buyin' an EBR

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mulligan

buyin' an EBR

Postby mulligan » Mon Sep 22, 2008 6:54 am

my next major purchase needs to be a rifle. I'll probably pick up some sort of inexpensive varmint rifle that fires .22LR just cuz ammo is cheaper and I need more practice with technique than anything else at the moment.

But long term I'm going to want to hunt more than rabbits so I'll need something in a larger caliber. I've been haunting gun shows to learn what I can about the assorted EvilBlackRifles and my brain is brim full of various versions of 'our brand is better' .. sigh ....

I'm army trained to fire whatever they issue me so the concept of picking a rifle out is new and honestly I don't have a bunch of money to tie up in guns that don't earn their keep. I'd love to be a collector but that's pretty much up to the lotto gods. So I don't want to muck this up by doing more buying/selling/swapping than necessary.

I know my army standard issue jammed constantly unless it was soaked in lube, but it's my understanding that things have evolved some in the last 15 years.

I'm hoping y'all can help me sort through the fluff and sales pitches some

thanks

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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby Whirlibird » Mon Sep 22, 2008 8:17 am

With the AR platform EBR, if you're gonna build one, stick with one manufacturer (ha) for the parts (kit), reducing the nubber of variables in fit goes a long way in increasing reliability.
As for lower receivers, pick a name you like, most are excellent and made by a very few actual 'makers'.

If you're gonna buy a competed one, you can't go wrong with a Colt. They're not cheap but they do make them right. After several classes and more builds/repairs than I can remember, the Colt made AR's were still standing at the end of the classes. Depending on where you live, one of the post-ban "sporter's" may be worth a look. The Sporter's I've had generally shot better than the same weapon with a flash hider, go figure.

Bushmaster is a good choice. Lots of choices, my personal work M-4gery has a Bushy upper on it and no complaints. (aside from caliber)

Any of the "name" shop guns like Wilson Combat, Lauer, POF-Inc, Barrett, Stag Arms, Rock River, etc is pretty much gonna run like a scalded cat.

Even the Olympic Arms 'plinkers' have been a good runners in classes if the operator paid attention and didn't use crap ammo.

A lot of the issues attributed to military (and civvy) AR's is because of the 'arsenal' rework. All too often the parts used to repair a weapon are of a dimension that is within specifications but creates either too much slop or a too tight condition when it's thrown back together. Use parts that are at opposite ends of the tolerence limits and you are going to have issues regardless if they're mil-spec or not. Normally in the civvy world this is more of a hodgepodge of parts assembled to resemble a rifle from a dozen different makers and a hope that they all somehow come together and work right the first time.

After all that, I'd recommend skipping the .223 in favor of the 6.8mmSPC. It at least can earn it's room and board in the hunting fields. I know of a number of deer and a couple of cow elk that have falled to it so far. The ammo isn't cheap but it is available unlike .223 some days and again it's of hunting power not poodle popping levels. And if you're gonna shoot something the size of a deer, would you rather use something that's built to shoot a deer sized critter or something designed to shoot sod-poodles?

And despite the cost of .308 ammo today, I'd also recommend the DSArms FAL's or the DPMS LR-308T. The DPMS for it's accuracy (and reliability), mags aren't cheap @$45 a piece for 19 rounders but dang it's accurate.
The FAL's are not as accurate but are ultra reliable.

And of course both are basic black for that L-EBR factor. (Large - Evil Black Rifle)

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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby Kommander » Mon Sep 22, 2008 7:20 pm

You have three basic options here. A "Main Battle Rifle" in .308/7.62x51, an AK in 7.62x39, or an EBR in .223/5.56x45. I do not recommend that you get a rifle in a more esoteric calibers such as the 6.8 or 6.5 due to the additional cost of ammo and lack of support for these calibers as compared to the three listed above.

For main battle rifles in the .308/7.62x51 range you have 3 basic options. The M1A (Semi auto M14), the FAL, and the HK G3. The M1A is the most accurate of the bunch, but also the most expensive (both in rifle and mags) and the most traditional in design. The FAL is the most popular of the 3, used by damn near every western power during the cold war with the exception of the US and Germany (where is was used for a short time before being replaced by the G3). Many people consider the FAL to be the best semi auto battle rifle ever made. The G3 is similar to the FAL in that it is a post war design with a pistol grip though the ergonomics are not as good as the FAL. The main advantage of the G3 is that the mags are very cheap right now, like under $5 a mag cheap.

