Recommendation on rifle

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groover000

Recommendation on rifle

Postby groover000 » Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:57 am

I am looking to buy my first rifle, but over the last few months I think I have entered the stage of "analysis paralysis". I would like a rifle (no .22 or shotguns please, looking to buy something that I might not be able to in the next month or so) in .223, 7.62x39, or .308. I want something that would be capable of SHTF duty, but also something that is fun. I don't have a ton of money to spend...750 or so, maybe a little more, but definitely under $1,000. Was thinking about an AR because I always wanted one since I was kid (I would build this myself to save some money). Not really looking for an AR with a lot of gadgets, just a basic model with iron sights. Also thought about a Saiga and doing the conversion myself so it will take standard AK mags. Also thought about the Saiga in .308, but the only place I can find that has them are in the 16" barrel version. Still not sure about a .308 because I am not sure about the recoil and as I said I want something that will be fun to go to the range with but still willing to consider.
Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated.

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Darrell
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Re: Recommendation on rifle

Postby Darrell » Tue Dec 23, 2008 6:34 am

IMO you should've done it six months or more ago, there's not a lot available right now due to the panic buying, and what is there is probably expensive. Who does the Sportical model AR? DPMS? I seem to remember seeing or reading that someone had them at a decent price...

ETA: Yes, it's the DPMS Sportical, considered an entry level AR, a cross between a sporter and a tactical. It comes with a Picatinny rail though, no iron sights standard.

http://www.dpmsinc.com/firearms/firearm.aspx?id=54

ETA2: I posted on RGuns out of Illinois recently, they do show several models of DPMS ARs in stock, and at surprisingly low prices. They show the Sportical as the "A3 Sport Tactical", $629.

http://www.rguns.net/rifles/rifles-semi ... -556.shtml

Caveat emptor, I've read bad things about RGuns, but who knows? They're the guys I wrote about having the reasonably priced IMI ammo in several flavors.
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Re: Recommendation on rifle

Postby Whirlibird » Tue Dec 23, 2008 8:52 am

Gotta agree with Darrell, kinda late unless you want to spend some hard cash.

AR's are insane right now, but Essential Arms haven't changes their prices, unlike many and they make an excellent product. That's if you want to go the build your own route.

Part's kits from many places (inc. Model 1 Sales) are running 12-16 weeks out as of Thanksgiving, who knows right now.

Pretty much anywhere you look for an AR, you're looking at $800 to start with and upwards for anything special or odd.

For my uses, I would want a proper rifle. I can always shorten or download for special purposes but a real rifle none the less.
I'd give Enterprise Arms a quick call and get a receiver on the way to my local dealer. $350
Parts kits are still available on Gunbroker for @$250-300 depending on condition. You want the best barrel you can find. The rest is easy.
Another couple of purchases and you're set.
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Pop over and join the FALFILES for more instructions and information than you'd expect anywhere but here. Help assembling may even be around, it happens. Look for "local or area builds"

For free tooling, pop over to GUNTHINGS and download the receiver wrench and barrel vise diagram.

With a handful of tools, I can build a complete FAL in an evening if I ignore the finish.

Mags are around for $10-15 each. Again over at FalFiles is a good place to look.

The bonus is an FAL almost builds itself and is rebuildable unlike most other designs.
Downside: It's heavy and ammo is running @.50 a pop. But .223 isn't much cheaper and is much less effective.

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Re: Recommendation on rifle

Postby Aegis » Tue Dec 23, 2008 11:03 am

Not a caliber you specifically mentioned, but an M1 Carbine from the CMP might be a good start. Not much recoil, but handy in a fight, if WWII and Korea have any bearing on the matter. They don't run much more than 500 for a service grade, but you do have to fulfill the fairly easy pre-requisites. Hurry, though, they're mighty popular.

Alternately, an M1 Garand is 600 bucks for a service grade, also from the CMP. The .30-06 might be a bit too much for a first rifle, but it all depends on how much (if any) you've shot before.

As a bonus, if you get one of those, you probably have enough left over to get a second-hand .22 rifle.
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Re: Recommendation on rifle

Postby eocoolj » Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:41 pm

Aegis wrote:As a bonus, if you get one of those, you probably have enough left over to get a second-hand .22 rifle.


