Before you immediately close this and assume I have lost my mind or want to assert that there is no number, I ask you to read a little further. I have been shooting for over two decades, from plinking to three-gun, precision to military training, and a lot of hunting thrown in. I would argue there are specific tools for the trade for each of these, but if you do them all….. there is a lot that doesn’t exactly cross over, and if you are like me, your collection begins to grow, to the point where some guns are relegated to safe queens. Here are some things I am doing to save money, keep proficient, and not be forced to buy another 800+lb safe to move all over the country.
When I first started shooting, it was for plinking, which evolved into shooting three gun, which “justified” me getting more guns to practice, as well as to “train” for the military. Just covering that one section, I had two pistols, two shotguns, and one AR in 5.56mm. In order to adjust that when I got into hunting and more into concealed carry, I tried to streamline my firearms. A Glock 19, while not a race gun for competition, will work, and it makes a good carry gun, so that got rid of two for one. I had a pump shotgun and a semi-automatic tactical shotgun, so I sold them both and got a pump setup that could use a tactical barrel, a slug barrel, and a bird barrel…one shotgun, three uses. Finally, I looked at the AR, which was the long pole in the tent, as it was purpose-built to mimic my rifle in the service to practice and worked for three guns. However, I won’t use 5.56 to hunt, so it remained as a single unit for some time.
One of the things I have talked about before is common parts and calibers. I love 30 caliber rifles, specifically 308. However, I wanted a “battle rifle,” as mentioned in my other blog; I had to choose between an AR-10 and an M1A. I went with the former as 80% of the parts are compatible, and I am familiar with the platform as it is a beefier AR-15. Additionally, the AR-10 can use the same magazine and lower receiver but swap the upper receiver for a different caliber such as 6.5 Creedmoor, 243 Win, and others.
Additionally, other companies such as Mossberg have rifles in those calibers that you can use the same magazines. These rifles can also pull double duty as a hunting platform. Just mind your local laws for magazine capacities.
A specific target bolt gun will absolutely outperform a utilitarian rifle; however, you can get the practice and the competition out of a more utilitarian rifle. A nice crossover, such as a Bergara HMR, is a decent attempt to bridge the gap between hunting and match rifles which can work for both (albeit not as good as a designated one individually). This could also be achieved with a single higher-end AR-10 with a longer barrel, thus preventing the purchase of two rifles. This is a bit harder for pistols as a target pistol, or a hunting pistol rarely makes a good carry pistol, but you get the idea.
However, you will inevitably get a few that are just too awesome to pass up, that M1 Garand, German Luger, a classic snake revolver, or that lever gun identical to your grandpa’s. However, in a world of tighter budgets, rising inflation, and spouses not as enthusiastic about your spending on your collection, being able to use one tool for multiple uses might be the best option.
Also be sure to check out JM4 Tactical for your holster needs!
Author: Ian Bolser