The AK in 7.62x39 is well, an AK. If you are looking for an inexpensive rifle with box of rocks simplicity then this is the rifle for you. There are too many variants to go into too much detail but I will cover some high points. The cheapest AKs out there are the Romanian WSARs. These start at about $380 for the basic rifle with wooden stock, are of the standard AKM design and will therefore take most available AK accessories, and are reasonably accurate. What they are not is pretty. A more expensive option would be a US made AK such as a Lancaster and Vector and start at about 600. these rifles will have a better fit and finish than the WSARs and much better quality control. At the high end of the scale are the "Russian" rifles that go for 850+. While the quality on these guns is quite good, you are paying more mainly to have a AK that says "Made In Russia" on it. Oh and there is .223 AKs too, if you are into that kind of thing. mags are a bit pricey though.

At the .223/5.56x45 end things are changing more right now than they have in years. For years if you wanted a .223 EBR you got an AR-15 type rifle. However in the past few years a few new options have become available. The Sig 556 and the Robson are recent newcomers, with the Magpul/Bushmaster Masada/ACR to be released in Q1 of 2009 *cough*vaporware*cough*. So much has been written about the AR-15 series that all I will say is that it is the cheapest of the options and has the most accessories available for it. All of these rifles take the STANAG mag so if you do get one just buy a bunch of Magpul P-mags in you choice of colors and be done with it.

The Sig 556 is based on the 550 series of rifles currently employed by the Swiss military. Some changes where made to the original Swiss military rifle to make them more acceptable to the US marked such as using an aluminum lower that uses AR style stock and mags, changing the hand guards (WHY!), and adding a rail to the top of the gun. The base models of this rifle cost $1200-$1400 with some of the more premium models going for up to $2000. This gun currently has the Kommander EBR stamp of approval. The XCR is made by Robinson Arms and its primary selling points are its caliber interchangeability, use of many widely available AR parts, and simple operation that requires little cleaning. It comes with enough rail real estate to put whatever lights, lasers, and scopes you may need on it. Currently it is available in 6.8 SPC and 7.62x39 in addition to the normal .223.

My current EBRs are a Bulgarian AK and a Sig 556 "Commando" IE comes with green furniture that more closely resembles what the Swiss military used. I have owned a SAR-1 that worked well enough and a Bushmaster AR that had extraction issues. My Sig 556 is one of my favorite guns and if you can bear the price I recommend it. If you have any more specific questions on any of these or other EBRs feel free to ask. Despite my rantings above I am by no means an expert but I will help you where I can.


Most of the guns mentioned here are available at J&G and Atlantic Firearms.

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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby Darrell » Mon Sep 22, 2008 10:50 pm

Check out AIM Surplus too:

http://www.aimsurplus.com/acatalog/New_Long_Guns.html

They show Imbel FALs going for $1600, Robinson XCRs going for $1800 (darn, I coulda got one two years ago for $1300). Looks like their best buy at the moment is a Bulgarian classic AK for $625, or Del-Ton's M4orgery for $670. EBR prices have shot up before the election, for fear of Obamaramadingdong taking over. If that's a concern, you might want to buy something before the election.
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mulligan

Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby mulligan » Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:34 am

the election has definitely moved my plans from the 'eventually' category to the 'asap' category and my concern about post election repercussions has driven a re-prioritization of funds.

The idea of multiple caliber support is a plus in my book. Should bad things happen and one type of ammo get banned or scarce or expensive, I would still be shooting the same rifle without changing grip, scope, etc.

Overall cost is an issue, but I don't mind investing in the right tool for the job. While the immediate purpose is to get one in my home while its legal, the need to practice without busting the budget is a consideration as well. Eventually, I should be able to cut the grocery bill and buy ammo to fill the freezer but that's still a ways off.

Is accessory compatibility an issue or is it just a matter of finding the right mounting brackets?

