Which Semi-Auto Rifle?
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Old 02-09-2011, 06:34 PM   #1
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Default Which Semi-Auto Rifle?

Every time I think I know what I want, I read a little more and then realize I don't.

First I thought I wanted an AK-47, then it was an SKS, then a Mini-14 or Mini-30, then a cheap AR-type. Till I read some more and find scary stuff about each one.

I wanted the budget to be $500 but maybe I can't get something decent and reliable for that.

I don't wanna play craps as to whether I get "one of the good ones" of a certain type/brand or a piece of crap. I want a fun semi-auto rifle that I can afford to run 100-200 rounds through at the range and not feel broke (cheap ammo!). I'd like to be able to afford to stock lotsa ammo for it "just in case" -- I'll shoot it eventually anyway. I'd like to be able to hit a pie plate every time at 200 yards. I don't want something finicky that I have to clean the guts of after every session, or something likely to need constant repairs.

What the heck do I want? Darned if I know right now. If I had the $ I'd get one of each and keep the favorite, but it took a year to save up my mad money and this is the last of it. Next, the wife gets her toys so it will be awhile before more mad money comes into the pot.

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Old 02-09-2011, 07:15 PM   #2
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Can't help you much as I really know little about rifles. I decided I should have at least 1 and I ended up with a decent AR and a Mini 14 - both 5.56.

Got both of them used (actually traded handguns for them) so at least I've filled the rifle square. The Mini was the latest and some folks I trust here convinced me it was a good utility carbine which was what I was in the market for...

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Old 02-09-2011, 07:40 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Steve65 View Post
Every time I think I know what I want, I read a little more and then realize I don't.

First I thought I wanted an AK-47, then it was an SKS, then a Mini-14 or Mini-30, then a cheap AR-type. Till I read some more and find scary stuff about each one.
I've been in the same boat for over a year now. I'll tell you what I've come up with: nothing new.

I've had the chance to handle everything except the Ruger Mini 14, which I'm really curious about. The AR and the AK were both fun to shoot, but in the end left me feeling like I just blew through a bunch of somewhat expensive ammunition and got only half the fun out of it. I actually like shooting my cheapo Mosin Nagant more, simply because there is something to really enjoy about racking that bolt, seeing the brass fly out, feeling the wood, and hearing all of the sounds it makes. The semi-auto rifles I have fired have been very smooth, very efficient firearms, but they didn't give me "that feeling".

That being said, if you want cheap ammo, lower maintenance- get an SKS. The prices are higher than they used to be (so everyone tells me), but for $300 you can get something chambered in 7.62x39, which you can stock up on by the 1000's. It's accurate enough for what you want and gives you the aftermarket doo-dads if you want to dress it up.
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Old 02-09-2011, 09:26 PM   #4
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Oh, and I'd like something that has at least a 20 round mag capacity so I can shoot more, reload less. Take a half-dozen mags I load while watching TV to the range and have fun!

Thanks for the input!

BTW -- $300 sounds good for something that shoots cheap ammo to boot. I wouldn't be out too much. Where might I find such a shootin' iron?

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Old 02-09-2011, 09:59 PM   #5
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Oh, and I'd like something that has at least a 20 round mag capacity so I can shoot more, reload less. Take a half-dozen mags I load while watching TV to the range and have fun!

Thanks for the input!

BTW -- $300 sounds good for something that shoots cheap ammo to boot. I wouldn't be out too much. Where might I find such a shootin' iron?
The SKS comes from a few different countries- China (Norinco), Yugoslavia (Yugo), and Russia to name a few. You can do a search for them to find companies who have imported them.

Here is one:

Norinco SKS 7.62x.39 Rifle, Used, Good To Very Good Condition.

And another: http://www.jgsales.com/product_info.php/p/yugoslavian-sks-59-66%2C-7-62x39-good-to-very-good-condition-/products_id/4574

The SKS can be modified extremely easily to accept detachable 20 round magazines. Stock they come with a fixed magazine like you will see on the website above.
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Old 02-09-2011, 10:40 PM   #6
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They made a few models of SKS that take AK mags. Mine says "D model
sporter" on it. If you see one of those for a fair price, grab it. Mine will
keep everything on a pie tin at 200, and run through 30 rd mags as fast
as I can stuff them in. The only thing I changed was the wooden top
piece on the fore-end. It would catch on fire. A perforated metal one solved
that little problem.

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Old 02-10-2011, 01:17 PM   #7
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Holy crap -- you shot till the barrel got hot enough to ignite the wood forend? That's gotta be well over 500 degrees F! Doesn't that damage the barrel?

How many rounds does it take to do that?

You can tell I never shot semi-autos that much, huh?

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Old 02-10-2011, 08:08 PM   #8
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Holy crap -- you shot till the barrel got hot enough to ignite the wood forend? That's gotta be well over 500 degrees F! Doesn't that damage the barrel?

How many rounds does it take to do that?

You can tell I never shot semi-autos that much, huh?
Takes about 120 rds. (4 30 rd mags) of cheap Russian 7.62x39. The barrel
finish turns kind of gray, but it goes back to blue/black when it cools down.
Barrel is chrome lined, hasn't seemed to cause any problems yet. I don't
heat it up like that very often---

What gets that wood so hot is the gas tube runs through it. Really
concentrates the heat. The lower stock finish blisters, but it doesn't
even smoke.
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Old 02-10-2011, 09:11 PM   #9
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this is an interesting thread, i am gonna keep my eye on it. I would love to purchase one of these types too, but have no idea which.

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Old 02-10-2011, 09:16 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by VikingGuy View Post
this is an interesting thread, i am gonna keep my eye on it. I would love to purchase one of these types too, but have no idea which.
Take a trip in my time machine and check out this thread I started along a similar vein...

http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f25/search-decent-recession-minded-fun-reliable-rifle-28480/
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