My Truck Gun; Mosin 91/30, Marlin 336, Marlin 1894C, SKS, or SU 16?


September 29, 2006, 11:52 PM
I like keeping a long gun in my pick-up. I know some people don't because they are worried about what would happen if it got stolen and that's fine for those people. But I'm one of the ones who think the criminal is responsible for what he does and as long as I keep my truck locked and the gun out of sight I've done my part. Besides which, I can see a whole lotta times I'd be glad I had a long gun available. If I'm out and about and everything goes to hell I like the option of projecting force at more than handgun distance.

But that leaves the question, which one? I'm lucky enough to have a pretty decent collection of arms to chose from and I've used different guns at different times as my choice but I can never settle on one I'm totally happy with. A truck gun, by its nature, has to be a jack of all trades weapon. You don't know if you're going to need it to shoot a wounded deer, a rabid dog, a human attacker (or worse, attackers), or just to target practice. It should be rugged, portable, accurate, powerful enough to be effective, and easy to use. The following are some of the guns I own that I could (and at times have) use as a truck gun. Suggestions?

Mosin 91/30 in 7.62X54R. Powerful. Heavy. Heavy recoil. Bolt action. Effective range about 500-600 meters. Cheap! It's too long as is but I'm thinking of cutting the barrel down to 18" and recrowning the muzzle myself. Easily the most durable gun of the bunch. I could drag it behind the truck for 100 miles and it'd still fire. Accuracy isn't great but that may change with a new muzzle. Factory ammo from Hungary is pretty cheap but limited in options. Small magazine capacity and bolt action so it's slow to cycle.

Marlin 336 in 30-30 or 35 remington. Midrange power. Midrange weight. Accurate. Range limited to about 150-200 meters for effective shots. Reloadable brass. Not expensive but not cheap either. Lever action so cycles faster than a bolt but slower than an automatic. Very "politically correct". Reloadable on the fly without having to take the gun out of action at any time.

Marlin 1894C in .357 mag. Variable power option based on ammo selection but still lower than all the other options. It is a 35 caliber round though. Accurate. Effective range about 150 meters. Very light. No recoil. Lever action but the lack of recoil and weight make it even quicker than the other lever options.. Also politically correct. Not expensive but not cheap either. Also reloadable on the fly. More ammo in the tube at one time since the rounds are shorter than 30-30 ammo. Reloadable brass.

SKS in 7.62X39. Midrange power. Midrange weight. Semi-auto. Least accurate weapon of this bunch but may benefit from a recrown. Effective range 250-300 meters. Least ergonomic of this bunch. Cheap! 10 round non-detachable magazine reloadable with stripper clips. Semi-reasonable ammo selection. Some brass reloadable. Very dependable design second only to the Mosin.

Kel-Tec SU16A in .223. Light weapon. Midrange power. Takes AR magazines. Semi-auto. Accurate. Most expensive weapon of this bunch. Lots of plastic. Least durable weapon of this bunch. Folds in half and has intigrated cheap plastic bipod that I never use. Least "politically correct" rifle in this bunch. Good ammo selection. Only weapon I can transport in a short rectangular carry case that doesn't scream "gun".

As you can see, each has certain strengths and weaknesses. Each might be perfect in a certain situation but you never know which situation you're going to get into and which gun you'll need. So you need something that can be effective in a variety of areas.

So what's YOUR assesment? Which of these would you chose as a full time truck gun and why? And why wouldn't you chose the ones you passed over?

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Deer Hunter
September 29, 2006, 11:56 PM
Out of your list, I'd say either the SKS or a Mosin. But why a 91/30? Why not buy an M38 or M44?

September 30, 2006, 12:01 AM
But why a 91/30? Why not buy an M38 or M44?Or just a barreled action cut down to carbine length for about $30.

I like the Mosin a little better

If the gun is stolen most cretins would not be able to find ammo easily and you could keep the bolt out like the road boss in Cool Hand Luke.
Plus it could be replaced cheaper

September 30, 2006, 12:41 AM

1894C Short, light, reliable, simple, quick-handling and I like how it feels.

Commercial .357 ammo that approaches .35 Remington ballistics is available from Buffalo Bore, and specifically made to be safe in the Marlin. But plinking ammo is also readily available if you want to shoot cans; it'll even shoot .38's. Of all the guns listed, the 1894C and the SU-16 would be my choices for plinking -- for some reason, I've never quite gotten as excited about the SKS as others have.

They make the .44 version in stainless, I think, but it's got a longer barrel.

For cheap, a Mosin carbine is a functional rifle. Recoils like a sledgehammer, much more than a full-length 91/30 IMO.

