What type of gun?


September 28, 2007, 11:13 PM
Hello. I am new to this whole gun thing. I live in a very rural area where a mountain lion has been attacking and killing dogs and a miniature horse. Two nights ago, the lion tried to drag my neighbor's dog out of its dog run less than 500 feet away from my home. I have two small children to think about protecting, a 2 year old and a 4 year old. They like to play on our deck but I am afraid to let them do so right now or even to take them for a stroll around the neighborhood while this cat is loose and obviously very aggressive toward humans. Can you please tell me what type of gun would be my best bet for defense against a wild animal in my area? I do not have a license to carry a weapon but could get one. I also would use it for protection in the case of a human intruder in my home although I think that's probably less likely. Thank you in advance for your responses.

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September 28, 2007, 11:15 PM
lever action in 357 or .44 magnum. learn to swing it good.
or a 12 gauge with slugs

long guns are easier to aim with, easier to get in any restricted state, more powerfull than a pistol normaly and things like lever actions or pumps are quick to reload

September 28, 2007, 11:16 PM
Thanks, Hoppy. I am planning a trip to the local gun store this weekend and will print out your response. I seriously know not one thing about guns but I am fed up about being afraid of this mountain lion so I am going to learn to use one. First time for everything, I guess.

September 28, 2007, 11:19 PM
If you don't know what a lever action in .357 is than, you may want to look into things a little more before buying a gun. But I would go with one in .44 if it were just to defend against mountain lions.

September 28, 2007, 11:23 PM
Cootie, looks awfully big. Not sure I could handle that.

September 28, 2007, 11:25 PM
Cootie is being silly. If you are completely new to firearms, long guns (rifles or shotguns) are easier to learn how to shoot safely and accurately. If you are looking for something to have around a rural home, I would favor a pump action shotgun with a relatively short barrel (legal minimum in 18 inches). It could be loaded with a variety of different ammunition depending on need. Although the 12 gauge is most popular, I would think a 20 gauge pump-action shotgun would work. My personal recommendation would be a Mossberg 500 20 gauge loaded with buckshot. It would do the job on a big cat.

If, however, you are looking for something to carry with you at all times, you will need a handgun. In that case, I would recommend a sturdy revolver in .357 magnum caliber. It will shoot .38 special ammunition, which doesn't recoil as strongly as the .357. Use the .38 special ammo for practice, and carry .357 for business. Again, my personal recommendation would be a Ruger GP100 revolver with a 4 inch barrel. Get a good holster.

These are just starting suggestions. Whatever your inclination, get good instruction, and see if you can find someone local who can let you handle a variety of firearms. My recommendations are based on what I would start a complete novice on who wanted something to "do the job" and who didn't want to spend a lot of time shooting as a hobby. If you have interest in the latter, I'd purchase a rifle in .22LR caliber and practice a lot to begin with. You can learn a lot about shooting with this inexpensive caliber, and it's fun to boot.

For lots of good information, especially for new female shooters, take a look at the following website: http://www.corneredcat.com/ .

Welcome to THR, and best of luck!

September 28, 2007, 11:25 PM
a lever action rifle is like in the old john wayne cowboy movies.

a pump action shot gun is what you see in cop movies.

generaly, rifles and shotguns are easier to aim than pistols. and fire more powerful rounds. these two types of long guns( lever action and pump action) are quick to reload to get a second shot. the first, lever action, is loaded by swinging that loop down. like this

pump action you just slide your front hand ( left hand in the case of rightys) to the rear, like so

357 and 44 magnum are powerful handgun rounds ( dirty harry used a 357 is im not mistaken. might of been a .44) but in a heavier rifle they are very controlable and can perform better than a pistol

12 gauge slugs are a solid hunk of metal. as opposed to the "cloud" of small BB's used to hunt birds. slugs are most often used to kill deer and bears

Claude Clay
September 28, 2007, 11:26 PM
if you want .44, get it in .44 magnum for protection & shoot .44 special for practice. other option--a 30-30 carbine. in real life things move.........a 20 gauge without choke for slugs or various scatter-shot loads might be the best for a beginner. less kick than a 12 but enough power for your 'guests' after you get your carry permit, make sure the shot gun is 'fitted' to you as one tends to point a scatter gun & aim a rifle/pistol. a good revolver is a S&W 65 or 66, it is a .357 and as many have already said~shoots .38's also. 4 inches barrel is all you need & a good slide belt holster. good luck

September 28, 2007, 11:27 PM
You could probably pick up a SKS for real cheap, other options would be the Marlin .30-30, you could pick up either for under $300 and both would be more than adequate against a mountain lion.

September 28, 2007, 11:27 PM
Where do you live? This will largely determine what you can buy.

