Poor Man’s Arsenal Part 1

I have seen this theme come up again recently on several gun boards and have decided to make my return to regular blogging (I hope) by covering my version of this topic.

Over at AR15.com (link expires in 90 days) is a post titled “Every man needs a .22 rifle, a rifle, a defensive rifle, a shotgun and a pistol.” Now this is five guns, that’s a lot of iron and that much iron costs.  So how can we fill one’s presumed basic needs without breaking the bank?

Assuming the primary purpose of accumulating this arsenal is self-defense, a good place to start would be a basic shotgun.  Using the “Buy it now” price over at gunbroker as a guide I’ve assembled the following options:

  • Single Shot NEF 28” Barrel 12 GA Modified choke $171
  • Single Shot youth model NEF 22” Barrel 20 GA Modified choke $171
  • Remington 870 12 GA 26” Barrel $210 (used rough cosmetically)

Now I bet a few choked when they saw the single shot shotgun on the list.  However, it’s a viable option provided you have a method for carrying extra ammunition and are well practiced in its use. The price of the 870 surprised me but it does look a bit rough around the edges. It would definitely need to be checked out by a competent gunsmith (as all used guns should be) and may need a refinishing, but not absolutely necessary for our purposes.

The 20 GA youth gun made our list because it is ideal for small statured and recoil sensitive shooters.  I wouldn’t advise keeping a 20 GA and a 12 GA in the same house personally, but if you’re very careful about not mixing up the ammunition you should be ok.  Just keep in mind that a 20 GA round can be chambered in front of a 12 GA round.  The results are not something you want any part of your body near.

So we have our shotgun, all we need is ammo and we’re set right? Not at all.  If we go cheap we have a shotgun with one round on board.  It would be nice to have more if we needed it.  So what are our options?

First up we can use a buttstock shell carrier.  These bring 5 extra rounds to the table and run from $15 for an elastic version all the way up to$70 for  a fancy leather version (12 GA only). Advantage: They are attached to the gun and you won’t forget them. Disadvantage: I wouldn’t advise shooting from your off hand shoulder while behind cover with one of these. 

Next we have the Bandoleer  Eagle Industries offers two.  Along with 12 extra rounds one also carries two pistol magazines, or a light and a knife or anything else you can fit in the pouches for the price of $21. The other carries a whopping 56 extra rounds fro the price of $36.  Having used of of the latter bandoleers I’d get the $21 version.  Besides we’re trying to save money here.

Since the 870 is widely considered to be the premiere combat shotgun we will cover the total cost of outfitting the one we found. 

First up is a tech inspection.  Usually they run around $65.  We will assume that the shotgun is not in need of repair and you do not desire to have it refinished.

Next we need spare ammunition again.  We’ll just use the above prices and mention the $27 option of a side saddle carrier that brings an extra 4-6 rounds (12 GA only) and while attached to the gun does not interfere with an off-hand shooting position.

So lets add them up.

Our intrepid single-shot comes in at $192 for the gun and a 12 round bandoleer from Eagle Industries.

The 870 on the other hand come in at $296 if we go with the bandoleer or $302 if we go with the side saddle.

So for today we will stick with the single shot at $192 less the cost of ammunition and training,

Next time we will look at handguns.


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