Thinking of a "trunk rifle," suggestions?


the naked prophet
June 12, 2007, 11:13 PM
The wife and I are considering putting a rifle in our trunks as a final element to add to our "trunk kits" which contain food, first aid kit, basic survival tools (rope, hatchet, tarp) etc. This rifle is the last thing on the list, as it is the most expensive and least likely to be necessary. However, I like to get started shopping now, so...

This rifle would be used as a general-purpose car-rifle. Maybe it might be needed if there's an unforseen disaster or riot when we're out of town, or a sniper on campus (I could get my own rifle from my car) or some other situation where I might need to reach out and touch someone (like, I dunno, a whacko shooting up a courthouse) with a little more oomph than the pistol which I am assumed to be carrying. Or maybe to hunt game if stranded somewhere and unable to get to civilization for a week (although thinking about getting a couple of Cricket .22 rifles at $95 each with a box or three of subsonic ammo for squirrels and rabbits, [i]in addition to the "fighting" rifle).

The ideal rifle must be powerful enough to get through a car door (so .223 may possibly be included, but as a bare minimum - no pistol-caliber carbines) and soft body armor (see Tyler Courthouse Shooting), easy enough to use that both my wife and I can practice with them, reliable and durable enough that we can oil them up really good and stick them in the trunk with minimal padding/packaging and still count on them to go boom when required, accurate enough to hit a man-sized target at 100 yards, cheap enough that we can buy one for each car and if one gets stolen, we won't be out too awful much money, and use cheap enough ammo that we can keep 100-200 rounds with the rifle (I was gonna say 50-100 but the wife insists on 200!). Ideally, it would also be 50-states legal (but we could easily avoid the commie states), assuming the ammo was locked up separately from the rifle (which would be cable-locked to the frame of the car with actually nice cable locks - not Wal-Mart bike locks). This rifle must also either use commonly-available detachable magazines (such as AK or AR mags, FAL mags, etc) or load with stripper clips - lever action guns excepted.

My first thought was an SKS, since I've already got a good deal of 7.62x39, but I can't find those for under $200 anywhere, and for two cars that's not chump change. For not much more than that, I could get a WASR-2 AK clone in 5.45x39 which is dirt cheap and probably save money in the long run over the SKS. Not exactly super powerful, but the FMJ should get through a car door, right?

I'm sure if I keep looking around I can find a couple of .30-30 lever action rifles, but that can only be used with round nose bullets, and the ammo isn't exactly cheap. I worry about the ability of soft-point ammo to penetrate a car door. I'm sure it would be okay out to 100 yards, but I know with a more accurate rifle/pointy bullet, I could do okay out to 300 or so.

Then there's the Mosin-Nagant for around $70-80. I had one before, couldn't get better than 18-20 inch groups at 25 yards. The M44 carbine kicked like a mule, bruising my shoulder with only a few shots. I know my wife won't fire one of those, but the longer 91/30 version isn't supposed to have as much recoil or blast, but they can only be had in "corrosive ammunition was used for a lifetime, don't expect a good bore" condition, whereas the M44 and 1938 come in "very good" or "excellent" conditions (the short ones with more recoil that I won't buy). [edit - she says no mosins]

There's the Kel-Tec folding SU-16 rifles, but then again for around half the price at $300 I could get the WASR-2, though that's more than I'd rather spend - that would be the rifle I'd pick if I can't find any SKS under $150 and a cheap reliable milsurp bolt-action rifle isn't forthcoming. If I could find a pair of SKSs for $300 total, I'd be happy.

Others have suggested a K98, but I think the 8mm might be too much for my wife.

Any other ideas?

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June 12, 2007, 11:22 PM
SKS sounds like the answer. You might want to also consider adding a .22 pistol and 100+ rounds of .22 ammo. And a good knife like a K-Bar or Glock.

June 12, 2007, 11:23 PM
My wife has two rifles that she absolutely loves: Inland M1 Carbine and a Kel-Tec SU-16. In fact, I love them as well...Yes, they cost more than an SKS, but the Kel-Tec alone is worth it's weight, (what little there is) in gold - especially when you're talking compact. First, it folds into a package that's easily tucked into a duffel bag or daypack. Second, it's reliable, (only with good to great ammo - stay away from Wolf Classic and Ultimax) and accurate, (easily minute of center mass at 100-yards). Third, it's easy to use and fairly easy to maintain. Fourth, it takes AR15/M16 mags.

The M1 Carbine has many of the same features, (ease, accuracy, reliability, compactness - especially with a paratrooper stock).... If my wife had to pick one to take, it would be a tough call - me, I'd take the Inland, but I'd miss the Kel-Tec....

June 12, 2007, 11:36 PM
Well, since you did not state that it had to have detacheable magazines, an old winchester or marlin 30-30 would seem to fill the bill prettywell.

June 12, 2007, 11:39 PM
three words:

appalachian assault rifle

a.k.a. the .30-30 lever action

June 12, 2007, 11:45 PM
I picked up an M44 and a 91/30 for $100 each a couple weeks ago, and the bores were great. Barrels too. More accurate than my SKS, and way more accurate than my brother's, to boot. If you're normally a good shot, you might have had a really abused one. It's a shame you're ruling those out, because they'll easily pierce car doors and a whole lot of other things, plus they're dirt cheap.

I love my SKS, and it's great fun to shoot, but for the reasons I own assault rifles, I believe I'd grab a Mosin first for picking off bad guys from my terrace.

What about a .357 lever gun with a snubbie companion to share the same ammo? Even soft points would penetrate car doors, no problem.