I'll also throw in my recommendation for a pump action shotgun or a lever action rifle. Either of which should be legal to own in your area no matter where you live.

Zeke Menuar
September 28, 2007, 11:32 PM

September 28, 2007, 11:32 PM
Personally, I'd go with a revolver. Much easier to carry around with you on a walk or something, and a .357 or .44 mag will easily kill a mountain lion. You don't need the extra power of a rifle. In many states you can open carry it, especially in a rural area, without any kind of license.

September 28, 2007, 11:35 PM
Hi, Prettywoman; welcome to THR!!!

You're not alone here...there's quite a few women on the board. Glad you've joined us.

As for your question. For home defense and critter defense, a shotgun or a rifle would make the most sense. Yes, there are handguns that are sometimes used to bring down game, but you want to nail the mountain lion from a distance :). A rifle can shoot little .22lr (for long rifle) rounds, or it can shoot honkin' big bring-down-a-buffalo rounds. You need something in the middle.

You didn't say how much you're willing to spend; but don't overlook the used guns rack when you go shopping; I found my own first rifle that way, and I use it for deer hunting. It's a .243 Winchester; that's a round that has a lot less recoil than the .30-06 that lots of deer hunters use (I have weenie shoulders, what can I say? LOL) but I got a deer last year with it, with a scope on it, at 215 yards, so I'm very happy with it. Something like that would certainly take down a mountain lion...they're fairly thin-skinned animals.

However, a .243 wouldn't be my choice for home defense. Rifle rounds tend to move VERY fast (think 2500fps) and penetration through walls is a concern. For home defense, a shotgun is better; I have a 20-gauge semiautomatic shotgun (the semiauto dampens recoil...remember the weenie shoulders....) and my husband has a 12-gauge (larger bore gun, larger shells, more damage).

You could take a mountain lion with a shotgun, I suppose, but you'd have to be closer than *I* would want to be to make sure you kill it.

If you can swing it financially, I would think about one of each; either that, or a rifle and a handgun for home defense.

Whatever you decide, get some training. Get someone to help you learn to shoot well and quickly; if you need to nail that cat, you need to be able to get the gun up, get the cat in your sights, and get the shot off quickly and economically.

Good luck, and welcome to the world of firearms. Apart from being able to take care of yourself, which is awesome, shooting is just a WHOLE lot of fun.


September 28, 2007, 11:36 PM
Okay. You really, really, need to find a friend to let you shoot several guns. Also, visit CornerdCat (http://www.corneredcat.com). What state do you live in? Some states, such as California, have restrictions on what weapons you can own.

Now, we split guns into a few separate classes of action...here we go.

Leveraction- this is the rifle seen in westerns. The leveraction is worked by using the lever mounted underneath the rifle. It is usually fed by a tube magazine- the rounds line up in a tube underneath the barrel. Stick with the Marlin firearms brand for this.

Bolt- the quintessential hunting rifle. Commonly scoped. Not much to say about this- usually a low magazine capacity.

Semiautomatic- fires one round per pull of the trigger until it runs out of ammunition. An AK might be a good choice, if you are not in California.

Break-open- break open rifles and shotguns. very simple, usually one shot only (or two, if you have a double-barrel gun)

Pump action- most common with shotguns, you know this one.

Okay, now rifles are either chambered in rimfire (.22LR), Rifle (.30-06, .308Win, .223Rem, .30-30WCF), and pistol caliberes (.357, 9mm, .44Magnum, .45ACP) I have only listed the most common calibers.

You need to find a caliber and action that comes together in a rifle or shotgun to fit you. You need to enjoy shooting the caliber (i.e.- comfortable, not discomfort), as you need to do a decent amount of practice to get used to the rifle and be able to make followup shots quickly.

A .357, .30-30, or .44Magnum are all nice for lever-action rifles. All deliver a good thumping on the target without thumping you too bad.

The CornerdCat website (which is the work of one of our moderators, Pax) will help you greatly pointing to handguns. I recommends that you get a rifle for dealing with critters, though, but a pistol is more likely to be on you all of the time. I carry a .30-30 lever action whenever I am in the woods. We have to worry about bobcats and panthers, too.

The good news is that pretty much wherever you are, you can carry on your own property (I assume you are in a western state) without needed a license.

September 28, 2007, 11:46 PM
Dirty Harry used a .44Magnum.....you were wrong.

Lots of good recommendations here, I can't add much to them....just be sure to GET TRAINING!

September 28, 2007, 11:49 PM
Check out a firearms safety course in your area; that may help you choose. Plus the safety training is always important.

