We thought we had limited our future home site and land to an area roughly 100 miles north of Austin, Texas, until the Llano River ran dry in 2011. I'd been wanting to find a place to set up for retirement on the Llano for the better part of the last thirty years, and the past few we had looked fairly hard between Mason and Llano.
Who would have thought the rivers in my dream place would run dry? Without the rivers and the fishing and the wildlife they support, it's just like the West Texas Desert, more or less.
It's made us think about other states, where perhaps water issues won't be as bad as in the Texas Hill Country. That basically means snow, and a snow lifestyle to some extent, as we'd like to live somewhere where I could trout fish. Trout fishing means mountains generally, and colder water from snow runoff and spring fed creeks and rivers and lakes. Which, of course, means snow and a snow lifestyle of some sort.
The bonus of buying land in other states is the cheap prices compared to recreational acreage here in Texas. Of course, we don't want to live off the grid. We want electricity, water and sewage if possible from a system and a water well of our own. These last few years have taught us that it would be a good idea to have our own water supply collected from rainfall and if possible from a private well.
Still, recreational land with creek or river frontage and/or a pond or lake is a fraction of what that land costs here in Texas. And for the most part, much of the land is far more picturesque and the temperatures much more, well, temperate.
All of which relates to future gun purchases. I agree with many things that gun writer Massad Ayoob says about guns, and one thing I agree with is that guns are tools, particularly in the context of living in a rural setting. One tool does it's job better than another tool, which in turn does it's job better than the first tool.
American Handgunner Magazine Editor Roy Huntington, another gun writer I often see eye to eye with, remarked recently that upon moving to rural Missouri, he finds the .22 rifle and the .410 shotgun to be the most useful of tools for issues requiring firearms on the farm. He's apparently bought at least multiple .22 rifles for keeping in different places, so he's not running for a gun when he needs it.
A couple of guns I'm looking for have nostalgic ties for me. Guns we used to own or still own and I'd like another. I won't be running out and buying any bear guns soon, until and unless we get a place in bear country. Well, except for that Model 29-2 that a friend has that he wants to trade real bad....
The H and R Model No. 929 .22 revolver. Cantankerous, loud and shoots a bit off, but a fun gun to shoot that I've shot thousands of rounds though.
THE ROSSI .22 DERRINGER
The ROSSI side by side double barreled .22 derringer, with double exposed hammers and triggers.
THE EL FAISAN SHOTGUN
There's a shotgun I'm seeking, a Spanish .410 shotgun apparently sold and/or made under different names, but the key feature being that the shotgun folds in half. My LGS tells me these are somewhat common. I've found lots of ads for them in closed auctions, and have searches up now for them.
The particular brand I like is called El Faisan which according to internet information/lore was made by a company called Sarasqueta, a side by side, double barreled, double trigger, double exposed hammer shotgun. Generally with a 27.5" barrel, it folds completely in half to 27.5", the length of the barrel. I'm not sure what they weigh in at but I'm guessing around 4 1/2 to 5 pounds in .410 gauge.
I've seen them in .410 and .16 and .20 gauge, but I'm looking for the .410 version. All the ones I've seen have the break open lever on the right side of the action, then a button at the pivot point of the break open barrel that further folds the shotgun in half. The last auction I missed sold one for about $331 dollars, so the price is right.
I'm still looking for a great 3" Model 13 Smith and Wesson. I'm sure there are some other Smith and Wesson handguns that would interest me as well.
I occasionally stumble across a great price on 7 1/2" Ruger Blackhawks in .44 Mag and .41 Mag. Seems a lot of these guns have been sold and they are usually cheap on the used market. My dad had a .41 Magnum Blackhawk he carried at our several family places for years. I saw him nail everything from large water moccasins and copperheads to bobcats to rather large swamp feral hogs with the .41.
Again, I tend to see lots of them used and have for years, and the ones with the 7 1/2" barrels seem to be priced way cheaper than shorter barreled versions. It's not a CCH, so having the longer barrel length makes sense in the field.
Still, .44 Magnum ammo is easier to find for sale than .41 Magnum, if not less expensive. I'll note that another fine firearm is the Model 58 Smith and Wesson, an N frame in .41 Magnum, but with fixed sights. Too bad the Model 29 doesn't come like this. It's sorta like a swollen K frame Model 13. Fixed sights won't get knocked off a gun if it bangs into something or takes a fall. The Model 58 is one of those tough firearms suited for tough duty.
I'd like to get a trade type gun, and there's an entry level percussion long arm I've seen that I'm interested in. Something basic.