June 12, 2007, 11:47 PM
Saiga. 'Nuff said.

June 12, 2007, 11:48 PM
I think the wife would not appreciate an M44 if she's recoil shy....

June 12, 2007, 11:53 PM
I'd suggest an SKS, or a Marlin 30-30. That said (with no attempt to hijack your thread), you might want to be careful what you use your trunk gun for.

...or a sniper on campus (I could get my own rifle from my car) or some other situation where I might need to reach out and touch someone (like, I dunno, a whacko shooting up a courthouse)...

Be careful. I'll not get into legal consequences and reprocussions. I'll just get into your safety. If the cops show up and hear about some wacko shooting people and then see you with a gun, you have a good chance of getting arrested, or heaven forbid, shot; either by the cops or someone else with your same plan.

June 12, 2007, 11:54 PM
This is a very good question!

My first reaction to thi s post is AR15

Second choice 12 gauge shotgun 870

I like the idea of a winchester model 94 in 357 call.

June 12, 2007, 11:56 PM

Yes. A way to secure it, beyond the lock on the trunk of the car.

I'm a cop. We go on runs every day where the Good Guy catches the Bad Guy breaking into his car. Usually a citizen footchase ensues, and sometimes there is a righteous arse-beating on the other end, to which the responding officers routinely turn a blind eye.

However, it would well and truly suck for you to discover the Bad Guy breaking into your car, just as the Bad Guy, in turn, discovers your stowed but unsecured rifle. Think about it.

I'm not talking about welding a vault into the rear of your car. Just provide some way to disable the weapon at the scene so that you don't get shot. One of those bazillion gun locks you have rolling around that Sarah Brady so thoughtfully pressed upon us would work nicely. Put the key on your keyring. It won't stop the gun from being stolen if your trunk gets popped, but it would stop it from being used against you if you confronted the guy taking your stuff.


June 13, 2007, 12:14 AM
A sporterized mark 4 Lee enfield. You can find them for around $80 to $120 at the shows. The sporterizing KILLED the collecter value, but you still have an accurate, solid , fast handling rifle with good peep sights and a ten round magazine. Looks just like a thousand other "deer" rifles and ammo is still available and reasonably cheap. If you want to disable it just pull the bolt and place it in a different location. Has a great safety and good trigger. These guns were imported and commercially sporterized for hunting rifles. Cut barrel, ramp front sight and the fore stock shortened.

June 13, 2007, 12:37 AM
Mike/Coronach - Awesome suggestions....

June 13, 2007, 12:44 AM
Not to burst your bubble, but most pistol calibers will easily go through car doors. Yes doors as in both. Go over to and search for their "shooting the car" thread. You'd be surprised how little protection cars actually give. That movie stuff about ducking for cover behind the car door is pure bunk.

As for your criteria, a 30-30 lever gun is your best bet. Ammo is relatively cheap and plentiful, its short and handy enough to be versatile for carry and storage, and the round itself would be plenty for any of the situations you describe.

June 13, 2007, 12:52 AM
If you can have only 1 gun in your trunk then it should be a 12 gauge shotgun. Birdshot, buckshot and slugs cover a wide range of protection and hunting too.

You can find a Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 for a reasonable price and load up on ammo too. I think you should add a $100 Savage .22 LR rifle to the mix if you are worried about having to hunt for a period of time for small game.

June 13, 2007, 01:17 AM
I know you said no Moisins, but if you handload, the short Moisins can be really pleasant guns. I shoot my M38 with a 123 grain bullet loaded to just about the equivalent of a 7.62x39 load. No big fireball, no pain in the shoulder.

I don't know why no one loads something like this commercially. I'm sure it would sell like crazy. Anyone who says they like shooting a M44 or M38 with full power loads has a screw loose. ;)

Graf & Sons sells very good 7.62x54R brass under their brand, and I usually buy bulk bullets at gun shows. I keep meaning to buy some cast bullets made for .32-20 and try some really light loads, but haven't actually done so yet.

Anyway, you could probably get two M44s for $200, or M38s for a bit more. If you're starting from scratch it'll cost a couple of hundred for basic reloading gear, but then you're shooting much cheaper from now on.

June 13, 2007, 01:21 AM
Go with something low maintenance that you can put in the trunk for 6 months with no worries. Mosins and sks' and ak's will fit this bill. a 30-30 will, an AR might be a headache when you most need it (no disrespect to the ar guys, just pointing out that your guns prefer to be clean and lubed) 9mm will penetrate a car door-IIRC .22lr will too. I'd suggest the sks or the mosin for ease of use and no need to find that magazine that is floating around in the trunk when you need it.

June 13, 2007, 02:02 AM
The SKS is the perfect trunk gun in my opinion. It's inexpensive, rugged, reliable, powerful.

June 13, 2007, 02:12 AM
I was thinking just what Jubjub was - a cheap milsurp and lightish handloads. My truck gun at the moment is just that - a 7.35mm Carcano. Cheap, handy, durable, and cheap to shoot once I get the cast handloads going.

chris in va
June 13, 2007, 02:45 AM
Saiga. The SKS is pretty darn heavy.

June 13, 2007, 03:04 AM
Now that the ban is lifted (hurry up while it is), go with the AR or shorter M4. Very accurate to distances well beyond what you described, cheap to shoot (practice) and won't destroy small game meat with proper shot placement. Will also take larger game with proper shot placement. Mag fed.

Follow the officer's advice. Don't try to be a hero unless you know how...

June 13, 2007, 03:07 AM
Well I doubt wether you are going to buy a lever gun cheaper than you can buy an SKS , or much of anything cheaper that fits your criteria.