September 29, 2007, 12:09 AM
Whatever you decide to use get adequate training and adequate practice.
Lots of people spend a fortune on a gun and just a few bucks on the ammo.
Thus they seldom practice and find when they really need a gun, the gun performs as designed but the operator of said gun does not perform adequately. Spend as much if not more on training and ammo as the gun.
Practice till it becomes second nature and you will do fine. Any handgun in .357 or larger is enough for a cat and any rifle in a caliber larger than. .22lr or
.223 will be adequate. The key is you.

Corporal K
September 29, 2007, 12:22 AM
Where I live in Colorado, we have the same problem. Bears are a problem too. I recommend a short (legal) barrel shotgun and whatever handgun you feel comfortable with (.38, 9mm. 357, etc).
In addition, you also may consider a decent pellet gun, for situations where lethal force may not be legal. For example, I have shot 3 bears in once instance and two in another with my bb gun. It sent them packing but without all the racket. If you see a cougar at a distance,a well-placed pellet will discourage him from coming back.

September 29, 2007, 01:15 AM
Not to disparage the use of pellet guns but if you are close enough for a pellet gun to be noticed by a bear or a cougar than you are close enough for that animal to close the distance between it and you in the blink of an eye.

I would not consider shooting an annoying bb at a dangerous animal unless another person was with me suitably armed to stop the animal if it turned aggressive.

I live in an area of No Nevada that is currently plagued with bears, all of them
on a search and destroy mission to acquire calories by any and all means necessary. I have also seen mountain lions within a half mile of my house.

Twice in the last 3 weeks I have had to go outside with a shotgun after midnite to run off a foraging bear that was wreaking havoc outside. The first time I hit him once with bird shot. He ran. The next week he came back for a second go. I went back out and hit him again with birdshot. He did not run this time but stood his ground. I hit him a second time with more birdshot.
Fortunately he left after the second round because the subsequent rounds were slugs. A bear that will stand his ground when being hit with birdshot is not an animal to take lightly. These animals are becoming accustomed to humans, after enough time they start looking at us as hor deouvres. Thats when they end up dying.

September 29, 2007, 02:28 AM
Hi there,

Good luck in your shopping, hope you find what you want, and never *have* to use it.

I think there's some good advice here already, and some technical knowledge to get you started...

Like others said:

Try to shoot some different guns, either rentals at a range, or from friends/acquaintances. A lot of places rent handguns, you might have to get someone to lend you a shotgun or rifle though at a range somewhere.

Shotguns or Rifles are probably easier to use and hit something, especially a wild animal, but obviously not something you'd carry around the neighborhood w/ the kids in tow. You may ultimately decide to buy more than one gun, if budget permitted, like a hand gun and a long gun of some type.

If you can only buy one gun, you'll have to decide what's more probable, and prioritize your needs. If only for home protection, and animal control at the homestead, then a long gun probably makes sense. But if protection while out and about is the priority, then the handgun is really the only option.

If you go w/ the handgun, and actually want to be able to protect yourself from a wild animal, then you better be a good shot, which means more practice and/or training than w/ the long gun, IMO. I mean practice and training is important either way, but I'm sure you can see the logic here. Small handgun, short barrel, shorter distance between front and rear sights, no shoulder to steady the gun (like you would w/ the long gun), potentially charging wild animal, I would want to be very competent w/ whatever I was carrying.

Learning the 4 rules is important (Always treat every gun as it's loaded, never point the gun a something you're not willing to destroy <loaded or unloaded>, never put your finger on the trigger before you have the sights on your target, and be aware of your target and what's beyond it).

I bring these up to stress the last one, in how it's relevant to this discussion. No matter what gun you shoot, you have to be careful of where the bullets might go after they've either gone through your target, or missed and gone past your target. So if you're shooting at something w/ a backstop, like a hill behind it, and no one else is in harm's way, then you're good. But if you have to shoot at something and there's not much backstop, the bullet may travel a ways before it comes to rest somewhere. Like I said, this is true of all bullets, but the reason I bring it up is because in general, rifle rounds tend to travel farther than say shotgun or pistol rounds. Again, this is generally speaking, but you may want to ask the gun seller questions abou the ammo in your comparisons, if you're considering a rifle, compared to the shotgun or pistol, IMO, you need to know what you're bullet will do, and how that may affect your surroundings. You don't want to accidentally cause harm to someone down range in the event you had to take a shot at that animal from a bad angle, etc.

So, you want to consider the range of an undeterred bullet, and also the penetration rate of a bullet. As others have said, there are different calibers and types of bullets. So find someone that sells the guns in your area that will take the time to explain what some people here are briefly explaining here. You want something that will go into your target, but not all the way through it, ideally. That's why many people opt for hollow point bullets in their handguns, as they tend to expand inside their targets, causing more damage to the intended target, instead of penetrating all the way through the target (w/ a less damaging hole BTW), and potentially hit something beyond it's target.

