What is the ideal truck gun rifle caliber?


January 12, 2011, 11:08 AM
The question isn't asking about platform, just caliber. Even if you don't keep a gun in your truck answer as if you were planning on using one.

I am assuming by the definition of "truck gun" that it is a long arm of some kind and not a pistol. No specific focus, just a rifle you plan on keeping in your vehicle at all times to be used "as needed". Define that as you wish.

I have tried to include the most common calibers I hear people talking about for this kind of weapon. If you have chosen something different then explain why.

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January 12, 2011, 11:09 AM
30-30 Winchester.

January 12, 2011, 11:16 AM
I'm with Abel as it should be short, light, slim and easy to carry in hand once out of the tool box scabbard or seat blanket, or whatever. Should be pretty impervious to dirt and rain and offer a fairly quick follow-up shot. If not a 30-30, how about a Win 94/22M - either would do.

More all purpose would be a 20 Ga pump. But that would not work for situations over about 50 yds. Fine for a close to truck problem, but what about that 'Yote running off with the lamb?

January 12, 2011, 11:29 AM
Rugged and idiot proof SKS in 7.62 x 39.

January 12, 2011, 11:31 AM
Can't go wrong with a lever gun in 30-30

January 12, 2011, 11:32 AM
I chose .223 because it CAN (not should but can) cover a wide range of uses. If you break down and are stranded, it can feed you, because you are stranded and don't mind tracking a deer for an hour or so. if you need to defend yourself from a rabid dog or something, you are covered there. I would have chosen 12ga, and almost did, but i remembered how hard it is to get one of those long barreled things out from behind the seat compared to a mini14 with a folding stock and changed my vote.

January 12, 2011, 11:44 AM
A few good options IMO...

A Hi-Point pistol (http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/6387/hipointc9bx9.jpg), a used S&W M64 police trade in (http://westminsterarms.net/Firearms/Cruise2010283.jpg), a short 20ga. w/top folding stock (http://i31.photobucket.com/albums/c362/markdelisle/Guns/100_3602.jpg), a Kel-Tec Sub 2K (http://world.guns.ru/userfiles/images/civil/civ001/kel-tec_sub2k-1.jpg).

January 12, 2011, 11:46 AM
Mine is a .45-70 in my Marlin 1895STP.
Short, rapid follow up shots, and can kill afore mentioned truck.


January 12, 2011, 11:58 AM
My vote goes to the .30-30 cartridge... a good example would be a Marlin/Glenfield lever action with iron sights.

Can take a beating, pretty short frame, inexpensive (so no regrets when it gets marred in the back seat) and powerful out to 125-150 yards.

Can be found for $250-$350 most of the time.

January 12, 2011, 12:16 PM
I keep my Hi Point 9mm carbine in my truck when I am out and about on weekends. It is good for up to 100 yards with dead on accuracy, takes a beating and is small enough to put behind the seat.

January 12, 2011, 12:20 PM

It will run your gambit from manstopper to moose stopper.

As a truck gun you really have no need to reach out past the range of a 30/30 in the first place.

Besides a cheap $300 marlin 336 is about as versitile a weapon as you realistically need. You really do not want to invent much more then that in a truck gun anyways in case it is stolen.

January 12, 2011, 01:09 PM
I don't carry a long gun in my truck, but if I lived on a huge piece of rural land, and felt the need, I think I'd use my Marlin 1894 in .44 Magnum.

Where I live (Northwest Oregon), the giant fir tree forests are so thick, clear open shots rarely exceed 150 yards in any direction. The 1894 offers a lot of firepower (10+1 capacity), non-threatening "cowboy" looks, a rugged design that can take a beating, and the .44 Magnum can kill anything within 200 yards.

Around here, if you are taking shots beyond 200 yards, you're either on a gun range, standing in clearcut of a logging operation in State Forest land, or on private farm land.

January 12, 2011, 01:56 PM
Hmmm, either a .308 or 30-30, both extremely good, but I'd go for the .308, just because I like the cartridge better. 12ga. is nice, but it has its limits.

