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Budget Battery

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by politicalgeek, Nov 20, 2007.

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  1. politicalgeek

    politicalgeek Member

    Feb 19, 2007
    Central Ohio
    I see a lot of posts that pose the question about battery choice: If you could only have 6 handguns or If you could have only 10 guns period. Quite a bit show off the wide range of interests and niches we collect in, the weapons we feel are the best at multitasking etc. What about the biggest bang for the buck?

    I'm a college student with a limited budget, so thats where I am headed with this, as well as others who are limited on funds. What types of guns would you include in a budget collection, say $500-600 and 2-5 all purpose guns. An eye towards home defense, CCW, hunting and fun shoots. Think not only college students, but new shooters, women (I've seen some threads about introducing women to shooting, those who have taken restraining orders out and need basic, quick protection etc.) people with a tight budget who see the value in having a few firearms, but the 700 dollar AR or AK, let alone a 300-400 dollar remington or mossberg shotgun is simply not doable.

    I would think:

    Revolver-.38s are easy to come by and fairly inexpensive, A Smith and Wesson 10 is my current (and only gun) night stand gun.

    Shotgun- This is the next purchase I am considering. I would feel alot better with a shot gun over the .38 in the apartment. I am considering a single shot and these are inexpensive and pretty easy to come by. The goal is to eventually add a pump action or two as a HD gun, but a single shot goes a long way in ruggedness, simplicity and overall utility.

    Rifle- a .22 of some sort, bolt or semi, are a dime a dozen in most areas. Great for practicing long gun skills. Add a mil surp rifle to round out the collection.

    I think this is pretty doable for the 500-600 range. You could spend more for less, a snub nose revolver for CCW and a pump shotgun for the house. Or spread it around with good deals. What do you think?
  2. ShunZu

    ShunZu member

    Oct 8, 2007
    Near St. Louis, MO
    Working inside a tight budget, buy quality used pieces.

    CCW - P3AT .380
    Shotgun for home defense: used 870 short barrel, nothing exotic.
    SKS is still hard to beat for inexpensive semi-auto rifle, cheap ammo = lots of bang for the practice buck.
    Mosin-Nagant 39 in good shape (check the barrel and rifling b4 buying) if you want a bigger bang in a bolt and have a range you can use to 200 yards.
    Ruger MK II used for a .22 pistola. Almost indestructable, shoot for a LONG time.
    And always, always, enjoy'em.
  3. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    Now I advocate gun fit to shooter; still a "default" set up, on a budget :

    -Used Police Trade in Revolver in .38spl
    -Used 12 or 20 ga bone stock pump shotgun
    -Used single shot .22 rifle.

    i.e. Model 10, 870 and Rem 514.

    This covers CCW, home handgun.
    Home long gun and being a shotgun allow for clays, bird, small game, deer, turkey, waterfowl and more "serious uses".

    The .22 rifle, is a affordable fun gun to allow for alleviating stress shooting tin cans, introducing new shooters, even small game hunting, and most single shots allow for using .22 shorts, which some Game & Fish restricts one to using for hunting raccoons at night, with lights. Lots of fun!


    Now it depends on one's age, location, Political flavor and other factors like type of game.

    Model 10 (similar) is default.

    One "might" choose a Good Used Lever Action Rifle in 30-30 for deer, as they do not care about upland, or ducks or some such. And this 30-30 being the home long gun.
    Marlin 60 could be the fun .22 plinker also used for taking squirrels.

    Neat gun, in this "default" is a 20 ga single shot shotgun.
    It fills too many roles.

    Like being on the road, and staying in a hotel, and being more PC and more apt to be Legal in jurisdictions.

    Breaks down easy, back together easy and easy to use.
    Some college students use these in traveling back and forth...
    I know, My idea.
    I suggest, the Youth for most, it is legal and easy to tote, fits smaller persons, and has choke.
    A LOT better gun than one whacked off for a "truck gun" with no choke, IME/IMO

    NO 12 bore, only 20, 28 or .410, the 20 being the most versatile and shells being less expensive and plentiful.

    New these H&R/NEF run ~ $100
  4. jeepmor

    jeepmor Member

    Nov 6, 2005
    As sm stated.

