Saturday, May 01, 2004

One Gun Conundrum

Kim du Toit is running an interesting survey/ thought experiment: If you could only have one rifle and one handgun what would they be?

Les Jones has already given his picks here.

For me, it depends on the cause of the limits. If it is a long-term lifestyle choice (money, no room for a gun safe, local regulation) then i want a S&W Model 19 in .357 Mag and a Ruger Model 77 Compact in .260 Remington.

I wrote about the 19's claim to the status of finest all-round, all-round here and the advantages of the revolver here and here . Plus, since i only have one, I want the flexibility the 38/357 combo gives me.

The Ruger compact will handle almost any sort of hunting. Short and light, it is a better choice for woods hunting than a 24" Model 70 in .300 Win. It is nicer to carry up and down rocky slopes for mountain hunting. At the same time, it is a better long-range proposition than a Model 94 in 30-30.

And the .260 may be the best all-purpose round for the US (along with it's ballistic twin the 6.5x55 Swede). Not my opinion, John Barsness just wrote that in Rifle or Handloader.

OTOH- if this problem is a matter of the SHTF and I had to grab two guns and their ammo as I headed out the door to an undisclosed secure location-- then I would change my choices to:

Ruger Redhawk (5.5" bbl) in 41 Mag and Marlin 1894 in 41 Mag.

I want ammo compatibility. Full power 41 mag loads have all the advantages of the .357 with 50% more bullet weight as a kicker. The heavier Redhawk dampens the recoil so that it shoots as soft as the model 19 with magnum rounds. Plus, I have a bunch of mid-range loads for it that makes it a pussycat while delivering more oomph than standard 45 ACP. But as discussed here, the mid-range loads hit magnum velocity out of the carbine.

Plus, the revolver is a Ruger so it is tough and reliable.