The search for a decent recession-minded fun and reliable rifle

Discussion in 'Auto & Semi-Auto Discussion' started by GrumpyPine, Jun 18, 2010.

  1. GrumpyPine

    GrumpyPine New Member

    127
    0
    0
    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.
     
  2. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

    19,847
    3
    0
    I think the SKS is the most bang for the buck these days. The 7.62x39 round is everywhere at reasonable cost.
     

  3. GrumpyPine

    GrumpyPine New Member

    127
    0
    0
    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.
     
  4. Fisherking

    Fisherking New Member

    426
    0
    0
    +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.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2010
  5. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

    7,551
    1
    0
    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.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2010
  6. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

    19,847
    3
    0
    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.
     
  7. Shihan

    Shihan Active Member Lifetime Supporter

    8,590
    2
    38
    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.
     
  8. freefall

    freefall New Member

    2,325
    3
    0
    Who's King Fausto?
     
  9. M14sRock

    M14sRock New Member

    5,549
    0
    0
    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.
     
  10. GrumpyPine

    GrumpyPine New Member

    127
    0
    0
    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.
     
  11. orangello

    orangello New Member

    19,156
    0
    0
    Try out an SKS before you make a final decision; i LOVE my chinese SKS. It is cheap to shoot & has lots of accessories available. Mine has a collapsable stock by Tapco & matching removable 20 round magazines. It also retains the Chinese monopod up front, for stabbing or propping up.
     
  12. waxman895

    waxman895 New Member

    60
    0
    0
    im in the same boat myself, my one other thought was the beretta storm carbine..... anyone have any thoughts on it, do they make hi cap for it? other then that they are about 250 bucks and 9mm ammo isnt that expensive
     
  13. GrumpyPine

    GrumpyPine New Member

    127
    0
    0
    Did you mean the Hi Point carbine? I haven't seen the Beretta less than $700. I have read that it performs great, it's just expensive.
     
  14. Biohazurd

    Biohazurd New Member

    335
    0
    0
    For inexpensive and reliable durable fun id say get a Wasr-10 If you want the same reliable durable fun but with the best of the best parts and accessories go with and arsenal AK. jmho...
     
  15. GrumpyPine

    GrumpyPine New Member

    127
    0
    0
    That certainly seems to be what most people recommend. I had a chance to fire an Arsenal in 5.45 and it was a sweet shooter with irons at 50 yards. Made me want to jump up and buy one but their price tag is steep.

    After poking around for a while for an SKS it seems like people are overcharging by a huge margin.

    $300 - $400 for a Russian SKS
    New Saiga for $350
    "New" Wasr or other AK clone for $300

    $600 to build a basic AR15? Sometimes it feels like a waste of time thinking about buying a lower priced rifle in 7.62 when you can save up and get a modular setup in an AR.
     
  16. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

    21,833
    2
    0
    In a bolt gun, I'd go with the Savage Edge;

    Savage Arms

    If the choice is a utility rifle, I'd go with an AR chambered in 556 and build it!
     
  17. orangello

    orangello New Member

    19,156
    0
    0
    Look at the Chinese/Norinco SKS's; they are said to be less used than those from other countries.

    Those are really good prices on the Saiga & the WASR.
     
  18. joshfireart

    joshfireart New Member

    267
    0
    0
    the sks is won of the funnest riffles bar non ive had several and they all have shot great there not bench rest rifles but you can take a 20 round mag while sitting and ring a 200yrd 18'' gong as fast as you can pull the trigger. one day there was a bout a 7 or 8 year old boy watching me came up and told me that was the best shooting he had ever seen i thank him and let him shoot it with help, smiles ear to ear
     
  19. Laufer

    Laufer New Member

    243
    0
    0
    The SKS, in my opinion has better ergos than any "AK clone". To me, the x39 round is more fun to use zapping jugs, bricks etc than .223. The x39 ammo is affordable.

    My original Norinco goes with me to the river about four times per month.
    If you ever want a better rear sight, people seem to recommend Tech Sights quite often.

    For those who find an unusually nice deal on a Russian, they also have chrome-lined bores
    (with modern Russian ammo it won't matter), a real blade bayonet, the nicest wood of any SKS, and No grenade launcher.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2010
  20. DrumJunkie

    DrumJunkie New Member

    4,823
    0
    0
    A lot of the Norinco SKS I see are like mine (SKS M) and are the type(s) that can use AK mags The M models are a little shoirter up front like a paratrooper model. There is a Sporter model of the M type, they will say it on the rifle and usually have the sporter thumb hole stock. They usually run a little high as SKS rifles go but I love being able to use the same mags in both. I paid $325.00 for mine but it was almost 100% and looked to never been fired. I cured that malady pretty quick though.:D I put a Tapco T6 stock on mine but I do like the wood stock as well.

    The WASR 10 and the M70 AK clones are pretty affordable and pretty nice rifles. I've owned them both at one time or another and always had a blast shooting them. Both are Century Arms products. The WASR has a milled reciever and a lot of the AK super-fans don't like it for that reason. I liked the way they worked just fine though. I still regret selling the WASR. I do have the M70 still adn love shooting it. But it's an under folder and many don't liek that. They don't recoil bad though so it's not like it will hurt you.

    An AR would be as great rifle as well. There are tons out there and prices are falling. AS stated building one will get you the best bang for the buck and you can set it up your way. I have a plain jane Star15 from Double Star. Nothing fancy but it works for what I need it for. And the price waqs right (got it before the BO rush). Look around and you might see something good. But they are the more expensive of the ones I talked about before.