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What type of gun?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Prettywoman, Sep 28, 2007.

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  1. Prettywoman

    Prettywoman Member

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    Hello. I am new to this whole gun thing. I live in a very rural area where a mountain lion has been attacking and killing dogs and a miniature horse. Two nights ago, the lion tried to drag my neighbor's dog out of its dog run less than 500 feet away from my home. I have two small children to think about protecting, a 2 year old and a 4 year old. They like to play on our deck but I am afraid to let them do so right now or even to take them for a stroll around the neighborhood while this cat is loose and obviously very aggressive toward humans. Can you please tell me what type of gun would be my best bet for defense against a wild animal in my area? I do not have a license to carry a weapon but could get one. I also would use it for protection in the case of a human intruder in my home although I think that's probably less likely. Thank you in advance for your responses.
     
  2. Hoppy590

    Hoppy590 Member

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    lever action in 357 or .44 magnum. learn to swing it good.
    or a 12 gauge with slugs

    long guns are easier to aim with, easier to get in any restricted state, more powerfull than a pistol normaly and things like lever actions or pumps are quick to reload
     
  3. Prettywoman

    Prettywoman Member

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    Thanks, Hoppy. I am planning a trip to the local gun store this weekend and will print out your response. I seriously know not one thing about guns but I am fed up about being afraid of this mountain lion so I am going to learn to use one. First time for everything, I guess.
     
  4. Bartkowski

    Bartkowski Member

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    If you don't know what a lever action in .357 is than, you may want to look into things a little more before buying a gun. But I would go with one in .44 if it were just to defend against mountain lions.
     
  5. Prettywoman

    Prettywoman Member

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    Cootie, looks awfully big. Not sure I could handle that.
     
  6. Legionnaire
    • Contributing Member

    Legionnaire Member

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    Cootie is being silly. If you are completely new to firearms, long guns (rifles or shotguns) are easier to learn how to shoot safely and accurately. If you are looking for something to have around a rural home, I would favor a pump action shotgun with a relatively short barrel (legal minimum in 18 inches). It could be loaded with a variety of different ammunition depending on need. Although the 12 gauge is most popular, I would think a 20 gauge pump-action shotgun would work. My personal recommendation would be a Mossberg 500 20 gauge loaded with buckshot. It would do the job on a big cat.

    If, however, you are looking for something to carry with you at all times, you will need a handgun. In that case, I would recommend a sturdy revolver in .357 magnum caliber. It will shoot .38 special ammunition, which doesn't recoil as strongly as the .357. Use the .38 special ammo for practice, and carry .357 for business. Again, my personal recommendation would be a Ruger GP100 revolver with a 4 inch barrel. Get a good holster.

    These are just starting suggestions. Whatever your inclination, get good instruction, and see if you can find someone local who can let you handle a variety of firearms. My recommendations are based on what I would start a complete novice on who wanted something to "do the job" and who didn't want to spend a lot of time shooting as a hobby. If you have interest in the latter, I'd purchase a rifle in .22LR caliber and practice a lot to begin with. You can learn a lot about shooting with this inexpensive caliber, and it's fun to boot.

    For lots of good information, especially for new female shooters, take a look at the following website: http://www.corneredcat.com/ .

    Welcome to THR, and best of luck!
     
  7. Hoppy590

    Hoppy590 Member

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    a lever action rifle is like in the old john wayne cowboy movies.
    gun_lever_action_rifle.jpg

    a pump action shot gun is what you see in cop movies.
    [​IMG]

    generaly, rifles and shotguns are easier to aim than pistols. and fire more powerful rounds. these two types of long guns( lever action and pump action) are quick to reload to get a second shot. the first, lever action, is loaded by swinging that loop down. like this
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNmCG8vsvJo&mode=related&search=

    pump action you just slide your front hand ( left hand in the case of rightys) to the rear, like so
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7liIVj-vjw&mode=related&search=

    357 and 44 magnum are powerful handgun rounds ( dirty harry used a 357 is im not mistaken. might of been a .44) but in a heavier rifle they are very controlable and can perform better than a pistol