I'm not a hunter, so you may want some specific instruction about some of these loads and how they would act in the wild animal compared to a human, so you know what might happen, in the event you're using the same weapon to defend from both types of attackers. Generally speaking, the larger caliber rounds some have mentioned, like in the pistol calibers of .44 magnum, .357 magnum, etc. may have a more desirable effect on the wild animal, while also being potentially good human SD rounds as well, especially in a hollow point to avoid over penetration. Shotgun slugs would probably be good to as a multi-purpose. But I'd be exceptionally cautious in learning more about the ammo if the rifle is your choice, to make sure it's enough to stop the animal, but not too dangerous for over penetration or long down range carry for other needs. Hope that makes sense.

And lastly, as others have said, training and practice is key, and IMO, the most fun of the whole deal anyway, to get out there and shoot for fun and practice, and hope you never *need* to use it :)

Good luck, and shop around. Once you think you know what you want to buy, compare pricing at local stores, and on the Internet. It's good to buy local, but try to keep em honest on the pricing w/ your comparisons.


EDIT: P.S. if you decide to get both a long gun and a handgun, you may want to go ahead and get the long gun now, and then get the handgun when you're ready to get a carry permit, etc. Plus, you may want to take some time to make the handgun decision. If you go w/ a shotgun, I know a lot of people that are happy w/ either a Remington (often an 870 Express), or a Mossberg (often a 500 or 590), I'd say those are two of the most popular/reliable on the market. I know you can get a nice home defense Mossberg for $200-$300 for example, whereas you might spend a little more on a handgun, depending on what you get. The advantage of a shotgun is being able to shoot different kinds of loads, as some have mentioned. Like the balls of lead called slugs, or the shotgun shells that have little pellets in them. Some people keep a little sleeve on the stock or side of their shotgun for extra rounds. Sometimes, either in the gun itself (they hold multiple shots, maybe 3-7 shots in the gun), or on that side saddle, they'll keep some slugs and some kind of shell, sometimes different weights of shells (birdshot vs buckshot). This is ideal since you can keep the slugs for the wild animals, but maybe put in a lighter load to defend inside the walls of your home if need be.

Anyway, hope that's food for thought to bring up w/ the gun shop guys. For me, I plan to get both a shotgun and a handgun for various purposes. I felt the need to have the protection w/ me most of the time, so I opted for a handgun first. I just have a 9MM semi-automatic pistol, which is a smaller bullet than some spoke of here, but I am less likely to encounter the wildlife here that you might.

Oh, I almsot forgot, you may hear a lot of people recommend a revolver over a semi-automatic handgun, as far as handguns go. This isn't necessarily because you're a woman, but it might be. In general, the rule of thumb is revolvers are more simple to learn and operate than semi-automatics, and are in some ways more reliable, just point and shoot basically. So many people recommend revolvers to any new shooters, not just women. Thought I'd mention that, in case it comes up. Reloading a revolver quickly takes a little more practice though, in case the first 5-6 shots aren't enough, so keep that in mind.

September 29, 2007, 09:44 AM
Welcome aboard! Good advice here, and not knowing your experience level or local laws, I'd suggest that a short-barrelled pump shotgun loaded with buck shot would be the easiest to use, minimizes over-penetration concerns, & would satisfy both the home defense & cougar-elimination needs. It doesn't require a whole lot of gun to stop a cougar. When you get whatever you get, practice! Remember the rules of firearm safety . . . owning a firearm is one thing -- being able to use one safely and effectively is of utmost importance. Good luck . . .

September 29, 2007, 11:11 AM
My .02......

A shotgun is a good choice but, is good for short range only (about 30yds) unless you use slugs (more recoil). Great choice if you must point and shoot in a hurry at close range

A rifle is great choice for just about any range but take a little more time to aim. If you look out your window and see this lion at 200yds, you can take the shot with a rifle. You can get a rifle in single shot, bolt, pump, or semi auto. For making fast follow up shots the semi auto or pump would be you best choice.

GET training.....In the use of and Firearm use and safety.

Baba Louie
September 29, 2007, 12:01 PM
Sounds like you and your neighbors need to get together and tree a cat with a pack o' dogs. Then you even can use a .22 (tho I'd at least use a centerfire .223 at a min) or a tranq gun if you've got a fish and game Officer with ya.

Unless you live in CA where I guess... you lose. I've read that cat hunting is frowned upon and has been made uber illegal by the bunny-huggers over there.

If you DO Tree a cat, (and I would sure try) please know where any bullets will ultimately go once they pass thru said snagglepuss (that'd be firearm safety rule #4)

Oh, and welcome to THR. Hope you solve your pest problem quickly. Kinda cool about having a cat as a neighbor... except for their predatory ways and lack of fear of humans and all. Must be a young tom and has already cleaned out all the local deer doing his regular shopping, huh?

