Retirement Guns

Mr. FM and I were relaxing over a pint or two of whisky the other night and as always, the topic drifted towards that of guns. In this specific instance, it was “retirement” guns — i.e. when one has reached a certain age, and a miserly pension/SocSec payout prevents one from buying lots of rifles and/or ammo, what then are the guns that are most desirable to own, either by outright purchase (assuming the funds are available) or else acquired by selling off other guns to fund the purchases?

As I’m right in this target demographic, it’s a subject of keen interest to me.

The criteria are that they should be:

  • quality guns (high on the quality curve but acceptable costwise), to compensate for failing eyesight, shaky grip and unsteady footing;
  • only a few in number, yet able to address most shooting situations;
  • if possible, having gentle recoil (or at least gentler recoil) than the guns of one’s yoot;
  • and finally, chambered for a cartridge of which one already has a large supply.

Of course, the first priority would be a .22 rifle for both plinking and precision/varminting work. Mr. FM suggests an Anschutz 1416:

…or, if you’re going to go all benchy:

Then there’s the CZ 455 Luxe:

or, once again for the Benchies, the CZ 455 Precision:

I myself don’t need to buy either, as my Taurus Mod 62 / Marlin 880 SSQ / 880 SSV in .22 LR / .22 WinMag respectively, are probably all I’ll ever need for both plinking and varminting.

Yeah, the Marlins are no Anschutz or CZ, but they shoot better than I can shoot them; and I don’t have to spend any more money, so there’s that. And, of course, I do have a few boxes of both calibers in Ye Olde Ammoe Locquer. [/understatement]

In that vein, let’s talk for a moment about the guns which are chambered according to the contents of your ammo locker. As any fule kno, I’m a huge fan of the AK-47 rifle, and I have (let’s say) a sufficiency of 7.62x39mm ammo. So, if I wanted an accurate bolt-action hunting rifle chambered in that excellent caliber, then why not a CZ 527 Carbine:

Incidentally, if your preferred SHTF rifle is of the AR-15 persuasion and you have a boatload of its ammo, then obviously there is a plethora of bolt-action choices for you. But I would respectfully suggest that you could do a lot worse than the above-mentioned CZ 527 Carbine chambered in .223 Rem.

Let’s see… plinking/varminting, SHTF, short-range hunting; what’s left? Oh yeah, I almost forgot.

Everyone needs a rifle with which one can reach out and touch someone / something at distances up to 500-600 yards. I believe I now have that covered with my new Mauser M12 in 6.5x55mm:

Once again, if your preferred assault rifle is of the FN-FAL / H&K G3 etc. type and you have a lot of 7.62x55mm/.308 Win ammo, then you should by all means get a hunting / sniper rifle in that chambering.

So there you have it. By the above criteria, my rifle count is: three rimfires (.22 LR and .22 WinMag), one SHTF and one short-range hunting (7.62x39mm), and one sniper (6.5x55mm): a total of six rifles and four calibers. (I don’t currently own a CZ 527 in 7.62x39mm, but after much discussion / whisky with Mr. FM, I’m starting to like the idea.)

Another retiree’s rifle collection might be: one .22 LR for plinking, two in .223 Rem for SHTF and varminting, a .30-30 lever piece for short-range hunting, and a .300 WinMag for long-distance work: a total of five rifles and four calibers.

See how that works?

Feel free to add your combinations, using the above criteria, in Comments. Remember: funds are tight, you want to cut down on “caliber proliferation”, and you want to be able to address all the most likely shooting situations you’re going to encounter as an Old Fart. Have at it.


  1. Kim,
    I’m a bit surprised that you don’t have some form of scatter-gun in the list. While many folk may not have a ready supply of 20ga shells, I’d think the gentler recoiling 20ga pump gun would be a worthy addition for a home defense piece. At “inside the house” distances of most homes, being on the receiving end of a few rounds of 20ga would pretty well ruin a goblin’s day.

    And as for a wheel-gun, a good quality .357 magnum-chambered piece with 4″ barrel like a Smith 686, Ruger GP-100, etc., but loaded with .38spc wad-cutters. Oh, and a couple of speed-loaders should be at the ready too.


  2. I’m going to have to agree with Brad on this. Everyone should have a shotgun too, in 20/16/12 gauge.

    I’m a CZ fan, and have a couple of .22’s. I also have a heavy barrell Savage in .17WSM, because exploding rodents is fun.

    I actually do have a CZ 527 in .223, and love it. It’s currently wearing some Schmidt & Bender glass, and is more accurate than I’ll ever be. 55 grain ammo only, though. It won’t stabilize the longer 62-77 grain ammo, but that’s what the KAC SR15 is for.

    For long range, I’m a bit sentimental. I have my grandfather’s 1903A3 and a rather large stash of .30-06, everything from plain hollow point hunting ammo to armor piercing rounds to Accelerator sabot rounds that push a 60 grain .223 round to 4000+ FPS.

