I want another long gun. and, as they say, Santa Claus is coming to town. Not a black rifle, or an assault weapon, but a combination hunting and home defense and/or home varmint/predator rifle, depending on the caliber.
I'm very flexible about what would be a cool gun to have, and thought I'd list some of the choices and see what comments I can get from those who know more about rifles and calibers and such. Now, don't start getting excited about me wanting to use a hunting rifle as a backup home defense weapon but there are times it would come in handy.
Or as one of my favorite bloggers who is on vacation right now, TEXAS GHOSTRIDER, used to say is..."All a handgun is good for is for providing diversionary fire until I can get to my long gun(s).".
THE VINTAGE BROWNING BAR IN .243/AS NEW
For instance, one recent spotting: a .243 BAR, 1968 Grade II Browning. Just gorgeous and in like new condition. With rings. $850. It'd be sold already if it was a .30-06 or .270 or even a 300 magnum or .338 magnum. Of course, the wood and metal are just to die for gorgeous, and the weapon looks to be in excellent condition with little wear visible inside or out.
I'm interested in this caliber as I'm old enough to now be weary of shooting hard kicking guns more than a few times. I don't have a .223 bolt action or hunting type rifle, but the .243 has a bit more ommph I think. It still doesn't have enough ommph though, for the only thing I'm interested in hunting right now, which is hogs.
Yes, it'd be fine for smaller hogs, or for that rare head shot hog that's standing still when I shoot him. Most of the hogs I run across have ADHD...they just can't sit still. I read on hunting forums about guys who are claiming that they do a lot of ear shots on hogs, dropping them instantly.
Their hogs must have a water supply laced or poisoned with some kind of antianxiety drug like valium, cause I usually don't see too many hogs in my stomping grounds that pose for head shots. The hogs I see are always moving, twitching, shaking, moving around, and in general, just not sitting still for a ear shot.
As an aside, Massad Ayoob is on record in an article stating the perfect bear defense gun for the outdoorsman would be a BAR in .338 Magnum, for the virtue of fast followup shots. Down here in Texas, there's not much chance of a bear attack, and for hunting smaller hogs, the .243 would be just dandy. It's a popular caliber in Texas, and you see rows and rows of ammo for it in many stores.
1970'S MARLIN 336 IN .35 REMINGTON/AS NEW
A Marlin 336 from the 70's in .35 Remington. I didn't catch the price. You don't see guns new or used for sale in that caliber down in my neck of the woods very often, yet the ammo is readily available. After reading up on the cartridge, it's worth a look if it's priced right.
RUGER GUNSITE SCOUT RIFLE/NEW
I still like the Ruger Gunsite Scout rifle, and have had a chance to play with one recently. Ruger announced the releaase of some shorter mags recently, and I can recall they come in 5 and 10 rounders plus something else, maybe a 15. In the internet stuff I saw, they appeared to be made of plastic, while the stock 15 round magazines and the 4 extra magazines I saw recently were all made of metal.
I don't care much for the Scout Scope, although I've used one for the past couple of years on a Mini-14. I prefer my scopes mounted on the receiver, and if I got the Gunsite rifle, it would have it's scope mounted rearward. .308 is a good combination caliber, combining most of the assets and few of the faults of it's neighbors on either side of it. Surplus sealed ammo is available for stockpiling, Serious target ammo is readily available.
I don't much care for the stock laminate material either, but I'm sure some aftermarket stocks will become available. Some of the stocks I've seen on the Gunsite Ruger have been darker than others, and those to me are far less offensive. A nice Walnut or even black synthetic stock like Ruger puts on everything else would be a big improvement over what they are doing now with this laminate thing. My luck is that they'll introduce a hip and happening stock for the new improved next year's model Gunsite that is synthetic (in line with it's state purpose(s) but will have some gidget that won't allow it to fit an old model rifle.
Of course, having a heavy duty, integral, fold-up and hide-away bipod would be in line with the history of other Gunsite models made by other makers like Steyr. C'mon Ruger, even a maker like Kel-Tec is putting a folding bi-pod forend on one of their .223 folding rifles, the name of which escapes right now. But if they can do it, surely you could do it.
Ruger has been busting down the door this past year, releasing some really great guns. They've got too many new guns to mention here, but right offhand I'd like one of the .357 bolt actions, one of the new 1911 tributes (which I've yet to see in person their take on the 1911), The Wiley Clapp GP100 3" and one of the SP101's in .22 caliber.
I've seen lots of good deals on used Rugers lately. I've seen two very nice Security Sixes and two excellent Safety Sixes, all blued, all with 4" barrels and and all priced from $300-$400 and they didn't last but a couple of days at the LGS. People in these here parts know those two guns in .357 are keepers. I know. I have a Security Six in stainless, and it'll be around a long, long time. I'll be having me a six inch one the next time I see a bargain on one.
I don't know that the Ruger Gunsite is any better of a gun than one of their fine bolt actions in the same caliber. My LGS is selling the Gunsite for $745, and he sells the more or less identical Ruger bolt action M77 without the detachable magazine, with a longer barrel and no flash hider/suppressor (and with a believe it or not uglier than the Gunsite laminated stock) camo synthetic stock for like $100 less.
.270 and .308 are the other calibers that have come up in my research, shooting experience and looking around. I've already got a very able rifle chambered in .30-06, so that too moves me a bit closer to the .308. Likewise, I've run into a very nice and reasonably priced Browning BLR lever action in .30-06, as well as a gently used and not so reasonably priced Ruger M77 in .270. If I didn't already have a dandy and accurate .30-06 and if .270 wasn't so dang close to the .30-06 in so many ways, those two guns would be in the running here as well.
And therein lies problem number one. I've always shot rifles, but in very limited caliber ranges: The .22 family, my .30-30 Marlin, a .308 Winchester bolt action, a .30-06 Remington pump, a Mini-14 and various Ak's and CAR's and AR-15's. Oh I've shot many other different calibers once or twice, just not enough to get a feel for different guns and different ammo in the same and different calibers.
Although I'm very experienced with a wide range and calibers of handguns and of course, shotguns, I'm woefully stupid about many things *rifle* that I'm learning about at this late age. I've been shooting some different guns during the past couple of years to try to narrow the field down and here's where I am:
a .243 Browning BAR, a vintage Marlin 336 in .35 Remington, or the "sorta new and just out on dealer's shelves" Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle in .308. The BAR would have it hands down if it were in a different caliber, and the Gunsite Scout does handle VERY WELL, and I mean, very well for me.
What's your vote?