An SKS is a fun toy, but I think they're club-like unless you change the stock. By then, you could buy the Marlin (around here, Big 5 Sporting Goods sells the 94C with an uncheckered hardwood stock for just over $300 new). I'd much rather shoot my Mini-14 than my SKS, but the Mini is just a mite bit more expensive...

Another option? The Puma 1892 replica, available in stainless.

September 30, 2006, 02:51 AM
keltec, easy fast, and light, that is what you want.

September 30, 2006, 03:24 AM
The Kel-Tec is very practical in terms of capacity, accuracy, and stowability.

The downside is that the SKS and MNs can take a beating without it hitting you as hard in the wallet. Plus, they hit a little harder. The .223 should be good for what you need it for, but for a lot of folks, anything less than 3 tenths of an inch in diameter doesn't cut it. One nice thing about the SKS, (And maybe the MN depending on which one you have,) is that pig-sticker on the end might be handy. Then again, you probably have tools in the truck, right?

I'd say whatever you are most comfortable with For me that'd be the Tupperware folding rifle from Cocoa Beach, Florida. (In fact, the SU-16CA has replaced my SKS as the "Travel" gun ever since I bought it.)

Make sure you check state laws. Even some pretty easy going states don't allow truck guns, (Well not loaded anyway.)

September 30, 2006, 03:41 AM
My vote goes for the SKS or Mosin. If it's a truck gun, you want to be able to see it beat all to hell and/or stolen without shedding too many tears. I wouldn't like beating up a nice Marlin, nor would I appreciate having it stolen. A $70 Mosin, on the other hand...

Plus, face it: if it doesn't go down in 10 rounds of 7.62x39 or five rounds of 7.62x54R (plus a possible bayonet charge :D) you should be burning rubber outta there anyway.

I'd buy an M44 and leave it at that. Leave a few stripper clips full of ammo back there (the stripper clips suck, but they keep the ammo together in 5-round groups) and you're good to go. Fire, reload if necessary, and repeat. If it gets to contact distance, you're either a lousy shot or firing at a tank, and you need to either go for the sidearm or perform a tactical get-the-hell-out-of-there.

September 30, 2006, 03:47 AM
kel-tec su16ca.

accuracy matters.
weight matters.
size matters.
speed matters.

.223 might not be the biggest crit on the block, but who said you were going to stop shooting after the first round?

the problem is the price (I paid $500 for mine) and the durability of the gun. for the first, $500 is about how much you will invest in an sks by the time you change:

1. bell & carlson stock
2. mojo / st marie ghost ring sights
3. trigger work, removing bayonet.
4. changing firing pin, springs.

as for the second.. get a good gun case. no matter which rifle you choose you shouldn't have a loaded rifle bouncing around in teh trunk anyway.

Zeke Menuar
September 30, 2006, 05:33 AM
Of the choices:

Gun I use as trunk guns. I have enough so I rotate them from time to time.

Ishapore 2A.
Yugo 24/47
Mosin M38
Hungarian Mosin M44
Yugo SKS
Savage M99-R once in awhile. It's an heirloom. Needs to get out once in awhile.


September 30, 2006, 09:14 AM
Short MN's are really really..... LOUD!!!!! Sound like a pumped up magnum. Plus you get some great fireballs.

I have an SU-16. Not a bad little rifle. More durable than one would think. AR mags a big plus.

September 30, 2006, 09:40 AM
Short light slab sided carbine, very pc appearance, can always find either
.38 or 357. Can do everything from small game with 38's to deer black bear with .357. Hunting up to 150 yards large game, but accurate enough for
anti personnel uses way beyond that. With s&b 158gr jsp sight for 4" high at
100yds will only be 6" low at 200yds. Still retains 335 ftlbs of energy at
350yds. Using this load, I shoot pie plates at 200yds, grouping around 4-5"
with peep sight.

BTW with the Marlin because of the twist rate, the heavier round the better the accuracy (I.e. 158's shoot better than 125's, and 180's shoot the best.

September 30, 2006, 09:55 AM
I am going to go with the SKS or the Kel-Tec. I dont have ANY first hand experience with the Kel-Tec, just going on reviews etc.

The "truck gun" idea is something to me that means you want quick in action shooting if needed. You are not looking for a hunting rifle most likely, so take all the bolt action guns/lever action guns out of the mix. Leaving you with semi-auto, you have the SKS and Kel-Tec.

Now, if I were to be a guy that had a "truck gun", I would want it to be inexpensive in case it is ever stolen from my truck. This is another place the SKS makes sense. Its cheap to buy and easily replaceable.

