Friday, October 27, 2006

Let's play a little game...

I think we've all played this one before, it's a favorite of gunnies everywhere: The "One Gun" game.

Now everyone has a favorite variant of this game, and I'm no different. This game is going to be in two parts.

For part 1, let's say you can jsut have one gun in a particular category, and I'll specify several categories.

For part 2, we narrow the selection down to just one single solitary gun; for everything.

Oh, and a rules note. The weapons in question must either be readily available (new or used), readily customizable for a reasonable expense by known smiths, or already in your collection. This should keep down the "ultra super custom gold inlaid" etc... etc...

Oh, and not "I'll take 10 of the most expensive guns, sell them all and buy a bunch of cheap ones".

First, the categories

1. Rimfire Handgun
2. Rimfire rifle
3. Centerfire hunting rifle
4. Centerfire carbine (either hunting or defensive)
5. Shotgun
6. Battle rifle
Milsurp rifle or handgun
8. Pocket gun/Concealed carry handgun
9. Open carry handgun/service pistol/general duty sidearm

My choices? Well, they may surprise you... or then again maybe not. I pick weapons for their utility, their reliability, and their mechnical excellence; and perhaps to some my choices will be obvious.

1. Rimfire Handgun: This is actually one of the hardest decisions in thsi game... I love the woodsman, the Mark1 through 3, the buckmark, and the little P22 and mosquito... but... If I can only have one single rimfire pistol, it has to be a Smith and Wesson K22 of some kind. Any one with adjustable sights adn a 4-6" barrel will do, up to and including the 617. It's incredibly reliable, incredibly accurate, and if you manage to get a pre '69 model, some of the finest machine work known to man; plus it's an excellent training pistol, and perfect companion to a K frame revolver.

2. Rimfire Rifle: Another incredibly difficult choice... there are so many fine rifles in this segment that almsot an one of them would fill the bill... If I had to pick jsut one, it would be a good quality boltie, with pretty but tough wood, a good sized magazine, good open sights, and a good scope mounting option. I think I'mna have to go with... a CZ-452 Lux. There is jsut no better factory .22 out there right now, even the high end Kimbers.

3. Centerfire Hunting Rifle: I have a thing about ammo commonality; and I never hunt anything bigger than Elk, so I'm'na start this one out with a caliber choice, and pick .308. The fact is, I can get decent .308 just about anywhere in the world, and it will take anything up to small elk at close range. Now this may be cheating just a bit, but I'll take the commercial M24 system from Remington; based on a specially accurized Model 700 action, and including an excellent stock and optics, it is both an excellent hunting rifle (though heavy), and a good tactical rifle.

4. Centerfire Carbine: No question about it, I'll take a lever action rifle, in stainles if possible, and in a magnum pistol caliber. Specifically a Marlin 1894 in .357 magnum, or something just like it. Why? Handiness, hardiness, and versatility. With a .357 carbine I get killing power all the way up to large deer at short to medium range (with the right load selection), defensive power, and options... LOTS of options. Oh and of course like I said, I have a thing about being able to share ammo.

5. Shotgun: Well, as much as I love my shotgun, it is really set up specifically and only for tactical duty. I think I'd be better off with something a bit simpler, so how about a Mossberg 500, with two changeable barrels; one 18.5" and one a 24" barrel with interchangeable choke tubes. Give me a stock adapter for AR stocks, and an adjsutable LOP stock... or even better a Knoxx specOps stock on the thing. Get the SP version with the 8 shot mag tube, add a sidesaddle, a weapon light, a ghost ring sight with a fiber optic front, and a QD rail with a reflex sight on it; and you've got both a hunting weapon AND a home defense weapons. Use an advanced slug, like Hornadys SST (a saboted blackpowder expanding hollowpoint rifle bullet inside a shotshell), and you have in effect a short range .50 to .75 caliber rifle.

6. Battle Rifle:
Although there are a lot of great weapons in this role; there is no question in my mind as to what I would pick. An M14, in the 18.5" Enhanced Battle rifle configuration, with a SAGE chassis and collapsible adjsutable LOP shoulder stock; plus two different optics on QD rails, one Acog, and one night force scope. I personally owned one of the handbuilt Ron Smith EBR's (it was stolen earlier this year), and I have never had a finer combat weapon of any kind.

7. MilSurp rifle or pistol:
Although there are a huge number of Mil Surps out there deserving of attention; I'm going to consider the AK a Mil Surp (even if new productions), and go for a quality AK conversion in .308, with a good folding or collapsing stock, a decent optic on a top rail of some kind, a replacement foregrip and handgrip, and a replacement trigger and safety (like the Krebs pictured here, except in .308) . Yes, it's kind of cheating, but If I'm limited to nine guns, I'mna keep ammo commonality as high as possible.

8. Pocket Gun:
I love my kel tec; but if I can only have a single pockt pistol, it's got to be an S&W 340 PD. 5 rounds of .357 vs 6+1 or .380... I gotta take the Smith, though it's close.

9. Duty Pistol:
So, y'all know I'm a big 1911 kind of guy. I carry a 1911 daily; I love them, I think they're the best auto pistol ever designed or made (when properly tweaked)... But I'm not choosing an auto pistol here. If I only had one sidearm choice, for all time, it would be a 4" Smith and Wesson 686 plus, cut for moon clips. There is no defensively useful round more versatile than the .357/38 combo. It is the most effective personal defese chambering period (as proven by historical record), itscheap and easy to practice with unsing .38s. The ammo is in common with 1/3 of the guns here... really the only disadvantage in comparison to a 1911 is lower ammo capacity; and with a seven shot capacity, and moon clips, honestly you arent giving up much.

So, did I shock anyone? You'll note, not an auto pistol in the bunch, not a 1911, not a .45... for me this list is more than a little uncharacterstic. What drvies these choices is quite simple. If you can only have one, ever, get the most versatily, most durable, and most useful thing you can get. Nothing is more useful in handguns than a .357 revolver; very little is more reliable, and nothing is more versatile.

Now, if I could only have one gun whatesoever, what would it be?

That's such a hard question; because I shoot for many different reasons. I shoot for the joy of it, I shoot for skill, I hunt, I shoot for competition... but to me, the most important thing I shoot for, is to defend my life, and the lives of others.

So how do I weight all that? Clearly defense is the most important purpose, but having the capability to do all the others is important to me as well, and it would be hard to do it all in one guns.

I could easily do it in two; I'd just pick an S&W 386 mountain light, and a 12ga shotgun as I described above. This would give me all the hunting, and personal defense capabilities I absolutely need, except for a pocket gun. The shottie can be used for everything from quail to bear, and the 386 is a full framed gun that weighs almsot as little as a picket pistol (though the muzzle blast is a sight to see); plus it's easily concealable under light clothing.

If I am limited to a single ung, I'm going to have to make it a concealable handgun of some kind; because there are many times in my life when I absolutely will not go unarmed if I can help it.

Honestly, given those criteria...

I have to go with the 386 Mountain light. It's both powerful and concealable. It's light, it's fast to handle ( used to own one, I loved it), and it's very versatile. I don't like how short the barrel is, but it's the tradeoff for packability.

Now if I could have just TWO guns in each category, I'd be able to cover just about anything I'd ever want to do; oh and yes, THEN you'd see a 1911 or two; in fact a couple .45s in general.

Of coure if I could have thre...