HELP!!!! .308 / .223 option for NEWBIE!


March 28, 2003, 10:00 PM
Hello All,
Need someone to listen to my banter. I've been a lurker for sometime here and the ol' TFL, and have just begun to get into " the art of the rifle ". I've taken in all of the advise for a new wannbe "rifleman". Got J. Coopers " art of the rifle " book. Bought a .22 rifle that I've put a couple thousand rounds through. And then graduated to a cheap center fire rifle and bought a Mosin 91-30 that I've taken out several times. Now, "I" feel as though it's time to buy something that I can actually be proud of for bragging purposes. Let's face it, I love and respect the ol' battle rifles, but they just aren't as "flashy". By flashy I'm not looking for chrome plated gold dipped "bad taste" gun. But flashy in a sense that I've actually spent a little more in purchaseing. I know how the routine goes when one requests assistance from the vast knowledge of this board in assistance in narrowing down a gun purchase. Here are my prerequisites:

Budget: $500

Purpose: putting holes in paper. Plain and simple. No need for HD, but it would be nice. But I still see myself reaching for the shotty in a "SHTF" situation.

Preferred caliber: .308 or .223 cheap and plentiful with the option of buying cheap mil-surp.

Currently interested in:

-Savage 10fp .223 or .308
-L1A1 or Cetme
-Saiga .223 or .308
-Save up more $$ (which is terribly hard for this VERY impatient soul) and by a Oly plinker AR and just deal with out a pod or scope.

With any of these guns I'm looking at adding a scope and bi-pod.

Weight is not a problem, this is primarily going to be a bench queen.

Thanks in advance.

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March 28, 2003, 10:04 PM
I'm some what of a "tinkerer" and would like the prospect of something I can easily upgrade. Thanks!

March 28, 2003, 10:08 PM
What range are you going to shoot prmarily? Are we talking 200-300 meters or 500-600?
Are you interested in any tactical (there's that word again) shooting, or just slow bench-rest shooting?

March 28, 2003, 11:08 PM
I'm thinking, primarily 100-200 yards. More slow bench rest type shooting. But tactical does sound fun.

March 28, 2003, 11:13 PM
With your budget, I'd recommend a bolt gun, especially if you wish to become a rifleman in the fashion of Jeff Cooper. .308, .30-06, .270, something like that. I'd advise on getting one with iron sights and then adding a scope, so you can become proficient with both.

"Tactical" generally means AR-15, and that means $700-800.00 cost-wise, unless you build your own, then it's $550-600 and no warranty. You can, of course, get an SAR (AK clone) for $350 or so, but you're not going to have the accuracy that a decent bolt rifle can provide.

So, I'd recommend a bolt rifle in .308 or .30-06. A .308 rifle will allow you to use surplus NATO ammunition for practice, which is cost saving if you don't relaod.

March 29, 2003, 12:06 AM
I was gonna suggest the Savage,

But they're more fun at 300 yrds and beyond. The Cetme would be a fun, if not reliable, shooter at 100-200 yds. I'm sure you've researched the SKS, Mini-14 and pistol caliber carbines, as they are all great fun at those ranges. I shot a M1 carbine last month, and that's a neat lil' weapon. I've seen some clones online for less than $500.

A .308 is more expensive to feed of course, and the SKS the cheapest. But my .44 Winchester is a blast at 100-200 yds, so go with your heart. Have you seen these carbines that use pistol mags? Ten rd Glock mags are $19, and the guns are in the $2-300 range. Have fun.

March 29, 2003, 12:08 AM
That is what I'm leaning more towards now. Although all of my friends have AR's. Seems like I'n the only one into bolt's and wood stocks with in my friends, but that's because we're all 25-30 somethings. The only reason I listed so many semi's was because I was also looking at broadening out my collection, you see, I'm also getting an M48 or 6.5 Spanish,( or maybe both ), Mauser. And then an FR-8. Those two I KNOW I will buy for sure when my budget allows. Which is why I thought that maybe I should throw the semi in there to even things out. They have a local shop with the 10fp .223 with the accu trig for .399. Thanks for your the input.

March 29, 2003, 12:37 AM
For .223, buy a J&T AR15A2 kit for $434 and a nice stripped lower for another $100. 1 or 2 hours assembly of the lower and you have a great AR, much better than the Plinker, on the level of a name brand $800 rifle. Accurate!