So - just go ahead and do the SKS thing is my vote.

June 13, 2007, 03:46 AM
SMLE No.1 or No. 4 - sporterized or not gives you a rugged , accurate rifle that will not raise eyebrows in most jurisdictions. A good bit less recoil than the Moisin-Nagant carbines but still a serious cartridge. Cheap - plentiful - good availability of spares and ammo is still available and not overly pricey.

June 13, 2007, 03:54 AM
don't really have any suggestions in your price range considering that you are pairing up on everything; if you can stagger the purchases then the idea of a good reliable lever action in .30-30 or .357 mag or .44 mag gives you a decent amount of onboard ammunition for defensive work or multiple shots on game animals; the second recommendation would be reliable used 12 ga and or 20 ga pump action shotguns (I know what you're thinking about massive recoil from slugs) and select reduced recoil buckshot and slug loads...some of the reduced recoil loads and Mossberg ported barrels make shooting slugs feel like .30-30 or 7.62 x 39; whatever you decide to do, store 'em safely and use 'em responsibly

June 13, 2007, 04:28 AM
SKS and/or 12 ga shotgun, with 00 buck and slugs.

June 13, 2007, 06:09 AM
This would be my choice (properly secured as Coronach pointed out). (BTW, that's a converted Saiga in 7.62x39)


June 13, 2007, 06:40 AM
M-1 Carbine. It's short, will fit any trunk, easy to operate, enough stopping power for most assailants, low recoil.

June 13, 2007, 06:46 AM
I'd vote some kind of lever action, because it will (probably) be legal in all fifty states.


the naked prophet
June 13, 2007, 01:26 PM
I understand the tactical considerations of getting misidentified as the bad guy, and believe me, unless me or mine is in danger, I'm probably not going to do the hero thing. Also, I'd do my best to make sure that the responders knew who I was (call 911, tape a "good guy" sign on my back or something). A tactical discussion isn't what I was planning on.

Coronach, I did mention in the post that I was going to use a high-quality cable lock to secure the rifle in the trunk, and that is precisely for the reason that you stated.

Thanks for all the suggestions, but the wife has just nixed the idea of a bolt action rifle. Not fast enough for her. She is worried about a riot situation and doesn't think she could do the bolt fast enough to dissuade a crowd closing in. And since she's the more restrictive of the two of us, I have to abide by her choices.

I wouldn't feel comfortable making a 100 yard shot with a 12 gauge slug, and I know she won't shoot it anyway. An AR is just plain too expensive to leave in the car. I've personally never seen an M1 carbine for under $500, and for two cars, even that is too expensive, same for the Kel-Tec SU-16. A pistol-caliber carbine wouldn't get through soft body armor - I feel that if Mark Wilson had grabbed a rifle instead of his pistol, a good man would probably still be alive today (not judging his choices or his actions - but trying to learn from them).

An SKS is what I thought of, but I haven't seen one for under $200 in years. And most I see are around $250. For two rifles, 500 rounds of ammo plus enough ammo to "break in" both rifles and ensure proper function, I could more than save that $50 difference and just get a WASR-2 in the currently much cheaper 5.45x39 caliber. But then there's mags... I'll probably just get the SKSs, but was hoping for more suggestions, and then she got all down on the bolt actions. Oh well. Thanks for all the help!

June 13, 2007, 01:42 PM
I second the SKS, and while they are going up in price there are still some good deals to be had. I picked up a good condition SKS a month ago at a gun show for $170. Stripper clips are cheaper and lighter than AK mags, the ammo is is fairly cheap, and the round should easily do what you need it to, plus it has a bayonet :D

June 13, 2007, 03:20 PM
I'm with some of the others.........Saiga 7.62!!!!:D

Red Tornado
June 13, 2007, 04:09 PM
I just checked S.O.G. and they've got good condition SKS's for $130. So, get your C&R - $30 and in a month (hopefully they won't go up much) that's 2 SKS's for $260 and ~$20 shipping.

Total $310.

Prices may fluctuate some, but they won't skyrocket on the SKS overnight...or by next month.

BTW, SKS is my suggestion, just in case that wasn't clear. It's still the perfect trunk/truck gun for people who don't like Mosins.

Where are you in Missouri?

June 13, 2007, 06:37 PM
A bit outside the box, but I'd suggest a 20 Gauge 870 and some choke tubes.

It'll work when it's dirty. It'll shoot sabots, heavy slugs, birdshot, and buckshot. It can be used to hunt all sizes of game, from birds to bears, and to defend against any attackers, human or animal. It's cheap. It's a "takedown" by design.

If you're picky about long-range slug accuracy, carry an extra rifled barrel and some quality high-velocity sabot slugs, and it will be a full-blown rifle for all intents and purposes.

June 13, 2007, 10:50 PM
Remington 7615


Legal in all states
Cheep ammo
Full rifle caliber
Common Ar-15 magazines
No recoil
Same price as an M-1 carbine I bought mine for $559.00 NEW!!! Not overpriced like some people think.


Only disadvantage is it’s a pump action. Which could be a disadvantage depending on how you look at it.

June 14, 2007, 12:04 AM
Do Not Leave Your Or Any Gun In The Car!!!!!ever!!!
Please! It Is A Disaster Waiting To Happen!!! Dont Like This Thread. Promoting You Leaving A Gun In The Car Can Get Someone Killed!!!

