most versatile rifle


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bennadatto
June 17, 2008, 04:26 PM
Hello all! I have been considering adding a rifle to my collection. Having owned zero rifles thus far in life, I wanted some input on what you believe would be a great all-around rifle.

I don't see myself owning very many rifles so I'd like to get the most versatile rifle possible. Here's the criteria:

I don't hunt, but if I had to, I'd like a rifle that could take small to medium game.
Good for home / property defense
Dependable
Relatively inexpensive to purchase
Relatively inexpensive ammo
Accurate

I have a couple single action handguns, so I am kinda partial to firearms of the mid to late 1800's. If you think a lever action would fit the bill I would be willing to shell out a few more dollars.

Thanks in advance for sharing your wisdom!

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Dirtypacman
June 17, 2008, 04:30 PM
There really is nothing more versatile then an AR. It fits your criteria that you posted although the ammo can start to get expensive.

The majority of the AR's you will purchase are going to be deadly accurate with iron sights out of the box. You can do so much configuring to it that you will be able to make it exactly how you want it.

Its has light recoil and a great rifle to start with in my opinion.

H2O MAN
June 17, 2008, 04:35 PM
bennadatto

I have a couple single action handguns, so I am kinda partial to firearms of the mid to late 1800's.
If you think a lever action would fit the bill I would be willing to shell out a few more dollars.

I think you may be happier if you go with a lever action from the era you prefer ...

ArmedBear
June 17, 2008, 04:37 PM
A Marlin 1894C .357/.38 lever gun would be a possibility.

Mine is very accurate with .38, good for small game. Buy a few boxes of hot .357, which will work well for medium game. Holds 10 rounds and shares ammo with a revolver, good for home defense.

The Marlin is easy to clean, and simple.

Nothing against an AR. I have one of those, too. The Marlin sounds more like what the OP is looking for, though.:)

rbernie
June 17, 2008, 04:40 PM
Levergun in 30/30. I can buy 'em all day for under three bills, a box of ammo at Academy costs $11/20 rounds, and it's naturally ambidextrous.

I like the leverguns chambered in handgun rounds, but they generall cost a lot more than a 30/30 version.

Cosmoline
June 17, 2008, 04:41 PM
Arguably almost any centerfire rifle in a popular cartridge below the magnum range meets those criteria.

rswartsell
June 17, 2008, 04:42 PM
Considering the cartridge the rifle will be using is important. The 30-.06 is considered to be the most versatile cartridge because of the wide selection of bullets and loads available. The "buy just one" concept of versatility would lead most to the '.06. Not exactly a small game load though. If you are partial to lever actions this will change the selection of cartridge considerably. No-one could complain about a Marlin 336 in 30-30 as far as affordable and dependable but the cartridge is over 100 years old and won't stretch much over 100 yds. The small game part is truly hanging me up here, how small? Usually small game is shotgun or maybe .22 material. I don't see using anything else on rabbits for example.

Perhaps the suggestions of a Marlin chambered for center fire handgun rounds is a good one.

ArmedBear
June 17, 2008, 04:54 PM
won't stretch much over 100 yds

It seems with each passing year, the .30-30 gets weaker and weaker...

RN or FP factory ammo still has around 800 ft-lbs. left at 200 yards; the newer Hornady LE stuff tops 1000 ft-lbs. at 300 yards.

I think that will suffice, for a general-purpose rifle.

However, I still think the .357 offers a good combo. .38 semi-wadcutters will work fine on rabbits; hot .357 will work on deer, though not for really long shots.

kcmarine
June 17, 2008, 04:58 PM
Most versatile rifle? Easily the AR. Buy a lower, and if you can make a cartridge whose dimensions let it fit into the STANAG magazine, you can make a semi- automatic upper for it. And with some companies offering interchangeable magazine wells in their AR designs, that rule is getting thrown out of the window as well. They're accurate, and while not exactly cheap, give you many options. I could say more, but it's gonna be said by others, so I'll let them say it.

EHCRain10
June 17, 2008, 05:01 PM
either an AR-15 or a lever action would fit your bill, the lever action would be cheaper but the AR could run surplus ammunition

gtmerkley
June 17, 2008, 05:11 PM
HK G3 More accuret then an M4 And wont jam as much eather

Picard
June 17, 2008, 05:12 PM
For the defense aspect, I would personally buy a magazine fed rifle. It will allow you to reload quickly in case you ever need to and if my life depended on it, I would definitely want that option. An AR-15 sounds like it would meet all of your other criteria, except that it was made about a hundred years too late.