If you want the AR, so be it, but make sure to pick up a .22 soon afterwards. I've got a friend who, when he got into guns, mocked the .22 for its supposed lack of power and manliness. He insisted on only buying guns in "service calibers". Then, at the range, he realized I could shoot 20 rounds of .22 for every shot he fired. We ended up spending most of our time that afternoon trading off with my .22. It just isnt affordable to spend an entire afternoon blasting away at 25 or 50 cents a trigger pull.

Long story short, .22s give you the most "bang for the buck" and powerful cartridges are useless if you cant afford to practice enough to get proficient with them.

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Re: Recommendation on rifle

Postby MarkD » Tue Dec 23, 2008 5:48 pm

+1 on the Garand, but then again I'm a big Garand-fan. For you budget you could get the CMP Garand and a couple cans of Greek surplus ammo (excellent stuff). Anyone who tells you you're under-gunned is full of that which makes yonder flowers grow.

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Re: Recommendation on rifle

Postby Combat Controller » Wed Dec 24, 2008 6:06 am

The AR is a good choice, I rather like the platform. I say get what you desire.

As a side note (yes I am going to mention the .22) get an insert for the AR, that way you have trigger time on the actual rife you would use if the SHTF for a fraction of the cost. End the day with your 5.56 practice.
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Re: Recommendation on rifle

Postby Netpackrat » Wed Dec 24, 2008 7:46 am

I wish people would post this stuff in the regular gun forum, since I hardly ever check this one.

groover000 wrote:Also thought about a Saiga and doing the conversion myself so it will take standard AK mags. Also thought about the Saiga in .308, but the only place I can find that has them are in the 16" barrel version. Still not sure about a .308 because I am not sure about the recoil and as I said I want something that will be fun to go to the range with but still willing to consider.
Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated.


One reason that the 16" .308 is more popular, is because they are more consistently accurate than the 22" version; it probably has to do with barrel harmonics. Mine will consistently put 5 rounds of the blue box Federal hunting ammo into 1.5"-2" at 100 yards, consistently, which is not bad at all for a rifle of this type. Being gas operated, the recoil isn't really a big deal, although I didn't fire mine much with the factory stock before converting it. I have a Choate stock with a decent recoil pad on it, which probably helps a lot. The .308 is still fun at the range, but more expensive to shoot, and hi-cap magazines are expensive, but at least they are available now (downside is they are all plastic). The FBMG mags like I have are currently unavailable because they are having issues with their supplier of followers (the russians are being difficult), but there are also Surefire mags available for about the same price as the FBMG were (I think the FBMG is a better mag, based on forum reading). Also, if you decide to go hunting sometime, the .308 is a far better choice with fewer limitations compared to the other two calibers. I wrote about converting mine here in the Wiki.

The 7.62x39 would also be a good choice, especially if you convert it to take standard mags, which are plentiful and cheap (although maybe less cheap now). The conversion process for the x39 and .223 is more complicated than it is for the .308, but the majority of the x39 mags are metal and of excellent quality. I wouldn't get the .223 version because the cartridge is more appropriate for prairie dog hunting than anything else, and the magazines are far less available. Either caliber is severely limited for hunting deer sized game, although with the right ammo, and within 100 yards or so, the 7.62 should do a decent job.
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Re: Recommendation on rifle

Postby Windy Wilson » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:31 pm

I have to echo what the proponents of the .22 are saying. You need a .22. As Kim duToit has said repeatedly, a .22 rifle is a household staple, like flour. Every home should have one. You can shoot all day with a .22 for what two mags of practically any centerfire would cost, and the principles are directly transferable. In the past 4 years I can count on the fingers of one hand the days I went to the range and did not shoot my .22 in addition to whatever else I was shooting that day. I recommend checking out the CMP for a carbine or Garand, and also buying a Savage Mk 2.
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Re: Recommendation on rifle

Postby Rich Jordan » Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:14 am

Darrell wrote:ETA2: I posted on RGuns out of Illinois recently, they do show several models of DPMS ARs in stock, and at surprisingly low prices. They show the Sportical as the "A3 Sport Tactical", $629.

http://www.rguns.net/rifles/rifles-semi ... -556.shtml

Caveat emptor, I've read bad things about RGuns, but who knows? They're the guys I wrote about having the reasonably priced IMI ammo in several flavors.


