National firearms panic?

The Yeoman Farmer reports some alarming news from his local firearms dealer. Apparently the election of Barack Obama has sparked what looks like a national firearms panic. Today’s Orland Press-Register runs a similar story.

The pistol pictured above is a Ruger GP100 .357 magnum, which I recently purchased on the advice of a good and knowledgeable friend. This revolver gets excellent reviews everywhere. Unfortunately, much as I believe in shopping locally, I was unable to make the purchase from our dealer here in Orland. They were not only out of stock, but so were their suppliers – the gun was backordered without an estimated lead time. I made the purchase in Butte County and probably paid too much money. Given the volatile political and economic situation today, I didn’t want to wait for prices to come down.

The GP100 is manufactured with barrels of various lengths. I ended up with the shortest – 3 inches – for marginally better concealability. Concealed carry permits are issued by the county sheriff. They’re easy to get in some counties, almost impossible to get in others. We’ve had a few incidents in Glenn County lately that are definitely cause for concern.

I’ve never been into firearms, so this is new territory for me. I’ve played around with our 20 gauge shotgun, shooting clay pigeons and water bottles, but that’s about it. The world of firearms is a subculture of its own, requiring not only technical skill and knowledge but a mastery of laws and regulations – especially in California. This is one hobby that could run away with your free time if you aren’t careful.

I am told that a rural homestead should have at least three firearms: a 12 or 20 gauge shotgun, a .22 caliber rifle, and an effective handgun for “social purposes”. I don’t have the rifle yet, but it should be useful for slaughtering and euthanizing farm animals, among other things. I’m leaning toward the Ruger 10/22 but am still open to suggestions.


10 thoughts on “National firearms panic?

  1. A Ruger 10/22 is a fine rifle, my dad’s had one ever since I can remember, and is probably the first firearms I ever shot. A good .22 for the homestead.


  2. I’m not a gun guy, and the only thing I’ve ever hunted is moose, which no doubt colors my impressions. But is a .22 caliber weapon (with whatever cartridge) sufficient to humanely kill a big farm animal? I ask not because I am saying that it isn’t, but because I don’t know, and it just strikes me as, well, potentially insufficient.


  3. I’ve found that a .22 sometimes isn’t “enough gun” to kill an animal instantly on the first shot, unless you place it perfectly in the brain. This is especially true for anything larger than a dog or cat. When slaughtering or euthanizing an animal, I’ve found a shotgun slug or .45 pistol shot to the head is the best bet and leaves no doubt.

    As “varmint rifles” go, a bolt-action .223 is a really good option.

    I got my highly concealable Ruger LCP .380 pistol before the election, and ran into a similar problem that you did with the .357 magnum: our gun shop simply couldn’t keep them in stock. Had to get on a wait list. Same thing with my (California illegal) semi-automatic rifle — and, again, that was before the election.


  4. Okay, I love my Henry .22, but it is a bit more expensive than some other .22’s out there (I think plain Henry’s run about $200 in SC money now.)

    As far as sufficient, remember during a slaughter, the gun is to stun and not to kill as you want the heart still beating when you stick it (goat, pig, cow, etc.)

    My Henry has knocked out and flipped over a 350 pound pig at close range, mid-forehead.

    A .22 will certainly kill a wild dog (I know from experience) or a coyote, and I have heard a very (very) good shot will take down a deer.

    Don’t like hand guns, and my torn rotor cuff shoulder won’t take much of a kick, so I am stuck with only the .22.

    Good luck.


  5. I make do with only a .22 and a .30-06. .22 is plenty of load to kill any animal humanely, provided it goes directly into the brain. When slaughtering, I NEVER shoot into an animal’s forehead. It’s always behind the ear, point blank range. when shot in the forehead, butting livestock, like sheep and goats, will actually deflect a .22 round, due to their exceptionally thick, double-layered, shock-absorbing skulls.

    The .30-06 is for home protection and hunting. If I have to kill it at a distance, it works very well. Since the child molester moved in down the road, my wife carries a S&W 38 P+P. It’s strictly an elevator range personal defense weapon, but that’s exactly what she wants.

    And the pig that was flipped by the .22, it wasn’t the impact that caused the flip, it was a muscle spasm caused by the massive brain damage inflicted by the bullet. The total impact of a bullet is always less than the total force of the kick. It’s just concentrated into a much smaller area.


  6. Of course the .22 didn’t flip the pig from force.

    I understand the caution you have on shooting goats, etc in the forehead, however, won’t a bullet behind the ear at point blank range kill the sheep or goat? You need the heart beating …


  7. Great discussion, gentlemen. Lots of good info. I especially appreciate Jim’s reminder that it’s best for the heart to be beating when the slaughtered animal is bled. I was present when a local rancher slaughtered a sheep with a .22 rifle, but I think it killed the animal which was subsequently bled hanging upside down. Anyway, the .22 rifle seems to be adequate for killing sheep and goats, and I’m thinking mainly of goats. I was led to believe using a .38 special or .357 magnum would be too “messy”. I’ve participated in a few goat slaughters in which the animal’s throat is cut – it’s a traditional Filipino custom – but, me being half city slicker, I find the process unpleasant and would prefer the goat be dead or unconscious while bleeding out. For cattle we have the local butcher come out to the ranch.


  8. The heart keeps beating for a few minutes after the animal is dead. Heartbeat is controlled by the autonomic nervous system not the brain. In any case, the throat must be slit immediately.
    The animal should be hung up as soon as the throat is cut anyway. It finishes draining the blood and makes it easier to butcher the animal.
    An animal can be stunned with a hammer blow, if you’re concerned about it.
    I have butchered dozens, if not hundreds of animals, mostly sheep, this way and have never had an animal suffer. The fellow who taught me how to butcher shoots them in the forehead, and does not have that record.


  9. Jeff,

    I would suggest a .22 rifle with a tubular feed, a 30-30 rifle along with a 12/20 shotgun to go with your GP100.

    Popular calibers and ammo supply is the key, at least 500 rds of each on hand for emergencies…

    Last time this type of buy up happened it was due to the flic “Red Dawn”


  10. Ditto James’s comment about having at least 500 rounds of ammo on hand for each firearm.

    An excellent source of bulk ammo is this online dealer:

    Don’t know if he has your caliber, or if he can ship to CA, but I’ve been impressed with his prices and service. He also does a lot of law enforcement sales, so has good prices on bulk boxes. i.e. 250 rnds of police-grade 12-gauge 00 buckshot is just $125 plus shipping, and no sales tax.


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