Since you say that you probably won't own too many rifles, a good self-defense rifle is a must in my book. Every able-bodied American should own one.

rswartsell
June 17, 2008, 05:14 PM
Armed Bear, what about drop at 200 and 300 yds? Hard for a new marksman to deal with a lot of drop.

rswartsell
June 17, 2008, 05:25 PM
This is a down range trajectory chart for the 30-30 Winchester cartridge with the scope mounted 1.5 inches above the bore center line plus if you were using this load, its effective hunting bullet energy range with well placed shots on,
Varmint / Predator size game, such as Bobcat, Cougar, Coyote.
Deer size game, such as Antelope, Blacktail, Hogs, Javelina, Mule, Whitetail.
Elk size game, such as Caribou, Black Bear, Sheep.
Moose size game, such as Brown Bear.
Bullet diameter .308"
Bullet weight 150 grains
Bullet ballistic coeffecient .210
Bullet velocity 2,400 feet per second
Range Bullet Drop Bullet Energy

100 yds. 0 1348

200 yds. -7.4" 930

300 yds. -27.4 631

400 yds. -65.6 446

500 yds. -127.2 347

The 30-30 Winchester is well beyond 100 years since its introduction and sales are still high for this cartridge. Simply put most deer are shot within a 100 yard range limit and they are found mostly in the woods where shots are limited to under 100 yards and the 30-30 Winchester cartridge in a short lever action rifle is more than adequate.

This is from- http://www.gunnersden.com/index.htm.30-30winchester.html

This round drops off the table and I'm not Carlos Hathcock.

eliphalet
June 17, 2008, 05:31 PM
I don't hunt, but if I had to, I'd like a rifle that could take small to medium game.
Good for home / property defense
Dependable
Relatively inexpensive to purchase
Relatively inexpensive ammo
Accurate

I have a couple single action handguns, so I am kinda partial to firearms of the mid to late 1800's.
You've been given good advice about a lever gun, IMHO.
It would make a fine choice to fit your criteria.

Edit:
What caliber are your single actions? Perhaps a lever using the same bullet would be a good idea.

JShirley
June 17, 2008, 05:32 PM
It would be hard to find a more versatile rifle for small to smallish medium (200 lb) game, home defense, and inexpensive target shooting than the CZ 527 in 7.62x39mm (http://www.gunblast.com/Paco_CZ527.htm). You may need to define for us what inexpensive means. Less than $400? Less than $1000? Less than $2000?

gt, Sir, you are completely incorrect. The G3 is less accurate; the G3 is not civilian legal; the M4 is not civilian legal; and if you mean malfunction, that is arguable.

rswartsell
June 17, 2008, 05:39 PM
For comparison the same site lists the bullet drop energy for .308 Win at -8.0" at 300 yards for 1545 energy and the drop at 500 yards is still only -48.9 and energy at 1006.

Thats the difference in a cartridge that didn't begin it's life as a black powder round and what I would be carrying if I planned on over 100 yds.

ArmedBear
June 17, 2008, 05:40 PM
Armed Bear, what about drop at 200 and 300 yds? Hard for a new marksman to deal with a lot of drop.

Don't zero at 100. MPBR is upwards of 200 yards, right about where the energy drops off. He said "medium game", not elk. And he said "versatile", not "magnum."

.30-06 is also over 100 years old. Age has nothing to do with effectiveness.

But hell, I never recommended .30-30 in the first place.:)

rswartsell
June 17, 2008, 05:55 PM
Whatever.:rolleyes:

RonE
June 17, 2008, 06:05 PM
Cheap, reliable, cheap to shoot, home defense, don't usually hunt but may need to kill some game someday and a rifle. Why not get the Mosin Nagant M-44 carbine. Usually available for around $80 including shipping. As a bonus, they make enough noise that if you miss, you will scare the devil out of a home invader.

556A2
June 17, 2008, 06:16 PM
AR-15 or Marlin 336

rcmodel
June 17, 2008, 06:20 PM
The lever-action was THE assault rifle 100+ years ago, and it will still do nicely in a SD roll. And truth be told, there are still a heck of a lot of them riding around in the trunks of HP & sheriffs cars in the mid-west & western states.

http://www.suarezinternational.com/leveraction.html

A good man with a lever-gun and a pocket full of shells will never run the gun dry because he can stuff more in the loading gate between shots!

Depending on your SA handgun calibers, and your preferance for older gun designs, I would consider one in the same caliber as your handguns, or a 30-30 as suggested.

