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Thread: New to Handguns

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    Default New to Handguns

    I am turning 21 in not too long. So I am naturally interested in buying a handgun. I'm wanting to get something that is affordable to purchase, and feed. At first I was thinking something along the lines of .22s. But then I got to thinking that something that is a bit more of a bear deterrent would be nice. I think Glocks are a good choice from what little I've read on here, but not really sure where to start (as far as caliber and model). I'm still really interested in .22 handguns, mostly because of the price tag, and wide availability in ammo.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    I would go ahead and start off with a good 22lr and see how you like it first. Not many handguns good for bear protection are cheap to feed and just the sound of the 22 going off might well be just as good or better than a hit with cheap to fire medium power handgun.JMHO

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    .22 is a good starter gun, whether it's an automatic, revolver, or rifle. It will be easier to learn to shoot it well because you can shoot it a lot, both cheaply and comfortably. Guns that come to mind are the Smith & Wesson model 617 and the Ruger 22/45.

    If you'd like a gun to pack for the outdoors, it might be wiser to go with a revolver; they tend to be more powerful for a given size than automatics. All of the "magnum" handgun cartridges are meant for revolvers.

    Also, revolvers can often shoot one powerful caliber for protection and a lighter, cheaper one for practice; one example is that a .357 magnum revolver can also shoot .38 special. If you buy the right gun, I'd say this might also be a good first caliber choice. Good starter guns might be a Ruger GP100 or a Smith & Wesson model 686, either with a 6 inch barrel. Guns that big are pretty comfortable to shoot when loaded with 110 grain .38's, and can be loaded with 200 grain .357 hardcasts for the woods.
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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Many ways to skin a cat man.

    Tons of things to consider.

    My thoughts, get a 357 revolver and shoot 38's in it. Cheap ammo, readily available, and does not kick too much. This would also make a good bedside, carry, or gun for the car later if you want a semiauto or what not in the near future. Starting off with a Smith and Wesson 357 would be hard to mess up in my opinion.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    .22s are a lot of fun! Great chose for a first weapon.

    If you want something for bears you need a .44 magnum, nothing bigger nothing smaller, but then you can't afford to shoot much. I'd say get both and do a lot of practicing with the .22, it will help you be comfortable with the .44.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    My thoughts, get a 357 revolver and shoot 38's in it. Cheap ammo, readily available, and does not kick too much. This would also make a good bedside, carry, or gun for the car later if you want a semiauto or what not in the near future. Starting off with a Smith and Wesson 357 would be hard to mess up in my opinion.
    This is where I started many years ago with a Ruger GP100. I now have several hand guns but I still like my GP100. A 22 LR is also a very good place to start but a .357 is much more versatile and you won't be looking to upgrade for quite some time. As stated, a .357 isn't a bear or medium to large game gun but short of that it does a lot of things very well.

    Dan

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    I agree with the .357 revolver. Pesonally, I never could get into .22 handguns (or rifles for that matter). I mean I have them, but mostly for my when it's time to teach my daughter how to shoot. I started off with semi-autos but have migrated to preferring revolvers.

    Start with single action work to get the hang of stance and hand positioning and then work in some double action practice and gradually increase until you are shooting mostly double action.

    The GP100 is a great choice, but if you plan on carrying it some then you may want to look at a used pre-lock Smith & Wesson K frame, or one of the Ruger Six series. I have a wonderful 3" speed six that I carry frequently.

    If you plan on shooting often, look seriously into reloading.

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    Default Welcome to the forum

    Alaskadrifter

    Welcome to the forum, welcome to the world of handguns.

    Quote Originally Posted by alaskadrifter View Post
    I am turning 21 in not too long. So I am naturally interested in buying a handgun.
    Good that you are doing your research early. It may take some time to settle on what you want. How much familiarity with firearms do you have already? If you are a completely clean slate, the best advice would be different from other advice you might receive. If you have friends (that you trust) who own guns, or if you already are familiar with long guns, the advice would be different. Clue us in, please.

    Quote Originally Posted by alaskadrifter View Post
    I'm wanting to get something that is affordable to purchase, and feed. At first I was thinking something along the lines of .22s.
    Affordable, yes. I shoot a number of different calibers, but the one that I ALWAYS shoot every time is the .22 rimfire. Not only do I get a lot more practice and feedback on my shooting technique, but three to five cents a shot is a lot more affordable than $2.25 a shot for 500 S&W. For .38/357 I can load my own for about half the price of factory loaded ammunition ($20 for a box of 50) if I don't count my time. 22s make shooting enough to maintain my marksmanship possible (for me).

    Quote Originally Posted by alaskadrifter View Post
    But then I got to thinking that something that is a bit more of a bear deterrent would be nice.
    For bears nothing you can fire with one hand is as good as a 12 gauge pump or a 45-70 lever action carbine. For energy, the 500 S&W comes close, but shot placement is MUCH easier with a long gun. The one advantage of a handgun is that it is usually easier to keep with you all the time than a long gun.

