Gun owners chose their firearms depending on many differing criteria. Size, looks, caliber, and so on can all be the deciding reasons why someone selects one model over another. The old saying still rings true today that two is better than one, especially if you can find multiple guns in a common caliber.

Today I wanted to go over a subject that will help narrow some of the selections and make it easier to pick out your next firearm, or pair of firearms.



Having multiple guns in the same caliber allows for an easier load out and more consistent practice. (Photo: Jeff Wood/

I have several firearms chambered in the same cartridge, if you are reading this you probably are in the same boat. Having multiple firearms chambered in the same cartridge simplifies a few things for gun owners. The most obvious way that occurs is through uniformity, instead of buying ammunition for each individual firearm, you can buy two or more guns. If you have an AR-type rifle for defense training, and a bolt action varmint gun both chambered in .223 Remington it’s easy to feed them both from the same box.

Today I want to specifically take that thesis out of your gun room, and into the wide-open spaces where your guns are likely to be used.

Paired Up


.357 Magnum is a venerable round for self-defense, so why not pair it with something that can be a little more accurate at distance? (Photo: Jeff Wood/

Identically chambered guns can simplify things when in the field. If you are a cowboy, or perhaps just a modern rancher, you might find yourself frequently armed with both a pistol for short work and a rifle for more significant things. Having a pistol on your hip is a valuable tool for many of us, but it’s often not enough in the big open country. Having a rifle or carbine on your horse or ATV in case a pesky coyote gets too close can be a lifesaver.

If both of these firearms are chambered in the same cartridge it will simplify and speed up your daily loadout. A .357 Magnum chambered revolver is more than enough for pistol range shots, and a handy little lever-action rifle chambered in .357 as well is certainly enough for dispatching the occasional errant coyote.

Related: Marlin 1894 in .357 Magnum: ‘Long Live the Lever Gun’

The Ruger LCR is counted on by many Americans for their daily carry, the chambering makes its ideal for self-defense or varmint control with a long gun. (Photo: Jeff Wood/

A handy little revolver like the Ruger LCR .357 magnum is easily carried and less intrusive for someone with work on their mind. To go with it, a short and quickly fired lever gun like the Marlin 1895 gives more range and power for things that are beyond pistol distances. The two of them together make a great pair, giving you options without complicating things with multiple cartridges, magazines, and such. Both firearms could also easily shoot .38 Special ammo, to further lighten the load for someone with a job to do.

A Bigger Set


If you want to add a bit more juice to your perfect pair then .44 Mag is always there for you. (Photo: Jeff Wood/

Perhaps you don’t live in flat Texas ranch country though, and maybe you have bigger worries than coyotes. Suppose you live in the cold north, where bears and wolves roam as freely as you and I. For such an outpost, I think I’d be a little more comfortable with something a bit stouter than a .357.

Keeping the theme of our first pair, I would feel much better with something like a .44 Magnum. The heavy-hitting Magnum loads carry more energy should you need to defend yourself, or if you happen to get the opportunity to take a game animal unexpectedly. I love the Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan for this role, it’s short, robust, and carries enough power to drop just about anything. It’s also comfortable as far as big revolvers go, which is a must if it’s a firearm you intend on having on you at all times.

For the money the Ruger Redhawk Super Alaskan is a perfect pair to the Winchester 1894 in .44 Mag. (Photo: Jeff Wood/

As a companion for the Redhawk, I chose the Winchester 1894 Saddle carbine chambered in the same .44 Magnum. The short and quickly pointed rifle is easily brought along on almost any activity where you’d want a rifle. It’s easily kept in a vehicle or stashed on an ATV, whether you are guiding a river fishing trip or cutting firewood the little rifle can provide an extra measure of security. As with the .357, the .44 Magnum can be downloaded, or even shot with .44 Special loads for increased economy.

The Perfect Pair


The combo of lever guns and revolvers has always been a hit but perhaps your perfect pair is different. My advice is to pair calibers in your guns for economic savings and consistent shooting. (Photo: Jeff Wood/

These perfect pairs don’t have to be all wheels and levers, there are other cartridges and firearms that can make a good match as well. It just depends on your specific application for your firearms. These are just the ones that I thought of, and their convenience as it applies to things, I can see myself doing. As if you didn’t need one, it could always serve the purpose of adding another gun to your collection. With the added benefit of running on the same ammunition as guns you already have in inventory.

Final words

If economic and convenient shooting is something you find yourself thinking about, pairing up your firearms may be an easy way to reduce costs and streamline your daily shooting logistics. Buying fewer differing cartridges in bigger numbers is something we can all appreciate in today’s ammunition market. I suggest you put together your own perfect pair, or perhaps even a trio of firearms to see if it improves your shooting bottom line.

revolver barrel loading graphic