california legal carbine choices


August 27, 2005, 12:03 PM
i'm saving up for my next gun, and i'd like it to be something of the following nature:

- carbine-style (not too long or heavy)
- preferably .223 cal
- uses removable 10-round magazines
- california legal
- affordable (below $1k)

i would like to use it mainly for a 3-gun competition (

i'm aware of the kel-tec su16 but would like to know what other choices i may have that i'm not aware of.

i know there's a california-legal lower for an ar-15 style rifle but i don't think it can be reloaded fast enough during said competition.

is the bushmaster m17s by any chance california-legal?

any suggestions would be appreciated.

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August 27, 2005, 12:23 PM
look here:

August 27, 2005, 01:29 PM
In 223 I am not aware of anything legal in CA that fits your needs other than the Ruger Mini 14. There may be something else but I am unaware of it. I know some people are making CA legal AR15s with fixed 10 round mags but they likely cost more than you want to spend and mag is fixed. The SKS is cheap but not 223 and mag is not removeable, either.

It's hard to be a legitimate gun owner in CA.

August 27, 2005, 08:20 PM
It's hard to be a legitimate gun owner in CA.
no ????, sherlock :mad:

good call on the ruger, that would be an option.

any other suggestions if expanding the caliber to other centerfire such as 9mm or .45?

August 27, 2005, 08:25 PM
If you're opening it up to other calibers now, there's a Ruger PC9 in 9mm. They come in ghost ring sights and adjustable irons. If you can find one, there's also a Marlin Camp 9 and 45, but they're not being produced anymore.

I own a PC9 and I like it, but felt recoil is more than it ought to be and the trigger is really really heavy.

50 Freak
August 27, 2005, 08:31 PM
Being a Cal resident here are the options you are afforded.

Keltec SU-16
Robinson M-96
AR-15 (with pinned 10 rounders)


FAL (minus Pistol Grip, or in 10 round fixed mag conf)
M-14/M1A style rifles

Not going into the pistol caliber rifles. As I don't consider them "carbines".

Here is a pic of mine. Legal and grandfathered in Cali

August 28, 2005, 02:34 AM
Don't forget the Garand. Not a detmag weapon, but neither is the SKS. And you can put a Nigerian/Beretta style stock on it to get a "tanker."

Remington is making their 7615 which is basically a 7600pump that can take AR-15 mags. (

Now, I am wondering if you could use the similarity of 870s & 7600s to put a Cav Arms or Mesa Tactical AR rear end on this rifle.

I don't think that would be an "assault weapon", but my advice is worth exactly what you paid for it.

Personally I have an SKS, and I am getting an SU-16CA to solve the same problem. Kinda crappy that I can't even carry a semi-auto version of the service rifle I carried for 8 years.

August 28, 2005, 01:43 PM
Where can i pick up a FAL with out pistol grips? Also your forgetting the M1 Carbine Definatly an fun gun. I would not recomend a AR-15 with fixed mag i hear alot of reports of jamming cause you constantly have to pop the reciever to reload. Not to mention reloading the mag after a couple rounds might get a little hot :)

50 Freak
August 28, 2005, 02:10 PM
Don't forget the Garand. Not a detmag weapon, but neither is the SKS. And you can put a Nigerian/Beretta style stock on it to get a "tanker."

You can't consider the Garand a "carbine" it's a full sized battle rifle with a full sized cartrige. But if you got a tanker, then maybe..... :D :D

Add the Carbine to my list. Personally I never cared for them. Thought they are great weight wise, but caliber sucks.

The fixed 10 round AR's do have a history of jamming. Maybe it's due to the fact the receiver/mag fit sucks. But Bushmaster is creating a 10 round fixed version. Should be good. Only problem is price.

Century Arms in S. Cal sells the "CA version" FALs, so does DSA. Both are really pricey. I'd suggest finding FFL that will do the transfer for you first, then find a guy you buy the FAL from and have him ship it to your FFL minus the Pistol Grip. It will be in legal configuration then. But keep in mind if you attach the PG on while in CA, you will be guilty of creating an "assault rifle".

FYI, CETME's and other HK-91 TYPE weapons can be brought in also.

