Buying the Right Firearm: Shooting Lessons with Colonel Smoothbore
By Matt Schauer

Posted: August 12, 2012

Here’s a question, “I need a gun, what should I buy?”

Last week, we discussed choosing a discipline (shotgun, rifle, or handgun) and finding proper instruction to develop a safe and strong shooting foundation. After completing your basic firearms training, you’re ready to consider just what you need in a firearm. The answer to the first question is fairly easy-shotgun, rifle, or pistol.

Let’s start with the shotgun. There are dozens of shotgun manufacturers and importers who market thousands of different types, models, and gauges of shotguns. Also, there is the minefield known as the used gun market.

Once again, your instructor is your greatest asset in a search for a new gun. Most instructors and coaches will be familiar with the various types and gauges of shotguns and their intended uses. You will have to decide what the primary purpose of your shotgun will be.

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Do you intend to use it for hunting?
  • What will your quarry be; upland birds, waterfowl, big game such as deer or bear, or even varmints?
  • Maybe the clay target sports are what you intend to use your gun for. If so, do you plan on shooting trap, skeet, sporting clays, or even one of the international clay target sports?

Perhaps you plan to participate in several of them. Then there is the very strong possibility that you want to shoot the clay target games and also hunt with the same gun. Now that is a pretty tall order.

Start with a realistic budget. While one of the major factors in choosing a shotgun is the cost of the gun, ammunition expense should also be considered in any firearm purchase decision. You’ll also have to decide how often you plan to shoot and/or hunt. Licenses, transportations expenses, accessories, target fees, and gun club membership dues are also just some of the budget items that should be considered.

Next time, we’ll start chipping away at these questions, until then, be safe and good shooting.

Colonel Smoothbore

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