IMO: Your stated need for being good for small game rules out the Mosin Nagant M-44, (Too powerful) and being good for medium game rules out the AR-15 in .223 caliber. (Not powerful enough)

rcmodel

ArmedBear
June 17, 2008, 06:43 PM
Whatever.

Not interested in real facts?

A 100 yard zero does make the drop look bad.

A .308 looks lousy if it's zeroed at 100 yards, either. Common .308 hunting ammo drops about 4 inches at 200 yards, 8 inches at 250, and 15 inches at 300, from a 100 yard zero.

That's not how you sight in a user-friendly hunting rifle, unless you won't be shooting it past 100 yards.

No, the .30-30 Win is not a .300 Win Mag, but it's not a pistol round, either. LE ammo extends the .30-30's useful range a good deal, as well.

Still, it's not much of a small game round, and that's what he asked for, also.

Plink
June 17, 2008, 07:54 PM
I second the lever gun. Especially one in the same caliber that your revolvers are. There's a reason the cowboys of old did that. I love my Marlin .44 mag. Good short range brush gun for hunting and a fun gun at the range. More than capable enough for home defense.

wanderinwalker
June 17, 2008, 09:20 PM
Plink beat me to the punch!

I love my Marlin 1894 in .44 Magnum as well. It is lightweight, handy, accurate out to 100 yards, the round is powerful enough to handle deer and black bear inside 100-125 yards and reliable. Stoke it with a good .44 Special load such as a Winchester Silvertip or a Speer Gold Dot and you have an excellent home weapon.

The biggest downside is ammo cost, in which case the .357 version would come out on top.

(Okay, I think the "ideal" multi-role .44 load would be a 200gr at 1150-1200-fps from a 6" handgun or a 240gr at 1000-1050 fps from the same pistol. Add about 200-fps for rifle speed. Something heavier than a .44 Special but lighter than a Keith-load. It should give good terminal performance and good shooter recovery. But this is a topic for another thread... ;) )

goon
June 17, 2008, 10:55 PM
Marlin 1894 .357 Magnum, maybe a .44 Magnum version if you're in an area where you might need a little more thump.

jame
June 17, 2008, 11:18 PM
I understand that the .22 is not considered a defense caliber, but if you dan't have a good .22 in your battery, you're really missing out.

I'm partial to Ruger 10/22, 77/22 or any other high quality rifle. Practice is easy, fun, cheap, and effective for small to medium game, as long as you've practiced enough!

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
June 17, 2008, 11:34 PM
Based on your affinity of the late 19th century & leverguns, and low expense, I would definitely, highly recommend a lever action in .30-30 Winchester - either a Marlin 336 or Winchester 94 or one of the new Mossbergs. Ammo is very cheap, relative to other necked-round centerfires. The guns are cheap - A used Marlin or Glenfield can be found for around $200 even if you search around a bit and time it right (buy before Christmas). Accurate, fast, well made, handy, well-balanced, reliable, etc. A case can be made for the .30-30 levergun as an excellent defense rifle in its own right. The power level is much more than you need to take out human predators and deer, and perfectly adequate for larger game as well, up to and including moose and elk. It's one of the most versatile po-man's rifles, that's for sure, IMO. But a good turnbolt would fit the bill as well - just not make you as pleased - can't picture the Duke toting a bolt gun. :)

walkenbear
June 18, 2008, 12:29 AM
Based on your criteria sounds like a lever 30-30, Winchester / Marlin or new Mossberg would work for you as others have recommended.
ammo choices:
55 grain Remington accelerators get the small game thing done, and shoot fast & flat.

Standard 30-30 ammo can be had relatively cheap especially right before hunting season, good to 200 yards.

Hornady LEVERevolution 160 grain ammo, zeroed 3" high at 100 yards drops -.2" at 200 yards and -12" at 300 yards with 1000 ft lbs of energy left.

Self Defense load:
Federal 125 grain or better yet.
Remington's new 125 grain reduced "managed recoil" load, 2175 fps at muzzle & 1330 ftlbs, 900 ftlbs at 100 yards.

thats a lot of versatility in a 100 year old design.

a lever action in a pistol caliber would be good also, although costing you a little more initially, but in 357 you would probably make that up in ammo costs if you plinked more than anything, and in the long term would probably save money, especially if ammo costs continue to rise in the future.

