for years. I'm just ticked that Mick was encouraging me to go forward with my website idea, and said that $10 a month was "peanuts." Then, after I put in nearly a year of work, he just blows me off. I'll talk to him about my "issue" next time I stop in.

The main thing that ticks me off about Badger is that they throw away the flyers we drop off for concealed carry. Don't ask me why, but they either have them hidden under the counter, or they just go in the trash. After about a year, I decided to stop even bothering dropping flyers, donation jars or email alert signup sheets there.

Fletchers and Shooters Shop, on the other hand, have gone far out of their way to support concealed carry and the WCCA. They even encourage people to put their change into the donation jars.

Good luck!

By the way, if you want to check out another shop in the area, try Shooters Sports Center in Caledonia. It's a bit of a drive, but they have some good IDPA shoots there, as well as machine gun shoots.

Control Group
February 9, 2005, 03:01 PM
First, thanks to everyone who replied; good input all around. Second, an update.

Plans have been somewhat delayed: I wasn't able to get out of the office until almost 7:00 yesterday, so by the time I got to the store (The Shooter's Shop in West Allis), it was 20 minutes to closing time. This was not, however, a wasted trip! For one thing, I signed up for a basic pistol class tomorrow evening, so I'm a bit excited about that. For another, I talked to two of the gentlemen there, one whose name I (unfortunately) neglected to get, and Pete. Asked about the purchase process, what I should expect, and so forth.

Anyway, they asked what I was planning on using the pistol for, so I explained I was (initially, at least) just planning on using it recreationally on ranges, and was thinking along the lines of a .22 revolver. Both the Man With The Unknown Name and Pete immediately shook their heads, and said that I'd almost certainly be better off with an autoloader.

I was a bit surprised, but didn't pursue the issue (I should have, I know, but I have to admit I was more than slightly intimidated by their obviously superior expertise in the area, so I just went with it. I think I suddenly understand more how my mom feels when she has to take a car in to get fixed). I'm not sure what to make of it. I don't want to just dismiss their opinions and advice - particularly when I specifically asked for them - but I also don't want to just blindly "follow the leader."

The bad news, though, is my car became suddenly unmuffled this morning. I just took it in a couple hours ago (I don't do exhaust work; it's worth the money to me to not have to break the bolts free) and I don't have an estimate yet...but it sounds like the cylinders are open to the air. So I'm expecting a new catalytic converter (read: box full of platinum) or a new front exhaust pipe. Probably be $300 - $500. So no matter how tomorrow goes, looks like my first gun purchase is going to be postponed a couple weeks. :(

February 9, 2005, 03:35 PM
Ah, those knowledgeable experts!
I have two .22 wheel guns (Ruger Single Six and S&W 617). I also have a Ruger 22/45 semi-auto. I love all three, but there is room in my heart for my rifles and shotguns and all the other pistols I own. You are not better off with an auto-loader. Actually, you won't be better off with a wheel gun. That is not the point. You want a wheel gun, wheel guns are cool, therefore: get the wheel gun.

Opinions are like ..... everyone has one and they all stink.

February 9, 2005, 05:29 PM
When I lived in WI I spent all my gun $ at Badger

February 9, 2005, 05:56 PM
Control Group, I'm extremely surprised that they would suggest an autoloader instead of the revolver that you said you wanted.

Next time you're in there, press them on that question. I'd be anxious to know what they say.

February 9, 2005, 06:37 PM
All I have been shooting lately are revolvers. biggest plus for a .22 revolver over an auto, they are not ammo sensitve at all.

Jeff Timm
February 9, 2005, 07:58 PM
Double Action Revolvers, simple, easy to insure safe, more difficult to shoot than a semi-auto.

Semi-auto, proper clearing proceedure necessary, but not difficult, more accurate, but not by much. People with a military background have experience with semi-auto proceedures. Generally less expensive.

I have a Ruger MK II target and a 4" Ruger SP-101 .22 LR. I'm not giving up either one.

S&W Semi-auto $401

S&W DA Revolver $636

Who likes the S&W revolver.

February 9, 2005, 10:34 PM
Everyone needs a single action revolver of some kind, teaches so many fundamentals of shooting, and just generally a joy to shoot.

Another vote for the Ruger.

February 10, 2005, 04:39 PM
I have a Buckmark and I love it. Loads of fun to shoot. .22's are so inexpensive you don't have to worry about cost. I have a Ruger Bearcat and I hate it. It takes forever to load and shoot. I use it for demonstration purposes in my First Steps class and that's about it. Go with an autoloader and have fun.

February 10, 2005, 04:52 PM
I'm going to say....High Standard Sentinel.

It's a .22lr, DA, 9 shot revolver with a lightweight alloy frame & inexpensive. My father in law has one that I'm hoping to shoot sometime soon. He and I fish a lot and he said it was perfect for snakes and such when your out in the woods and streams.

Gunbroker has them going for less than $300.

I have two Ruger Mark IIs that are great fun, but maybe not the best for a first gun.

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