June 14, 2007, 12:31 AM
Lou1187, there has been an underfolder AK with a loaded mag in it (with 10 more loaded mags in a pouch strapped to the bottom of same bar) padlocked to the vertical roll cage bar in my sandrail goin on 5 years now...... it gets left there 24/7 and has yet to kill anyone........... and it even gets left sitting with no ignition switch just a toggle switch and a start button....... never even had anyone look crossways at it but then I live in Arizona where we aren't afraid of guns much or people posessin em ;) everyone here is so used to seein SKSs in pickup truck back windows or AR15s mounted vertical in locked police style riot gun racks folks just don't much care to mess with em....... might have somethin to do with the fact most would be theives also know that if the rifles in the truck then the .45s most likally on the truck owners hip........ never know when he or her might show up while your tryin to cut a lock........

Fast Frank
June 14, 2007, 12:49 AM
I'm a big fan of the .30-30 lever action, so naturally I'm going to vote for that rifle.

In regards to the question about the flat nosed bullet and penetration through car doors, I have to say that it's a non-issue.

First, it's a rifle. You don't have to shoot through the car door unless you want to. If your bad guy is crouched behind the car door plinking at you with his pistol you can head shoot him if you want to.

Second, it's a rifle. That flat nosed bullet will go through a car door with plenty enough authority to do the deal on who or whatever is on the other side. 150 grains at 2400 FPS is plenty serious enough, I promise!

In reality, having ANY rifle would be a big bonus in the situation you describe, so my recommendation is to try them all and pick the one that you feel fits your situation best.

I don't think it's possible to go wrong.

June 14, 2007, 01:48 AM
Saiga. 'Nuff said.
Not quite--you forgot to say ".223".

June 14, 2007, 02:21 AM
It's most likely pretty tough to beat the SKS for your application. Since it is about a life threatening situations though...I think I vote for the Saiga's (16") and feel the slight bit of extra cash spent is worth my life. As to caliber either .223 or x39 is fine and meets your criteria. For a tad more money the .308 is nice too, only problem is ammo has gotten a tad bit expensive though. FYI, I bought my .223 and x39 for around $250...100% Russian, cold hammer forged chrome lined barrels, synthetic stocks, proven durability, reliability and accuracy. (16" .308 was about $100 more.) Just a couple of thoughts.....

June 14, 2007, 06:46 AM
Since you already have a .22lr (my first choice), I'd lean more toward the shotgun as well based on versatility alone. And you can get a good pump gun relatively cheap.

Second option would be the .30-30 lever action or .243/.308 bolt action. Ammo is plentiful & easy to find, and it will do just about anything you need a rifle to do.

If you store it partially disassembled (bolt out or barrel removed), you won't have to worry about a BG turning it on you during a break-in.

June 14, 2007, 07:23 AM
My Chinese T53 is grouping very well at about 2" @ 100 yds. Of course milsurp rifles are a crap shoot, but cheap enough to gamble on and my T53 was pre- beatup, so it would look right at home in a trunk.:)

As for recoil, I put a PACHMAYR DECELERATOR MAGNUM SLIP-ON PAD, SMALL from Midsouth Shooters Supply for $14.73. With 147 gr light ball Hungarian ammo it is a kitten. A very loud kitten, but a sweetheart to shoot non the less.

Keeping with simple and relatively inexpensive, NEA Handi rifles come to mind. For about $200 at Bass Pro Shops, you can pick your caliber from .204 to 45-70, including my fav,..35 Whelen. In this case I'd prolly stay in the .243 to .270 range.

June 14, 2007, 11:10 AM
Not quite--you forgot to say ".223".


June 14, 2007, 11:15 AM
Was the requirement that it be SEMI in there somewhere?

$79.99 is that cheap enough?

I think you'll get adequate performance from the cartridge

June 14, 2007, 11:37 AM
I am always surprised when I am the first to suggest this:

Cheap ammo that will go through body armor and take any game in the America's:

30-06. Still less than $.26 a bang from CMP delivered to your door in ammo cans of 240 rounds each. Rounds found everywhere guns are sold and even some places they are not. Available in some of the versatile loadings on the planet. Has twice the range and power of the 7.62X39 bullets cost less than half of the 7.62X51 while delivering greater KE at most ranges.

A semi-automatic inexpensive rifle that is proven, accurate, reliable, low maintenance and easily replaceable and repairable. Uses magazines that can be easily obtained. 50 state legal and also legal in Canada. Has double the range and power of the SKS and considerably better accuracy.

The Remington 742 in 30-06. Available on line and at pawn and gun shops darn near everywhere for less than $300 often times with a scope thrown in. Ten round mags available on line.

Best time to buy is now or a couple of months before big game season.

50 Freak
June 14, 2007, 11:42 AM
I bought my SKS para (16 inch barrel) specifically for a "trunk gun". I'm taking a few of the member's recommendation here and looking for a solid lockable case or something of that nature before I leave it in the car.

You can't go wrong with a SKS, light, handy, powerful and cheap. Plus you can leave it in your car for years and know it will still work when you pull it out.

June 14, 2007, 12:35 PM
I vote for SKS! I might have to get one too!

June 14, 2007, 01:32 PM
You could always go with a Universal Carbine. They're dirt cheap and I wouldn't shed a tear when it rusts up from the humidity.

Nomad, 2nd
June 14, 2007, 04:15 PM
When I lived in the country I left an SKS in the truck.

When I moved to the city I switched to a Folder AK and take it in at night...

The thing about the rifle is that it's just sitting there, so it can't be cheap enough.

But IF you need it it is the only rifle you have... and can't be to good.

Samco has $140 SKS's FYI...

June 14, 2007, 04:24 PM
Then there's the Mosin-Nagant for around $70-80. I had one before, couldn't get better than 18-20 inch groups at 25 yards.

