seeking advice


Agent P
August 16, 2005, 08:50 PM
I'm new to the world of guns, and I was curious as to what you experienced folks would tell yourselves if you could go back to when you were a newbie. What is something important you wished you knew from the get-go? Thanks.

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August 16, 2005, 08:52 PM
I wish I'd had the money to buy a .22 and a defense gun in a bigger caliber. As it was, I bought my defense gun (9mm) and learned on it, but I think I would have been a better shooter, sooner, if I'd started on a .22.

One thing I did right: I started taking classes right away. Yeah, they cost money. And yeah, it's embarrassing to be the newest shooter in the class. But they save you soooo much time, effort, and aggravation -- not to mention avoiding bad habits from the beginning -- that good classes are absolutely worth it for a beginner.


August 16, 2005, 09:00 PM
Hey Agent P!
My advice:
Figure out what you want to shoot. Pistol, rifle, shotgun, blunderbuss, whatever.
Poke around and find a good deal on somthing. If your shooting pistol, i'd start with a .22 or 9mm or thereabouts (great deals available, not too expensive ammo), picking up a .45 is a sure way to develop a flinch (and empty your bank account QUICK)

Pick somthing that feels good in your hands. I feel in love with the 1911 platform the first time i handled one... it just felt *RIGHT* Same with my Browing Auto-5 shotgun.

Step 1) Buy ammo.
Step 2) Use up.
Step 3) Repeat.
(BA/UU/R :D You'll probably see it frequently 'round here.)

Simple, right? :)
Addictive as heck too.

Welcome to the sport!
(Oh, guns have a nasty habit of reproducing while your not looking. Be prepared :evil: )

Standing Wolf
August 16, 2005, 09:04 PM
I've always wished I had sense enough to buy more high end guns in my youth, when they were more plentiful and affordable, although I didn't have a great deal of money then. They High Standards and Pythons I buy today generally need a fair amount of work. If I'd bought them decades ago, they'd still be in tip-top shape.

August 16, 2005, 09:09 PM
.22's are great beginner guns. Sure, bigger guns are fun for making more noise and bigger holes, but after 10 years of hunting/shooting and a year or two of more intensive target shooting, I find myself buying .22's to fill all the holes where my collection should have started.

That, and milsurp guns can be a great deal. The Swiss K31 is a great gun, and can be had under $100.

August 16, 2005, 09:15 PM
I have go with the "get a .22" camp as well. after shooting for over 20 years, my most used guns are my single-six and my 10/22

August 16, 2005, 09:18 PM
i would have started competing years earlier. most of the guys on the HP line are old and can't see anymore. they all complain about how they wish they'd started shooting HP in their youth.

August 16, 2005, 09:31 PM
1. Don't sell a gun unless you're absolutely certain you don't want it.

2. Don't be seduced by low price. Save a little longer and get what you REALLY want.

3. Spend a little more time researching accessories before buying.

4. Never buy a gun just because it's cheap.

5. Shoot more.

August 16, 2005, 09:32 PM
"Don't take that job in California" :uhoh:

August 16, 2005, 09:43 PM
there are good guns,and cheap guns,but the two very seldom go together.Buy a few good guns instead of a bunch of 'pawn shop' junkers that 'could be fixed up/spruced up',etc.

August 16, 2005, 09:53 PM
The most fun I ever had with a gun is bunnywabbits with a .22 pistol. Loved every minute of it, every bowl of rabbit chili. I also hunted ptarmigan but that was in Alaska and I am told shooting birds on the ground with a pistol is just not done in the lower 48. If I had it to do over again I would have hunted those snow bunnies with a .36 navy cap and ball pistol. I would always shoot them in the neck anyway so the .36 would work. Get as far away from everyone as you can, alone. Enjoy.

August 16, 2005, 10:13 PM
"I am told shooting birds on the ground with a pistol is just not done in the lower 48."

Grouse, but that is it.