Thanks god I have my real AR. Must be tough for the guys here in CA just starting to collect.
August 28, 2005, 03:09 PM
No mentions of the SOCOM-16? It's more expensive than your budget, and it's .308, but it's probably the best carbine available in California.

I've played around with the fixed-mag FAB-10s and they're okay. Pain to load; lots of wear on the receiver to load it too because you have to pull out the takedown pin.

50 Freak
August 28, 2005, 03:27 PM
No mentions of the SOCOM-16? It's more expensive than your budget, and it's .308, but it's probably the best carbine available in California.

Covered under the M-14/M1A umbrella. After all it's just a cut down M-14 styled rifle.

but it's probably the best carbine available in California. I'd have to disagree to that statement. Non Milspec parts, Expensive to boot and have had problems with QC. (at least the earlier ones, not sure about the current production).

Check out my pic above. 308 and weighs in at about 7.5 pounds. Takes a scope with a quick change of the top cover and with iron sights, will keep up with a Socom anyday. And more ruggeded to boot too.

Andrew Wyatt
August 28, 2005, 04:09 PM
Don't forget the Garand. Not a detmag weapon, but neither is the SKS. And you can put a Nigerian/Beretta style stock on it to get a "tanker."

I'm going to have to call you on this one. as someone with a garand with a nigerian stock on it, i can tell you that the stock doesn't shorten the barrel length to tanker length unless i'm doing something wrong.

all a nigerian MK4 stock does is add a pistol grip and remove an inch of LOP.

Pietro Beretta
August 28, 2005, 04:21 PM
Hey I love my SKS, and I want a Garand!

August 28, 2005, 06:35 PM
Here's a suggestion: ***** GET THE HELL OUT OF CALIFORNIA! ***** Arizona and Nevada are right there, JUST MOVE, it can be accomplished in a matter of weeks.

There's no reason to live in California, not for family, not for jobs. Arizona and Nevada are hours away.

August 28, 2005, 10:05 PM
Here's a suggestion: ***** GET THE HELL OUT OF CALIFORNIA! ***** Arizona and Nevada are right there, JUST MOVE, it can be accomplished in a matter of weeks.

So easily said by those that don't live in Cali..
Are you ready to leave a good paying job, friends, family and everything else you know in NV to move to Ohio?

August 28, 2005, 11:47 PM
Agree with HalfMoon.

I'm in Kali, and the difference between an AR-15 and an M1a is nowhere near enough for me to uproot myself from my family, friends, business, etc. I'd say there's way more reason to stay in CA than to move to AZ or NV, and I don't need to say it in bold, either.

But, hey, it's a gun forum, so priorities expressed here might be a little different than those in real life, eh? ;)

August 29, 2005, 12:53 AM

That said, I am currently sending mine back for servicing, as it started galling the POS plastic reciver, sigh. Only ahve about 3000 rounds through it. Give me a damn AR!

August 29, 2005, 01:34 AM
No nice cool redwoods like I played under in the 73 degree temp today in AZ/Nev. No ocean nearby to sail my ocean racing sailboat. I had the fore sight to get what I wanted legal like , NOBODY will take it with out a fight :cuss: How hot was it in Nev/Az today? Lots of complaints of 115 degrees(!!!) in hunting forum today :neener:

August 29, 2005, 01:50 AM
all a nigerian MK4 stock does is add a pistol grip and remove an inch of LOP. Notice the quotes around "tanker". And yeah, it doesn't really qualify as a carbine, but it might work for what the OP wants. It is just too damn bad we can't at least still have Saigas.

There's no reason to live in California, not for family, not for jobs. Arizona and Nevada are hours away. That's just dumb. And after having served in NV and AZ in the military, I can honestly say there is even less reason to move there. If I was so selfish and rash as to uproot my wife and kids to get around the cosmetic ban, I would go to Oregon, Colorado, or some other place where humans can actually live without 24/7 A/C, snowbirds, leukemia water, and meth-head desert-trash.

And anyway, how is that a productive addition to the topic? That's like someone posting a question about which 1911 is best, and you saying *****BUY A FREAKING REVOLVER, SIX FER SHURE!!1!!*****.

