$3,000 to start my collection...


December 26, 2011, 11:23 AM
Hey all, this is my first post. I have been reading the forum for a month or so now, trying to learn what I can from you all. I have a question that I know will generate many different answers, but I am looking for some guidance anyway. I am finishing up an overseas deployment and have set aside $3,000 for the purchase of firearms. Currently, I have nothing at all that belongs to me, though I am experienced with shooting by way of the military and my grandfather. I am unsure as to the best way to pursue spending my $3,000.

What “essential” calibers, models, etc. would you all recommend for the beginning gun collection? I would like to eventually have a wide range of firearms, but if you only had $3,000 to start brand new, what would you purchase?

Note: I am interested in quality over quantity, if that is a consideration. I also have other money set aside for a safe and ammunition. The $3,000 is strictly for firearms. My main interest would be for target practice at the range and in the woods. I would like the versatility of being able to target practice, defend my home, and take down a regular sized deer. In that order.

Any help is much appreciated, and thank you all for the knowledge that I have gained from reading all the other posts on this forum!

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December 26, 2011, 11:36 AM
Pistol, rifle, shotgun, and a pair of 22s. Pick your platforms based on your preferences and research which are considered the top models for each one. We don't know if you like leverguns, bolt actions, pump shotguns, single shots, revolvers, etc. The pair of 22s should be a handgun and a rifle. Beyond that there are tons of choices that will serve you well. Something old, something new, etc. Enjoy your search!

December 26, 2011, 11:42 AM
You may be better off to purchase one or two and then see what you want after shooting for a while. .308 bolt gun and a full frame pistol (auto or revolver) would be a good start. Thanks for your service!

December 26, 2011, 11:48 AM
I should add that it's okay if you don't get it "perfect" the first time. For example you may buy a Glock and find you prefer 1911s, or you may buy a snubnose 357 and hate the long DA trigger pull, etc. That's part of the fun. Enjoy!

December 26, 2011, 11:48 AM
Target plinking- 22LR, semi-auto rifle (unless you're into tack driving, then you'd prolly want a bolt action)

Home defense- 12 GA pump shotgun, 870 Remington or Mossberg 500 (both proven platforms)

Deer slaying- The 12GA will do for that, but you might want a 30cal rifle instead because of its longer range

Additionally you might want a handgun. Ruger Single Six gives you both 22LR and magnum. A .357 wheel gun gives you oomph when you want it, but lets you practice with 38 Special (lots of ammo choices as well). On the auto side you're already familiar with the Beretta 92 (stay away from the Taurus version), many on here like Glocks.

December 26, 2011, 11:51 AM
.22 pistol, .22 rifle, a 1911-sized centerfire pistol or smaller (revolver or semi-auto), a pump-action shotgun with interchangeable barrels) and an AR-15 (Me, I like 16" flat-topped receivers, but your YMMV).

The .22's will let you shoot for cheap, the pistol allows you to practice personal defense, the scattergun is for birds or deer or home defense, and the AR is because, well, BECAUSE. :)

Added guns would be a bolt gun with scope suitable for medium-sized game and bigger, and a smaller pistol for daily carry when you can't carry the bigger pistol.

December 26, 2011, 11:56 AM
Well, it would help to know your particular interests. Do you hunt? Range only? Is home defense a large factor? $3k can go a long way, but we need to know what sort of collection you want.

December 26, 2011, 12:01 PM
1. Colt 6920 - you are probably very well trained on this platform. You could get one for just under $1k.

2. Remington 870/mossberg 500 12 gauge pump. The quintessential self defense gun. Both are bulletproof and inexpensive.

3. CZ 75B 9mm - all steel and you can get one for under $500. In my opinion the best 9mm out there. I've yet to find a more accurate 9mm pistol platform, unless you spend 2-3 times more. For another $100-$150 more, you could get the CZ SP-01 9mm. It's just a newer version of the 75B. It's my favorite handgun. I use it in action pistol shooting. It has a capacity of 19+1 too.

4. Ruger Scout rifle. For $800 you get a SHTF/hunting/range gun. I like the 10 +1 capacity in .308. Mine is accurate and built like a tank. The Mauser action is a time tested design.

Good luck.

December 26, 2011, 12:01 PM
I might take some flack for this opinion but so be it.

Since you have been trained on and are proficient with the AR15 rifle and the Beretta 92 pistol those would be my first two purchases. This way you know that the money you are spending will provide at least the ability to defend yourself reliably and plenty of shooting fun as well. I think once you have those two down move on to something else.

It's easier to "take risks" with firearms when you already have a baseline so to speak with what you know will work. That way if the risk doesn't work out you aren't left high and dry with something that doesn't work for you or that you can't stand.

December 26, 2011, 12:05 PM
Recommend that, instead of jumping in both feet first and trying to buy an entire "collection" in one fell swoop, you pick one type of firearm (pistol, rifle, shotgun) and figure out what you like, then learn to use it well.

That means using the military experience you have currently, add in a bunch of reading on many different types within the category you're looking at, and go find a place to shoot many different types (like a range where you can rent, or go shoot with acquaintances and try out their firearms).

You won't find the "right" answer just reading about it on the internet. Looking at pictures and reading the wide range of equally valuable and worthless banter on the internet won't be able to seal the deal. You HAVE to go shoot them to know what you do and don't like.

Take your time and, most of all, enjoy the ride as you figure out what you like best.

Once you have figured out one category, move on to the next!

December 26, 2011, 12:16 PM
Pick one gun with a great scope.

Really, when are you ever going to get another chance to own a $3000 rifle? :evil:

December 26, 2011, 12:46 PM
Start with a quality .22 pistol and .22 rifle. Shoot them alot, figure out what types of shooting you are interested in. Spend time in gun stores and more importantly, at the range. Talk to people, they will probably let you try their guns. Figure out what you really want before you plunk down your hard earned money.

