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Uses for guns in the country

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Evey, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. Evey

    Evey New Member

    Aug 14, 2008
    I just said hello earlier today in the new member thread. I didn't think I'd post anything so soon, but here I am already.

    My situation is this. I'm not much of a shooter. I just inherited a handful of old family guns (nothing special, I expect) and I'm living in the country for the first time. I want to polish up my shooting skills and maybe trade some of the old guns for new ones eventually.

    But I ran across this Massad Ayoob article, "Do rural homeowners need guns for self defense?" It made me realize I need to think more about what purposes I might need guns for before I do anything more about getting guns or building shooting skills.

    Besides hunting (which I've never done) and home defense, what uses for guns should I expect to have in my new country life?
  2. esmith

    esmith Participating Member

    Apr 30, 2007
    Hello and i guess welcome to THR.

    First, you should tell us what guns you have so you don't sell off something of really high value for a price that doesn't match it. I'd think you would want your money's worth out of what you have. I know i'd go out and shoot them all before selling them for sure.

    For living in the country i think you should at least of a shotgun of some sort, preferably a 12 gauge. And some rifles if you ever intend to hunt or just shoot. And of course you need some pistols because, well their pistols.

    I know if i were you i'd be out shooting if i had just moved to the country, if it was legal that is.
  3. lee n. field

    lee n. field Senior Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    Oh, man! I feel like giving you a standing ovation for that. Most people start with "what gun for $X" before they get around to looking at exactly what they want to do.

    Varmint control.

    Shotgun, .22 rifle, maybe a decent air rifle. Whatever centerfire rifle is appropriate for hunting where you're at.
  4. Stump Water

    Stump Water New Member

    Feb 21, 2007
    After those two about all that's left is casual plinking and target shooting.

    The most appropriate gun always depends on the task. For example, a shotgun might be the best for defense against a two-legged home intruder but probably isn't the best defense against a four-legged garden raider.

    If your inheritance includes a .22 rifle or pistol (that doesn't have collector value) get some ammo and begin developing your shooting skills.

    I would also recommend that you enlist the help of a knowledgeable assistant to get you started on the right foot.
  5. Stump Water

    Stump Water New Member

    Feb 21, 2007
    I had that under Home Defense. :)

    Could also go under Hunting.
  6. bragood

    bragood Member

    Jul 6, 2008
    You will probably just use your guns for critters that'll pop up here and there. One way to develop your shooting and have fun is by plinking. If you have a 22 it will even be fairly cheap. Whatever you shoot at (coke cans, bottles, etc.) just make sure you have a backstop esp. if you have any neighbors.
  7. rdalrymple

    rdalrymple New Member

    Jan 9, 2008
    Upstate SC
    lee n. field has it right, critters. I've lived my entire life in the country. Hunting is big and target shooting is fun, self defense is certainly something you should be prepared for, but by far the most practical use is for the pesky critters. Stray dogs kill our cattle, have even lost a foal to them. Feral cats are probably the most aggravating, the list goes on.

    You will need a couple dozen various calibers and configurations for the various critters that you'll encounter :).
  8. Leanwolf

    Leanwolf Senior Member

    Mar 25, 2006
    I grew up out in the country in northern Arkansas, during the 1940s and mid-'50s. This was when "rural" meant "rural!"

    Most people around there had a 12 gauge shotgun, and everyone I knew also had a .22 LR rifle. Those two were everywhere!

    There was a variety of long guns around. .30-40 Krags, old Springfield .30-06s, Winchester and Marlin levers, some other bolt action rifles, etc. Not too many people owned handguns, but it wasn't unusual for some people to own them. At that time, no one I ever heard of used a handgun for hunting, so those owned were mainly for self defense.

    My uncle who ran cattle on his 650 acres, always carried a Win. 97 12 gauge, and a Remington bolt action repeater .22 LR in his truck. He used them for varmint control, if he had to put down a sick or badly injured cow, etc. He'd also use the Win. 97 to shoot a few Bobwhite quail out on the farm when the season was on. (His English setter was always with him in the truck.)

    Those were the type of uses for firearms out in the country where and when I grew up.

  9. goon

    goon Mentor

    Jan 20, 2003
    People in the country do a lot of plinking. It's not uncommon around here to hear a lot of shots on a Saturday afternoon.

    Depending on what you already have, I'd recommend that at the very least you keep a good handgun, a centerfire repeating rifle, and a .22LR rifle from your collection. You may or may not want to also keep a shotgun.
    For my uses my lever action 30-30 fills the defense role that the shotgun would have filled but it adds another hundred yards of effective range.
    If I really need a shotgun for something I still have my little $60 NEF 20 gauge single barrel.

    Your mileage may vary.
    Keep us posted.

    And welcome.
  10. myrockfight

    myrockfight Member

    Sep 11, 2004
    Saint Petersburg, FL

    I don't know if you have a good centerfire rifle, but you will likely like to have one. I'm assuming you don't have any livestock to protect. One of the biggest issues on our farm, especially in recent years, has been coyotes.

    I used to use a bolt action 30.06 on them because it was the only centerfire rifle I had when I was growing up. If I was out on a tractor, I would usually only have a .22. So that would get pulled out in a pinch.

    Ideally, I would use something like a .223 for a varmint gun though.

    What part of which state do you live in?
  11. Drgong

    Drgong Participating Member

    Jul 16, 2008
    Ashe Co, NC and Gastonia NC
    the .22 rifle is very important out in the sticks, and then there are other things that are important depending on what larger pests you might have.
  12. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

    Oct 10, 2006
    North Idaho
    Critter Calibres

    Different critters require different calibres.