.308. The Fal/L1A1 is probably the best cheap .308 military rifle. The parts are screwed and pinned together, rather than pressed and welded (like the Cetme/HK clones), so it can be fixed if not perfect. Ask around for the best discount model.

The Siaga would be tempting, but the sights are so-so. You'll immediately want to scope it, making a simple rifle not so. I wouldn't expect stellar accuracy even with the scope.

The Savage Scout rifle is pretty neat for about $500, if you like a bolt gun.

March 29, 2003, 02:32 AM
Hey Handy,
What exactly does assembling a bottom end entail? I've never done any gunsmithing before. Altough i do not feel uncomfortable doing so. I'm fairly handy with my hands. And am a quick learner. From what I've read it sounds like an hour or two job. Is there anywhere online that would show the assembly of a lower with pics or something? Thanks again.

March 29, 2003, 12:23 PM will have all the info you need for putting together a lower.

March 29, 2003, 12:29 PM
Like Chipperman said.

To give you an idea, it's not gunsmithing. It's the assembly of some springs and pins. No tools beyond a small punch and hammer are needed. Some of it is a little tricky and requires patience, but not skill.

If you owned an AR for a long enough time, you might end up doing all these things eventually as parts break or you upgrade. No big deal.

Another rifle idea, buy a Ishapore .308 Enfield for $100 and learn to use it. Gibbs rifle makes more deluxe versions.

March 29, 2003, 02:20 PM
Very interesting. I am just really into the part of me actually having something to do with putting the rifle together. So you think the J&T would be a good place to start? What online retailer do you suggest? Thanks again!

Phantom Warrior
March 29, 2003, 02:56 PM
I'm going to go upstream and suggest a bolt-action rifle. Specifically, a Remington 700 in .308. That's the first rifle I bought, last falls deer-hunting rifle. Here's why:

It's cheap to buy. Mine was $400; $598 w/ the scope. You can probably talk your local gunshop into giving you a package deal.

It's cheap to shoot. .308 is easily available and can be bought in bulk cheaply.

You can make also sorts of modifications to it, if you have the urge.

IMO, it's a good idea to start w/ a bolt-action. Don't get me wrong, I'm drooling over an AR or an M1A myself. But I think a bolt-action rifle is better for developing the basics. My two cents...

March 29, 2003, 04:31 PM
a local gunshop had a Howa 1500 varmint/sniper version in .223 with a 26" heavy barrel for $399. i've heard they are a good value for the money gun. no personal experience though. the only bad thing about it is its 1:12 twist so you have to keep your bullet weight below about 68 grains. not a problem if you plan on using military surlpus stuff though.


March 29, 2003, 05:33 PM
Ditto on the R700 / .308. First centerfire rifle I ever bought : 700 VS.

To me, the long, sexy bolt action is where it's at. Of that, the 700 is -the- standard. Not over-the-top expensive or glitzy - just plain bad.

March 29, 2003, 06:05 PM
" IMO, it's a good idea to start w/ a bolt-action. Don't get me wrong, I'm drooling over an AR or an M1A myself. But I think a bolt-action rifle is better for developing the basics. My two cents... "

I totally agree. Which is my first rifle purchase was a Marlin bolt action with iron sites. And then I moved up to my 91-30 Mosin Nagant. Which is why a majority of my list consisted of semi's. But who says you can't have more than a few bolts! :) I just thought I would round out my collection more.

Good thing I have till the 1st of May till I make my purchase. Talk about restless nights thinking of my options! I never knew it was so difficult!

Anyhow, thanks for all the input guys, keep em' comin! Even though it's makin' my mind spin!! :D

March 29, 2003, 08:05 PM

Click on "kits" and choose your options. The kits are now $449 (my add was old). The features on these kits really look excellent.

March 30, 2003, 01:00 AM
I like bolt guns. I have an AR that I never shoot. I was also quite taken by a friends Imbel FAL that he put together for about $500. But I think, at least for me, that the slowness of a bolt gun without that instant followup shot, forces me to take more time with my shots. Not that semis can't be accurate but for me, I like bolts.

For economy in shooting, the 223 will cost about half of what a 308 will cost to shoot unless you're shooting surplus ammo. On the other hand, if you decide to do any hunting, the 223 will leave you pretty well limited. Personally, just starting off, I'd go for the 223.

I've had a few difference rifles but I like the Savage rifles. The stocks are pretty crappy and the old triggers weren't the greatest but at 100 or 200 yards, that paper should be in a whole lot of trouble. Around here, the 12FV goes for about $359 and the 10FP goes for about $409. I like the FP rifles.