I'll throw another one in, the SKS. Good to 200-250 yards, cheap to get and cheap & fun to shoot. It would fill your bill on all fronts, although it's not from the 1800's.
Although some of the AR guys might think so :neener:.

L8R
W B

stubbicatt
June 18, 2008, 07:50 AM
I second the recommendation of a G3 type rifle, or clone, AND since you indicated versatility, purchase a 22 long rifle conversion kit. You can plink all day for pennies, or shoot the respectable 308. So you get the best of all possible worlds, according to your criteria (cheap ammo) and you can successfully hunt most any game in North America, from prairie dog to elk!

CDNN has a deal going on right now on the PTR91 rifles, which bears looking at. The magazines are still quite inexpensive too.

Semmerling
June 18, 2008, 08:06 AM
What this guy needs is exactly what he described....a .22 rifle. The most practical rifle one can own. Get a .22 mag if you must.

Before somebody writes that you can't kill anything with a .22, well thats nonsense, when I lived in Maine my uncle loaned his .22 rifle and two (2) LR bullets to an Indian friend every hunting season for over twenty years. He always got back deer meat, the rifle and one (1) unfired round back. As to defense...why do you think the AWC Amphibian was made for the Gov?

.22 all the way..You'll thank me for the recommendation.

Goblin
June 18, 2008, 09:39 AM
Definitely get the lever gun in .357!!! 1175 foot pounds at the muzzle,715 at 100 yds. That's good enough for SD and med. size game. They will hold 12 rds and can be topped up at will.Get a good handgun to go with it, and you'll have a very effective system!!!

bennadatto
June 18, 2008, 01:02 PM
Thanks everyone for the responses!! There is always a wealth of information on this board!

So I think I'm leaning heavily towards the lever gun. I was a little worried it may be too slow for a SD rifle, but I feel better after reading some of your responses. Now the next question is 30-30 or .357?

I have pistols in .38 and .357, so I think I'm leaning that direction. Without beginning a caliber war, what would be a fair comparison of 30-30 and .357?

Thanks again!

rswartsell
June 18, 2008, 03:40 PM
Yes, to a certain extent at least, I am interested in facts. I get the impression though that continued debate hijacks the thread from being a useful dialog for the original poster to some kind of competition of knowledge and having gotten a little caught up in it, I'm find I'm just not interested. I don't subscribe to certain concepts like maximum point blank range, so I think there is room for varying philosophies that don't need to be reconciled.

One interpretation of versatility is utility in the widest set of applications. IMHO, some of the suggested rifle/cartridge combinations should be recognized for their potential limitations as well as their capabilities. To quote Clint "A man's got to know his limitations." Never more important than when selecting a rifle.

For some users the limitations won't have much meaning if they never are in a situation that exposes them. As a commentor on this thread, I don't propose to know the posters full circumstances, but as long as he ends up happy, so do I.

doc2rn
June 18, 2008, 05:50 PM
Start with a Marlin 39A or 60, to practice on then move to a universal like an M1A Garand or the like.
The knowledge and experience of the .22 lr will help you alot in the long run and you can trade it in if you dont want to keep it. However I have a feeling you will.

toivo
June 18, 2008, 06:26 PM
Another vote for the lever gun. Marlin, most likely. Winchester 94's seem to be priced unrealistically lately. I don't know much about the new Mossbergs, but I know that they don't have a loading port, but have to be loaded through the front of the magazine tube like a lever rimfire. That doesn't sound good to me--it removes one of the big advantages of the lever rifles, the ability to "top up" the magazine tube.

Thernlund
June 18, 2008, 06:42 PM
I have a couple single action handguns, so I am kinda partial to firearms of the mid to late 1800's. If you think a lever action would fit the bill I would be willing to shell out a few more dollars.

If it weren't for that bit I quoted above, I'd have to say an AK clone. No question. It meets all of your criteria.

Small to mid-sized game? Absolutely.
Home defense? It's a battle rifle. What do you think? ;)
Dependable? - Hard to find a more dependable rifle.
Inexpensive to purchase? Usually around $400, sometimes less.
Inexpensive ammo? For what it is, you bet.
Accurate? Within about 200 yards, reasonably so.

AKs are tough and dependable. If you ran out of ammo you could beat an assailant (or small to mid-sized game) to death with it. Then when you found some more ammo, the rifle would still work just fine.

But alas... you mentioned a preference for late 19th century lever guns. Shows you have taste. I'd say any Marlin lever gun would be just the ticket. You could get a real nice 336 for right about $350 to $400 if you look around a bit.