    12 gauge slugs are a solid hunk of metal. as opposed to the "cloud" of small BB's used to hunt birds. slugs are most often used to kill deer and bears
     
  8. Claude Clay

    Claude Clay Member

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    if you want .44, get it in .44 magnum for protection & shoot .44 special for practice. other option--a 30-30 carbine. in real life things move.........a 20 gauge without choke for slugs or various scatter-shot loads might be the best for a beginner. less kick than a 12 but enough power for your 'guests' after you get your carry permit, make sure the shot gun is 'fitted' to you as one tends to point a scatter gun & aim a rifle/pistol. a good revolver is a S&W 65 or 66, it is a .357 and as many have already said~shoots .38's also. 4 inches barrel is all you need & a good slide belt holster. good luck
     
  9. amprecon

    amprecon Member

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    You could probably pick up a SKS for real cheap, other options would be the Marlin .30-30, you could pick up either for under $300 and both would be more than adequate against a mountain lion.
     
  10. Samuraigg

    Samuraigg Member

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    Where do you live? This will largely determine what you can buy.

    I'll also throw in my recommendation for a pump action shotgun or a lever action rifle. Either of which should be legal to own in your area no matter where you live.
     
  11. Zeke Menuar

    Zeke Menuar Member

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  12. BigBlock

    BigBlock member

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    Personally, I'd go with a revolver. Much easier to carry around with you on a walk or something, and a .357 or .44 mag will easily kill a mountain lion. You don't need the extra power of a rifle. In many states you can open carry it, especially in a rural area, without any kind of license.
     
  13. springmom

    springmom Member

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    Hi, Prettywoman; welcome to THR!!!

    You're not alone here...there's quite a few women on the board. Glad you've joined us.

    As for your question. For home defense and critter defense, a shotgun or a rifle would make the most sense. Yes, there are handguns that are sometimes used to bring down game, but you want to nail the mountain lion from a distance :). A rifle can shoot little .22lr (for long rifle) rounds, or it can shoot honkin' big bring-down-a-buffalo rounds. You need something in the middle.

    You didn't say how much you're willing to spend; but don't overlook the used guns rack when you go shopping; I found my own first rifle that way, and I use it for deer hunting. It's a .243 Winchester; that's a round that has a lot less recoil than the .30-06 that lots of deer hunters use (I have weenie shoulders, what can I say? LOL) but I got a deer last year with it, with a scope on it, at 215 yards, so I'm very happy with it. Something like that would certainly take down a mountain lion...they're fairly thin-skinned animals.

    However, a .243 wouldn't be my choice for home defense. Rifle rounds tend to move VERY fast (think 2500fps) and penetration through walls is a concern. For home defense, a shotgun is better; I have a 20-gauge semiautomatic shotgun (the semiauto dampens recoil...remember the weenie shoulders....) and my husband has a 12-gauge (larger bore gun, larger shells, more damage).

    You could take a mountain lion with a shotgun, I suppose, but you'd have to be closer than *I* would want to be to make sure you kill it.

    If you can swing it financially, I would think about one of each; either that, or a rifle and a handgun for home defense.

    Whatever you decide, get some training. Get someone to help you learn to shoot well and quickly; if you need to nail that cat, you need to be able to get the gun up, get the cat in your sights, and get the shot off quickly and economically.

    Good luck, and welcome to the world of firearms. Apart from being able to take care of yourself, which is awesome, shooting is just a WHOLE lot of fun.

    Springmom
     
  14. Avenger29

    Avenger29 Member

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    Okay. You really, really, need to find a friend to let you shoot several guns. Also, visit CornerdCat. What state do you live in? Some states, such as California, have restrictions on what weapons you can own.

    Now, we split guns into a few separate classes of action...here we go.

    Leveraction- this is the rifle seen in westerns. The leveraction is worked by using the lever mounted underneath the rifle. It is usually fed by a tube magazine- the rounds line up in a tube underneath the barrel. Stick with the Marlin firearms brand for this.

    Bolt- the quintessential hunting rifle. Commonly scoped. Not much to say about this- usually a low magazine capacity.

