Sunday, September 04, 2005

Another thought on disaster guns

The posts I linked to earlier (here) had a number of good suggestions, both in the articles and in the comments. I thought I'd add two things here.

A tube-magazine rifle, like a lever- or some pump-actions, has two problems: they're slower than many others to load/reload, and more difficult to unload. But if that's not a problem for you, there's two good possibilities to consider. First, a lever-rifle in a pistol cartridge, like .45 Colt, .44-40 or .357 Magnum. If you have a pistol in any of these cartridges, you can use the same ammo for both pistol and rifle. And if you have problems with handguns, for instance living someplace like Chicago, these can somewhat take the place of one. Jeff Cooper once wrote of a man who lived in Chicago and showed up at Gunsite for a training class with a Winchester Trapper, a lever-action in .45 Colt. Since he couldn't have a handgun he'd taken this rifle, which has a 16-inch barrel, cut the stock down to the minimum overall length, and used that as his home defense weapon. Cooper said it worked out pretty well. This can also help out if you live in a place where an eeeevill assault weapon, like an SKS or AR-15, could cause you problems; few places will cause you heartache over a cowboy rifle like this.
The same could be said for a new rifle out, the Taurus Thunderbolt(reviewed here). It's a remake of the old Colt Lightning. From the report it's fast, accurate and reliable.

Another thing in their favor is power. All these cartridges have good reputations as fight-stoppers in handguns; add in the velocity you get from that 16-inch barrel, and you've got a serious boost in power, enough to make them able to give accurate fire out to 100 yards or a bit beyond.

One more thing. A .357 Mag chambered rifle can also fire .38 Special ammo, so you can use less expensive .38s for practice, and if stuck somewhere and you need to whack small game, use a .38 instead of the magnum.

The other thought was, if you have a problem with noise/recoil/whatever and just cannot deal with a powerful centerfire rifle or pistol, consider a .22. Not exactly the ideal cartridge for self-defence, but it has the following going for it:
Quiet, compared to just about any centerfire.
Virtually no recoil.
This last in important because if you trust in a .22 for your defense armament, you need to be able to hit where you aim, and make multiple hits(especially at close range); you don't have enough power to trust in 'close enough'. .22 ammo is CHEAP. Match grade can run as high or higher than some centerfire, but good-quality stuff can be had for anywhere from less than a dollar to two dollars for a box of 50. You can find what gives the best result in your firearms, buy it by the brick(500 rounds) and shoot a lot for not much money, which both increases your skill level and is fun.
And a good .22 rifle or handgun can be downright cheap compared to a lot of other firearms. A Ruger Mark II or 22/45 can be had for less than $300 new, same for the Browning Buckmark. Add a half-dozen spare magazines and go to the range. And there are a number of revolvers that are also very affordable. In rifles a slide-action or semi-auto can be had for less than $300, often less than $200. For instance, a Ruger 10-22 will run about $150-175 new, maybe less for a good used. Get a bunch of spare magazines, and you can deliver accurate fire as fast as you can aim and shoot for as long as the magazines hold out. And the fact is, you're not liable to need than many. If you need them, though, they're right there in your pocket or bag.

Just some thoughts I thought I'd throw out. Or in. Or whatever.

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