August 29, 2005, 02:05 AM
No Brakes 23..
Ouch. spoken like someone who was there...Well said.

August 29, 2005, 04:14 AM
No Brakes 23

Couldn't agree with you more. CA (esp northern) is one of the greatest places on earth. It is however not withought a few blemishes, some of which are stupid weapons laws.

We deal, and we fight them here. Give up and run, and they'll only find you eventually.

50 Freak
August 29, 2005, 04:41 AM
Don't you guys hate it whenever we have one of these Ca threads and there is always one or two boneheads that have nothing constructive to say except.

"Uproot your family, screw the kid's education. Take a job making half what you make in CA. Forget your friends and roots. Sell your home and move into a trailer and enjoy the 175 degree winters of AZ. That way you can own a real AR....blah blah blah, I hate **********"

Jeez, owning a AR or AK is not so important as me ripping my entire family from it's roots and moving. Besides I was smart enough to grandfather alot of my stuff in so I already have ARs, AKs, FALs, 50 cals, etc. And guess what I've got a CCW too so for me, it's ain't so bad here. Sides, I love the mountains, the beaches, the redwood forest, the CA deserts.

And from what I see, a lot of states in the Union are not too far behind CA in terms of gun laws. You CA haters should realize running is not a solution. Time to cowboy up and face the anti's in their own territory.

August 29, 2005, 05:51 AM
What 50 said.

August 29, 2005, 09:05 AM

August 29, 2005, 11:52 AM
lol! this thread took an interesting turn :D

well, the wifey and i already know that we will move out of california eventually, but that's still several years down the road and we have to agree on a place first. i'd love to move to arizona cause i love sun and heat (she not so much). i grew up in germany and had 23 years of snow and rain and ice and grey and clouds and wind - enough to last me a lifetime, thank you very much.

yeah, we have good friends here, good jobs (if i told you how much money we make for what we do you'd laugh and cry and hurl), and a modest house with a metric a$$load of equity in it. no kids, though, so moving won't be that much of a problem.

until then, we'll reap the benefits of living here, deal with the downsides (traffic, cost of living, amount of idiots, pace of life, gun laws), and make the best of it.

maybe i will 86 a carbine purchase altogether until i'm out of PRK and in the meantime add other stuff to my collection. i got my eye on a walther G22, a sig 226, a beretta, a ... :D

August 29, 2005, 01:19 PM
Same plan here...make as much dough as possible, flip some houses,climb the corporate ladder, pad that 401k, and retire in rural, coastal Oregon, Washington, or maybe the San Juans if I can swing it. Until then I'll dip my shoulder to the burden of my GG Bridge-view home, the absolute constellation of great restaurants, the amazing park system with the hundreds of miles of hiking/mountain bike trails, the moderate climate, I could go on and on....

August 29, 2005, 02:52 PM
maybe i will 86 a carbine purchase altogether until i'm out of PRK Or you could get a "good enough for now" carbine and wait for a real one.

I am looking at the SU-16CA for that purpose, and when I get a second home in Parker/Yuma/Portland/Flagstaff, then I can get the real stuff.

August 29, 2005, 03:12 PM
m1 Carbine!

Winchester superx makes hollowpoints I haven't tried them in mine yet though.

at ranges iunside my house I could put all 10 ball rounds in the target in a blink anyways so.

I'm getting out of the state I was too young to grandfather anything fun. I'm 21 and I want to move for more reasons than just the laws. I mean can you guys really fault me for wanting out?

50 Freak
August 29, 2005, 03:41 PM
Not at all. Ahhhh to be young with no ties again.... :D :D

One word of advice to you. TRAVEL...Expand your mind by seeing how the other world lives. It's not all about guns.

August 29, 2005, 06:29 PM
M1 Carbine.


August 29, 2005, 08:13 PM
WW II vintage M1 Carbine in 30 cal???
If not , how about one of the 9mm/40/45 cal carbines around? I have a marlin 9mm camp gun that's a cool ( ad cheap to feed) rifle. Teh marlins are out of production but other companies still make similar offerings.

