Best Self-Defense Bullets

Obtaining ammunition was certainly no picnic during 2020, a year when understandably wary Americans purchased a whopping 23 million guns. (I pulled that figure from CNN but have no reason to assume it is accurate. Getting the real facts about firearms these days can be tricky, and it’s never reasonable to assume you’re getting them from big media or big tech.)

The best-laid plans couldn’t have prepared us for that surge in demand.

The big American ammo manufacturers – Winchester, Hornady, Federal Premium, Remington, and the like – were all eager to get their latest output into the hands of law-abiding citizens. Although, the pandemic’s impact on lead and copper production greatly limited what they themselves were able to produce, and component primers are still scarce. Overseas manufacturers like Prvi Partizan, Sellier & Bellot, Eley, Wolf, Tula, and even lesser-known entities like Igman and Sterling all stepped up as well.

With a surge in new gun owners, it’s important to make sure there’s accurate information out there for common (and uncommon) questions.

Most people wanted to know if a certain cartridge would work in their new firearm. Oftentimes these folks had bought a Glock 17, 19, or 43 and wanted to know if it would fire 9mm. Probably the most elemental question possible to ask, but understandable: Glock, a European manufacturer, stamps “9×19” on their slides and not America’s preferred “9mm.”

Nearly as many others asked me to recommend the best self-defense ammo for their new firearms. New and seasoned gun owners alike were especially disappointed this year because that .380 ACP ammo became exceptionally scarce during 2020. Chalk that up to the 380 pistol’s manageable recoil and ease of concealment, which are the two most sought out features for first-time gun buyers.

It’s important to understand what makes one bullet more suitable for personal protection than others. Here are the best self-defense bullets currently available, and why they’re good at their jobs.

ammunition

Full Metal Jacket (FMJ)

I’m including the FMJ because it’s the most common type of projectile, which means FMJ ammo may be all you’re able to find at times. To be certain, the FMJ is not one of the best self-defense bullets. Its simple solid lead core and gilding metal jacket make the FMJ incapable of delivering terminal expansion, which is the defining characteristic of a self-defense bullet.

But the FMJ has often been used to neutralize (or, to put it less politically correctly, kill) people. This is because the Hague Convention, which is honored by the United States and most other countries, places a moratorium on the use of expanding bullets during international warfare. The rationale is that a non-expanding bullet incapacitates a soldier just as effectively as a more lethal expanding one. It’s good enough so long as that guy can’t fight any longer, so why bring about any more pain and suffering than absolutely necessary?

In short, all the ammo the U.S. Armed Forces use in combat is FMJ ammo. (Or other bullets which also can’t significantly expand.) A 124 grain FMJ striking a threat with over 300 ft lbs of energy is not going to do said threat any favors no matter how you slice it, which makes the FMJ a worthwhile fallback in the event you can’t find something better.

Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP)

This is what I mean by “something better.” There are plain, non-jacketed hollow point bullets as well. These are made of pure lead, so they’re too soft to reliably feed into a semi-auto’s chamber, but they’re a perfectly acceptable choice for revolvers.

A hollow-point bullet operates on a simple principle. As its nose cavity fills with pressurized liquid and soft tissue, its surrounding core and jacket are forced to spread outward. This has the very obvious benefit of enabling the JHP to gouge a significantly wider wound cavity into its target than its original diameter alone could account for. It also lets the JHP exert more of its energy outward instead of merely forward, and furthermore significantly reduces the chance of overpenetration putting an innocent bystander in harm’s way. You only want your bullet to hit the bad guy, after all.

On a side note, the JHP often takes a lot of criticism because it’s “designed to be deadlier.” Question who’s making claims like these. A JHP isn’t designed to kill. It’s designed to stop the person who’s threatening immediate physical harm to your person, and its lower chance of passing through the threat has probably saved more bystanders than we could reasonably estimate.

JHP bullets are often available with performance-enhancing features. One of the most common among these is the bonded jacket. A bonded jacket stays rooted to the core when a non-bonded jacket might have peeled away from it. This lets the bullet retain the mass and resultant momentum it needs to penetrate deeply into its target.

