Mike Adams
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Remington 870 Express shotgun-This is another fun gun to shoot and it is versatile. I bought my first 870 with an 18-inch open choke barrel for home defense. My second 870 came with a 26-inch barrel and a modified choke, good for varmint hunting and well-suited to deliver buckshot. The 870 can also be purchased with a 20-inch fully rifled slug barrel for deer hunting. Whichever version you purchase, extra barrels can also be bought, ready for quick interchange. It should only take a novice about 30 seconds to change barrels. Needless to say, I recommend this gun in 12-gauge.

Ruger .357 magnum revolver-If you are at least 21 years of age, you will probably want to consider a handgun for personal protection. The .357 is a great choice because it allows novice shooters to use .38 caliber loads, which have less recoil. The .38 is also arguably better for home defense. The 4-inch barrel provides good accuracy and is small enough to fit inside a glove box (check your state laws first). It can also serve as a good sidearm for hunters. Four or six inch barrels both work for that purpose. Also, Ruger makes a snub nose that is ideal for those with concealed carry permits. I bought a Model 640 snub nose back when I was still doing business with Smith and Wesson.

Marlin 30-30 lever action rifle-In 2000, my friend Lloyd Bass invited me on my first hunting trip to Ivanhoe, NC. Shortly thereafter, I bought a Marlin 30-30 with an inexpensive Tasco Scope (mounted and ready) for $289 at Dick?s Sporting Goods. One hour and ten minutes into my hunting career, I put a 170-grain Winchester bullet through the heart of my first white-tail deer. I have been hooked ever since. This is a great brush gun, good for hunting deer up to 100 yards.

Browning A-Bolt .243 Micro Hunter-Everyone has a favorite gun, and this is mine. If safety concerns drive you out of the brush and into a tree stand, you will want to have a long-range deer rifle. The .243 is simply perfect for the small white tails in North Carolina, especially if you usually take shots under 100 yards. The 100-grain Winchester Supreme round packs enough punch to do the job. If you decide to step up to something bigger for deer, you can use the .243 as a varmint rifle. A 55-grain silver tip is a great round for coyotes and other large varmints.

Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 magnum revolver-When I stopped carrying my 30-30 into the woods, I decided I needed something in my back-pack to ward off the black bears that inhabit the woods of North Carolina. The Super Blackhawk is an inexpensive single-action with a very solid frame to absorb recoil. No North Carolina black bear is going to walk through the 275-grain hunting loads I keep in my Ruger. The only thing that surprises me is how much fun this gun can be at the shooting range.

Glock .40 or 9mm semi-automatic pistol-Did I say that my .243 was my favorite gun? Well, the Glock .40 (model 23) is a close second. I got this gun for self-defense based on its reputation for reliability. Indeed, it has never jammed in the years since I bought it. What surprises me is the gun?s accuracy. I use 155-grain Winchester silver tips in my Glock. It is nice to be able to explode two liter bottles at 30 yards with a single round. With that kind of accuracy (coupled with power that rivals the .357) it is also a good side arm to take into the woods.

The 9mm version is not as good for self-defense, but great for hunting small game. Glock makes a midsized version with a ported barrel that is extremely accurate. It is a lot of fun for hunting raccoons, foxes, and bobcats. If you think I?m crazy, I got the idea from Ted Nugent (a perfectly sane man, indeed!).

Remington Model 700 .270/Remington Model Seven .308/Browning Stainless Stalker 30.06/Browning Automatic Rifle 7mm Magnum-If I ever move back to Texas, I will need something a little bigger than my .243 for those Texas mule deer. I can think of no better round than the .270 for that purpose. It has plenty of power with a very flat trajectory. The Model 700 version has a good feel with proven reliability. But, since a second long-range rifle is the last essential gun I recommend, it calls for serious thought about several issues, including versatility. For example, what if you intend to hunt mule deer and wild boar?

If you do, I would recommend the Model Seven in .308. A 150-grain rapid expansion round will take care of the mule deer, while a 180-grain slow expansion round will take care of wild boar. The 20-inch Model Seven barrel makes the gun easy to handle in the brush.

But what if your hunting needs include, varmints, white tails, mule deer, boar, and even elk? There is no better and more versatile gun for all those needs than the 30.06. The Browning Stainless Stalker is recommended, largely due to its reliability and weather resistance. The 30.06 is about the only gun with readily available loads for varmints and large game alike.

For elk hunters who think that the 30.06 comes up a little short for large game, the 7mm is a perfect solution. I recommend the BAR because it comes in a 24-inch barrel (as opposed to 26-inches in most models) and allows for a quick second shot, if necessary.

Well, thanks for listening to my opinions. I have to go read the hundreds of emails from hunters and gun owners who have different ideas about brands, calibers, and ammunition. I also have to read all of my hate mail from PETA. There?s nothing quite like a little Second Amendment diversity.

Mike S. Adams (www.DrAdams.org) will be signing copies of ?Welcome to the Ivory Tower of Babel? at Trover Shop in Washington, D.C. on July 21 at 12:30 p.m. The store is located on 221 Pennsylvania Avenue S.E. on Capitol Hill.

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Mike Adams

Mike Adams is a criminology professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington and author of Letters to a Young Progressive: How To Avoid Wasting Your Life Protesting Things You Don't Understand.