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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby Darrell » Tue Sep 23, 2008 1:32 am

mulligan wrote: While the immediate purpose is to get one in my home while its legal, the need to practice without busting the budget is a consideration as well. Eventually, I should be able to cut the grocery bill and buy ammo to fill the freezer but that's still a ways off.

Is accessory compatibility an issue or is it just a matter of finding the right mounting brackets?


You'll find that .308/7.62x51 is expensive, unless you buy Russian stuff like Brown Bear. Ditto for .223/5.56x45. 7.62x39 is much cheaper. 5.45x39 is about the cheapest thing going nowadays (though much of it is corrosive--you just need to clean the gun right after shooting), and who knows what's down the road? Buy it cheap and stack it deep while you can. If the SHTF, availability might favor .223. Also, in a SHTF situation, to be seen carrying an AR might have less of a bad guy factor than to be seen carrying an AK.

Accessories definitely favor the AR platform. If you get an AK type, try and find one with the side mount, it's how most AK accessories attach to the gun.
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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby Netpackrat » Tue Sep 23, 2008 4:36 am

This looks like a pretty good deal for a Hungarian AK in 7.62x39. I've got an AK built from an AMD-65 kit, and the parts are nice quality, definitely nicer than anything coming out of Romania, and easily equal to the Polish kit that I built. The barrel they are using to assemble the listed rifle isn't the original though, which was about 12.5". I read somewhere they are using a 14+" barrel and permanently attaching the original muzzle brake to achieve legal barrel length for a rifle. I built mine as a pistol, so I was okay with the original barrel.

http://www.centerfiresystems.com/AKAGUN-AMD.aspx
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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby Whirlibird » Tue Sep 23, 2008 6:42 am

Lack of support?
6.8mmSPC

Silver State Armory

S-G 6.8 Silver State

Yes it's expensive but the trade off in effectiveness in my opinion more than makes up for the price difference. And with el-cheapo .308 going upwards of $.50 for junk, it's not as bad as it looks. And it's not like someone can't handload.

And having had to shoot a mid-size critter recently with a .223, I want more than a poodle-gun to depend on.

But realistically, if you want an AR platform, decide what size you want, .223 or .308.
Once you have the receiver, you can always finish it later.

Somethings to consider:
DPMS AR-10 Lower Assy

Essential Arms AR-15

Once you have them, they're yours.

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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby Kommander » Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:11 am

Yes, lack of support when compared to 7.62x51, 7.62x39, and 5.56x45. Not every gun store it going to have 6.8 mags and ammo, whereas the WILL have stuff for the three above. This does not make the 6.8 a bad round or a bad choice, but for someone new to the EBR game I think staying within those 3 calibers is the best bet.

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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby evan price » Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:11 am

Basically you need to consider three items:

One: What would you use it for? I'm not talking about need, I'm talking about where you live and how you expect to use it- is it the Zombie Apocalypse gun?
Is it the society collapsed and you need to fend off Mad Max gun?
Is it the long-range shooter?
Do you forsee a need to have it available but not visible? (Folding stock for example)
Are you concerned with NATO ammo compatability?
Do you want an MOA shooter?
Do you like blued steel and wood or do you want parkerized and black polymer?

.223 is really only good for 300 yards MAX. Anything more than that and you are talking .308 or above. Have you got a place where you can do 300 yard shooting?

Two: Do you want to pimp it up with lots of gizmos, like green lasers, night vision, forward bayonet adapters, railed quadrail adapters (with extra rails), phasers, shaving mirrors and a spotlight? ARs are easy to accessorize. AKs are not as easy (but it can be done).

Three: How much do you want to spend including the rifle AND a stack of full-capacity magazines? Having a neato EBR isn't cool when you have one mag, and it breaks. AR mags, for example, are basically a consumable part.

Basically you can choose between a main battle rifle such as a FAL, G3, CETME, M14, M1 Garand (in a manly chambering such as .30-06 or .308 Win) or an assault rifle like an AK or AR in an intermediate caliber like .223 Rem or 7.62x39.

AK74 ammo (5.45x39) is the cheapest right now but it is all surplus foriegn military ammo. Wolf has some of it now, but all foreign ammo is a presidential executive order away from banned from importation. Just consider that and buy a lot of 5.45 if you want one. Buy cheap, stack deep.