Many if not most JHPs have skives (aka notches) radiating around their nose cavities. These strategically weaken the jacket, thus assuring it splits apart along a uniform axis to promote more reliable expansion at lower velocities. Some JHP bullets (like the Speer G2 and the Hornady MonoFlex) have elastomer in their nose cavities. This supple substance facilitates terminal expansion by getting squashed down during penetration so it can place more pressure against the nose cavity.

You may also find semi-jacketed hollow point (SJHP) bullets. These are also designed to deliver terminal expansion within soft tissue. They tend to expand a little quicker without a jacket to constrain the lead around the tip, but because the SJHP’s tip is relatively soft it’s less commonly loaded in semi-automatic firearms’ cartridges.

Soft Point (SP)

The SP is commonly loaded in rifle cartridges, although some handgun rounds also offer it. This bullet hasn’t got a nose cavity. Instead, its jacket leaves the lead core exposed at the bullet’s tip, which lets the lead flatten down as it meets with resistance from soft tissue. A soft point looks a lot like a mushroom after it has come to rest inside its target, which provides comparable benefits to the JHP’s terminal expansion.

SP bullets often feature bonded jackets as well, such as Speer’s Gold Dot and Federal’s Fusion. If you’re buying 223 Rem SP ammunition, it’s a good idea to look for the bonded jacket, because too shallow a wound channel may fail to reach the threat’s vital organs.

Wadcutter

Wadcutters are cylindrical bullets. Its awkward profile can make it difficult for a wadcutter to reliably feed in a semi-auto, which is why we nearly exclusively find wadcutters loaded in revolver rounds.

The wadcutter’s profile makes it ideal for shooting paper targets, as it will punch a much cleaner hole through a sheet of paper than the FMJ’s usual round nose profile could manage. A wadcutter’s flat, circular meplat (aka tip) also cuts a wide wound channel into soft tissue – without the need for terminal expansion!

You might be asking: “Why not just select a self-defense bullet that’s designed for terminal expansion?” Well, terminal expansion is only possible if the bullet hits its target with a high enough velocity. A snubnosed revolver is unable to give a bullet a relatively high velocity because its short barrel doesn’t give the propellant gasses enough time to transfer their energy to the bullet during ignition. That’s why if you carry a snubnosed revolver – especially one which is chambered for a cartridge that isn’t very powerful to begin with, such as the 38 Special – you may be better off hedging your bets with wadcutter loads.

Wadcutter bullets are also available with hollow-point nose cavities, or as “semi-wadcutters” which have slightly tapered profiles that make them more aerodynamic.

Non-Expanding Self-Defense Bullets

In recent years, we have witnessed the rise of non-expanding self-defense bullets (not counting the wadcutter, which relies solely on the diameter of its nose profile to inflict a devastating injury). Examples of non-expanding self-defense bullets include the HoneyBadger and the ARX. Look at these bullets and you’ll notice they have grooves molded or machined into their shanks. That’s where the magic lies.

Non-expanding bullets are designed to create massive wound cavities within soft tissue. Their lateral grooves pressurize any soft tissues they come into contact with during high-velocity penetration, and subsequently jet them outward in lateral directions – often at higher velocities than the bullet itself is traveling in!

Why omit a nose cavity when the JHP is indisputably effective for personal protection? Because the hollow point design has a couple of major shortcomings. First, it gives the bullet a flat nose profile that may complicate feeding in a semi-automatic. Second, if that nose cavity becomes clogged with debris like wallboard or thick fabric, it may inhibit the bullet’s ability to reliably expand within soft tissue.

Bullets like the ARX and HoneyBadger don’t possess either of these shortcomings. And because they’re made out of materials that aren’t as dense as lead, these bullets also manage to achieve very high muzzle velocities, which in turn grants a flatter trajectory and greater energy delivery at short range.

Buckshot & Slugs

We’re moving out of the realm of pistols and rifles and into that of shotguns (as well as revolvers that can fire shotshells like the Taurus Judge and the S&W Governor). Buckshot and slugs aren’t bullets per se, but their efficacy for self-defense is indisputable.

