Looking for advice / recommendations
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Old 03-31-2009, 09:15 PM   #1
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Default Looking for advice / recommendations

Since I have recently come into a little bit of extra money, and with the current political / economic atmosphere I'm seriously considering the purchase of a gun or 2 (or.... ) before any new laws are passed and/ or the prices go up any more ... Unfortunately I'm currently living/working outside of the US (Or fortunately depending on how you look at it... lol), but I can have a family member pick up something for me now...

I've been doing a lot of research and reading lately, but I have never owned a gun before and much of this info is pretty new to me. This isn't to say I don't know anything about guns, and I have fired a few guns over the years. Had to get qualified while in the military (w/some form of M-16), but never used one on a regular basis (I was an electrician on a sub...), but had to requalify every couple of years with a 9mm pistol and shotgun incase I ever had to stand a security watch.

At first I was considering an AR-15 (.223), but now I'm not so sure. I'm thinking I would like a bigger round so I've been leaning toward the .308 in an AR-10/clone (LAR-8 seems to be a decent price and the mfg seems to have a good rep - confirmation?). And today I was just reading about the 6.5 Grendel and .50 BMG - so many choices and since I've never used any of these I'm really not sure which would be best. I know everyone has their opinions/favorites, but I'll list my priorities to help narrow things down.

In no particular order of priority:
1. I want to have good accuracy, stopping power, and range.
2. Reasonably low cost (Don't need a tricked out AR-15 for $3000. I'm thinking in the $1000 - $1500 range). And available to purchase NOW not put on a waiting list for months.
3. Availability and cost of ammo (no $4+ per round, so that probably rules out the .50 BMG)
4. Reliability and ease of maintenance/availability of parts / mags (But I don't plan on firing 1000's of rounds a year either)
5. Availability of high cap mags under $40
6. This is for a WTSHTF scenario and until then occasional target practice.

I am also considering an AK-47 as a second (backup) rifle since I recently saw one for about $600. Possibly a 10/22 as well for plinking since ammo is so cheap and I can start the wife on that to learn.

Also would like a shotgun for home defense and a .45 ACP semi-auto pistol, but I'll post about those on the appropriate forums...

So please share your opinions (with reasons to back it up), experiences, specific manufacturers/models, etc.

Thanks for your help!

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Old 03-31-2009, 09:58 PM   #2
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What boat did you ride?

If you are currently in Israel there are some tasty weapons all around you.

I have no AR experience but if you want a fun gun (7.62x39) that's inexpensive to shoot you would be hard to the beat the AK:

My SUR-47 (Sports Utility Rifle) For explanation check here:

http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f12/explain-educate-me-assault-rifle-10340/#post65891

http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f18/totally-lost-rifles-10419/#post66492



If interested, I can fill you in with details!

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Old 04-01-2009, 03:32 AM   #3
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They're probably more than you want to spend, but you owe it to yourself to take a look at M14s. FN FALs, and H&K G3s also make my personal favorite list for SURs.

If you can find an old school FAL with wood furniture and the carrying handle, you've got a dead sexy piece on your hands. They do come with a hefty price tag though.

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Old 04-01-2009, 02:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CommandoJoe View Post
Since I have recently come into a little bit of extra money, and with the current political / economic atmosphere I'm seriously considering the purchase of a gun or 2 (or.... ) before any new laws are passed and/ or the prices go up any more ... Unfortunately I'm currently living/working outside of the US (Or fortunately depending on how you look at it... lol), but I can have a family member pick up something for me now...

I've been doing a lot of research and reading lately, but I have never owned a gun before and much of this info is pretty new to me. This isn't to say I don't know anything about guns, and I have fired a few guns over the years. Had to get qualified while in the military (w/some form of M-16), but never used one on a regular basis (I was an electrician on a sub...), but had to requalify every couple of years with a 9mm pistol and shotgun incase I ever had to stand a security watch.

