One gun to rule them all?

Rimfire bolt action rifles, lever action, pump action and self loading rifles. Air rifles.

One gun to rule them all?

Post by Latitude37 » 16 Nov 2022, 12:12 pm

Hi all.

Brand newbie. About to purchase my first firearms, looking for advice.
I'm on a small place in the SE of SA, surrounded by pine plantations on three sides. We've bunnies and foxes around and need to deal with them.
So, I've done my firearms course, done a lot of reading. Barely shot since I was a kid.
I don't intend (watch this space! Ha!) to have a lot of guns, these are going to be tools as much as anything.
So, 12g shotgun is a gimme. Local store has a nice 2nd hand Spanish O/U at what looks to be a good price.
Now, the query is about my first rifle. It'd be nice for both of us to be able to shoot comfortably.
I'm left handed, my wife is not. I found when doing my firearms course, that I didn't like the RH bolt actions. It seemed I had to take the gun away from firing position every time I reloaded, which obviously isn't the case with a lh action or a lever action.
It's going to be rare to see further than 200m. I recently set up some targets with a friend and his guns, and shooting down one side of my place, the targets were no more than 70m, and I could safely shoot out to 90 or so before the land dropped away and it wouldn't be safe to shoot.
Same friend commented that beyond 50m, the .22lr wasn't guaranteed a humane one shot kill on the foxes. He's got a .223 for those shots.
But I was thinking, would a lever action .22 magnum solve all my problems in one gun - given the distances. I don't intend to shoot a great deal. Just enough to get accurate enough to ensure clean kills. So cost of ammo isn't a huge consideration.
Or do I just get a lever .22 and later buy a .223 and be done with it?
Or do I just get a lh .22 bolt action (which seems to be more accurate) and let my wife's occasional shooting be less comfortable?
:sigh:
The big negative to .22 magnum seems to be the noise, which may scare subsequent targets away. Are the .22 wmr subsonics any good?
Sorry this is a long post.
TL;DR first rifle: .22lr or Magnum if I'm shooting bunnies and foxes no further than 90m or so?
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by Bushwalker » 21 Nov 2022, 12:53 am

The .22 mag isn't without its cons. As you've stated - noise. Subsonic .22 mag bullets will have the same ballistics as subsonic .22lr bullets given they're the same weight so no point picking a .22 mag if you're gonna shoot subs. .22 mag isn't a super-accurate caliber so to speak, and it is no longer cheap to shoot. By comparison .223 is inherently accurate, offers excellent flat shooting ballistics but it's loud. For now I'd buy the .22lr just due to the sheer amount of use it will see on rabbits, such a handy little round to have in the safe and the .223 can come later down the track
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by DaveZ » 21 Nov 2022, 5:16 am

I'm in a similar situation to you, although I already have a 22lr, but looking for something for foxes that are just a bit beyond the comfortable range of the 22lr, so I'll be interested to hear peoples thoughts.

Depending on what size block you're on, I reckon a 223 can be a bit more than is really necessary so the 2 I've been considering are the 17WSM and the 22 Hornet. Neither are all that common but if you aren't going to shoot a lot it's probably not super important. There seems to be so many calibres out there, all with their pros and cons, it's hard for us inexperienced shooters to choose what we need.
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by Bruiser64 » 21 Nov 2022, 6:20 am

How big is the property? That is an important consideration. Also what is the nature of the terrain? What are the backstops like? How much of a consideration is the cost of ammo? Will you only be buying factory ammo, or will you be looking to reload?

When looking to do pest control you can’t over emphasize safety and the need for a humane one shot kill. If it is safe to use a centrefire, they are a more humane choice for fox control. So if you can provide more details about your property and your other circumstances it will allow us to provide better informed calibre recommendations.
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by Oldbloke » 21 Nov 2022, 6:21 am

22lr first. And limit the shots on foxes to about 60 yards. Or just use the 12g.

Then 223.

You would like an ambidextrous rifle. Consider a break open, enherently more accurate than a lever.

When you get a 223, think about reloading. It can easily be down loaded to 22wrfm.

