Choosing an Appropriate Firearm for Your Ranch or Homestead

| 7/28/2014 10:05:00 AM

Renee-Lucie BenoitHaving firearms is a matter of personal choice and never a decision to be taken lightly. We have firearms at our ranch but we are uniquely qualified to have them because my husband is a retired police officer. I’m not going to go into firearms for hunting. That is the subject of another blog. We have firearms to deal with predators like coyotes and rattlesnakes. We also want to be prepared for larger predators like bears and mountain lions, although encounters with these are few and far between. However, we have coyote and rattlesnake encounters on a regular basis. We also use the firearms to control ground squirrels because they eat our chicken feed, dig holes for our horses to step in and attract the rattlesnakes and coyotes that I mentioned before. In addition to that, we live far from law enforcement so we feel we need firearms for security.

You don’t have to be a retired police officer to safely have and use firearms but there are a few important things to know before you get them. If you’re not already familiar, we recommend that you attend a firearms safety class. A lot of shooting ranges have them and will also have firearms for you to try out. This is one suggestion. You shouldn’t even touch a gun until you’ve had a safety class if you don’t know anything about them.

Why do you want them? Have a good reason. Firearms are very dangerous. They are also very useful. So have a good reason and then do it right. It’s also very important to consider them carefully if you have children in the house or expect children to visit. If you do then securing the guns is of utmost importance.

If you take the course and have a plan for how to safely store the guns then here are some suggestions about the types of firearms you might find useful on your ranch or homestead. There aren’t any guns that are all purpose. You’re going to have to expect to get more than one if you want to cover more than one base.

For poisonous snakes, we suggest a gun that uses shot. You can get a shotgun, hand gun or rifle that uses cartridges that have shot in them. A poisonous snake is a small target and you don’t want to get close to it. Plus you don’t want to miss and have them get away. Shot is best. If you don’t already know, shot is a bunch of little pellets that spray out in a wide area as opposed to a bullet that is one object and goes to a small point. You have to have extremely good aim to hit a snake with a bullet. We’re not going to recommend any particular brand of shotgun, hand gun or rifle but we don’t recommend buying the cheapest models. This is because they can be defective which can be a danger to you and the people around you.

For small varmints like ground squirrels we recommend a .22 rifle. Practice, practice, practice. We don’t recommend going out and shooting without being reasonably assured that you can hit to kill. We aren’t in favor of any critter, no matter how pesky, to suffer. Sometimes a scope can help but you have to know how to calibrate and keep it aiming true. Otherwise the ordinary sight is effective. Again, practice, practice, practice.

Subscribe today

Capper's FarmerWant to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $6 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $22.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds