Looking into getting into the hobby of shooting and guns. Advice?
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:16 AM   #1
Zefrik
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Looking into getting into the hobby of shooting and guns. Advice?


I have been thinking about looking into learning gun basics and safety. I have always had an interest in guns but my parents never wanted to have anything to do with guns. In fact my parents seemed to have a very negative opinion on anybody owning guns. My mother has become a little bit more lenient on the thought of myself owning a gun recently. I believe it is because her boyfriend has a couple pistols.

What would be the best first step to starting in the hobby? I am guessing some kind of gun training course or something similar to that. If so where would I find such a thing?

I know with me being 18 I can't legally purchase any handguns (which seems like a strange law).

I am familiar with how guns work. Over the years I have owned all sorts of BB guns and airsoft guns. Of course they are not the real thing, but they give a similar feeling as to whats to be expected from a real gun.

*Note*
I know guns are a dangerous tool that can cause harm if mishandled. I heard the whole thing repeatedly as long as I have been able to "talk" about guns. I respect the power of a firearm and I am wanting to overcome this lingering notion that guns are "criminal" objects and more of a tool.
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Old 01-14-2013, 07:45 AM   #2
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dont buy cheap weapons and buy things that ammo is not hard to find. I would start with a shotgun, Remington 870 12 gauge, a .22 rifle or if you want a pistol as .22, all will be reasonably priced and ammunition is plentiful, learn to shoot them, handle them, store them and clean them. It is a fun way to spend time, but it isn't cheap...and gets more expensive the more you learn. Gun safety is pretty much common sense, best advice you can get is always assume it is loaded, a round in the chamber with the safety off and never assume others know that rule and act accordingly.
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:30 PM   #3
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Look into joining local private gun club. You will meet other people with similar interest, go to events and take safety courses.

Start simple with some .22 target shooting and maybe some clay pigeon shooting with a shotgun. I've found anyone that is turned off by guns quickly starts having fun while shooting clay pigeons with a 12g.
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:37 PM   #4
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The gun club is the best way to go. If you can get some lessons, you might be surprised how much you can learn from some one on one instruction.
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Old 01-14-2013, 02:48 PM   #5
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I agree on the instruction. Personally, I have a CCW for 17 states and am so glad I received lots of training before I did. Every 6 months or so a refresher lesson is a good idea if you don't shoot at a target club.
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:41 PM   #6
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You can check with your local gun stores about places to take classes or receive training, even the people at a place like Bass Pro will probably be able to point you in the right direction. Heck, even the people at Wal-Mart might be able to help, but I wouldn't go there first haha. Google can also work wonders, just search for your state and "gun classes" or "hunter safety" and you'll be on your way.

Personally I would suggest getting a shotgun as your first gun, it is a lot of fun going to the range and shooting targets but nothing really beats taking a buddy out with you and spending the afternoon shooting clay pidgeons. Moving targets are much more fun, and make you a better marksman IMO. I wouldn't suggest buying a 12 gauge, those guns are heavy and have more kick than a smaller gun. I would suggest a 20 gauge shotgun, it's much lighter and easier to handle (plus it's easier on your shoulder!) and if all you're doing is shooting clays it provides PLENTY of power haha. Anything you want to hunt with a shotgun can also easily be taken with a 20 gauge as well, except maybe a turkey. Even then, shoot it in the right place and you get the same result. Most people would suggest a 12 gauge because POWER! SIZE! MORE! but I think if you really view a gun as a tool you should select the right one for the right job. Just like you wouldn't use a giant power sander or saw to make a pinewood derby car I feel a big, heavy 12 gauge is overkill for the kind of shooting you seem to be looking to do.

If you want a rifle, go with a .22 because ammo is CHEAP and you can have a lot of fun plinking targets with a gun that has no recoil and many of the same features as a much more expensive rifle. As you get more accustomed to guns and the hobby you'll probably want something more powerful, but as far as target practice and taking small game goes nothing really beats the price and ease of a .22.

Pistols... I don't know much about. I know you can hunt with one (but personally I'd rather use a rifle or shotgun) and they are a TON of fun to shoot at the range, but to me a pistol is more of a self-defense weapon. For someone who currently doesn't own a gun or have much experience, I feel that a rifle or especially a shotgun will provide you with a much more fun shooting experience. Besides, if your mom's boyfriend owns a few pistols you could just go shooting with him, it'd be much cheaper than buying your own and you could still get a feel for the gun all while having a nice time with him as well. Win-win, IMO.
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Old 01-14-2013, 03:59 PM   #7
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As someone who grew up with guns in the home and then spent time in the army, it makes me smile when I hear about people that want to get into shooting sports. I would start with a .22 rifle, you can get a decent rifle for relatively cheap, ammo is dirt cheap and .22 caliber is the best caliber to fine tune shooting skills for even a seasoned marksman(IMHO). As far as a shotgun, it also would be a good first gun, especially because the shot will not travel very far, so you can safely use it in areas that a rifle would be dangerous. 12 gauge or 20 gauge, if you are an average size 18 year old, either one will be fun to shoot with the proper shooting technique.