    Used, used, used = savings, savings, savings.
  5. OEF_VET

    OEF_VET Member

    Mar 30, 2003
    Murfreesboro, TN
    $500-600 budget battery:


    Hi-Point 9mm - Yeah, they're bulky and ugly. But, they work, and they're inexpensive. $150


    NEF Pardner pump 12ga. - Functionally similiar to an 870, but half the price. $175


    Yugo SKS - Can serve as a meat-getter, or as a defensive arm. $175
    Used Marlin Model 60 - Great for plinking or getting small game. <$100
  6. yesit'sloaded

    yesit'sloaded Member

    Aug 15, 2007
    Here is the new gun cheapskate special with optional upgrades.
    Hi Point in 9mm, .40, or .45 -$150-170 Upgrade to S&W Sigma in .40 for $50 more
    Shotgun-Maverick 88 $150 upgrade to Remington 870 for &$50
    Rifle- Mosin M-44-$100 Upgrade to SKS for $100 more
  7. possom813

    possom813 Member

    Sep 5, 2007
    An hour south of D/FW
    My 10 cents(dang inflation)

    CCW-Ruger P89, can be had used for around 250-300. Not as bulky(ie, ugly) as the HiPoints, but I've never had any problems with a hipoint.

    Shotgun-Mossberg 500, I believe is the model number, can be had a NIB at Wallyworld for about 165.00.

    Rifle-Probably a good 30 caliber for hunting, .30-06, .308, 30-30, or similar. I like the Marlin 336, it can be found for less than 250 if you look around. Also, you need a Mosin-Nagant, any variation is acceptable, but it is a must IMHO.

    .22-I recommend a Savage Mark II. It's a nice little bolt action with a 10 shot magazine. The only thing I don't like is the way the mag feeds the shells. But as long as I don't try rapid fire with it, I haven't had any problems.
  8. outofbattery

    outofbattery Member

    Apr 14, 2004
    The prior answers are all excellent but I'll add what my response would be as well:

    S&W Model 10 - $150-175
    Mossberg 500 - $125-150
    Marlin Model 60 - $50
    Ruger Mk II - $125-150

    If I was in college and old enough and able to legally CCW,there's a good chance that I would buck up for a used Glock 19 instead of the M10 even if it meant not being able to have a .22 pistol until I could swing an AA .22 kit.

    Something that really burns me on THR is seeing constant posts about the gub'mint not wanting poor subjects to be able to defend themselves.What a crock.Some of the most reliable firearms ever made are available for a fraction of the cost of the expensive weapons that immediately get mentioned.For some reason it's all too often than someone on here says " but not everyone can afford a $900 Kimber or $1500 AR-15".That's true,but I have never been to a decent gun shop that's had a lack of S&W wheelies,milsurps and Mossberg 500's etc.
  9. Dionysusigma

    Dionysusigma Member

    Mar 27, 2003
    Okay City
    The Smith revo you already have covers a bit of the spectrum. The barrel length has a bit to do with its role, however... a shorter barrel lends itself well to CCW, but a longer one is better for range use (whether target/competition, teaching new shooters, etc.)

    Find a Remington 870 in the worst possible condition you can. Rust, beat-up wood, whatever... as long as the receiver's in usable shape on the inside. Some CLP and 0000 steel wool will go a long way in removing rust and preventing it at a later date. Since it's an 870, spare parts in any area are as easy to find as Lego blocks, and require almost no special work to replace. IIRC, the most expensive part is the barrel, and new ones start at $140; other parts run significantly less, and can be swapped out as needed. Reliability, the noise it makes when pumped, and the wide variety of available 12ga rounds are all strong points too. And when you've got new furniture, a new barrel, and that fancy light you've always wanted on it, the receivers take Duracoat pretty well. :) Initial cost: $130 if you shop around.

    My first recommendation for a rifle would be an old, beattoheck (aside from the receiver) Ruger 10-22, for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, ammo is cheap and comes in a million flavors--no further explanation needed. Second, see the reasons above regarding the beattoheck (aside from the receiver) 870, and the same apply (easy-to-find replacement parts that can be bought one-at-a-time, etc.). Thirdly, it's amazingly customizable. You can make a personally-tailored "snipered-out" tackdriver, a Krinkov clone, a 2/3 scale MG42, a Walther WA2000, a Steyr AUG, a takedown backpacker, and a million other things all with the same receiver. If you get bored, you can turn it into something else entirely. Initial cost: $125 (once again, if you shop around).

