What's a GREAT gun?


July 6, 2006, 01:23 AM
Are there any great guns out there for $400? Or $500? What is the lowest price point for a gun that won't jam or have any problems?

What is a good calibur for self defense? I have 2 friends that are into guns, and one told me a .38 is good, and that .45's jam a lot. I personally think bigger is better. Am I wrong? What about the 9mm? My gun friend said it is about the same as a .38. Is that right?

Or would it be smarter to buy a rifle? Can they be used for home defense, or is it a bad idea? Are rifles a better value, or are they more expensive?

I need help to know what I should be looking at. I don't want to trust the sales guy at the gun store.

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July 6, 2006, 01:26 AM
I should add, I am only planning on buying one gun and keeping it for life. My friend thinks that guns are addicting and I'll get hooked. He told me to buy a .38 now, and then invest in other guns later. But I really believe I won't be buying more in the future. I want a gun for the range and home saftey. I also go into the wilderness for week long hikes and caming, and I want a gun incase a mountain lion or bear tries to attack.

That is why I am looking for a GREAT gun, and not some smaller first-time buyer special.

July 6, 2006, 01:37 AM
I'm sure you will hear this advice again, but your best bet for one do-all-be-all is a 4 or5 inch .357 mag Revolver from Smith and Wesson, or Ruger. Id start looking real hard at the model 686 Smith and the Ruger GP100. In these two revolvers you have what is basically the Ford vs. Chevy debate. I have owned and shot both, both worked very well for me with zero problems of any type. I recommend the Smith if you want more than 6 shots as they are available in seven shot configurations, and if you just need six then the Ruger would be my choice.
Other pistols to look intoo, but you will most likely only find them used are the Ruger Security Six and the S&W models 19 (Blued) and 66 (Stainless).
There are several other very good choices, but all .357's allow the largest degree in flexabiluty in the way they are loaded to suit pretty much any need.

I hope that this information helps. Good luck in your search.

July 6, 2006, 01:49 AM
Thanks for the quick reply!

I was kinda hoping for the guns with clips, because they appear to be quick to load. And they appear to be quicker to fire.

Is there any reason why a revolver is a better gun? Do they have more firepower?

July 6, 2006, 01:52 AM

I'm not a gun expert, and I hate giving advice 'cause I'm afraid it'll be BAD advice. But if you're gonna suggest S&W and Ruger... Why not Taurus?

I love my Taurus 66. I've never had a problem with it. Reliable and less expensive than an S&W. In fact, I've often heard it called a poor mans S&W. Same quality, different price tag.

If you can think of any reason NOT to suggest one, let me know, please :)

July 6, 2006, 02:02 AM
Yes, you can get a great gun in the price range you quoted, to maybe a little more. You can get Glocks in the $500-$600 range. My Springfield Armory XD 45 is my favorite gun, and I paid $509.

First, the best gun for you is the one that you feel the most comfortable with shooting. Go to a range that rents guns. Give several models a try- revolver, and semiauto, as well as a variety of calibers. If you decide on a revolver, get a 357. You can still shoot 38 special rounds, and as you become more comfortable, you can step up to the 357.

As far as self defense, you want the most gun that you can handle. A 44 magnum is a powerful gun, but if you can't hit your target, and get the gun in position for follow up shots if needed, it won't do you any good. You may want to stay in the 38 or 9mm calibers because of recoil. But After shooting 9mm for a while, I decided to try a 45. I found that for me, the recoil was quite manageable I now carry my XD 45 as much as possible, and I'll carry my 9mm Glock 26 when I'm limited to pocket carry.

Many people don't like anything smaller than a .40 for self defense. But, at 38 or 9mm, the ammo that you buy will make the difference. A 45 is a big enough bullet that even Full metal jacket (commonly called "ball" ammunition) has very good stopping power. However, 9mm and 38 FMJ are very poor for stopping power. You need a bullet that will expand, and you'll need more velocity on the bullet. Any of the premium defensive ammo from companies like Federal, Corbon, etc will give you 9mm or 38 ammo that will give you acceptable stopping power. But, if you can handle the bigger bores, then you'll get even more.

As I said, rent a variety of guns, and find a gun that you can manage,. Then take a training course to learn how to shoot, and also to care for your gun. Then practice,, practice.

July 6, 2006, 02:08 AM
Squawker, what is stopping power? Is that the force the bullet hits a target, or is it something different. Is there any way to know what force a gun has?

Are all .45's more powerful than a .38, or do some smaller guns send a bullet out faster?

I don't know much about guns, but I do remember the "Force = Mass * Acceleration" formula from highschool physics. It's easy to tell the mass of a .45 bullet is more than a .38, but how do we know force. Is that something marketed by gun companies?

Is it possible to buy bullets that accelerate faster because they have more powder. Or is the acceleration determined by the gun?

July 6, 2006, 02:18 AM
One gun?

One gun?

For the range and home defense?

Make it a rifle.

Make it a rifle that has easy to find spare parts.

Make it a NFA rifle to make it more versatile.

Start with an AR15 in 16 inch midlength configuration.
Too expensive? Good guns *are* expensive. Order it in the popular Bushmaster lower, Sabre defense upper flavor. ;)

Stock up on cheap magazines and spare parts while we don't have any restrictive legislation. Get good with the rifle. A pistol can't get you hits at 700 yards... a nice rifle can. A rifle transfers more energy to the target than a pistol could ever hope too. An AR15 in 5.56x45 is capable of peircing armor. No BG is safe.

Assault rifles are the SUVs of the weapon world. They can do it all. Range work, security, hunting...

Tell your friends your going a different route.


The longer the barrel, the longer gas can accelerate the bullet down the barrel, the faster it goes. Too a point.

The longer the site radius, the more accuratly the *user* can shoot the gun.

Length of barrel has no effect on accuracy of the gun itself. A 7 inch barrel will shoot just as accuratly as a 20 inch barrel if not more because of its stiffness.

+P+ bullets are marked as high pressure. You can guess that they shoot the round at a higher velocity than your plinking ammo.

+p+ is moot when discussing rifles chambered in hot rounds such as 5.56x45. 3200 feet per second out of a 20 inch barrel. Such a rifle chambered in the round doesn't really need +p+ ammo.

"Stopping power"
In reality, it is how fast the bad guys blood pressure drops to zero, or, if you get lucky... you flick off his light switch by destroying his CNS.

Cause lots of blood loss very quickly.