When selecting a shotshell for self-defense, you’re going to want to make sure you avoid birdshot. Birdshot is typically numbered between #9 and #1, as well as B, BB, BBB, and T. Although these smaller diameter shot pellets are capable of inflicting a deadly injury, they’re just not reliable enough when you want to neutralize the threat as quickly as possible.

Pick buckshot instead. These shot pellets are numbered 4 through 000, with 000 being the largest shot pellets commonly available. The police pretty much exclusively favor 00 buckshot (aka double-aught) in their line of work, but you can pick smaller buckshot pellets if you’d like to reduce your chances of over penetrating your target.

Slugs are essentially giant bullets, and will not give you the spread that shotshells are popular for. They’re extremely effective for home defense, as a one-ounce chunk of lead traveling at 1,500 feet per second or faster does exactly what you might imagine to its target. Slugs may also have hollow point nose cavities which enable them to expand, but take care – these powerful projectiles are pretty likely to pass through a human-sized target!

Frangible

Frangible bullets are made out of compressed metal powders. They disintegrate when they hit a hard surface, and are popular for shooting metal targets because they virtually eliminate the chance of a dangerous ricochet or splash-back. Many people use frangible bullets for home defense when they really want to avoid hazardous overpenetration. If you go this route, just make sure you’re aware a frangible bullet cannot expand and is still capable of penetrating a human threat as well as multiple layers of wallboard!

Final Thoughts

That just about does it for the best self-defense bullets. As a parting thought, make sure you train with the same ammo you would use for personal protection. It is crucial that you familiarize yourself with its performance before you ask it to do the most important job in the world for you – even if it is more expensive than conventional FMJ range loads!

Tips for Game Hunters

Tips for Hunting SeasonHunters in North America have generations of experience in hunting game, whether its small game or larger animals like deer, elk or bear. People hunt with rifles, handguns, muzzleloaders, bow and arrows, and even cameras. Whitetailed deer roam throughout the U.S. Some people hunt for sport while most hunt for food. Deer are located in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, but they differ in size in different areas.

Getting Prepared

Good hunters know the rules of the land long before hunting season begins. You should study safety manuals and local and state laws before setting foot in the woods. Novice hunters often get advice from their elders as well as training instructors. There is no such thing as having too much knowledge.

Know the Rules

Every state has specific laws about hunting. Game wardens protect certain areas of the land and also enforce the rules that should be observed by hunters. You should choose a location that suits your purpose while making sure it’s legal, whether it is on public or private land. Hunters planning to set up on private land must have the owner’s permission. The state must issue a license no matter what you hunt or with what type of weapon. Game Wardens also regulate the type of ammunition that can be used. Old-timers who know the rules should brush up in case of any changes in the law.

Tools

Hunters love guns and accessories, but there are more things that should be on the list to make your hunting trip a success. The list of a hunter’s tools includes the gun using (.30-30, .243 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, handgun or bow), camouflage clothing, weather-proof outer wear, compass, ammunition, food, water, cell phone, and a hunting knife, for starters. Unprepared hunters can often end up injured, missing, or worse.

Location is Everything

Animals have magnificent senses. They count on those senses to survive. Every seasoned hunter has an opinion on how to hunt deer, whether it involves stalking them in the woods or by sitting in a tree stand. Smart hunters know the lay of the land before they go out into the woods, usually in the dark. You should know how to spot and track the signs of different animals. You should learn to listen for rustling in the woods as well as knowing what sounds the animals makes. Don’t get so caught up in tracking your prey that you get lost. It is easy to get lost in the woods, especially in the winter.

Get a Hunting Buddy

Hunters often hunt alone, but it’s not a wise move. You could get injured and not make it home safely. You could break an ankle or be cornered by an animal. If you must travel alone, carry a flare gun and a cell phone to call for help. The buddy system guarantees that you can get help if needed. A buddy also makes the hunting trip more fun.

Enjoy the Experience

Experts call hunting the ultimate sport. No matter what you hunt, ensure that you practice safe habits and are using the right tools. You should never leave an injured animal to die. Most of all, enjoy the experience.

