I noticed Zercool noting: "Most people think a good first gun is a .22. " And then others pipe in "Mine was an SKS" and "Mine was a SMLE".
Those are nice choices. I can imagine people that come to rifle shooting as an adult, rather than growing up shooting, would choose something with a little more oomph. A .22 rifle is indispensable, but... You know. Big serious rifle. If you only have one rifle it's nice if it is big and serious.
It also made me think. The first rifle I ever had was a Springfield '03. I learned close order drill on that model too, which is why it was gifted to me.
The first rifle I ever bought for myself was a M1 Garand. A Navy conversion that shoots 7.62x51mm. It was also the first rifle of mine I ever shot. The Springfield needs the front sight adjusted. It also takes some firm effort to close the bolt on a .30-06 round. There are fewer issues for a lefty shooting the Garand, too, so I favored that model for that reason as well.
Before I started this blog I had the safe queen Springfield, the Garand, and a .357 revolver. I probably could have stopped right there and been none the worse for wear ready for just about most things. My next purchase was a Remington Model 11 12-gauge. That's certainly a fine penultimate. Everything after that was spares and stuff I just wanted. Only, arguably, the snubby was 'needed' for concealability and some .22 for practice.
But you could do a lot worse than your first rifle being a Garand. And in a caliber still fielded by the US and NATO and others.
I imagine a lot of 'first rifles' folks are getting these days are sort of a .22... .223. In the form of an AR. Plus shooting regular ol' .22LR is possible. And with only an added extra upper, that AR can also shoot deer &c. with something like .458 SOCOM rounds.
For you folks that came to shooting late in life, what was YOUR first rifle?
Accountability, not for ATF agents - In the private sector, this would get you fired. But government: Imagine if you will that you worked for a large company and were issued both a company car...
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