If you shop around you should be able to pick up a Ruger MkIII or 22/45 and a 10/22 for around $600. I have spent many thousands of dollars on my gun collection, and had an equal amount gifted or inherited, and I still shoot .22s about 3/4 of the time, and have a ton of fun doing it.

December 26, 2011, 12:57 PM
If I were in your shoes, I'd start by getting a quality AR15. You can easily get into a really good one (without an optic) for $1,000 or so. For target shooting, you cannot beat a good .22 Long Rifle. In a rifle, it's hard to beat the Ruger 10/22, and you can get into one for $200-$300 depending on the particular model you like. For a pistol, I like the Browning Buckmark, followed closely be the Ruger Mark II/III, either of which can be had from $300-$400. After that, either a pump shotgun or a centerfire handgun is essential for home defense. If you'll carry a handgun, I'd suggest a 9mm for reduced ammo costs. There are lots of good ones under $500, so pick one you'll be comfortable with. If you opt for a shotgun, I prefer the Mossberg 500/590 platform. A milspec 590 can be bought for $400. If you want a regular 500, you can get a combo set (with a long hunting barrel and a short HD barrel) for under $350. Next would be a mid-range .308 bolt-action rifle with a great scope. I have a Remington 700 with a Nikon Monarch scope that I got into for around $1,000 total. These four purchases (AR15, .22, HD, .308) should eat up most or all of your $3,000. If you have anything left, buy an HD handgun if you took the shotgun first, or vice versa. Later it'll be easy to add a second .22 if you want one.

December 26, 2011, 01:12 PM
Don't let that 3K burn a hole in your pocket. You can buy a 10/22 for under $200 NIB and Cabelas has been running used Glocks for $350. That takes care if immediate fun and personal defense. Keep the rest in the bank and jump on the deals when you find them. I find the hunt for my guns almost as fun as the shooting and ownership.
I am a big advocate of buying used and often find quality guns for far under nib retail.
Bolt guns with Leupold scopes (ruger 77's) for under $400
Quality shotguns (870 rem, 835 moss, benelli nova) under $300
AR 15 (s&w, dpms, bm, colt) $850 and under
CF revolvers (s&w 19, 66, 686) $250-400
RM pistols (mkI/II, buckmark) $200
These are actual purchases of used guns through storefront FFL's not some back alley deals and you still have some left over.
Good luck hunting and thanks for your service.

December 26, 2011, 01:20 PM
I'm sure you know you've asked an impossible question. Impossible - yet fun.

There's always that one poster who will suggest something that he, himself does not own. Today I'll be that guy.

Three thousand bucks? Forget the semi-customs. I went that route and sometimes wish I hadn't. With the cash you've allotted, I like a couple of the suggestions already made. I'd tweak them just a little, though.

92FS - sure, but go for the INOX

CZ-75b - sure, but get the Shadow T Duotone

I don't own either of those, but once worked for someone who let me borrow their 92 for a few years.

It's kind of funny how in your first post here, you tried to head off the "spend 10 bucks on a nice gun and the other 2990 bucks on ammo" business. And of course it didn't work for you any better than it does for the rest of us.

I'm always curious where the deployed people are.

Stay safe.


December 26, 2011, 01:22 PM
You prioritized fun over defense.

Fortunately, there is much overlap there. Many combat grade firearms are useful for hunting, target shooting, and action sports. $3,000 isn't much though and you can burn through that very quickly.

1) Pistol: Revolver or semi-auto? If you don't know, just get a Glock 19 (or equivalent from S&W, HK, Springfield Armory, etc). Avoid any pistol with a slide mounted safety.*

Budget $600 or so for the gun alone. Attempt to get one with night sights. You should check J&G Sales and CDNN Investments for used guns.

If you go with a revolver, try to get one with either a removable front sight (such as the Ruger GP100). These are pinned in. If it's solid, your options are fewer.

2) General Purpose Rifle

You can get an AR-15 with a 5.56x45mm upper. Consider either the Colt 6920 or Bravo Company Mfg Midlength Mod 0 ($1050ish). Then get a heavier caliber upper in 300 Blackout or similar.

You can use either for hunting or defense, though you'll have to check your local hunting regulations to see if there are magazine capacity limits.

You could also get a lower end AK-47 in 7.62x39mm. Add an Ultimak Rail and either an Aimpoint Micro or long eye relief scope. Add a cheek riser. Plink with Wolf FMJ ammo, hunt with Federal Fusion and defend yourself with either.

3) Ruger 10/22

Just go buy it along with several extra magazines and two boxes of Remington Golden Bullets. Done.

* Slide mounted safeties belong in the 70's with long collars and bad hair. If you insist upon getting an "M9" pistol, get a DAO version without the slide mounted idjit switch. The rest of my criticism for this silly design is not High Road.

December 26, 2011, 01:30 PM
A few articles by Massad Ayoob that may be worth a read for you


December 26, 2011, 01:32 PM
Glock 19 9mm
Rem 870 12 gauge
Rem/Ruger 308. bolt action rifle with a 3X9X40 scope
Colt 6920

With taxes you may have gone a little over your $3000 limit but these would serve you well.

December 26, 2011, 01:40 PM
I would go this route.

Armalite AR-10 20"-$1400
Good quality AR-15 lower with a .223/5.56 and .22 upper-$1025
Glock 19 w/NS-$500

December 26, 2011, 01:40 PM
Are you most interested in just target shooting or hunting as well? That little info could be important. But at the same time maybe not. Just curious.

IMO id start with a shotgun, handgun and at least 2 rifles. One in .22, a ruger 10/22. Then a rifle for target/hunting. Caliber could depend.

a shotgun for bird/small game hunting and sport shooting(clays or what not).

A handgun for target/fun shooting and home defense.