Best 1911 Pistols

Gold custom 1911

Firearms enthusiasts have many weapons to choose from, but there are few who are more devoted to their guns than those who own 1911 pistols. The 1911 is known for its excellent steel frame and adjustable trigger. Some complain that the trigger, while the best on the market, requires a breaking in period. You may find a gun that’s more advanced, but never one that’s as iconic as the 1911.

History

John Moses Browning designed many weapons during his career, including the 1911 .45 ACP, Winchester 30-30, Remington Model 11, and Browning High Power. He also supplied the military with the Browning Automatic Rifle and Browning .50 caliber Machine Gun, along with many .30 caliber and .50 caliber machine guns made by Colt. Browning held 128 gun patents, creating many famous firearms during his forty-seven years as an inventor.

In 1889, Browning began to experiment with self-loading weapons. Browning converted Winchester’s 1873 lever-action model to an autoloader. He used the principle of using the action of gas at the muzzle to create Colt’s Model 1895 machine gun, which was referred to as the “Browning Potato Digger.”  The Army asked Colt to create a .45 caliber cartridge. Browning modified a .38 autoloader to handle a .45 cartridge. The Army conducted grueling field trials on Browning’s gun. Experts asked for changes and more tests. Browning made the changes and developed the M1911, a locked-breech, single-action semi-automatic pistol. On March 29th, 1911, the Army adopted Colt’s .45 Automatic pistol, the Model 1911.

The Best 1911 Pistols

Springfield Armory 1911 Range Officer Semi Auto Pistol – .45 ACP/9mm

Springfield produces high quality guns and their 1911s are no exception. Their most popular guns are the Champion, Loaded, and Range Officer. Novices choose the Range Officer for range training and practice. The gun gives off low recoil and has excellent accuracy. The beginner-friendly firearm sells for less than $1000.

Ruger SR1911 .45 ACP Semi Auto Pistol

Ruger makes a classically designed pistol with modern features. Its solid construction provides many years of regular use. Its all metal, lightweight frame is easy to handle and offers high accuracy. Ruger designed the gun to appear like the original but has added modern safety features, including an oversized beavertail thumb safety.

Smith & Wesson SW1911 E-Series – .45 ACP/9mm

Smith & Wesson introduced its 1911 series in 2003. They introduced their lineup of 1911 pistols in 2003. S&W upgraded its SW1911 to make the SW1911 E-Series, with a tactical rail, 5” barrel, precision trigger, and tritium night sights for front and back. One negative is the price, listing at over $1000.

SIG Sauer 1911 Emperor Scorpion .45 ACP Centerfire Pistol

SIG Sauer offers the 1911 Emperor Scorpion, a .45 ACP centerfire pistol. It features a stainless steel frame and slides, made with American parts. The pistol is heavy but has a Hogue Magwell grip, high level of accuracy and a superior trigger.

Colt Combat Elite

Colt make high quality firearms. They released the first 1911, so it makes sense that one of their models would make the short list. Colts makes the Combat Elite with forged steel, and offers a single safety side lock, Novak low sight, enhanced hammer, and a beavertail grip safety. The MSRP is $1000.

How to Store Ammunition Properly

 Ammunition Storage Box

Gun enthusiasts often buy ammunition in bulk, whether it’s for stockpiling, hunting, or target shooting. Ammo storage is key to protecting your investment. The rules for proper ammo storage are simple. You don’t need a gun vault or special equipment to keep your rounds cool and dry.

Temperature

Everyone will tell you that the first rule of storing ammunition is to keep it cool and dry. Experts store ammo in a temperature controlled environment, usually inside the home. You can use a gun vault, closet, or any location that isn’t subjected to fluctuations in heat and humidity. A basement may work fine in some cases.

Storing ammo in attics, vehicles, and outdoor buildings (like sheds) are never a good idea since they get hot in the summer. Heat and humidity cause big problems with ammunition. It can change the chemical composition of the gun powder, causing misfires. It can also cause corrosion of the casing. If that happens, you should just throw it away and start with a fresh batch.

