What long gun...


August 20, 2004, 09:40 AM
Recently spent a couple of days in Florida helping my grandparents put his property, boat, and life back togather after Charlie paid him a visit Close enough to hurt a little, far enough away to keep from destroying him), I got to thinking about the need for a long gun in my life. While I was there, Grandpa gave me a pistol to carry while we worked (I flew down on short notice, didn't take a weapon of my own to speed the process). It was a S&W 686, which is perfect because I have one of my own. He also gave me a 12 gauge Remington 870 to keep by the bed, in case of looters. Good news is that both were never needed, everything is back to normal, or better (like the new dock for his boat).

Anyways, this got me thinking about my lack of a long gun. I have several handguns, but not a single long gun. I'm familiar enough with them, and have had a .22 rifle and 12 gauge pump shotgun in the past, both of which were traded off at some point for other things. Now, the need for a long gun has become apparent. The question is: what long gun do I get?

I know the AR-15/M-16 fairly well, thanks to Uncle Sam's Army. And, I know pump shotguns fairly well, thanks to a career in law enforcement. My situation is living with a wife and two kids in a suburban area. The HD weapon of choice is a handgun, so the long gun is primarily for back-up and "just in case the fan gets smothered" purposes. Also, as may be true for many of you, money is not unlimited. My initial thoughts are a 12 gauge pump gun...something that will not break the bank, will be functional in this role out of the box, but can be added to as money and interests develop (lights, improved sights, sidesaddle shell carrier, etc.) Another thought is a pistol caliber carbine of some type, maybe a lever action Marlin, which could be fun in addition to practical.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

If you enjoyed reading about "What long gun..." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
August 20, 2004, 09:56 AM
Depends a lot on your budget, and the new/previously owned question.

But for new shotguns, it is hard to beat the Maverick line from Mossberg. Less than $200 will get you the 12Ga with the 20" or less barrel. Info below is direct from Maverick Arms website (Maverick Arms is entirely owned & operated by Mossberg)


88™ 6-Shot Security model features a 3" chamber, 18½" Cylinder Bore fixed choke and a non-ported barrel. A rugged black synthetic stock and forearm, blued metal finish and a brass front sight bead are also included.

Suggested Retail #31023 ... $199 USD

88™ 8-Shot Security model features a 3" chamber, 20" Cylinder Bore fixed choke and a non-ported barrel. A rugged black synthetic stock and forearm, blued metal finish and a brass front sight bead are also included.

Suggested Retail #31046 ... $206 USD

I have seen these "on sale" as low as $149 at Wally World, Dunhams Sporting Goods, Dick's Sporting Goods, etc so look around a bit. You will get lotza recomendations for various others...Remington, Winchester, Benelli, Ithaca. All are good solid serviceable shottys, I happen to be a Mossberg fan. Check out the shotguns forum here on The High Road for more info.

(First pump shotty I ever fired was an Ithaca, and then a Rem 870 Wingmaster. I liked them both, but the Mossy just 'fits' me better.)

Good luck and good shooting.

I never can remember.,..is it spelled Ithica or Ithaca? either way, good serviceable shottys.

Ala Dan
August 20, 2004, 10:00 AM
Well, my choice would be a Remington 12 gague 870
Marine Magnum. Its a seven shooter, capeable of
handling problems of a serious nature.

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

August 20, 2004, 10:06 AM
Another option for home defense would be a lever-action carbine in a handgun caliber like .357 mag. Since you already have a 686 you'd have both a longarm and handgun with the same ammo. Once you learn how to handle the lever action it's just as quick as a semi (assuming you don't just spray and pray), they're reliable (all those dead deer can't all be wrong!), as accurate as you need (minute of BG?) and the .357 gets a good boost from the longer barrel. You'll probably want to fit a better sight like a ghost-ring. Plus you can plink with cheaper .38 ammo if you're so inclined.

August 20, 2004, 10:07 AM
For home defense, Remington 870 with 20" barrel and rifled sights. For SHTF, AK-47!!!! :D

August 20, 2004, 10:18 AM
But since you want to keep the price down I would go for an 870 Express HD model with extended magazine tube. The price should be under $300 more likely $250-$300, it is perfectly usable right out of the box, you can build it into anything you could ever need/want as time goes by and it should be reliable to a fault and be something your kids pass down to their kids.

As for my thoughts on the shotty, I just feel that it is just about the most versatile gun you can own especially for defense. Ammo choices are endless ranging from target loads to buckshot to slugs to flares to flamethrower rounds for what it's worth. They are perfect for the short range required of the great majority of defensive actions and that .70 some odd caliber bore makes a pretty solid psychological impression that may very well de-escalate a situation.

Yes I would want a carbine if I was actively going into harms way. Yes I would want a rifle or carbine if the proverbial TEOTWAWKI occurs but the fact is that most SHTF are robbery/home invasions, natural disasters, maybe some rioting or the occassional wild animal(s) that get out of line. I think a good shotty would serve you well in any of those situations.

My 2 cents, but what do I know. :confused:


Oh yeah and since I am a gun nut at heart who understands us menfolk need to justify our toys........you will need the 870, an AR15, an AK47 at least couple of cool night visions/laser/red dot/scope things/lots of magazines/lots of ammo..................................................:neener:

I make fun but I am allowed to since I am the above mentioned menfolk.:uhoh:

August 20, 2004, 12:07 PM
Coupla questions:
Do you or will you bird hunt?
Shoot skeet?

I've got a Winchester 1300 5 shot with a 22" rifle-sighted smoothbore slug barrel, and a 28" vent-rib bead. I popped the plug out and keep it with a full buttcuff and full magazine. If I'm going to go hunt I can swap it around in a few minutes.
If you're not going to hunt, or would just buy another shotgun for it, go for a pump gun of the 8 shot pumvariety with a 18-20" sized barrel. Any of the big names is good, 870 has the better reputation and aftermarket support but I like speed of the pump on my Winny.

The shotgun is going to be very versatile, packs a hell of a whollup and intimidation factor.

Brian Williams
August 20, 2004, 12:19 PM
Find a nice used Shotgun, any of the big 4 Rem 870, Moss 500, Win 1300, Itha 37 with a 22in barrel. Most of these can be found between $150 and $250 off the rack.

Then get a Marlin 1894C, it and a 357 handgun will take care of most anything inside of 180yds.
Of course I got to show a few of my 357s

If you enjoyed reading about "What long gun..." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!