January 12, 2011, 02:03 PM
I voted 7.62x39mm, but I think its a tossup with .30-30. Basically anything that can kill a deer or a human, is affordable to buy and shoot and can deliver a shot out to 150 yards will do. my choices:

.30-30, .357, or .44 lever action
autoloading pistol cal carbine (hi-point, marlin camp-9 or 45, ruger PC-9, etc)
12 or 20 gauge pump w/ rifle sights and a sampler platter of slugs and shot.
milsurp bolt such as Mosin, m48 Yugo, Lee Enfield.

January 12, 2011, 02:08 PM
would have voted, but you left out one of the most common chamberings


January 12, 2011, 02:17 PM
I have a 3 gun holder behind the front seat of my Suburban. Been there for years.

It has:
Marlin 60 .22
870 Wingmaster 12ga
Remington 7615 pump in 223

They all get used occasionally out in the boonies. You know which one has been used the most often? The 22

January 12, 2011, 02:27 PM
The rifle in my truck right now is my tricked out SKS in 7.62x39. This works for ME, I cannot speak for everyone else's circumstances.

January 12, 2011, 09:39 PM
I keep a 12ga 870 in the trunk, mostly because I have an extra. If I need to pull it out, odds are it'll be for social work purposes, but I'm sure it could dispatch a rabid animal as well.

January 12, 2011, 09:44 PM
hard to beat an sks. rugged, reliable, and accurate.

January 12, 2011, 09:45 PM
1st choice Marlin 30-30

2nd choice Winchester 30-30

3rd choice Savage 30-30

..........I made my point I guess.........:rolleyes:

But I confess I did think Remington 700 30-06....but it was missing!

Funny .223 and .30-.30 are kinda neck in neck....

who would have thought it...........:confused:

January 12, 2011, 09:52 PM
I voted for the .22 because when I had a truck thats what I always has behind the seat. Most of the time there was a shotgun of some sort in there to but always a .22.

January 12, 2011, 09:54 PM
I carried a sporterized No. 1 Mk.III SMLE in my vehicle for many years. It was accurate (enough), fairly fast, very rugged and I only paid $50.00 for it. I figured I had a pretty good rifle and if I lost it I wouldn't be out much. I paid more for the ammo than the rifle.

Aside for that I would go with any of the above mentioned.

January 12, 2011, 10:50 PM
That 12 gauge is the most versatile action you have listed... You can spray the neighbor's rabid dog with 8-9 shot, shoot the other neighbor's chickens with 6 or 7 shot, get the wild hogs with 4 shot or larger, get the buck with slug or buckshot, plus interchange the barrel - from slug gun to bird shooting... If i were on a desert island with only one gun...it would have to be the 12 gauge.

Col. Plink
January 13, 2011, 01:04 AM
Simonov's w/ big mags still probably rule the roost for all-around dependability and price (or get good with stripper clips!).

January 13, 2011, 07:12 AM
no big surprise, I guess that the "AR/AK" rounds are leading the poll
as little as 15 years ago, I would have bet the 30-30 and 12 gauge would make a better showing
"trends of our times" you know

me, I would go with 357 lever action

January 13, 2011, 08:10 AM
I guess it depends 'why' you want a rifle in your truck. I live in a rural area and the obvious reason is to take game/varmints when the opportunity arises and when it can be done legally (off the road, on property I have permission to hunt on, in season, etc). I usually keep a .22 in the truck and often a .223 (for coyotes) during the period of the year when the crops are out. As a matter of fact, I used the .223 yesterday on a coyote (and I missed!). The one last week wasn't so lucky.

January 13, 2011, 10:58 AM
Hard to beat a good pistol cartridge carbine or the venerable .30-30 but typically end up using .22LR or .22Mag more often than not.

January 13, 2011, 11:20 AM
If you live out in the country a 30-30 Lever action should be mandatory for your truck ;).....If not then you aughta at last have a 12gauge pump ridin with ya:)........otherwise we're just gonna have to exile you back to the city..;) :D

............ good thread.......Tentwing :)

January 13, 2011, 01:49 PM
20+ years of truck guns:

in order of my actual use.

1. unplanned, informal plinking/target shooting
2. varmit control, coyotes, snakes, skunks, etc.
3. Unplanned hunt.
4. coup de grace of a sick or wounded animal.
5. self defense (never needed).