-T.

walkenbear
June 18, 2008, 07:09 PM
Hi toivo,
I'm looking at a picture of the mossberg 30-30 on the website, it definitely has a side loading port like the Winchester or Marlin. They do make the same model (both called 464 I think) in 22lr which like you said does load from the front down the tube.

kcmarine
June 18, 2008, 08:11 PM
I understand that the .22 is not considered a defense caliber, but if you dan't have a good .22 in your battery, you're really missing out.

I'm partial to Ruger 10/22, 77/22 or any other high quality rifle. Practice is easy, fun, cheap, and effective for small to medium game, as long as you've practiced enough!

+1. Everyone needs a .22 rifle, period. They can be used for HD (if you can pull enough shots off, and you're desperate, which you usually are, but this isn't to say there aren't better calibers for this use), hunting small game, informal social shooting, competition, bringing new shooters into the sport, and, if you buy a design like the 10/22, you can tinker with the rifle until your heart's content. Another plus, especially for the OP, is that the ammo is cheap and available pretty much everywhere. This allows you to practice all day long and spend pocket change doing it.

I say get a .22 first, THEN build your collection. You won't be sorry you did.

Jguy101
June 18, 2008, 09:28 PM
I'm surprised that this hasn't been recommended yet: the Saiga, in 7.62x39mm (http://raacfirearms.com/Saiga.htm) or .308 (http://raacfirearms.com/Saiga_308.htm).

toivo
June 18, 2008, 09:28 PM
I'm looking at a picture of the mossberg 30-30 on the website, it definitely has a side loading port like the Winchester or Marlin. They do make the same model (both called 464 I think) in 22lr which like you said does load from the front down the tube.

Yup, you're right, I'm wrong. It's the Henry (Big Boy and 30-30) that doesn't have a side loading port.

jkingrph
June 18, 2008, 10:08 PM
Define small to medium game. How small, squirrel, rabbit size? Medium, whitetail deer? Too much size variation there for one gun to be good for both sizes. If you can get into reloading most smallbores, say up to 30 cal , please exclude magnums, can be loaded down to "plinker" level that could take small game. Generally accuracy suffers with light loads. A good 30-30 would probably work best in this range, plinker bullets are available, and the case is small enough that you can get better ignition than with larger cases. I have never loaded the 30-30 in this manner, but have done a bit with a 30-06. Accuracy did suffer and I would prefer a good 22 for the small game.

As for your defense rifle a .357 would be ok, but not the best for med game, there the 30-30 would shine, giving more residual power at a much longer range thant the 357, and I am not that crazy about the 30-30 . Having multiple guns both above and below it in power level. If could have only one caliber in the area where I live, E. Texas ie southeast US I think it would be my choice. It's not the "absolute best" for most things , but is adequate,. Another good choice would be the a leveraction in 35 Remington, again especially versitile if you reload. You can load 158 gr cast semiwadcutters designed for the 38-357 in this caliber with good results. I have been doing this for about 40 years for my Dads Marlin 336 in 35 Rem. Load it down to levels near the 38 special and it would be fair for most small game with minimal meat damage.

Ratshooter
June 18, 2008, 11:41 PM
The most versitile gun is the one you reload for. Reloading lets you taylor your loads for the game you are hunting. I have round ball loads for my 30-30 and my 357 lever guns. That puts them in the 22 catagory and i can go up from there.

Look at riflemag.com and find a back issue with the article by Brian Pierce on the 357 magnum rifle. It will give you a new respect for that gun/cartridge combo.

And no matter what you buy make sure you own a 22 of some sort. They are the most useful gun you can get. period.

Eb1
June 18, 2008, 11:47 PM
.22 magnum
.22 LR, Long, Short

scotjute
June 19, 2008, 11:08 AM
Just bought a Henry lever-action rifle in .22 mag. The action works like a dream. They told me to expect accuracy to be around 1.5 MOA at 100 yds. They are making their leverguns in the pistol calibers now also. You might want to consider one of them.

bennadatto
June 19, 2008, 11:14 AM
Thanks again everyone for the great resonses!

Like I said earlier, I think I've narrowed my choices down to a lever gun, chambered for 30-30 or .357. Since I already own a .357 revolver, would the convenience of similar calibers between firearms trump the extra power of a 30-30?

JShirley
June 19, 2008, 11:59 AM
If you are willing to accept range limitations.

bennadatto
June 19, 2008, 12:04 PM
As in .357 having less range? What would be the loss in range / distance accuracy of the .357 vs 30-30?