RGuns gets a lot of grief for slow delivery and poor customer service. The IMI ammo has been getting horrendous reviews on arfcom; way too many rejects due to corrosion and damage. The other surplus ammo they list is reportedly good stuff though.
Last edited by Rich Jordan on Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Recommendation on rifle

Postby Dedicated_Dad » Thu Jan 22, 2009 5:51 am

Netpackrat wrote:I wish people would post this stuff in the regular gun forum, since I hardly ever check this one....


Just below the "title" bar is a link - "View active topics"

Click that and you'll see every active thread on the whole site - with the most recent posts at the top - no need to go forum-by-forum...!

Hope this helps!!

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Re: Recommendation on rifle

Postby Darrell » Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:43 pm

Rich Jordan wrote:
Darrell wrote:ETA2: I posted on RGuns out of Illinois recently, they do show several models of DPMS ARs in stock, and at surprisingly low prices. They show the Sportical as the "A3 Sport Tactical", $629.

http://www.rguns.net/rifles/rifles-semi ... -556.shtml

Caveat emptor, I've read bad things about RGuns, but who knows? They're the guys I wrote about having the reasonably priced IMI ammo in several flavors.


RGuns gets a lot of grief for slow delivery and poor customer service. The IMI ammo has been getting horrendous reviews on arfcom; way too many rejects due to corrosion and damage. The other surplus ammo they list is reportedly good stuff though.


Yeah, I forgot to post about that--I saw a write up and photo at arfcom or somewhere, showing the IMI .223, IIRC. The stuff was in terrible conditin.
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Re: Recommendation on rifle

Postby FastRope71 » Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:42 am

Groover,
For us to really be able to help you decide, we need to have some idea of what you expect to encounter in a SHTF sort of environment. IS your Area wide open, urban, rural, wooded, high country, etc?

Do you picture yourself laying out a high volume of fire, or can a ten rd mag suffice for your expected encounters. Do you need to be able to carry the gun for long distances?

Is your plan more along the lines of bugging in or bugging out?

Is this going to be a trunk gun or a safe/range princess?

These things can help us use our experience in weighing the pros and cons of various platforms agains your request for frugality.

Does your <$1000 price tag need to include ammunition or are you considering that as a separate purchase. How much ammo do you wish to acquire immediately and in the near future?

Help us help you.
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Re: Recommendation on rifle

Postby BadgerAZ » Mon Aug 17, 2009 11:54 pm

Groover,

Another rifle to consider is the Ruger Mini, either in .223 (Mini-14) or 7.62x39 (Mini-Thirty). The Ruger Minis are less money than an AR, a bit less accurate but more reliable. A real plus on the Minis is that they look like normal everyday small rifles (many of the uninformed think they're .22s), in contrast with the ARs, which virtually scream "ASSAULT RIFLE!" That dramatic difference in appearance can have very significant social and potentially legal consequences, depending on location and context.

I have a very old Mini-14 .223, a newer Mini-Thirty, and an AR-15 (actually an M4 semi-auto).

The AR/M4 is uncannily accurate, as accurate as a good bolt rifle, but that's not unusual for a good AR/M4. The action does get dirty very quickly from gas blown back into the action, and when it gets dirty it can be unreliable. It just needs frequent cleaning and lubing, but I can't say it's functioned flawlessly.

The Mini-14 in .223 has been with me since the early 1980s. In all that time it has functioned flawlessly with only occasional maintenance, but its accuracy is less than wonderful -- 3- to 4-inch groups at 100 yards with good surplus ammo is the norm. But it's extremely rugged and has never failed to go bang! when I've pulled the trigger, and to me that puts it high on the totem of firearms.

The Mini-Thirty in 7.62x39 Russian (AK-47 ammo) is in stainless and relatively new. I don't have the long experience with it that I do with the Mini-14, but so far it's been totally reliable. I've not done enough accuracy testing to say anything for sure about it yet.

All three of these rifles have lousy triggers, with the AR perhaps the worst of the three by a small margin. There are excellent aftermarket triggers available for the AR. In fact the huge aftermarket for ARs is one of its greatest advantages of the AR. There are aftermarket parts to allow your AR to do anything you can reasonably expect of an AR platform, and a few that are probably unreasonable (such as converting it to be a crossbow -- no kidding). There's some aftermarket support for Mini accessories and upgrades, but not nearly as many as with the AR.