August 29, 2005, 09:17 PM
I'm 21 and I want to move for more reasons than just the laws. I mean can you guys really fault me for wanting out? Not one bit. As much as I love Cali, if I was single and 21, I would think about moving, too.

Deal's Gap, "The Tail of the Dragon" could provide me with some of the canyon motorcycling I love so much, and the South has some better ideas about gun laws. Vermont and Oregon wouldn't be too bad, either.

August 29, 2005, 09:52 PM
Mini-14 or SU-16.

I'd throw in a M1 Carbine, but as their prices are getting up and over $750, it puts a huge dent in your $1k budget. For $1k, you could do a lot to a $400 Mini-14.

The SU just didn't do it for me (though I've only handled one and have not shot one).

That Remington is rather interesting. Don't know a thing about it though.

August 30, 2005, 02:36 PM
These days Kahr/Auto-Ordnance is making new M1 carbines (using some surplus parts), and those run less than $500 lots of places.

It's not in .223, but detachable mags have been widely available in the US for a half-century, ammo available online, etc.

I'm not a 3-gun guy, so you'd have to ask one of the others whether the M1 Carbine is a practical choice for gaming.

It's certainly about the handiest little centerfire rifle out there, and you can always add a folding stock once you leave CA, should you be so inclined.

Good luck, -MV

August 30, 2005, 03:11 PM
The Remington pump action 7615P in .223 looks really good to me for the "non-grandfathered." Lots of options on stocks, mags. And a pump action is just as fast at aimed fire as a semi-auto, at least for me. Put a red dot or ghost ring on top, and you're ready to rock and roll.

August 31, 2005, 02:02 AM
If I had to live there I would go with a Springfield M1a Socom model with 10 round mags and a muzzle break. I would load up with 110 grain tap for defense to minimize over penetration. I had a Mini 14 and hate them. There about as accurate as AK's.

August 31, 2005, 09:56 AM
Ya. Everyone knows what a failure the AK is in combat.

Cut the barrel of the Mini down to 16". It will shoot 2-3 MOA. That is good enough. It will always go bang.

Here is a bet - from standing or kneeling, you will shoot the Mini more accurately than the M1A Socom at 100 yards.

August 31, 2005, 02:11 PM
The Ak is a reliable weapon but accuracy is poor. Our guys are kicking butt on AK armed insurgients in Iraq. As to the socom vs the Mini for accuracy if both are set up with good red dots the practical accuacy from standing would be simular. The M1A is also more durable than the Mini. The mini is not know for its ability to take alot of firing. Thats one of the reasons it was rejected as a military weapon.

August 31, 2005, 03:25 PM
Saying that the AK is inaccurate is like calling sorority girls braindead. Sure, a lot of them have bleached the sense out of themselves, but a lot of them could also whip me on an exam. Cobbled together pieces like a WASR don't stand much of a chance against a new make AR of course, but something like an Arsenal or VEPR can hold it's own quite well. My stock Saiga has given me almost 1 MOA on multiple occasions.

I would imagine the reason our troops are kicking butt against AK-armed attackers is due to vastly superior training and support and not so much the tools they were handed. If you trained up a few on the AK, I doubt their victories would be fewer. I will not at all say, however, that the sights are even equivalent. AK sights are not fun, but still useable.

All just my opinion, YMMV. :)

August 31, 2005, 03:33 PM
I agree its training and tactics that matter not so much the rifles. I was just pointing out that AK's are not always that great in combat. Especially if the enemy has distance on you.

August 31, 2005, 03:41 PM
So the mini14 is not the most accurate rifle and won't stand up to the pounding that modern battle rifles must endure. I thought we were discussing a California legal carbine. I've owned a Mini14 for 25 years and found it dependable and accurate enough to hit a man sized target to 200m. Had a HK93 and Galil but disposed of them in order to not be a registered "gun offender." IMHO, the Mini14 works just fine for a light defensive carbine.

August 31, 2005, 03:49 PM
Definitely agree that the AK isn't great to have when distance is a factor, though I've gotta soft spot for those tough Kalashnikovs. Not sure I would want the 5.56 at a distance either, so I'd hope for a .308 mbr.
I would also say the Mini would be pretty low on the list of acceptable battle rifles. They are fine ranch guns or defensive rifles, but not what I would want over there. At all.