At first I was considering an AR-15 (.223), but now I'm not so sure. I'm thinking I would like a bigger round so I've been leaning toward the .308 in an AR-10/clone (LAR-8 seems to be a decent price and the mfg seems to have a good rep - confirmation?). And today I was just reading about the 6.5 Grendel and .50 BMG - so many choices and since I've never used any of these I'm really not sure which would be best. I know everyone has their opinions/favorites, but I'll list my priorities to help narrow things down.

In no particular order of priority:
1. I want to have good accuracy, stopping power, and range.
2. Reasonably low cost (Don't need a tricked out AR-15 for $3000. I'm thinking in the $1000 - $1500 range). And available to purchase NOW not put on a waiting list for months.
3. Availability and cost of ammo (no $4+ per round, so that probably rules out the .50 BMG)
4. Reliability and ease of maintenance/availability of parts / mags (But I don't plan on firing 1000's of rounds a year either)
5. Availability of high cap mags under $40
6. This is for a WTSHTF scenario and until then occasional target practice.

I am also considering an AK-47 as a second (backup) rifle since I recently saw one for about $600. Possibly a 10/22 as well for plinking since ammo is so cheap and I can start the wife on that to learn.

Also would like a shotgun for home defense and a .45 ACP semi-auto pistol, but I'll post about those on the appropriate forums...

So please share your opinions (with reasons to back it up), experiences, specific manufacturers/models, etc.

Thanks for your help!
I think your on the right track so far. IMO, you have a feasible budget to start out with, so this should open some doors for rifles chambered in 308, although it rules out somthing chambered in 50bmg. It also seems to me that you have done a little research prior to posting, and have set reasonable limits/expectations that are realistic. I would recomend the following......
If possible, try and get your mitts on as many rifles of interest as you can to see first hand how it feels for you. Be advised that several of the these platforms have various models available as well. different barrel lengths, rail systems, etc........
EXAMPLE : A National Match M1A with a decent scope mount/optics combination feels quite a bit different in my mitts than an M1A Socom 16. Both are intended for different purposes, so the difference in weight, OAL, and the iron sights themselves reflect this. Same with the AR-10, and it's various models.
The same will apply to your "backup" rifle, shotgun, and especially your handgun of choice...IMO. I consider "personal ergonomics" to be an important issue, especially for new comers.
As far as the AR-10 goes, I have very little hands on with them, and cannot give an opinion. If I was interested in this platform, I would look into how prolific the spare parts/mag issue scene is prior to a purchase.
FWIW.... my 308 rifle of choice is the M14/M1A sporting 18in barrels. ( Reliable,accurate, and a good ergo fit for me anyways.)

Your 10-22 idea is a good one as well IMO. I find them very reliable, and accurate enough for plinking and hunting. Spare parts are everywhere, and the only thing that they are limited to is the owners imagination and budget. A decent piece to train with, and train others on because it is a magazine fed semi automatic rifle which would coincide with centerfire semi autos as far as getting used to mag changes. I have also found that it helps new comers with what I refer to as " fire discipline". The ability to make each shot count even thou a body has 10rds available via the factory 10-22 mag. A well placed shot is obviously more effective than 10 misses, which is what I consider a factor in turning a man with a rifle into a rifleman. Bad shooting habits can happen if a body starts to rely on that quick follow up shot to get the job done. Some start out new shooters with single shot rifles to take this completely out of the equation, but I like to start them right out of the gate with a semi auto so that they get used to the idea of having a certain capacity for it, and then drilling in the "discipline" required to keep from using said capacity as a bullet hose. Others mileage may vary, but this idea has worked out in my case.
( I've always wanted to set up a 10-22 to specifically be an "M14 training rifle" myself, but do not have the funds/time for it right now.) With the way ammo costs have risen, it would be a smart thing to get that particular project of mine moving along soon.

