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The 5 Most Dependable Long Guns You Can Buy

Image source: TheTruthAboutGuns.com

Image source: TheTruthAboutGuns.com

If you could only buy five long guns, which specific long guns should you buy – and why?

Here, we’ll answer that question in detail:

1. Ruger 10/22 .22 LR

This is simply the most successful .22 semi-automatic rifle in production. First introduced in 1964, the Ruger 10/22 has gained a stout reputation for being durable, reliable, accurate and easily customizable. In fact, the Ruger 10/22 is the second-most easily customizable long gun on the market, second only to the AR series of rifles.

The 10/22 comes equipped with a 10-round magazine, but after-market 25-round banana magazines and even drum magazines are highly available for greater capacity.

If you can only have five long guns, you need a .22 rifle — without question. Semi-automatic .22s are always a good choice due to their high capacity, and they’re enjoyable to shoot. Another popular and reputable .22 rifle is the Marlin 60; however, the Marlin 60 is tube-fed, resulting in slower reloading times and less capacity, and is also nowhere near as customizable as the 10/22.

2. Mossberg 500 Field Combo 12 gauge

The Mossberg 500 field combo shotgun is one of the most versatile shotguns available. A field combo kit comes with two barrels: an 18.5-inch barrel for self-defense and a 28-inch vented rib barrel for hunting and target shooting. The two barrels are very easy to interchange, essentially giving you a two-in-one package. The 12 gauge is also the most popular shotgun round on the market, so if you’re going to stock up on shotgun shells, the 12 gauge is without question the one to buy first.

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The Mossberg 500 is one of the most popular and reputable pump action shotguns ever produced, and is intended for use in harsh conditions. It is second in popularity only by a razor thin margin to the Remington 870 in America. The 870 also comes in field combo kits, so why the Mossberg and not the Remington?

Though personal preference is always the deciding factor, there are a few factors that arguably push the 500 just over the 870 in my view. The Mossberg 500/590 series is known for being the only pump action shotguns to pass the US Army’s Mil-Spec 3443E, which is a brutal torture test of putting more than 3,000 buckshot rounds through each shotgun in harsh conditions. The safety on the 500 is also naturally ambidextrous as it is placed on the top-rear portion of the receiver rather than the rear of the trigger guard of the 870. Lastly, there have been some reports that the Remington 870 series has seen a dip in quality in recent years. While these reports are all people’s opinions and millions of Americans still swear by their 870s and will for the decades to come, the Mossberg 500 remains a solid pump shotgun in today’s market.

3. Colt AR-15 5.56x45mm.

The most popular rifle sold off the shelves today is the AR-15, and for a variety of reasons: inexpensive ammo, ergonomics, high-capacity magazines, availability of parts, low recoil, and accuracy. The AR-15 is also perhaps the most versatile rifle on this list. It can be used for hunting (an AR-10 .308 would be better for larger game such as elk), is an excellent combat weapon, and in all regards, is a modern-day musket. All of the roles that were fulfilled by the musket in the Colonial-era have been fulfilled by the AR-15 in today’s modern age.

There are dozens upon dozens of different manufacturers of high quality AR-15s, but Colt has been making AR-15s for decades and they are held in high regard today. Colt makes a variety of different AR-15 models and variants, with some having different features than others.

4. Winchester 1894 .30-30

The most popular sporting rifle in American history is the Winchester 1894 in .30-30, one of John Browning’s greatest rifle designs and a top seller for Winchester. The .30-30 lever action is a very handy rifle to have and has become an American icon. The .30-30 is a popular American round allowing for availability of ammo and is also known for being an excellent deer hunting round. The 1894 itself is a very slim but robust rifle. This makes it an excellent truck gun, as well as for a light rifle to pack while scouting or hiking out in the woods.

Lever-action rifles can be easily customizable to give them a more tactical appearance and function in stark contrast to the more classic appearances from the Western days. While the Winchester 1894 should not take the place of your AR-15 as a primary combat weapon in today’s era, it’s still a neat and handy little rifle that is often overlooked.

5. Winchester Model 70 .30-06

Just like the 1894, the Model 70 is a legend and has always been a top seller for Winchester.  Winchester Model 70s, especially the pre-64 editions, are widely regarded as some of the highest quality production rifles ever made. The Model 70 has rightly earned the now well-known nickname “Rifleman’s Rifle.”