    Second recommendation for a rifle would be the Hi-Point 995 in 9x19mm with the aftermarket ATI stock. Looks cool, fires a centerfire round, reliable, inexpensive, low recoil, relatively inexpensive ammo, and so on. Cost: ~$230 (including nifty-looking stock)

    Final rifle recommendation would be a Mosin-Nagant. 116-year-old design that's built like a tank on tank-building machinery. Comes in long-barrel or short-barrel-with-fold-out-pointy-thingy flavors. Fires an inexpensive (albeit corrosive 90% of the time) cartridge that will kill any animal in North America. Many have some history behind them. Has, can, and will take obscene amounts of abuse without fail. Often accurate to 4 MOA, enough to hit a deer at 200yd., or a turkey if you're Azrael256. :neener: Cost: $90

    Total: $575

  10. Titan6

    Titan6 member

    Feb 7, 2007
    Gillikin Country
    As Dion above but you should be able to find the Hipoint for less than $200 new or $140-160 used with the original stock. Buy as cheap a one as possible. Send it to Hipoint. They will rebuild it for free and send you a free magazine (less shipping).

    With the money you save by an Enfield instead of a Mosin. I find them more accurate with essentially the same capability and the ammo is normally not corrosive (although you can find cheap corrosive stuff if you look).

    But I am curious. Why follow a strategy of many cheap guns instead of a couple of better quality guns? You can only shoot one at a time and should always strive to have the best tools possible. Just food for thought.
  11. politicalgeek

    politicalgeek Member

    Feb 19, 2007
    Central Ohio
    I'm thinking towards good quality...but starter guns. Best bang for the individuals buck. Think college student who sees the need in their neighborhood for a few fire arms, a single mother with an abusive ex-husband etc. Good quality tools are great, but not all of us can afford them.
  12. baz

    baz Member

    Dec 16, 2005
    When did you last buy a gun?
  13. foghornl

    foghornl Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    My Budget Battery:

    Handgun...The Hi-points are well...muddy pig-butt ugly. However, all the ones I have shot go Bang! on request, every time, and put the lead where you aim. Revolver in .38Spl/.357Mag...used S&W Mdl 10, Ruger Speed/Service Secuity Six, perhaps GP-100 or SP-101 if a really good pre-own deal.

    Rifle..."Previously Owned" Marlin in calibre of choice. Or, if one is on a real tight budget Mosin-Nagant or a Yugo SKS. The Yugos are still under $200 most places.

    Shotgun New...Mossberg 500/Maverick 88 frequently well under $200. Previously Owned usually under $150, Same with Pre-Own Rem 870's

    Sooooo many choices in a .22LR...Ruger 10/22, Marlin 99 or 60, Remingtons..a lot of models.

    .22LR handgun...Brownings/Rugers/S&W/Colt "Woodsman"

    .22LR revolvers...Single-Six or S&W 317(??)
  14. Inverness11

    Inverness11 Member

    Jun 10, 2006
    In your situation, I would only buy a used Remington 870. It's not nearly as exciting as having a whole battery, but hear me out.

    With a 12 gauge you can:

    1. Defend your home with buckshot and/or slugs
    2. Harvest squirrel, rabbits, fowl, and other small game with birdshot.
    3. Harvest coyotes, boar, whitetail, and other med-large game with slugs and/or buckshot.
    4. Useful if SHTF for above reasons

    12 gauge shells are extremely common, as are parts for the 870. Other shotguns will work equally as well, but in my opinion the 870 is a little more solid.

    You already have a reliable, well made handgun. Ask yourself what more do you need.

    Of course I have way more than I need, but given the choice of only two guns for all around use, I would choose my XD and my 870.
  15. outofbattery

    outofbattery Member

    Apr 14, 2004
    About 3 weeks ago.Those would be prices that I've seen or paid for them in MA gun shops in the past year.

    Should have said gun prices vary widely and often wildly.Shop smart and don't pay an arm and a leg.That said,prices do vary by region: due to less demand,they're usually considerably cheaper in the NE rather than SE.Wheelies have next to zero demand at my nearest gun shops,there are always buys to be had on them.The last Mossberg I bought was an 18" cruiser model in 99% shape,got it for $125 as I was buying a used SIG and new Armalite at the time and made the snarky comment that I needed to get a shotgun for the trifecta.Didn't need it but it never hurts to have another.
  16. Kentucky

    Kentucky Member

    Mar 3, 2006
    I look at this a little differently than most people. First I would make a list of priorities, and then take the list as they come. Here is how that list would look for me.

    1. .22 Rifle - Cheap ammo and everyone should be able to buy one and a few thousand rounds of ammo RIGHT AWAY! A used Marlin 60 and ammo is where my first $200 would go. Now I have something that I can hunt small game, practice with, and if necessary defend myself with.

    2. Fighting Rifle - There are many discussion about Rifle vs. shotgun, but all around there is no doubt that a rifle is more versatile for greater ranges, especially for fighting/defense. Many people here would recommend an SKS, but frankly I see them going for over $200 around here now and I would save a little longer and get an AK that has higher capacity, detachable magazines, and is more compact. After this I going to be spending money on mags and ammo for a while. With this rifle I can defend my life/liberty very efficiently, and if needed hunt deer size game.