3 grand can add up fast though. For a first time buyer dont forget to budget in ammo and basic accessories(cleaning stuff, holsters, whatever might be a must have). Then add guns on later. Just remember you wont get everything you want with 3 grand so just get what is at the top of the list then work your way down as you get more spending money.

December 26, 2011, 02:18 PM
Like some others have said, I'd go with at least a rifle that you're used to, so that means an AR 15. It's easy to get carried away with them (especially when you start adding all the toys like optics, rails and stocks) and dump the whole 3 grand there, so just keep that in mind as you're buying everything. I would recommend anything from Colt, LMT, DD, BC or any other company of that caliber. Those are all top of the line manufacturers, so don't be surprised if you're spending over a grand on the gun itself.

After that, I'd put an aimpoint on it and make sure I have some good BUIS on it and leave it like that. Though if you really want to get it ready for a HD situation, I would recommend a good weapon light. This can cost anywhere from $100 with mount to $300+ depending on which model you get. In my opinion, its hard to beat a standard Surefire handheld in a mount based on the price and usefulness. The nice thing about those rifle manufacturers is sometimes they'll already have a good stock and/or rail so you won't have to upgrade it later. That'll put you about 1.5-2K.

If you want to get away from the AR platform, I would go with an Arsenal AK. My personal preference is for 7.62x39 and the side folding stock (very secure when shooting). Then I'd throw a set of XS Big Dot iron sights on it, a Ultimak rail, and a aimpoint micro. The AK itself will run you about $700-1,000 and the rail and optic will add about $500-700 to that.

If you really want something different, I'd recommend a DSA FAL or maybe even a Springfield M1A, but be prepared to drop $2,000 on the rifle itself, with no optics and very few (if any) factory accessories.

My next recommendation would be a good combat pistol that can be carried easily. I would probably recommend a Sig 229 or a Glock 19, though a 226 or 17 could be concealed adequately, its just a bit more difficult. I would definitely recommend a good set of night sights with either. Night sights usually run about $100/set and I usually prefer to get aftermarket sights as opposed to the "factory" night sights so that I can choose exactly what I want for the gun.

Depending on exactly which models you choose and how you outfit everything, that could easily be $3,000 right there. You did say quality over quantity, right? :neener: If you have any more room, you may want to pick up a Remington 870 or Mossberg 500. They're practically bulletproof pump shotguns and (someone correct me if I'm wrong) usually run about $300.

Something else to consider is accessories for the guns themselves. Do you have money budgeted for mags, holsters, belts (for ccw), slings etc? Those can EASILY add up to a lot of money, and that's not even including if you want to set up your own plate carrier/chest rig to use when taking carbine classes. Depending on the gun, mags usually go for about $20-25 each (for the common models like Sigs, Glocks, AKs, and AR P-mags) and that adds up fast. I'm working on this myself with goals of a minimum of 10 mags/rifle and 5 mags/pistol (useful for long range days, shooting classes, and on the off chance that you have a mag fail, you have an extra right there).
My rule of thumb for a carry holster is it'll usually cost around $100, and a good belt is about that same price. And depending on what type of sling you want (cheap 2 point of really nice tactical sling) you can easily spend between $20-80 there as well.

I'm finding out the hard way that there's more to using guns than just the gun itself and am working to pick up all of these things after I've gotten several guns. Its easier to budget it right in with the weapon purchase than it is to realize you really need to get set up for all of your weapons at once.

December 26, 2011, 02:25 PM
berreta 92
ruger scout rifle

December 26, 2011, 03:14 PM
Start with a quality .22 pistol and .22 rifle. Shoot them alot, figure out what types of shooting you are interested in.


December 26, 2011, 03:21 PM
A nice walnut Ruger 10/22 .22 rifle is a great classic and should be included, inexpensive on top.

December 26, 2011, 03:24 PM
Surf the want adds to pick up lightly used firearms. Better than buying new unless there's a rebate or great sale.

If I were starting my collection with $3,000, here's what I'd do:

Apply for CCW - that will take some time and about $200.

1. Carry piece. Suggestions are a compact Glock, CZ, S&W M&P, XD, or Ruger SP101 or similar. About $500 for the gun. Don't skimp on a cheap holster. Get one of nicer ones for about $100. Years of experience - take my word. Buy 1000 round for practice for about $300.

2. Home defense primary and/or secondary. You can use your carry piece, or a dedicated home defense handgun. Large frame pistol or revolver. Suggestions - larger framed version of your carry piece (for familiarity) - e.g. Glock 27 for carry, Glock 34 for home defense; Ruger SP101 for carry, GP100 for home defense. Cost about $600. Buy 1000 rounds for practice for $300. Ammo commonality with your carry piece will make it more affordable to buy in bulk and practice more.

3. Home defense shotgun. This is a fundamental and essential and affordable tool. Most common are the Remington 870 and Mossberg 500 or 590 models. Commonly found for anywhere from $150-$300. I suggest 00 buckshot. Buy a bulk box or several for about .30 cents a shell. Practice. Also for cheaper practice, buy a box of birdshot and head to the skeet range.

4. Long guns:
**.22lr rifle like a Marlin 60 or Remington 10/22 for cheap plinking.
**AK74 platform from Saiga for about $400, and a ton of bulk 5.45 ammo @$120 per 1000 rounds OR if you want to hunt medium game, you could pick up any number of common scoped hunting rifles for $500 - Savage, Ruger, Remington, etc. Or a C&R Mauser or Mosin Nagant for under $300.

That plan will run you about $3000 and cover a lot all of your basis.

Any extra money later on could be spent on training, ammo, and specialty guns for hunting, smaller CCW, or a more expensive battle rifle like the FAL, M1A, or C&R guns like an M1 Garand.