August 16, 2005, 10:14 PM
(1) Shoot with someone who has some experience at first. (2) Learn the safety rules for handling firearms. (3) Buy a good 22 revolver or auto pistol to learn how to shoot. (4) Learn how to disassembe auto pistols like the 1911 if you buy one. (5) Don't buy a lot of things like holsters unless you intend to carry out in the woods or carry concealed. I have wasted a lot of money on good holsters just to let them gather dust. (5) Buy only quality firearms. Don't be too influenced by price although the Ruger 22 pistols are very good. (6) If you like revolvers, buy them and don't be too influenced by all the young shooters with their 9mm autos and larger capacity magazines. (7) As mentioned, don't sell your guns unless you absolutely don't like it. View quality firearms as something akin to gold... price generally increases over the long haul. (8) Don't get too hung up on price; look for FAIR prices on the firearms you desire to own and buy them. (9) Buy your guns before you get married as things may change. Priorities certainly change. (10) If you desire to start collecting guns, decide what you really like and stick to that general area. You are less likely to sell or trade them. (11) In most cases, if you see a gun at a gun show or store and it is sold before you made a decision, don't sweat it as there usually will be another one just like it. (There are exceptions.) (12) If you like gun shows, take cash enough for whatever that special something you desire is worth. (13) Start a envelope fund for guns and use that for shows and purchases. (14) Buy reference materials if you collect guns. Knowledge is important.

Agent P
August 17, 2005, 05:43 AM
I appreciate all the advice. Thanks everyone!

August 17, 2005, 06:30 AM
Take as much training as possible as early as possible.

I wasted a lot of time and ammo before I learned how to fight.

August 17, 2005, 07:17 AM
Great advice. I'll reinforce with:

When starting out, have an experienced shooter guide you for a little really helps to catch poor shooting procedures before they become habits. I had no idea what a "sight picture" was when I got started.

When shooting, have fun, be safe, and concentrate on doing it by the numbers...improvement and skill are more a factor of sheer repetition than inherent "talent." I spent way too much time early on beating myself up for "terrible groups." As I shot more and more, concentrating on consistence, not groups, it just "happened" to get much, much better.

Make your gun selection decision based on your needs, abilities and preferences, mixed with a little dose of friendly input. [As you can see on this site, there are endless discussions regarding "revolvers vs. autos," and "the 'best' calibers."] After a little practice, input from're the one that has to shoot the thing, get what you like. I fell for the idea that "big is always better" when I purchased my first, a Ruger .41 mag. Let me tell you, that was no way to get started!

Be safe, relax, determine your needs and desires for gun purchases, and shoot often.

August 17, 2005, 07:43 AM
Everything Len said.

You need to build shooting skills on a sound foundation. Learn the fundamentals. You can learn them from a qualified experienced friend or pay for a class or three. Too many will spend $700.00 on the machine yet, hesitate to spend $50.00 on learning how to use it, then wonder why they don't enjoy it.

Buy the guns you want, not what I want you to own. Listen to everyone but make up your own mind based on what suits you.

The .22 is great to have on hand. I have been shooting at various levels for 30 years. I recently found myself flinching. Spent some time with the .22 erasing a bad habit that had developed.

Make shooting a social event. It is much more fun and you will learn much as well as meet people with a common interest.

Have fun.

Greg L
August 17, 2005, 07:48 AM
Learn how to properly hold a semi auto pistol. Otherwise you may end up with an interesting slide shaped scar on your off hand thumb.

Huh? Why that's just a bit of random information that popped into my head. I would never do something so foolish.... :uhoh:


August 17, 2005, 08:47 AM
I ALWAYS take one with me to the range...least expensive trigger time you can get...which means you improve faster,and get more comfortable faster...Can get whole box of .22s for what it costs for 1 round of some of my centerfire rifles...

But I disagree somewhat about buying inexpensive guns...There's quite few out there, reasonable priced, and more than adequate for a beginner...And,until you find out what you really like, they'll get you started. If you buy used, you can often trade/sell them later without losing much of anything. Heck the most expensive gun I own cost $350, the least expensive(2)were given to me...There's a bunch in between, and all do exactly what I expect of them.

August 17, 2005, 08:59 AM
Another vote for getting involved in organized competition - not to get too "serious" - just for fun.

You probably will find the really good shooters will be supportive and provide some coaching, to get you started with good habits, not bad habits.