Let's not forget the carbines: The M4, the M1 Carbine, and all the pistol-caliber carbines like the KelTech Sub-2000, the HiPoint 995, the Ruger & Beretta carbines, plus the Mini-14 and -30 in intermediate calibers...the FN PS90... lots of shooty goodness out there.
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mulligan

Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby mulligan » Tue Sep 23, 2008 11:43 am

one
short term target training
long term groceries
ammo should be something I can find on a shelf in my zip code on any given sunday
wood introduces an additional facet of maintenance I don't see a need for.
I have a .45 ..so available but not visible is covered when i get my permit.
city indoor ranges ...50yards or less

two
i could see a scope, possibly a laser & perhaps a bipod someday if i run out of other stuff to buy

three
budget limit $1500

Joe ex PNG

Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby Joe ex PNG » Tue Sep 23, 2008 12:02 pm

There's always the Mech Tech CCU. You have a couple of options there:
1) If you already have either a 1911 or a .45 Glock- get one that fits your existing gun.
2) Buy a Glock 21 (full sized .45) and a .45 CCU.
3) OR do the same as #2 but in a different caliber.

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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby Bill Heinbach » Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:53 am

If you are willing to go to the AK platform instead of the AR, you might want to check out Classic Arms. They also have the Saigas (civilian model Russian AK). Side mounts and mag combos available for a good price if you buy the rifle from them.
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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby Combat Controller » Thu Sep 25, 2008 6:06 am

Buy a couple of AR lowers that way you are covered and then accessory them, TUBAR them, or whatever.
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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby Whirlibird » Thu Sep 25, 2008 8:56 am

mulligan wrote:the election has definitely moved my plans from the 'eventually' category to the 'asap' category and my concern about post election repercussions has driven a re-prioritization of funds.

The idea of multiple caliber support is a plus in my book. Should bad things happen and one type of ammo get banned or scarce or expensive, I would still be shooting the same rifle without changing grip, scope, etc.

Overall cost is an issue, but I don't mind investing in the right tool for the job. While the immediate purpose is to get one in my home while its legal, the need to practice without busting the budget is a consideration as well. Eventually, I should be able to cut the grocery bill and buy ammo to fill the freezer but that's still a ways off.

Is accessory compatibility an issue or is it just a matter of finding the right mounting brackets?


In AR's the compatability often comes from people who swap bolt/bolt carriers, uppers, other operating parts without careful consideration of how and where they attach or what they touch and what effect may come from what they muck with. Plus hanging too much garbage on a rifle is never a good thing.

As for deals, there are a few around.
Classic Arms was mentioned a few posts back has CETME's and crack-monkey AR-15's (Century made receiver) for some pretty fair prices. < $600

For a starter, the CETME isn't a bad choice, mags are cheap, it's a pre-G3 rifle designed by the H&K engineers before they were H&K. New stocks and barrels. Worth a look.
The CETME had conventional rifling unlike the H&K produced weapons.

The Century AR's are esentially a mix of SP-1 and A-2 style Colt rifles, using surplus Colt parts on a Century receiver. The AR's are one of the guns that even Century will have a hard time screwing up. (It could happen though :roll: )

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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby Combat Controller » Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:00 am

Fast Rope has a G3 for sale right now, and it is super accurate and reliable. We did the Appleseed shoot with it three or four years ago.
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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby chrisb » Fri Sep 26, 2008 2:25 pm

Man, I would be leery of anything the brain addled crack heads at Century had their hands on.

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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby Joe ex PNG » Fri Sep 26, 2008 7:57 pm

Iffin I had $1500 for an EBR, Ida go fer a SIG 556 sidefolder.

chrisb

Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby chrisb » Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:01 pm

I would buy a decent M4gry from Bushmaster, Rock River, etc. Then I would buy a case of ammo and all the mags I had money left over for.

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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby Frankingun » Sat Sep 27, 2008 3:16 am

chrisb wrote:I would buy a decent M4gry from Bushmaster, Rock River, etc. Then I would buy a case of ammo and all the mags I had money left over for.


+1 to that, start basic, stock up on mags, then accessorize. Though I like our M-4geries in "standard" configuration.
Buy ammunition and magazines.