Guns I have used:

1. SKS...ok for coyotes, too much gun for close quarters on varmits, fun plinker.
2. 12ga...ok for close work and hunting, no good for coyotes or plinking.
3. .22 rifle...great for plinking, hunting, weak on coyotes, too slow to deploy.
4. Scoped 30-06...great for coyotes/varmits...didn't like it being abused in the truck.
5. .357mag revolver...great for all!!
6. .22 auto pistol (MKII)...great for all but coyote and SD.

I alternate between MKII .22 and the .357 revolver.

of the choices listed....30-30 or 7.62x39

THe Dove
January 13, 2011, 02:53 PM
30-30 and you pick which maker! There's a big difference in a truck gun needed from state to state or region to region. Ie, a 30-30 would NOT be an ideal truck gun for someone on a ranch in west texas or Wyoming. But in the woods for us in the middle, I say a 30-30 is the best truck gun I've ever had. BTW - there's one in mine right now!!! It does me well on the ranch.

The Dove

January 13, 2011, 04:36 PM
The shotgun is certainly the most versital. The choice will vary from one person to another. We dont all have the same needs. I vote shotgun.

January 13, 2011, 04:41 PM
I like my over and under .308/12 ga. as a truck gun. Everything is covered.

No shootouts here in the big woods.

January 13, 2011, 04:45 PM
:cuss:In Communist Ohio the sheeple are not allowed to have truck guns. Just going to the range with a loaded mag is jailtime.:cuss::banghead::cuss:

An AR or AK pistol might be legal, but for now I'm stuck useing my CCW only.

January 13, 2011, 05:04 PM
A carbine in .45 acp or .45 Colt. Powerfull enough but not to LOUD.

January 14, 2011, 07:16 PM
I voted .30-30.
Behind my truck seat sits a loaded Marlin 336 with one of those Uncle Mike's buttstock straps that holds all those extra rounds. Able caliber to handle just about anything I don't want to just drive away from.

January 14, 2011, 09:08 PM
Man that is a tough one. Im thinking of all the guys I know who carry a rifle in the truck at all times. It seems most have a .223 or a 7.62X39.

January 14, 2011, 09:13 PM
35 marlin for a truck rifle,its easy haulin and easy handlin and very accurate.

January 14, 2011, 09:20 PM
Not being a rancher or farmer, my truck gun is an in-case-of-emergency carbine in 6.8SPC. I fancy it as being ideal, but have no real world practical experience to back that up.

January 14, 2011, 09:23 PM
I've kept a 12 guage but switched to a .22 lr. I really want to find a .22 mag for truck duty. If I could find an old beat to hell 30-30 cheap it's goin in the truck also.

January 14, 2011, 09:51 PM
.30 cal. M1 Carbine......

January 14, 2011, 11:29 PM
Just like gear/load out selection for any thing it depends a lot on what you needs are. What do you think you will encounter or need to be able to deal with? I suggested the 7.62x39mm based on the idea of a paratrooper/mech infantry carbine based on the AK47 such as the AMD-65 or Yugo M70. I chose this for the following reasons;
1) General durability/reliability of the AK47 platform. Stow it and forget it for weeks, months, years, and it will still work at a moments notice.
2) Proven track record of 7.62x39mm as a man/animal/”dumb **** in the parking lot when your just trying to leave” stopper
3) The premise that engagements with hostiles will occur at close to medium range, thus the loss of accuracy needed for longer ranges would be an acceptable trade off for more real or even just perceived stopping power
4) Relatively good penetration vs. commonly encountered modern materials i.e. light to medium gauge metal such as auto bodies, wood and sheet rock as in buildings/structures
5) It’s a big scary tool that even the dumbest/most ignorant/angriest/most drugged or boozed up idiot you’ll ever meet instantly recognizes as does any one else who catches sight of it. The potential and proven destructive capabilities of this weapon have “street cred” thanks to years of gang warfare on US streets. The hood rat jacker might not know what that M1 Garand does. He does however, know damned well and fears what that AK style “chopper” does.
Just my opinion


January 14, 2011, 11:43 PM
I was leaning 7.62x39, then decided the 12 gauge. That would be handy for a worst case, such as a menacing brown bear.