December 26, 2011, 03:31 PM
Every shooter should have a Ruger 10-22 as a baseline. After that, anything goes...

Lex Luthier
December 26, 2011, 03:40 PM
For $3000.00 you can afford to invest in a nice Sig Sauer 9mm/ .40cal sidearm with proper holsters, a nice LOADED AR-15, and a decent shotgun. Get ammo and accessories with the rest. Don't forget to consider secure storage.

As this appears to be your first excursion into the realm: Brand new is not always best, you will get more, and don't a be a cheapskate when quality knocks on your door.

Several firearms ago, I weighed every excruciating detail, today it is either a good deal or it isn't. Some dealers/ sellers simply do not want to sell their wares, they just want to talk a lot and compete for brag position. Good luck.

December 26, 2011, 03:41 PM
Start with a quality .22 pistol and .22 rifle. Shoot them alot, figure out what types of shooting you are interested in. Spend time in gun stores and more importantly, at the range. Talk to people, they will probably let you try their guns. Figure out what you really want before you plunk down your hard earned money.

At this point, you may not even know whether you prefer handguns or long-guns. If you don't, this advice is even better; but it's great advice either way.

Most important thing I'd say, as others have, is don't let the money burn a hole in your pocket. Make sure you know what you want, and you'll be happier for it.

Hoppes Love Potion
December 26, 2011, 05:44 PM
Quality over quantity, eh? I'm not a semi-auto guy, so let's talk lifetime-quality revolvers.

You can go S&W 686 in .357 Magnum for home defense, along with the 617 in .22lr for targets and training. They balance the same and the 617 is a great trainer for the 686. But you'll likely pay over $1200 for the pair.

You can also go Ruger with the SP101 in 5-shot .357 and 8-shot .22lr. This pair is just as sturdy as the Smiths if not more so, and will set you back less than $900.

You can also find some excellent-quality older Smiths that many feel are superior to the current offerings, and often can be found for $300 - $600 each. This is a good route to go if you like classic blued steel or nickel. The K-frame .22 and .38 Special revolvers are especially nice. Total price is variable depending on condition, but expect to pay between $700 and $1100 for the pair.

December 26, 2011, 05:57 PM
This is my first post OR reply, so I'd ask the experienced people to please excuse me if I add anything inappropriate.

Are you in an area overseas where you can purchase firearms and complete the proper paperwork/procedures to import them back as part of your military orders? On one of my deployments, I worked as a Turkish interpreter and assisted a number of people in purchasing Huglu shotguns and other firearms.

Find out if others in your unit are buying anything, and get to know someone who's the MOST familiar with doing transactions in your area IF POSSIBLE. Check regulations and do it the right way. They will know what's worth buying in your area, and you'll have the opportunity for a much better souvenir than some of us came home with (carpets, copper, etc.) Good luck!

Thanks for your service!

December 26, 2011, 06:06 PM
bazinga762, I think he's asking for recommendations on what to buy once he gets back to the states.

December 26, 2011, 09:06 PM
Every shooter should have a Ruger 10-22 as a baseline. After that, anything goes...

A .22 rifle, yes. Specifically a 10/22? Not so much. Not everyone likes them, often for very good reasons.

I wouldn't own one if it hadn't been given to me. Frankly, it'd be about my second to last choice for a .22 autoloader.

December 26, 2011, 10:15 PM
Glock in 9mm

December 26, 2011, 10:40 PM
A true collection reflects the taste of the owner, not the recommendations of his friends. All of the suggestions above are good ones, but they may not resonate with you.

Buy guns that appeal to you, that make your heart sing when you see them, that make you want to pick them up and fondle them when you crack open the safe door.

If you need a gun for serious self defense, your military training already tells you what you should have. But I suspect you are wanting to go a different direction. Don't neglect beauty for the sake of utility...and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That's what will make it YOUR collection.

December 27, 2011, 12:19 AM
I applaud your decision to go for quality over quantity, I believe it'll stand you in good stead.

Being as though uncle sugar spent a fair amount of effort training you, it'd make a whole lot of sense to stay with an AR for your main weapon. However wanting to be able to hunt deer suggests another caliber larger than 5.56. I suggest making an AR carbine in 6.8 SPC the cornerstone of your collection. The 6.8 caliber is decently popular and is proving to be a good deer/pig/predator (both 2 & 4 legged) round. Top it with iron sights and a low power variable and you'll have a terrifically versitile weapon.

The next weapon I would recommend would be a service size pistol for target & home defense. Personal preference rules here, but I think a good quality .45acp would offer terrific versitility. The new FNP .45 tactical set up that allows for an optic has really caught my eye. Not a CCW piece by any stretch of the immagination, it would be wonderful as a holster weapon.

Lastly I would have a pocket gun for CCW, the Ruger LCR would be my pick due especially to the excellence of it's trigger.

You note the absence of a .22, you already know how to shoot, a .22 would allow for cheaper practice, but I'd want my primary weapons first. A shot gun would be nice, but I'd want the other three weapons first.

Just my 2 cents, but the above is a collection I'd sure like.

December 27, 2011, 12:32 AM
I don't think .22s are necessary, or even all that fun. I haven't owned one for a decade.

I also prefer quality over quantity. I would get a rifle, a pistol and a shotgun:
1.) AR-15 rig set up to reflect your interests. (My preference is range/hunting, so it is a 20" free floated with a scope on top.)
2.)Glock Compact, either 19 or 23. Both calibers have their virtues; 9mm=military, .40=police. (These can do CCW, IDPA, and USPSA.)
3.)Remington 870 rig, also set up to reflect your interests. (My preference is a 26"barrel with a wood stock.)

That should about do it for $3k.