Ammo Storage Containers

Ammo storage containers are available online and at most retail stores that sell ammo. You don’t have to purchase the most expensive one on the shelf, in fact, any airtight container will work. Some argue the merits of plastic versus metal. Others will use household containers like Tupperware. Adding moisture-absorbing packets (desiccants) to the container will help with the humidity. If you have children, add a lock to the container for safety.

Avoid using old metal containers as the seams aren’t usually airtight.

Shelf Life

Experts say that ammunition can easily last up to 50 years or more. Ammo stored in the original box should be used in the next 12 months or less to prevent damage to the cartridges and your weapon.

Surplus Ammunition

Surplus ammunition can be a great buy. Smart buyers ask the sellers how the ammunition has been stored as incorrect storage can make the ammo useless or dangerous.

Labeling

You should label ammunition for a number of reasons. First, it will prevent a novice from mixing up calibers. Second, it will make it easy to locate the caliber you’re looking for without opening the airtight boxes. Dating the boxes will allow you to rotate stock as you purchase new ammo.

Safety First

Safety is key when storing guns and ammo. Kids open drawers, boxes, and everything they aren’t supposed to, and that includes ammo storage containers. Parents must teach their children how to respect guns and ammo at a young age, so the kids know that they should never be touched without adult supervision. A gun vault or locked ammunition box (and gun box) are imperative if you have children or there will be children on the premises. You should always store guns and ammo separately. If you keep a loaded gun in the house, make sure that it is under lock and key to avoid accidents. This safety guide offers tips and ideas of how to keep your home and ammo safe.

 

 

The .243 Winchester as the Ultimate Hunting Cartridge

.243 Winchester is a hunter's dream

The .243 Winchester, AKA 6×52mm,  was introduced in 1955 for its two most popular rifle models, the Model 70 bolt-action and the Model 88 lever-action. Winchester used a case from a .308 Winchester to create a bottle-necked, rimless, centerfire cartridge that was designed to control varmints. Designers reduced the case, necking it down to handle a bullet with a flat trajectory. They wanted to create something that would be able to kill larger varmints, like coyotes, that couldn’t be taken down by a .22 bullet.

An Instant Success

The .243 Win was an instant success with hunters due to its light weight. The 70 to 85 grain round proved to be perfect for varmint hunters. They needed a round that could take long-range shots, as long as 400 yards. Hunters targeting medium-sized game such as whitetail deer, coyotes, mule deer, pronghorns, and wild hogs use a 90 to 105 grain cartridge to ensure a kill. The .243 is considered to be the most popular deer hunting cartridge on the market, therefore it’s always easy to get.

Versatility

Shooters appreciate the .243 for its versatility. It is the first commercially produced round that covers both sides of game hunting. It uses soft point and power point bullets with weights ranging between 55 and 115 grains. Muzzle velocity ranges from about 2,800 feet per second (FPS) to 3,900 feet per second (FPS). The muzzle energy ranges from 1,700 to 2,600 foot pounds (ft-lbs).

.243 Winchester Ackley

Gun enthusiasts are familiar with rounds that have been altered by legendary munitions expert P.O. Ackley. Ackley was a famous wildcatter, writer and firearms expert. He was always after a larger case capacity, and began re-chambering his weapons. He used fireforming on various rounds, decreasing the body taper and increasing the shoulder angle. The result was a higher case capacity. In 1955, he created the .243 Winchester Ackley. The cartridge sported a 10% larger powder capacity with a slightly increased velocity.

Ackley opened his Oregon-based gunsmithing business in 1936. WWII interrupted the operation, and then he re-opened in Colorado in 1945. Ackley adapted over 30 rounds to meet his specifications. Some wildcatters honor Ackley by saying their creations are “Ackley Improved.”

Attributes and Benefits

Many hunters credit the round as the one used to take down their first deer. Shooters like the low recoil and low noise. It makes it easier to use for smaller or less experienced hunters to get a solid bead on their target. High accuracy made it a smart choice for the Los Angeles Police Department Special Weapons And Tactics unit to adopt shortly after it went to market.