.45 may be bigger than a .223 / 5.56x45, but the damage .45 does isn't even close to what the much smaller in diameter .223 can dish out. At extreme velocities, bullets can do some cool things. 5.56 fragments heavily and tears up all sorts of manflesh deep inside a bad guys chest. A good .45 might mushroom and penetrate deep... but it cannot mach a rifle with decent bad guy ammo such as TAP

A gun is a tool to transfer kinetic energy to a target. Man made this tool to transfer energy to distant targets that he or she could not otherwise reach. Same with the Bow. If you choose to own only one gun, why not make it one that is versatile enough to fulfill your roles, AND hit targets as far as your eye can see?

Rifle Rifle Rifle

Not my pic, but if you want versatility:

July 6, 2006, 02:25 AM
and THIS is why within a year, you'll have way more than just one gun.

One gun for every situtaion. One gun for every mood you're in. One gun for every day of the week.

Forget about trying to find that ONE PERFECT gun, and just buy a whole bunch of different ones. Like all of us do :)

July 6, 2006, 03:27 AM
I suggest you learn more about firearms before buying. A good start would be to take the NRA Basic Pistol class. That will give you a good grounding in the fundamental safety rules, teach you how the different types of handguns operate, and give you some hands-on shooting experience.

You can also try renting guns at local gun store/ranges. Try as many different kinds as you can to get an idea what works for you. This will work better AFTER you've had some instruction though, so you can fire the guns safely and have more knowledge to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of each model.

To find a NRA Basic Pistol class, go to www.nra.org. Not all instructors put their classes on the website, so you'll also want to ask around at your local gun stores and ranges. You should be able to find a class without too much effort. A little training right at the start of your shooting career will pay off later.

Stainless Chili
July 6, 2006, 03:41 AM
BudsGunShop.com has the 1911 stainless 1991 Gov't for $700 delivererd.

I'm saving and a commander XSE, myself.

July 6, 2006, 03:45 AM
Find a used Sig P220 for less than $500. It's a .45, it's reliable, it's got great resale value (for when you want another gun ;) ), it's magazine-fed, and it's accurate enough.

I want a gun for the range and home safety. I also go into the wilderness for week-long hikes and camping, and I want a gun in case a mountain lion or bear tries to attack.
If you want a rifle, get a Saiga in .308... also mag-fed, powerful enough for wild predators, but a little much for home defense.

Actually, this may be the time I recommend a Remington 870. It's a pump-action shotgun that's been around forever, and is proven to be reliable. It's not mag-fed like a Saiga or P220, but with enough practice it'll do everything you could ever ask of a gun--home defense, hiking defense, fun, and with all the aftermarket accessories out there you can customize it to your heart's content. :)

July 6, 2006, 03:54 AM
+1 on trebor's recommendation

An NRA handgun course will show you how to handle a gun safely and will probably have autos and revolvers for you to handle and shoot with a good lecture on the strengths and weaknesses of each type.
It will cost you a few bucks and a Saturday morning, but you will get good basic handgun safety and handling instruction. Plus you will get to do some shooting with a few types of handguns and perhaps get an idea for what feels best for you.
I mean no disrespect when I say it sounds like you are a novice to handguns. You're on the right track by asking questions here but I can't recommend the NRA courses highly enough. The instructors are certified by the leading firearms safety organization in America.
My own recommendation is to try a Glock in 40 or 45 ACP
Glocks are simple, accurate, rugged and reliable

Good luck with whatever decision you make and welcome to The High Road

July 6, 2006, 04:02 AM
Hello & Welcome

I think I could write a book on the one gun your looking for and still not cover all there is to talk about. Your going to get a lot - and I do mean a lot - of opinions on what it should be. In fact there are probably a dozen good choices if not more.

Your question leans toward a handgun and you have already questioned wether it should be a revolver or an auto . Either will serve you well if you stick with a decent quality firearm.

As far as what caliber , in general revolvers can be had in more powerfull cartridges. If large bears are something you think you will face while hiking then big bore handguns are called for ,and even then you will be underguned if comparing to a good rifle or shotgun with slugs.

I think Trebors comment about learning more would be a good place for you to start. Spend some time learning what's available and the difference's between different cartridges , as well as the guns that fire them. Read through some of the posts on handguns here on THR and try to get a good picture of wether it is an auto or a revolver that will fit your wants/needs.

Look at the ballistics of different cartridges and loadings. Generaly you look for the grain weight of the bullet that is being fired, the FPS (feet per second) or velocity at which the bullet travels and the foot pounds of energy that the cartridge and load can deliver.

July 6, 2006, 04:22 AM

Welcome to THR. I have to agree with Trebor and GW; The NRA basic pistol course will get you exposure to and experience with several different types of revolvers and semi autos in a safe and encouraging environment. After taking the course you'll have a clearer idea of whats out there aand what you like. Then you can make a more informed decision.

As for your question on "stopping power" that is a hotly debated topic even amongst "experts." The mass x velocity = energy equation is one factor. You then must consider the wound channel. How long is it, as in how deep did the bullet penetrate, and how wide is it/what diameter is it? Width is both a factor of original bullet's diameter and what diameter it expands to as it goes thru the target. As you can tell its complicated, and not easily answered.

For right now I'd stick with the NRA basic pistol course, talking to your friends, and reading as much as you can in online forums like this and in publications like Guns & Ammo, Handguns Magazine, and the many others out there. Remember when reading, that in guns, like anything else, everyone will come to different opinions and conclusions based on the same facts. Learn, be safe, and HAVE FUN!

July 6, 2006, 04:39 AM
For a truck gun, SHTF gun, SKS with all the gunk stripped off and put away. I'll take it as light and fast as I can get. Murray (http://www.surplusrifle.com/shooting2006/skstriggertips/index.asp) firing pin mod and a Kivaari (http://www.kivaari.com.) trigger job

For a good SHTF gun you can ship to anyone without an FFL there are 8mm mausers (http://www.milsurp-parts.com/1893%20Turk%20Mauser%20-%20Rifle.htm) that are antiques. Rebarrel in 308 or leave in 8mm and you have gun that you can send to a friend via fedex. If their state allows it.

For hunting someone else who uses them for that will have to make a recommendation.

For humans a good AR-15, they are cheap to own, cheap to feed and do a credible job.

Any pistol that fits you and functions is good. Pick one and work with it for a while.

July 6, 2006, 08:05 AM
I really think you need to become better informed about guns and shooting before you go out and make this "once in a lifetime" purchase. I strongly urge you to take a good basic pistol course. Also, go with your friends to the shooting range and try a variety of different kinds of guns--revolvers and semi-automatics. Try different calibers. After you become better informed, you will begin to sort out the various pros and cons of this or that gun for yourself.

