Buying Advice


September 23, 2007, 03:24 AM
Coming up soon I'll have the opportunity to get my hands on a gun to use for target shooting and recreation, but I'm not too eager to jump into just any gun I see. What I'm looking for specifically is a smaller caliber gun that I can buy a good bit of ammo for without spending a bunch of cash. In other words I'm looking for a .22 or .38 Special, I suppose.

I don't mind whether the gun is a revolver or a semi-automatic, single-action or double, etc. I do care a bit about size (only because I can't see myself comfortably shooting a smaller firearm that may be designed for concealment or self-defense rather than target shooting and recreation), and of course I care alot about price. I have a Gun Digest, but considering that most of the values on guns I find elsewhere are below what's listed I figure it's best to ask around here.

Any suggestions on a good gun? I know I can't really get much in asking for something low-priced (I'd love a Ruger myself,) but there's a budget to be watched.

P.S.- Does anybody have a specific opinion on the new Taurus Model 82 revolvers? I've read positive and negative reviews on the guns and hear about jamming and (though I don't know what it means) "hacking" for negative points, or that they're the most reliable and accurate little guns somebody has ever had.

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September 23, 2007, 04:36 AM
easy -- .22 all the way. for cost of shooting alone the .22 wins every time. it's easy, cheap, and a ton of fun for new shooters. a brick of 500+ can be had for ~$10 which is a great day at the range. compare that to 50 rounds of .38 specials. for sheer volume of rounds ya can't beat a .22 ;)

for pistols, two options come immediately to mind: browning buckmark or ruger mark iii; i'm personally fond of the buckmark series but you'll find no end to the line of ruger fans (ruger is great -- i love my ruger 10/22 and my ruger gp100 -- but you'll never pry my buckmark camper my hands).

last i checked, a buckmark camper (the one i have is a 5.5" model -- got it for $220 if i remember correctly at an academy store) was noticably cheaper than a similar ruger, but you wouldn't notice by how it shoots. it's by far my favorite handgun to shoot currently, not just because i can shoot it all day long and not "feel it" but also because my wallet doesn't feel it either.

in any case, you really can't go wrong with either the ruger or browning .22's -- you'll have a blast.

September 23, 2007, 08:48 AM
A good .22 handgun is something you'll keep and enjoy forever, maybe give to one of your children when the time is right. Ruger, Browning, and Beretta make good semi automatics that aren't especially expensive. Of course, the ammunition is cheap cheap.

I honestly reccommend a Ruger Single Six revolver for this kind of shooting. It's cheap and it can fire all the .22 rimfire cartridges, including the .22 Magnum. The stainless steel one with adjustable sights is the best, I presonally like the 5.5" barrel because of the balance.

The Single Six is a single action, so you have to cock the hammer for each shot. I've found over the years that this action makes the shooter take an extra second and adjust his grip and check his sights because it slows down the shooting. You can't really blast away with it. It also has to be unloaded one chamber at a time. The rounds or spent cartridges are pushed out of each cylinder with a rod mounted under the barrel. That makes the shooter think about wasting ammunition since it is slow to reload the gun. The downside is that it's slow to reload it.

But it will fuinction with .22 Short, .22 Long, and .22 Long Rifle ammunition (any .22 revolver will do that.) The Single Six also has a second cylinder that will fire .22 Magnums. These are good is you ever have a varmint problem, or if you ever decide you want to hunt small game with a handgun.

The blue version is less expensive, but it can rust, and the frame is made of aluminum. The stainless one is all steel. This makes it heavier, and it tends to sit still in your hand.

.38 ammunition does not qualify as cheap right now. If you want to shoot cheap centerfire ammo, 9mm is the least expensive. But if you do decide to get a .38, get a .357 Magnum. You can shoot .357 Magnum or .38 Special rounds in it. The Ruger GP-100 is sold in blue, making it very affordable at around $500. It's also sold in stainless for more $$$. I personally prefer the Smith and Wesson 686, but that's another $100. It's a little bit more accurate, a little better made, and has better sights. But either one will serve you very well.

