Guns. Yes, it can be a very scary and divisive subject, with many people having extreme and varied opinions. What good is all that work invested in your homestead’s garden only to have a bunch of wild animals mow it all down? Today I write about my arsenal (ha – it’s really not that big) and the logic behind it. I welcome comments and discussion which may ensue.
The 12 gauge shotgun is about the most versatile and formidable of all firearms. My favorite name for my Winchester Model 1200 comes from the movie ‘Tombstone’ where Doc Holliday refers to it as his ‘street howitzer.’ It can be adapted to many situations and is very effective for the close range needs as well as acting as a deterrent. Merely cycling the action is sure to cause a would be burglar to soil his shorts and have second thoughts about what he was doing. A warning blast fired into the air lets that hawk (that you don’t intend on killing – see previous article where I had to defend our chickens) know that you mean business.
The pump action shotgun is very easy to use and is rugged and durable. It can really take a beating and is rather universal in design. Anyone with a general familiarity can pick one up and use it, regardless of the brand or size.
I keep nothing more than the cheapest of Walmart’s target/field shells, which happens to be the Federal brand at the moment. About 100 rounds are kept in inventory. I only use the target loads, primarily because they are dirt cheap, but also because of their safety. If there ever were a time that it was needed for self defense in the home. The small pieces that comprise a target load are less likely to penetrate walls than large buckshot, maintaining safety and reducing unintended casualties.
I’ve also got a Marlin 25N, which is a .22 long rifle. It shoots a very small rimfire cartridge and is great for target practicing and for defending the garden. I’ve protected many a carrot from hungry rabbits and groundhogs. This scoped, bold action rifle is easy to shoot because it has very little recoil. When it is time for Courtney to learn how to shoot (one of her 2011 goals) we’ll start with this gun.
Ammo is really affordable for this gun. I buy it by the brick, which is a box containing 500 rounds and is usually $18-$22 at Walmart. The spent casings cannot be reloaded, however, so this is a consumption item. Due to it’s low cost, however, you can do as much target practicing as you want with this gun. At least one box of 500 rounds are sufficient to keep on hand.
The final weapon in our home is a Remington 700 Custom Deluxe BDL chambered in .30-06. The 700 platform is a highly respected platform, revered for it’s accuracy. There are many variations of this platform, right down to use in military and police sniper units. The .30-06 cartridge is a little older, but is still very popular. This cartridge can be accurate out to 1,000 yards or more. I’ve never shot anything that far, but I can say that the last time I took it out, I was shooting 1 inch groups at 100 yards. In shooting terminology, that is 1 minute of angle (MOA) and isn’t half bad.
A .30-06 rifle is a high powered, long range rifle that can be used for protection from larger predators. While its true that shot placement (perhaps with the .22) trumps all else, the energy carried downrange by this bullet is immense and carries a lot of stopping power.
Due to the age of the .30-06 round (developed in 1906, but widely used until the 1970’s) cheap ammo is hard to find now. This round has been surpassed in military use and therefore general popularity by the .308 round (or 7.62×51 NATO) but the debate rages on as to which is still better. You don’t need a ton of ammo for this one, thanks to it’s surgical accuracy. I’ve got about 80 live on hand, plus the 120 empties that I’ve saved over the years. The plan to circumvent the higher cost of ammo is to begin reloading my own. One of my recent garage sale prize finds was a 1967 RCBS Rockchucker reloading press which I got for only $10. I went to a local gun show recently to buy the proper dies that fit my shells and the vendor about fell over when he heard what I paid for this top of the line press which would still command a $100 price tag.
I’ll be sure to write again once I’ve started my own personal ammo factory, but I’ve got some studying up to do first. The mail man dropped off my Lyman Reloading Handbook last week, so I’ve got to figure it all out now.
Be safe and have fun. Robert