Were I interested in an urban defensive rifle, I'd go with the Mini-Thirty because of its more effective caliber. The more inocuous appearance of the Minis would be a big plus in an urban environment as well. For more rural or open-range use, the flatter trajectory and greater accuracy of the AR would win the day for me.

Both Minis and ARs are also available in 6.5mm (.270 caliber), which is generally considered more effective than the .223 while still having the very mild recoil. (That includes the 7.62x39 Mini-Thirty, which in the Mini-Thirty still has very mild recoil.)

I hope that helps.

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Re: Recommendation on rifle

Postby Combat Controller » Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:36 am

Good luck with mags for the mini 30 though. All the high cap ones I bought sucked.
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Re: Recommendation on rifle

Postby workinwifdakids » Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:04 am

Hey, Groover! Welcome to our humble home. Hope you stick around.

While it's true you could've had better deals earlier, hell - when in life is that NOT the case? You'll have to look a bit harder for deals, but they are around.

You can get a VERY decent brand new AR-15 (probably Stag, or CMMG) with a half-dozen nice magazines for well under $1,000. For ammunition, you're on your own (as is the rest of the civilized world), but there's the deal. The Mini-14 would rock your world for less than $700 used, which I'd pick up in a heartbeat. What about the Saiga in 7.62x39? They're not bad, I just don't like the fit to my body. Hmmm...

Yeah, I think DD is right: tell us what your layout is, and what your plans are, so we can get specific for you. We'll even link you to some good places to buy.
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Re: Recommendation on rifle

Postby BadgerAZ » Tue Aug 18, 2009 4:17 pm

CombatController wrote:Good luck with mags for the mini 30 though. All the high cap ones I bought sucked.


I've had problems with an aftermarket 40-round mag for the Mini-Thirty, but the factory mags have all functioned fine. Unfortunately Ruger used to refuse to sell any hi-cap mags (> 10 rds) to mere lowly civilians. But I believe I read recently that practice is changing and even mere mortals can now buy Ruger factory hi-caps.

I do have a number of 20-round factory hi-caps for my ~1980 .223 Mini-14. None of those have ever given me any problems despite half of them being kept loaded at any given time (for years on end, sometimes).

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Re: Recommendation on rifle

Postby Bob K » Tue Aug 18, 2009 5:54 pm

Don't disagree with any of the previous posts.

But. if you're really on the cheap, look at an SKS. Fires 7.62x39. Loads from a 10 round stripper clip into the integral box magazine. With a little practice, this can be done quite quickly.

I bought mine new some 30+ years ago. In all these years, it has never failed to go boom. The trigger was gritty at first, but smoothed out beautifully after a hundred rounds.

It's Chinese, appears to be milspec, and has the handy, folding, cruciform bayonet. It's amusing how that bayo commands attention.
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Re: Recommendation on rifle

Postby blackeagle603 » Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:03 pm

Didn't Ruger recently start making 20 rounders?
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Re: Recommendation on rifle

Postby Durham68 » Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:11 pm

I hear good things about Del-ton ARs and it seems like prices for them are back to normal. They can be had on Gunbroker for under $750.

And +1000 to getting a .22 rifle from the start. Conversion kit or seperate rifle...doesn't matter. Just get one.
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Re: Recommendation on rifle

Postby Flintlock Tom » Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:58 pm

blackeagle603 wrote:Didn't Ruger recently start making 20 rounders?

I picked up several 20 rounders for the Mini-14 last December when Ruger was having a post-election sale. I don't know if they started making them again or just released some warehouse stock. Mine are marked "Law Enforcement Only".
I had them shipped to my "holding company" in Oregon. (My brother, in Oregon, "holds" all the stuff I can't have in California)

I would also recommend an SKS. Reliable, sturdy, "cheap", availability of ammo, reliable and fun to shoot.
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Re: Recommendation on rifle

Postby Combat Controller » Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:35 pm

Yeah, I owned the Mini-30 before Ruger would sell higher than 10 round mags to folks. Even after the "ban". Ruger mags always work, but I wanted more than the hunter mags I had.
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