December 27, 2011, 01:23 AM
1 22 Rifle (whatever you shoot best)
1 12 GA shotgun (whichever you shoot/manipulate the best)
1 pistol that shoots a service caliber and can be concealed if needed (go to the range and see what you like)
1 centerfire defensive/combat rifle/carbine (preferably something that has been proven over the years)

December 27, 2011, 04:20 AM
If it was me I would go with the AR.. This one


Probably add both a 22 and a larger caliber such as 6.8 upper.

This takes care of your rifle for Plinking, defense, and hunting. It also gives you the basis to just add lowers and make your collection go from one rifle to three.

If you shopped around that should leave you with about 1000 dollars. For somewhere in the 500-700 dollar range you should be able to pick up your particular flavor of decent, yet not top of the line handgun. That should still leave you with 300-500 dollars to pick up a nice Mossberg 500 or Remington 870.

All bases covered for around 3k.

As far as my ammo budget, If it were me I'd spend that on a reloading setup and components.

December 27, 2011, 08:16 AM
I knew that my question would start off a firestorm of different opinions, but that's what I wanted because you all mentioned a vast array of firearms that I can now look up and obsessively research and compare and drool over and make lists of what I want only to change that list 5 minutes later lol...I am still not sure about exactly what I want, but as many of you suggested, I will need to actually fire a range of weapons before this is clear to me.

I do think I will get some sort of AR, because I am quite comfortable with that weapon system. Now which one...(I am liking that Colt 6920)

I also think that I will end up getting a Remington 870, some kind of .308 for that traditional hunting rifle (for some reason I don't like the idea of hunting deer with an AR...need something more "classic" for deer) and a HD handgun.

The best thing that I took from all your comments was to be patient, and to be honest, I needed that. I was definitely catching the purchase fever, and though I still have it, I think that I can fight it off before I make a hasty decision.

Thanks again, and I look forward to contributing to THR community!

December 27, 2011, 09:43 AM
Don't forget to visit the Civilian Marksmanship Program's website and include an M1 Garand in your collection.


As a GI, purchasing couldn't be any easier...it will be delivered right to your doorstep at home.

December 27, 2011, 09:54 AM
I'd go with either a M9 , 1911 from wilson combat, or.. my favorite Browning Hi power. All three are good handguns and do well for personal protection.

Id go with a shotgun you feel comfortable with, be it semi auto, pump, double, or single.

I'd go with an AR, but not in .223. I prefer the 6.8 spc, but thats me. It'll do the job and it will have a very familiar manual of arms.

December 27, 2011, 11:11 AM
.22 pistol, .22 rifle, a 1911-sized centerfire pistol or smaller (revolver or semi-auto), a pump-action shotgun with interchangeable barrels) and an AR-15 (Me, I like 16" flat-topped receivers, but your YMMV).

The .22's will let you shoot for cheap, the pistol allows you to practice personal defense, the scattergun is for birds or deer or home defense, and the AR is because, well, BECAUSE. :)

Added guns would be a bolt gun with scope suitable for medium-sized game and bigger, and a smaller pistol for daily carry when you can't carry the bigger pistol.

I was gonna post my own reply but don't know if I could have said it better myself. Hawthorne2k's mind must run on the same frequency as mine.

December 27, 2011, 11:51 AM
(for some reason I don't like the idea of hunting deer with an AR..


Just One Shot
December 27, 2011, 12:55 PM
To start off with my choices would be:

(For plinking and small game)
Ruger MK series .22 pistol
Marlin model 60 or Ruger 10/22 .22 rifle

(For home defense)
1911 (.45acp)
Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 (Also good for small game with shot or larger game such as deer with a slug barrel)

(for large game)
Remington or Savage bolt action in your choice of caliber

There are many LNIB used guns out there for a reasonable price. Depending on brand of 1911 and AR you choose you should be able to get all of these if you buy used.

December 27, 2011, 01:05 PM
I think this will be a good start since it leaves a little versatility and multi-tasking.

Glock 23 .40S&W with military discount 420$ (can change to 9mm or 357 sig with 100$ barrel swap), this is a good target pistol or CC piece and good to go for night stand duty.

Colt AR15 in 5.56 950$ It's a Colt, great for varmints with the right glass and great for home/ranch defense out of the box, closest thing to your issued rifle.

Mossberg 500 12ga 18 inch and 29 inch combo 315$, this can be used for home defense, hunting and three gunning.

Remington 700 in 308 with an average 10x mil-dot scope 1200$, great long range rifle and good deer rifle with a lightweight setup and a 3-9 scope.

That leaves 115 dollars for you to find a decent 22 rifle. I would look for a used Ruger 10/22 or a Marlin bolt action.

December 27, 2011, 01:20 PM
welcome to THR

an AR15 is a solid choice for dozens of reasons. Plan to spend $1800 or so setting up a good one. That includes $500 for an optic, $100 for a brake or FSC, aftermarket stock/grip (e.g. magpul), and a dozen magazines, sling, etc.

the used glock is also a good suggestion.

and a 22lr rifle. (i'm sort of partial to lever actions in 22lr as the rimmed cartridge feeds better, and the rifles are usually sleeker with fewer protrusions to snag on stuff, and they are still plenty accurate)

December 27, 2011, 01:23 PM
I do think I will get some sort of AR, because I am quite comfortable with that weapon system. Now which one...(I am liking that Colt 6920)

If you haven't handled a Colt 6920, be aware that the upper/lower hand-guard is a bit thicker (larger circumference) than you may prefer. When I was in Iraq (USAF), I was issued an M4 (believe it was Colt but I could be wrong), but the hand-guards weren't beefy, like they are on the 6920. IMHO, they're a bit uncomfortable; that's personal preference, obviously - and you can always change them out anyway.