Good luck, stay safe, get some training.


July 6, 2006, 08:42 AM
Ferrari, PLEASE get some training.

Your friends don't know squat about guns- caliber is no indication of reliability. Education about types of guns, use, and safety is if VITAL importance. Depending on where you are, finding training can be easy or hard (the Missouri Department of Conservation offers the aforementioned NRA courses- an example of just how easy it may be to locate them). Or contact the NRA to find a certified trainer near you.

Once you know the basics, then go shopping. Then just TRY and keep it at one gun. I bet you can't. :D

July 6, 2006, 09:01 AM
I spent $130 for a Star BM. It doesn't jam and is a joy to shoot.
I spent $170 for a used S&W Model 64. It doesn't jam and is a joy to shoot.
I spent $150 for a brand new Marlin 60. It doesn't jam and is a joy to shoot.
I spent $300 for a RIA 1911. Again, it doesn't jam and is a joy to shoot.

There are plenty of good and cheap firearms out there. :D

July 6, 2006, 09:05 AM
12 guage. It does more than any other gun. You can take just about any game with it, you can defend from two or more attackers, you can fire marine flares, you can breach doors, you can teach other shooters, you can be well armed for very little money with a good shotgun. Remington 870 starts around $240. I bought a FN Police shotgun for $400 on Friday. Get a shotgun, you will never feel like you don't have "enough" gun.

July 6, 2006, 09:08 AM
The handgun could be a Ruger or SW 357 as suggested. If you want a semi-auto, you can't go wrong with a 9mm Glock. 9mm ammo is cheaper than .45 or .357.

For your first rifle, I suggest a Marlin lever action 30-30. A good all around rifle. It's not very expensive (under $300), and the ammo is average price.

Of course, YOU WILL end up with more guns eventually. It's unavoidable, once you get started!

My advice, try to get your wife interested in shooting.

July 6, 2006, 11:29 AM
Revolvers are generally considered more reliable that auto-loaders because a revolver WILL chamber the next round (bullet) when you pull the trigger, whereas an auto-loader depends on the current round actually firing to load the next round. If you have a round misfire (not shoot) a revolver doesn't care, it will still spin and line up the next shot. If you have a round misfire in an auto-loader, it will be stuck and you will have to clear it by racking the slide. This requires a significant amount of training to react to effectively in a self-defense situation. With a revolver, you just keep pulling the trigger and the worst thing that can happen if you have a round misfire is it goes:

If you don't mind practicing a lot with your pistol, get an auto-loading pistol, but don't call the magazines "clips". If you want a defense piece that you don't have to really think about or mess with unless you need to use it, get a revolver. 7-shot .357 Mag would be great for protecting yourself in the woods from wild animals.

July 6, 2006, 12:04 PM
I started out just like you, looking for a good HD gun and purchased a Remington 870 express (12 Ga, 20" barrel), and it will definitely do the job, plus there's nothing quite like the sound of racking a shotgun to scare off hoodlums. I love that gun but it's not very portable, so my next purchase was a Glock 23 in 40 S&W. When they say thier slogan is "Glock Perfection" they are not kidding. Think, there must be a reason why the majority of Police Departments have gone to Glock 40's. Of course once I was pretty good with the Glock, I realized it's limitations as far as down range accuracy and purchased an Olympic Arms K40 (AR 15 style rifle that shoots 40 S&W and accepts Glock magazines) and a holographic sight. And of course shooting all of this 12ga and 40 ammo gets expensive so I needed a S&W 22LR target pistol ("really Honey, when you really look at it it's saving us money"). I think the lesson here is that if you purchase a gun, then practice, then find that you like to practice (and you very likely will) you probably won't just have 1 gun. But if you do, if I only had one that I absolutely had to rely on for HD and the situations you mentioned (all confrontations between 10-15 yards), it would be the Glock.

July 6, 2006, 12:28 PM
Dacoda, the only reason that I didnt recommend a Taurus is that I have zero first had experiance with them. I think it is bad practice to recommend something that I have never fired. Esp. when recommending a gun to a beginner/new shooter.

I think Revolvers are simpler and more widely useful. Having said that there is nothing wrong with a number of brands of semi-autos. The only brand I have real word experiance with is the Glock. I just dont always think the the Glocks are everyones cup of tea.

I used to sell guns at a Cabela's, and have seen a number of new shooters turned off by idiotic sales people (which I tried very hard to avoid being)
, so the best bottom line advice I can give you is to try out a few pistols, from friends, or a rental range. Get some training, it really helps. And enjoy whatever firearm fits your needs.

July 6, 2006, 12:51 PM
Only one gun? Hmmmmmm. Let me make sure I have your key attributes understood, ok?

1. You want economic, easy to handle and magazine fed?
2. You want it for self defense and range shooting, while real hunting is of little issue?
3. You will be carrying it into wilderness areas in case of bear or mountain lion worries?
4. You only want to own ONE gun?

For 1 and 2, a handgun would do. But, by adding the requirements of 3 & 4, you have skidded into multi-gun territory. However, I can think of a handgun that would be a likely choice.

.44 magnum. Easy to find ammo for and speed loaders can fulfill your need to magazine feed. Some makers to consider are Taurus, Smith and Wesson, Ruger. Powerful enough in hot loads to deter your average bear or puma, they can be downloaded with .44 special rounds for self defense and range shooting. In a 4" barrel, they are handy enough and with a good holster, can hip-ride a long way with even a moderately strong hiker .

As others have said, though, you have piled one too many needs onto a single firearm. And while it is unwise to do more than offer considered counsel, your friends and the others here are right. You should not expect one tool to do so many tasks equally well. If you have committed to owning firearms, then consider several of them, each for its place.

My personal suggestion, which I dont mind giving, is that you start with the .44 and one day move to a shotgun with a multi-barrel option, the first being a security barrel for home defense. For you, that should be enough.

July 6, 2006, 01:31 PM
OldSchooler Writes: You should not expect one tool to do so many tasks equally well.

That made me think of something.
You use a screwdriver to turn a screw.
You use a ratchet and socket to turn a nut.
Allen keys, torx, square-head. Can you imagine ONLY owning a screwdriver when faced with so many types of fasteners?

This'll be my reasoning when someone asks me why I own so many firearms.
If they made ONE tool that would do EVERYTHING... that thing would be big, bulky, heavy, and extremely expensive.

July 6, 2006, 02:16 PM
Revolvers are intuitive, easy to use & easy to understand (you can see the action as you operate it)....