    So, four calibers: .17WSM, .22LR, .223/5.56, and .30-06.

    1. Guys, I’m sorry, but I thought I’d made it quite clear that I was talking only about RIFLES, not all long guns.

  3. A variety of .22 and .22 mag rifles – Such as my Savage Pump, a Ruger 10-22, a single shot Cricket bolt action, and maybe a few Henry/Winchester lever guns. After all, someday I’ll need those to teach my eventual grandkids how to shoot.

    Some .22 wheel guns (mostly Ruger) and .22 autos (again, mostly Ruger) cause they’re fun and those future grandkids should learn to shoot pistols too. My Ruger Mark II has taken small game out to 100 yards, so there’s that bonus too.

    A Winchester 30-30 will handle almost all of my almost non-existent hunting needs. If I ever need to reach out and touch someone, as you mentioned, almost any scoped deer rifle is more capable than me. And I don’t really see that need. If funds are available, I’d like a presentation grade Winchester to sit near my beat-up and battered one, but we’re supposed to be on a budget, so beat-up and battered still shoots straight.

    A single shot, such as a Ruger #1, would be great, but again I’d almost never use it. I might sell something else to finance it, though. Caliber 30-06. To match a Springfield 03-A3, cause one should have some sort of military rifle, just in case.

    Finally, a couple of .357 wheel guns (single and double action). I know you focused primarily on long guns, but I’d rather spend money on revolvers. Plus I should have at least one more Colt Python. That way both my kids will get one when I die, to avoid them fighting over it and all that. I’d like this one to be blued.

  4. It’s funny that as soon as I started reading the post, before I got down to the bottom, I immediately thought of the CZ-527 in 7.62 x 39.

    A few years ago I was looking at my gun safe and thinking about what I wanted to acquire. Anymore my philosophy on buying guns is that I don’t mind getting more GUNS but I’m very reluctant to want to get another CALIBER due to the post-Sandy-Hook ammo crisis. In fact, I even got rid of several guns because I was trying to get fewer calibers. Since I already had the SKS I figured a nice, quality bolt action in 7.62×39 would be just the ticket. I did a lot of online research and the CZ came across as the clear favorite.

    Even post-Sandy-Hook, when .223 all but dried up on the shelves, 7.62×39 ComBloc surplus and/or Russian manufacture ammo was pretty well available and dirt cheap.

    Given that the 7.62×39 has more or less the same ballistic profile as the .30-30, and unlike the .30-30 which needs flat or round bullets (due to being used in tubular magazines) the 7.62×39 can use a superior pointed bullet, I actually sold my old Marlin .30-30. It was no longer needed as the CZ would be perfectly adequate for medium-range duties and with a plethora of cheap ammo to practice with, should actually shoot better than the Marlin, which I rarely shot due to the cost of ammo.

    I’ve been very impressed with the fit and finish of the CZ. They are very well made guns and gorgeous as well, which shouldn’t matter, I suppose, but in these days of things being “plastical and tactical” I appreciate the beautiful wood stock and the nice, dark blueing.

  5. Had one of the CZ’s in 7.62×39. Seemed to be an OK gun but I shot it at a deer once and the range was close but the bullet did not go where the cross hairs where pointing.

    Sold it to Peter Grant and got back to the 30/30.

    As to getting down to a smaller group, when I retired I will just not add to group but will keep the ones I have.

    I also wanted to reduce the amount of calibers I had after Sandy, but have seem to failed as I have the same number. 22LF/22WMR/380/9mm/38/357/45/223/308/30_06/338 Win mag and now 45-70

    maybe I should thin the herd out.

  6. As a 10 year retiree, I am in a great place to discuss retirement rifles. First off, Before you retire, invest some of your hard earned lucre on quality firearms. They do not lose value or utility as you and the arms age. A good .22 rimfire is essential, two or three are even nicer. An accurate center fire rifle or two or three or more, is also essential. Make sure that they are not in super whammy magnum break your shoulder chamberings, 30-06 is about the limit, in a heavy rifle IMHO.
    In my case, a CZ 452, full stock is the bolt rimfire, a TC R55 Benchmark is the rf autoloader.
    An Anschutz 1813 Super Match is the competition rifle. Nothing like NRA prone competition to keep the skills sharp and the costs low. A couple of AR rifles in .223 /,556 with top grade barrels serve as the up to 500 yard rifles and a .308 AR works out to 1000 yds. A few milsurps like my K31 are nice as long as they have thick slip on recoil pads (Limbsaver if you must know)
    Remember that your eyes will NOT be very good and iron sights will be difficult if not impossible. SO, adorn your rifles with good quality scopes. Sadly low priced scopes and old eyes do NOT work well together. Scopes that I thought were adequate a few years ago are now unsuitable for my eyes.
    Mid priced Japanese, European and American optics are the LEAST you should consider.
    You see, when you are retired, you will have the time to handload, you will have the time to leisurely spend a day (or two) at your local range slowly practicing, (Note, your wife will probably be happy to get you out of the house and out of her hair too.) you will have the time to lovingly go over your precious firearms and make them as good as you can.
    Finally, remember to teach your grandchildren to shoot & enjoy the sport safely.