The Bushmaster M4A3 Patrolman carbine (http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/13230) has a slightly smaller circumference front hand-guard, which I find much more comfortable (and I'm fairly certain are the same size as the M4 I was issued in the Air Force). Note that the Bushmaster is $300 cheaper than the 6920 (Bud's has the 6920 for $1200, and the BM M4A3 for $900), and about half a pound heavier. I prefer the Bushmaster, but if you like the Colt 6920 and don't mind spending a bit more, I'm sure it's a great rifle too.

As far as aftermarket parts (grip, optic, etc), swap out whatever you prefer. I prefer the stock M4 grip over aftermarkets, and I love the M4 iron sights to the point that I wouldn't even want to equip an optic, but both the 6920 and Bushmaster M4A3 have a removable carry handle to leave that option open. One add-on I do love is MagPul's Angled Fore-Grip (http://www.midwayusa.com/product/2319380749/magpul-afg-angled-forend-grip-ar-15-polymer) (shown equipped here (http://www.everydaynodaysoff.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/MagpulAFG2.jpg)) - a happy medium giving the user a balance between a straight horizontal grip offered by the stock hand-guards, and a straight vertical grip offered by a vertical fore-grip (http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=21627/Product/AR-15-GRAPHITE-VERTICAL-GRIP) (neither of which is ideal, IMO).

Regarding M4 Slings: If you guys bought and use your own personal slings for your issued rifles, take your sling home with you. When I was there, our issued rifles came with cheap, crappy slings, so most of us bought our own and just put the issued ones in our lockers. Like a fool, I left my sling on my bunk in Iraq when it came time to head home, figuring the next guy could save himself a bit of money and use mine. I didn't figure I'd be buying my own AR anyway. Of course, now I can't remember what brand/model sling I had, and that thing was outstanding. So take it home with you if you like it - provided it isn't staying with the weapon, ofc.

I also think that I will end up getting a Remington 870, some kind of .308 for that traditional hunting rifle (for some reason I don't like the idea of hunting deer with an AR...need something more "classic" for deer) and a HD handgun.
The 870 is a great choice, as is the Mossberg 500. Personal preference there. There are a huge number of hunting rifle options, so take your time searching for the rifle you want. There are lots of things to consider there. I will advise you to at least be wary of current production Remington 700s. Just in case you haven't heard, Remington quality-control has been dropping pretty significantly in recent years, and owners have been having a variety of issues with newer R700s.

I agree with the recommendation to seek out a lightly used Glock 23, unless you've become infatuated with the M9. Note that the G23 will serve equally well for HD and concealed-carry, while the M9 may be difficult for you to conceal.

December 27, 2011, 01:39 PM
All steel witness in whatever caliber(love my 9mm) and a few other different caliber slides for a variety of fun

Sent from my Samsung Galaxy using tapatalk

December 27, 2011, 02:25 PM
First off, for a pistol, I would recommend a Ruger SR9. Good gun. What I would buy is probably an M1911, and an M1 Garand. standard issue WWII firearms, proven reliability. Maybe an AR-15 and a Beretta M9.... also proven good guns.

December 27, 2011, 10:57 PM
Plan to spend $1800 or so setting up a good one. That includes $500 for an optic, $100 for a brake or FSC, aftermarket stock/grip (e.g. magpul), and a dozen magazines, sling, etc.

And to think, I thought my A2 was just fine with irons and standard grip/stock. You can easily get a functional AR for under 1k... optics are not required for a good, accurate, reliable gun.

December 27, 2011, 11:54 PM
And to think, I thought my A2 was just fine with irons and standard grip/stock. You can easily get a functional AR for under 1k... optics are not required for a good, accurate, reliable gun.

Functional, reliable, and accurate, yes.

However, try competing against someone with an optic for accuracy AND speed, or try spotting antlers (or not) on a deer 200 yards away.

Armchair Bronco
December 28, 2011, 12:20 AM
For target practice, get a 452 .22LR bolt action plinker from CZ. If you have kids or plan to have kids, the Scout is the gun to start with. Or you can buy a Scout and equip it with an adult-sized aftermarket stock from Brno like I did. It's very popular out at the range. About $275 plus $75 for the replacement stock.

Get a Beretta NEOS for target practice, either the 4.5" barrel or the 6.0" barrel version. They're under $300. Add a Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 red dot sight for around $70.

For trap and/or skeet shooting, you should get a nice, used Winchester 101 over/under in 12 gauge. If you decide to take up trap, look for longer 30" or 32" barrels and a Monte Carlo stock. If skeet seems for fun, look for 28" barrels. Both version could be used in the field as well. This could set you back $800 to $1,000.

You also need a cool military rifle from WWII. Look for an Inland M1 Carbine at around $800.

For your SHTF scenario, get an AK-74. An Arsenal SGL-31 will set you back $800 or you can spending $500 on a Century Arms AK-74.

For a home defense shotgun, you need a used 20 gauge pump, either a Winchester 1300 or maybe a Remington Marine Magnum 20 gauge pump. A used 20 gauge isn't more than $300-$400.

December 28, 2011, 01:03 AM
I'm too tired to crunch the numbers right now, but if I were starting all over again, here's what I'd get:

CZ bolt-action .22: Trainer or Lux
Browning Buck Mark .22 pistol
12-gauge shotgun: pump (Remington 870, Mossberg 500, Benelli Nova) or semi-auto (Beretta 390)
Glock 9MM pistol: Model 26 or 19
mini-pistol: Kel-Tec P32 or P3AT, Ruger LCP, etc.
Smith & Wesson K-frame revolver in .38 Special or .357 magnum
semi-auto rifle in .223: either an AR-type, a Mini-14, or a Saiga -- whichever floats your boat

Nothing on there is particularly expensive -- I'd look at used for the S&W, and I'd probably go low-end for the AR. If there's any money left, I'd start looking for a bolt rifle in .30-06 or .308.

