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Plinking targets

QuantumTurkQuantumTurk Registered User regular
So, being that I am the worst southerner, I know little to nothing about guns. What sort of rifle and or pistol would be recommended for someone whose desired traits are something cheap but safe, that fires cheap ammo, in a reasonably straight line, without crazy maintenance. I don't really care how it loads so long as it's not a complete pain in the ass. Also, is it at all common for ranges to rent locker space or similar? I have 0 interest in "home defense" and would just as well keep the gun in an extra safe place.

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  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    Normally I'd recommend a .22LR for plinking, but ammo has been so hard to come by for the past few years that it's not really the ideal these days. I have a Henry .22LR lever action that I love firing, but I don't go out often because finding ammo is a pain.

    The thing is that you kind of have to decide whether you want a handgun or a rifle, then go from there. If you want a handgun, 9mm is plentiful and not terribly expensive, and there are a lot of good options between the CZ-75, Springfield XDm or XD9, Sig P320, and the old faithful Beretta 92FS. Rifles are bit different, and you'd want to talk to someone else since I have weird taste in rifles.

    Anyway, after you decide which route you want to take, find a range that will rent firearms and start trying some out. Whether you're in the south or the north, there should be plenty of firing ranges, and I'd bet a fair number rent firearms. See what is comfortable in your hand. My wife has a Glock 19 that she loves, and others do too since Glock has a real following, but I can't stand the grip angle on it. Everyone is different, and finding the one that's most comfortable for you is going to matter a great deal. Some of those ranges may well rent lockers as well, though you might consider buying a small safe. They're nice to have anyway so you can store important documents inside, but that's completely your choice.

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  • see317see317 Registered User regular
    If all you're looking for is a cheap plinker, I'd think a .22 rifle or pistol. Ammo is as cheap as you'll can find for a gun. And because it's a small round, it won't have much of a kick to it making it ideal as a starting place. Unfortunately, I don't have advice on specific brands. Just general advice to go to a gun store and find something that fits your hands and feels comfortable.

    Down side is (in my experience) .22s tend to fire dirty, and since chances are you have several hundred rounds in a box, you'll be firing a lot on an average day, so you'll want to disassemble and clean your gun before putting it up.
    I haven't seen a range that had work space for such an operation, though all of the gun ranges that I've gone too are out doors, so YMMV.

    I also haven't seen any ranges that have locker space for rent, long term. Buy a good quality gun case and keep it in the back of a closet so you can take it out whenever you want to go shooting.

  • ThreelemmingsThreelemmings Registered User regular
    edited March 2015
    see317 wrote: »

    Down side is (in my experience) .22s tend to fire dirty, and since chances are you have several hundred rounds in a box, you'll be firing a lot on an average day, so you'll want to disassemble and clean your gun before putting it up.
    I haven't seen a range that had work space for such an operation, though all of the gun ranges that I've gone too are out doors, so YMMV.

    Don't let this scare you away though, cleaning is super simple and takes like 10-15 minutes, and that's if you're really scrubbing everything. Personally, I clean every time I go shooting, it's relaxing and really isn't much work. But you certainly don't have to.

    Also for pistol storage just buy a cable lock for 5 bucks, lock the frame then store it and the slide in different places.

    Threelemmings on
  • Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    edited March 2015
    Get ye a Ruger 10/22 and shoot all weekend no mess no fuss. If you're paying more than 10c/round you're getting boned, regular Federal target ammo should be like $9/100 round box from Cabelas. Field strip, clean, and oil your firearm after every session, and give it a full teardown and inspection every couple of thousand rounds/6-9 months.

    EDIT: Actually rechecking prices, ammo costs for .22 seem to have halved since last time I looked. I'm seeing $19 for 333 rounds...

    Donovan Puppyfucker on
  • QuantumTurkQuantumTurk Registered User regular
    Thanks everyone, that is a great starting point!

  • TheZKTheZK Registered User regular
    Ranges that will let you store your firearms there are extremely rare, and generally I'd think they'd be less safe, theft-wise, than a safe in your closet.

    If you're not talking theft, and really unfamiliar with firearms to the point where you're not sure if having a gun locked in your closet feels safe, consider taking a class or a private lesson before buying. It's a completely normal feeling if you've not been exposed to the culture, but that's easily overcome with a little experience.

    The 10/22 suggestion above is fantastic. Also, consider a Savage MKII, which is a bolt-action .22lr rifle. I shoot long range, and have one as my practice rifle, and it's incredibly fun.

  • ThreelemmingsThreelemmings Registered User regular
    TheZK wrote: »

    If you're not talking theft, and really unfamiliar with firearms to the point where you're not sure if having a gun locked in your closet feels safe, consider taking a class or a private lesson before buying. It's a completely normal feeling if you've not been exposed to the culture, but that's easily overcome with a little experience.

    This is actually really important and I missed those implications of your questions when I first replied. There are some basic safety rules and concepts when handling a gun that you will need to learn. Even the shortest class offered at most ranges will be enough, but make sure you learn somehow. Don't be that guy that gets excited while shooting and turns around in your stall while still loaded.

