You should probably pursue a true GI carbine.
I bought the brand-new, highly over-priced AO imitation (my first gun purchase, at age 52) over a year ago and after a month of tender care, the bolt got stuck during normal shooting-jammed. Have never tried to bump-fire my guns and never will. Even moving the bolt back and forth on real GI rifle feels more solid than the bolt on the gun which I had bought (out of sheer, dumb ignorance).
Anyway, such a malfunction might be very rare, but it was such a turn-off to a late-bloomer, despite a good free factory repair, that I sold it at a real loss and bought a Mini 14, then a 30. Very happy with those and the rest.
My friend who is an actual sharpshooter, and retired from the Naval Reserve Rifle Team, highly recommends joining the CMP and visiting their "racks and racks" of shiny M-1 Garands (& Carbines?) in Anniston, AL.
He said it must be M-1 heaven.
Excuse me-need to go clean the Mini 14 and check the SKS. Happy shopping out there.
Last edited by Laufer; 04-06-2009 at 03:49 AM.