  7. When I retired four years ago I purchased a CZ 550 FS classic Bavarian-style Mannlicher in 6.5 x 55 with a Leupold scope. I gave my Winchester 30-06 model 70 featherweight to my son who lives in Colorado where he has drawn and elk tag the last two years. I also gave my 12 ga. shotguns to son and son-in-law and kept over/under 20 and 28 ga. that I used, both, a couple of weeks ago to limit out shooting doves on opening weekend here in Texas. In my 70’s i shoot better with the lighter recoil in both rifles and shotguns.

    Of course I am kind of a sucker for a decent deal because a week ago a real old neighbor of mine made me an offer that I could not refuse on a 30-06, 1903 Springfield Sporter with a decent scope, the gun is in great condition and not a homemade sporterization and it goes along with my excellent Parker Hale 303 Enfield Sporter with iron sights.

    I do have a handful of other guns and I enjoy shooting .22 pistols and rifles at the local ranges. For a person on a very limited fixed income I keep on buying what I tell my wife is the last gun I will ever buy, until ….. another deal too good comes along.

  8. Heaven forbid I had to really thin the herd and keep the bare minimum of what I currently own, I could get by with 3:

    * Slightly modified Ruger 10/22 w. Sightron SII 3-9×40 for plinking, squirrel/rabbit hunting and teaching others to shoot.
    * Bravo Company AR-15 w. Aimpoint PRO and Vortex 3X flip mount magnifier. 55g for larger varmints/feral dogs and 72g and 77g HP for social work.
    * FrankenBuild AR-10 w. Vortex Viper PST 4-16X50 for long range work.

    I could sell the rest for women and whiskey.

  9. This brings up a longstanding personal dilemma- do I get the CZ 527FS in .223, or do I get the CZ 550FS in 6.5? Sadly, “both” is not an option.

    1. Joe,
      It depends on what other rifles you already own, and what you want to shoot: varminting calls for the .223, anything else the 6.5×55.
      Or, if you’re not going to hunt anything, I’d go for the .223 just because ammo is so cheap — but if all you’re going to do is plink, then your .22 should be the thing, and not the .223.
      For a “just in case” rifle, which you won’t fire that much: 6.5x55mm is the best medium cartridge out there.
      I’m going to quit now, before I confuse myself even more.

      1. I’ll probably go for the .223-
        1) I’ve already got an AR
        2) Most of my shooting is done indoors
        3) I don’t hunt
        But the idea of the 6.5… just appeals somehow.

  10. I currently have a modest collection of mostly anti-personnel firearms, and I’ve been thinking along these lines even though I’ve got at least 20 years until retirement.

    When “we” retire we’re probably going to move into a condo in a down-town area, so space will be more important.

    Probably drop down to 4 pistols:
    .32 Seecamp for walking around in places where I probably DON’T need a pistol. Yeah, it’s a .32, but if all I have to do is shoot you in the face at 3 yards, good enough. Plus beautiful gun.
    Glock 43 for when I probably do need a pistol, but don’t want to be obvious about it.
    Glock 17 + RDS for when I probably do need a pistol and don’t give a f*k who knows. Along with some sort of “brace” or maybe just FTW and pay the SBR and suppressor taxes.
    The HK P7, because I really like it. Might get rid of the G43 and just use the HK in that role, but it’s MUCH harder to carry appendix.

    I’ll probably keep the AK around, and if I’ve still got it, the MIni-30 doesn’t take up too much room.

    I’d also like to get something in .300 blackout. Not a AR style rifle, or at least not one of the DI rifles. I have a Sig 556 and a CMMG Mk4 that I’ll be getting rid of eventually and that will take over for them. I just don’t care for the AR15 all that much and Sig is NOT impressing me with the support for that line.

    I bought my wife a CZ452 before we realized she was massively left eye dominant, so I’ve got the “precision .22” covered adequately.

    I’m going to get a semi-auto shotgun soon and see how that goes. If it’s as good as I suspect it’ll be a keeper–something for the bedroom to repel boarders. Might shift down to a 20 gauge semi if it seems reasonable in time.

    Thing is if the Retardicans DO get silencers off the Class III list and out of the hands of the BATF there will be some REALLY interesting innovation in the sub-sonic rifle and pistol space. What happens over the next 20 years COULD be really interesting.

    1. Sorry, I commented before I realized you were only talking about rifles, and the bloody thing wouldn’t let me edit it.

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