No one at the match ever told me to go home and not come back until I could post respectable scores. I think you will be pleased to find that most really good shooters are not snotty like that - they honestly want you to come to the match, shoot well, and enjoy the sport. Not interested in belittling your performance - interested in getting you to shoot better, have fun, and swell the ranks.

Oh - and "Yes!" to the .22 - everything others have said good about the .22 is right, and you may find that even after you are comfortable with more "powerful" calibers, you go back to the .22 for relaxation and to hone your edge.

Have fun!

August 17, 2005, 09:35 AM
Don't sell guns.
You'll miss the ones you let get away.

August 17, 2005, 10:16 AM
What the heck was post #17? :confused:

Ala Dan
August 17, 2005, 10:33 AM
Att: Agent P

From past experience, I'd say stay away from POS firearms! You know,
those inexpensive knock off's that are on most dealers shelves.
If money is an object (which it is for many persons, including myself),
save up the dollars and buy only quality firearms as made by a
reputable manufactuer of fine firearms. :D

August 17, 2005, 11:18 AM
If you know what it is and you have the money, buy it. Even if you just got laid off. The government is going to change the laws so you can't have it. I'd have a BAR if I had known that.
If you're looking at any Lee-Enfield from anywhere or anybody, always check the head space.

August 17, 2005, 11:28 AM
"Hi cap" guns allow you to miss more. :cuss:

August 17, 2005, 12:11 PM
What the heck was post #17?


August 17, 2005, 12:14 PM
To re-enforce what everyone else has said: go with someone who knows how to shoot or take a class. When I bought my first pistol I went to the range and blasted through a box of ammo, had trouble keeping it on the target at 7 yds. Repeat once a week for about a month.

Went shooting with a friend who shoots IPSC, IDPA, GSS etc., spent most of the afternoon going over the basics and working rifle (since I'm much more comfortable shooting a rifle thanks the the Army). I finally got a good smooth trigger pull right before the day was over, couldn't repeat it with the rest of my magazine, but I know knew what I was after.

The next week I went to the range by myself, the first round out of the weapon was dead center in the X. The second followed it. I had found my trigger pull. Now to just get it down fast :)

I probably could have gotten a good pull a lot faster by going with a .22. The flinch you can get from a larger caliber weapon can be massive if you're suspectible to it. Dry fire a ton. There's no better way to learn how to acquire a sight picture, or to see if your pulling the sights off. Just make sure to get snap caps or the like if your weapon needs them. Also for something like practicing your draw, dry fires are a foot/leg saver.

Also avoid gadgeting up your weapon or swapping out parts to improve your groups. The vast majority of begginers don't shoot even close the accuracy of their weapon and ammo. My first weapon had a +8# trigger on it, I could have easily plunked down the money to have it lightend, etc. but I'm glad I didnt. Now I can shoot good tight groups with a heavy trigger, and borrowing my friends customized match gun makes it's really easy to do the same or better.


August 17, 2005, 12:29 PM
"I am told shooting birds on the ground with a pistol is just not done in the lower 48."

Grouse, but that is it."

I may be mistaken, but I believe Blue or Scaled Quail may be taken on the ground if they refuse to fly.

Another vote for the 22lr. I spend at least 75% of my pleasure shooting with it. If I lived in the country I'd spend the majority of my firearms use with it as well. A shotgun would be my next choice.

August 17, 2005, 01:24 PM
Wait to build a huge collection untill you can really afford it. Otherwise BA/UU/R you don't need a lot of bells and whistles on your gun till you shoot perfect. Taticool rail lights and lasers and all that just take money away from ammo.

And get into the swing of cleaning your guys right when you get home. Its easy to get lazy.

August 17, 2005, 06:11 PM
"I may be mistaken, but I believe Blue or Scaled Quail may be taken on the ground if they refuse to fly."

In Idaho, grouse are the only game bird that can be shot with anything other than a shotgun.

Agent P
August 17, 2005, 10:02 PM
Yeah, I've found myself flinching when shooting the powerful stuff. I've started reading Handguns '97 and today learned of the push-pull method of holding a gun. I don't think I use an actual stance or even proper hand placement so that'd be a good place to start acquiring the appropriate habits.

I definitely won't be moving to California, but thanks for the warning, Telperion. ;)

And again, thanks to everyone for the suggestions.

