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What's a GREAT gun?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Ferrari308, Jul 6, 2006.

  1. Ferrari308

    Ferrari308 member

    Jul 6, 2006
    Are there any great guns out there for $400? Or $500? What is the lowest price point for a gun that won't jam or have any problems?

    What is a good calibur for self defense? I have 2 friends that are into guns, and one told me a .38 is good, and that .45's jam a lot. I personally think bigger is better. Am I wrong? What about the 9mm? My gun friend said it is about the same as a .38. Is that right?

    Or would it be smarter to buy a rifle? Can they be used for home defense, or is it a bad idea? Are rifles a better value, or are they more expensive?

    I need help to know what I should be looking at. I don't want to trust the sales guy at the gun store.
  2. Ferrari308

    Ferrari308 member

    Jul 6, 2006
    I should add, I am only planning on buying one gun and keeping it for life. My friend thinks that guns are addicting and I'll get hooked. He told me to buy a .38 now, and then invest in other guns later. But I really believe I won't be buying more in the future. I want a gun for the range and home saftey. I also go into the wilderness for week long hikes and caming, and I want a gun incase a mountain lion or bear tries to attack.

    That is why I am looking for a GREAT gun, and not some smaller first-time buyer special.
  3. reeps

    reeps New Member

    May 12, 2006
    Greetings, and welcome.

    I'm sure you will hear this advice again, but your best bet for one do-all-be-all is a 4 or5 inch .357 mag Revolver from Smith and Wesson, or Ruger. Id start looking real hard at the model 686 Smith and the Ruger GP100. In these two revolvers you have what is basically the Ford vs. Chevy debate. I have owned and shot both, both worked very well for me with zero problems of any type. I recommend the Smith if you want more than 6 shots as they are available in seven shot configurations, and if you just need six then the Ruger would be my choice.
    Other pistols to look intoo, but you will most likely only find them used are the Ruger Security Six and the S&W models 19 (Blued) and 66 (Stainless).
    There are several other very good choices, but all .357's allow the largest degree in flexabiluty in the way they are loaded to suit pretty much any need.

    I hope that this information helps. Good luck in your search.
  4. Ferrari308

    Ferrari308 member

    Jul 6, 2006
    Thanks for the quick reply!

    I was kinda hoping for the guns with clips, because they appear to be quick to load. And they appear to be quicker to fire.

    Is there any reason why a revolver is a better gun? Do they have more firepower?
  5. Dacoda

    Dacoda New Member

    May 7, 2006

    I'm not a gun expert, and I hate giving advice 'cause I'm afraid it'll be BAD advice. But if you're gonna suggest S&W and Ruger... Why not Taurus?

    I love my Taurus 66. I've never had a problem with it. Reliable and less expensive than an S&W. In fact, I've often heard it called a poor mans S&W. Same quality, different price tag.

    If you can think of any reason NOT to suggest one, let me know, please :)
  6. Squawker

    Squawker New Member

    Mar 26, 2006
    Las Vegas NV
    Yes, you can get a great gun in the price range you quoted, to maybe a little more. You can get Glocks in the $500-$600 range. My Springfield Armory XD 45 is my favorite gun, and I paid $509.

    First, the best gun for you is the one that you feel the most comfortable with shooting. Go to a range that rents guns. Give several models a try- revolver, and semiauto, as well as a variety of calibers. If you decide on a revolver, get a 357. You can still shoot 38 special rounds, and as you become more comfortable, you can step up to the 357.

    As far as self defense, you want the most gun that you can handle. A 44 magnum is a powerful gun, but if you can't hit your target, and get the gun in position for follow up shots if needed, it won't do you any good. You may want to stay in the 38 or 9mm calibers because of recoil. But After shooting 9mm for a while, I decided to try a 45. I found that for me, the recoil was quite manageable I now carry my XD 45 as much as possible, and I'll carry my 9mm Glock 26 when I'm limited to pocket carry.

    Many people don't like anything smaller than a .40 for self defense. But, at 38 or 9mm, the ammo that you buy will make the difference. A 45 is a big enough bullet that even Full metal jacket (commonly called "ball" ammunition) has very good stopping power. However, 9mm and 38 FMJ are very poor for stopping power. You need a bullet that will expand, and you'll need more velocity on the bullet. Any of the premium defensive ammo from companies like Federal, Corbon, etc will give you 9mm or 38 ammo that will give you acceptable stopping power. But, if you can handle the bigger bores, then you'll get even more.

    As I said, rent a variety of guns, and find a gun that you can manage,. Then take a training course to learn how to shoot, and also to care for your gun. Then practice,, practice.
  7. Ferrari308

    Ferrari308 member

    Jul 6, 2006
    Squawker, what is stopping power? Is that the force the bullet hits a target, or is it something different. Is there any way to know what force a gun has?

    Are all .45's more powerful than a .38, or do some smaller guns send a bullet out faster?

    I don't know much about guns, but I do remember the "Force = Mass * Acceleration" formula from highschool physics. It's easy to tell the mass of a .45 bullet is more than a .38, but how do we know force. Is that something marketed by gun companies?