September 29, 2007, 12:12 PM
A 30-30, 357 mag or 44 mag Marlin with a 1.5 x 5 powered Leupold scope will let you handle the cat. the 357 will let you share rounds with a pistol.

Another course would be a CAR-15 rifle with a small tactical scope. My wife loves our CAR-15 because it has no kick, is lite and short. The 30 round clip helps out too.

Good luck with the cat.

September 29, 2007, 01:05 PM
I vote for .357 lever, something light and short, I know that's what I'd have around if there was cats. Have fun, be safe!

September 29, 2007, 01:11 PM
I've read the thread and am a little surprised no-one has picked up on the "stroll through the neighborhood" comment. Do you really want to carry a long gun when you are out walking your kids? Also the part about distance. From what you've said it sounds to me like you are willing to let someone else deal with the cat, as long as it stays 50 yards or more away from you. So long range ability may not matter. I would agree with the one poster that suggested a revolver. I would look at some .357 or even .38 revolvers that you can fit in, say, a fanny pack. Then go try to arrange to shoot a few of them and see which is more comfortable. About the only gun bigger than a .22 that my wife likes to shoot is a smaller J frame S&W .38 special.

Never No More
September 29, 2007, 01:18 PM
You dont tell a novice to buy a hand cannon, geez.

I concur with a 12 gauge 870 pump. Easy to use. Point and click.

They can use buck shot for close in, and slugs for far away.

Id say get an SKS over any handgun. Then at least you can spray and pray.

September 29, 2007, 01:49 PM
Well, thank you everyone. This is a lot of information to digest so I am going to read and reread. I certainly do need training. The last thing I would want would be a gun related accident and this is the reason that I do not currently own a gun in the first place.
Woof, no, taking a gun with me while I push a baby stroller around is not optimal in my mind to say the least. I guess we'll just have to skip our strolls until this lion is caught. My main concern for right now is safety on our deck as well as going to and from our car.
I live in Colorado where mountain lions are very common. I imagine that one of my neighbors will shoot the thing or the Dept. of Wildlife will catch it and euthanize it soon. They normally stick to their own natural prey but for some reason, this one has a taste for dogs and is not afraid to come very close to houses, etc.
Thanks again for the information.

September 29, 2007, 02:07 PM
OK, even walking to and from your car, you are not going to carry a long gun. I empathize with newbies posting questions here because you do get a huge range of opinions. Most of them basically think you should have what they have which in many cases, is all they know. My best advice to you is this - the best gun is the one you are most comfortable with. Only you can decide whether a long gun is right for you or if you should have a handgun. Yes this lion will be killed but there will be another. This is a long term decision for you, take your time. Listen to people who have no vested interest. Most important, work with whoever will let you shoot some guns and see how they feel. You know you don't become Dirty Harry or Jack Bauer just by buying a gun. You need to practice with it and become proficient. IF a long gun will work then I second the marlin lever in .357. I love mine, but they are pricey. I still think a smaller revolver sounds best. The idea of an SKS is absurd, look up a picture of this thing. It is a clanky old Russian made military surplus rifle. You may as well have a flintlock.

September 29, 2007, 09:03 PM
Prettywoman, I must agree with those who urge you to test fire different types of firearms before purchasing one, if this is possible. Doing so will enable you to decide what gun you can handle best. Next, seek qualified instruction on how to use your firearm properly. These two suggestions should help you to defend yourself against any type of predator.

Speaking for myself, I would prefer a lever-action rifle or a repeating shotgun to deal with a mountain lion. If you decide on purchasing a hangun, then I strongly recommend a revolver since it is more "user friendly" in a threatening situation. The final decision is yours, and feel free to disregard my firearm preferences if you find something that suits your needs better than my proposed choices. Hopefully, your neighbors will kill the cat before any more problems arise. Good luck.


September 29, 2007, 11:54 PM
SInce prettywoman hasn't offered a budget or an
approximation of physical size, athletic history I would
advise training, and the website offered for education
for a woman rookie to firearms.

And I'd second the .357 lever gun - a Marlin, as well as
a Ruger GP100 4 inch bbl. for the same ammo as well as
.38 spcl. for training - sometimes especially with two young
children a pistol in a hip holster is always there whereas a
long gun might not be. ALso, training for the kids about wild
animals in the rural country.


