Firearms

Guns for Broke Ass Guys

Times are tough. Your budget is stretched to the limit. You’re eating cheap, driving less, and “going to the movies” means staying home and peering at your computer monitor. We understand, really. And that guy who just posted online bragging about his new SCAR 17 in .308? What a jerk! We’re in your corner, man. The Second Amendment is a right for all of us, rich or poor, not a privilege for those who still have money to burn. Don’t get mad, get even—here are some recommendations so that even broke ass guys can “occupy” a lane at the shooting range!

Cimarron Plinkerton
Go ahead, say it. Say "Yee haw." Its ok, I said it too.

We need a .22 LR, and to get as cheap as possible, let’s make it a revolver. The biggest problem with cheap automatics is that they jam a lot, right? Who wants to put up with that? Every time a cheap automatic jams, its like a little schoolyard bully taunting you that you couldn’t afford a gun that actually works. So skip ‘em entirely, and go back to old school cowboy cool. The Cimarron Plinkerton (har har, I do chuckle at that name) replicates the features and size of the classic Colt Single Action Army, but in .22 LR. We all know that .22 LR ammo isn’t as cheap as it once was, but it’s still the cheapest caliber by far. A lot of .22 automatics are finicky about the ammo they shoot; they want full power, jacketed bullets only or they short stroke, fail to feed, and there we are with the taunting kid again. The cool thing about .22 revolvers is that feeding, cycling, and extraction are all manual—there’s just not as much to go wrong. So shoot all day with the cheapest, cast-lead .22 LR bullets you can find, the Plinkerton won’t care. And the Plinkerton is less than $150!

S&W SD9
The Smith & Wesson SD9 is worth scrounging a few extra bucks

What if you’re not shooting for fun, but to defend your life? A .22LR is out, you need to step up to a centerfire cartridge with a proven track record, but it still needs to be affordable. So we’re looking for a 9mm. Our friends at Smith & Wesson have a new gun, the SD9, and its value is just off the charts. The “Self Defense” pistols bridge the gap between the bargain-basement “Sigmas” and the more expensive M&P line. You get a 1913 Picatinny spec accessory rail (unlike the Sigma’s rail that only takes a few lights specifically made for it), the same Melonite coating that is used on the M&P series, even a glow in the dark tritium front night sight, for $357. Did I mention the capacity of the 9mm SD9 is 16+1? But here’s the big kicker that makes the SD9 so much better than the Sigma—its trigger is better from the factory, and Apex Tactical recently released a trigger spring kit that costs less than $20 and improves it even more. The biggest knock on the Sigma has always been its long, heavy trigger pull, and nobody has come up with a way to fix it. Save up just a bit more and get the SD, and a trigger that rewards you instead of punishing you. It’s not that much more expensive! You can eat hot dogs and ramen noodles for a couple of weeks to make up the difference. C’mon, it’s like being in college again!

Marlin Model 60
When you get it right, you don't have to change your design. Marlin has been crafting these since 1960.

If you’re looking for the cheapest rifle shooting possible, its back to the .22 LR again. Check out the Marlin Model 60. You get a nice walnut stock, good iron sights with the possibility of adding a scope later, and 14 rounds of capacity in the tubular magazine ready to go as fast as  you can pull the trigger. Semi-automatic action for $132! That undercuts the Ruger 10/22 by a good chunk, and you get four more shots than the Ruger’s factory 10-round rotary magazine. Thousands of Marlin 60s have been sold in the last fifty years, and the design’s reliability and durability have stood the test of time. The 19” Micro-Groove barrel gives excellent accuracy for target shooting, for hunting small game, or… who am I kidding, for wreaking havoc on row after row of empty cans of generic soda! They’re sending another wave, men, prepare to repel boarders! Yes, I get carried away sometimes.

Rossi Full Size .308
The Rossi Full Size .308 can put food on your table

What if you want to use a rifle to put meat on the table? After all, a couple of good-sized deer can provide a supply of meat that will last you a long time and not cost much at all per pound if you process the animals yourself. Now a .22 LR isn’t going to do it anymore. Lets step up to a cartridge that can humanely take down any critter you’re likely to come across in North America—the .308 Winchester. I can see the wheels turning in your head, dear reader. How cheap are we going to get a .308 hunting rifle, seriously now? $400? $300? Try a Rossi Full Size Single Shot break-open for $168, ready to hunt. See, many cheaper hunting rifles save money by omitting iron sights and a scope mount entirely, so they aren’t as cheap as their price tag makes them seem. By the time you’ve bought a mount, rings, and even the cheapest 3×9 scope you can find, you’ve added at least fifty bucks to that price tag. The Rossi comes with a scope mount already included AND with excellent quality iron sights installed on its 23-inch barrel. Take it out of the box, confirm zero with a few rounds of your hunting ammo, and you’re ready to go look for Bambi’s dad. A thick recoil pad out back helps a bit, but even though it’s a full size rifle the Rossi only weighs 6.25 pounds unloaded, so full-power hunting rounds are going to kick hard. And the break-open action means you only get one shot at a time—better brush up on your marksmanship with the Marlin 60 before going on the hunt!

With these choices, you can plink for fun, hunt game to supplement your food supply, or defend your life, for less greenbacks than you ever thought possible. The Second Amendment is yours to exercise—don’t let these tough economic times stand between you and your rights.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (5)

  1. Guys it will be hard to believe what I say here, but I can prove every word. I Spent 33+ years of my life as a FLEA, with decent pay and pension. Sometime ago I was injured off the job and declared dissabled by Sol. Sec. Suddenly my income went from respectable to far below the poverty level. I contracted a life ending disease and had no choice but Chapter 7 because I mortgaged my pension to pay for some experimential treatment I received. Don’t dare blame me, When you are dying you will try anything. This is super short version. The Banckruptcy judge ordered me to sell, among other assets, all (10) of my guns. We have to chose DAILY if I can get meds or we can get food. I have not have a piece of meat, other than hamburger helper in more than 8 years. I haven’t been able to buy one news paper.

    You see for some a years’ old Lorcin has to be my total defense. I coulf not raise 150 for a .22 rifle, and we live in what is called Phoenix’s “Corridor”, a strip ten miles and roughly 2 miles wide I have bars on every window but they would keep the determined out. Since many know that I am on massive pain killers, I sit up all nit with a bat and a Lorcin. I sleep days, while my wife stays up.. I had a person lend me a 12 guage for a couple days, so I could fire off a couple “bluff shots” at nite; so people would think I had a shotgun!

    Doctors give me two years, I hope I out last the neighborhood bad ass’s. A vet should NEVER have to do this.. I poured my blood!

  2. If you’re looking for a less expensive option for putting meat on the table, you should consider a good-condition Mosin-Nagant or other bolt action surplus rifle. Yeah, they usually look pretty rough, and you’re not going to be doing sub-MOA shooting at 200 yards, but with practice you can hit minute-of-deer and ammunition is cheap. For less than $200 and a few days of practice, you can have a good-enough hunting rifle.

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