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The only time I bother with a back up gun is if I'm going on a hunting trip. Otherwise if I hunt close to home, I only hunt with one gun. From a practical stand point, in my 15 years of hunting, I've never been on a trip where a gun has ceased to function for one reason or another. The worse thing I've seen happen is a stock screw work its way loose.

What you should do prior to hunting season is make sure your rifle is zero'd in and scope screws are tight. Other than that, I don't know that you really need a backup rifle. With that said, they are handy to have but if money is tight, I wouldn't worry about buying one.
 

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M1A is locked in the safe.
There are 3 ARs and an M1 Carbine scattered around the house though.
 

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Colt 6920 close to the bed. For year's I had my old Marlin 1894 in 44 mag. with 10+1 ready to go!
 

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If a rifle is good enough to be my main rifle, the KISS principle dictates that my back-up rifle be a clone of the main rifle. I am going to go with that.
 
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