They're also easy to learn to shoot accurately...especially when you shoot single action (cock the hammer with your thumb and then release the light and crisp trigger)

Get a stainless Taurus 66 with a 4" barrel (off Gunbroker.com for about $300), enjoy cheap fun at the range with .38 ball and load .357 hollow points when you mean business.

Open carry holsters are readilly available & inexpensive. If you plan on going someplace frequented by Kodiak brown bears or polar bears, you've got a lot of thinking and preparing to do besides just thinking about a gun, and any black bear or mountain lion would be hard pressed to do you harm after being peppered with .357 rounds.

SERIOUSLY...if there is even the most remote chance that you will have kids in your home, spend the $ for some kind of quick access lock box (I use a Gunvault and love it).

Good luck and be safe.

July 6, 2006, 02:39 PM
Yup, +1 reeps, +1 trebor.

I am an NRA instructor, and my most popular class is the FIRST Steps Pistol Orientation. The FIRST Steps course is supposed to introduce the first time or novice shooter to a single model of handgun. I focus the class on double-action revolvers (showing a variety), and mainly use Ruger Security Sixes. I also demonstrate and let the class shoot a variety of S&W, Colt and other DA revolvers. We shoot .38 Special in the range, then I let those who want to try a few .357 rounds.

The class always seems to whet their appetite for more.

July 6, 2006, 02:46 PM
if you want one end all do it all gun, get yourself a 12 guage shot gun. With a large amount of ammo dirt cheap everywhere you look you can take out everything from game birds to two leggers to larger game.

If you want one end all do it all handgun, get a .357 (.44 if you live around larger furries) revolver. With it you can defend and hunt. If you dislike revolvers a good old 45 will hardly ever let you down.

If you want a rifle a 30-30 lever gun.

July 6, 2006, 02:52 PM
One gun for life? I would suggest you handle some of the firearms you are thinking about.
One firearm for everything, I would have to go with a pump action shotgun, you can field hunt with shot, use buck shot or slugs also they have special home defense rounds.
Just my thinking, and I do think you will get more later on.
Good luck in your search.

July 6, 2006, 04:57 PM

What are you trying to do with the firearm? Carry it on day to day basis? Do a lot of range work with it? Compete with it? Or, keep it as a dedicated home-defense weapon?

Very different answers for the different scenarios.

I'm repeating what many other posters have said, but decide why you want a firearm, get training, try a variety of weapons suited to your reasons for wanting a weapon.

If you're looking for home defense . . . short barreled pump shotgun loaded with 00 buck all the way! Remington 870, or Benelli Nova pump. Mossberg 500s are inexpensive and dependable too.

Semi-auto pistol for carry: consider a used Glock or Sig. 9mm, 357sig, .40 S&W., and .45acp are all fine with the right shot placement and ammo. Recoil and comfort shooting the weapon will depend on you, your physical size, hand size, and personal preference. Try it before you buy it! Learn to shoot it well.

July 6, 2006, 05:47 PM
ferrari,I would suggest trying different types out revolver and auto, and get a feel for what you think you like.There are gun ranges where you can rent different models to try out.Personally If could only own one handgun(heaven forbid) Id keep my H&K USP .45.Auto. .45's are real reliable,,as long as you maintain it of course.
I also agree what was said about getting professional instruction and just remember that awareness and placement mean everything besides.

cheers btw,my first post:)

July 6, 2006, 06:00 PM
My first gun was a Smith and Wesson model 67 in .38 special. It is a great gun. Forget the caliber wars, forget high capacity, and forget spending big bucks. I purchased my gun used for $250 and it is the gun of a lifetime. Easy shooting and extremely accurate, guns of this type give you a lot of enjoyment, not to mention training potential, for your money.

It's a good first step. If the joy of shooting doesn't increase, it's a handy gun to have around for emergencies. It isn't cost prohibitive to obtain, ammo is abundant, and even if you decide to increase your collection you'll find yourself coming back to a slick, easy handling six-shooter.

July 6, 2006, 06:20 PM
Are there any great guns out there for $400? Or $500?
any handgun from a namebrand manufacturer, except a few higher end ones, are going to be great guns, and will roughly fit in your price range. I am talking Beretta, Springfield XD, Glock, Ruger, Taurus, CZ, Smith&Wesson, etc etc. Of those, Rugers and Tauruses are generally a bit less expensive.

A Ruger P95 is one hell of a good buy in my opinion. Tough, solid, reliable gun, and will be a bit lower than a lot of other manufacturer's stuff.

Or go used, to save about $100, as guns last forever as long as you give them a little cleaning.

What is the lowest price point for a gun that won't jam or have any problems?

First off, in theory, any and every mechanical device can fail, but really, a gun from a reputable manufacturer isn't going to jam unless you shoot thousands of rounds through it without cleaning, or have it sitting in the bottom of your purse/junk drawer, and all that little crap like twisties, small screws, small rocks, crushed after-dinner mints, etc gets in there.

That being said, there are some supercheap manufacturers (who used to specialize in $50 .22 tiny pocketguns, but who branched out to really cheap 9mms) Jennings, Davis, Lorcin, say away from them, no matter how tempted you are by a $150 9mm.

the cheapest truely reliable handgun is probably a makarov. Design rip-off of a walther pp (007 James Bond gun) made by the soviets, so it is simple and durable. $130ish? I haven't priced one out for a while, maybe more now. you can get 'never been fired, but stored for 40 years in soviet wharehouse' models at gunshows or smaller shops.

You asked about revolvers. Besides being very intuitive, and reliable, and usually you get a bit more quality for the same price, if you get a revolver chambered in .357 magnum, you can actually shoot two different loads with it, 357 magnum and 38 special, which is great for low recoil low expense practice. If you are going to go with one handgun, a .357 magnum with a 4 inch or 6 inch barrel from smith and wesson, ruger, or taurus would be an excellent choice.

Or would it be smarter to buy a rifle? Can they be used for home defense, or is it a bad idea? Are rifles a better value, or are they more expensive?

rule 1 of gunfighting is bring a gun, rule 2 is make sure it is a rifle
handguns should only be used so you can fight your way to a rifle
A rifle is much more inherently mechanically accurate than a handgun, and is much easier for a shooter to shoot accurately with.

