Running around the deer lease in your pickup truck is about as American as it gets. Running around said property in your truck with a gun behind the seat is even more so. The theory behind the truck gun is one of necessity. The rural population sometimes has a need to put down a wandering animal hit by a car, to take care of nuisance predators, or to cut down the bothersome hog population. City dwellers also have a need, although theirs is more along the lines of self-preservation, and that’s a whole other article.
Our Choices for Truck Guns
Truck guns have to be tough, accurate and dependable. They also have to be expendable, since theft is an all too common event these days. You shouldn’t care if your precious firearm get knocked around, dented or scratched. For the purposes of this article, they also have to be fairly inexpensive and available to the masses. So what’s the ideal truck gun? There isn’t a single answer, since not everyone has the same needs. However, there are a few contenders that many people tend to gravitate towards.
It’s cheap, reliable and comes with Savage’s exceptional out-of-the-box accuracy. Available in just about all the major calibers, you’d be hard pressed to find something in that price point that can touch it. The stock isn’t pretty, the trigger could be better, but throw on an inexpensive optic and you’re on your way. If someone steals it, you’re only out about $300 bucks.
Yea. They’re ugly, but who cares? They fit the bill from top to bottom. Even though the days of the $75 Mosin are long gone, the lower-than-most cost and robust design makes these a top contender for the budget conscious truck gun enthusiast. I mean, are you really going to care if your already scratched to hell 91/30 gets a few more love bumps on it? Chambered in the massively powerful 7.62x54R, these guns served the Russian Tsarist and subsequent Soviet armies for more than 120 years and just about everyone who owns guns has one stashed in a corner somewhere. If you don’t, you can still pick one up at most mil-surp shops.
Normally, I would say this is too expensive of a firearm to throw in the back of your truck to get knocked around. However, in today’s post Obama gun market you could put a basic AR on the street corner with a sign that says, “Will exchange for canned food” and you might not get any takers. Still, we’re talking about a semi-auto 5.56mm rock star that almost every gun owner already has at his or her disposal. It’s not shy on versatility and has a well-documented history of getting the job done. It belongs on this list many others.
I know. It’s a Hi-Point, but hear me out. These things run. They’re not pretty but they’ll toss 9mm kibble downrange with surprising accuracy and you’ll forget you’re shooting such an unattractive looking hunk of alloy and polymer. You can mount optics on them if you want, but the irons do just fine. Hi-Point sells a ton of these things and you can get one in just about any color you’d ever want. Put me down for two.
What’s this? A lever action you can actually afford? Neat. Marlin has been producing this firearm since 1948, but it’s now manufactured by Remington Arms. There’s plenty of new and used ones available, and it has a reputation for being an icon of the quintessential American hunter. Often chambered in the ever-useful .30-30 Winchester, the Marlin seats itself onto our list because shooters have been using lever actions for truck guns since day one. Why mess with a good thing?
These guns are worth a mention, but didn’t quite make our list due to poor availability and/or cost effectiveness.
H&R Handi Rifle:
This used to be a great go-to option, but in case you haven’t heard. The Handi rifle is dead. They apparently got sucked up into Freedom Group and nothing came out the other end. I’ll miss the simplicity of this firearm.
Like other models by Kel-Tec, high demand and low production numbers kept this firearm out of the running. We should all be grateful to the Florida based manufacturer though. While many companies just print copies of each other’s designs, these guys continue to captivate us with new and innovative ideas. The SU-16 is a unique folding 5.56mm NATO rifle that was pretty much designed to be a backpacker’s rifle. If you can find one, get it!
The only reason this Soviet legend didn’t make the list is the current inflated price. If you haven’t shopped for AKs in a while, buckle up. You can get a AR for much cheaper than your average AK at this point. I’m not saying you shouldn’t own one. The historical significance alone is enough to shell out some dough, but maybe just take a bit better care of it. My AK just sits in the safe, next to some of my nicer guns I rarely shoot.