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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby Whirlibird » Sun Sep 28, 2008 7:39 am

chrisb wrote:Man, I would be leery of anything the brain addled crack heads at Century had their hands on.


Almost nothing that can't be fixed. Been there, done that.

kparker

Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby kparker » Thu Oct 09, 2008 7:34 am

OK, are DS Arms available other than directly from the mfr, and (more to the point) at a price less than list? Because I see somebody out there selling Springfield M1A's with 22" barrel and synthetic stock for $1390 direct to your FFL. If it's that compared to an entry-level DS FAL at $1650, why wouldn't I go with the Springfield?

kparker

Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby kparker » Thu Oct 09, 2008 7:40 am

Or maybe the prior question should be--my only modern semiauto rifle at all is a KelTec SU16C. (Also have an 1894C in .357mag, and SKS, and a number of bolt-actions.) The KelTec seems to work fine for 100 ~ 200 yards, so maybe that's all the poodle-shooter I need.

At any rate, please opine--if you were in my position, and looking at the uncertain future, would you get a real AR before you got a .308 battle rifle, and if so, which one?

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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby Whirlibird » Thu Oct 09, 2008 9:03 am

kparker wrote:OK, are DS Arms available other than directly from the mfr, and (more to the point) at a price less than list? Because I see somebody out there selling Springfield M1A's with 22" barrel and synthetic stock for $1390 direct to your FFL. If it's that compared to an entry-level DS FAL at $1650, why wouldn't I go with the Springfield?


I don't know where you're shopping...
DSA $1200

DSA $1100 STG58

DSA STG58 $1025

Cause the FAL is easier to work on.
Cause the FAL is more ergonomic.
Cause it's a FAL

kparker

Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby kparker » Thu Oct 09, 2008 3:14 pm

whirlibird,

The gunbroker.com link makes sense, but the other two both go to the same entry at Apex:

Original Webley MKIV hammer missing the firing pin but includes the catch and swivel assemblies.


And when I go back to the top at Apex and navigate down to the FAL section, it's clear these guys are selling parts; no sign of complete firearms anywhere.

kparker

Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby kparker » Thu Oct 09, 2008 3:32 pm

Whirlibird,

Hopefully starting a (friendly!) rwar of FAL vs M14 isn't off-topic here.

I really need to be educated here...

Cause the FAL is more ergonomic.


What other features, besides the pistol grip, do you prefer over the M14?

Cause the FAL is easier to work on.


By "working on" are you talking about just strip and clean, or about doing/installing mods?

Cause it's a FAL


What other details does this imply? Are SA M-14's not well-made these days or something?

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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby tcourtplayer » Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:00 pm

kparker wrote:OK, are DS Arms available other than directly from the mfr, and (more to the point) at a price less than list? Because I see somebody out there selling Springfield M1A's with 22" barrel and synthetic stock for $1390 direct to your FFL. If it's that compared to an entry-level DS FAL at $1650, why wouldn't I go with the Springfield?

Keep in mind those prices are what they charge YOU, not gun dealers. Find a friendly gun dealer that is willing to order what you want at their discounted price. I know JAG did this when we were both looking for FAL's and DSA gave the dealer a great price and they only marked it up a little to cover their costs and such and everyone won.
JAG: So why do you need armor piercing ammo?
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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby 308Mike » Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:02 pm

My SA M1A is more accurate than I am (I've also been tending towards iron sights lately - I like the larger view). One of these days when I put some good glass on it, I might find the need to try and "accurize it" - but I'm thinking of using my M1A for NRA Sporting Rifle matches too.
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kparker

Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby kparker » Fri Oct 10, 2008 3:41 am

308Mike,

How recent a vintage is your SA M14? Any comment about current manufacturing quality?

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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby 308Mike » Fri Oct 10, 2008 4:31 am

kparker wrote:308Mike,

How recent a vintage is your SA M14? Any comment about current manufacturing quality?


I got mine in March of 2007, and it's a California-ized "Loaded M1A", with walnut stock and carbon-steel barrel.

M1A - IMG_0501.jpg


So far, I have NO complaints whatsoever (besides the stupid California laws keeping me from making it an "assault weapon").
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POLITICIANS & DIAPERS NEED TO BE CHANGED OFTEN AND FOR THE SAME REASON

A person properly schooled in right and wrong is safe with any weapon. A person with no idea of good and evil is unsafe with a knitting needle, or the cap from a ballpoint pen.