Yes a rifle can be used for home defense, but you must worry more about your bullets penetrating your walls more. This can be dealt with through careful ammuntion selection. Also, rifles are longer, which may make them harder to move from room to room in the dark, etc etc. On the cheap, an inexpensive SKS (again, soviet made, cheap and durable, it is what they had before the AK-47 came along, but is semi-auto only, and normally only hold 10 shots in a magazine perminantly attached to the gun, no big curved banana mag like an ak) Another alternative would be a lever gun (cowboy rifle) in 30-30 or 44mag or 357 mag. a tad more expensive, but not much, and much less frightening to some people. Of course, there is the AR-15, (a quick and dirty explination is that it is a civilian copy of the M-16, but onyl shoots one bullet per trigger pull, it is NOT a 'machinegun') but these are going to be a bit more expensive, like $699.

Is that the force the bullet hits a target, or is it something different. Is there any way to know what force a gun has?
Are all .45's more powerful than a .38, or do some smaller guns send a bullet out faster?I don't know much about guns, but I do remember the "Force = Mass * Acceleration" formula from highschool physics. It's easy to tell the mass of a .45 bullet is more than a .38, but how do we know force. Is that something marketed by gun companies?

Simply put, how much power a gun has is really not linked to the gun at all. It's all about how much gunpowder is in the the cartridge. Now, in general, a longer barrel will allow a gun to utilize that gunpowder a bit better, but unless you are taking supershort 2 inch barrel (bad idea for you) or go to the extreme and compare a handgun to a rifle firing the same round (18 inch barrel) barrel length won't change anything much when you are in the 3-6 inch barrel lenght catagory.

in general, handgun power, by loading goes
Least powerful--------------->most powerful
.22, .25, .32, .380, 38special, 9mm, 40, .357/.45acp(tie), 10mm, 41 mag, 44mag
380 is really considered absolute minimum for self defense, but for bear/lion, I'd say at least 9mm, if not 45/357

force = mass x acceleration squared. The perfect example of this is 45 acp vs 357 magnum. 45 is heavier, but slower, 357 is lighter but moves much faster, both have proven trackrecords of stopping people NOW.

Of course, nothing is just raw numbers, but you can go to the website of ammo makers, and they will list bullet weight, bullet speed, and energy if ftlbs

a few other factors. Bullet structure. Hollowpionts are designed to expand and dump all that energy into tearing and smashing stuff in the body of the target. A bullet that enters the body and zips out the other side hardly slowing at all isn't going to do much good, as all that energy is still there, it hasn't done any work for you, but an bullet that expands and dumps all it's energy into causing damage to the body = good. Problem is, expanding bullets normally require high velocity, so that means smaller bullets in diameter generally. (think 357) Now if something goes wrong, like say you have to shoot through a glass window or something, the hollowpoint may fill with gunk and not work to make the bullet expand, but a big fat slow moving bullet who isn't reliying on expanding because it is big and fat already, less bullet failure to worry about. (Although honestly, hollowpoint failure is a 1 in a 10000 thing)

Further, bullet placement is more important than anything. You can have an ubermagical bullet,. but if you shoot a guy in the foot and blow his foot off, he can probably still shoot you or stab you. Sure, he may bleed to death 5 minutes later, but if he has already stabbed you to death, too late! On the other hand, a tiny fast bullet that zips into the body and zips right out, but happens to sever the spinal cord, or blasts right through the hearts' aorta, or trough the eye and brain, that will cause instant incapacitation...of course, it is hard to rely on a spnal cord or aorta being hit.

And finally, the vast majorty of times a law abiding citizen uses a gun in self defense, the badguys simply seeing a determined adversary with a gun, will flee. This doesn't mean bring a toy gun or count on an unloaded gun. However, 19 out of 20 'gun incidents' with armed citizens is 'won' without a shot being fired.

July 6, 2006, 06:53 PM
well, rifles are more versatile, and you can spend 500 on a variety of very good pistols, rifles, and revolvers, and get everything you may want. for 500 bucks, one could get a top of the line cz pistol or rifle, and never have any regrets. Plus even have 100 bucks left over to get a mosin nagant, or maybe even a sks.

July 6, 2006, 07:09 PM
Ferrari - one gun for Self-Defense, Home Defense (same thing if you won't be carrying concealed) and WEEK LONG HIKES!

Have you ever hiked for a week? What do you carry? I imagine that something very light-weight is called for. That is very specific to its task.

Go buy a shotgun or carbine rifle and use it for awhile then think about what you need and what you can carry for a week long hike in the wilderness.

That way you still have a nice shotgun or carbine at home for self-defense.

And YES, for the money, many carbines cost the same or less than a pistol. Does this make it a better by? Thats personal preference.

You can find a nice shotgun for under $300.

July 6, 2006, 09:22 PM
One under $500 for everything. CZ 75 with Kadet. Paid $450 for mine with 2 mags, extras are $25. Only need the one in .22. Joe

July 7, 2006, 12:32 AM
akodo, thank you for the great introduction to guns! I appreciate the long post, I am going to read it a second time to get everything out of it. I did not understand the difference between 9mm and calibur, but your ranking is very helpful!

Thor67, I am not 100% sure what I will do with the gun. I am planning on taking it to the range a couple times because I have a friend that loves the range and is always telling me how much fun it is. I'm not sure what the laws are about taking a gun when camping. I live in a highly restrictive state where a permit is required to have a gun in possession. I would love to have a gun with me when camping. I love going out in the middle of a forrest far away from civilization and doing star gazing at night and hiking during the day. I have not come directly across any animals too dangerous, except for the occasional copperhead snakes. I have plans next year to travel to Alaska and hike for a two weeks and I know they have bears. I've been reading hiking websites that recommend taking pepper spray, but I don't feel too confident that pepper spray will stop a bear. I would like to take a gun with me wherever I camp.

Others have sent me PM's with questions, so I'll answer them here. I'm 31 years old. I have had very limited experience with guns. When I was 11 I went to my uncles cabin and I shot his rifle. He said I was a natural shot. When I was in college I was in ROTC for 2 years and we shot .22 rifles for accuracy. The bullets were very small, slightly larger than a pellet. I was one of the best marksmen in my class from 100 feet.

I'm looking for a gun with a large magazine. I don't have any reason for it, but I would like the choice of having a standard clip and one that holds more bullets. I like the idea of a rifle because I have fired them before and rifles have more power and distance.

I am not limited to only $500, but I am looking for a good value. I want to find the best bang for the buck. I would like a gun or rifle that has good range.