If you don't want Mosins, I'd suggest a Mauser. Or a Finnish Mosin, which are generally much more accurate and have better bores. Either way, they have the enormous advantage of a removeable bolt that can be pulled out, rendering the rifle useless to any thief and keeping it from being used against you. I would not suggest any semi or levergun be kept in the vehicle intact. There's simply too high a smash and grab theft risk.

June 14, 2007, 06:29 PM
Go with a Saiga or a Mosin Nagant.

June 14, 2007, 06:52 PM
i would go with the wasr-2. affordable, accurate enough for needs out to 200 yards, reliable, the list goes on. and when the $#!t goes down, an ak just seems like the right gun to have. an ak or an ar-15, but ar's are expensive

June 14, 2007, 08:09 PM
I like the SKS for what you're talking about, but a Hi-Point, 9mm or 40 S&W carbine would probably work too.

June 14, 2007, 08:10 PM
SKS all the way.

I would say Saiga, but are they legal in states with an AWB?

June 14, 2007, 08:38 PM
Although I've had an ak47 and sks and think they are great guns, for a trunk gun I would suggest an american made rifle or FAL. Around here if you were stopped with and AK or SKS in the car I would expect a couple of hours of questioning with our homicide bureau and would not expect my gun back for a couple of weeks until balistic test were done.

As you may have guessed, in Miami the drive by weapon of choice is the AK 47 or SKS.

If I needed a trunk gun (as a civilian) it would be a lever, pump or bolt action rifle, as a LEO it would be an AR15 or MINI 14.

Right or wrong when the ***** goes bad the goofball in the street with an AK or SKS is probably going to be nothing more than a target for the arriving police units.

In either case I would never leave a gun in a car without additional locking mechanisms and never over night.

June 14, 2007, 09:03 PM
How bout a couple Enfield 2A's? You can get one for $150 or so, .308 ammo is not too exspensive or hard to find, and it would have plenty of oomph.They are fairly heavy too, so I wouldnt think recoil would be too bad.Or a Steyr m95? they're like $100, seem to have pretty good accracy from what I hear, and 8x56 should have plentyof power.Dont know about rcoil though...never fired one.or a K-31.pretty accurate, the straight-pull bolt is REALLY fast an easy to use, plenty of power, and recoil is prety mild.$150 for beechwood one. Just some thoughts.....

poop, I missed the post where you say the wife doesn't want a bolt gun.Sorry.Since your trying to do this on the cheap, maybe an sks like many others suggested for the wife and one of the cheap milsurp bolt guns for you.That way you still come out cheaper than 2 sks's.

June 14, 2007, 09:06 PM
oops, double post.sorry.

June 14, 2007, 09:14 PM
Well, here's another possibility. But it's not a rifle. But it IS Uber- Cooeh.

June 14, 2007, 09:38 PM
Check here for a cheap sks or ak.

the naked prophet
June 14, 2007, 11:26 PM
Apparently a whole lot of people missed my followup post about my wife not wanting a bolt action, and the original post about her not being able to handle the recoil of a .30-06, Mosin, or 12 gauge.

They also seem to have missed the part of the original post about it being necessary to penetrate soft body armor (in an event like the Tyler Courthouse Shooting), and the rifle being cheaper than $1000.

If you remove those suggestions, I'm left with what I started with: an SKS or lever action .30-30, possibly a WASR-2 AK.

I was hoping for more options to present themselves, but I guess there's only so many choices to begin with, and then my wife's picky, but hey, she wants to buy a gun, so who am I to say no?

June 14, 2007, 11:36 PM
A Kel-Tec SU-16 is well under a grand....It folds, takes AR mags, has low recoil, is accurate, penetrates, is light, handy, practical, affordable, adaptable....Get the Su-16 Bravo and be done with it...She'll love will you. ;)

June 14, 2007, 11:40 PM
Yeah... the kel- tec would be gooeh.

June 14, 2007, 11:55 PM
Put a cheap 156.00 [Academy] Maverick 88 S/G and some 00 or 000 buck. Now if we just have some gas and the roads aren't jammed by Check points.

June 15, 2007, 02:04 AM
Build an AR-15, a carbine w/o a rail system weighs all of about 6lbs. Worried about .223 not penitrateing a car door? Go with M885 SS109 green tip ball rounds; available from places like 'cheaper than dirt'. Lake City knows how to build ammo ;) AR-15's given a bit of synthetic lube, with a magazine in and the ejection port cover closed, actually are pretty reliable and low maintence.

SKS's for over $100? I've seen 'decent' ones in pawn shops for $75.

I'd invest into a pelican case or some kind of mini-vault, if you plan to leave a weapon it in your trunk over long periods, something sealed and lockable, this will also keep your kit together. But I also live in South Cali were I have to check to see that my truck alarm is on everynight, since someone broke into my truck and stole; the kenwood, bic razors and reciever hitch.

June 15, 2007, 05:05 AM
For under $500 I would have to throw my vote in for a .308 Saiga. Others have mentioned that it weights less than an SKS. In addition, you can buy and scope and mount for it and have the option of a much more accurate rifle for hunting or longer distance shots.

June 15, 2007, 05:14 AM
su-16 or ak47. cant go wrong.

June 15, 2007, 06:33 AM
I have had 2 sks' for over 15 years, thousands of rounds through them. NEVER a ftf or fte with the factory mag...just plain tough and reliable. you cant go wrong with one!

June 15, 2007, 08:42 AM
Remember folks, this is for his wife. Though a .308 Saiga is not a punisher in the recoil department, it does have some thump to it...I'm not even sure she'd be GTG on a 30-30....I'm no salesman for Kel-Tec, but it's perfect for what he describes...I bought my wife one and she adores it. Likes her Inland better, but always grabs the Kel-Tec when we head to camp....