The .30-06 is one of the most prolific and enduring rifle cartridges ever sold in America. It’s an excellent hunting round that can be used on both medium and large game. You couldn’t ask for a more high quality hunting rifle than a scoped Winchester Model 70 in .30-06.

What long guns would you had to this list? Which long gun would you take off the list? Leave your reply in the section below:

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15 comments

  1. I’ll stick to my .308 and Ruger 10/22. Can’t afford the 30-06s shells.

  2. I think the Ruger 10/22 is a fine choice. I also like the idea of the .308 round. A Winchester Model 70 for hunting, together with an AR-10 for other uses is ideal. The shotgun is excellent, and if only a single firearm is to be had – the shotgun is it. I would not invest in a .30-.30.

  3. Choice #1: No question, but get the new breakdown model so it can be carried inside your bug out bag. Better yet, for the guy with limited budget, get a Ruger 22/45 Ultrilite with threated barrel. Just as accurate as the rifle, lighter, more easily carried, and suppressor ready. Choice #2: Good choice. Choice #3: The AR-15 is Barbie for men. What else is there to say. But I will come back to it later. Choice #4: A good alternative is the Marlin 36 which is probably less expensive new or used but is arguably a stronger action. I will come back to this one later, too. Choice #5: Your info on .308/7.62x52NATO vs. 30-06 is wrong. The .30-06/.308 use the exact same bullets across the board. The only difference is that the .30-06 is approx. 100fps faster for the same bullet wt. in factory loads with Hornady Superperformance factory loads bringing .308 loads up to .30-06 velocities while using premium performance bullets. The main advantage to .30-06 is when loading heavy, 200-220gr., bullets. So ballistically they are essentially equivalent with the main advantage going to the .308 because of the surplus ammo that is available.
    For the budgetly challenged or for the guy who just hasn’t totally committed to this whole TEOTWAWKI thing, forget #3,4, &5 and just buy one good quality SKS in 7.62×39. It’s a battle rifle, replacing the AR-15 with a better caliber and a rifle that is as reliable as a hammer, it is ballistically a little better than the .30-30 and as easy and light to carry, and it eliminates the need for the .30-06 altogether for everything except old griz and what the hell are you doing messing around in his turf, anyway? It will take down deer and elk out to respectable ranges and the the ammo is the cheapest centerfire ammo on the market. If your budget is even tighter than that, replace the SKS with a Moison-Nagant 91/30 in 7.62x54R and for the price of a good quality SKS you can buy the Moison and enough surplus ammo to fight the whole war with a rifle you can throw into the back of the truck with the pigs and chickens and pull it out in a year, piss on the action to clean it and start engaging targets out to 1000yds.

    • check out the ar 15 458 upper that fits the 223 lower thats all the knock down i need

    • Props for your assessment of the Nagant. I would also agree with having an SKS in the arsenal. I think both have a place, and that budget would determine which to buy first.

  4. There is no need for the .30-30. I would suggest essentially the same list, with minor changes.

    1. Bolt action .22 Mag.
    2. Any good pump shotgun with 3 barrel combo (tactical, smoothbore with choke tubes, and rifled with scope).
    3. AR-15. Min1-14 would be acceptable, but not as accurate. Scoped.
    4. AR-10 rifle in .308. Scoped.
    5. Good quality bolt action rifle in .308. Scoped.

    Bottom line: other than the .30-30, we are in close agreement.

  5. Mosin Nagant. A must have long gun. You can get new non – corrosive ammo cheap, it’s field grade accurate, and is basically soldier – proof. All for almost no money invested.

    I would also add/substitute a 12g single shot. You have the shotgun usefulness in a platform that is pretty much unbreakable. While not my first choice in defense firearms it allows hunting and some defense against 2 legged predators. The big advantage is that there isn’t much to break and reliability is the key to a useful firearm

  6. I agree on the Moisin-Nagant rifle variants. Some years ago, I tumbled(almost literally) into a sporterized carbine for sale, it had been counter-bored, and it is outstandingly accurate. Have plowed a lot of funds into extra ammunition, both commercial and surplus and a decent scope for it. It is a MILD shooter with all loads, but a heavy beast to sling. Have Ruger 10/22 rifles as well as Marlin model 60s’, both are excellent. Can’t go wrong with any Mossberg shotgun, they are rugged. Shotguns are good, just make sure you have appropriate ammo for it. I’m in a good position with the long guns we have on hand, as well as ammunition for them.