I remain pessimistic given the way BATF and the anti gun crowd have become tape worms in the guts of the Republic. - toad

kparker

Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby kparker » Fri Oct 10, 2008 5:13 am

Thanks, Mike!

So come on, everyone else--no further opinions about the FAL vs M14 choice? :-)

And also my 2nd-to-original question still stands, too:

if you were in my position, and looking at the uncertain future, would you get a real AR before you got a .308 battle rifle, and if so, which one?


I'm leaning to the .308 primarily because I do want the ability to increase my range, but on the other hand the convenient places I have to practice max out at 200yds.

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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby The Quiet Man » Fri Oct 10, 2008 5:26 am

I would love to have an M1A. I can afford an M1A. However, I can't afford the magazines which are gawd awful expensive. I would also like a FAL...and my favorite gun store has had a few lately at prices I could easily swing. Magazines are really cheap which is a big plus. But at the end of the day I have to pass because I can't afford to feed either one. 7.62x51 is just horrible expensive. Hell, it's gotten so that 5.56x45 is almost too expensive.

The way things are going now I am looking at buying a Lancaster AK47 and plenty of commie ammo (whch has also gone way up, but it is still affordable) Magazines aren't too bad and Wolf or Golden Tiger ammo is still relatively cheap. And frankly, nothing causes the same PSH as the sight of an AK47!

My take is that the rifle and magazines are the most important part of the equation right now...they will be the first on the list to go. Ammo will go up really high, but will still be somewhat available...for a while. Then is will start to dry up (like a few years ago when commie ammo was really tough to come by). Of course, by that time I will have close to 15 cases of ammo socked away...just in case of that proverbial rainy day. I would much prefer to have a gold standard battle rifle, but I will have to settle for something less that I can afford to fix and feed.

kparker

Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby kparker » Fri Oct 10, 2008 6:34 am

Quiet Man,

What's wrong with reloading? That can go a long way toward mitigating the cost.

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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby Combat Controller » Fri Oct 10, 2008 6:43 am

I have two M1a's and I rather like love them. Very accurate, reliable, and an easy manual of arms. You can even get a pistol grip on one if you really want to. Both are Springfield of recent manufacture, one is a Scout Squad and the other is a National Super Match. Both are way better shooters than I am.

The FAL is a fine weapon too, but I lean towards the M1a.
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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby Whirlibird » Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:42 am

kparker wrote:Whirlibird,

Hopefully starting a (friendly!) rwar of FAL vs M14 isn't off-topic here.

I really need to be educated here...

Cause the FAL is more ergonomic.


What other features, besides the pistol grip, do you prefer over the M14?

Cause the FAL is easier to work on.


By "working on" are you talking about just strip and clean, or about doing/installing mods?

Cause it's a FAL


What other details does this imply? Are SA M-14's not well-made these days or something?


Crud, did it again. Lots of typing lost. Shorter version to follow.

From cleaning and maintaining the weapon to actual building, the FAL is much easier to work on. The ease of construction is one definate point in it's favor, as with a minimum of tools and knowledge one can keep an FAL running almost indefinately.

I've built half a dozen M-1a's and around the same number of match Garands and in wood stocks they can become finicky and accuracy can go south for no obvious reason.

Don't get me wrong I like the M-1A, the most accurate .308 autoloader I've used to date was one (1" at 200Y witnessed from the bench). Wish my eyes were up to that today. But for something that I'm going to carry, respond to unknown situations with and may abuse between cleanings, the FAL has shown itself to be more reliable in my experience. The M-1A's tend to eat scopes with the clatter and slap bolt movement. (That might just be my experience though)

My current beater FAL will at best only go 2" at 100Y but it will do it reliably. With mixed junk ammo, it's good for somewhere between 4-6" at the same range. Again, reliably. Some of the garbage I feed it is the same stuff that used to choke the M-1A, I'm almost out of it thankfully.