    3. Handgun - Want something concealable, cheap to shoot, accurate. A S&W 59 series can be had for around $300-350 locally and will provide 15 rounds of 9MM on tap and ready to fire. 9MM is cheap to buy ammo fire (comparatively), accurate, and can be had in higher capacities and cheaper than mot other calibers.

    4. Shotgun - For a lot of people this is #1 on their list, but for me there is not really much that my shotgun will do that my .22 and AK cant do better. Limited range, limited capacity, and ammo costs move this down the list to #4 for me. A mossberg Maverick 88 is a good option for a budget

    5. Bolt Action Rifle - A Mosin and some 7.62x54R give you a LOT of bang for your buck. $250 should easily net you a decent rifle and a thousand rounds of ammo. With this combo you can hunt anything in North America.

    6. MBR - For me something like a CETME fits this budget range really well.

    For me, these are my basics and I wont rest well or spend much money elsewhere until I have them covered.This is how I would tackle my "battery" until I had covered these bases if I were starting all over. Later on when I have more money, the AK will turn into an AR, the 9MM will turn into a G17, the Mosin will turn into a Remington 700 or a Savage 110, and the CETME will turn into a FAL/M14/etc...

    Then I reach the next level, buying guns that still make sense but not quite as "needed". Maybe a 9MM carbine, a 357/38 revolver, a leveraction in 357/38, a 1911, these are all guns that I still want and can justify a use for, even if they arent needed quite as badly as the first level.

    Of course then I start thinking, 2 is 1 and 1 is none, so I surely need backups for my all my "Level 1" guns, and maybe a Daewoo in 223, and a G19 to share mags with my G17, and a 44 mag would be cool and oh, I need a ..............

    :D It goes on forever......................
  17. goon

    goon Member

    Jan 20, 2003
    It is true that the SKS isn't as cheap as it used to be. But it is still about the lowest priced semi auto centefire rifle that you will get.
    For the AK's I see in the lowest price range, what you are basically getting is the lowest quality AK type rifle possible. Yeah, they mostly work OK. I had an SAR-1 that was reliable and so is my brother's WASR so I can't really badmouth them.
    But I have owned 5 AK's and two SKS's. I used to shoot at chicken sized steel targets at 200 and 300 yards and rarely hit them with an AK. Hits with the SKS's were pretty common and with practice, 8/10 was realistic. And I have never been an expert rifle marksman. And with the SKS, you are mostly getting them exactly as they would have been issued. They are real military weapons and that is how they are built. I only hope that real military AK's aren't built like some of the WASR's I have seen.
    Out of the two, I'd take the SKS and use the extra $100 or so to get some stripper clips and 500 rounds of ammo.

    My choices for $500-600 would probably drop it to two guns max because I would spend a little more on better quality stuff and leave the "extra" guns for later.

    If HD is the real purpose and you may not "need" a rifle yet, I'd replace the SKS with a used 870 or Mossberg 500. Shotguns give a lot of versatility and can be used as basically a large caliber carbine out to about 80 yards with slugs. It still does small game and fun shooting well and can do HD if necessary. I'd want a shorter barrel but I also don't use mine for hunting - mine only does the target range and HD. Figure about $200 for the gun and some ammo.
    I'd go with either a used SIG P-225 for about $359 as a handgun. Eventhough my last SIG has been a PITA and I'm still working on getting those errors smoothed out, SIG is generally a very good name and their customer service is quick. Go for a CPO if possible because that gives you a warranty in case you have a problem. One other option is the used .38 but I haven't really seen many of those. The last one I saw was an old Colt priced at around $225. I have also seen used Glocks in good shape for around $350 in both .40 and 9mm. I'd go with a 9mm (already had two .40 Glocks, a 22 and a 23, and I didn't like either).
    For a rifle, you could get an SKS for probably $175. I'd avoid the yugo SKS if possible just because of the gas valve. I haven't heard of any real issues but it's just an unnecessary part that could get messed up. IMO, better to look for Russian (hard to find in that range) or chinese (make sure it isn't one of the "civilian" versions). Another option (one I am still looking at) would be a Marlin lever action in 30-30. I have had two and really, I was an idiot to sell them and should have kept one. Anyhow, the round is capable out to 200 yards and even farther with Leverevolution ammo. The rifles are common, reliable, gunsmiths know them, ammo is everywhere and about $10 a box at walmart, and all you really need to get in action with one is a decent sling. No mags, stripper clips, etc. to keep them working. Doable for about $250.
    A .22 LR is great to have around but I could do without one for awhile. Plus, once you try a CZ-452 you are going to want one. But it will put you over budget so I would wait on that one.
    If you want a longer range rifle, maybe an Ishapore 7.62 nato Enfield. They aren't too expensive and 7.62 is a powerful round that doesn't depend on imports to keep it shooting. Mosins are OK. I have owned them too but I sold them off. IMO, if you want a Mosin, get a Finnish M-39. They are among the finest military rifles I have ever seen. I'd probably get a Mauser over a Mosin though because for hunting, you are going to want a round chambered with the safety on. The Mosin safety is, how shall I put it... Unfriendly. The Mauser safety is probably better on a hunting rifle and 8mm Mauser ammo is made by domestic makers too. Even when the surplus dries up you'll still be able to get it or reload for it without too much BS.