Reloading can be as cheap and simple or as expensive and complicated as you like.
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by bladeracer » 21 Nov 2022, 9:01 am

With a right-handed bolt-action, shooting from a rest or bipod you should be able to run the action without taking the rifle from your shoulder while keeping your firing grip on the rifle. But from unsupported positions, with a left-handed rifle you will have to use your left hand to run the action, with a right-handed rifle you would probably dismount the rifle from your shoulder, roll it to the left, and run the action with your left hand. Biggest problem with lever-action is getting one that is accurate, the designs do not lend themselves to bolt-action accuracy. If neither of you is able to adapt to the rifle I would just buy two rifles. In different chamberings it also gives you more options in dealing with pests - say .22LR and .223.

The single biggest advantage the .22LR has is the cost of shooting. You can lay in a paddock and put 200rds down range practicing for about $30-$50 depending on which ammo your rifle prefers. With the WMR/HMR/.223 you'll be looking at about $200 at a guess to get the same amount of practice. It's worth having a .22LR even if you don't intend to hunt with it, use it for learning and practicing.

Your mate is being realistic about the .22LR on foxes. Unless you have an accurate rifle that can reliably put the .22LR into the brain you will want to stick to closer shots. Subsonic WMR will do exactly the same as the .22LR as the velocities will be virtually the same as .22LR. Have you considered .17HMR? It has a distinct crack but is not what I would consider loud, certainly far quieter than your 12ga. will be, generally very accurate and should nail foxes out to 100m with good shot placement.

Another option is an 8"-twist .223 and handload your ammo to suit your purposes. The rifle will fire bullets from 30gn up to around 85gn. So you can load subsonic 35gn VMax to replicate .22LR for close-range head shots on rabbits and foxes, around 2000fps with 40gn VMax to do everything you might use a WMR for, and heavier bullets for larger beasts and/or longer ranges. With the heavier bullets the .223 is not far short of the .243 for dealing with dogs, pigs, goats and even deer. The jacketed bullets are more consistent and have better drag coefficients than cast .22LR bullets, so at .22LR velocities you should have better accuracy and longer range than you would expect out of a .22LR. For practicing you can also cast your own bullets and shoot low-velocity ammo very cheaply. A drawback to .223 currently is lack of supply of small rifle primers.

Also worth considering is whether you might want to come over to Victoria to hunt some deer occasionally. For deer here you'll need a rifle that fires bullets at least .243" diameter and 80gn for the smaller deer, at least .270" diameter and 130gn for larger deer. My preference is 7mm-08 for its versatility. You can load 78gn bullets way down to subsonic and use it to deal with your rabbits and foxes at close ranges, right up to 175gn bullets for the largest beasts.

To toss you a curve ball, you could also consider a PCP air rifle in .25-calibre. Range is the limitation, but as your distances seem short anyway that shouldn't be an issue. Relatively, quite, generally fairly accurate. Downside is mainly the cost and the annoyance of having to fill the tank or carry a pump or fill tank around with you. Pellets are into the same price realm as .22LR ammo.
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Latitude37 wrote:Hi all.

Brand newbie. About to purchase my first firearms, looking for advice.
I'm on a small place in the SE of SA, surrounded by pine plantations on three sides. We've bunnies and foxes around and need to deal with them.
So, I've done my firearms course, done a lot of reading. Barely shot since I was a kid.
I don't intend (watch this space! Ha!) to have a lot of guns, these are going to be tools as much as anything.
So, 12g shotgun is a gimme. Local store has a nice 2nd hand Spanish O/U at what looks to be a good price.
Now, the query is about my first rifle. It'd be nice for both of us to be able to shoot comfortably.
I'm left handed, my wife is not. I found when doing my firearms course, that I didn't like the RH bolt actions. It seemed I had to take the gun away from firing position every time I reloaded, which obviously isn't the case with a lh action or a lever action.
It's going to be rare to see further than 200m. I recently set up some targets with a friend and his guns, and shooting down one side of my place, the targets were no more than 70m, and I could safely shoot out to 90 or so before the land dropped away and it wouldn't be safe to shoot.
Same friend commented that beyond 50m, the .22lr wasn't guaranteed a humane one shot kill on the foxes. He's got a .223 for those shots.
But I was thinking, would a lever action .22 magnum solve all my problems in one gun - given the distances. I don't intend to shoot a great deal. Just enough to get accurate enough to ensure clean kills. So cost of ammo isn't a huge consideration.
Or do I just get a lever .22 and later buy a .223 and be done with it?
Or do I just get a lh .22 bolt action (which seems to be more accurate) and let my wife's occasional shooting be less comfortable?
:sigh:
The big negative to .22 magnum seems to be the noise, which may scare subsequent targets away. Are the .22 wmr subsonics any good?
Sorry this is a long post.
TL;DR first rifle: .22lr or Magnum if I'm shooting bunnies and foxes no further than 90m or so?
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by bladeracer » 21 Nov 2022, 9:06 am