September 30, 2006, 10:12 AM
MN and a bunch of loaded stripper clips.

I like the "Road Boss" idea of separating the bolt from the rifle. Keep the bolt in a little box in the glove compartment.

Just picture a gang-banger criminal who stole your rifle Google-ing "Mosin Nagant" or "7.62x54R" to look for parts.

He'd probably find THR and turn his life around.

September 30, 2006, 10:23 AM
Personally, I think that the SKS was almost "made" to be a truck gun. Fairly compact, decent power and inexpensive. 10 rounds ought to be enough for most situations, but if you practice loading with stripper clips, you can reload REALLY fast. God forbid its ever stolen, but if it is, you're not out much money. And even with recent price increases, ammo is still pretty cheap.

P.S. SKSs are more accurate than many people give them credit for. Mostly they/I use cheapo Wolf or other Russian ammo, and it not real accurate. But if you try some "good stuff" it'll be alot better. You won't win any benchrest competitions, but < 2MOA isn't outa the question, in a good SKS

September 30, 2006, 10:34 AM
Even with reloads, neither of my yugos can make better than 6 inches at 100 yards, or as Simonov designed it, "minute of Nazi".
I would use one of two, depending on the vehicle crime in your area. If vehicle break ins are pretty rare in your neck of the woods, then an SKS with chinese bra, (for the "very prepared minded."), or a stock wrap from survivor's sks board with two stripper clips in it.
if vehicle break ins happen, I would go with a Mosin M44, with stock ammo carrier, and ammo pouch on the sling. Make DARN good and sure you eliminate ALL the sticky bolt phenomena, , before trusting it as a truck gun, and carry GOOD ammo.

September 30, 2006, 11:59 AM
epijunkie67, what's your location and typical environment like? Where I live in town my range would be restricted to 50-100 yards, but outside town I have clear view out to 1000+ yards regularly. I would go with something in a full power rifle round here. If I was back in Arkansas, where my line of sight is more restricted, an intermediate rifle round would be preferable. If I was back in Cleveland, I think I might just take the 1894C. Loaded down with .38 Specials or loaded up to hot .357 Magnum (approaching .30-30 energy within 50 yards), it's very versatile.

You could just carry one of each . . . :rolleyes:


September 30, 2006, 12:17 PM
epijunkie67, what's your location and typical environment like? Where I live in town my range would be restricted to 50-100 yards, but outside town I have clear view out to 1000+ yards regularly.

I live in a smallish town in East Tennessee. I regularly drive along highway with 800 meter open fields on each side, through town with typical suburban profile, and into Knoxvile with typical large city structure. Three different environments in a very close proxemity. Thus, my pointing out that for me a truck gun has to be usable in a wide variety of situations.

I appreciate the people who have posted about guns I COULD get for this function but I should point out that in my originl post the guns I listed are guns I own NOW. I actually have many others besides these but I felt these were the best options for truck gun out of my collection. I'm not going to throw my mint M1A in there! I guess I could have also listed my K31 Swiss as that could also be considered a reasonable, cheap, accurate, heavy, bolt gun.

September 30, 2006, 01:54 PM
Kel-Tec SU-16 Hands down. I don't even know how you can consider others with this rifle in mind.

Bolt action for truck gun? :scrutiny:

Least durable? Far from it. It has reliability and durability in heaps. I'd say some Mosins I handled are less durable. Reliable? Maybe as reliable as a Yugo SKS which have inherent gas problems. Very accurate, for it being made of plastic and being a feather's weight. Don't badger the rifle for looks, components, or weight w/o handling one. Try one out.

It folds, only one model can shoot while folding, but the A,B,C,CA models do fold. Handy handguard bipod, which works. It's just not the sturdiest platform in the world.

September 30, 2006, 02:29 PM
I have an 1894C and thought about it as a truck gun when I bought it, but decided not to for two reasons: (1) I can't (legally) leave a truck gun loaded, and the 1894 is too slow to load, and (2), I just like the little gun too much to leave it in my truck.

Next is the Mosin, I have an M44 in an ATI stock, and I have stripper clips for it on the way. My concern with this gun is that 7.62x54R seems a bit much for most of the situations I can actually imagine needing the gun for. But it's a good candidate in terms of ultimate durability, and low monitary value.

I have an SKS on the way, that I'm buying specifically as a truck gun. Don't love the wooden stock, so I'm going for a Choate stock. As others have said, it seems like it was designed to be a truck gun, and 7.62x39 seems like a great compromise round.