  7. I can only give you my battery, that has been built up over many years.
    1. Mini 14, with plenty 30 round mags.
    2. Smith & Wesson 916-T (take down), in 12 gauge, barrel cut down to 18″, with a
    “Lyman” muzzle brake, with 20/” hand checkering.
    4. An old Belgian side by side, all steel, external hammer, 12 bore, barrel cut to 18″. I know
    this is a bit idiosyncratic, but I like it, for working in confined spaces, vehicles, passages in
    house etc. You only need to glance at the hammers, to check readiness, or not.
    5. Oberndorff Mauser, with double set triggers, and 6 x scope, in .308. Will shoot 1/2″ minute of
    angle at 100 yds.
    6. Old Remington bolt action .22 LR, fitted with 4 x power scope, and sound suppressor.

  8. I think it’s a good list except that not everybody is familiar with break-actions, pumps, semi-autos, and lever actions and few have ever fired anything fully automatic. That being said, but not an obstacle-if you want to use, you buys it and learn.

    I have no problem buying any of the mentioned forearms, but I would consider a K98 Mauser or Lee Enfield as alternatives to the Moison Nagant or 30 caliber rifles for those who can’t buy whatever they want…. your on a budget.
    Regardless of ballistics, a bolt-action, while dependable and accurate, it changes your tactical position.

    I would choose an FN FAL in .308. I have never fired a lever-action and I think the semiautomatic and bolt action rifles would suit me better. Also it might be wise to have light and heavy rounds in your defensive firearms.

    Your article was 5 reliable choices, so while we can talk hours about choices, I can’t say what works better than another. So it’s good to discuss this topic often.

  9. I disagree with the 10/22 as being the “most reliable” in the 22 arena….personally the lever action Marlin .22 is a far better choice as it IS dead reliable, generally more accurate and having a better trigger than the 10/22 (no customization really needed) AND will take shorts, longs and LR. For the rifle instead of the AR platform (its ok…but not the most reliable) I’d stick with my Springfield Armory SOCOM in .308/7.62. It is a far more solid and reliable platform…with a far longer killing range (yeah, I know you can hit something with the 5.56 at 450 yds or so….but its not a reliable killer) And the SOCOM is a fairly handy length.

  10. Since I have to consider younger shooters, I would add the Rossi 410/22 with changeable barrels. Being break action doesn’t make it the fastest gun in the west, but it does add versatility to the kids’ hunting prospects.
    I would also concur with may of the suggestions already offered. I think that the expected circumstances and shooter’s position should be considered when deciding which type of action would be most suitable. For example, a lever action would present a challenge to cock in a prone position.

  11. Only need two:

    1) Savage 24 in 22 magnum (or 222 Remington) and 20 gauge
    2) Savage 99 in 308.

  12. The Winchester 1894 .30-30 is by no means the best lever-action rifle. The action is sloppy and prone to excessive wear.
    The Browning BLR is the best lever-action rifle by far. Smooth action, because its gear driven. External box magazine for easy loading and unloading. Plus its available in far more calibers than the tubular magazine models.

  13. My I recommend skipping the .22 for an 80lb pull pistol crossbow? Quieter, lighter, great for small game/birds, can make strings from para cord/boot laces/etc and ammo(bolts) can be made from pencil sized rod and duct tape. I’ve got one with an 8rnd magazine, lol.

    For the rifles, I went RPK (heavy built AK w/23″ barrel). Ballistics similar to the 30-30 but capable of 1000yrd “suppressive fire” if needs be, esp with a good optic. Cheap ammo and highly reliable. It bridges the gap between 223 varmint guns and the long range reach of the higher calibers(barely).

    I also went AK for my shotgun with a Saiga12. Again, high capacity and highly reliable.

    Bullpup the AKs and you have all that lethal versatility in sub 36″ firearms, with 23″ and 18″ barrels.

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