    Semiautomatic- fires one round per pull of the trigger until it runs out of ammunition. An AK might be a good choice, if you are not in California.

    Break-open- break open rifles and shotguns. very simple, usually one shot only (or two, if you have a double-barrel gun)

    Pump action- most common with shotguns, you know this one.

    Okay, now rifles are either chambered in rimfire (.22LR), Rifle (.30-06, .308Win, .223Rem, .30-30WCF), and pistol caliberes (.357, 9mm, .44Magnum, .45ACP) I have only listed the most common calibers.

    You need to find a caliber and action that comes together in a rifle or shotgun to fit you. You need to enjoy shooting the caliber (i.e.- comfortable, not discomfort), as you need to do a decent amount of practice to get used to the rifle and be able to make followup shots quickly.

    A .357, .30-30, or .44Magnum are all nice for lever-action rifles. All deliver a good thumping on the target without thumping you too bad.

    The CornerdCat website (which is the work of one of our moderators, Pax) will help you greatly pointing to handguns. I recommends that you get a rifle for dealing with critters, though, but a pistol is more likely to be on you all of the time. I carry a .30-30 lever action whenever I am in the woods. We have to worry about bobcats and panthers, too.

    The good news is that pretty much wherever you are, you can carry on your own property (I assume you are in a western state) without needed a license.
     
  15. Richbaker

    Richbaker Member

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    Dirty Harry used a .44Magnum.....you were wrong.

    Lots of good recommendations here, I can't add much to them....just be sure to GET TRAINING!
     
  16. thebaldguy

    thebaldguy Member

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    Check out a firearms safety course in your area; that may help you choose. Plus the safety training is always important.
     
  17. thexrayboy

    thexrayboy Member

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    Whatever you decide to use get adequate training and adequate practice.
    Lots of people spend a fortune on a gun and just a few bucks on the ammo.
    Thus they seldom practice and find when they really need a gun, the gun performs as designed but the operator of said gun does not perform adequately. Spend as much if not more on training and ammo as the gun.
    Practice till it becomes second nature and you will do fine. Any handgun in .357 or larger is enough for a cat and any rifle in a caliber larger than. .22lr or
    .223 will be adequate. The key is you.
     
  18. Corporal K

    Corporal K member

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    Where I live in Colorado, we have the same problem. Bears are a problem too. I recommend a short (legal) barrel shotgun and whatever handgun you feel comfortable with (.38, 9mm. 357, etc).
    In addition, you also may consider a decent pellet gun, for situations where lethal force may not be legal. For example, I have shot 3 bears in once instance and two in another with my bb gun. It sent them packing but without all the racket. If you see a cougar at a distance,a well-placed pellet will discourage him from coming back.
     
  19. thexrayboy

    thexrayboy Member

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    Not to disparage the use of pellet guns but if you are close enough for a pellet gun to be noticed by a bear or a cougar than you are close enough for that animal to close the distance between it and you in the blink of an eye.

    I would not consider shooting an annoying bb at a dangerous animal unless another person was with me suitably armed to stop the animal if it turned aggressive.

    I live in an area of No Nevada that is currently plagued with bears, all of them
    on a search and destroy mission to acquire calories by any and all means necessary. I have also seen mountain lions within a half mile of my house.

    Twice in the last 3 weeks I have had to go outside with a shotgun after midnite to run off a foraging bear that was wreaking havoc outside. The first time I hit him once with bird shot. He ran. The next week he came back for a second go. I went back out and hit him again with birdshot. He did not run this time but stood his ground. I hit him a second time with more birdshot.
    Fortunately he left after the second round because the subsequent rounds were slugs. A bear that will stand his ground when being hit with birdshot is not an animal to take lightly. These animals are becoming accustomed to humans, after enough time they start looking at us as hor deouvres. Thats when they end up dying.
     
  20. karz10

    karz10 Member

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    Hi there,

    Good luck in your shopping, hope you find what you want, and never *have* to use it.

    I think there's some good advice here already, and some technical knowledge to get you started...