Oldbloke wrote:22lr first. And limit the shots on foxes to about 60 yards. Or just use the 12g.

Then 223.

You would like an ambidextrous rifle. Consider a break open, inherently more accurate than a lever.

When you get a 223, think about reloading. It can easily be down loaded to 22wrfm.

Reloading can be as cheap and simple or as expensive and complicated as you like.


Good point about the single-shots, but not a break-action, that can be a pain in the bum when you're shooting prone off a bipod and you're never going to reload it while maintaining your sight picture.
I would look for a falling-block Martini or Ruger.
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by bigpete » 21 Nov 2022, 10:20 am

Being that you're in the south east,something big enough to drop a deer is probably going to be useful.
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by Oldbloke » 21 Nov 2022, 4:18 pm

bladeracer wrote:
Oldbloke wrote:22lr first. And limit the shots on foxes to about 60 yards. Or just use the 12g.

Then 223.

You would like an ambidextrous rifle. Consider a break open, inherently more accurate than a lever.

When you get a 223, think about reloading. It can easily be down loaded to 22wrfm.

Reloading can be as cheap and simple or as expensive and complicated as you like.


Good point about the single-shots, but not a break-action, that can be a pain in the bum when you're shooting prone off a bipod and you're never going to reload it while maintaining your sight picture.
I would look for a falling-block Martini or Ruger.


:thumbsup: Levers are a fun gun. But less accurate and can be a bugger to dismantle to clean. Falling-block Martini or Ruger is a great solution.
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by Oldbloke » 21 Nov 2022, 4:24 pm

bigpete wrote:Being that you're in the south east,something big enough to drop a deer is probably going to be useful.


:lol: :lol: I have a 30-06 I'm thinking of selling. Lol
Might be a tad over gunned for rabbits tho. :allegedly: :lol:
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by No1Mk3 » 21 Nov 2022, 5:16 pm

G'day Latitude37,
Just based on your post, a 22RF Magnum in lever or top eject pump action would be eminently suitable for your requirements, still quieter than the 223 some people are mentioning and very accurate out to 90m or more and more than enough power to kill foxes with one shot at that range. If noise really is an issue for you, then simply sneak in closer, say less than 75 yards and use subsonics but you will still have the option to shoot foxes with the magnum but personally I doubt noise will be an issue. If in the future you really want to go after bigger game then you cam look at centrefires but for now, based on your post, get the 22WMR, Cheers.
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by bigpete » 21 Nov 2022, 5:56 pm

Oldbloke wrote:
bigpete wrote:Being that you're in the south east,something big enough to drop a deer is probably going to be useful.


:lol: :lol: I have a 30-06 I'm thinking of selling. Lol
Might be a tad over gunned for rabbits tho. :allegedly: :lol:


Don't see why,just head shoot them. Lol
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by SCJ429 » 21 Nov 2022, 6:05 pm

bladeracer wrote:
Oldbloke wrote:22lr first. And limit the shots on foxes to about 60 yards. Or just use the 12g.

Then 223.

You would like an ambidextrous rifle. Consider a break open, inherently more accurate than a lever.

When you get a 223, think about reloading. It can easily be down loaded to 22wrfm.