Has anyone seen the history channel show 'shootout'? Saw it last night flipping channels. Very neat and detailed breakdown of the tactics during actual shootouts in Fallujah. After watching it, it really does make me reconsider the value of a more powerful round, as well as the importance (rather than comfort) of good ergonomics. That's where the AR really shines, IMHO.

August 31, 2005, 05:48 PM
The problem with the Mini 14 is that they just don't hold up well to a lot of shooting. I'm not insulting those of you who own them, or really like them, but if you try to put your Mini through a high intensity carbine class or a season of 3gun it is going to go down. They are good guns, but just not up to the same level as some of the military based guns. I believe it was Pat Rogers of Gunsite who said that he had never seen a Mini make it all the way through a 5 day carbine class without breaking.

Of the California legal guns, I like the M1a/M14 the best.

September 1, 2005, 08:51 AM
Hmmm. I take mine out every month. I shoot about 150 rounds in an hour or two. Never a malfunction. Nothing has ever broken. Ever. In the carbine classes I am aware of, you typically shoot about 500 rounds per day.

I question the so called failure of the Mini as an urban myth. Could it be that guys that own Minis are less gun savy (in the free parts of the USA) than the AR guys? Maybe this less than expert group didn't maintain their weapon as well or caused some of the problems.

I more savy guy would own an AR if he could. Even though I have seen ARs so jammed up it required tools to fix.

September 1, 2005, 11:03 AM
COrreia speaks the truth. Having been around mini's used by some agencies during trainings the Mini's prove to be reliable till the break. They don't last long under hard use. Their ok for light use and thats what they were designed for. They are not a military weapon.

September 1, 2005, 01:59 PM
What is the typical failure and what do you mean by hard use?

Is it that the weapon can't take extended fire? Or, is it that it does not handle being bumped and banged around?

September 1, 2005, 03:03 PM
They can handle bumps and bruises fine just not extended firing and a lot of rapid firing.

September 1, 2005, 04:46 PM
What is it about extended firing that causes mini's to go down?

The only difference between my firing of 150 rounds at a time for 5000 rounds over a long period and that of a shooting school scenario would be the heat build up.

It would be interesting to know what specifically is breaking and see if it is heat related.

September 1, 2005, 05:02 PM
I don't mean this in a flame in any way whatsoever, because I'm all for you using whatever weapon you like to use, but why don't you try 'torture testing' your mini to see how things go? Take it to a rifle course and see how it handles. Strip it regularly to gauge possible wear and tear. If the funds/time aren't around for that, just put it through a really regular and intense shooting schedule.

At least you would know which parts might be prone to wear and breakage and be able to keep replacements on hand in the future.

Plus, I'd be really interested in the results.

September 1, 2005, 05:28 PM
No problem Spooky. I don't take it as a flame. Except, I have on occasion shot my Mini-14 several hundred rounds at a time with 0.0 problems. Most of the time I fire about 100-150 rounds. I have bump fired it plenty too. No problems. Everyone I have known has stated that this gun is reliable.

That is why I am surprized to hear that it doesn't stand up to heavy fire. The only difference that sustained fire would bring to the table would be heat. Overall, because of these reasons, I am skeptical of the claim. But, heck, I have seen sooooo many (dozens) AR15s jam and malfunction and people have told me I am crazy because theirs never gives them a problem.

Has any one ever posted a torture test on a Mini-14?

September 1, 2005, 05:55 PM
Not all AR's are created equal. Colts are great it goes down hill from there to pure trash. I have seen a lot of AR's go down too. Thats why I stick with Colt.

September 1, 2005, 06:18 PM
Mini forum (

Round Count (

Well, I started looking through all the old Mini threads and lost my patience. The top site above is for a Mini forum, where I'd say you'd find lots of helpful info and probably more than one story of how long someone's has lasted. The next site is to people listing the round counts they have in their Mini's. Thought you would find them interesting. If you search around, you will find lots of THR info on the subject.