September 30, 2007, 12:10 PM
Things happen when people least expect it. I recommended a SKS or .30-30 lever gun in my earlier post, but that will be most useful if you get the drop on the perp. Most people won't be going to and from their car and house lugging groceries and a rifle or shotgun. The best defense is to recognize your surroundings and keep your head on a swivel, the sooner you see a threat the more time you have to take the appropriate action, whether it means using that time to employ your weapon or to get to safety.
As fast as most predators are, every millisecond counts. It will be most difficult for a non-trained person to employ a pistol against a fast moving target and be effective enough to stop the attack, but better than nothing I suppose, maybe the report will be enough to deter it, but I wouldn't want to rely solely on that.
But if you do want a rifle, I would still recommend the SKS or .30-30 lever action, the SKS is not a high-end quality rifle, but it wasn't designed to be, it was designed for warfare. Either way, it is a very effective semi-auto rifle and way, way more effective than a flintlock, especially if you miss with your first shot. The recoil is not bad either. I see that others have recommended a 12 gauge shotgun with slugs and that would be fine but you will definitely be affected by recoil, it is harsh. The .30-30 kicks harder than the SKS and the SKS is relatively soft. However a .357 or .44mag lever gun which I also have seen recommended would also be a very good choice, recoil would probably be the least in this option.

Old Fuff
September 30, 2007, 12:42 PM

I don't know where you live, but in southeastern Arizona where I am, we also have lions and black bears. I used to know a Government hunter who's job it was to hunt down and exterminate "troublesome" lions. He would use a pack of dogs to chase and tree the big cat, and then shoot it down with a little Marlin lever-action carbine chambered in .32 rimfire. Now this probably won't mean anything to you, but it will to many other readers.

The .32 rimfire cartridge is a VERY low powered one...

He pointed out to me that a lion is thin skinned and has a high-strung nervous system. When shot in the right place they came down right quick, and the little, low powered bullet did little damage to the valuable pelt - which he got to keep.

He opined that a lion is built much like a human being, and any cartridge that would work for one would do well on the other. "Cats," he said, "don't require a lot of power, but marksmanship is important."

You can easily stop a big cat with a handgun - if you are a good shot. Getting to be a good shot takes time and practice, so you would probably be better off for the time being with a short barreled rifle or shotgun. Neither has to be the most powerful, and given your experience I would avoid the more powerful cartridges and consider a carbine chambered either in .357 or .44 Magnum. Both are revolver cartridges, but when fired in a carbine the recoil is modest. Either will stop a lion cold.

Or you might prefer a shotgun loaded with buckshot. Each time you shoot a number of balls go out the barrel, rather then one bullet.

Any competent dealer can explain these things to you, but you don't have to go overboard in the power department. I would note that I believe some of the advice you are getting is coming from individuals who ever saw a lion in the wild, let alone shot one.

Bears are another matter.

I might add... Talk to some of the Fish & Game Department officers in your area. They often can give you some helpful hints.

September 30, 2007, 01:03 PM
Being new to firearms. I am glad to see you are taking the proper steps to protect your family.

I would go with either a 12 or 20ga Mossberg 500 (http://www.mossberg.com/products/default.asp?id=3&section=products)or a Remington 870 (http://www.remington.com/products/firearms/shotguns/model_870/model_870_express_synthetic_18inch.asp). If all you want to do it use it for protection from this mt lion and other nasty critters out there in a rual area. I would most likely go with a shorter barreled shot gun maybe a slug shot gun. There is no way a mt lion is getting up from a good shot to the chest with a 12 or 20ga slug.

I am not a fan of synthetic stocks but they have their place, and this is one of them. Easy to care for tough as nails it makes for a good starter shotgun to learn with.

Both models I refer to are under $400 MSRP but you might be able to find them both for around $250 to $300 in a store.

Now on to ammo. I would sugest a good slug you have 5 shots so I would also go with some 00 or 000 buck to follow it up with. Maybe load it with one slug, 2 00 buck, 2 slug.

Being a person that is new to firearms then you might want to look at getting Remingtons Slugger® Managed-Recoil™ Rifled Slugs (http://www.remington.com/products/ammunition/shotshell/slugs/slugger_managed-Recoil_rifled.asp)(This is if you have a smooth bore). If you want to follow up with some buckshot then try Remingtons Express® Managed-Recoil™ Buckshot (http://www.remington.com/products/ammunition/shotshell/buckshot/managed-Recoil_express.asp)

I went with these ammo choiceses because they offer less recoil than many of the other full power slug and buckshot loads out there.

I would also try to buy from a gun store and tell them you are new to this and see if the guy behind the counter would go over the functioning of your new kitty popper with you. It would be even better if they had a range to let you live fire a few timed before going home. Good luck and I hope you know once you buy one you will buy more. That is always the way it starts.

September 30, 2007, 01:30 PM
If you have the extra money I would suggest a .22 rifle or even a good quality air rifle in addition to your cat killer. This would not be for use on the threat, but for cheap preactice. Air guns and .22s are quiet and economical which allows you to build your skill. From your description you live in a rural area where you might be able to shoot a .22 without annoying or endangering the neighbors. Just be sure you have a good backstop behind your targets.