December 28, 2011, 01:14 AM
I would echo others in that i wouldn't spend all my money right away but.......Ill bite:

If it were me starting out with $3000 i would consider:

22LR pistol: Personally i like the Ruger Mark III i have. ($250)

Shotgun: Rem 870 or Mossy 500 12 Gauge ($250-$300)

Hunting rifle: Still becoming faamialr with brands but i know it will either be a .223 or .306 or 30-06 ($400-600)

Assault Rifle: A basic no frills AR15 that i can add stuff as time goes on.Ive seen them go for around ($1000-$1200)

Pistol:If you like polymer then might go Glock,XD,M&P in your choice of caliber although i would get a 9mm first. ($500)
Or if you like steel then Stoeger,CZ 75,berretta ($400-$625)

Revolver:Go with a .357 and you wont be sorry.Either a Ruger GP100 or Smith 686 ($500-$625)

I think i have sufficiently spent all you money and with that....Good day sir....I said Good Day!

December 28, 2011, 02:13 AM
A Mossberg 500, a Ruger .22 semi auto, a Glock 19, and an AK47. Do whatever you want with the remaining $1800

December 28, 2011, 05:13 AM
Hard to go wrong with a decently made AR type rifle. You can swap the top end around and shoot sveral differant calibers. If you have the tools and the parts, one recever can support from Carbine to Counter Sniper (sort of) by changing the parts to the configuration you want.

As for the pistol? I would say to get a feel for what you think you might like. Then see if you can find an indoor range close to home that has a rental selection. I would much rather spend $200. in rental fees and get the right one the first time then drop $600 plus and find out you realy don't like that model and caliber as well as you though you would.


December 28, 2011, 06:55 AM
My first three recommendations (in no particular order)

Buy used....

Buy used...

and, Buy used...

I have maybe 25 guns total. Of those, only two were purchased "new". About half of the "used" ones were trade-ins, unfired. Most could be put back into a factory box and passed off as new. I got a gorgeous Weatherby O/U for 40% off retail. Bought a beautiful hand made custom muzzle loader for less than half of what the first guy paid. Unfired Remington 700 Sendero with a Veupold VX-III way cheap.

I worked in a gun shop and couldn't believe the number of guys that will buy a gun, keep it 3-6 months, then trade it in (unfired). Nice thing is, if you buy right and keep them in nice shape, you'll never lose money. The first guy took the beating.

I'm a guy that thought I'd never have an AR. Now I have three. One is a Bushie Varminter that shoots dime size groups at well over 100 yards, a SOCOM, and a .358 WSSM for deer hunting.

IMO, you are wise to go for quality. I have a friend that has two safes full of mostly unused (and some crap) guns. Most haven't been shot in 20+ years. Why?? I'd sell the junkers I never use and get a few good ones to enjoy.

December 28, 2011, 09:27 AM
You could get a used .30-30, a 12 gauge pump, a .357 and a couple of .22 rimfires for about half that with some judicious shopping. You might not need anything else after that.

You'd be occupied for awhile anyway, while you figured out what to do with the other half.

Take your time and don't let the $ burn a hole in your pocket, as stated. The .22 would be a good place to start.

December 28, 2011, 10:12 AM
OK, now that we have some idea of what you're after:

M-4gery. You say you like the 6920, and it's a great gun. There are many other good options, too. Armalite, S&W, Stag........long list. For the pros and cons of each, use the search function in rifle country. You can spend anywhere from $500 on up for this firearm.

Shotgun. There is nothing wrong with the 870. That said, I'd urge you to look at the Ithacas. A little more spendy, but well worth it, IMO.

HD handgun. Really broad arena here. I'd offer some suggestions if you can narrow it down to a couple of chamberings, but for now I'll just say any quality weapon that you like will do just fine.

Hunting rifle. I appreciate your sentiments about not wanting to use the AR, and it my case it's a logistical decision. 5.56mm isn't legal for big game in CO, other rounds that fit the AR-15 action are short range numbers, and AR-10's are heavy.

There are even more choices in this category than the others. I presume you're thinking bolt-action, you did mention .308. It's a good round, but the .30-06 is a bit more flexible.

If it were me starting over, in each category I'd buy:

-Armalite M15A2C ($950)
-Ithaca 37 defense ($550)
-S&W 4506-1 (~$500, used only)
-pre-2009 Remington 700 (~$500 used)

That's ~$2,500, leaving ~$500 for Leupold glass on the Rem 700

December 28, 2011, 10:26 AM
$3000 to fill out a nice, usable collection:

Remington 870 Express 12ga Shotgun - about $300
Savage 110 .30-06 Bolt-Action Rifle - about $400
Generic AR-15 (DPMS, Del-ton, etc) - about $750
Rock Island Armory 1911 .45ACP - about $425
Glock 17 9mm - about $550
Ruger 22/45 .22lr - about $250
Marlin Model 60 .22lr rifle - about $150

Spend the remaining $175 on a scope for the .30-06.

December 28, 2011, 12:40 PM
My picks:

Shotgun (for trap or home defense)
-Remington 870 12GA - $350

.22 Rifle and Pistol (for endless plinking and target fun)
-Ruger 10/22 + 3-9x40 scope - $300
-Ruger Mark III - $350

Full Sized Handgun (fun and personal defense)
-I prefer 9mm, but 40, 45, whatever! Beretta? Glock? I’m loving my XDM right now so that’s my choice - $600

Compact Handgun (again fun and personal defense)
-Not sure if you carry, but a concealable gun would be high on my list. LC9 is only about $350 or an XD subcompact for $550

Hunting/Target Rifle
-I prefer .308. It’s plenty for deer and can be cheaper than many other rounds. I think Savage has some of the best deals for this. .308 + scope + bipod - $900

December 28, 2011, 02:22 PM
While I agree with those who say you don't need to buy everything at once, if you feel like it, why not? It would be the most fun day ever! Here's kind of the order I went in and what they may cost you, more or less. If you shop around or buy used you could find them for even less. (I generally rounded up a bit) and the parentheses indicate other options:

