Which Semi-Auto Rifle?

Discussion in 'Auto & Semi-Auto Discussion' started by Steve65, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. Steve65

    Steve65 New Member

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

    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.
     
  2. NGIB

    NGIB New Member

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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...
     

  3. GrumpyPine

    GrumpyPine New Member

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    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.
     
  4. Steve65

    Steve65 New Member

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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?
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2011
  5. GrumpyPine

    GrumpyPine New Member

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    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...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.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2011
  6. BillM

    BillM Active Member Supporter

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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.:)
     
  7. Steve65

    Steve65 New Member

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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?
     
  8. BillM

    BillM Active Member Supporter

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    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.
     
  9. VikingGuy

    VikingGuy New Member

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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.
     
  10. GrumpyPine

    GrumpyPine New Member

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  11. Steve65

    Steve65 New Member

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    That Kel-Tec carbine just might just be a present to my daughter when she moves out instead of the 20 ga pump I was thinking of.... Nifty little rifle.
     
  12. Steve65

    Steve65 New Member

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    As the song says, "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice". I think that is where I ended-up. I could not decide what gun to buy, and didn't really like the prices or looks of any of the various "battle rifles" I saw on Saturday so I just spent a few hundred on more ammo for the guns I have.

    I don't expect to NEED an AK or SKS and I can have a lotta fun with the various stuff I have if I just have enough "food" for it, so that is where I am...for now.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2011
  13. Laufer

    Laufer New Member

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    Steve65:

    Last spring the CETME rifles had a strong appeal...until I read about many dozens of reports about serious problems. Almost each CETME seems to have been assembled by Century Arms contractors.
    My resolve was to never buy any semi-auto with Century's name.

    As for their AK-74s, the company is well aware that the bores are too large and cause bullet "keyholing" at 100 yards with many Tantals.

    In stark contrast to countless bad experiences with Century, my decision to buy a Service Grade M-1 Garand from the CMP was the best gun decision I've ever made.
    The ammo costs more than 7.62x39, about .50/rd. (reloadable) versus about .20/rd., and so it can be a very tough choice.

    You might really enjoy a common SKS (like my Norinco, or a Russian) and add the aperture sight from Tech Sights.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2011
  14. Recon 173

    Recon 173 New Member

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    Here's an idea for you. Do like the Filipino Marine Scout Snipers do. Yes, it will cost you over $500.00 but you can set this up over time to come up with a really good rifle system.

    Filipino MSSR

    Filipino MSSR
     
  15. Vikingdad

    Vikingdad New Member

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    If you want a reliable gun that will eat ammo all day long and still fire, the Mini 14 has done this for me. I am working on some homebrew mods on it to make it more accurate though. My local range is only 100 yards so I can say that it shoots well within a pie plate at that range. The non-Ruger high-cap mags can be problematic as they don't feed well. In my opinion it is the mags, not the rifle. The stock Ruger mags work flawlessly and feed every round every time for me. One cheap mod that is well worth it is to change the gas bushing (and tune the gas block in the process) so that the felt recoil is less noticeable and the brass is not ejected 15 feet down the shooting bench where it hits another shooter.

    I prefer shooting my Garand though. To shoot much out of a Garand it makes sense to do your own reloads for a couple of reasons. First, the Garand operating rod will be damaged if you shoot factory over-the-counter ammo out of it. Second is the cost of .30/06 factory ammo. On the other hand, you should be able to easily shoot a pie plate all day long at 200.

    I would like an AR and plan on building one someday but I don't have much experience with them. I hear they can be finicky though their out of the box accuracy is worth it.
     
  16. Quentin

    Quentin New Member

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    Well the way it went for me, during the AWB I really wanted a Mini-14 but then kept hearing about accuracy problems. Then I warmed up on the Mini-30 for the larger caliber but again accuracy issues kept me away.

    Then I went real cheap with a Mosin M44 for $50 around 1999 and have to say it was fun. I'd been a handgun enthusiast for 35 years and this was the first rifle I'd bought since 1971. Next came an SKS which turned out for me to be a better buy than the Mini-30 since it was only $139 and gave me access to cheap surplus 7.62x39. Really like both rifles and still have them today with no issues.

    Finally with the sunset of the AWB in 2004 I got serious on the AR vs. AK debate. The AR was familiar, though four decades ago, but the AK was cheap and fired the surplus ammo I was stockpiling so I wanted to go with the AK first. Finally after a lot of research in early 2007 I decided a WASR-10/63 would be good enough and fortunately it has been. I still love it. Great rifle for about $300 at the time.

    Next was an AR build in 2009 and another a that was completed last month. I think I'm done. :D

    Anyway, the point is pick one now, you're bound to get the other later. :p
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2011
  17. therewolf

    therewolf New Member

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    Get a used Garand, put a black synthetic stock on it.

    30.06 power and range, black rifle looks, semi-auto-awgh,awgh,

    R-R-R!:D
     
  18. BP1518

    BP1518 New Member

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    Easy reload

    I would recommend an AR-15 in 6.8 SPC. It won't be cheap, but it is easy to reload. I've had a blast with mine.
     
  19. Cory2

    Cory2 New Member

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    A .22lr will do everything you have stated you want and you can save your self $300 while you are at it... I get the feeling you were thinking more along the lines of centerfire, but as you didn't specify im just throwing that out there :eek:
     
  20. cuate

    cuate New Member

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    A thought

    Google Henderson Arms to see some AKs and other rifles that they have. It is reported that Henderson's rifles have a great guarantee, come ready to shoot flawlessly and not with the usual canted front sights and other problems that so many others like CAI built rifles frequently have.

    I am in no way connected to the above company but I like to help others as I have been helped with good advise....