    Like others said:

    Try to shoot some different guns, either rentals at a range, or from friends/acquaintances. A lot of places rent handguns, you might have to get someone to lend you a shotgun or rifle though at a range somewhere.

    Shotguns or Rifles are probably easier to use and hit something, especially a wild animal, but obviously not something you'd carry around the neighborhood w/ the kids in tow. You may ultimately decide to buy more than one gun, if budget permitted, like a hand gun and a long gun of some type.

    If you can only buy one gun, you'll have to decide what's more probable, and prioritize your needs. If only for home protection, and animal control at the homestead, then a long gun probably makes sense. But if protection while out and about is the priority, then the handgun is really the only option.

    If you go w/ the handgun, and actually want to be able to protect yourself from a wild animal, then you better be a good shot, which means more practice and/or training than w/ the long gun, IMO. I mean practice and training is important either way, but I'm sure you can see the logic here. Small handgun, short barrel, shorter distance between front and rear sights, no shoulder to steady the gun (like you would w/ the long gun), potentially charging wild animal, I would want to be very competent w/ whatever I was carrying.

    Learning the 4 rules is important (Always treat every gun as it's loaded, never point the gun a something you're not willing to destroy <loaded or unloaded>, never put your finger on the trigger before you have the sights on your target, and be aware of your target and what's beyond it).

    I bring these up to stress the last one, in how it's relevant to this discussion. No matter what gun you shoot, you have to be careful of where the bullets might go after they've either gone through your target, or missed and gone past your target. So if you're shooting at something w/ a backstop, like a hill behind it, and no one else is in harm's way, then you're good. But if you have to shoot at something and there's not much backstop, the bullet may travel a ways before it comes to rest somewhere. Like I said, this is true of all bullets, but the reason I bring it up is because in general, rifle rounds tend to travel farther than say shotgun or pistol rounds. Again, this is generally speaking, but you may want to ask the gun seller questions abou the ammo in your comparisons, if you're considering a rifle, compared to the shotgun or pistol, IMO, you need to know what you're bullet will do, and how that may affect your surroundings. You don't want to accidentally cause harm to someone down range in the event you had to take a shot at that animal from a bad angle, etc.

    So, you want to consider the range of an undeterred bullet, and also the penetration rate of a bullet. As others have said, there are different calibers and types of bullets. So find someone that sells the guns in your area that will take the time to explain what some people here are briefly explaining here. You want something that will go into your target, but not all the way through it, ideally. That's why many people opt for hollow point bullets in their handguns, as they tend to expand inside their targets, causing more damage to the intended target, instead of penetrating all the way through the target (w/ a less damaging hole BTW), and potentially hit something beyond it's target.

    I'm not a hunter, so you may want some specific instruction about some of these loads and how they would act in the wild animal compared to a human, so you know what might happen, in the event you're using the same weapon to defend from both types of attackers. Generally speaking, the larger caliber rounds some have mentioned, like in the pistol calibers of .44 magnum, .357 magnum, etc. may have a more desirable effect on the wild animal, while also being potentially good human SD rounds as well, especially in a hollow point to avoid over penetration. Shotgun slugs would probably be good to as a multi-purpose. But I'd be exceptionally cautious in learning more about the ammo if the rifle is your choice, to make sure it's enough to stop the animal, but not too dangerous for over penetration or long down range carry for other needs. Hope that makes sense.

    And lastly, as others have said, training and practice is key, and IMO, the most fun of the whole deal anyway, to get out there and shoot for fun and practice, and hope you never *need* to use it :)

    Good luck, and shop around. Once you think you know what you want to buy, compare pricing at local stores, and on the Internet. It's good to buy local, but try to keep em honest on the pricing w/ your comparisons.

