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Old July 4, 2010, 07:18 PM   #1
Donnybru
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My first gun: Handgun, rifle, or shotgun?

Hi my name is Donald and I live in Southern California. I am 17 and looking at purchasing my first firearm in October when I turn 18.

I have been researching and shopping like mad, both on the internet and at my local gun shop, but I still am having trouble deciding what exactly I would like to buy: a handgun, rifle, or shotgun. Here are the different guns I am looking at for each category:

Handgun - Glock 17 or SIG P226 (both in 9mm)
Rifle - Colt M4 Carbine or Remington 700 (tactical)
Shotgun - Mossberg 500 or 590

I realize that a handgun would not only be the most expensive in most cases, but ammo would also be the most expensive. What are your thoughts? (I am a lefty and I have been saving for quite some time, so money isn't really an issue at the moment)
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Old July 4, 2010, 07:27 PM   #2
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Anything in particular you will be using them for?

Would help get better info from the fellow forum goers with a little more info on your part.
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Old July 4, 2010, 07:35 PM   #3
Donnybru
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Oh I'm sorry I didn't think of that, thank you for the suggestion!

I intend to do target shooting at the range and my friend's ranch mainly. Though I am planning on beginning a career in criminal justice/law enforcement when I graduate from college, and I suppose any firearms I own (handguns especially) could become useful upon entering that field.

I will also use it for home defense once I move out and get my own place.
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Old July 4, 2010, 07:52 PM   #4
davem
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I'd think about a 22 rimfire because the ammunition is cheap, you don't have to clean it, and you can do a lot of shooting. For a rifle maybe one of the Marlin rimfires- there is one with a tube magazine and one with a clip. I got one with a clip a few years back (these are semi-autos). I already had a Browning T-Bolt ($600 plus) which I really like but I don't want to drag that gun around in the woods. The Marlin has a black plastic stock and I put a cheap rimfire scope on it. At 25 yards the shots pretty much (not always) go into a dime/quarter sized target. I use it to hunt squirrels and shoot them in the head- which is pretty good sport and the squirrels taste pretty good to boot. The 22 rimfire semi auto Marlin is pretty short, and a 10 round semi-auto- probably not too bad for home defense. Remember in a home defense situation- CALL THE COPS and stay in your room. Turn out the lights and get behind the bed as a minimal bullet stop- in a position like that with a 10 round semi auto- you ought to be in pretty good shape until the cops show up.
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Old July 4, 2010, 08:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
you don't have to clean it
You mean to tell me I have wasted all that time cleaning my firearms for the last 20 years..........
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Old July 4, 2010, 09:46 PM   #6
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You have listed some good choices but I will second the suggestion to go with a .22 rifle. You can learn all the basics much cheaper with a .22 than anything else. The rifles are cheap and the ammo is cheap. A Marlin model 60 or a Ruger 10/22 are both good inexpensive semi-auto .22s. After you feel comfortable shooting the rimfire move on to something else.
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Old July 4, 2010, 09:50 PM   #7
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Remington 870 with 18" bead sight + spare 28" choke-tube barrel
Marlin Model 60 .22
Glock 19 9mm
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Old July 4, 2010, 09:57 PM   #8
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Go to a gun shop that has all models, or go to a few gun shops if one does not carry all. See what fits best in your hand and what you would deem more fun to shoot. Rent them if you can.
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Old July 4, 2010, 10:15 PM   #9
LukeA
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Quote:
You have listed some good choices but I will second the suggestion to go with a .22 rifle. You can learn all the basics much cheaper with a .22 than anything else. The rifles are cheap and the ammo is cheap. A Marlin model 60 or a Ruger 10/22 are both good inexpensive semi-auto .22s. After you feel comfortable shooting the rimfire move on to something else.
I fully agree with the above and the other mentions of .22LR rifles. A .22LR rifle is the best firearm to learn on for someone who's never shot before. Around here Marlin 795s (the ones with the detachable 10rd magazines) are $105 after rebate at Dick's.
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Old July 4, 2010, 10:18 PM   #10
ice9_us
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my 2cents

I second or thrid the .22 suggestion..
Lots of things you can do...
Squirl, birds, huummmmm not sure about deer, but all kinds of hunting...

