You just got your PAL (Possession and Acquisition License) in the mail, and you want to buy your first gun. There are hundreds of options... where do you start?

There are a few categories of firearms to consider. Eventually you will want a firearm from each category. Choose the first category that fits your immediate needs.


Plinking is fun, lots of rounds down range, and not very accurate. Good for learning trigger control, target acquisition, and putting a smile on your face.
22LR, 7.62x39, .223, 12ga and 20ga are all relatively cheap to shoot.
Ruger 10/22, Remington 597, SKS, CSA VZ-58 Remington 870 tactical, Hatsan Escort MP-A.

Hunting Medium/Large Game

Lightweight, Fairly accurate, easy to carry, larger caliber
.308 Win, 30-06, .270 Win. are good choices.
Savage Axis, Remington 783.
For something a little up market, Savage Model 10, 11, 16. or Remington 700.

Hunting Waterfowl

Shotgun, light, reliable.
Remington 870 or 1100, , Mossberg 500 or 535. 12ga or 20ga. 24" to 28" barrel.
With slugs these work for large game also.

Accurate Plinking

Not quite precision, but fun to hit small objects at around 100 yards.
Savage Mark II FV, Remington 597 HB, Ruger 10/22 Target.
Savage Axis in smaller cailbers like .223.
Mosin Nagant 90/31.
Swedish Mauser M96.
Mauser K98.
Swiss K11 / K31.

There are many firearms missing from this list... but it's a good start. Aim to own at least one from each category eventually.

On a personal note, if I had sell all my rifles and shotguns, and keep only three, it would be my Savage Mark II FV in 22LR, Savage Model 10 in .308, and my Remington 870 12ga.

Feedback is welcome at

Send me your three choices and I'll include them here.

Keep an eye out for my First Handgun Buyers Guide.