    Karz

    EDIT: P.S. if you decide to get both a long gun and a handgun, you may want to go ahead and get the long gun now, and then get the handgun when you're ready to get a carry permit, etc. Plus, you may want to take some time to make the handgun decision. If you go w/ a shotgun, I know a lot of people that are happy w/ either a Remington (often an 870 Express), or a Mossberg (often a 500 or 590), I'd say those are two of the most popular/reliable on the market. I know you can get a nice home defense Mossberg for $200-$300 for example, whereas you might spend a little more on a handgun, depending on what you get. The advantage of a shotgun is being able to shoot different kinds of loads, as some have mentioned. Like the balls of lead called slugs, or the shotgun shells that have little pellets in them. Some people keep a little sleeve on the stock or side of their shotgun for extra rounds. Sometimes, either in the gun itself (they hold multiple shots, maybe 3-7 shots in the gun), or on that side saddle, they'll keep some slugs and some kind of shell, sometimes different weights of shells (birdshot vs buckshot). This is ideal since you can keep the slugs for the wild animals, but maybe put in a lighter load to defend inside the walls of your home if need be.

    Anyway, hope that's food for thought to bring up w/ the gun shop guys. For me, I plan to get both a shotgun and a handgun for various purposes. I felt the need to have the protection w/ me most of the time, so I opted for a handgun first. I just have a 9MM semi-automatic pistol, which is a smaller bullet than some spoke of here, but I am less likely to encounter the wildlife here that you might.

    Oh, I almsot forgot, you may hear a lot of people recommend a revolver over a semi-automatic handgun, as far as handguns go. This isn't necessarily because you're a woman, but it might be. In general, the rule of thumb is revolvers are more simple to learn and operate than semi-automatics, and are in some ways more reliable, just point and shoot basically. So many people recommend revolvers to any new shooters, not just women. Thought I'd mention that, in case it comes up. Reloading a revolver quickly takes a little more practice though, in case the first 5-6 shots aren't enough, so keep that in mind.
     
  21. koja48

    koja48 member

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    Welcome aboard! Good advice here, and not knowing your experience level or local laws, I'd suggest that a short-barrelled pump shotgun loaded with buck shot would be the easiest to use, minimizes over-penetration concerns, & would satisfy both the home defense & cougar-elimination needs. It doesn't require a whole lot of gun to stop a cougar. When you get whatever you get, practice! Remember the rules of firearm safety . . . owning a firearm is one thing -- being able to use one safely and effectively is of utmost importance. Good luck . . .
     
  22. target1911

    target1911 Member

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    My .02......

    A shotgun is a good choice but, is good for short range only (about 30yds) unless you use slugs (more recoil). Great choice if you must point and shoot in a hurry at close range

    A rifle is great choice for just about any range but take a little more time to aim. If you look out your window and see this lion at 200yds, you can take the shot with a rifle. You can get a rifle in single shot, bolt, pump, or semi auto. For making fast follow up shots the semi auto or pump would be you best choice.

    GET training.....In the use of and Firearm use and safety.
     
  23. Baba Louie

    Baba Louie Member

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    Sounds like you and your neighbors need to get together and tree a cat with a pack o' dogs. Then you even can use a .22 (tho I'd at least use a centerfire .223 at a min) or a tranq gun if you've got a fish and game Officer with ya.

    Unless you live in CA where I guess... you lose. I've read that cat hunting is frowned upon and has been made uber illegal by the bunny-huggers over there.

    If you DO Tree a cat, (and I would sure try) please know where any bullets will ultimately go once they pass thru said snagglepuss (that'd be firearm safety rule #4)

    Oh, and welcome to THR. Hope you solve your pest problem quickly. Kinda cool about having a cat as a neighbor... except for their predatory ways and lack of fear of humans and all. Must be a young tom and has already cleaned out all the local deer doing his regular shopping, huh?
     
  24. hamourkiller

    hamourkiller Member

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    A 30-30, 357 mag or 44 mag Marlin with a 1.5 x 5 powered Leupold scope will let you handle the cat. the 357 will let you share rounds with a pistol.

    Another course would be a CAR-15 rifle with a small tactical scope. My wife loves our CAR-15 because it has no kick, is lite and short. The 30 round clip helps out too.

    Good luck with the cat.
     
  25. Eyesac

    Eyesac Member

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    I vote for .357 lever, something light and short, I know that's what I'd have around if there was cats. Have fun, be safe!
     
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