View Full Version : Best "Ranch Gun"

May 3, 2005, 01:52 PM
I was in a discusion the other day with a friend about the "perfect Ranch Gun". He was arguing the tried and true 30-30 lever gun. I was arguing for an AK-47-type weapon. Thus I want to open up the discussion for what is the best "ranch gun" in your humble opinions.
(By a ranch gun, I mean a general purpose weapon used to control pests/varmits and for possible defensive use. Must be easily very portable, and something reasonable to your average joe. Can also be a handgun).

May 3, 2005, 01:57 PM
Using the "ranch/truck/saddle" gun criteria, I'm trying to convince my wife that I "need" a Winchester 94 Trapper in 357.

Iv'e got bigger and smaller (too small- a 22), but I think the above would be "just right".

May 3, 2005, 02:20 PM
I think that any of the following would be good options for a tough gun that will do the job and not break the average guy or girl's bank account.

SKS- Very popular for this particular purpose.
CETME- Durable and accurate G3 knock-off available on the surplus market.
Mosin-Nagant M38 or M44- I excluded the 91/30 due to length vs. pickup truck seat. They are tough, cheap, and accurate. Sporter parts are available.

Some of the surplus Mausers may work, but most are too long to be convenient in a pickup.
The Marlin and Winchester Lever guns are classics, and readily available at any local pawn shark. Used ones are fairly inexpensive here.
The Ruger Mini series are love 'em or hate 'em weapons. Most people either dearly love or visciously hate them. Either way, they seem to fit the criteria of a truck gun.

May 3, 2005, 03:05 PM
SKS, 'cause you simply can't break it. That, and you can find a nice Russian one for under $300 or a Chinese CGA one(Chinese factory, managed by the russians)

May 3, 2005, 10:09 PM
Savage Model 24 served well for years back when I worked West Texas. Lots of versatility with .222 Rem on top, 20 gauge mag. on bottom. Mine rode mostly in truck though. Pretty darn heavy if need to carry very far.

After just "winging" a coyote or three on some pretty long shots and wishing I had more, I suppose Ruger's late '70s marketing nabbed me, so I really "needed" the Mini-14 stainless "Ranch Rifle" in .223. To me, it's kinda the "America-made Glock of rifles": often gets banged up in truck, rode hard and put up wet (without my loosing a wink of sleep over it) and still goes bang every time I pull the trigger. With compact 4X scope on see-thru mount, these days, I think it sometimes still retains more inherent accuracy than the operator. ;)

May 3, 2005, 10:32 PM
The lever has some "warmth factor" that the others lack, but I doubt there's much practical difference in performance when you consider the intended use.

My guess is that a mil-surplus bolt rifle will take abuse better than the other choices.

gordo b.
May 3, 2005, 11:01 PM
On my small ranch I have a Nylon 66 .22 loaded with Remington Low noise HP ammo. An old Win 37 .410 single shot with #6 is next to it in the barn (both have tape over the muzzle!) .
For a multi use center fire my guns keep getting smaller, first it was a Win 94 SRC in 25-35 in 70s , then a Browning .44 mag model 92 in 80s, then an M-1 carbine in 90s and now a Marlin 16" barreled 94 pre safety .357.
With all the yuppies noise is an important factor . The .357 with Remington +P .38spl 158grain SWCHPs slaughters animals well and is quiter than the other guns- by alot. The Model 92 .44 with specials was quiet too, but not as quiet as the Marlin. I also have a 24" barrel Model 788 Remington in .44mag that with hollowpoint Speer .44 spec ammo, just subsonic, can put down deer an pigs if they are pests, quickly and quietly! :)

May 3, 2005, 11:17 PM
Personally I like my AK-47. I have a folding stock on it, which tucks up rather nicely into my tractor's cab (nothing quite like shooting a coyote from a tractor :D ). It's damn near indestructable & unstopable (over 2000 rounds and 0 jams) even if you where to never clean it. Plus it packs a good enough wallop to take pigs and deer out to about 200 meters. I've never had had a coyote make it more than a few yards after being hit with a 7.62x39 hollow point. When you add to it that the weapon is semi-auto with a 30 round magazine, affording both quick follow up shots & firepower you have one hell of a package.
And another positive side, if your like me and have trouble with people stealing your stuff, just the sight of a weapon like an AK will make them much more agreeable to leave your stuff alone :D
And all this for about $400

May 27, 2005, 04:43 PM
Heh, this is going to sound ironic because of my posts in other threads, but the Mini-14 "Ranch Rifle" sounds good to me.

Lawyer Daggit
May 27, 2005, 07:58 PM
Firstly, where is the ranch and what are you likely to be shooting? are you going to carry the gun all day or is it to ride in an SUV or farm vehicle or on a horse- from there you can determine calibre and action type.

Is it a wet or humid area that would make a stainless synthetic desirable?

How much money have you got to spend?

Afterall, there is no point buying a .357 mag carbine if your targets are 200 yards away.

May 27, 2005, 08:23 PM

I would rather put my $300 into a nice American made Winchester or a few bucks more the Marlin.......

The 30-30 lever seems like a dandy gun to fill the hands on ranch and farm......

I tend to find myself working back to the short versions of the lever guns....

The Marlin Spikehorn is a shorty and the Winchester Ranger is there too....

If you didn't like those two ideas my third pick would be a Russian SKS......

I would say all three picks are darn near ideal out to 150 yards in semi normal conditions........ Just don't mess with BIG BEARS with these 3 picks....

If I was going to look at a handgun I might reach for a 357 Mag with a 6" pipe... I think the S&W 686 would be a good choice :D

Good luck.........and remember to practice often........ :D

May 27, 2005, 09:00 PM
I think the AK is an excellent choice. I leave my Norinco Mak-90 in the truck for this purpose weeks at a time. 3 or 4 30 round mags should be plenty to get me back to the house. I also tend to reach for my 45/70 Guide Gun on a regular basis. The lever guns are ideal also, but now'a days running up on 2 legged critters that shoot back is pretty common. The Ak will give you suppressive fire either to move in or move out. Been wanting to get a couple 75 rnd drums for mine.

May 27, 2005, 10:30 PM
Considering the the toughness and economy of an SKS, it's hard to see how you could go wrong with one in Russian or Yugo flavor.

June 12, 2005, 03:01 PM
Gonna have to vote for an SKS, cheap to shoot, tough as all get out and if you bang it around who cares. It was ugly when it was new.

June 13, 2005, 06:14 PM
yugo's are cheap so is ammo ,you cant break them(ive tried) :D

June 14, 2005, 07:15 AM
Hard to beat the price, adequate power for most varmints, including 2 legged ones, impossible to break, chrome-lined bores on most (but not yugos), cheap ammo, a variety of accessories if you wanna customize....the list goes on.

In short, if I needed something that was gonna bounce around in the back of a truck for a while, I'd use one of my SKSs.