The SU-16 is very interesting. I don't own one, but will look into it. If it can travel in a sturdy case, I suppose "bounce around the truck" durability is not that big an issue. If you are comfortable with .223 serving your needs, this sounds like a viable option.

September 30, 2006, 02:55 PM
Id say the SKS.
Mine (using winchester 123 gr FMJ) will keep all ten on a man sized target out to 600 yards.
Using some forgin surplas military ammo me and a buddy spent an afternoon shooting through a 3/8 in thick steel plate leaving holes that couldnt be covered with a penny in the metal.
And I got the rifle and 3000 rounds of ammo for 90 bucks.

September 30, 2006, 03:01 PM
Well, here was my recent answer to the same question. I debated among:

A Mosin M38 (serious caliber, cheap and built like a tank, rather slow firepower and minimal ammo capacity).

An SKS (serious enough caliber, not quite as cheap and built like a Bradley with greater sustained firepower than the Mosin).

And my final choice - the Ishapore Jungle Carbine conversion in 7.62x51 (excellent and serious caliber, most costly but still around $250 and proven battle durability (the design, that is) with adequate though slightly slower firepower. Holds 12 rounds, loads from stripper clips and is a joy to shoot (with a Limbsaver Slip-On recoil pad).

All were light enough and handy to use, powerful enough for any task that might require a rifle, affordable with reasonable ammo costs, wouldn't bankrupt me to replace if stolen (gods forbid!) and would have suited the criteria for a trunk/truck gun. I just picked the one I felt best served all the purposes such a firearm might reasonably/realistically be called upon to perform.


September 30, 2006, 03:32 PM

After reading the whole thread after I posted, I see that in your post #17 you say you want to keep the suggestions limited to the rifles you already own/listed.

In that case, the SKS would be the way I'd go. That's my biased opinion, with financial considerations taken into account in case of loss.

I don't know about all the replies dogging the accuracy of the SKS, but mine are very accurate - and I'm no match grade shooter by any means. I've got the Norinco Cowboy's Companion (great little carbine!) and the Norinco SKS-M which takes AK magazines (Chinese SKS rifles are bad-mouthed for no reason I've been able to determine through experience, I actually prefer them). Both are rock-solid reliable and can hit minute-of-zombie at 200 yards all day.

As far as I'm concerned, if I have to be shooting at a perceived threat at that distance or greater, my main objective should be to beat feet - not play Walter Mitty with my trunk gun.



deputy tom
September 30, 2006, 05:01 PM
I vote 30/30 Marlin or Winchester. your brand preference.PC a plus,legal for hunting most everywhere,good power,not real expensive,ammo available at most K-marts,Wal-marts,etc.YMMV.tom.:cool:

October 1, 2006, 02:01 AM
I concur with Deputy Tom.

Having carried "truck" guns for my entire 25yr L.E. career, I can vouch for the m94 or Marlin's. Either of them.

I've had 3 mini-14's, 2 in .223, and one in 7.62x39.
" "SkS, two rifles, one Para-Carbine. The latter seemed like a good idea, but was cumbersome, and VERY inaccurate.
" " Two AR-15's, an A-2, and an A-"4"orgery

I prefered a "beater" m336 in .30/30 with a Williams "Foolproop" peep and a White Bead front sight. Bought rifle for $100.00, sights cost $50!!! But OH what a Shooter !!!

The fist time I "qualified" with this rifle I got a lot of sneers. After the 20-shot target was pulled, no "Sneers"! (20rds in 10ring of B-27 Target from 50yds; later years, in the "shoe box" of the "robot" target)

Next year about 4 more "levers" showed up on the line!

RE: Buffalo Bore .357mag ammo.
It AIN'T NO WHERE NEAR A .35REM if you compare "apples to apples".

My .357mag 158gr load from a 20" Winney m94 runs 2,050fps (18.7gr Hod Lil'gun) 1474ft/lbs
My .35Rem 200gr Cor-lokts from a 20" Marlin336 runs 2,300fps (40.0gr H4895) 2,350ft/lbs
Compare Buffalo 'Bores .357mag to "their" .35Rem (220gr @ 2,200fps)

Heep o' difference when they slap "bambi" !!
Though, they both WORK.

Ed Ames
October 1, 2006, 02:41 AM
I'm a little confused about a few points.

Why is a 7.62x39 good for 250-300m while a 30-30 is only good for 150m? :scrutiny: I'd put them both at 175m for compacts and no more than 75m for full size. The 30-30 would have a slight edge. I think the .357 reputation as a block breaker is overstated, btw, and a .223 isn't going to do much more than throw off the timing on anything bigger than a Silverado.