September 2, 2005, 03:59 AM
I've owned Mini-14's, AR-15's, M1 carbines, and M1-A's. The Mini-14 feels flimsy, has a lot of loose parts, is built cheap like using folded sheetmetal for a hammer, a backwards gas system that can seize up, and lousy sights. There's no comparison between it and the military-derived rifles.

I'm going to shoot some 3-gun soon and my plan was to use my M1 carbine. It doesn't matter if some people like the ammo or not, it makes Minor power factor and that's all I care about. There are some disadvantages. I don't know of any 10 round magazines for it and surely wouldn't advocate breaking of the law on the internet to get some. I already have a good stockpile so it's not a problem for me. However, the 15 round magazines put me at a disadvantage compared t the AR's. I've tried various 30 rounders but they're not very reliable. Also it's not easy to add optics. An M1-A would work better but would cost a lot more. I think you can get 10 round mags.

Forget the pump. It will suck when shooting prone, which you can bet on having to do in a 3-gun.

I don't know why someone doesn't design and make an AR lower with a tradional pistol grip. They would sell the piss out of them. It would be considerably different than an AR-15 so it shouldn't fall under the law banning AR-15's and their clones.

El Rojo
September 3, 2005, 03:52 AM
It would be considerably different than an AR-15 so it shouldn't fall under the law banning AR-15's and their clones.How are you going to justify that in court? Just changing the pistol grip isn't going to pass the test. Plus you have to consider that the AG can add similar guns to the list at his will! :what: Even 50 Freak mentioned pinned mag ARs are ok. I was under the impression that it didn't matter what you did to it, an AR is an AR. I would be interested to hear 50's reasoning on the pinned AR comment.

And thank you all for shutting down the anti-PRK statements. Other than the lawyerphobia on THR, the have to add my anti-PRK comments into your technical gun discussion ranks right on up there with annoying.

I have a SU-16, but I have been having ejection problems that I haven't bothered to figure out yet. It is either my ammo is loaded too light, or the gun is broken. I need to shoot some good quality factory FMJ through it to know for sure. My FAB-10 never seemed to have these problems with that ammo.

That new Remington pump is interesting, especially since it takes AR mags.

And as a completely selfish plug for myself, don't forget I should be a FFL Dealer here soon and you might want to ask me for a quote. With gas the way it is, it is more and more unlikely a couple hundred bucks is worth driving to Taft over, but you never know. I only make 10% so I might be able to save you some money.

September 3, 2005, 04:28 AM
Because it would have to be changed considerably to make a traditional pistol grip work on it. The trigger would have to be relocated and the lockwork changed. It would require a new forging for the lower.

Number 6
September 3, 2005, 04:42 PM
The whole non-fixed magazine California legal AR-15 idea was discussed extensively on

You can read all 12 pages of discussion, but what it boiled down to was there were two problems. Firstly was what to do with the buffer tube. No one could think of a way to have the tube and a stock that met CA DOJ requirements for being not a pistol grip. The second problem they ran into was making sure that the rifle was sufficiently not an AR. They tried to get around this by using a different trigger group design. This then leads into the larger problem of the immense inconsistencies that the gun laws in California have had. Somehow a FAB-10 is not and AR since it has a pinned magazine, but a Saiga is an AK since the action is the same as an AK? So what standard should you use to make sure this new AR design is not an AR? Is it the ease by which the rifle can be converted into a full fledged AR, or is it the similarity of the action? So even if someone successfully designs a receiver that has a traditional style grip, they still have the possibility that the CA DOJ will rule that the rifle is too similar to the action of an AR-15. The problem is that the rulings by the DOJ have been arbitrary and ambiguous; therefore one cannot rely on any knowable form of logic to try and divine the meaning of the laws.

The best hope for a truly adequate 5.56 rifle for 3 gun competitions would be if Robinson Armament makes a California legal XCR, which they have been discussing doing. The SU-16CA might work too, but I would have more confidence in the XCR. If you wanted to go with a non 5.56 option I would say an M1A, M1 Carbine, or an SKS would all work fine as well.

September 3, 2005, 08:10 PM
Let me mention that I handled a Rem 7615 today, and it is a sweet lil handy gun. Sights are great. It would be between that and the SU16CA if I was in kalifornistan and on a budget, for a light rifle.

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