January 14, 2011, 11:45 PM


January 15, 2011, 02:09 AM
I just voted and was amazed to see that two of the worst .30 calibers (as far as velocity/tajectory) were tied at 39 votes each. 30-30 and 7.62X39


January 15, 2011, 04:46 AM
I just voted and was amazed to see that two of the worst .30 calibers (as far as velocity/tajectory) were tied at 39 votes each. 30-30 and 7.62X39
I don't find that all so suprising. Most people (including me) don't see the need for a sniper weapon or long range hunting arm as a "truck gun". What we want is something short, handy, not too expensive, but with the power to deal with at least deer sized game and self-defence.

The 30-30 and 7.62X39 both meet those needs nicely. :D

January 15, 2011, 06:09 AM
I voted 7.62x39 based on the rifle type. Can get most with a folder and storage is important. When I was in the country and had a truck I used a 12ga short barrel pump as that was all I had at the time. It rode nicely in one of those cab organizers with a built in long gun pocket. Was out of view.

January 15, 2011, 06:28 AM
I have four of the calibers listed that I could use as a truck gun.

But I voted based on the gun.... Mini-14, great truck gun.
Takes a lick'n and keeps on tick'n :eek: (sorry Timex)


January 15, 2011, 07:16 AM
I might have gone .357 lever but the only one I have is too pretty to bang around in a truck. My beat up 30-30 is a shooter but I wouldn't put a scope on it if it was going to be bouncing around loose enough for fast access.

Going strictly on caliber for this neck-o-the-woods I voted 30-30.

January 15, 2011, 09:41 AM
Pawn shop 30/30

January 15, 2011, 10:59 AM
I just voted and was amazed to see that two of the worst .30 calibers (as far as velocity/tajectory) were tied at 39 votes each. 30-30 and 7.62X39
Imagine that, maybe there's actually something to it which has nothing to do with ballistics tables???

January 15, 2011, 11:07 AM
I'd vote 45-70 but it wasn't a choice. I don't leave a gun in my truck cause breakins here happen, but when I travel it's a 308 and 12g both.

Carne Frio
January 15, 2011, 11:20 AM
Something in a 30 caliber.

January 15, 2011, 11:37 AM
I just voted and was amazed to see that two of the worst .30 calibers (as far as velocity/tajectory) were tied at 39 votes each. 30-30 and 7.62X39

Imagine that, maybe there's actually something to it which has nothing to do with ballistics tables???

I guess it depends on where the truck that you have your truck gun in ..is?

I voted 30-30 because outside of the zombie hordes I can't think of anything I would come across while in my truck (that actually needs shooting) that wouldn't be within the ballistics of the 30-30 round.

.....In my neighborhood anyhow.

January 15, 2011, 11:43 AM
i voted 30-30 as a long arm
i have the marlin 30as with iron sights
for other intented purposes i have a p90 in .45acp there as well :D

January 15, 2011, 07:00 PM
12 gauge, with the hard-core Brenneke slugs, was for years my choice in the patrol car, and occasionally, personal Jeep/truck. I have, however, aged out of being able to train effectively with such hard-recoiling stuff. I could add weight to a shotgun to make it kick me less, and may do so, but that would make it less handy for quick work in confined spaces.

I answered the poll with "12 gauge" even though my present choices are different.

I recently bought some Federal Tactical .223, with bonded bullets that work better through glass, and should hold together better than conventional JSP when penetrating auto body metal.

January 15, 2011, 10:39 PM
30/30 hands down. When I was a kid riding around on the ranch one was in my saddle then when I got my first 4 wheeler it went in the handle rack. First car 1992 F150 with the straight 6. Dad gave me a present for it. A behind the seat hanging rack for my winchester 30-30. Many a coyote probly wished i didnt have it. My other truck gun was my 30-06

January 17, 2011, 09:49 PM
I wouldn't venture to claim what is the "best" but FWIW my 30-30 Marlin works for me.

January 17, 2011, 11:46 PM
Although I don't currently keep a rifle in my car, if I was going to, I would probably throw my Mosin Nagant M44 loaded with 5 rounds of 203 gr SPs and a few stripper clips loaded, simply because I am familiar with it, I trust it, never misfired on me, durable, and can take anything in North America. Anyway I like the way it feels and handles, thats just me. If I had an M1 Carbine I wouldn't mind one either, I like how they shoot. Of what I own though, my second choice has to be my WASR-10. But I am a softy for Bolt Actions. Oh and ofcourse that folding bayonet, well better to have it if I need it...

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