While the .243 is popular in the U.S., internationally the round is subjected to UK’s Deer Act of 1963. The legislation restricts weapons and rounds during certain seasons. The law specifies a minimum bullet diameter of .240 inches. This makes the .243 an entry-level cartridge for legal deer-stalking. However, the .243 is available in other countries, such as Spain, where it takes the place of guns using restricted “military calibers.”

 

The Underappreciated .380 ACP

The Underrated Colt .380

The .380 ACP has been popular since 1908 when it was introduced by the Colt Manufacturing Company. John Browning designed the cartridge for Colt’s Model 1908 pocket semi-automatic pistol. The innovative round is light, but has less stopping power than its heavier counterparts. The ammo remained popular during World War II and beyond until the military shunned it in favor of the 9mm. It remained popular among European law enforcement agencies until the 1980s. Despite the waning popularity, the gun and ammo remain favorites with people seeking a compact gun for self-defense or concealed carry.

Legends and Myths

Shooters have criticized the .380 ACP almost since it appeared on the market. Naysayers spread myths about the gun and its ammo, saying things that simply aren’t true. The facts show that those spreading the myths haven’t used a .380 often enough, if at all. If you have doubts about the effectiveness of the ammo, check the ballistics stats.

.380 ACP Isn’t Inaccurate

Shooters unable to hit their targets with a compact gun automatically blame the gun, the ammo, or both. I won’t dispute that compact guns are harder to shoot, and micro-sized guns are even more difficult. However, that doesn’t mean that the ammo is inaccurate. The .380 ACP is made for close range targets, not taking down a bear at 200 yards. Gun owners should know the capabilities of the gun they are using and practice with those goals in mind.

No Stopping Power

Stopping power is directly related to shot placement. Some may claim that their .45 is defective because it didn’t take down their target. What they don’t say is that they shot him in the elbow. Most bullets will stop their targets if the shot is placed correctly, and the .380 is no exception. In fact, it works well in close range situations. If a shooter is unable to stop an attacker or intruder with a single shot, he should return to the range.

.380 ACP is Made For Women

Annie Oakley might take offense to that statement, claiming, “Them’s fightin’ words.” And Annie would be right. The gun is small, but that doesn’t mean that it was made for someone with small hands. Shooting any gun, including a .380 ACP, takes skill. Shooters know that small guns are often harder to shoot, and anyone – man or woman – needs to practice shooting to learn to manage the recoil. You can’t pick it up for the first time and follow in Annie’s footsteps.

.380 ACP isn’t Good for Self-Defense

This comment relates to the myth about stopping power. A gun owner doesn’t need a .45 Mag as a self-defense weapon. It’s true that .380 ammo won’t cause hydrostatic shock, instantly debilitating its target. For most purposes, that would be overkill. However, it will stop an attacker provided the shooter knows how to aim and uses quality ammunition.

Conclusion

Ammunition manufacturers are specific about ballistics but knowing how ammo performs in a given situation is up to the shooter. Do your homework and use the right tool for the job.

 

Collectors List of Best Places to Buy Antique Guns

Antique Revolver

Collectors are always looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. They want the rarest of the rare, the one gun that they can’t live without. We’ve all heard the story about that Picasso in the attic. Does that happen with guns? The answer: it just might.

The Search

When you’re looking for the ultimate collectible, anything can happen. The best deals can pop up in the unlikeliest places. Unless you are a seasoned collector, be sure about the items you buy. Not everyone is out to cheat you, but know the basics. Knowing what’s authentic can save tens of thousands of dollars. Newbie collectors should be educated. Know which maker’s marks are pertinent to your weapon. Examine the provenance. Check to see if there have been modifications. If buying from a private seller, know state and federal laws. No one wants to buy a gun only to turn it over to law enforcement. Investing time in research can be the difference between going home with a Mercedes or a Yugo.