    Is it possible to buy bullets that accelerate faster because they have more powder. Or is the acceleration determined by the gun?
  8. Knife_Sniper

    Knife_Sniper New Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    One gun?

    One gun?

    For the range and home defense?

    Make it a rifle.

    Make it a rifle that has easy to find spare parts.

    Make it a NFA rifle to make it more versatile.

    Start with an AR15 in 16 inch midlength configuration.
    Too expensive? Good guns *are* expensive. Order it in the popular Bushmaster lower, Sabre defense upper flavor. ;)

    Stock up on cheap magazines and spare parts while we don't have any restrictive legislation. Get good with the rifle. A pistol can't get you hits at 700 yards... a nice rifle can. A rifle transfers more energy to the target than a pistol could ever hope too. An AR15 in 5.56x45 is capable of peircing armor. No BG is safe.

    Assault rifles are the SUVs of the weapon world. They can do it all. Range work, security, hunting...

    Tell your friends your going a different route.


    The longer the barrel, the longer gas can accelerate the bullet down the barrel, the faster it goes. Too a point.

    The longer the site radius, the more accuratly the *user* can shoot the gun.

    Length of barrel has no effect on accuracy of the gun itself. A 7 inch barrel will shoot just as accuratly as a 20 inch barrel if not more because of its stiffness.

    +P+ bullets are marked as high pressure. You can guess that they shoot the round at a higher velocity than your plinking ammo.

    +p+ is moot when discussing rifles chambered in hot rounds such as 5.56x45. 3200 feet per second out of a 20 inch barrel. Such a rifle chambered in the round doesn't really need +p+ ammo.

    "Stopping power"
    In reality, it is how fast the bad guys blood pressure drops to zero, or, if you get lucky... you flick off his light switch by destroying his CNS.

    Cause lots of blood loss very quickly.

    .45 may be bigger than a .223 / 5.56x45, but the damage .45 does isn't even close to what the much smaller in diameter .223 can dish out. At extreme velocities, bullets can do some cool things. 5.56 fragments heavily and tears up all sorts of manflesh deep inside a bad guys chest. A good .45 might mushroom and penetrate deep... but it cannot mach a rifle with decent bad guy ammo such as TAP

    A gun is a tool to transfer kinetic energy to a target. Man made this tool to transfer energy to distant targets that he or she could not otherwise reach. Same with the Bow. If you choose to own only one gun, why not make it one that is versatile enough to fulfill your roles, AND hit targets as far as your eye can see?

    Rifle Rifle Rifle

    Not my pic, but if you want versatility:
  9. Dacoda

    Dacoda New Member

    May 7, 2006
    and THIS is why within a year, you'll have way more than just one gun.

    One gun for every situtaion. One gun for every mood you're in. One gun for every day of the week.

    Forget about trying to find that ONE PERFECT gun, and just buy a whole bunch of different ones. Like all of us do :)
  10. Trebor

    Trebor Senior Member

    Feb 15, 2003
    I suggest you learn more about firearms before buying. A good start would be to take the NRA Basic Pistol class. That will give you a good grounding in the fundamental safety rules, teach you how the different types of handguns operate, and give you some hands-on shooting experience.

    You can also try renting guns at local gun store/ranges. Try as many different kinds as you can to get an idea what works for you. This will work better AFTER you've had some instruction though, so you can fire the guns safely and have more knowledge to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of each model.

    To find a NRA Basic Pistol class, go to www.nra.org. Not all instructors put their classes on the website, so you'll also want to ask around at your local gun stores and ranges. You should be able to find a class without too much effort. A little training right at the start of your shooting career will pay off later.
  11. Stainless Chili

    Stainless Chili New Member

    Jan 18, 2005
    Keystone State, near Philadelphia
    BudsGunShop.com has the 1911 stainless 1991 Gov't for $700 delivererd.

    I'm saving and a commander XSE, myself.
  12. Dionysusigma

    Dionysusigma Senior Member

    Mar 27, 2003
    Okay City
    Find a used Sig P220 for less than $500. It's a .45, it's reliable, it's got great resale value (for when you want another gun ;) ), it's magazine-fed, and it's accurate enough.

    If you want a rifle, get a Saiga in .308... also mag-fed, powerful enough for wild predators, but a little much for home defense.

    Actually, this may be the time I recommend a Remington 870. It's a pump-action shotgun that's been around forever, and is proven to be reliable. It's not mag-fed like a Saiga or P220, but with enough practice it'll do everything you could ever ask of a gun--home defense, hiking defense, fun, and with all the aftermarket accessories out there you can customize it to your heart's content. :)
  13. GW

    GW Member

    May 6, 2003
    SF Bay area
    +1 on trebor's recommendation

    An NRA handgun course will show you how to handle a gun safely and will probably have autos and revolvers for you to handle and shoot with a good lecture on the strengths and weaknesses of each type.
    It will cost you a few bucks and a Saturday morning, but you will get good basic handgun safety and handling instruction. Plus you will get to do some shooting with a few types of handguns and perhaps get an idea for what feels best for you.
    I mean no disrespect when I say it sounds like you are a novice to handguns. You're on the right track by asking questions here but I can't recommend the NRA courses highly enough. The instructors are certified by the leading firearms safety organization in America.
    My own recommendation is to try a Glock in 40 or 45 ACP
    Glocks are simple, accurate, rugged and reliable

    Good luck with whatever decision you make and welcome to The High Road
  14. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Senior Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Hello & Welcome

    I think I could write a book on the one gun your looking for and still not cover all there is to talk about. Your going to get a lot - and I do mean a lot - of opinions on what it should be. In fact there are probably a dozen good choices if not more.