    Personally, I'd go with a few more quality guns that you will probably keep than a bunch that you will outgrow and lose money on when you sell them or trade them off.
    I'd start with the shotgun or rifle and a good handgun, then add one here and there as you see what you need and learn more. No sense in buying too many when you first start and don't even know what you really want or need yet - when you're a new shooter you want one of every gun you see!
    I have made that mistake before. YMMV.
  18. skunkum

    skunkum Member

    Dec 4, 2003
    You already have a revolver.

    The #1 jack-of-all-trades in firearms has to be the 12 gauge. Forget the other gauges, if only based upon price and availability of ammo. Game shells are often available for less than $5 per box of 25- that's 20 cents each! The sheer variety of loads available off the shelf is unmatched. You can buy a new 870 for less than $250 almost anywhere guns are sold, and I think Remington still has a $20 rebate offer. Mossberg would be OK for about the same price. Mossberg's Maverick Arms pump (new for barely more than $150), is compatible with Mossberg 500's barrels, chokes, & accessories. At these prices, there is no reason to buy one of those single shots.

    Next on the list would have to be a .22, either rifle or pistol. Why not both? You can't get any more affordable! 500 rounds of ammo at about $10. Ruger 10/22 new for about $200, lots of .22 rifles new for barely $100. Ruger's semi-auto .22 pistols are popularly available and I believe Heritage has a .22 revolver priced at about $125 new. Lots of choices in between.

    What's left? After all of the bargains mentioned above, you'll be able to afford to splurge on your dream rifle and optics!
  19. politicalgeek

    politicalgeek Member

    Feb 19, 2007
    Central Ohio
    Good points. This wasn't a post "for me" per say, just an exercise in something different. To each his own, and for each individual the needs and goals are going to be different from the next person.
  20. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Lafayette, Indiana-the Ned Flanders neighbor to Il
    I think you have sound choices, pg.:)

    Used revolver $200 to $250. I've purchased Ruger Police Service Six revolvers for $200 recently.

    Single shot 20 gauge, $50. With practice you can manipulate the weapon quickly and before you sneer that it isn't tactical enough be aware that Clint Smith, gun instructor par excellent, keeps a single shot 20 gauge at his bedside.

    Used .22lr rifle, $50 to $100. Ruger 10/22s, Marlin 60s, bunch of other choices.
  21. goon

    goon Member

    Jan 20, 2003
    BTW - on the single shots...
    With practice you can shoot them fast enough to make people think you have a pump action. I have done it.
    Just get a 20, 16, or 12 gauge. I have tried it with a .410 but those tiny shells are harder to manipulate quickly.
  22. TCB in TN

    TCB in TN Member

    Jun 23, 2006
    Middle, TN
    Were I just starting out and wanted to be able to do a lot with a little I would probably start out like this.

    Used Marlin model 60 $ 75 used at a pawn shop
    great for learning to shoot or hunt small game

    Mossyberg 500 with 18 in barrel 175 used at a pawn shop
    Excellent for home defense

    rifled barrel + scope kit for M 500 150 new
    will work well for a starter rifle.
    (one major advantage to this is familiarity, using your Shotty for your hunting rifle breeds familiarity with it, which is a huge plus, especially for new shooters) You can also add a used 28 in barrel to use for skeet or bird/rabbit/squirrel hunting for $50 to $75

    Used 2in Ruger or SW 38/357 250 used at a pawn or gun shop
    Conceal carry weapon

    TTL $625
    If you really want a centerfire rifle you can't go wrong with a clean used Savage or Mossberg in 30-06 or .270. You can find them here local in the $225 to $250 range.
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