Reloading can be as cheap and simple or as expensive and complicated as you like.


Good point about the single-shots, but not a break-action, that can be a pain in the bum when you're shooting prone off a bipod and you're never going to reload it while maintaining your sight picture.
I would look for a falling-block Martini or Ruger.

I second this idea, the Ruger #1 is a beautiful rifle and the falling block design is one of the strongest around. Perfect for left and right handed shooters. Get one in 223 and load for 22LR speeds or soup it up to speed well over 3,000 feet per second. I have four myself so am obviously a fan.
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by bladeracer » 21 Nov 2022, 6:15 pm

Oldbloke wrote: :thumbsup: Levers are a fun gun. But less accurate and can be a bugger to dismantle to clean. Falling-block Martini or Ruger is a great solution.


I tend to agree, I have six levers (maybe 7, can't recall), and they are fun, but I wouldn't grab one out of the safe for hunting when I have bolt-actions. One of the rotary-bolt, detachable-mag lever designs would be the exception, they can be as accurate as a bolt-action and avoid the feed and balance issues of tube mags.
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by Oldbloke » 21 Nov 2022, 9:06 pm

bigpete wrote:
Oldbloke wrote:
bigpete wrote:Being that you're in the south east,something big enough to drop a deer is probably going to be useful.


:lol: :lol: I have a 30-06 I'm thinking of selling. Lol
Might be a tad over gunned for rabbits tho. :allegedly: :lol:


Don't see why,just head shoot them. Lol


:thumbsup: How silly of me.
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by Latitude37 » 21 Nov 2022, 9:27 pm

Thanks folks, this has been really helpful.
Bruiser64, our place is only 1 hectare. Nearest neighbour is over the road about 4-500m away. Pine plantations surrounding us.
Mostly the issue we have is rabbits, so the .22lr is fine. I guess the noise issue that some have mentioned is that if you shoot one bunny, but scare the rest away, that makes it a longer job to control them? But with the extra powder, why doesn't someone make a WMR subsonic that's heavier than the .22lr offerings? Surely you could do a 48-50 grain subsonic that would hit harder than the 42 grain lr loads?
But then, sights for different loads...
I think the one gun idea is not really a good idea...
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by Oldbloke » 21 Nov 2022, 9:35 pm

22lr subbies. Preferably hollow points will do the job.

"Surely you could do a 48-50 grain subsonic that would hit harder than the 42 grain lr loads?"
Not cost effective. Would cost twice that of 22lr subbies.

There is: The Aguila SSS sniper subsonic ammunition 22lr. It has a 60 grains
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by animalpest » 21 Nov 2022, 9:41 pm

On a property of just 1 ha, stick with a .22 and subsonic hollow points. Even then, you will need to be very,very careful. A miss, or shoot through will result in the bullet leaving your property.

A square property of 1ha is just 100×100 m.

Me, I would be using an air rifle or consider alternatives to shooting.
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by Diamond Jim » 21 Nov 2022, 10:10 pm

You could try some of the "hyper velocity" .22LR like Velocitor and Stinger that go some way to bridging the gap between .22LR High Velocity and .22WMR for foxes although they sometimes have issues in actions other than bolt actions.
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by bladeracer » 21 Nov 2022, 10:24 pm

Latitude37 wrote:Thanks folks, this has been really helpful.
Bruiser64, our place is only 1 hectare. Nearest neighbour is over the road about 4-500m away. Pine plantations surrounding us.
Mostly the issue we have is rabbits, so the .22lr is fine. I guess the noise issue that some have mentioned is that if you shoot one bunny, but scare the rest away, that makes it a longer job to control them? But with the extra powder, why doesn't someone make a WMR subsonic that's heavier than the .22lr offerings? Surely you could do a 48-50 grain subsonic that would hit harder than the 42 grain lr loads?
But then, sights for different loads...
I think the one gun idea is not really a good idea...


Are you actually allowed to shoot on this property? It's not "built-up" or residential or anything? Seems unlikely with plantations but we had many acres of pine in Perth among the houses.

