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!
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!
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!
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.
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.