The varied lengths of stocks available for the FAL, varied cheek heights and buttpad thicknesses means that I can make the FAL fit a whole mess of people for a whole lot less than any adjustable stock for the M-1A. Plus I can mix and match the forend to match my wishes and situation.
I run a metal fore-end on the beater right now, however I can swap out them for the plastic DSA ones in about a minute with no loss or change of accuracy.

The FAL has better ergonomics, the safety being under the thumb rather than having anything to do with the trigger finger is a good thing. Again the easily changed stocks some into play.
The charging handle is easily accessed by the off hand and doesn't require changing a firing grip. I actually prefer the "proper" rifle style grip of the M-1A for range work but it's not as useful for all around use as a "pistol grip".

I'll grant the M-1A's have more accurate sights (unless some work is done) and the rifles are more accurate but how much accuracy do you need being practical? For the price of a good M-1A I can build 2 FAL's. Or 1 FAL and pick up a bunch of mags and ammo (reloading components).

Metric FAL magazines run 1/2 the cost of the M-1A mags, less if you buy in larger numbers.

My department just authorized the use of .30 caliber rifles (we all carry AR's right now) and I'm switching out as soon as I can re-qualify with my FAL. Not as handy in tight spaces, it allows for a greater reach and the increased available power more than make up for it's shortcomings.

I've owned M-1A's, I've built them. They don't stay.
I own FAL's, I depend on them.

As for which would I get first?

That's easy. I'd get the most useful first, I can get specialized weapons later.
A rifle can do what a carbine can, it may not be as handy but it will do the same jobs.
The carbine can't say the same thing.

The carbine uses a reduced power round. In this case a varmint round. I like my AR and do depend of it on the job. But I've had it fail me on a dog (with a good shot) much like CC and his .40 caliber story and ultimately I trust the .30 rifle more.

Do I want the same kind of failure when I'm shooting for blood? No.
Do I want to risk the same failure when the odds are not in my favor and other peoples lives are at risk? No.

The .30 rifle makes cover into concealment.
The .30 rifle has mass on it's side not just velocity.
The .30 rifle makes swiss cheese of the faux-armor that some of the more serious skels wear. If the LAPD had issued or allowed real rifles (heck even carbines) before the Northridge robbery, it wouldn't have been more than a footnote in history.

It's simple, when you need a rifle, you NEED a Rifle.
Get the .308 and stock for it.
Still want a carbine, pick up an AR receiver for a c-note and stick it back for a rainy day.
But have your rifle handy.

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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby Combat Controller » Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:54 am

Pretty good reasons. I concur.

Side note, it was a 9mm...
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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby kparker » Fri Oct 10, 2008 2:50 pm

Whirlibird,

Thanks, that kind of discussion is very helpful.

When you mention the word "build", you open up whole new vistas I wasn't anticipating. I've never actually built an AR, though of course like anyone else with a pulse I'm somewhat aware of the vast array of possibilities in that platform. But I've never heard of building FALs.

Keeping in mind that at this point my main interest is in a rifle, not a project, do say more: who sells receivers and other components, what actual work is involved, and how does the result compare to the $1600 MSRP DS Arms that I'm comparing to the entry-level M14's?

Thanks!

DwightG

Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby DwightG » Fri Oct 10, 2008 5:15 pm

WB has probably dealt with a greater number of both than I have but my relatively limited experience between the two rifles is almost opposite. I have two M1As and one FAL and I've built (more appropriately "assembled") a couple of each. I've seen malfunctions on the FALs with ammo that my M1A digested nicely. One day at the range, a friend was having trouble with his FAL. Failure to extract/eject. His rifle had been functioning fine with some other ammo. After adjusting the gas vent, he was able to get it to function but then extraction was pretty violent with the previous ammo. Both types worked fine in the M1A. I've also fired cast bullet loads in the M1A that I'm pretty sure wouldn't cycle the FAL (although I haven't tried it) at least without adjusting the gas to one extreme which would then be very violent with standard ammo. The M1A cycled noticeably slower but it cycled.

With the possible exception of the safety, I find the M1A much more ergonomic and definitely more compact. The sights and trigger out of the box will be a lot better on the M1A. The FAL has the advantage of being easily cleaned from the breech end but stripping is simpler on the M1A.