On a hectare you really need to have some good back stops to shoot toward, if you don't have natural ones it'd be worth getting a machine in and spending some time building something. You can't be risking your bullets exiting your property, unless your neighbours are okay with you shooting on their properties as well - the plantation people are very unlikely to give you permission so you do not want your bullets going over there. You can't shoot across or from the road and don't shoot even vaguely in the direction of houses or structures. But as long as you can shoot safely you can use whatever rifle you want. Be aware that if your shooting upsets the neighbours they may make noise complaints or even claim to be in fear of you, which won't end well. Let your neighbours know you are going to be shooting. If the rabbits are skittish they may all run away at the first shot with a .22LR, but if that shot is a miss you've achieved nothing. A shot with a .223 will certainly be louder, but if it drops a rabbit for sure then it's been worth it, take another one in the afternoon, or the next day.

On larger animals a heavier bullet might be useful, I don't think you'd see any difference on rabbits, perhaps not even on foxes, foxes are not tough. A heavier bullet would certainly carry more energy, but it's going to expend the extra energy into the mud behind the rabbit, not in it.

Any horses around? I don't recommend shooting anywhere near (within hundreds of metres of) horses, they're mental.
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by wrenchman » 21 Nov 2022, 10:31 pm

if you have not shot a rifle a lot and your partner has not start with a 22 and get one you will enjoy shooting only becouse i think you will be able to shoot more starting out and become more proficient then look at some thing larger.
you will find out when it comes to hunting shot gun and a 22 will have just about every thing covered
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by bigpete » 21 Nov 2022, 10:58 pm

Yeah with that size block,a good air rifle,or a 22 with subs is yiur best bet. Although,while not a common calibre,a 17 mach 2 may not be bad either, tiny little bullet is possibly less of a ricochet issue than a 22,and probably no louder than one.
As for noise,nothing we can legally use in Australia will 100% stop the rabbits noticing when one of their group gets knocked off....sure,you can often get away with multiple kills using subs and making headshots but eventually they'll work it out
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by Bruiser64 » 21 Nov 2022, 10:59 pm

Latitude37 wrote:Thanks folks, this has been really helpful.
Bruiser64, our place is only 1 hectare. Nearest neighbour is over the road about 4-500m away. Pine plantations surrounding us.
Mostly the issue we have is rabbits, so the .22lr is fine. I guess the noise issue that some have mentioned is that if you shoot one bunny, but scare the rest away, that makes it a longer job to control them? But with the extra powder, why doesn't someone make a WMR subsonic that's heavier than the .22lr offerings? Surely you could do a 48-50 grain subsonic that would hit harder than the 42 grain lr loads?
But then, sights for different loads...
I think the one gun idea is not really a good idea...


Hi latitude, as others have said, your options on a property that size are very limited. I would suggest that poisoning, trapping, and warren ripping are likely to be more realistic pest control measures than shooting. If you did want to use a rifle, one of the modern air rifles may be a better option.

To answer your question about subsonic ammunition. Subsonic means the projectile travels at less than the speed of sound, which is 1130 feet per second. A projectile of identical weight and velocity will have the same amount of energy, irrespective of whether it was fired from a 22lr or 22 mag. The reason you use the magnum is because it has a higher velocity than a 22 lr, and therefore will have more energy. Winchester make a 45 grain subsonic 22 magnum round. It wall have more energy than a 40 grain subsonic 22 lr round.
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by Die Judicii » 21 Nov 2022, 11:28 pm

DaveZ wrote:I'm in a similar situation to you, although I already have a 22lr, but looking for something for foxes that are just a bit beyond the comfortable range of the 22lr, so I'll be interested to hear peoples thoughts.

Depending on what size block you're on, I reckon a 223 can be a bit more than is really necessary so the 2 I've been considering are the 17WSM and the 22 Hornet. Neither are all that common but if you aren't going to shoot a lot it's probably not super important. There seems to be so many calibres out there, all with their pros and cons, it's hard for us inexperienced shooters to choose what we need.