July 7, 2006, 01:25 AM
I'll throw my hat into this ring as well. If you are looking for a nice do it all rifle, I suggest a Ruger Frontier scout in .308. Ill include a link at the bottom. This in my world fill pretty much every need that I have interms of a long gun. Let me qualify a few things first. I am currently a 11B Infantry Soldier in the United States Army, I shot pistols and rifles in both high school and college. I have a degree in Geography from the University of Nebraska, which is home, so I have some familiarity with needed a weapon in open country. Having said that the 2x magnification that the scope on my rifle provides is more than enough. Facing facts, it is very difficult to achieve hits much beyond 200 yards with any weapon unless you practice that specific type of shooting, which I rarely do. The .308 provides enough power for any rational shooting need in the lower 48 states, and barring dangerous game kill pretty much everything in the world. The ammuniton is available almost everywhere and is cheap enough to practice with wthout breaking the bank, and recoil is light enough that the rifle is easy to shoot.

I didn't inted to ramble on as long as I did, so here's the link to the rifle.
(Okay I lied, I cannot get my computer to display any links....all apologies, any search engine will turn up plenty of images.)

Mine wears a leupold 2x scope and a ruger synthetic stock, for the slightly longer length of pull it provides.

Good Luck

heres a link, and write up

July 7, 2006, 01:43 AM
Hey there ferarri,

welcome to THR,

from what it sounds like, you are looking for a modern style semi auto handgun in 9mm 10mm or .40.

I usually steer away from the new stuff but It seems to me like a glock 17, or a good sig that fits your hand would do the job for you.

the glock is ultra simplistic and easy to get to know. no real saftey, and a nice trigger pull.

glocks have available 32 round magazines, upgradable sights, and all manner of nifty stuff that can bolt/clip on to them if you feel like getting tacticool on it.

they also have a pretty good reputation for reliability so long as you buy brand new ammunition (not reloaded).

I would reccomend getting a .22 conversion kit for your glock so that you can save money when you take it to the range for fun. paper doesn't know the difference between a .40 and a .22 hitting it and you get the feel of where it points and how the trigger feels.

I believe that a glock 17 in .40cal would handle all your needs untill you realize that guns are addictive and you need a shotgun and a rifle and probably a revolver to play with.

if you cant decide on a cartridge .40 is a good choice, its more powerfull than a 9mm, and has better kinnetic transfer, but you still get away with having rediculously oversized magazines (15-32 rounds in a stick mag, 100 in a beta) don't quote me but I believe that on a glock the 9mm mag and the .40 mags are interchangable.

once you have the modern high cap plastic gun bug out of your system just remember: "If J.M. Browning designed it, or any part of it, it is a good solid reliable gun that has a 100+ year track record of prooven service" eventually that will be your mantra.

my .32 auto colt pocket is 104 years young, and breaks a dinner plate each time every time at 50 yards. it aint pretty but it defines reliable.

July 7, 2006, 02:23 AM
reeps, I am going to check out that rifle. It looks like it could meet all my needs.

AJAX22, I am also going to check out that glock.

You guys might have convinced me to get 2 guns, one handgun and one rifle. I think I might start out with the rifle first, because I like shooting for accuracy and because rifles have a little more power. I figure if I only buy one gun, and then don't buy another, I won't regret buying a rifle.

July 7, 2006, 04:47 AM
Shotguns, will take care of most things, even bears.

i would shoot .22/380apc/9mm/40mm/45mm and see wich one YOU like best.

Bersa 380 thunders are 200 and never jam, great guns for ccw

July 7, 2006, 10:33 AM
If I was to own one gun.

12 guage. It does more than any other gun. You can take just about any game with it, you can defend from two or more attackers, you can fire marine flares, you can breach doors, you can teach other shooters, you can be well armed for very little money with a good shotgun. Remington 870 starts around $240. I bought a FN Police shotgun for $400 on Friday. Get a shotgun, you will never feel like you don't have "enough" gun.

I agree totally, and would even suggest that this be the first gun, even if you buy others. I'm a Mossberg fan myself and you can buy a new one for a little over $200. Beside being versatile, it's fun as you can do a variety of things with it, and its a great way to get used to handling and using a gun.

Rifles and pistols are great, but if I could only have one gun it would be a shotgun.

July 7, 2006, 11:17 AM
Remember though, that our poster is not a "gun nut" like the rest of us. :what: and didnt come here to learn about guns in general (although, I and others think he should). Rather, he had some very specific requirements, to wit:

Price: "...$400-$500?"
Reliability: "...A gun that won't jam or have any problems?" (as far as that is possible)
Self defense: "...I personally think bigger is better."
Good Sense: "...I don't want to trust the sales guy at the gun store."
Only one firearm: "...buying one gun and keeping it for life. I want a gun for the range and home saftey."
Trekking: "I go into the wilderness for week long hikes and camping, and I want a gun in case a mountain lion or bear tries to attack."

Now, I agree that a shotgun answers many of the stated needs. And while I'm a battery proponent, ie, several guns are better if you want to do a multitude of tasks, I usually recommend the shotgun for the single-gun owner who wants versatility. But in this case, I say steer him elsewhere. A modest, stainless .44 Mag works for him, IMHO. A 4" Taurus comes to mind

Keeping the .44 Mag loaded with .44 Specials for the home along side a good tac light starts him off. Stuffing it with hot Mag loads and Specials could keep him endlessly entertained at the range, while those same hot loads could work well enough on catamount and bruin. The cost is do-able and a well maintained revolver is about as trouble free as they come. It wll last longer than he will and it does indeed, make good sense

He can get a shotgun some other day, ditto a rifle, although it seems he's being wooed into the multi-gun camp (which is not a bad thing). But consider the final requirement. When all facts are in, how many bear or puma are likely to attack, anyway, even in what is here being called, "The Wilderness"? I doubt our poster would be enamored of toting either shotgun or longarm for a week, along with his tent, GPS unit and freezedried strawberries, on the off chance of having to actually use it...

Just something to consider.

July 7, 2006, 11:19 AM
Ferrari308, a great many guns can be had for around $400. I should know as virtually every gun I've purchased was at that mark or below, as follows:

Browning BPS 12 gauge shotgun - $425 new

Marlin 1894 .44mag carbine - $418 new

S&W 629 'Mountain Gun' .44mag revolver - $395 used

Ruger 10/22 'International' .22lr carbine - $230 new

This list only includes the guns I kept; I downsized and sold or traded off a few, but none exceeded the prices listed above. None of the above is junk and all satisfy any situation I can realistically envision for myself, at least for the moment. :uhoh:

If I had to pick one off of my list, it would be the Browning shotgun.

There's lots of good advice in this thread, so I really would only add that you should buy what you want. If you want one quality gun, buy that. Of course, if you want to buy many quality guns, there's nothing wrong with that either.