June 15, 2007, 10:21 AM
Few thoughts.

Securing Firearm in car is very important. At least to me. So whatever you decide, make sure it can be secured.

In thinking about a SHTF situation where I might be at work of in my car away from home, I don't think that you or her would be walking around with a rifle visible. You don't know who might be freaked out in their home and there you come by with a rifle. Might not turn out the way you want it to.

I'd go with the Kel-Tec, folded up, secured in the back pack with a pistol concealed. If there is a situation like what happened in NY where commuters had to walk home, I don't think you walking home with rifle in hand would be a good idea.

By the way, I commend you and thinking and being prepared. The Homeland Security Dept says we should all have an emergency kit in our cars. I wish my wife was taking this stuff as serious as yours is.

June 15, 2007, 11:47 AM
Apparently a whole lot of people missed my followup post about my wife not wanting a bolt action, and the original post about her not being able to handle the recoil of a .30-06, Mosin, or 12 gauge.

They also seem to have missed the part of the original post about it being necessary to penetrate soft body armor (in an event like the Tyler Courthouse Shooting), and the rifle being cheaper than $1000.

If you remove those suggestions, I'm left with what I started with: an SKS or lever action .30-30, possibly a WASR-2 AK.

I can tell you from shooting both often that the recoil of a semi-auto in 30-06 is less than a lever gun in 30-30. So if recoil is an issue don't go with the 30-30.

the naked prophet
June 16, 2007, 12:47 AM
Found a really cheap .30-30, a clunker of a Winchester 94, with little to no finish left. Gunsmith has had it for years and never been picked up. I'll buy it and if she doesn't like it, we'll spring for the SKSs and I'll have a new hunting rifle.

June 16, 2007, 03:05 AM
saiga, or nothing!!!

June 16, 2007, 07:58 AM
SKS can be a good choice. Hardly compact, but reliable. My guess is she will not like the 30-30, so prepare for an SKS if you must not buy the Kel-Tec or M1 carbine, (I think the best choices). The SKS is not recoil free by any stretch, but will be great for your wife. However, she must train and train often. If under stress, knowing how to instinctively load a fresh stripper clip of ammo is extremely important - otherwise, you have little more than a 10-shot rifle. If you miss in 10 rounds, or need to engage multiple targets and cannot load fresh ammo from a pouch to the gun with muscle memory - you're pooched. Same to be said for a tube fed lever gun. That's why for a SHTF scenario, a reliable magazine fed weapon makes more sense to me. 30 rounds in a mag, beats 4 in a tube or 10 in a stripper clip in my book....Refreshing the weapon is easier under stress as well, (still requires training)....

They say something is better than nothing and I suppose an SKS or an old lever gun in the trunk proves that point....

June 16, 2007, 11:07 AM
Although I've had an ak47 and sks and think they are great guns, for a trunk gun I would suggest an american made rifle or FAL. Around here if you were stopped with and AK or SKS in the car I would expect a couple of hours of questioning with our homicide bureau and would not expect my gun back for a couple of weeks until balistic test were done.

As you may have guessed, in Miami the drive by weapon of choice is the AK 47 or SKS.

If I needed a trunk gun (as a civilian) it would be a lever, pump or bolt action rifle, as a LEO it would be an AR15 or MINI 14.

Right or wrong when the ***** goes bad the goofball in the street with an AK or SKS is probably going to be nothing more than a target for the arriving police units.

I hear what you are saying. Nice thing about Saiga's, if left unconverted is you don't really realize what they are until you are right up to them...till then they look like a regular old hunting rifle or shotgun. Kinda Mini-14'ish or M1A'ish from more than 10 feet away.

If you remove those suggestions, I'm left with what I started with: an SKS or lever action .30-30, possibly a WASR-2 AK.

I was hoping for more options to present themselves, but I guess there's only so many choices to begin with, and then my wife's picky, but hey, she wants to buy a gun, so who am I to say no?

There is a reason (besides cheap/free) that many countries of the world have gone to these choices...even when spending their own money.

As to the .308 Saiga's ($325-$400) they recoil alto less than many some options due to the action taking much of it. Even the S-12 Ga's, ($450'ish) they say, are quite a bit more forgiving...I just ordered one and will let you know on that. Either way though, the x39's and .223's ($250-$300) will give you the armor penetration you are looking for, inexpensive practice ammo and light recoil, cheap purchase price, durability, reliability, simplicity, ease of mags and inexpensive practice ammo. (relatively)...among other things. Definitely a kick in the seat to play with....I dare say in 16" you wife would have a ball with it in camp as much as her Kel.

Fun topic, thx for thinking of it. Good luck with what ever you get and keep us posted.

June 16, 2007, 11:51 AM
If you consider the Kel-Tec I would suggest running a good 1000 rounds through it to test it's reliability. The SU-16A that I had was junk. It was replaced with a Saiga (7.62X39). I have run about 1200 rounds through the Saiga without so much as a hiccup. The only thing I have cleaned on the Saiga is the barrel and the thing runs like a swiss watch. It's more accurate than I expected as well.

June 16, 2007, 01:34 PM
I say go with a lever action, either 30-30 or .44mag( read reviews of how accurate they are at 100yrds ). still got a decent rate of fire and dosnt have the "evil assult rifle" stigma. Which should mean less hassle from LE.

stiletto raggio
June 16, 2007, 06:32 PM
7.62x39 Saiga. Personally, I think I will be getting an SU-16C, but mostly because it will do double duty as a backpacking gun and I have dozens of 30 round AR mags. Being able to keep it in a non-descript backpack is especially important for me, since my vehicle right now has no trunk.

