I’m not good at having one gun for everything. The concept is straightforward and simple, until I try to pick out that one gun.
This is not a new thing to most gun people, but I am going to quickly work through it anyway. The idea is one all around gun that does everything well enough. It meets all your needs, although maybe not excelling at any of them because of the general nature of the platform. I’m talking about a caliber capable of taking any size game found in North America, short enough to clear a house, making a 300 yard head or 600 yard body shots, and being quick enough in function to engage multiple targets.
Within those requirements you are very basically looking at a semi auto 30 cal with an 18 inch barrel and magnified/variable power optic (1×6, 3×9 etc…). Some points of this are debatable of course, but a 308/30-06/7.62×54 will take all game from two legs to four, an 18 inch barrel will get your shots out to 600 yards and still be handy enough in tight places, and a good optic is just the way of the now and the future.
Funny side note, I just read something where Marines are now not even learning with irons, its all ACOGs. Good, bad or otherwise, optics are here.
So far, our do it all long gun is pretty straight forward right? Heres where I start to have hangups. Now of course certain factors go into this idea on a personal level, like first, what you have available. Secondly, what you are most familiar with. Thirdly, your location. And fourthly, your mission. So lets break that down in ideal terms and what you probably actually have.
Ideally, we’d all have SCARs with ACOGs or whatever the latest and greatest $4,000 rifle combo is. I’m a simple man, I don’t have that kid of money for one gun. I do believe there is a saying of “whats your life worth” and all that, and I also believe you should always be striving to upgrade, but for the here and now, lets just say I haven’t “upgraded” to that point yet and I doubt many other working stiffs like me have either.
That being said, I take a slightly more practical and balanced approach to my firearm hobby. Yes I just called it a hobby. I have weapons of war, there is very little doubt about that. I, like many, many others, have the training and mindset to go along with the bags and armor and chest rigs and firearms that are pre-staged to quickly grab and put into use if the situation called for it.
I hope, and statistically don’t think the situation will ever call for the use of most all my weapons of war. But I want to have the ability and tools just in case, plus I enjoy shooting. That is why I can justify a $500 AK but not a $3000 SCAR. I can nail a coyote going after the chickens with a 30-30 lever just as easily as with a piston driven SBRed AR15 in 300 Blackout.
This has all come up for two reasons. First, I just sold a really cool gun that I had originally envisioned as a possibility as my One Gun. It was a Romanian PSL, a Dragunov if you will. Although really, the PSL probably has more differences than things in common with a real Dragunov.
It was a good gun, but never quite right for me and before I started making even more big changes to it like cutting the barrel, installing a high dollar trigger and replacing the entire stock set, I realized I should cut my losses, let someone else enjoy it for what it is, and start over myself. Hard to do since I really did like that gun, but it just wasn’t ever going to be one that I didnt wish was different from what it was.
The second reason I have come back to the One Gun idea is because I’m writing quite a bit of the third installment of my story and have been daydreaming a lot because of it. When you live semi-secluded out in the sticks, or hunt in the mountains or travel through the sparse forests, a simple guide gun can begin to shine in the One Gun role. A lever 45-70 or mag fed bolt action, or over under shotgun/rifle combination… there is a reason these guns were made and used in this role, even if many people have moved on to “better” guns.
I am a bit of a throw back. I only hunt with black powder flintlocks with ball twists, I also have built some very cool, very modern stuff with all the bells and whistles. I guess the One Gun is all about balance. But is it the gun, or you, that has to have that balance?