Newbie rifle advice


October 15, 2004, 10:44 PM
Hello all,

Just wanted a little advice as to which of two rifles you all here think is the better choice.

I currently only own two firearms, a USP fullsize .45 and a remington 870, I want to get a rifle but because of my location(California) my choices are somewhat limited.

I am interested in getting something to take to the range and shoot and to keep for possible, but unlikely, SHTF scenarios. Always better to be prepared right?

Anyways, I am interested in either the M1 Garand or the M1A rifles. I know that there are drastic price differences but that isn't really a concern for me at this point.

I know that I am asking a rather open question but I am assuming that once I get a little feedback I will be able to ask some more detailed questions.

Thank you,


edited to say: Why when I typed Remington 870 did it automatically link the words to the e-bay website?

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captain obvious
October 16, 2004, 12:16 AM
SKS seems to fit the bill; it's cheap to own and shoot, and fun, and is CA legal - but take advantage of the opportunity to pick a CMP M1 (or two or three) while you still can.

October 16, 2004, 12:56 AM
Anyways, I am interested in either the M1 Garand or the M1A rifles. I know that there are drastic price differences but that isn't really a concern for me at this point.

MAN, I wish I could say that! From personal experience, I would ordinarily advise against investing in something as expensive as the M1A when you may not be sure what you really want yet. I bought an expensive first rifle, but soon decided I wanted a milsurp Mauser, instead. In your case, though, if money is no object, get the M1A while you can afford it. Who knows what economic down-turns the future may bring? However, do look into other manufacturers, such as Rock Island Armory, if I have the name right. Also remember to factor in the cost of a scope, if desired.

God bless.

October 16, 2004, 01:52 AM
I recommend an SKS. That way, even if you don't like it, you didn't spend that much, and you can get almost as much as you paid.

Try and find one with a chrome lined barrel... I mean, it's not NEEDED, but i find it makes cleaning easier.

My russian is freaking awesome. Ammo's WAY cheap, and it's reasonably accurate for what it is: a battle rifle to arm the hoardes. You can stock up on ammo for it without breaking the bank.

But then again, I like milsurps :-D

BTW: 870 - excellent choice for an HD gun. I have a 1300 myself, but almost got an 870

October 16, 2004, 02:43 AM
Which versions of the SKS do I want to lean towards and which do I want to stay away from?

Russian are superior to Chinese right?

It isn't that money is no object it's just that I have saved and set aside a reasonable amount of money because I have been looking forward to getting a rifle before there is another change in legislation.

I have been thinking that for the price of 1 M1A I could get a couple of nice mil-surp rifles right?

What kind of ranges can I still acheive a moderate level of accuracy at with the SKS, not taking into account my level of skill with a rifle?

What kind of life expectancy(round count) can I get out of a service grade Garand?

Thanks again for your help,

October 16, 2004, 02:20 PM
Why is there such a spread in price between dealers? I just called one dealer in my area and he will order me a new M1 Garand from Springfield armory for $1600, I then called another dealer that is ten minutes down the road from the first and he said he will order me one for $1150.

Is $1150 a good deal? Are these new versions from Springfield decent rifles?

October 16, 2004, 02:21 PM
If you're gonna get a garand, get one from the CMP.

As for those prices, the 1600 dollar dealer probably thought you wanted an M1A... different rifle.

October 16, 2004, 04:56 PM
If you buy an SA product get the M1-A the Garands are having too much trouble from what I've heard.

However you have to meet DCM requirements to get a Garand from them.

I'd get an M1-A myself but that's just me as I've got one now.


October 16, 2004, 05:44 PM

Tell me a little about your M1A. Accuracy? Effective range? Durability? Ease of maintenance?

Thank you

October 17, 2004, 01:20 PM
The M1A can effectively hit stuff out to 500 yards or more easily. Not to say YOU can, but the rifle sure can with a good shooter (all the way out to twice that with good loads, a good rifle and a scope).

The SKS is a 200 yard gun. 300 is the effective limit, though the sights on the SKS/AK rifles generally limits "good" shooting to about 150 yards, a chest hit on a silhouette can be done at 200-300 with a little care (not a snap shot).