June 16, 2007, 08:08 PM
My vote still goes with the Universal. You can find them up here for well below $200. It's not all that difficult to get them running reliably, and like I said before nobody will shed a tear when it rusts up from the humidity in your trunk.

June 16, 2007, 09:59 PM
Having reviewed the request and all the suggestions, I'll chuck a couple of pfennigs into the mix.

Saiga. Recommend .223/5.56 as the ammo is more widely available and commercially made in the U.S. at reasonable prices if you shop carefully. The un-converted Saiga rifle is legal just about everywhere. You'll need to get spare mags, as they're not a cash-and-carry item in most towns. You can usually get one for under $300 (I recently found a supplier who can get them locally for $260). Ballistics adequate for most uses. Sux for bigger game, but fine for car doors and vests.

The .30-30 carbines can usually be had for around $300. Shoots through schools. If you need more range than 150 yards, use Horandy's LeverEvolution ammo. It's 160 gr, spitzer style tip (plastic), and flies true out to 250 yards.

I would normally recommend the Marlin 1894C in .357 magnum, but prices have gone up and they're now typically over $400 -- unless you can find the Big 5 deals where they drop them to $350. Try also Walmart special order, which may be around the same price. Doesn't shoot through schools, but certainly through car doors.

I have the Kel-tec SU-16A. It eats everything, including generic gun show bag-o-bullets. Unhappily, it's just over your price requirement. Good rifle, though.

Likewise the M1 Carbine. Except that I'd hate to lose one in a car theft. I'd get all emotional and stuff.

Too bad about the "no pistol calibre carbines" thing. There are some nice and inexpensive ones out there.

If you can stretch a little, the Kel-tec would be just about ideal, meeting all but the "price" requirement.

Failing that, an unconverted Saiga (.223/5.56) meets all your requirements except "standard magazines" so you'd have to buy some spares in advance.
For what it's worth, we will be buying a matching set of Saigas for our family (4x 'cuz there's 4x of us).

Afterwards, when we're rich and famous (*smirk*) we'll upgrade to something a little more American.

June 16, 2007, 10:20 PM
For 50 states legal, .30-30 rifle. I prefer the Marlin 336. Better designed and more durable than the Win. 94. Get 'em used at pawnshops between deer seasons.

Rock solid reliable. Ammo is a little pricey, though, but the 150 grain to 170 grain loadings will do a number on a person. Even in body armor.

I use a Remington 870 as my truck gun, and have a videocamera bag loaded with slugs and buckshot.

But I am right comfortable with my .30-30, too, so it rides along on some days. Although I need to pick another one up. My current one is my Grandfather's rifle, and it is flawless. I'd rather get a newer used one.

My plan for it is as follows:

Synthetic stock
Parkarized and duracoated flat black.
Ghost ring sights
forward picatanny rail with either a reddot or something like an ACOG or lowpower scope.
Removal of the safety, if applicable
Trigger job, WWG bearproof ejector, action tuning and smoothing.

June 17, 2007, 01:18 AM
Check out the Saiga; in the 7.62x39 the price of ammo is cheap, and the recoil isn't too bad. Check your local laws; in my state you can't keep a gun in the trunk. It can only be in your car going to or coming from the range/hunting. I think the exception comes with a ccw permit and handgun.

I don't know exactly where you live, but in my city cars get broken into and stolen all the time. I would hate to have one of my firearms go missing and end up in the hands of some criminal, even if it's a cheap one.

June 17, 2007, 02:29 AM
Like KCMARINE initially siad SAIGA 12. I think in shotgun, if you are not using it for sports or hunting purposes then it is your best option.

In a riot and panic situation nothing beats a shotgun. I placed SAIGA over other shotguns for its magazine capability and capacity, where you can have four or five mags loaded. Rest getting through a car doo, try steel or slug shot, it will make a hole big enough to deliver McDonalds meals thorugh it. :cool:

Adam Lee
June 17, 2007, 10:02 AM
I do enjoy this thread; however, the premise is a little flawed, IMO.

If you and your wife want safety/protection that a "trunk rifle" would provide, isn't bottom dollar cost somewhat limiting?

For that reason, I'd agree with a number of the chaps on the board who have recommended folding AKM clones. They easily fit in any trunk in a cordura sack or the like; ammo is cheap and easy to get anywhere, and they are based on the most simple gun design of the 20th century: the Kalashnikov. WAY simpler than an M91 bolt action ever strip one of those bolts?

Anyway, those guns are always available, in many forms, on AuctionArms/Gunbroker/etc...for less than $350, if you try hard enough. The Saiga's would be a great gun, after converting them to side folder (if you need that), they have a sidemount for a scope, much better than the el-cheesoid action cover scope mount (who believes for a second that these scopes hold zero?:confused:)

My personal trunk gun, on a daily basis, is another gun you've written off in your quest; a Kel-Tec Sub2000 folding carbine in .40 S&W. I enjoy the compatibility it shares with my G22 pistol. Shared mags is great! Plus, the .40 S&W goes punch thru car doors (what doesn't?) and gets a MV and ME boost from the 16" barrel.

Ultimately, any gun is better than none, but alot of this "ultimate trunk gun" theory relies on what you can do with it.

No training means expect little return on your investment, cheap or not.

Plenty of training: you can deal with it!

My 2 cents.