You can shoot .38s for fun and keep .357s in it in case you need it for protection. Again, should you decide to use it for hunting, the .357 will kill a deer. It is also useful for a finishing shot on a wounded animal, and protection from predators in the woods, both four legged and two legged varieties.

Don Lu
September 23, 2007, 09:14 AM
Dont rule out the 9mm, its much cheaper to shoot than .38sp. the .38sp IS cheaper that .357 mag, but its not cheap. How much do you want to spend ? In 9mm Id recommend a used GLOCK 17 (new is around 500.00 or around 400.00 used) or Taurus pt92 (about 380.00 new). Those are only my recomendations, since Ive have alot of expirience w/those two. Really, you may want to rent a few and see what you like the most. you have tons of options ! good luck.

I would have recommended a .22 but thats been done. also 9mm is pretty inexpensive to shoot. w/9mm you would have a gun that doesnt cost a lot to shoot plus, if your needs do change you would already have a self defense gun.

September 23, 2007, 09:31 AM
or III with a heavy barrel right around 6'' all the way out to 10 3/8" is a great way to go. These guns are incredibly accurate, I have owned a bunch of them over the years and they all were. If you have a good sized gunshop in the area there will probably be a good supply of used ones available to you. You should be able to find a good gun for right around $250. I also like the Ruger Single Sixes especially if you get one with a spare 22mag cylinder but I have never found them to be nearly as accurate. To give you an I dea how accurate the Mark IIs are I can tell you this. When I shot silhouette the gun of choice was the TC Contender with match barrel. I had always contended that my 10 3/8" Mark was nearly as accurate as my TC and one day a friend of mine and I set out to test that theory. We shot several brands of ammo in each gun at 50 yards. We already had an idea what each gun liked so we didn't waste a lot of time on junk ammo. So, without going into great detail, the TC outshot the Ruger with some brands while the Ruger outshot the TC with others. Once we found the best ammo for each we shot 5, 5 shot groups with each gun and averaged the strings. The TC's average was 5/8" and the Ruger averaged at 3/4". Considering that the TC had an 8 ounce trigger and the Ruger had about a 4 pound trigger I would have to call that a virtual tie. By the way, during the final test the Ruger shot the best group at just over 3/8".:D Also, these guns are damned near indestructable so you can be pretty confident buying used as long as the trigger hasn't been hacked on.

September 23, 2007, 09:31 AM
At the risk of sounding redundant, both Bluto and Sig's comments are dead on! If you buy a quality .22, eventually you'll find out you just can't live without one as your collection grows. Believe me, it WILL grow and grow and grow:D. No matter how many magnum, ultimate guns you buy, there will ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS, be a need and/or place for a good .22.
They are fairly inexpensive to buy, notice I DID NOT say cheap (you get what you pay for). Pony up a few extra $$ and buy QUALITY, you won't regret it. I have bought and sold many, many fine .22's and wish I had most of them back in my hands. A Browning Buckmark, Ruger MK 2 (I prefer over the 3), or a S&W 21 all would be great for your needs. As for .22 wheelguns, I absolutely LOVE my S&W 617, although they are "relatively" expensive for a .22 revolver. But, it's the same frame as my 686 .357, so it's cheap practice. Stick with a "name" brand and you'll do fine. As for Taurus, I've owned several (still have one). Strictly for the money, they really are hard to beat. Buy a new/newer one though. They did have some issues in the early 90's, but ALL companies have put out some lemons (just like cars). Shop around and find one that feels good in you hand, that is the first step. If you buy a brick as opposed to a velvet glove because you saved $50 or a $100, you WILL regret it. Of course, that means you would just "HAVE" to buy another gun:D. Then you have gun show fodder for yet another purchase!!!! See, there is a method to the madness:evil:. Good luck.

September 23, 2007, 09:49 AM
I agree with the other folks about the .22's.

If it is just for range and fun shooting you can't beat the price of the .22 ammo.

I just got my grandfathers single six. It is a hoot to shoot. Being single action you take your time and each shot for me is more focused.

