What is a good, cheap rifle that is USA-made, for target shootin’, duck hunting and possibly home defense?
Well, you can technically hunt duck with a rifle, if you want to do poorly. Rumor has it that during the testing of the Delisle carbine, generals who were inspecting it did shoot a duck in the neck from 300m. The joke was that he called it a terrible rifle, as he was aiming for the head. I’ve seen people shooting clays with an AR, so there’s no reason, with enough practice you could employ a single projectile against ducks. The problem is finding the duck on a distance worth using a rifle and the only way to effectively do this is to set up several game cameras, in the hunting area, which will tell you in real-time, where the ducks are.
For home defense, though, nothing can reasonably compare to a shotgun. A rifle, usually, will go in and out, sometimes not leaving a fatal wound at all. The criminal will still be on his feet in most cases. A shotgun loaded with large birdshot, or small buckshot should destroy a large portion of the perpetrator. It’s not likely he’d survive. There have been cases where criminals get shot in the head with a 12 gauge and cannot be identified, other than fingerprints.
A Mossberg 500 is one of the best home defense shotguns, I believe. If you’re not the type to yell at someone in your house illegally, the noise pumping a live shell into the chamber should get your point across. Mossbergs are a little louder than the Remingtons if pumped fast, but mine pumps easier than any 870 I’ve shot. I believe this is due to the fact that the Mossberg uses a lighter alloy receiver. The 500 is also more reliable, as the dual claw extractors grab both sides of the shell, and throw it harder than an 870 during a slow or short pump.
For a target rifle, a shotgun isn’t such a good choice, unless you’re shooting at objects instead of paper. A shotgun and some Fiocchi nickel plated buckshot is excellent for use against printers, laptops, hard drives, desktops, old furniture, rusty grills, foam deer, drywall, and many other things. I have an AR-15 that’s fairly accurate, and groups on a quarter at 100m, but I have a Savage 10FP that I can’t even shoot to it’s fullest potential. Dollar for dollar, a Savage 10FP in .223 or .308 is a more accurate platform than a Remington 700 or any of it’s variants. I use 68 grain Black Hills in the AR, and 69 Sierra Match Kings in the Savage.