Good luck with your decision sir, and I would also be interested on what you eventually choose, and your personal reasons behind it.
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Old 04-01-2009, 06:25 PM   #5
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Thanks for the great info fragout. Unfortunately there's nothing like the NRA here in Israel and private gun ownership isn't as easy as the US, so I don't think I could just walk into a gun shop to check stuff out (I haven't even seen one in the year that I've been here...) - even though I see the local soldiers wandering around with M-16's & and Tavors all the time ...
So any hands on will have to wait until I return to the US, and I'm not exactly sure when that will be. Could be 1 - 2 months, or another 6 - 12 months...

canebrake - I was on the Michigan (SSBN-727). And yes, there's lots of guns around, but as a non-citizen I can't own one here, and don't want to even imagine the hassle of trying to import one back to the US or if I even could...
I do intend to get an AK eventually, but want to get the big purchase out of the way first before I blow the money on something else...
Check this out L.B.G. MILITARY SUPPLIES ISRAEL Too bad they don't list prices...
You can buy an Israeli surplus F4-Phantoms, missile boat, submarine, tanks, etc...

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Old 04-01-2009, 06:47 PM   #6
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canebrake - I was on the Michigan (SSBN-727).
I do intend to get an AK eventually, but want to get the big purchase out of the way first before I blow the money on something else...Check this out L.B.G. MILITARY SUPPLIES ISRAEL Too bad they don't list prices...You can buy an Israeli surplus F4-Phantoms, missile boat, submarine, tanks, etc...
The 727 must have been a cruise ship! I rode the Lincoln SS(B)N 602 Blue 1968-1971 way back before VHS!

Thanks for the surplus site, great stuff!

Good to have another bubblehead on the forum!
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Old 04-02-2009, 02:37 AM   #7
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[QUOTE=CommandoJoe;89977]Thanks for the great info fragout. Unfortunately there's nothing like the NRA here in Israel and private gun ownership isn't as easy as the US, so I don't think I could just walk into a gun shop to check stuff out (I haven't even seen one in the year that I've been here...) - even though I see the local soldiers wandering around with M-16's & and Tavors all the time ...
So any hands on will have to wait until I return to the US, and I'm not exactly sure when that will be. Could be 1 - 2 months, or another 6 - 12 months...

I think I have a better understanding of your dilemma now. Here is a few ideas for you to find a solution.

1. Are you / can you put in for a vacation of sorts and come to the states? This would open the hands on recommendation for you provided it is possible in your case.

If not......
2. Further research utilizing the internet. A few websites you might wanna check out....

AR-10 = Home
FnFal = -D S Arms
M14/M1A = Springfield Armory and Fulton Armory Home Page

3. Other members here may post additional imput to help with your dilemma. This is the #1 reason why I'm a member here. Different folks look at different issues and sometimes come up with an idea that I would have not thought of.

NOTE: The Fulton rifles are busting up your price range a bit, but they sell parts, have info regarding the M14, and also sell books regarding the M14 as well, such as their owner guide. Another tool you can utilize for research is to simply google the rifle of interest, and see what pops up.

Another site of possible interest is Welcome to Numrich Gun Parts Corp.

4. If the family member you mentioned has some insight for you based on his/her own hands on, this could be a viable means of achieving your goal. Close communication via personal e-mail, combined with the fact that you know each other personally might be a valuable asset.

