Noob questions

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Jan 3, 2006
I used to enjoy shooting BB guns at targets in my youth, but my folks wouldn't let me have my own since we had neighbors living behind us and there wasn't any good place to shoot one in our yard. I like the idea of target shooting at a range, and to a small extent I'd like to have something in the house since reports of break-ins while folks are home seem to be making it into the news occasionally. Trouble is, I only know some very basic stuff about handguns, like single action vs. semi-auto, and I can tell a 9mm from a .22. BB air rifles are the only thing I can say I've ever handled, and that was a long time ago. Any tips for a noob, like how to get my feet wet? Do these seem like reasonable reasons for having one? More importantly, where would I learn all the ins and outs of how to stay on the good side of the laws?
Ask around church/work/friends and see of you have anyone you know is already into guns and if they would be willing to let you try theirs out and teach you about them. I'm "that" guy for folks who want to learn in my area. I have at least an example or ten of most types of firearms and enjoy helping people learn about safe firearms handling. If you don't know anyone who is already in the hobby, look for a gunshop with a shooting range. Generally places like this will have a beginners' class to show you the basics and give you a little time on the range. One word of caution: if you walk in and all the employees are wearing camo/tactical gear, crew cuts, and generally seem like a bunch of egomaniacs... just leave and find another store. There's nothing worse than some macho jerkwad trying to show off the size of his piece when someone is just trying to learn. You'll know what I mean when you see the type. Excluding those clowns, most folks you'll meet at the gun range are the nicest folks and are genuinely happy to share their hobby with someone new. When I was first learning, many people let me shoot their guns and ammo so I could learn more. I got some great advice on technique and mechanics. I also got some horrible advice and misinformation from others, but sorting all of that out for yourself is part of the fun! smile Congratulations for wanting to look into firearms ownership. The more people are awakened to the joys and freedoms of gun ownership, the more chance we have of keeping them as a nation. Once you get settled in and have your own collection, be sure to share your hobby with others in a supportive, friendly atmosphere. Having brought nearly two dozen friends (three of them in particular were HARDCORE gun haters) into the fold of gun ownership over the last 8 years is a point of great pride for me. What's even more exciting is hearing about those people getting THEIR friends and family into guns, too! Have fun and be safe! Oh, and one more thing! Go ahead and google the 4 rules of gun safety now and memorize them. Above all else, that is the most important thing. Before I will let a person touch a gun for the first time, they have to be able to repeat those rules to me.
Excellent reply from musicmanbass! thumbsup Today there are some VERY good air rifles that allow you to shoot targets and they could get you some trigger time plus see if you want to go any further into the hobby. Of course it's my belief everyone should own a few .22lr rifles (a good bolt action and a semi-auto like the Marlin Model 60 or Ruger 10-22. Or maybe a lever action?) just because they ARE so much fun! So I'd follow the above post and ask around to see if you can go out and shoot with someone else and be safe. Then once you know that you want to get something ask away here or on our sister site for firearms and we will help spend your money! grin2 Take care, bill
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I was in your shoes back about 15 years ago. When I was about 12-13 my dad and I lived in the hills where no one was around for 1/2 mile or more. I've only shot .22, but never a hand gun. Now at 29, my wife and I didn't like the idea of owning a gun since we have small kids in the house. Her uncle has lots of guns (50+), we were talking about guns one day and he told me come up to his place in the mountains he would show me what he had. My wife and I went up there 2 times to show her how it can be safe if you know what you are doihng. So now my wife and I really enjoy the new hobby and proud owner of 3 hand guns. My advice is talk to random people who you think might be into firearms, read on message boards to learn new things. Those shoud get you started.
Many commercial ranges will rent you a gun (but you HAVE to buy their ammo) to try out. You should tell them they need to show you how the gun works. This is the second best option. The best is if someone could show you at your pace in a quiet place and explain to you what you'll see/hear/do at the range. I hope you follow up on this, I am so glad I decided to get back into shooting.
Excellent advice so far. I really can't add much, other than to say, there is a wealth of info available through google. Finding some local gun guys will be great; but make sure to spend some time on the web. Lots of bad info is still easily passed around today, in person; but on the web, most of the good forums will shout down bad advice pronto. Can't beat a pellet gun for practice in the basement. I have one, and have always just used an empty cardboard box stuffed full of cardboard. Staple on a sheet of paper, draw on a dot, and have at it. I found I don't care for CO2 guns; costs money for those and the accuracy goes down with only half the cannister used up. Plus, you feel like you oughta get your money's worth out of the cannister--even if you just wanted to shoot 5 or 10 pellets. I have a pump rifle--fun--but funner is the pump Crossman something-or-another handgun. It's large, but does emulate a single action trigger handgun.
Just a few weeks back I bought a used S&W 586 357 revolver with a 4" barrel. The revolver isn't as in vogue as the flashy semi's everyone wants. In your case a 4" 357 double action revolver would be a top choice, 6" O.K. too. For the most part I'd just shoot 38s & 38 +p ammo. It's not hard to find a good slightly used revolver for sale. Gun ownership mostly involves a lot of common sense. When you get to concealed carry & some transport you have to look into the laws in your state more. The site has a lot of good info.
Used guns are a better proposition than new: once the initial depreciation sets in, it depreciates at a much slower rate. But that initial depreciation can be large... One thing I've noticed, in reading various forums, is that most people who like to shoot tend to go through several firearms before they figure out just what they like. They need to try out a few platforms, see how they like recoil, operation, usage, etc. Eventually they hone in on what they themselves like. So, my point is, don't rush to buy brand new, thinking you've figured out exactly what you like/want. You may not like it in the future; and then you'll take a depreciation hit. Buy something used that you *think* you like; then buy as finances dictate. And trade around when you find one of your purchases is no longer to your liking.
I have a lot of guns, but only a couple were bought new. Buy used, from a trusted source (i.e. not a pawn shop unless - or until - you know how to check stuff out yourself). That will save a lot of money. As far as the law goes, you can get a lot of information from the NRA website. You don't have to be a member to get that information. However, if you get a gun and like it I'd encourage you to join. For my part, I recommend you get a little bolt action .22 rifle. I wouldn't get more specific than that, because make and model will largely be determined by taste. My wife and I each have one. They're a great way to get started. Cheap, accurate, very simple, safe and fun. You can't beat that. Great way to learn marksmanship and get used to general gun safety procedures. My .22s are still probably my favorite guns to shoot.
buying used is the best,I think you can get the best buys at pawn shops, I have bought over 75 guns from one pawn shop and never paid over 1/2 the value of the guns! where do you live in ohio.
Dave, few points to consider: 1. buy best of breed 2. wait to buy at good price point 3. you will have the most fun with a .22 lr and your wallet will not complain. 4. most ranges have gun rentals - try em out. 5. if you go the pawn star route - find a good gunsmith in town, pay him $50 or so to check the gun over.
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