I've had a total of about 8 Savage centerfires in 223, 22-250, 243, 7mm-08 and 308. Every one of them was a better shooter than I was. Benchrest shooter friend of mine always recommends them. Guys complain about the trigger and about the stocks. He shoots them a couple .6" or .7" groups and they shut up. You can always replace the stock with a Boyd if you want. I don't like the stocks but for a bench gun, it won't matter much as you shouldn't be putting much pressure on the stock with your hand anyway.

I have many other rifles I prefer to shoot but I have a Savage 12FVSS in 308 with an $80 Kalinka sniper scope on it that my buddy has shot under 1" groups with. I've shot 1.5" groups with it and counting rifle, scope, mounts and rings, I think I have barely $450 in it. They're good guns.

March 30, 2003, 03:02 AM
Hey Cratz,

Did you replace those stocks on the rifle in your picture or can you get them black?

I ask because I plan on getting a savage model 10 in .308 probably next month. If I can order the black stocks I think I'll go that way. Yours looks pretty cool. Rifle and cheap scope are in package for $410.

March 30, 2003, 10:34 AM
Since you asked, my $.02 would also steer you in the direction of the 700 VS, either caliber. For strictly range work, I prefer the .223 as it is a little more plesant to shoot for a long period. I have two ARs, one service rifle and one a flat top, flat top is pretty fun for just plinking at the range. However, I recently purchased a 700VS in .308 and it is a quality piece giving you many options in the future. Keep your options open..

The best advice I you will ever hear from me, or anyone on this board, buy a quality rifle, and buy what you really want the first time. Save up if you need to. Buying just to satisfy the itch will just cost you more in the long run as you will ultimatley end up buying what you really wanted anyway. For example, if you TRULY want an AR, do not buy the kit gun, or a NIB Bushy or COLT, but call a gunsmith like John Holliger, who happens to also be the Civillian Service Rifle Champ, and talk with him. He can custmimize an RRA upper for $600 or so total, you can find a lower for $250 on AA or Gunbroker, and you have $850 in one BAD AR you will not need to do a thing to. Clearly this is worth the extra $250, as you would want to upgrade soon and then it will cost you more.. TRUST ME..

That said, the VS is a damn fine rifle out of the box. It really does not need upgrading, but as stated above, it is THE standard, and you can upgrade any part in the future. Mine cost $550 NIB, and IMHO is worth every penny.

Good luck in your hunt, good shooting!!

March 30, 2003, 01:27 PM
Wonderful, wonderful input here guys!:D I truly appreciate all of the input. I like to hear the argument on both sides. And ultimately, I WILL have to buy BOTH. Seriously. I guess I've re-adjusted my thought to... which one do I buy first?!? Here's both side of my thinking now....

I could, buy a quality AR, like suggested, and fall back on my 91-30 Mosin Nagant to satisfy me when I'm lusting to work the action of a bolt. Which I've already done the ATI bent bolt and site rail to that I topped of with a cheap Banner 3-9x40 with already.


Go and get the bolt that I originally always wanted, the R700 and save up some more (which again, is terribly hard for this weak, impatient soul :banghead:) and buy my dream AR piece by piece, all the while soaking up as much info on here and as possible.

I mean, I really do not see myself NOT buying firearms anytime soon. And I only see this getting worse. (Read: Major Gun HO in the making) So I'm going for it all. It's just like when I started golfing and by the end of the year, I ended up with 15 drivers and 10+ sets of irons! (Also another very expensive hobby of mine, that has since taken the back seat to my new found lust in shooting.) Eventually I will have them both.

Thanks again guys! Again, if you can, KEEP EM' COMIN'! Some else out there has got to have a point on an angle that I have not thought of yet.

March 30, 2003, 08:26 PM
I just went through this, and here is what I have now:

Savage FP10 24" heavy barrel in .308 with the new accutrigger (
Choate Ultimate Sniper Stock (
Harris 6-9 bipod
Weaver 2 piece bases
Burris medium rings
Bushnell Elite 3200 5-15x40 (

I got it all (except for the stock, I had to buy that seperate) for $825 (including tax and everything), if you talk to the dealer and tell them you want all of this, they may have to order it but may cut you some slack on price.

so far I have only shot it at 50yards (as far back as the range by me goes) but center to center of a 3 shot group was about 1/4" (

I am very happy with what I ended up with!!

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