September 30, 2007, 02:09 PM
While a 12 gauge pump shotgun with a short slug barrel with rifle sights is a good multi-purpose tool, there are a few things to look out for. One, make sure the stock fits you. Some makers have 'youth' models with shorter stocks if you are of smaller stature or have short arms. A big person can handle a short stocked gun easier than a small person can handle a stock that is too large for them.

Also, Federal makes a line of 12 gauge ammo they call 'tactical'. These rounds are loaded to deliver less recoil, but at practical distances they still deliver effective energy to the target. It would be best to borrow someone's 12 gauge to test how you react to the recoil with these lighter loads. Otherwise a 20 gauge might be better (smaller shell and less recoil; with shotguns the smaller number is a bigger bore and more to handle).

If you want to develop good shooting habits, a .22 rimfire rifle in a semi-auto or bolt action is probably a good place to start. Hitting a vermin with several rounds of accurate .22 fire is more likely to stop a stalk or attack than missing with something bigger. The ammo is cheap enough that you can practice and gain confidence. Starting with a long arm (rifle or shotgun) will be less frustrating than jumping into pistol shooting. You can generally get into rifle or shotgun shooting for less than the cost of a good pistol or revolver. Many used guns have little wear or use so don't write off looking at used guns.

Make sure whatever you choose, it fits you and you are comfortable with how it works. When you go to a guns store, you may want to take a male friend with you; some salesmen can be real jerks when dealing with women. Paxton Quigley has a great book 'Armed and Female' that has nicely organized advice and explanations.

As you get closer to making a decision you can always post again for more specific advice or insight.

September 30, 2007, 02:17 PM
I've read the thread and am a little surprised no-one has picked up on the "stroll through the neighborhood" comment. Do you really want to carry a long gun when you are out walking your kids?

If there's a mountain lion walking around that might try to eat my kids? (Well, in my case, my nieces and nephews, but whatever.) You're darn right I'll carry a long gun around.

Ala Dan
September 30, 2007, 03:11 PM
Welcome To THR Prettywoman My Friend-

Obviously, you don't want to walk a'round the neighborhood with a Marlin
336 .30-30, or a Remington 12 gague shotgun with a 18.5" barrel; as that
would draw lots of attention~! :eek:

A reliable sidearm seems like a must. With that said, I would seek out a
new in the box [or used but not abused] 4" barrel Smith & Wesson model 19,
.357 magnum. The reason I say choose the .357 magnum, is the fact that it
is very versatile. Load it with the less powerful, and less expensive .38 SPL's
for practice; and the 125 grain jacketed hollow point (JHP's), or the 158 grain
jacketed soft point (JSP) .357's for possible animal attacks. I don't know in
what part of the country you live ; but the .357 should be enough for a cat
the size of a mountain lion. ;):D

September 30, 2007, 03:25 PM
I like the ideas of a sturdy revolver with a four inch barrel, like a Ruger GP100 in .357 magnum. This will allow you to carry on hikes and also serve you well around the house. Like others have said you can practice with cheaper .38 Special ammo which also has less recoil and muzzle blast.

September 30, 2007, 03:26 PM
The advice to consider a Marlin 336 .30-30 or a Remington 12 gague shotgun with a 18.5" barrel is sound for the home.

Ala Dan's is sound for anywhere.

Erik, whose responded to cats in the vicinity of children with a convenient handgun rather than a less convenient rifle or shotgun. Convenient as in on hand. No need to shoot the cats as it turned out. Yes, cats.

September 30, 2007, 06:02 PM
I would use a 12 gauge and if that didn't stop it I would get my Marlin .444, it would stop it:D

Brian Williams
September 30, 2007, 06:52 PM
Never No More
Senior Member

Some of this is a load of BS
You dont tell a novice to buy a hand cannon, geez.Why not, providing they get training, The US Military used a 45 for a long time and many of those newbies did very will with that hand cannon, besides a 357 today is hardly a hand cannon.

I concur with a 12 gauge 870 pump. Easy to use. Point and click.

They can use buck shot for close in, and slugs for far away.

Id say get an SKS over any handgun. Then at least you can spray and pray.
Never look to go the spray and pray option, learn to use a gun correctly and accurately, spray and pray could easily hurt something else than what you are trying to defend against.

Hi, Prettywoman, Make sure you know what you are looking for when you visit a shop and do not let them choose a gun for you, do it your self and make sure it fits you and you get the needed accessories, belt and holster for a handgun and sling for a long gun.

A lot of THR suggests a 12 gauge, I prefer a 20 gauge youth model and reduced recoil loads.

BUT My first choice for the situation is an 1894C Marlin in 357 with a good revolver backup. Good luck finding a Marlin 1894 but you will love it once you do. A godd revolver is any 357 by Ruger or S&W that passed the checkout in the revolver section.