As I've mentioned before, I'd also like to finish out a Kentucky Rifle kit over the next year, and perhaps a matching pistol while I'm at it.
I'd like to get a Uberti replica Walker Colt with a Cartridge Conversion system so that low power cartridges can be shot as well as blackpowder loads.
I was real interested in the Pietta coach shotgun, a black powder shotgun with legal 14" barrels, legal I suppose because it's black powder and not cartridge. But it's kinda pricey, despite it's fun factor.
I want to get a single shot barrel pump rifle that comes with a scope and the whole shebang.
I'd also like to get a multi-pump like the Crosman M4 copy as well as something more serious like a Sheridan Silver Streak or Blue Streak.
Wild Ed, over in my blogroll, sometime ago customized a Crosman single shot multi pump pistol, and I'd like to have a go at doing some of that myself. I have one of those Crosman single shot multi pump pistols in stock form, and it's a very useful and fun airgun with some real power.
Wild Ed had a point in the series of article he wrote. If you are ever forced to hunt for your meat, airguns and black powder guns are two very serious choices that should be considered. Hundreds of pellets and likewise, lots of bullets and powder and the like can be purchased for the price of a cheap box of cartridges.
Likewise, Wild Ed made the point that CO2 cartridges for CO2 guns or compressed air for the high powered pneumatic guns available, or for the bb machine guns might render a gun useless without a ready supply of compressed air or CO2. Thus, the spring and pump airguns seem like something good to have around that will always work, and work cheaply and quietly.
It makes sense to hunt squirrel, rabbit and other small game with airguns. Likewise, if you can save a cartridge by using a high powered airgun or black powder gun to take larger game or drive off predators, you're also saving a cartridge.
I messed around with bows as a teen. A friend of my dad's gave us a couple of nice Fred Bear bows complete with quivers and all kinds of target and hunting arrows. One of the bows was a recurve and the other was a simpler bow, which I preferred. I'd like to get back into some archery, and would also like a crossbow.
I used to do quite a bit of bowfishing as a youth for gar. Problem is, nothing to do with them when you get one. Can't eat it, or at least I won't, and have known people who said they do but really I don't care much to do any bowfishing. A bow fishing rig would be good to have for subsistence living, but Texas laws prohibit the hunting of game fish with a bow. You can only hunt non-game fish by bow.
I'm interested in getting several suppressors. The ones my friends have work great and make shooting much more enjoyable. I'd like to start with one of the Sparrow .22 models that will take .22 LR, .22 Magnum, 5.7 x28 and several other calibers like .22 Hornet and .17 HMR. A multi-use device that could be interchanged.
I've always thought the dedicated Ruger Mark .22 pistols that have an aftermarket integral barrel installed were neat. I've seen several of these, and shot one made by AWC, and they are impressive firearms.
Main thing I've learned in reading about suppressors is to get one easy to disassemble and clean. Most folks seem to use sonic cleaners, just take them apart and drop them in the cleaner for a day.
There are several multi-caliber versions on the market, including one that takes both 7.62 x 39 and 7.62 NATO and .308. Nice combo.
Two suppresors that I've seen shot in the recent past were inexpensive ones for the .223/5.56, and they were quite impressive, as were the 9mm and .45 ACP suppressors pistol I've seen.
I don't know much about attachment systems but will learn and I'm aware that pistols will need extended and threaded barrels for most of these. Rifles would take some alteration as well, although again, that's something I'm learning about.
I do know it's far healthier to be hearing so little report from the gun that you can hear the action cycle on the gun you're shooting. Likewise, in a defense or home defense situation, hearing loss is a particular threat and a real one if a weapon is discharged indoors.
I also have to say I was very impressed with the reduction in sound from the Red Jacket Saiga that they made and showed on their TV show and that they apparently sell via their store.
It would be worth getting a federal tax stamp for a short barreled shotgun to have the Red Jacket suppressor installed ( a short barrel because the suppressor is kinda long), but it's not on the short list because it's a pretty expensive item.
After watching the bad guy in No Country for Old Men, who used a suppressed Remington 1100 that was also short-barreled, I wouldn't mind having one of those either. again with a tax stamp both for the SBS and for the suppressor.
It would be a handy item, that shotgun suppressor, to switch between an 870 and an 1100. A 13" or 14" barrel on an 1100 with a suppressor would be about the right length for home defense.
The popular logic was after the suppressed shotgun appeared in No Country for Old Men that a shotgun couldn't be suppressed, or at least effectively. Until that dude at Red Jacket showed them wrong.