Why not meet in the middle, and go .17 HMR ?
The HMR at these distances is just as accurate as the WSM, plus the ammo is readily available and most likely cheaper.
Yet again, the HMR at these same distances you mention is also very capable for both foxes and the bunnies.
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by Die Judicii » 21 Nov 2022, 11:37 pm

Latitude37 wrote:Thanks folks, this has been really helpful.
Bruiser64, our place is only 1 hectare. Nearest neighbour is over the road about 4-500m away. Pine plantations surrounding us.
Mostly the issue we have is rabbits, so the .22lr is fine. I guess the noise issue that some have mentioned is that if you shoot one bunny, but scare the rest away, that makes it a longer job to control them? But with the extra powder, why doesn't someone make a WMR subsonic that's heavier than the .22lr offerings? Surely you could do a 48-50 grain subsonic that would hit harder than the 42 grain lr loads?
But then, sights for different loads...
I think the one gun idea is not really a good idea...


It never really is Mate,,,, :lol:

PM coming your way.
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by Oldbloke » 21 Nov 2022, 11:44 pm

animalpest wrote:On a property of just 1 ha, stick with a .22 and subsonic hollow points. Even then, you will need to be very,very careful. A miss, or shoot through will result in the bullet leaving your property.

A square property of 1ha is just 100×100 m.

Me, I would be using an air rifle or consider alternatives to shooting.


Yep 1 ha is tiny.
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by Die Judicii » 21 Nov 2022, 11:52 pm

I'm thinking that with only 1 Ha then the biggest problem you'll have is LEGALITY.
Are you legally allowed to shoot on such a small holding ?

For the long term members on here,,,,,,,, I'm now experiencing flash backs of "Jenna Geight"

If you are legally allowed to shoot there,,,, I would again suggest a .17 HMR due to the fact,, that round was apparently brought about by US Military wanting a "safer" round for newbie recruits whom in general had never ever used a firearm.
ie: the .17 HMR would disintegrate on the slightest of obstacles thus being much safer than other calibers that can carry on through, even after a richochete.
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by Oldbloke » 21 Nov 2022, 11:55 pm

"I'm thinking that with only 1 Ha then the biggest problem you'll have is LEGALITY.
Are you legally allowed to shoot on such a small holding ?"

I have doubts too.

Bigpete, where are you?
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by bigpete » 22 Nov 2022, 5:49 am

Oldbloke wrote:"I'm thinking that with only 1 Ha then the biggest problem you'll have is LEGALITY.
Are you legally allowed to shoot on such a small holding ?"

I have doubts too.

Bigpete, where are you?


SA. As far as I'm aware there's no size limit on the block itself,but you're meant to be a certain distance from built up areas. Even then I'm not sure the exact ruling as we used to shoot in the vineyards in McLaren Vale with no issues
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Re: One gun to rule them all?

Post by Latitude37 » 22 Nov 2022, 7:32 am

Well, having just done my firearms course, I can tell you the legal situation. Technically, I can shoot anywhere I live. For example, if I built a big berm on a suburban block, I could technically shoot there, as far as the firearms legislation says. However, part of the crime act says that if someone feels threatened or scared of your use of firearms, that's a crime. So it's a bit fuzzy. Fortunately for me, my nearest neighbours are the people who introduced me to the guy who's teaching me to shoot, and he comes around my place a few times a year to clear what he can off my place and theirs.
As for the safety, I live on the undulating side of a hill, so there's plenty of options for me to shoot on my small property, and have a safe backstop. But that's why I'm limited to shooting shortish ranges. I think I worked out the longest sight line down one fence, from a raised part of my block, I could maybe get ~120m to the back corner, in about a 30 degree arc, without endangering my water tanks! I was also thinking about whistling foxes out of the pines, because there's loads of them in there, and that's a concern when I start keeping more animals. So I can pretty much shoot safely and legally, so long as I'm sensible. I'm over 50 years old, now, so sensible is sometimes possible. :)
Thanks again for all your thoughts. I think the concensus makes sense. I'll get a .22lr lefty bolt action, and if my wife wants to shoot more, a 2nd hand .22 in a rh action won't be lots of money to add to the safe later. Then a .223 later on, maybe. Those ruger single shots look really lovely...
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