July 7, 2006, 03:23 PM
There are many shotgun fans here! I didn't even consider a shotgun before reading some of the posts. Part of the enjoyment of a gun is going to a range and hitting a bullseye.

I've been reading many of the threads here and there is great information. I'm leaning to a rifle and handgun. I don't know what order I will buy. I am going to ask my buddy if he wants to go to a range. He told me they rent all their guns, so maybe I can shoot 4 or 5 different guns and see how they feel.

I just want to make sure that if I buy a gun, and ever come across an angry bear while camping, that I'll have enough fire power to stop the bear. My buddy who loves guns told me most handguns won't even make a bear blink, their skin is so tough and meaty that a handgun won't cause any damage. By the time the third or fourth shot is fired, the bear will have torn the human to pieces.

Maybe it is just the man in me, but I always think bigger is better. I like fast cars, the faster the better. I like big televisions, the bigger the better. It is the same intuitive preference when it comes to guns, I want the gun that fires the biggest bullet at the fastest speed.

Keep the posts comming. I am going to write down all the model numbers and when I go to the range I am going to try and fire them all.

July 7, 2006, 05:39 PM
"I want the gun that fires the biggest bullet at the fastest speed."
Welcome to the world of guns, brother! You've been bitten already and didnt even realize it. ;)

You have a very valid point and one that carries it's own caveat. Which for you, "the Happy Trekker," is of no small import:

Big bullets at high velocities, neccessitate a gun equal to the task.

To attain that which you covet, there's an attendant formula which is best viewed in abstract to kick-start the correct thinking. Here it is:

Big bullet + High velocity = High chamber pressures

This sum, high chamber pressure, has a correlation, a direct proportion if you will, which can also be viewed as an abstract, in this case a simple equation, thus:

increase in chamber pressure = increase in chamber/barrel/action metallic density.

While Im messing around here, just for fun, and am anything but a physicist, here's the point:

Big bullets at high speed have mucho stopping power, indeed. However, to go along with that, there is a lot of metal and supporting structure to accomodate it. More so than with other, lesser arms. We wont even mention recoil and controllability, for now.

For certain, stopping power on bear and puma (especially when you are pooping your pants at their approach and may not be quite up to "range standards"), something big is likely called for. Wise thinking, brother.

Lesseeeee, how about the venerable .30-06? It's been done, but for assurance, lets talk bigger, shall we?
.35 bore? .358/.356 Winchester , maybe, or even the somewhat dinky .35 Remington? Again, do-able. But, let's talk real insurance and that magical "one shot stopping power" that intrigues you so. We can sum THAT up in one word: Magnum!

But, which one? .300 Mag? .330 Mag? .375 Mag? Heck, why stop there? Let's go to .450! Or bigger, yet .475!!

If, as you stated, you want big bruin bustin', puma poundin', power, you're gonna tote a rifle, and a big one at that. But, there's a reason why those who go 'safari'ing after critters with tooth and claw bring porters (or used to) - big guns are heavy!

Hold on...doesn't the much ballyhooed shotgun offer lots of power, especially with a slug? Absolutely! Would I relish the idea of toting my Mossie 500 for a week, hoping I don't see a bear (which is highly un-likely, anyway)? NO thanks!

Do what you want and I applaud your choices. But, if it were me, Id stuff a Ruger .44 Magnum with the biggest, fire-ball spitting loads I could get, strap it into a nice tight-riding holster and head for the hills. Oh, BTW, I'd also stuff 20-30 milder .44 Special loads in a pocket for fun and defense against two legged animals. But then, I tend to dramatize a bit, as you surely have noticed...:o

July 7, 2006, 10:08 PM
I did not understand the difference between 9mm and calibur, but your ranking is very helpful!

Caliber, in the most strict sense, is simply the diameter of the bullet. Now, like so many words, people often use a much looser definition. For example, may people will say "I need to buy a box of bullets for my gun" Technically speaking, the bullet is ONLY the lead part that goes flying out the barrel, but of course the person is really giong to buy a box of cartridges, metal cases filled with gunpowder with bullets on top.

so, Caliber is bullet diameter. so for a '9mm', the diameter of a bullet is 9mm. But caliber is often used to mean 'what type of cartridge' because a lot of times you can have two very different catridges who do, however, happen to fire the same diameter bullet. Like we were talking before, speed is also a factor, so wideness of the bullet alone cannot determine how powerful it is. Hence, specific different types of cartridges have specific names. Often these names are based at least partially on the actual caliber of the loading. Then of course, we shorten them up because we are lazy. (like calling the 9mm luger just 9mm, or when speaking, just saying a "nine mill" because "nine millimeter" is too long, or if you are a rapper "a nine!"

take .380 AutomaticColtPistol, .38 special, 9mm Luger, 357 magnum. All 4 of those cartridges have the exact same diameter bullet. Remember, 1 inch = 254mm. In the example of .380 ACP and .38 special they are measuring the width of the barrel from groove to groove, but the diameter of all those bullets are exactly the same.

That's why a little list like I made you can come in handy, because you cannot just whip out your calculator and covert metric to inches and vice versa for comparisons, because that is taking only bullet size into account, and not factoring in speed.

It is easy to know a VW beetle in a crash at 30 MPH is doing less damage than an Chevy Suburban also at 30 MPH, but what about a VW Beetle going 80MPH.

I am not limited to only $500, but I am looking for a good value. I want to find the best bang for the buck. I would like a gun or rifle that has good range.

Guns are priced pretty much accurately, you don't have to worry about getting the most bang for your buck (except I suppose if you accidentally bought an olympic level target pistol shooting .22s rather than a 44 magnum, because they had the same price tag). The only two ways you don't get 'good value' is if a gun store overprices, but then they are overpriceing ALL their different guns, so there is no useful advice to give other than 'Bob's Gun World is a ripoff, buy somewhere else!'

I didn't even consider a shotgun before reading some of the posts. Part of the enjoyment of a gun is going to a range and hitting a bullseye.

Buying a gun you will enjoy shooting is very important. But just remember, there are other range activities besides hitting bullseyes. For shotguns, the game is 'Shooting clays, trap, and skeet' where clay disks about the size of an ass-tray are flung into the air, and you got to shoulder the shotgun and blast them into smithereens. In this case, the measurement of success isn't who got closest to a bullseye, it is who shot the most in a row without a miss.