Durability? They run forever.... just like the M1 Garand.

Quintin Likely
October 17, 2004, 02:32 PM
I'd either look into a bolt action .223 or .308 rifle or a CMP Garand. Springfield's M1As are nice to haves, but they're pricy and I think y'all can only use the neutered 5 or 10 round magazines over there (?) Something like a Savage 10 series or Remington 700 in the aforementioned calibers wouldn't be too bad an idea, given that .223 and .308 are both readily available, either as new factory loaded stuff or military surplus.

I also ditto the sentiment, that if you're gonna get a Garand, get one from the CMP. I think (IMO) that the Garands that Springfield offer now are horrendously overpriced, considering that you can buy one from CMP for less than half of what most dealers want for a Springfield. Meeting the requirements to purchase one isn't a big deal; if somehow you've got a CCW permit, you're in, or you can find a local CMP affliated club, shoot a few rounds with them for record and you're good to go. And they'll even deliver your rifle right to your door when you order one up. Besides, everyone needs at least one Garand. :)

October 17, 2004, 03:29 PM
Actually, with the CCW license you don't need to do the shoots. You do need to belong to an approved club though. You can join the Garand Collectors Association and be good to go if that'd be easier for you.


Little Loudmouth
October 17, 2004, 08:54 PM
If you get interested in a bolt rifle I'd suggest a Remington 788 carbine in .308. Great guns.

October 18, 2004, 02:27 AM
SKS at first, followed by the CMP Garand, also consider a lever action in .357 or .30-30
For your money I think these are the best SHTF/ general plinking guns

October 18, 2004, 11:47 AM
I have been thinking that for the price of 1 M1A I could get a couple of nice mil-surp rifles right?

For the price of an M1A, you could pick up a rifle or two from every party in WWII, and a case of ammo for most of them.

I like mil-surps. Cheap, generally well made and they run forever.

SKS or Garand are good choices. My SKS is simply the most fun gun I own. Economical as a 10/22, with a much bigger bang. And gets a lot more attention at the range. Yugo's can be had for under $100.

October 18, 2004, 05:23 PM
I have both Garand, and M1A. I think the M1A is a bit better in term of gas operation. The M1A is less sensitive on the type of ammunition, the system is self regulated (so I heard.)

However, I like the enbloc clip in garand more than M1A's magazine. Sure you can load M1A with stripper clip, but I have not tried it since I have a scope mount on the M1A.


October 19, 2004, 12:11 AM
gets a lot more attention at the range. And this is a good thing?

October 19, 2004, 03:29 PM
Which is a better choice? The M1 Garand in .308 or 30-06?

October 19, 2004, 03:52 PM
Stick with the standard 30-06. That way you have a good reliable gun, cheap available surplus ammo and a piece of history that you can pass down. It will never lose any value. It's a useable collectable.

October 19, 2004, 04:17 PM
Even the new Springfield Armory version?

October 19, 2004, 06:44 PM
Yes. Although you can often get a CMP original for half the price.

You might also want to consider an M1 Carbine (.30 carbine) for short range. A new Kahr/Auto Ordnance model is shootable and beat-up-able for less than many originals, 15 shots, it's effective out to about 150 yards max, and with softpoint loads, it is as effective as a .357 Magnum.

October 19, 2004, 08:52 PM
Do NOT get a "New" Garand. If you need me to expand on this, I can probably track down some threads, or you can just do a search at and other Garand sites - just do some Google searches.

Get one through or, if you must have one that is like new, go to

Tony Giacobbe has friends who buy their allotment from the CMP to build matching Garands and sell him the excess parts. He reparkerizes the parts and assembles a very nice refurbished Garand. You will have to break in the trigger and run the shoot the action quite a bit to get it nice and smooth.

If at all possible, you can visit the CMP store at Camp Perry and pick out your Garand.

Just one rifle, an M1A might be the way to go, but everyone should own a Garand. Certain candidates running for President would shut down the CMP, so we need to get as many into citizen hands as possible.

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