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  • Asking for advice on a solid, simple rifle

    Posted by Jessica on March 19, 2023 at 6:09 am

    I live in the deep high-up country. We have had bear in the yard before, but they are not really a concern. The dog usually scares them off, they are black bear and the dogs a golden retriever, so no violence occurs, just a good ol’ “go on, get!”

    My newfound understanding that I need a dependable, safely-stored firearm in the house came from getting chickens this summer. My husband manages a farm nearby and I work from home, so I keep an eye on the chickens out the window during the day.

    Basically, there was a weasel attack that I witnessed and while I’ve never actually shot at a creature in my life, I did grow up hunting with friends for the fun of tracking and the sport of it and we’ve always done target practice growing up so I’m a decent shot.

    By howdy tho if all I didn’t have in the house was an actual Red Ryder BB gun and I wasn’t even thinking, I just ran to the coop and shot that weasel dead in the eye because as much I was defending the chickens I also wouldn’t want any animal suffering more than an easy, painless death, so I wanted to take him out quickly. But a bb isn’t ideal obviously.

    For anyone still reading, I have realized that it’s time for responsible gun ownership for future incidents like these so I can assure painless transitions. It would never be my first thought, but I have a responsibility to these chickens! I grew up with a Winchester 30-30 lever-action rifle and that’s my comfort zone.. any thoughts on other models welcome.

    I have local shops nearby I am going to consult with, I just thought I’d tap the hive mind for any kindly first-time-gun-owner knowledge and advice and any recommendations. Like if weasels are my main enemy, but there is also bear and bobcat and moose, that I could never picture needing to worry about but you never know, is a 30/30 the right call? TIA! Much appreciated

    Jessica replied 6 days, 7 hours ago 2 Members · 1 Reply
  • 1 Reply
  • redditburner_5000

    March 19, 2023 at 6:10 am

    The AR-15 is pretty hard to beat in terms of versatility.

    The typical config gets you a 5.56. You can buy a drop-in conversion kit to make it a .22LR with minimal effort. You can also get a second complete upper in a larger caliber if you think you need it, up to .50. Lists of AR calibers [here](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_AR_platform_cartridges).

    What I’d do…

    Get an AR-15 in 5.56 for ~$600 (SW Sport II), $370 buys you a complete 16″ 300BLK PSA upper that can drop right on to your SW Sport II lower in 10 seconds (literally), and the CMMG .22LR conversion is $170 (also from PSA) and comes with three 25rd mags. That will drop right in to the 5.56 upper in seconds.

    You effectively end up with three guns (a .223/5.56, a .30 cal, and a .22LR) for ~$1,200. Not bad. These are not going to be 500yd tack drivers but it sounds like you’re only really worried about get-off-my-property ranges anyway.

    It’s essentially maintenance free aside from a cleaning now and then. If you ever end up needing repairs, parts are everywhere and there is a video on youtube that will show you how to do whatever you need to do.

    What I suspect will happen is that you’ll have the complete rifle assembled with the 300BLK barrel pinned on to the lower, which just means that the rifle is complete and can be picked up and fired. You’ll have the 5.56 (.22LR) upper set up with the .22LR kit sitting in the safe. This leaves you with a leftover 5.56 bolt and carrier in a baggie somewhere in the back of the safe. This would let you swap between 300BLK and .22LR in ~10 seconds, depending on what job you wanted to do.

    My $0.02.

  • TacTurtle

    March 19, 2023 at 6:10 am

    AR with iron sights in 223 or 300 Blackout (kinda overkill for weasels), a lever action 357 Magnum (38 special for plinking and weasels, 357 Mag for bears), or a 20 gauge shotgun (steel turkey or swan shot for weasels so the chickens don’t get lead poisoning, slugs for bear).

  • Solar991

    March 19, 2023 at 6:10 am

    For coop defense, I’d suggest a 10/22 and a good flashlight.
    For larger wildlife of unknown mass (a bobcat and a moose can be a 1500lb difference), I’d suggest a good 12 gauge with slugs.

  • goldman1290

    March 19, 2023 at 6:10 am

    There’s not really a good caliber to handle both. I mean a 30-30 will definitely work on a black bear but if you shoot a weasel with it I feel.like you’d have one hell of a mess. Like someone else in the comments said I’d get a 22 rifle to deal with smaller varmints and have something bigger like a 308 for the bears if you need it.

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  • 10gaugetantrum

    March 19, 2023 at 6:10 am

    A 30-30 should work unless your bears are Grizzlies. I have black bears around my place and I don’t worry about them. Check out Henry 45-70 lever guns if you want something more suited for a Grizzly. They don’t kick as hard as a lot of people would have you think they do.

  • Session-Special

    March 19, 2023 at 6:10 am

    The best one is the one you have the most practice with, and feel most comfortable with. You like a wood stock okay, you like plastic okay, etc.,

    I would ask How often are you going to practice?

    1. once a year maybe – shotgun, or semi auto low caliber.
    2. Often and don’t mind the smell of gun oil in the house – AR platform with some toys.

    How much are you willing to pay?

    * In my area a over/under shotgun is cheap as dirt new. about $400
    * You want all the toys on the AR ( cheap is north of $1300, and you want the higher up that’s at least 4k) – well that’s going to tap the tire budget for next month, and I hope you don’t mind eating cheese sandwiches for a month. ( that is in my area of the US.) I hear its priced different in the area you live – so be flexible.
    * Then add ammo etc., it all adds up. A box of shotgun shells will last a little while, but 22 will last longer. ( unless you want to reload – but you need dies, cleaning, etc., etc., – by the time your done its a hell of bill).

    Take a moment when you are looking and price that ammo – it will help.

    Weasels are fast and nasty, but a small caliber like .22 would be fine. The problem I had was with racoons and I bought a Mossberg over under 410. It was not a problem for long, and I had a small bird gun for the fall.

    I would not suggest a hand gun.

    wish you the best – and happy hunting.

  • LestWeForgive

    March 19, 2023 at 6:10 am

    I reckon you might want a combination gun. 20/28/410 gauge for varmints in the coop, 30-30 or whatever for varmints in the field.

  • MeanMan84

    March 19, 2023 at 6:10 am

    AR-15, very ergonomic, reliable, affordable, moderately powerful.

  • Blundaz

    March 19, 2023 at 6:10 am

    Spend $330 on a Henry Classic .22 LR and use that to sharpen your skills and defend the coop. It’s the right cartridge for the job and you’ll be right at home. Get a fancier model of Henry .22 if you want. If you later decide you want something bigger, you can shop for a nice 30-30 and you won’t have spent much on your plinking/training/varmint rifle beforehand.