Ruger 10/22 Stainless/Synthetic Stock: $250 (Marlin M60, cheaper, less mods available, but still nice)
Beretta 92FS: $550 (Glock, XD, SigPro, CZ....any 9mm semi auto will do)
Mossberg 500: $330 (Remington 870)
Browning Buck Mark Stainless Camper: $350 (Ruger 22/44 or MKIII)
Remington 700 ADL .308 w/ Scope: $400 (Browning A-Bolt)
Ruger LCP: $300 (Kel Tec P3AT or Taurus TCP)
Mosin Nagant 91/30: $150 (SKS, although that is more like $300)
PSA M4 Carbine: $600 (Stag or Spikes for around $800 or Colt for around $1000)

Total Firearms Cost: $2930

I am pleased with where my arsenal is at....for now. I definitely don't splurge on any purchases. I know you said quality over quantity, but to what extreme? You could spend all 3 grand on a really nice 1911 and have the best of the best, but then you only have one thing. I'd say a good balance can be struck. The only thing I went the cheap route on is really the 700, with its base model and cheap scope, but as of yet, I haven't been able to outshoot the rifle yet. Plus, if you decide you aren't into something, you are out less cash. You can always spend more on anything, and get something that is marginally better for a significantly higher price tag.

With that you get 8 different firearms, .22LR, .380, 9mm, .223, .308, 7.62x54R, and 12-gauge. You will also have something for any occasion, whether it is hunting from squirrels to bears, clay pigeons, concealed carry, anything. If you decide you LOVE long-range shooting, then down the road invest in a nicer rifle. If you love pistols more, look to get a couple more in the future. But really as you already know, YMMV, JMHO, different strokes for different folks, etc. HAVE FUN!

December 28, 2011, 02:40 PM
I was also going to add, I know you said you had separate funds for ammo and a safe, but don't underestimate the cost of accessories:

Extra mags for the AR can be $15-20 each, pistols $20-40.
Bipods can be $50-150
Slings can run $10-20 apiece
Aftermarket stock for that 10/22 is $80-100
Aftermarket trigger for 10/22 is $80
If you want to scope up that 10/22 then a $50 scope will do.
Decelerator for the Mosin is $20...not only for the recoil but the LOP on those is short.
Sights/red dots for the AR can run the gamut from $40 to $400

So save at least a couple hundred for accessories!

December 28, 2011, 03:31 PM
I read an article years ago in one of the gun magazines talking about a battery of guns that they acquired for under $1,000.00. I believe that the author did the following:

Bought a used 12 gauge and had the gunsmith cut the barrel to 18" and re-bead.
Bought 2 revolvers for home defense, one a 4" and one a 2" (for carry)
Bought a used 30-30 lever action.

The point is, that if you are creative, you can turn $3,000 into quite a collection instead of just a souped up 1911 and AR.

December 28, 2011, 04:47 PM
I would go with

-ruger 10/22 $200
-ruger mk or browning buckmark $300
-decent quality 1911 of your choice $800-$1000
-AR-15 $600-$1000
-Remington 870 $250

December 28, 2011, 10:25 PM
1) Ruger .22/45 w/ cocobolo grips or Browning Buckmark Camper, $300.
2) Savage Mark II .22LR in the flavor you like + a scope, $200-$400
3) Springfield XDm 3.8" 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP, take your pick, $575
4) Mossberg 500, $300
5) Savage Model 11 in 7mm-08, $500 + scope, $300

That's about $2300 worth and will get you headed in the right direction. +$300 for reloading gear and you have enough left over for some upgrades, holsters, a pistol safe, rifle cases, etc.

December 28, 2011, 10:35 PM
To the OP.

So what looks good to you? Lots of great suggestions here.

Don't forget to save some $ for ammunition if you don't decide to start reloading.

December 30, 2011, 11:34 AM
"However, try competing against someone with an optic for accuracy AND speed, or try spotting antlers (or not) on a deer 200 yards away."

Do the same and hit your target after you have fallen and your scope hit the ground.

December 30, 2011, 01:36 PM
To the OP.

So what looks good to you? Lots of great suggestions here.

Great question. There were so many suggestions that I am still trying to check out many of them. I think I am going to roll with some basics, such as a Ruger 10/22 and a Remington 870. That would take care of plinking and shotgun to start with, for relatively cheap. Forget what the quoted prices were, but let's say $600 for those two.

Next, I think I will go with that AR platform, 6 expert badges out of 6 tries says that I know how to shoot that weapon...:cool: As far as which one, I am still lost, there are a gajillion options. Does anyone have a Bravo Company model? I am trying to decide if they are legit or just have cool looking advertisements lol. I would not like a cheap model if that translates to lesser quality, so I would be willing to spend roughly $1,000. That should be doable.

Now I am at $1,600, and have a .22 for plinking, a 12 gauge for birds/skeet/HD?, and a nice 5.56.

I recently found out I have the opportunity to buy a Sig Sauer P220 .45 for $497 as a deployment gift to myself through a deal that the Marines made with Sig Sauer. That sounds pretty good.

I would then be sitting at $2,100 and have .22/12g/5.56/.45 taken care of, and that would include a pretty nice handgun and a pretty nice AR, as well as a reliable plinker and a reliable shotgun.

As suggested, I may sit tight after that and enjoy tearing up some targets.

December 31, 2011, 01:39 AM
As far as which AR to go with, if you really want a good opinion on what manufacturer to go with, call up some good combat shooting schools and ask them what they see failing and what they see succeeding in their classes. If you can find a school that regularly makes rifles fail, you'll have a better idea of the true durability of the rifle that succeeds.

I would also pick up that 220. Sigs are great and for that price, you can't go wrong!

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