August 17, 2005, 10:35 PM
I guess I would say, first of all, Don't shy away from NRA organized marksmanship programs, if there are any around in your area. Rifle or Pistol shooting teams with good coaches will teach you skills fast and well, and get you into matches where you can really see the results of your practice.
I recently took an NRA instructor course, and I was the only one there who'd gone through any NRA Jr Rifle, Rifle, etc, and apparently it's quite rare. That's a shame, because they are good programs. If you learn the fundamentals screwy, it's much harder to unlearn that and relearn them right than it is to do it right the first time. 90% of people are interested in wicked ninja tactical combat, and not at all in practicing. Practicing without a coach/observer is a lot harder way to improve, since you can't always see your own mistakes. There are ways to do it, but it's harder.
Adding to that, it's not like riding a bike. The less you practice, the more you slip. You can be chewing out 10 rings with your 9mm or shooting perfect 200's with your .22 in NRA smallbore; stop shooting for a few months, a year, more, and the skills deteriorate. That's another reason it's important to have a good baseline grasp on the fundamentals. You don't really loose breathing, trigger squeeze, sighting, etc, it's just the whole business of tying them together just right that goes, in my experience.
Final thought: don't sell any firearm you've inherited. Things you've bought, ok, you'll probably just get taken in the deal, but anything that stood up to that "new cool gun" pressure in great grandpa's gun cabinet is a keeper. Even if it's .40-82 and a box of ammo costs a bajillion dollars.

August 17, 2005, 11:33 PM
What is something important you wished you knew from the get-go?

Bullets don't travel faster or straighter if you snap your wrist like Andy Divine !

(If your under 50, that might not make much sense to you, but geezers know what I'm talking about)

I started with a single shot Remington rifle Model 510 in .22 rimfire. I can highly recommend starting with a quality .22 rimfire , and with a rifle as well. Pistols are much harder to start with and take more shooting disipline to be able to hit anything.

Learn the safety rules before you start . Stay safe and keep the people around you safe.

You often times do get what you pay for and it is best to buy the name brand and best quality firearm you can afford. Then you can plan on it lasting a lifetime if you choose to keep it, or can plan on it holding its value if you decide to sell or trade it. A good firearm most always increases in value enough that if used and not abused you will be able to use if for nothing over a 10 year period. (and may even gain in value) Try that with your car, couch, TV or anything else you buy.

Once you have a good gun - try hard to avoid selling it. Often times we get re-interested and kick ourselves for letting go of something that we now have trouble replacing.

Learn how your gun works - know the interaction of parts and what their name and functions are. Read & learn .

Andrew Rothman
August 18, 2005, 11:40 AM
Loved every minute of it, every bowl of rabbit chili.

Now you've done it. Please post a recipe.

August 18, 2005, 11:52 AM
Going back to a newbie...

Save your money and buy some quality, especially if you intend to carry it. My first pistol was cheap. While I do not regret it because it was what I thought I wanted, it was just a waste of money in the long run.

Be sure to get yourself a nice .22 also. They are cheap as heck to shoot and it will at least get you to the range if you cant afford the plinking ammo of a .40 or .45 etc... Plus, they are just fun. Some of my most fun shooting experiences were with a .22 and some random junk in the desert of southern California.

3 gun
August 20, 2005, 06:30 AM
Be careful who you ask for advice. Live the 4 rules. Don't be in any rush to spend money. Don't be afraid to buy a used gun. Don't buy junk, spend a little more and get a good gun the first time. (That doesn't mean you have to spend a lot of money) Don't buy till you know what you want, not what someone tells you, you need. (That aside a 22 IS a good place to start) Don't just shoot one thing, it gets old and limits your skill. Go new places, try new things. Nobody (who counts) really cares how you shoot or what you shoot as long as you do it safely. If it's not fun or you're not sure what to do next, don't be afraid to speak your mind or ask a question.

August 20, 2005, 01:07 PM
1) Pay cash for guns and gun stuff. It helps narrow down purchases to what you really want and decreases impulse buying. Interest charges and extended payment schedules also tarnish some of the joy.
2) Remember that the initial cost of the gun is a fraction of your total cost.
3) Good .22 rimfires are a joy forever.
4) Seriously consider reloading. For about the cost of a new, good quality gun, you can reduce you centerfire ammo costs 50 to 90 percent. (Another good argument for .22rf)

August 20, 2005, 01:51 PM
""I may be mistaken, but I believe Blue or Scaled Quail may be taken on the ground if they refuse to fly."