As far as where to learn gun safety, try your DNR website for some online reading, then all the aforementioned suggestions are great. Include handgun ranges as places where you should be able to at least find out where a safety class will be held. Everyone should take a few safety classes every once in a while, and it should go a long way to show your mother that you are taking owning a firearm seriously.

If you have any questions about specific makes/models of firearms, please feel free to PM me. Or for that matter, any other questions. As a final note, get a good trigger lock, not only to prevent accidents, but to keep people from monkeying with your gun
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Old 01-14-2013, 04:09 PM   #8
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Great advise about buying a quality new firearm in a cal. you can find & buy good ammo for in @ a reasonable price. Shooting is 1st & for most about consistency. When you start to shoot you need to learn the form 1st. From there we learn the skill set to manage recoil. Recoil management is more phycological than physiological.

I'll offer the age old advise for new shooters Ruger 10-22 .22 cal. rifle. There is hundreds of hours video on you tube about the Ruger 10-22. DO NOT get all messed up in your head with all the Tact-a-COOL mods. At this point you want to learn to shoot.

You can find a basic NEW wood stocked Ruger 10-22 at Cabelas, Bass Pro, awl-Mart, Dick's for around $219. I suggest CCI AR-Tactical bulk ammo 1200fps 40gr. copper jacked round nose ammo. It's around $23 for 375 rounds. It's consistent, the 10-22s feed it well and it is rather clean to shoot. A slightly heavier rifle will shoot more accurately for a novice due two the total mass weight.

You can find cheaper ammo of course but your learning curve will suffer with inferior ammo. Also if you change ammo type/brands it's hard for a new shooter to learn due to the inconsistencies in speed of the bullet.

After you learn how to shoot a rifle. You can consider a 22 pistol or revolver. This way you'll have two firearms in the same cal. that can share ammo.


I feel the shotgun is the most versatile firearm one can own. You can hunt everything from quail to deer. You can spend hours shooting sporting clays and it's pretty much the king of home defense armaments.

I don't feel it's the best firearm for a new shooter. I definitely think every shooter should own one.

And most important get a mentor, join a club, take lessons from a certified NRA instructor. It's much easier to learn the skills correctly the 1st time than it is is to fix poor shooting foam later.

Always think and stay safe around firearms. Best of luck
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Old 01-14-2013, 04:45 PM   #9
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Love what DogFish said about moving on eventually, but keeping it smart and sharing ammunition.

Every gun (obviously) shoots differently, and you'd be best off making a contact with an experienced sportsman you can go to a range with and test what feels right.

I live in a well regulated state, but I learned how to shoot on a 12 gauge, and I was never that accurate.

I quickly fell in love with how hand guns shot, and I got accurate with them.

My only advice is if you ever go into a forest to screw around, just never fire in a direction houses are in *OR* always try to fire towards something with ground behind it.

We made a hill by piling dirt and put our targets up in front of it. You never can be too careful with anything other than a scatter shot.
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Old 01-14-2013, 04:56 PM   #10
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Glad to see everyone coming in and supporting your decision.

Also a 22 is a great starter weapon as everyone has mentioned, back in WWII they were used as a training weapon for learning to shoot. Simple and accurate weapons.

Also it's a good stepping stone, as your ar rifles use a .223 round aka 5.56 which is for the time being one of your most common ammos.

Definitely look into local gun clubs also see if the NRA has any branches near you. Or even your local gun shop could provide plenty of info if not offering training classes.

As mentioned by you earlier guns can be dangerous, they are a weapon with a specific purpose, however it's up to the person carrying it on how it's used.


Also you can always enlist

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Old 01-14-2013, 05:29 PM   #11
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There are numerous firearm courses around and all will teach you firearm safety. Since your not 21 and cannot buy a handgun, consider a shotgun or rifle. A 22lr is cheap and you can buy ammo by the thousand for $25. A 12 gauge or 16 gauge is also good starter. Watch out, I'm a gun enthusiast as well as a planted tank enthusiast and I can tell you guns are way more expensive hobby then aquariums.


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Old 01-14-2013, 05:39 PM   #12
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+1 on the Ruger 10/22. There are all kinds of aftermarket parts you can buy to dress it up and customize it, too.
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Old 01-14-2013, 05:45 PM   #13
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I'm in the same position, later in life but thinking I want to get into it. In Canada though, it's harder to get your license and everything. The positive, is you can go to any gun range that has a certified instructor and shoot without any license or owning the gun and use the guns and ammo provided by the club.

I am going to do this in spring a few times to see if it's something I want to invest my time in applying for my gun license and going through all the hoopla involved in that and buying a gun, etc.

Instead I can spend $80 and go fire a variety of handguns, shotguns and rifles and see what I like and if I'm interested in or not.
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:50 PM   #14
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Does anyone know where to get one like this?
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:58 PM   #15
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Don't get me wrong, it's for home defense... Can I shoot clay with that?
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