I just want to make sure that if I buy a gun, and ever come across an angry bear while camping, that I'll have enough fire power to stop the bear. My buddy who loves guns told me most handguns won't even make a bear blink, their skin is so tough and meaty that a handgun won't cause any damage. By the time the third or fourth shot is fired, the bear will have torn the human to pieces.

as discussed before, a rifle is much more powerful than a handgun (and easier to shoot accurately) That being said, like before, bullet placement is a big factor in getting any animal to stop attacking. However, this idea that a handgun won't stop a bear is bunk. Many a bear has been hunted specifically with a handgun. In Alaska, it is common practice for hikers and fishermen to strap on a .44 magnum for bear defense.

Now, the bigger and more powerful the cartridge, the more recoil a gun will have. A gun that recoils so badly it is beyond your control will do you very little good. And 44 magnum is more than a brand new beginner is giong to be able to handle in my opinion. Now, for just use against men, most people will state 380 is about the absolute minimum for power, but for bear country, I'd put the minimum at 357 or 45acp. The best part of a 357 revolver, is you can actually fit the less powerful 38 specials in it and fire jsut fine, so you can learn on lower recoiling rounds, and still have the ability to slip some 357 loads in when you are going into bear territory. But this is also true of a .44 magnum, you can put .44 specials in it for practice and to help you build your skill up to the level where you can handle a 44 magnum load. 44 special is pretty damned near the same thing as 45 acp.

July 7, 2006, 10:24 PM
However, this idea that a handgun won't stop a bear is bunk. Many a bear has been hunted specifically with a handgun. In Alaska, it is common practice for hikers and fishermen to strap on a .44 magnum for bear defense.
Tell it, brother!

Now, the bigger and more powerful the cartridge, the more recoil a gun will have. A gun that recoils so badly it is beyond your control will do you very little good.
Say it again, and dont forget heavier to carry .

...But this is also true of a .44 magnum, you can put .44 specials in it for practice and to help you build your skill up to the level where you can handle a full house 44 magnum load. 44 special is pretty damned near the same thing as 45 acp.
Right on!

July 7, 2006, 10:42 PM
Welcome 308. I'll throw my hat into this ring...

You want a handgun that:

1. Cost $500 or less
2. Useful for self defense and range shooting
3. Needs to be able to bring down a bear
4. Uses magazines for capacity/quick loading

There's only one real solution. Get yourself a 10mm. You can find a police trade-in Smith and Wesson 1076 or 1006 for around $500. It's one of the few autoloaders (magazine-fed guns) that is powerful enough for bear.

If I only had to have one gun though it would be a 12 Ga shotgun. Last week, I bought a nice used Mossberg 500 12 Ga with three barrels for $250 at my local shop. Keep in mind that I live in Mass where guns ain't cheap. I got a

1. 28" barrel with screw-in choke tubes - perfect for bird hunting or breaking clays (try it, it's fun).

2. An 18" cylinder bore barrel - perfect for home defense

3. a 24" rifled slug barrel with a scope mount - perfect for deer hunting, bear defense, or hitting a bullesye.

A shotgun is what you make it. You can take one gun and change loads or barrels and get it to do anything. You can buy shells containing dozens of small pellets (for bird hunting/clay pigeon breaking), a few larger pellets (for home defense) or one big honkin' chunk of lead (for shooting bears or zombies). The barrels can be changed without tools in about 30 seconds.

They're cheap to own and cheap to shoot. Get a 12 Ga shotgun.

July 7, 2006, 10:45 PM
I personally would be looking for 2 guns. A decent used Mossberg 500 or Remington 870 can be had for less than $200 in most parts of the country and they when loaded with 00 Buck are great for home defense. Then you can find a used 4 inch 357 mag revolver in either S & W or Ruger or Taurus for $300 to $350. That will get you what you need. I personally would also plan on spending another $200 to $300 in ammo to get comfortable, safe, and effective with both weapons. You can get a pretty good idea what the going prices are for many different brand and cal on


I have found that most of the prices on this sight are reasonably in line with what I see locally, and it can at least give you an idea of what you are looking at.

July 7, 2006, 11:15 PM
As Teddy Roosevelt said. "Always use enough gun". A 10mm, 40, or 45 autoloader or a revolver up to 44 mag would be a good starting point. If control and recoil of the 44mag is too much, you can shoot 44 special from the same gun. Much less recoil and stll enough gun. Save the magnum for the bears and lions.

Forget rifles for home defense. While the object of home defense is to Stop the fight. you will need to be as mobile as possible, and a long gun in any configuration, could actually put you in harms way, simply by virtue of all that metal out front. If you cannot hold a rifle in an aiming stance and turn 360° without touching something in every room or hallway of your residence, you should not have a rifle or in some cases even a short barreled shotgun for home defense.

July 7, 2006, 11:35 PM
Caliber is a designation more than a measurement. You'd have to look up the true measurement of the bullet to know it's true diameter.
Depending on which side of the pond you are determines the convention for caliber, except if there is an exception. :neener:

inches = (mm * (1/25.4)) aka (mm * 0.039371)
mm = (inches * 25.4)

9mm = 0.354
5.56mm = 0.218
45acp (inch) = 11.43mm

July 9, 2006, 04:02 PM
2 guns - shotgun or a rifle and a pistol would probably be a good choice. Especially with the bear requirement. Although, a 10mm, .40 pistol may be able to handle the bear quickly, and a .45 certainly would be able to. Glock and Springfield XD are both great, durable, reliable weapons.

Shotguns are great and versatile. The Ruger frontier rifle http://www.ruger-firearms.com/Firearms/FAProdResults?function=famid&famid=31&variation=Target%20Grey®%20Frontier%20Rifle&bct=Yes&type=Rifle was a great suggestion too. Definitely not $500 though.

Unless you specifically plan on hunting, I'd probably stick with a pistol. Shotguns and rifles will add between 6lb and 9lbs to hiking load-out. Just something to keep in mind.

Also, not hi-cap, but S&W and Ruger are both making some great big bore revolvers designed for handgun hunting.

July 9, 2006, 04:29 PM
my issue is with the 45's jam a lot statement...between the three I have, each from a different manufacturer...and carry on a daily basis, thus betting my life on them...I have gone through about 4000 practice rounds with them without a hitch

your friend is wrong...a properly maintained 45 is as reliable as any other gun

July 9, 2006, 10:11 PM
If just one gun then get a 12 gauge shotgun.
For a good pistol under $400, checkout the Bersa Thunder 9 (http://www.bersafirearmsusa.com/detail_bersa9.php)
For a pistol under $500 I would look at www.cz-usa.com.

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