Only legit choice on your list is the Mosin. Not sure I'd cut the barrel down when you can get barreled carbine receivers (or whole carbines) for a song but it has the power to take on anything up to a 21' box truck and with an attached bayonette you can use it for harvesting 18 wheelers at close range. You can still get steel core, which is a definite plus when going after larger vehicles and not available in your .357/30-30/7.62x39 choices. You can also buy aftermarket black plastic stocks for $60 if you don't like the looks of the standard stock. Paint it hunter orange for safety and you've got yourself a durable and useful tool no matter what you hunt.

October 1, 2006, 03:04 AM
The 91/30 works better with standard 54R loads than the carbines. There's a lot less flash and substantially higher FPS. I don't find that the carbines are any quicker in the hand, either. The Soviet 91/30's had very light barrels and are easy to manipulate. Why you'd hack the barrel off of a rifle is beyond me, unless you just like wasting money. The M-38's and M-44's already have shorter barrels if you really want them.

I like Mosins and Mausers as truck guns because it's very easy to yank the bolts as a security measure. You can't do that with a levergun. Plus, the Mosin bolt in particular fits in the hand like a brass knuckle.

October 1, 2006, 05:10 PM
MyRoad brought up a point that should be considered, and that is, what's legal where you live? According to the 2005 Traveler's Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States (, in Tennessee "firearms must be unloaded and in plain view or secured in commercial gun cases anywhere in the vehicle". That means both handguns and long guns. Now I don't know for sure if this book has Tennessee law completely nailed, but what it says about New Mexico, where I live, it's right on the money. In New Mexico you can have a loaded or unloaded gun (handgun or long gun) in your car, hidden or not. If I lived in Tennessee, I would go with something with a detachable magazine that I could keep separate from the rifle, with the rifle in a case under or behind the seat, magazine in the glove compartment. Sounds reasonable to me, but maybe you should check with your STATE police dept. just to be sure. If you get into an accident the cops may go thru your car looking for alcohol or drugs. If they come up with an illegal firearm you will have made their day.

I had a small town cop try to bust me at a roadblock for having a loaded handgun in my glove compartment. :eek:

:scrutiny: He was so excited, he was going to be famous! :D

Fortunately there was a NM State cop working the same roadblock. He knew the law and straightened things out. I'm sure glad he was there!

October 1, 2006, 05:32 PM
I think a truck/trunk rifle should be fairly light a short of barrel. I keep a well-used post-64 94 Winchester 30-30 in my trunk. Since even post-94s are now getting pricey, you might consider a Henry lever in 22 mag or a Rossi in 357, if you can get it to function. Just a thought.

October 1, 2006, 07:36 PM
Go with the Mosin. Cheapest to replace if stolen. More than enough power. And I liked the part on using the bolt as brass knuckels

October 1, 2006, 09:43 PM
Yes I know we're discussing truck guns, but I don't have a truck. I also realize you limited the selection to those guns you own, but I own Mosin-Nagants (M91/30, M38, M44), and I love shooting them all - at the range. In a self-defense situation I think they'd be less valuable than an auto-loader. My personal gun of choice rolling around in the crap in my trunk is an AK-47. They are the most amazing guns. I live outside New Orleans, and my neighborhood flooded in Katrina, and a friend of mine was given an old AK-47 out of the waters and mud of the floods (four WEEKS in water that had some of the worst toxins known). He cleaned the mud out of the receiver, loosened up the bolt carrier, took it to the range, AND FIRED IT! He said it performed reliably, and accurately. Now THAT'S a truck gun! I build my own AK's, so they only cost about $150 apiece, I know what they're capable of, and I love them.

October 1, 2006, 10:54 PM
These things are great! They have all the power you need, in a generally compact package and the fit right in anywhere. I had an SKS and just couldn't get used to it. It was the klunkiest gun I have ever owned. I shot OK, but was just too big and awkward for me. I have a few 336's right now and use them for camping and woods/desert bumbing. I use XO ghost ring sights and they shoot fast and accurate.

My latest truck/camping gun is a Savage 11 in .223. I cut the bbl to 19 inches, installed a set of XO GR's and sited it in for Speer 70 grners @ 3,000 fps. My wife loves it, I can ring the 200 yard gong all day long, and it is reasonable powerful.

She had a problem with the force required to work the lever on the 336's. She could do it. It just took a lot of effort. I taught her to thumb back the hammer first, but it is just too much to worry about if we really needed.

Wholly Mackreal, did I get off track. Well like I said, I vote for the Marlin.

All wise men know not to mock the Marlin,


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