    When I take friends the safety talk only takes like 5 minutes, but if you don't have someone who can show you stuff the first time definitely do a class or something.

  • EupfhoriaEupfhoria Registered User regular
    third'ed on the Ruger 10/22, it would be absolutely great for what you describe you want. Personally I would keep it at home, though, and forget about the on-range storage; just get a cable lock or something similar if you've got concerns about safety. The 10/22 is very customize-able too, as you will see when you start shopping around for one

    I'd also recommend starting out with rifle shooting, as pistols can be more difficult to master

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  • QuantumTurkQuantumTurk Registered User regular
    Yea, I have fired rifles/pistols before, with safety being a big concern. A class still wouldn't hurt though, thanks all.

  • hsuhsu Registered User regular
    edited March 2015
    I know a lot of folks love the Ruger 10/22 rifle, but I actually hate cleaning the 10/22, because it just doesn't field strip easily compared to a modern semi auto, the 20" small bore barrel is annoying to scrub, and cheap 22LR ammo is just plain dirty. Modern 22LR pistols, like the Ruger SR22 or S&W M&P22, are much easier to deal with, even with the dirty ammo, due to their simpler takedown and 4" barrels.

    In fact the cheap Ruger SR22 pistol or S&W M&P22 pistol make great starter firearms, one that you can lock up in a small safe that bolts onto large furniture (like a bed frame).

    hsu on
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  • Psychotic OnePsychotic One The Lord of No Pants Parts UnknownRegistered User regular
    Myself I like using my Ruger GP100 when I'm at the range. It fires .38 special and .357 magnum rounds. .38 special is pretty cheap. Gun shops out here in AZ sell boxes of it for pretty dirt cheap. And if I want to shoot heavier loads the .357 magnum isn't to terrible on a per shot or hard to find. I'd definately check to see if there are any indoor ranges near you that let you rent a gun and like 100 rounds to try a few guns and rounds to see what type of guns you like. .22 is fun but for me at least just doesn't have a satisfying recoil. .38 has some kick but not enough to really hurt. And the Ruger GP100 is really easy to clean. Just need to clean the barrel and cylinder after days at the range and it breaks down in just a few steps. Definitely check youtube for videos on how to break a gun down and see if its easy enough for you to take apart to clean when needed. It will give you an idea of what you will need to do in the long run.

  • Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    hsu wrote: »
    I know a lot of folks love the Ruger 10/22 rifle, but I actually hate cleaning the 10/22, because it just doesn't field strip easily compared to a modern semi auto, the 20" small bore barrel is annoying to scrub, and cheap 22LR ammo is just plain dirty. Modern 22LR pistols, like the Ruger SR22 or S&W M&P22, are much easier to deal with, even with the dirty ammo, due to their simpler takedown and 4" barrels.

    In fact the cheap Ruger SR22 pistol or S&W M&P22 pistol make great starter firearms, one that you can lock up in a small safe that bolts onto large furniture (like a bed frame).

    This doesn't look difficult at all: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xe4b1ytgOWQ

  • BouwsTBouwsT Wanna come to a super soft birthday party? Registered User regular
    TheZK wrote: »
    The 10/22 suggestion above is fantastic. Also, consider a Savage MKII, which is a bolt-action .22lr rifle. I shoot long range, and have one as my practice rifle, and it's incredibly fun.

    Have both of these rifles in my safe at home, love them. I especially like that 10/22 because there is SO MUCH aftermarket stuff for it. I plinked with the gun, then when I got a little bored I made it into something cool and new! Very satisfying, and very easy.

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  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    hsu wrote: »
    I know a lot of folks love the Ruger 10/22 rifle, but I actually hate cleaning the 10/22, because it just doesn't field strip easily compared to a modern semi auto, the 20" small bore barrel is annoying to scrub, and cheap 22LR ammo is just plain dirty. Modern 22LR pistols, like the Ruger SR22 or S&W M&P22, are much easier to deal with, even with the dirty ammo, due to their simpler takedown and 4" barrels.

    In fact the cheap Ruger SR22 pistol or S&W M&P22 pistol make great starter firearms, one that you can lock up in a small safe that bolts onto large furniture (like a bed frame).

    This doesn't look difficult at all: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xe4b1ytgOWQ

    Both of those pistols can be broken down in seconds without any need for tools or pin removal. I'd say that makes them both considerable easier to clean. Even my 11-87 breaks down with no need for tools, but that's hardly a plinker.

    I think the range at which you want to shoot matters when choosing pistol or rifle for recreational use.

  • hsuhsu Registered User regular
    edited March 2015
    Djeet wrote: »
    Both of those pistols can be broken down in seconds without any need for tools or pin removal. I'd say that makes them both considerable easier to clean. Even my 11-87 breaks down with no need for tools, but that's hardly a plinker.
    What Djeet said. Both the Ruger SR22 and S&W M&P22 pistols disassemble by popping a tab part way and lifting off the slide. The tab never comes off the frame, while the slide, guide rod, spring come apart as a single unit, and the barrel remains attached to the frame, which is why field strip takes mere seconds.