Auctions

Places to Buy

Fellow Collectors

Gun collectors have their own community. Becoming a serious collector is made easier if you can find that community. Developing relationships within the group can be extremely beneficial. You can gain knowledge and get rare opportunities to buy guns before they go on the open market. Good friendships can form over common interests, but don’t be foolhardy. Even if you’re about to realize your lifelong dream of becoming the next Sgt. York, don’t buy that vintage Colt 1911 without an appraisal or before checking the provenance. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Live Auctions

A tried and true way to buy collectibles is to attend a live auction. Each auction publishes a catalogue available to the public. It allows you to be able to browse the offerings beforehand. Each listing gives info on items for sale and makes it easier to decide what to buy. Reputable companies like Christie’s have been holding specialty auctions for more than a hundred years. Rare items may be easier to find, but can cost you. Auctions may be more expensive than buying privately, depending on the item being sold and the amount of interest. Don’t get caught up in auction fever and spend more than your bank account allows.

You may examine the merchandise if you attend the auction. That’s when knowledge is most important. If you have any questions, ask. There are sure to be experts everywhere that will help out.

Firearms auctions are usually advertised nationwide. Catalogues may be posted on the internet, giving you time to peruse before the event. If unable to attend the auction in person, you can bid as an absentee buyer. You may also be able to bid through an online service. An absentee bidder must have complete faith in the auctioneer, the process and the gun’s value. Due diligence can determine the reputation of the auctioneer and auction house before bidding.

Specialty Dealers

Looking for one specific item? A reputable specialty dealer may be your best bet. It also saves time if you don’t want to traverse gun shows or spend hours at auctions. A good dealer will have access to items gun shops may not. They also tend to be at the top of the list when a vintage piece or collection goes up for sale. Choose dealers with experience and a longstanding reputation. They tend to have the best connections and aren’t willing to risk their business by hoodwinking a potential customer.

Online

Buying online can be a blessing or a curse. Experienced collectors have been buying online for years. Some find it the easiest way to track down hard to find gems or rare collectibles. Buyers should be savvy to state and federal laws regarding the sale and purchase of firearms. A boon to the industry is that eBay prohibits the sale of firearms. That policy made way for several top sites to create their mark – GunsAmerica.com, GunAuction.com, and GunBroker.com to name a few.

Sadly, there are more disreputable dealers that reputable ones. Before buying, have direct contact with the gun owner. Do not work through a third party. Check references and ratings. Know the seller’s return policy and check out their ratings and references before laying down any money.

Online classified sites may offer opportunities to buy weapons. Seasoned collectors tend to avoid them or proceed with extreme caution.

Gun Shows

Collector shows aren’t as common as commercial shows, but they do exist. It’s a great way to meet like-minded individuals. You can see what other collectors and sellers have to offer. Chances are that you’ll get to see things you’ve never imagined. While you may not be able to buy, you’ll likely go home with a very long wish list.

Yard Sales

Yard sales often offer more than baby strollers and chipped dishes. People saddled with a garage full of boxes often put them out for sale. High end locations may offer valuable surprises.

Storage Lockers

Think buying a storage locker is a sure way to find treasure? Think again. Chances are you’ll end up with a pile of junk. Also, guns found in a storage locker must be turned over to authorities. Save your money and your time.

Estate Sales

Estate sales can be gold mines. Check published listings of items to be sold. Listings aren’t often too specific, but rare gems can be found. Stay until the end and  you could walk away a winner.

No matter which path you choose, be smart. Learn to do your own appraisals to save time, money and heartache. If that’s not an option, develop a relationship with an antique rifle appraiser. You’ll always have someone that can be trusted to steer you in the right direction.

 

3 Tips for the Novice Gun Collector

If you’re thinking of collecting guns, there’s a lot of information out there, from the most valuable pieces to add to your firearm collection to guns that are most likely to increase in value. But to the novice gun collector, it becomes overwhelming.

To make things a little easier, and take some of the pressure off, here are three tips to get your collection started, regardless if you’re spending $200 or $2,000.

Novice Gun Collector Tip 1:

Every gun collection must start somewhere, so don’t worry too much about that necessary first piece. While some people collect any and all firearms they can, most have some sort of theme to their gun collections. Some common themes include:

  • Historical periods, such as World War II era or guns from the wild West
  • Gun styles, like historic 1911s or flintlock rifles
  • Manufactures, including Ruger or Glock
  • Application, such as hunting rifles or self defense pistols

Other times, the collection may have a more general theme, like old guns or guns from movies. And remember, it’s okay for your collection’s theme to simply be “guns I like to shoot.”