September 30, 2007, 07:41 PM
Unless the shooter is going to practice a lot, I cannot reccoment a handgun unless absolutely necessary for carry. It takes a lot more training to reliably hit a target with a handgun than a rifle or shotgun. Personally, I wouold look at a shoprt barrels pump gun like an 870, or even a 'coach gun' a short double barreled shotgun. You donlt want to shoot at something too far away, and you don't want you bullets going a mile into soem neighbor's house. I'd pick something like 00 or #4 buckshot. at 100 feet either will kill a big cat, or wound it substantially, and the patter will compemnsate somewhat for poor aim. Buckshot also has a much shorter range and won't endanger the whole neighborhood.

You might even want to put heavy birdshot as the first round. This will discourage most animals.


September 30, 2007, 07:47 PM
I also live in Colorado bear and lion country. If the cat is as big a problem as you say the DOW should be notified and will take action ( hunt it down and kill it). If you live in a highly populated area (such as Boulder) the authorities are pretty aggressive. If you live in a rural "neighborhood" your neighbor most likely won't care if you stroll armed. Keep in mind though that the bears and lions lived there before you did. You might consider a shotgun with rubber bullets which the DOW will sometimes provide. This is a less lethal means of dealing with the problem. There are also pamphlets the DOW distributes about living in bear and lion country which you and your neighbors should read. I would be very cautious about shooting any "threat" from more than 25 yards as you may be unable to justified doing so. As one well known trainer says "every bullet has a lawyer attached to it".Lots of people will say to do this or that never having done it themselves. Get some training, the Colorado hunter safety class is cheap and has lots of good information. Get professional training from a certified trainer. Practice, stay alert, be careful and enjoy living in Colorful Colorado.
BTW I hunt an carry a firearm at all times.

October 1, 2007, 10:32 AM
I would also recomend the 870 pump. But I would also recomend that you take a safety course of some sort and get yourself a handgun and a concealed carry permit for personal protection while on your strolls.

October 1, 2007, 10:38 AM
Prettywoman, you said: I am planning a trip to the local gun store this weekend and will print out your response. I seriously know not one thing about guns but I am fed up about being afraid of this mountain lion so I am going to learn to use one. First time for everything, I guess. Did you get to the gun store? How'd it go?

October 1, 2007, 10:50 AM
870 Pump shotgun -- comes in a youth model. I'm smaller-framed and it may fit you better, too. The smaller gun is also lighter to carry. A shotgun allows a better chance to hit the target.

My home in eastern washington got "marked" by a cougar this summer -- came right on the deck. Locals apparently gathered a posse to remove it. Younger cougs seeking territory may be a little more aggressive and brazen.

As you have probably noticed, there are a lot of things to consider and opinions vary considerably. Do you have any neighbors who could mentor you and give you a test drive before you hit the gun shop?

October 1, 2007, 08:37 PM
In the privacy of your own home or on your own land, a good shotgun may be ideal for you. I think buckshot would be the best but slugs may also work. If you intend to walk around with the weapon, then a handgun in something like .357 magnum or more should dispatch the cat. Smaller calibers may succeed in scaring it away or angering it. One gun you may want to consider is the Taurus 4410 "The Judge". It is relatively cheap and can shoot .45 LC or .410 shotgun ammunition. The .45 LC should be more than enough on the cat and if you have snakes the .410 could come in handy too.

October 1, 2007, 10:33 PM
I would suggest a sks. Not terribly expensive, dang reliable, and 10 round magazine. This carbine doesn't kick real hard, and ammo is cheap. If you ever want to get rid of it, you will have no problem and you won't have a lot of money tied up in it. Just my thought.

October 1, 2007, 10:36 PM
if you want a cheaper gun get an sks or ak variation.

October 1, 2007, 11:56 PM
I'd probably go with a 20 gauge pump action shotgun in your position.
It will kick less than a 12 gauge but still have plenty of power and a good selection of different loads to choose from. If you buy one from a good maker you shouldn't have any problems and they are pretty simple to learn to use. I would probably limit it to a Remington 870 or a Mossberg 500. Both come in youth versions for smaller statured shooters and both are common so accessories and knowlegable gunsmiths are not hard to find for them.

After buying a Mossberg 500 (mine is a 12 gauge though) and seeing how versatile a short barreled shotgun can be, I don't think I would ever want to be without one.

One thing I would suggest - If you have never shot any guns before and really know absolutely nothing about them, try to find someone local to go shooting with and educate you a little. If you are in PA (didn't think to look at your location) and anywhere near me or my family/friends I'd be glad to try to work a time to let you try a couple of mine. If not, try to find someone on here to help you out in person or look for a course near you.
Do they offer hunter's safety courses in your state? They are offered in PA and area great place to start.

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