    It's kinda a basic livin'-in-the-country assumption that you will have at least a rifle in .22 LR.

    A .22 LR rifle will be right handy for a lot of critter work, but some critters need a little more punch. For those, you'll want something more along .223 lines. Now, if the stuff you just acquired has a .22 Hornet included, then that will pretty much do medium critter duty -- as will the .22 Magnum.

    A rifle in .30-30 or .30-06 or any of those larger cartridges will do for game type animals, but are usually a bit over-the-top for critters.

    It would be interesting to have some idea what calibres you currently have.

    We could be giving you all kinds of inappropriate advice, or recommending a gun that's simply equivalent to something you already have.

    Oh, BTW, welcome to The High Road.
  13. MyRoad

    MyRoad Active Member

    Aug 13, 2003
    I've thought about moving to the country several times... someday I will. I may be different than most, but I'd want to know what your furthest line of sight is? If you are in the country in a wooded area or you are amongst hills but in a narrow valley, then a rifle with long range capability might not be useful to you. If you are in a larger open space, then you might want something with a good flat trajectory.
  14. telomerase

    telomerase Senior Member

    Mar 11, 2003
    The bear-infested hills of Grafton NH
    Or you can just shoot everything up to wild pigs with your .22, like the miserly Ohio farmers I grew up around. (Of course they shot everything in the head...)

    Anyway by far the most-used gun will be an accurate .22 rifle. Quiet, cheap, and cheap. Did I mention cheap?
  15. goon

    goon Mentor

    Jan 20, 2003
    MyRoad's question is pretty relevant.
    In my area we have a lot of heavy brush and wooded areas and hills. For most uses a rifle that shoots well out to 100 yards is plenty.
    So I chose a 30-30 because it's got enough range for what I wanted. It's also got enough power to reliably drop a predator up to the size of a black bear (which is about the biggest thing I can imagine needing to shoot at).

    So what is your situation?
    What kind of animals do you think you might have to shoot at?
  16. Larry Ashcraft

    Larry Ashcraft Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Home of Heroes, Pueblo, CO, USA
    I use a 17 HMR scoped rifle to plink rock squirrels from the porch (the little varmints dig under my barn). We also have a few 22 rifles around that serve various duties, from plinking to teaching the grandkids how to shoot to dispatching varmints too close for the 17.

    A Mini-14 or AR makes a nice truck gun for drives down to the river. For walking the property, I prefer a Winchester Trapper in 30-30 (mainly during deer season). Most coyotes show up at distances up to 500 yards. I use a scoped 25-06 for those.

    Of course, I'm always carrying either a 1911 in 45 ACP or a snub nose revolver in 38 Special. Speaking of which, last summer I was out by the garden when I saw a rock squirrel standing by the barn laughing at me. I didn't have time to run to the house for a 22, so I pulled out the 38 and fired at him.


    My wife said: "Did you get him?"

    I said: "What?"

    I don't recommend doing that. :)
  17. bobbarker

    bobbarker New Member

    May 26, 2008
    I grew up in the country, and honestly, used a shotgun or a handgun for any critters I had to kill. a 12 guage worked great on anything that I ever killed as far as "critters." That was pretty much limited to Woodchucks, Possums, and Coons. The handgun was nice for any of the above when I was killing them at night, but wasn't really necessary. I keep a handgun for CC, but I like having the shotgun for dealing with the critters most of the time, and I really enjoy trap shooting. If you've never been much of a shooter before, I reccommend trying trap shooting after you've been out plinking for a little bit. It's a great time.

    Also, wanted to add that where I lived in the lower peninsula of Michigan, hunting with Rifles is illegal. Whether or not that applies to critters, I was never quite sure, as I never bothered with having a rifle, since it was illegal for hunting. Also something to look into for you.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2008
  18. akodo

    akodo Senior Member

    Aug 31, 2005
    -recreational shooting at clays, tin cans, whatever

    -varmint control. I know you said you were grouping this under 'home defense' but it is siginficantly different in my book. Home defense is about keeping you or your loved ones from being harmed, varmint control can often be about eliminating pests that are chewing up your wiring, digging up your garden, or otherwise making life less than pleasant.

    -humane intervetion. There may be times when you are confronted with a sick or injured animal. This could be a deer hit by a car, or a dog someone dropped off to 'live a happy life in the woods' who is now heavily into the end stages of starvation. Many times these animals are too far gone, and you need to end their suffering. Other times they are strong enough to thwart any attempts at capturing them so you can aid them, yet you know the condition will only worsen and weeks of suffering lay ahead for the animal. The moral action in my opinion is to shoot such animals and end the suffering
  19. 762 shooter

    762 shooter New Member

    Apr 26, 2008
    Shooting is fun.

    Any legitimate other uses are gravy.
  20. bhk

    bhk Participating Member

    Jun 17, 2006
    Wooded acreage in rural midwest
    762 shooter said:

    "Shooting is fun.

    Any legitimate other uses are gravy."

    Ditto. I have guns for a variety of reasons, but just plain shooting them is number one. I live in the country and shoot several times each week. Except for three or four months in the fall, most shots are fired just for fun and the challenge of improving my skills. A typical week might include shooting my .22 bench gun for tiny groups, other .22s at metal swingers on my range, shooting revolvers into a bullet trap from my deck, shooting clay birds, plinking with my centerfire hanguns, etc.

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