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Old 06-18-2010, 06:21 PM   #1
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Default The search for a decent recession-minded fun and reliable rifle

I have spent a great deal of time searching and reading here (I lurk far more than post, you could say) about rifle choices and such, but I am looking for a final push in one direction (or at least narrow the field).

I have a question that I would like to present in two parts - the first being cartridge and then the second the rifle. This may get long winded, so bear with me while I walk through my thought process so far.

I'm going to approach this from a cost/usefulness perspective. I'm looking for something that is fun to use on the range, relatively cheap to expend ammunition, and that would also be useful in a SHTF scenario. From here I'll move into the usual method of asking this sort of question:

Part 1 - The cartridge

Intended use: Primary range/target, secondary SHTF (no, not the end all be all SHTF, but something that you could definitely rely on a bit)

Considered: So far I have .223, 7.62x39, and 5.45x39 on my radar. It would be great to get some feedback about cost, availability, general fun factor, etc. I have read that people are worried about 5.45 drying up, which would not be good- I would like to be able to feed my rifle well after the zombies attack. If you have another suggestion, please let me know.

Notes: Engagement distance would be no more than 200 yards. I am certainly interested in accuracy, but not in the extreme sense. I won't even bother with saying MOA. Looking more for minute of man.

Part 2 - The Rifle

This is the more open part, since a lot of my choice has to do with what I choose to have for ammunition. Obvious things on the consideration list are AK's, AR's, Mini 14's, SKS, carbines - hell, somebody might even suggest a lever action in a pistol cartridge if it would fit the bill. I'd be open to it.

Budget: If I can get away with spending $300 on it, great. If it costs $700 to get something reliable that I can enjoy for a long time, so be it.

Notes: After reading and reading I was sort of swayed into an endless circle of AR, AK, Ruger, lever, Saiga, hi-point carbine, rinse, repeat.

Final note: I have never owned a gas operated weapon before. I am definitely open to advice centered around rifles that are good for first time owners in terms of cleaning, operability, simplicity, etc. Any input from anyone is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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Old 06-18-2010, 06:29 PM   #2
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I think the SKS is the most bang for the buck these days. The 7.62x39 round is everywhere at reasonable cost.

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Old 06-18-2010, 06:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CA357 View Post
I think the SKS is the most bang for the buck these days. The 7.62x39 round is everywhere at reasonable cost.
Am I right to assume that the SKS is more accurate than an AK-47 or 74? Is that the primary benefit to an SKS vs. an AK-47 variant?

I'm also thinking along the lines of magazines, accessories, etc.
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Old 06-18-2010, 07:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CA357 View Post
I think the SKS is the most bang for the buck these days. The 7.62x39 round is everywhere at reasonable cost.
+1 on what CA357 said. they are fun to shoot , cheap and reliable for the SHTF sinario.
F.K.
P.S. if you by the surpluse amo be shure to clean the gas system as well as the barrel, because of the corosive primers.
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Old 06-19-2010, 05:01 AM   #5
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I would try to handle and fire all the rifles you mentioned and each caliber if possible.

Myself, I've never fired a 5.45x39 but have an SKS and AKM in 7.62x39 and an AR I built last summer in 5.56. I'm comfortable with each of them but if pressed would choose the AR in 5.56. I just like the design of the rifle and the lightweight but still effective cartridge.

If it really comes down to cost then you might want to look carefully at a cheap AK-74 clone, maybe a Century, and the 5.45x39 which is the cheapest centerfire rifle ammo lately.

Edit:
I doubt that the SKS in 7.62 is as accurate as the AK-74 in 5.45 which is a flatter shooting round.

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Old 06-19-2010, 05:05 AM   #6
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I mentioned the SKS because of affordability of both the rifle and ammunition. I also think it is fairly accurate. However, I've never owned or fired an AK or AK clone.

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Old 06-19-2010, 05:20 AM   #7
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Well, if you want a recession minded budget, May I suggest a Mosin-Nagant.

Fits the cleaning, operability, simplicity, etc. While 200 yds shouldn't be a problem. You can always fit it with a scope.

You can get one 91/30 and an M44, doubling your fun. Ammo is readily available and I haven't had any issues.

So what it is not SEMI, learn to pull the bolt faster.

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Old 06-19-2010, 05:57 AM   #8
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Who's King Fausto?

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Old 06-19-2010, 04:58 PM   #9
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If you must have a semi auto the SKS and Saiga both seem to fill the void as you have described it.

Regarding ammo supply, if the UN succeeds in "stopping proliferation" of the small arms trade, globally, the importation of foreign ammo may stop. There are no domestic 5.45 makers, so the ammo will go the way of the old Czech 7.62x45. It will go from cheapest, to very expensive.

Stick with the SKS or Saiga in 7.62x39 and you should be OK. If you want a .223/5.56x45 the Saiga is great.

If you decide on an SKS, the Chinese guns are the best and have chrome lined bbls. The Yugos are hit and miss, and I have seen too many that have seen so much use that the firing pin hole in the bolt is hogged out, making them unreliable.

If a bolt action is OK, get a nice Mosin Nagant or Yugo Mauser, and stock up on ammo. The "light ball" 7.62x54R is much easier on the shoulder than the "heavy ball", out of the MN.

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Old 06-21-2010, 04:38 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shihan View Post
Well, if you want a recession minded budget, May I suggest a Mosin-Nagant.
I agree! I have one and enjoy it, have plenty of ammunition for it as well. I guess my budget needs aren't as dire as my post title made it sound though, so I don't need to go that dirt cheap.

I appreciate all the input from everyone. A Saiga in 7.62x39 or .223 seems like it makes sense. It looks like ammunition of either type are fairly similar in price (target ammunition, not match grade), 20-25 cents a round.

It may make sense for me to go the route of .223 if I decide to build an AR in the future.
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