It is cheap to shoot.. and yes.. much easier to get the basics in for zeroing the scope.. trigger work.. bla bla bla...

I am not sure about never cleaning... bad pratice makes for bad gun
Never not clean your gun... Clean gun == happy gun == less chance for faults

longer life as well..
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Old July 5, 2010, 12:08 AM   #11
Donnybru
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Thank you for all your suggestions so far. I would like to add (since I forgot to earlier) that I have had ample amount of time shooting firearms and have shot a very good variety. I would probably consider myself past the 'learning' phase. I intend no offense towards anyone, and I very much appreciate all these suggestions. Thank you so much for helping me out.

*I have shot a Remington 870 and enjoyed the feel, however the safety is located at the rear of the trigger guard and is less ambidextrous than the safety of the Mossberg, which is located on the top of the receiver. Therefore the 500 or 590 is a little more convenient in operation since I am a lefty. Thank you though.
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Old July 5, 2010, 12:16 AM   #12
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Not sure, but don't you have to be 21 to buy a handgun here in Kalifornia. Moot point as your first and best choice should be a .22 rifle.
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Old July 5, 2010, 12:19 AM   #13
Donnybru
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You must be 21 in order to purchase a handgun from a gun store or similar venue. However at 18 you can purchase a handgun from a private third party. A handgun would most likely not be my first choice anyways since ammo is so expensive. A rifle or shotgun is definitely the way to go for now.
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Old July 5, 2010, 12:25 AM   #14
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Did not know about the "third party" exception. A stainless Ruger 10/22 would be a really nice gun which you could use for the rest of your life. I'm a rimfire fan and shoot .22 more than anything else. I have 2 Marlin 795 rifles which also come in stainless. Really like the 795 for around $100.00. $20.00 will get you 500 rounds.
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Old July 5, 2010, 01:38 AM   #15
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If money isn't an issue a .22 rifle is the best bet by far, like everyone else has said. You can get one, learn what you need to know then use the money you save to get what you really want.

Honestly, who didn't start out with their Daddy's .22?
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Old July 5, 2010, 01:47 AM   #16
ice9_us
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donn

SHOTGUN...
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Old July 5, 2010, 06:28 AM   #17
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Quote:
A handgun would most likely not be my first choice anyways since ammo is so expensive. A rifle or shotgun is definitely the way to go for now.
I don't know about conditions in your neck of the woods, but around here 9mm goes for about 25 cents per round, .223/5.56 is 40 cents and up, and decent 12 ga shells are more like 50 cents each.

.22 lr as mentioned above is a great place to start in either rifle or handgun, and bulk pack ammo is about $20 per pack of 500. If you'd rather have something with a bit more kick then there's .22 WMR (.22 magnum). I think it goes for 10 to 20 cents per round.

Last edited by winkytink; July 5, 2010 at 06:33 AM.
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Old July 5, 2010, 07:38 AM   #18
hardluk1
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Buy a 22 handgun ,maybe a used ruger semi-auto and then a rifle - a marlin semi-auto ,tube or mag feed. This is an inexpensive rifle ,shoots very well and with both make some target stands for basic shooting and accuracy and reactive targets for quick shooting and just fun. A used remington 870 or the mossy 500 can be pick up cheap and are what many departments use. Down the road you can buy a centerfire handgun and rifle but you will find that most shooters still after many years or decades of shooting a 22 is still tops for basic practice and just fun. Many of use also buy 22 kits or 22 versions of our carry guns so the feel is the same. I still shoot a 22 weekly and centerfires every 2 weeks . You can also check with your indoor ranges as some have match's one night a week and most competitive groups offer 22 matchs. Cheaper for a collage person buy far.
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Old July 5, 2010, 10:27 AM   #19
natman
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Get a bolt action 22 and learn to shoot before you buy any other rifle.
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Old July 5, 2010, 10:57 AM   #20
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I learned about weapons while doing my compulsory service in the army (20 years ago, not so far...) and the first weapons I've ever fired were a Garand, an MG42/59 and a Beretta 9mm. No .22....