    Your question leans toward a handgun and you have already questioned wether it should be a revolver or an auto . Either will serve you well if you stick with a decent quality firearm.

    As far as what caliber , in general revolvers can be had in more powerfull cartridges. If large bears are something you think you will face while hiking then big bore handguns are called for ,and even then you will be underguned if comparing to a good rifle or shotgun with slugs.

    I think Trebors comment about learning more would be a good place for you to start. Spend some time learning what's available and the difference's between different cartridges , as well as the guns that fire them. Read through some of the posts on handguns here on THR and try to get a good picture of wether it is an auto or a revolver that will fit your wants/needs.

    Look at the ballistics of different cartridges and loadings. Generaly you look for the grain weight of the bullet that is being fired, the FPS (feet per second) or velocity at which the bullet travels and the foot pounds of energy that the cartridge and load can deliver.
  15. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 19, 2006

    Welcome to THR. I have to agree with Trebor and GW; The NRA basic pistol course will get you exposure to and experience with several different types of revolvers and semi autos in a safe and encouraging environment. After taking the course you'll have a clearer idea of whats out there aand what you like. Then you can make a more informed decision.

    As for your question on "stopping power" that is a hotly debated topic even amongst "experts." The mass x velocity = energy equation is one factor. You then must consider the wound channel. How long is it, as in how deep did the bullet penetrate, and how wide is it/what diameter is it? Width is both a factor of original bullet's diameter and what diameter it expands to as it goes thru the target. As you can tell its complicated, and not easily answered.

    For right now I'd stick with the NRA basic pistol course, talking to your friends, and reading as much as you can in online forums like this and in publications like Guns & Ammo, Handguns Magazine, and the many others out there. Remember when reading, that in guns, like anything else, everyone will come to different opinions and conclusions based on the same facts. Learn, be safe, and HAVE FUN!
  16. mrmeval

    mrmeval Participating Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    Greenwood, Indiana
    So many choices

    For a truck gun, SHTF gun, SKS with all the gunk stripped off and put away. I'll take it as light and fast as I can get. Murray firing pin mod and a Kivaari trigger job

    For a good SHTF gun you can ship to anyone without an FFL there are 8mm mausers that are antiques. Rebarrel in 308 or leave in 8mm and you have gun that you can send to a friend via fedex. If their state allows it.

    For hunting someone else who uses them for that will have to make a recommendation.

    For humans a good AR-15, they are cheap to own, cheap to feed and do a credible job.

    Any pistol that fits you and functions is good. Pick one and work with it for a while.
  17. Kentak

    Kentak Participating Member

    Jan 6, 2006
    I really think you need to become better informed about guns and shooting before you go out and make this "once in a lifetime" purchase. I strongly urge you to take a good basic pistol course. Also, go with your friends to the shooting range and try a variety of different kinds of guns--revolvers and semi-automatics. Try different calibers. After you become better informed, you will begin to sort out the various pros and cons of this or that gun for yourself.

    Good luck, stay safe, get some training.

  18. Technosavant

    Technosavant Senior Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    St. Louis, MO
    Ferrari, PLEASE get some training.

    Your friends don't know squat about guns- caliber is no indication of reliability. Education about types of guns, use, and safety is if VITAL importance. Depending on where you are, finding training can be easy or hard (the Missouri Department of Conservation offers the aforementioned NRA courses- an example of just how easy it may be to locate them). Or contact the NRA to find a certified trainer near you.

    Once you know the basics, then go shopping. Then just TRY and keep it at one gun. I bet you can't. :D
  19. dracphelan

    dracphelan Active Member

    Oct 15, 2005
    Garland, TX
    I spent $130 for a Star BM. It doesn't jam and is a joy to shoot.
    I spent $170 for a used S&W Model 64. It doesn't jam and is a joy to shoot.
    I spent $150 for a brand new Marlin 60. It doesn't jam and is a joy to shoot.
    I spent $300 for a RIA 1911. Again, it doesn't jam and is a joy to shoot.

    There are plenty of good and cheap firearms out there. :D
  20. steveracer

    steveracer Participating Member

    Jun 10, 2005
    VA Beach
    If I was to own one gun.

    12 guage. It does more than any other gun. You can take just about any game with it, you can defend from two or more attackers, you can fire marine flares, you can breach doors, you can teach other shooters, you can be well armed for very little money with a good shotgun. Remington 870 starts around $240. I bought a FN Police shotgun for $400 on Friday. Get a shotgun, you will never feel like you don't have "enough" gun.

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