Adam Lee

stiletto raggio
June 18, 2007, 01:23 PM
Roger that. If you are getting a gun for use in a dire situation, don't lowball it. I understand not wanting to trash a nice gun, but figure that this gun is, of all the guns you own, one of the most likely to be used in a situation where your life is on the line.

It doesn't need to be a Les Baer, but it shouldn't be the weekly special at the pawn shop, either.

June 18, 2007, 02:56 PM
Not to sound wishy-washy, but I can see both points of view.

A low priced but reliable rifle that you can lock up in your truck just to be there - vs. - a higher priced rifle with better performance that you can really count on.

I have to say that you can really count on an SKS. I think the real value of an SKS is more like $350 to $400 as compared to other rifles on the market in terms of effectiveness. The fact that they blue book at less and can still be found for $150 underscores the tremendous value they represent in a firearm purchase. I would recommend replacing the wood stock on a Chinese made SKS unless it is an earlier one with the real dense hardwood. The later orangey varnished stocks with soft blonde wood inside break too easily.

An AR platform rifle or carbine (I would recommend a 16 inch heavy barrel if you go this route) is easily 5 times the cost, but not 5 times as effective as an SKS.

On an AR it is easy to pull the bolt assy and store separately. On an SKS, consider a cable lock through the mag well with the mag unlatched and the bolt back. Or pull the trigger group and store in a different part of your trunk. That is fairly easy to pop back in.

I'm keeping the "platform" examples generic as I really don't care what you buy. Your choice does not validate my picks. However, go with something common and proven, not something unique and distinctive. Stick with a common caliber you can buy at Walmart or Kmart or WhateverMart. Use factory ammo of good quality in your loadout and replace it regulary (annual?). Shoot it off to verify that it "would have worked", replace with fresh. Also test the fresh ammo by shooting a few boxes with the same lot number.

I have other suggestions but they are all non-gun and thereby non-related-to-this-post such as soft body armor, and most importantly training and practice.

Rex B
June 18, 2007, 03:33 PM
All good suggestions.
My first choice would normally be an SKS if it's just going to live in the trunk with only an occasional check.
Ideal choice would be that SU16.

But in a situation where you don't know what the social or LE situation is going to be, I'd much rather be carrying a traditional lever gun. I don't care who you are, if you have a black rifle or a military rifle, the first impression of most people is going to be "Bad guy". Carry a Winchester 94 or a Marlin levergun and everyone thinks you're Chuck Conners.

Even short of a SHTF scene, if you have to expose the contents of your trunk due to a wreck or other circumstance, a levergun is much less alarming to the average non-enthusiast.

My trouble is the only lever-action rifle I currently own is too nice to leave in the trunk. So I need a beater.

June 18, 2007, 10:17 PM
I like a lot of the suggestions made, some of which even meet the OP's specs. ;)

I would recommend a lever gun (Win, Marlin, Rossi) in one of the traditional lever-gun cartridges (.30-30, .348, .35), .357mag, or .44mag.

.30-30, .348, & .35 need no explanation. They might, however, have more recoil than desired.

.357mag and .44mag can be had loaded with hardcast lead bullets (Corbon, Buffalo Bore, handload, etc). I am not sure, but I bet a hot, hardcast .357 or .44 at carbine velocities would give soft body armor a run for its money.

We bought my wife's Rossi 92 .44mag for $120 used. Once we cleaned the lead outta the bbl, it was a champ.

June 18, 2007, 10:48 PM
Personally I dont recommend any kind of rifle. A shotgun (something in 20 gauge) is going to be an easier kill shot than with 7.62x54. A M44 isnt going to scare most baddies, and forbid you miss your first shot, youre probably toast.

Any kind of big "scary" AK or an AR15 is likely to arouse the wrong sort of attention if it is visible when the trunk is open.

I have considered this myself, but I dont know the legality of keeping a loaded gun in a car trunk in Ohio.

June 19, 2007, 09:27 AM
Personally I dont recommend any kind of rifle. A shotgun (something in 20 gauge)...

I'd have to argue the opposite. Considering that you might have to shoot at somebody through a semi hard object...the rifle would definitely be better. I also suspect you'd stand a better chance of disabling a vehicle with 54r heavy ball.

Why would you be more likely to get a kill shot with a shotgun? The thing with buckshot is that it is a horrible penetrator, and to get any sort of pattern density (especially from a 20), you use smaller shot, which makes the penetration even more of an issue. You can reduce the range which makes up for some of that, but then you loose the supposed advantage of a spread pattern. At close ranges you might as well be using a rifle.

I too worry about cops seeing an AK/AR/SKS and assuming your the bad guy. Not guaranteed to happen, but quite plausible.

June 19, 2007, 10:49 AM
I'll vote some form of lever action for the reasons stated above

the naked prophet
June 19, 2007, 03:14 PM
For many of the reasons stated above, we've settled on lever-action .30-30 or the SKS.

I think that both of us could effectively use either one in a dire situation, and both rifles would be capable of everything we might need it to do.

June 19, 2007, 05:07 PM
I keep a Mini-14 for my SHTF rifle. It's light weight, packs a punch, I've taken several deer with it and you can find 223 ammo just about anywhere you can get any weight bullet from 40gr to 69gr. It's iron sights are good enough out to 100yds and it's so easy to disassemble and clean. Another plus is the light recoil, that makes it easy for my 100lb daughter to shoot without getting a bruised sholder. A shotgun it good out to about 40yds and that is to close if I'm in a fire fight.

full metal
June 19, 2007, 06:22 PM
How bout a thompson contender with three barrel's 22lr 308 and 410gauge that can also shoot 45lc that's four rifle's in one.
That should cover all game and self defense need's.

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