    44 Mag is generally considered to be adequate, both in power and availability of ammunition. 41 magnum will deliver the same level of power as the 44, but ammo is not always easy to find, and the 41's heaviest bullet (bullet weight is important for heavy-boned, well muscled animals like bear) is 10-20% lighter than the heaviest 44. The 45 Colt (sometimes called 45 Long Colt, and not to be confused with the 45 ACP) can be loaded almost to the same power levels as the 44 Magnum and throws a bullet with 10.5% more frontal area and 15% or more greater weight than the 44. The .357 magnum is adequate for black bear, maybe, but for Grizzly is marginal at best.

    For bear protection, if I carried a .357, I would also carry bear repellant spray. In my opinion, the spray would be more effective. Personally, if I feel the need for bear protection, I carry spray in addition to my .454 Casull. If you spray a bear and it works you don't have to track it down and make sure it's dead. If you shoot a bear, you open up a WORLD of responsibilities - and you don't even get to keep the cape (unless its in season and you have a license to take a bear).

    Quote Originally Posted by alaskadrifter View Post
    I think Glocks are a good choice from what little I've read on here, but not really sure where to start (as far as caliber and model).
    Glocks are good. I don't like them, but they are good. Their reason for being is for social work (people-to-people shooting). The only caliber Glock has good for dangerous game is the 10mm, and the ballistics for the 10 are barely equal to the 41 magnum.
    Quote Originally Posted by alaskadrifter View Post
    I'm still really interested in .22 handguns, mostly because of the price tag, and wide availability in ammo.
    You cannot go wrong with a Ruger Single-Six. They hold their value (in the unlikely case you might want to sell it some day) are easier to operate than my second choice, the Ruger Mark III (or a used Mark II or Mark I) semi-automatic 22. Simplicity of operation is important in your first gun (assuming this is your first gun; if you are familiar with gun handling with long guns, that changes my advice). The Ruger SP101 in 22 is no longer made, but if you have smallish hands is REALLY fun.

    So, tell something about yourself and what kind of shooting you are interested in (punching paper, formal competition-and there are many different kinds, Cowboy Action Shooting and more)

    Also, join the NRA (National Rifle Association) or GOA (Gun Owners of America) or both. You've got 60 or 70 years ahead of you and you want to preseve your right to own a gun.

    Lost Sheep

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    Lost Sheep,

    Great post man
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

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    Thanks for all of the great information. I already have a Mini 14, and a 300 WSM. The first gun my grandpa taught me to shoot with was a 10/22, and I've thought about buying one of those too. Was talking with my father-in-law, he's got at Ruger 10/45 (I think) that I'm wanting to try out. He also said he'd sell me his Glock 21 for $400. I'm leaning towards a .22 because of the affordability. I'd like something that's reliable, fun for plinking, but I could also knockoff a ptarmigan when we are out snowmachining sometimes. Because if I need some bear deterent I could usually borrow a 12 gauge. And did I saw affordable ;-P

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    I like ruffcutt's advice, right down to the letter. SEE BELOW.

    ****".22s are a lot of fun! Great choice for a first weapon.

    If you want something for bears you need a .44 magnum, nothing bigger nothing smaller, but then you can't afford to shoot much. I'd say get both and do a lot of practicing with the .22, it will help you be comfortable with the .44."*****

    For years, the only handgun I owned was a 22 Cal. Revolver, (Ruger Single Six)

    That was great because I could carry it along for small game, even when I had my beeg game rifle.

    With a 22, you will practice more, and with a handgun that's important. Also, you won't spend as much money on ammo.

    If you live in the Greatland, Get the 44 later. IMO, it's the best choice, for deterring a bear, ALL things considered.

    Besides, you can get a Lee Loader for 44 Mag. ($36.00). Some cast bullets (They're the best.), powder, primers, and roll you own. You will then have a basic understanding of how to handload.

    The choice of a handgun is kind of important in that, if you choose the wrong one, you won't like it. So, don't choose, considering only price. I would advise against snub-nosed revolvers. They are not field guns, but have a special purpose, and some irritating aspects.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskadrifter View Post
    He also said he'd sell me his Glock 21 for $400.
    That's a pretty good price for a G21. I'm sure this won't be the last gun you buy, so I'd say go for that one while you have a chance.

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    I handled a G21 this weekend, the grip felt a little big in my hand, but other than that it felt good. The Ruger felt good in my hand, and it seemed to have a good balance.

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    Take a look at the Ruger Single Action. I believe they can still be had with a second cylinder for 22 Magnum.

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    As your first and only gun that has to play a dual role of bear protection and plinking the recommendation of a .357 magnum revolver is really the best bet. As time goes by and you become more familiar with guns you will likely pick up other guns and calibers for more specific purposes. The beauty of this is that if you pick up a quality .357 revolver and don't abuse it you can sell it down the road without losing much money and you might even make a profit. So get the .357 for all the reasons others have stated, enjoy yourself and go from there.

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