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#206739 - 08/25/10 05:00 AM Best first firearm, probably redux
dweste Offline

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
Searched 3 years but could not find. So here goes what may be a repeat.

My head continues to spin. The elusive "right decision."

I picture myself hiking into the back country prepared to camp out as long as my food lasts. I am not going to be carrying multiple firearms, but I will be prepared to hunt what is in season to extend my stay.

A shotgun is probably the most versatile fiream with its wide variety of shotshells; with slug and heavy shot loads almost any game can be taken. But it is very loud and a reasonable collection of shells tend to be a bit pricey, bulky, and heavy. Practice to get competent can be expensive, though trap, skeet, and sporting clay games are a possible added dimension of fun.

A 22 is fairly quiet and its ammunition tends to be very cheap so that practice is inexpensive. There is even a small variety of ammunition in the 22 calibre, all of which are small and lightweight so you can carry a lot of them. Accurate shots can take a variety of game, but as a rimfire gun it would be illegal to try to take big game, such as deer.

There are combination shotgun / rifles that can give you the versatilty and advantages of both. If you add accessories like cases, slings, scopes, bipods, etcetera, you only have to buy one of each. But these combo guns are much heavier than either a shotgun or a 22. Shooting with them takes practice so you will be going through both kinds of ammunition; wing-shooting is quite different than traditional shotguns. They provide a single-shot of each kind before you have to break them open and reload - though you would be going for one shot, one kill anyway. They cost about what it would take to buy both a shotgun and a 22.

What to do, what to do?

Edited by dweste (08/25/10 05:00 AM)

#206742 - 08/25/10 06:22 AM Re: Best first firearm, probably redux [Re: dweste]
haertig Offline

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2252
Loc: Colorado
You're planning to hike out into the wilderness and survive on what you can hunt after your food runs out? And you're worried about what game is in season, that a shotgun is too loud, and that it's illegal to hunt big game with a .22?

That's not your typical survival situation. Are you going camping, or doing a Survivorman thing with some extra escape and evasion thrown in?

#206749 - 08/25/10 11:24 AM Re: Best first firearm, probably redux [Re: haertig]
LesSnyder Offline

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 1644
Loc: New Port Richey, Fla
21inch Remington 870 pump shotgun with rifle sights (not cantilever) light modified screw in choke, sling...use shotshell selection for game variety... 7 1/2 for small game, BB for turkey, slugs for large game...add additional vent rib barrel for clay bird games...

#206750 - 08/25/10 11:54 AM Re: Best first firearm, probably redux [Re: LesSnyder]
pezhead Offline

Registered: 05/18/10
Posts: 76
Loc: Minnesota
Shotgun would work. But the combo is versatile.
Are you only interested in a long gun? Or would you consider a handgun? I assume you are following all of CA's laws in regard to this situation.

#206754 - 08/25/10 01:00 PM Re: Best first firearm, probably redux [Re: haertig]
dweste Offline

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
Originally Posted By: haertig
That's not your typical survival situation.

My intent is to voluntarily learn to legally stay beyond the amount of food I will carry in for its own value and to train to better survive if the scenario became involuntarily extended and lawless.

Les, thanks for the specific shotgun suggestions.

Pez, definitely staying CA legal, figure I am more accurate with long guns, but have looked at the Army Rescue and Special Operations Instructors scoped pistol combo survival choice.


Thanks for the comments to date; keep 'em rolling in!

#206756 - 08/25/10 01:08 PM Re: Best first firearm, probably redux [Re: dweste]
Russ Offline

Registered: 06/02/06
Posts: 5338
How much ammo weight-wise do you intend to carry?

My choice would be a .22LR bolt action rifle (CZ-452) and about 500 rounds. Most plentiful game would be small and keep it legal.

Going after larger game, how will you preserve all that meat? Are you prepared to make jerkie?
Better is the Enemy of Good Enough.
Okay, what’s your point??

#206760 - 08/25/10 01:41 PM Re: Best first firearm, probably redux [Re: Russ]
nursemike Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 870
Loc: wellington, fl
Perhaps guns are not the answer.

Maybe you should consider restating the question to "how best to gather food in the woods?". Blast's blog offers lots of options that won't use up ammunition. Archery/sling shots/atlatl projectile technology offers you options that are lighter, quieter and (perhaps) cheaper than firearms, can be field-repaired or replaced without resorting to portable machine-shops, and are probably less likely to create law enforcement issues for you.

Dance like you have never been hurt, work like no one is watching,love like you don't need the money.

#206765 - 08/25/10 03:21 PM Re: Best first firearm, probably redux [Re: dweste]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1164
Loc: Channeled Scablands
The only weapons that allows you to hunt for both big and small game as far as I know in CA are-

Bow with various type arrows
Shotgun with slugs and shot
Centerfire Handgun (357 or 44) with bullets and shot loads
(may be limits on shot size that restrict handgun shot loads
on some species such as turkey).

The Natives ate fish and pine nuts. Then
they went down to the valleys in the winter. The fish are mostly gone, and the pine nuts vary from season to season. The Jefferies can make lots some years.

There are squirrels. The mule deer are mostly gone because of
habitat loss and too many people. A few grouse and quail
and rabbits.

For squirrels, rabbits and grouse either a 22 or a shotgun.
Quail require a shotgun.

For mule deer a center fire rifle or handgun, or a shotgun with

You could expand your deer season with archery, as they
let you hunt during gun season with it too. And you can take any game with a bow (legally).

I would suspect the only game you will get is squirrels unless
you have done some scouting of big game beforehand.

In other states you may be allowed to use centerfire on squirrels or grouse. I like subsonic loads in my deer rifle
for this--use Trailboss powder, see the Hodgdon site for info.


Edited by clearwater (08/25/10 03:30 PM)

#206766 - 08/25/10 03:23 PM Re: Best first firearm, probably redux [Re: dweste]
ireckon Offline

Registered: 04/01/10
Posts: 1629
Loc: Northern California
I summarized your needs below in order of importance (according to my opinion):

-versatile for game of the season
-self-defense during lawless environment
-not too heavy to carry
-not too bulky
-ammo not too pricey
-not too loud


Based on the top three most important requirements in that list, I'd go with a shotgun. The versatility of a shotgun outweighs its disadvantages in my opinion. My choice of shotgun would be an 870 pump with an 18" barrel. I practice shooting clays with a short barrel, and it's doable. Rifle sights are versatile because you have a choice of aiming or point shooting if you must. An extra barrel that's longer and/or has different sights would be an inefficient use of weight and space. As for ammo, shotgun ammo is wide open for just about any situation you think you may face. Pick your ammo as needed.

A .22 lr, by itself, is not the answer for what you say your needs are. On the other hand, if want to focus on one one or two requirements only from your list, then let us know.
If you're reading this, it's too late.

#206767 - 08/25/10 03:26 PM Re: Best first firearm, probably redux [Re: dweste]
clearwater Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/19/05
Posts: 1164
Loc: Channeled Scablands
Originally Posted By: dweste
But it is very loud and a reasonable collection of shells tend to be a bit pricey, bulky, and heavy.

An NEF single shot shotgun weighs only 5 pounds and costs about
$120 at Walmart. Undo one screw and it can be broken down to fit
in a pack.

In CA a long gun cannot be considered a concealable
weapon, so you could carry it unloaded in your pack anywhere except sensitive places and school zones. A handgun has a great
many more restrictions.


Edited by clearwater (08/25/10 03:26 PM)

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