    I really cannot say enough good things about the modern 22LR semi auto pistols, due to their small size, light weight, ease of maintenance, low recoil, (if you can find it) cheap ammo, and similarity to other modern, larger caliber semi autos.

    hsu on
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  • Nova_CNova_C I have the need The need for speedRegistered User regular
    I have a 10/22 that I modded with a new barrel and stock, and it has pretty reliable .5 MOA accuracy at 50 yards, so even though the 10/22 is a semi-auto, it's pretty capable with not much extra stuff, should that interest you.

    If you start to get bored of the .22, though, here's something to consider: The .204 Ruger.

    It's one of the smallest center fire calibres around, and is phenomenally accurate. I have a Tikka T3 .204 that reliably shoots 1 MOA out to 600 yards, which is crazy for such a small calibre (I hand load, though). I also prefer plinking with the .204 at 100 - 300 yards because that is more fun and challenging, and the .22 caps out at less than 100 yards.

    It's more expensive, and the 10/22 is definitely the best place to start, but if you start to think bigger, and you probably will, the .204 is a great next step.

  • Donovan PuppyfuckerDonovan Puppyfucker A dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords in the morningRegistered User regular
    Nova_C wrote: »
    I have a 10/22 that I modded with a new barrel and stock, and it has pretty reliable .5 MOA accuracy at 50 yards, so even though the 10/22 is a semi-auto, it's pretty capable with not much extra stuff, should that interest you.

    If you start to get bored of the .22, though, here's something to consider: The .204 Ruger.

    It's one of the smallest center fire calibres around, and is phenomenally accurate. I have a Tikka T3 .204 that reliably shoots 1 MOA out to 600 yards, which is crazy for such a small calibre (I hand load, though). I also prefer plinking with the .204 at 100 - 300 yards because that is more fun and challenging, and the .22 caps out at less than 100 yards.

    It's more expensive, and the 10/22 is definitely the best place to start, but if you start to think bigger, and you probably will, the .204 is a great next step.

    A mate of mine got a Savage .204 a dew years ago. The thing is beautiful with its full-floating stainless heavy barrel and the custom carbon-fibre stock... (he has access to an autoclave as an airframe tech so he made his own stock using the original as a base to improve from)

  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited March 2015
    I recommend a .22 LR for long range target fun. Especially if you can get a scope. I find pistols get tedious fast.

    If you're looking for something specific, my enthusiast friend recommends either a M&P15-22 .22 LR or a Ruger 10/22

    The ruger is the less expensive option but it doesn't look as cool!

    among the advantages of rifles is you can just bring 4 big preloaded mags and shoot shoot shoot shoot

    Jasconius on
  • [Paragon][Paragon] I'm a real doctor, for pretend! North DakotaRegistered User regular
    M&P 15-22 hands down, you can find them online for a bit more than a 10/22, they are really really REALLY easy to shoot and clean. Bonus round! If you decide you like shooting and want to move up to center fire rifles then you already know the manual of arms for an ar-15, so it's really easy to transition. Plus the vast majority of AR accessories work with the M&P 15-22, so it's like legos....deadly deadly legos. :P

  • melissa1981melissa1981 Registered User regular
    edited March 2015
    lolol I know how you feel about being a southerner and not being into guns. I wasn't until around 2011. I'd never even shot one. Now my bf and I have hundreds of guns, he already a ton of them before we got together. The one in the pic is our baby, got it about 8 months ago. I, personally, prefer pistols and AR's. But there's nothing like the boom of a 50 cal. Definitely not for noobs though. It'll take your shoulder off and the scope will give you a black eye if you're not careful. I'm with everyone else, I think if you're just starting you may not want something with a great deal of firepower. I'd definitely go with a .22 LR. I should warn you though, buying guns are as addictive as getting tattoos ;) lol
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    melissa1981 on
  • NaphtaliNaphtali Hazy + Flow SeaRegistered User regular
    Yea, I have fired rifles/pistols before, with safety being a big concern. A class still wouldn't hurt though, thanks all.

    I'd absolutely recommend taking some sort of safety class before you go, or even better taking a class that covers gun basics that also takes you shooting. Anything that makes you more comfortable with what you're doing as well as making you aware of what you have to do as a shooter to keep yourself and people around you at the range safe.

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  • Forbe!Forbe! Registered User regular
    Many gun ranges offer a rental program, and some even allow you to apply anything you paid towards rentals to a gun purchase. I'm a huge fan of .22lr as a starting round, they're cheap, easy to handle and there are tons of firearms available from a variety of manufacturers. My personal favorites are Rugers and Henry. The Ruger MK3 or a Ruger 22/45 is a great semi auto target pistol. The Ruger Single Six/Bearcat are excellent single action revolvers. Revolvers are about as low maintenance as they get. The single six comes in several versions, including one that fires 17HMR and a convertible version that fires 22LR or 22WMR (commonly called 22 Magnum). I'm also a fan of lever action rifles, and Henrys are a reliable, well made gun, available in a variety of calibers and finishes.

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