I have personally put the Fal/M14/G3 up against each other in my own little test to pick which one would fill the bill so to speak. Look for a thread here entitled " whats better- fn-fal or M14". This will explain in more detail as to why I went with the M14/M1A. Be advised that I'm not a rocket scientist, professional gun smith, or gun dealer in any way. That was simply the route me and mine decided to go with, and is in no way what would be construed as an "endall" super scientific analysis. ( My intent was/is to portray on why we chose it, and how we came to our conclusion based on our own hands on) Also be advised that we did not use an AR10 in our tests either. We did this several yrs ago as well, and at that time, it failed due to lack of availability/spare parts that we could acquire for it. The biggest thing that I feel the AR10 has going for it, is the ability of the user to swap out different uppers, but this is just my theory, and cant actually confirm it's reliability, accuracy, or " practical versatility", because of my lack of hands on with it at this time, but if different uppers for different purposes fits your criteria/budget, then this might be worth more research.
Our M14/M1A rifles have proven themselves to be reliable, and can accurately put 308 on target with a wide range of different loads. ( milsurp/commercial.) Reliable current production CMI 20 mags run around 25 bucks a pop currently, and I have not had any mag related issues to date including a mag that I topped off back in mid 2005, and just recently fired without incident. I have reloaded this particular mag 4 times since, and so far all works as should. ( Another one of my little experiments ) I have another that I topped off back in 2005, but plan to wait a few more years before using it just to find out for myself how long the spring can hang, and still be reliable. ( It has been my experience that a magazine fed weapon is only as reliable as it's mags are to allow said weapon to function as it was intended to function).
Spare parts are actually on the upswing thanks to companies like Smith Enterprise, and Sadlak. Even though USGI parts are drying up, I have found that the Springfield Armory Inc rifles built with their parts to be reliable so far. ( M1A loaded, and a Socom in my clan's case)
The best thing that SAI rifles have going for them is the lifetime warranty that follows the rifle weather it is used or NIB. While I have not had to use this for an M1A, I have used it for an XD handgun, and they did take care of my issue. The XD was previously owned in my case. I have also spoken with their customer service on a few occasions to inquire as to when a particular M1A was built/how it left the factory, and received a quick and to my knowledge and accurate response every time. If I ever wear out one of their cast receivers, you all will be the first to know provided I survive it, but I just don't foresee it happening in my lifetime.
With that being said, my favorite go-to/shtf/hog slayer/G.P. M14 is a custom built rifle with a Norinco receiver at it's heart, but if I were to start from scratch with current prices as they are for the way in which it is built, the final tally would most likely tear right through a 1500 dollar budget and spit it out at me.... With some serious research you may come across an M1A that fits into a budget such as this.
Feel free to pm me for additional info such as websites, and/or questions if you have any. ( According to my wife, I never get tired of discussing topics about the M14, and the only thing that overshadows this is my passion for using one to target shoot, and hog hunt with.)

Which reminds me that I need to send M14sROCK a pm and ask him for his .02/hands on... about using 180grn loads through his rifle with the spindle valve closed........ ( Back to work)

Thats my .02 FWIW

Fragout

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Old 04-03-2009, 05:37 PM   #8
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A ton of more great info fragout! Thanks again

I'll have some friends & or family check some out for me. In 2 weeks or so I should know if I am going back to the US soon. If I am returning it will be within 2 months or so, then I'll just wait. If not then I'll have someone there buy one for me and hold on to it until I get back. In the mean time I'll continue researching... I'm still leaning toward the Rock River Arms LAR-8 though at this point.
Seems like all of the online retailers are out of stock on just about every semiauto rifle though. I have found some up for auction here: GunBroker.com Online Gun Auction
but I'm not sure if those prices are any good...

canebrake - yes it was quite roomy. My nuke power prototype was on the SSBN/MTS-626, and that was pretty cramped. I can't imagine an even older boat.. lol

Here's a few more noob questions - I'm under the impression that with the AR-15 platform you can put a different upper on your lower receiver. Are there any caveats to this? are they all compatible? Does it require anything special to mate them together or would I be able to do everything myself?
I have seen some .308 uppers for the AR-15. I'm wondering if I should just buy the lower and the upper seperately and build it myself...

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Old 04-03-2009, 05:45 PM   #9
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Here's a few more noob questions - I'm under the impression that with the AR-15 platform you can put a different upper on your lower receiver. Are there any caveats to this? are they all compatible? Does it require anything special to mate them together or would I be able to do everything myself?
I have seen some .308 uppers for the AR-15. I'm wondering if I should just buy the lower and the upper seperately and build it myself...
Yes & No.

An AR-15 Lower will receive a lot of different uppers, but a .308 is not one of them.

A .308 Upper requires an AR-10 Lower, which is a bit bigger.

For the most part, if you get an R-15 Lower, and you get the standard small pin configuration, you can put a 9mm upper on there, a .458 Socom upper on there, your .223 will fire .22lr with a small conversion kit. You can get a 7.62x39 upper to put on there. There are a ton of choices, pretty much limited to how much you want to spend on new uppers that include new boltheads.

Check out the AR section. There is a TON of info on doing exactly what you are talking about...

JD
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Old 04-04-2009, 12:35 PM   #10
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Thanks - right after I posted that I was searching around and discovered the .308 uppers won't work on the ar-15...

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