In Idaho, grouse are the only game bird that can be shot with anything other than a shotgun.""
My mind skipped over the pistol part. I believe in Texas the law is similar in means of shotgun, but the shooting them in flight is an ethical issue and not a legal one. It is frowned upon to unsportmanlike shoot a still bird (except Blue Quail that run - which really falls into the excape; not still category.) Most dads (or moms for that fact) will let their children shoot a still bird on their kids' first hunt. I have somewhat mixed feelings about that, but I certainly don't frown upon it. I just feel that the ethics should be as strong as the laws for my family for the most part. I could see myself bending some on the first hunt or two and then having a good conversation on the sport of hunt afterward.

August 20, 2005, 02:32 PM
Two things I have learned:

1. Buy the best quality, most reliable firearm you can afford.
I personally am partial to Les Baer's and Wilson Combat pistols, although there are many good production pistol manufacturers.

2. NEVER keep a live round in the chamber. (unless you are LE or going into a possible threatening situation) I personally do not even dry fire as it is a bad habit that may eventual lead to an accidental discharge. I have witnessed these AD's at local gun shows, many times commited by firearms dealers. It only takes a half a second to chamber a round in an auto. Practice'll get good at it!

August 20, 2005, 03:24 PM
Do NOT marry a woman who is anti-gun. In the long run, Political Compatibility is far more important than bedroom sizzle. It's possible for her to change/see the light, but it's more likely she'll try to change YOU... via "compromises". Real Second Amendment supporters DON"T compromise. Politicians do. And that's why the Great American Gun War continues, with our 2A rights slowly bleeding away.

When you get married, get a written PRE-NUPTIAL agreement that says your guns are sacred, off-limits for any subsequent divorce property settlement, and that, if in the event of any "domestic disputes", she will NEVER attempt to get a judge/court to grab your guns. Likewise, include a clause indicating she'll NEVER discuss/reveal your gun ownership to ANYONE without your written permission... including the police and her lawyer, etc..

This is harsh stuff, and it may not be fully enforceable in court (remember, 50%+ of marriages wind-up there). However, simply getting this on the table, up front, might cause her to balk. If so, kill the romance fast and get out while you can. Better women await.

If you live in a state with seriously anti-2A politics, MOVE OUT. Likewise, avoid moving to such a state for job reasons.

Avoid employment with organizations/businesses with rabid anti-2A ownership and senior management. Do your homework up-front... and ask 'em candidly if they discriminate -- In The Workplace, or Socially -- on the basis of Race, Gender, Sexual Orientation... OR Political Orientation. If they get fidgety, walk out. Watch for little clues of trendy political correctness (like "weapons-free environment", etc.) in their talk and literature.

Get the education, training, and resume to put yourself in a strong-enough professional position to do this, too.

The heart of the matter is this: society's rife with people and organizations whose agendae includes eliminating your 2A rights. They have an arsenal of their own weapons to punish, penalize, feminize, marginalize, and homogenize us gunnies. Take every opportunity to undercut their games and reduce their power. Boycott THEM and their products. Punish THEM. And support groups like the NRA to help "Multiply The Force."

Agent P
August 21, 2005, 12:32 AM
TonkinTwentyMil wrote:

Do NOT marry a woman who is anti-gun. In the long run, Political Compatibility is far more important than bedroom sizzle. It's possible for her to change/see the light, but it's more likely she'll try to change YOU... via "compromises". Real Second Amendment supporters DON"T compromise. Politicians do. And that's why the Great American Gun War continues, with our 2A rights slowly bleeding away.

No worries about that, mate, as I am, in fact, female. :cool:

August 21, 2005, 12:36 AM
When you come across a match grade M1 Garand at a gun show that has obviously been accurized and kept in perfect condtion for $500 do not pass go and buy it immediately.

Otherwise make sure to get a .22 pistol and rifle as these will give you lots of practice and an immense amount of cheap fun.

Never sell any firearm that shoots straight and works.


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