I also don't like the fact that the FAL has no provision for forcing the bolt closed. The charging handle pulls but won't push like on an AR/M16 and they never got around to adding a forward assist to the design. Neither rifle scopes very elegantly but the M1A at least has an attempt at a provision for scope mounting. FAL magazines are indeed cheaper than M14 mags.

Overall, I much prefer the M1A/M14. Mine are both over 25 years old and made mostly of GI parts. I can't comment on the quality of new Springfield Armory production.

My first choice by a fair margin is the M1A but the FAL, even with the things I don't care for, is still my second choice with everything else I can think of a distant third.

kparker

Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby kparker » Fri Oct 10, 2008 6:04 pm

To partly answer my build question (but also to ask for a sanity check from those of you who have actually done it!), I found this description on Cruffler.

Ignoring the April 1 date (or maybe I shouldn't), is this typical? Because if so, it's way more than I want to be involved with at the moment; it seems on the same scale as a "Build An AK From Flats" project, rather than a "Pick An Upper And A Lower And Bolt Things Together" AR kind of project.

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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby Darrell » Fri Oct 10, 2008 10:27 pm

Call CDNN about that G3/PTR91 I mentioned in the other EBR thread. It's got a Thompson Center match barrel in choice of 16 or 18", flash hider, machined "tactical" handguard, and it's going for $965. Of course, some people complain about the G3's ergonomics, too.
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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby Combat Controller » Sat Oct 11, 2008 9:15 pm

kparker wrote:To partly answer my build question (but also to ask for a sanity check from those of you who have actually done it!), I found this description on Cruffler.

Ignoring the April 1 date (or maybe I shouldn't), is this typical? Because if so, it's way more than I want to be involved with at the moment; it seems on the same scale as a "Build An AK From Flats" project, rather than a "Pick An Upper And A Lower And Bolt Things Together" AR kind of project.


Yeah. Building an AR is tinkertoys compared to an AK or an FAL.
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kparker

Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby kparker » Sat Oct 11, 2008 9:26 pm

Yeah. Building an AR is tinkertoys compared to a ... FAL.

Part of this surely must be starting with all-new components vs actually rebuilding in the case of the FAL. (And am I correct in understanding the DS Arms are all-new made-in-USA pieces, not rebuild imports?)

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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby Netpackrat » Sat Oct 11, 2008 10:55 pm

kparker wrote:
Yeah. Building an AR is tinkertoys compared to a ... FAL.

Part of this surely must be starting with all-new components vs actually rebuilding in the case of the FAL. (And am I correct in understanding the DS Arms are all-new made-in-USA pieces, not rebuild imports?)


I haven't checked lately, but they used to offer a rifle built from Austrian parts on one of their US receivers (with necessary substitutions for 922r), and for more money, a fully US made FAL.
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kparker

Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby kparker » Sun Oct 12, 2008 1:53 am

NPR,

Thanks for the hint; yes they do have a series of "Austrian" rifles make from imported parts + a new receiver, for about $400 less than their all-new ones.

Next question: if I were to go the FAL route, why would I prefer Inch or Metric pattern over the other? I've read that magazines of one pattern will fit in either pattern rifle, but that the other one won't (but I forget which is which.) This would obviously give more versatility; are there any other considerations?

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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby Whirlibird » Sun Oct 12, 2008 10:05 am

Inch vs Metric.

Metric mags and parts are the majority of what's available "cheaply".

However in an INCH RECEIVER you can use both magazines. However the metrics may nose dive enough not to be reliable. For the extra $100, it's not worth the issues in magazine compatibility.

The parts will interchange somewhat, an Inch lower can be assembled on a Metric Upper and vice versa. However the sights won't match up. The barrel breaching methods are different also. The Metrics are easier to build with out getting into the breching washers and such.
However you can easily build an inch kit on a metric receiver. You just breech it differently.

Clear as mud?

If you have questions and need actual answers, go register on The FAL Files and the guys there will help immensely. And if you're lucky there's someone building in your area who can help and has the tooling already.

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Re: buyin' an EBR

Postby FastRope71 » Tue Oct 14, 2008 2:32 am

M1a Mags aren't that expensive. Look for teh Taiwan type 57 (?) mags. They are built on our original equipment, and I have never had a malfunction with one.
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