I'd say that a good 9mm (I'd suggest a Beretta 92, but just out of national pride) would be a good starting handgun and a good lifetime allround weapon.

Don't be misguided by the price of ammo. A .22 for training can be hired at any good firing range, and there are conversions availalbe for the Beretta 92. Furthermore you may learn to reload the 9mm and you will have several advantages by reloading:
1. more fun and fiddling with your weapon-ammo combo;
2. the right ammo for your taste
3. cheap ammo.

Just my two Euro-cent's worth in the discussion

K. from Italy
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Old July 5, 2010, 11:33 AM   #21
natman
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Quote:
I learned about weapons while doing my compulsory service in the army (20 years ago, not so far...) and the first weapons I've ever fired were a Garand, an MG42/59 and a Beretta 9mm. No .22....
Joining the army to get access to free ammo seems a bit extreme. If that's not an option, then a 22 is the way to go. Learn how to shoot with low cost ammo and no recoil to deal with. Then go to centerfire.
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Old July 5, 2010, 11:55 AM   #22
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If you read the comments from the op he is not looking to purchase a gun to learn the basics of shooting with, he is looking for something that can double as a range gun and home defense. I dont know about anyone else on this forum, but im not accurate enough with the .22 to make it my home defense gun.

I was in the same boat, decided on a sig 220 as my first purchase, and never looked back.

Now having said that, you should really go to the range and try out all of the guns you are considering and make your decision based on which one fits you best.
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Old July 5, 2010, 12:36 PM   #23
johnwilliamson062
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If you learn to shoot a 22 rifle well everything else will be easy to learn.
Buy a quality 22 rifle and it will be the one gun you hold onto for the rest of your life.

You will also save so much money on ammo compared to the guns you listed that you can buy a 22 pistol after just a few range sessions.
Remember, ammo is where you end up spending all the money.
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Old July 5, 2010, 02:58 PM   #24
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Im with everyone that suggested at 22 rifle. Here is why:

Pistol: although that sounds to be the "coolest" of the 3 choices to someone that is just getting into firearms, it is also going to get expensive. Pistol ammo is kind of expensive, especially on an 18 year old budget (at least it was for me). Once you understand proper gun safety, and enjoy shooting, a pistol is a good choice at that point.

Shotgun: Unless you get into skeet/trap/sporting clays, a shotgun is going to lose its luster at a traditional range. Shooting slugs is going to make for short range trips, as the recoil is not that shoulder friendly. Shooting light bird shot loads at a paper target is pointless and may not even be allowed at your local range. I feel you would get the LEAST amount of trigger time with a shotgun (again, unless you are shooting clays)

Rifle: a good 22 or 17hmr rifle would be perfect in my opinion. Especially with the 22, you will shoot ALOT for little money, and to me (and everyone else I shoot with) is very satisfying. A couple of shooters I know bought ruger 10/22's and modified them with heavy target barrels, scopes, and bipods, and are having a great time shooting sub inch groups at 50 yards. Lots of FUN!!! A larger caliber rifle is a lot of fun also, but your ammo costa are going to go through the roof!

Ultimately, the 22 (or 17hmr) rifle would be (and was) my first choice in firearms. Once you get proficient with that, the natural course of shooting will progress to the other types of firearms.

-George
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Old July 6, 2010, 02:34 AM   #25
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He's already stated that he feels he's past his 'total newbie' stage...
Quote:
Thank you for all your suggestions so far. I would like to add (since I forgot to earlier) that I have had ample amount of time shooting firearms and have shot a very good variety. I would probably consider myself past the 'learning' phase.
And, he's a lefty. That shoots down several of the ideas I was forming, but it still leaves room for lever actions, single shots such as Thompson & H&R & etc, and I'm pretty sure Savage makes some lefty bolt guns (as well as others).

My opinion? Something lefty friendly in .223 as they can still be fed ruther cheaply. A lefty bolt action open up all sorts of possibilities such as benchrest competition, longer range varminting, three position F Class type stuff. Yes, a .22LR can be a ton of fun and an invaluable learning tool- but I think he's of the opinion that he's ready for a step up. And, I haven't picked up on any indications that contradict his mindset.
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