Novice Gun Collector Tip 2:

If you don’t know what gun to buy, but want to start your  collection with a bang, choose a gun that’s either no longer manufactured or one that’s imported. Be sure it’s in good working condition and of a decent quality. Imported, high-quality guns almost always hold their value and those that are no longer available are only going to become harder to find, increasing their worth.

Novice Gun Collector Tip 3:

When you can, buy the best. That doesn’t mean you should cash out your 401(k) to buy a gun you can’t afford, it means when given a choice between an okay gun and a good gun, opt for the good gun if it’s in your budget. Again, don’t break the bank. Every gun in your collection should be two things: a gun you like and a gun you can afford.

Why the 45 ACP Ammunition Is Still a Firm Favorite

Although gun lovers purchase all types of guns, almost all of them own a pistol. Many people love the pistol because it is small and therefore easy to conceal. They also like the fact that it is lighter to carry around. When faced with a situation where you have to fire in a hurry, the pistol comes in handy.

This ease of use is the reason it’s used by everyone from law enforcement to people using it for self-defense. If you have the automatic Colt pistol, you need to use the right ammunition which happens to be 45 ACP ammunition.

This type of ammunition was first developed by John Browning in 1905. It has a colorful history and was later made popular by John Browning Classic Colt 1911 pistol. It has been in regular use by the police, civilians and the military since then. Many people confuse the 45 ACP with the .45 Colt although they are different. The latter is slightly longer and delivers a more powerful round.

Why Is 45 ACP Ammunition Popular?

If you love a cartridge that us simple to reload, this is the ammo for you. It is a low-pressure cartridge that usually produces a full powder burn once it is fired. If you use the Colt pistol for self-defense purposes, it is an extremely effective gun in an emergency. The interesting thing about this type of ammo is that although there is far superior ammo out there, it still has a huge fanatical base. Many people who own handguns aren’t happy unless they have a Colt gun that can work with the 45 ammo. Their reasons range from historical while some of them own the pistol because it was handed down by their parents.

Many handgun owners also say that having the Colt pistol makes them feel safe because it has a reputation of being able to stop someone coming at you far much better than many other types of guns. This can be attributed to the power of the ammo. While this ammo is not the cheapest in the market, it does not deter people from keeping their pistols. In terms of accuracy, it is not the most accurate and only delivers the best results when the target is close.

Although many other types of far more superior ammo exist, it has not in any way convinced the true lovers of the 45 ammo to change their mind.

 

How to Start Gun Collecting

Gun collecting is a lot of fun, especially if you’re the kind of person who has worked really hard to enjoy traditional hunting and gun shooting. The problem for most people is not knowing how to get started, along with where to put the guns. In this article, you’ll get some great tips to be able to start gun collecting correctly.

Licensing

Though you might not plan on using the guns daily or hunting with them, it’s important to license the guns in your collection. You must get a license to make sure that you don’t get in trouble with the law. All kinds of licenses are needed depending on the state you live in. Licensing can be easy to get, and it will help you avoid problems with the law.

Gun Collection Types

There are certain people who will only buy rifles, shotguns, and other specific guns. You want to make sure that you are collecting a specific type of gun. It’s so much fun when you can see multiple versions of a rifle. It’s definitely vital that you are very aware of the kind of gun you want to collect.

Buying Via Specialized Holders

Buying an old classic gun via eBay may not be as great of an investment than buying from a specialized dealer. Different gun shops will have a gun collectors option where there are guns that can be sold for a high price because of how popular that gun may be. It could be that the gun was owned by somebody famous in the past, or the gun was used back in the early 1900’s. Different people collect these guns for different reasons, but the goal should always be to find a specialized dealer. Making sure to get a professional certificate for old gun collectibles are vital to get.

Of course, you can’t collect guns without collecting the bullets and the ammo. The AR-15 ammo in bulk is a very popular option since you can buy a ton in bulk. Gun collecting is definitely exciting once you get started and gain a liking towards guns.