Now I just bought a Ruger MKIII Hunter. Now that baby is fun at the range. It comes with two mags and I bought a third. This gun makes range plinking even more fun. I had a 230 round day for less than $10. If I was to shoot my 9mm's that much I would of been looking at least a $70 ammo bill for the day.

Just buy quality and it will last a lifetime and you will always have a smile on your face.

September 23, 2007, 09:59 AM
Since you only listed "target shooting and recreation" as your criteria, without a doubt get a .22lr. Probably the two best designs out there to fit your needs are the Ruger MKIII(or MKI/MKII) and the Browning Buckmark. I chose the Ruger MKIII Hunter which I absolutely love. Eats any ammunition you feed it and is without a doubt the most accurate pistol I own. The only downside to the Ruger is that you need to follow the instructions to field strip it. It's a pain in the butt. However, I only clean my Ruger about every 500rds or more. It's stainless steel and just keeps on working dirty or not.

Black Adder LXX
September 23, 2007, 11:43 AM
I started off with a 9mm because I wanted target/sporting PLUS self-defense as my criteria. Then I noticed that since I hadn't shot in a long time, I was getting a pretty bad flinch. As I asked for help on the flinch, the advice on this and other gun boards was to get a 22, and to switch off between it and the 9mm to get the flinch under control. Well, it definitely worked, and I learned something else as well. 22s are so much fun! I now have two; a Buckmark Camper and a S&W 34 revolver.

My Buckmark now goes to the range every time with me and now has over 2500 rounds through it in about 3 months. When I'm broke, I can still go out for about $10 in ammo. I'll usually do 550 rounds of 22, and 100-150 of something else; 9mm, 38spl, 357, etc. in a trip and I get out for a couple hours and get lots of trigger time.

I notice that most people consider the 22 as essential for beginners, and that most experienced shooters shoot a lot of 22 as well. You'll probably get one anyway, might as well start off right and learn the fundamentals on an inexpensive platform. BTW- ditto everyone else on the Ruger Mark II or MkIII. They're excellent. I just preferred the grips and takedown of the Buckmark, but will probably own the Ruger as well once my boys get a little older and come out with me...

Here's a pic of the model 34- I got it used for about $350 on

Snubby 38
September 23, 2007, 12:48 PM
I'd go with a Browning Buckmark... the 22 ammo is still inexpensive (but for how long?) and it shoots great. Since I bought my Micro Buckmark with laminated grips, three of my friends have also purchased one after shooting mine.

True... the Ruger 22's are very nice, but I'd buy another Buckmark.

Good luck!

September 23, 2007, 01:25 PM
22's are good to develop good saftey skills, but if you would like something that you can maybe use to develop shooting skills as well as double as a self defense gun for your home or personal defense, than I would highly recommend the S&W model 686 or another good sized 357 mahnum, the Ruger GP100 would also be a good choice, I simply prefer Smith revolvers. I would get a 4" as it is a good for everything length. The nice thing about a 357 is you can shoot lesser 38 special loads in the gun for plinking and they aren't that expensive. If you live in NC you are welcome to come by and shoot mine. If you prefer the 22 idea you can't go wrong with a Ruger Mark II or III these are some of the best 22's made. If you have any ? just PM me. I will help you all I can.

Black Adder LXX
September 23, 2007, 01:39 PM
+1 on the GP100 for a good SD gun. It's my favorite. Not very cheap to use for plinking, though. 38spl ammo is pretty expensive.

September 23, 2007, 01:46 PM
The Ruger GP-100 is sold in blue, making it very affordable at around $500. It's also sold in stainless for more $$$.

You're off on those prices. I can get the 4" stainless for around $425 new here and I just saw one for $350 used a few weeks back.

Though I'd recommend a 9 mm if you want a centerfire pistol. It's a lot cheaper than 38 special now days.

September 23, 2007, 11:45 PM
Hey, thanks for the responses everybody! If memory serves my grandfather has a Ruger Mark II and, I believe, a Single Six as well. I'll have to try them both out and see which one, but I believe one of those will serve me well. Thank very much for the replies. If I ever get my hands on one I'll be sure to get a picture of it and post it here.

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