JShirley
June 19, 2008, 12:19 PM
http://www.gunsandammomag.com/ballistics/

With 158 grain .357 ammo, you're going to be over 7" high at 100 yards, but over 34 inches low at 300. Energy will be down to 715 ft-lbs at 100 yards, and only 458 at 200.

With 150 grain .30-30, you're going to be over 3" high at 100 yards, and about 14-17.5" low at 300. Energy will be between 1250 and 1460 ft-lbs at 100 yards, and between about 850 and 1000 ft-lbs at 200.

There you have it. You really have dramatically decreased effectiveness at range with the .357. If you keep hunting shots to no more than 100 yards with a .357, you'll be fine. If "versatile" for you might also mean longer shots (200-300 meters), the .30-30 is better suited for your needs.

J

justin 561
June 19, 2008, 01:34 PM
You can do that all with a AK47. NTM the ammo is extremely cheap, as well as the rifle.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
June 19, 2008, 02:47 PM
would the convenience of similar calibers between firearms trump the extra power of a 30-30?

No. The extra power trumps the convenience. Convenience and the whole same ammo for handgun & rifle issue is overplayed in modern society. That was a useful concept back when a cowboy and his horse were out on the plains or desert or mountains in the old west, far from any town, with a pistol and a rifle. Neat concept, but outdated in a society where a 1-10 mile drive will find you a store with both 30-30 and .357 mag. Thank you, J.S. for explaining the significant ballistic differences.

Having said that, the .357 mag levergun is itself very very versatile. But if you want to maximize versatility, get the rifle that can do quite a bit more than what your handgun can do, not just a smidge more.

And above, I said .30-30, but a pretty good case can be made that a .22 mag rifle is the most versatile. I mention this because a .22 mag can be had in a levergun also.

I too recommend a .22lr in addition to the .30-30 or whatever you run with.

Mike 56
June 19, 2008, 03:16 PM
I would go for leaver action late model 30-30 Marlin or Winchester that way if you want to add aperture sights, scope, red dot, scout mount they are already drilled an taped and the parts are easy to find. If you are a reloader you can load 100gr bullets and go up 190gr cast. Reduced loads using pistol powders are a lot of fun. I like the 125gr FNHP for home defence. I put Williams FP aperture sights on my 94 with a front fire sight they are quick and accurate.

Mike

Pigspitter
June 19, 2008, 08:46 PM
I'd put my money with the supreme war pike (Mosin Nagant)

NC-Mike
June 19, 2008, 10:43 PM
If you have a 357 handgun, you already have home defense covered.

Wouldn't you want something with more snort in a rifle?

Ignition Override
June 19, 2008, 11:24 PM
Shooters who likely have much more background than I recommended the SKS or the Saiga rifle.

Despite being new to the Mini 14/30, SKS and MN 44, my suggestion based simply upon my experience with these since January (but only plinking) is the Mini 14 or SKS, because of the time to cock/reload the Mosin. But a guy startled by a grizzly stopped it in the last several feet with four very fast shots using his smooth Lee-Enfield Jungle Carbine, and it kicks pretty hard, they claim. Ammo prices for .303 appear a good bit higher than x39.
My high-cap. polymer Promag (30-round) for the excellent Mini 14 is so far perfectly reliable, as is the R. factory 20-round mag which somehow came with the used Mini.

The SKS is about as inexpensive as a good Ruger .22, simple and rugged (my Norinco has a chrome-lined bore) and those who own the so-called "Paratrooper" version seem to have only very good comments about them. They might be easier than most rifles to maneuver inside a car or truck in case some streets/highways become unsafe ( Memphis in '68 etc, 'Rodney King chaos' in LA, or parts of Atlanta etc).

How often has civilian self-defense (if at all) required shooting more than 50 yards?
Although a relatively 'new guy' with all of this, can not imagine needing a rifle with what people call M-1 Garand or "AR accuracy" much further than that, unless living or working on open land with lots of acres, or living near large four-legged predators.

tube_ee
June 19, 2008, 11:24 PM
I'd actually go .357. The range limitations won't matter to you for a while yet, and by the time they do, you'll have more than one rifle. They breed.

The .357 is going to be cheaper to shoot, with .38 specials in it, and it's like shooting a big .22. Cheaper ammo + no recoil = more trigger time. More trigger time = better shooter. Dandy small game round, too.

For deer-sized game, at any range that a novice hunter and rifleman should be shooting at game with an iron-sighted (or even scoped) rifle, it'll do the business, especially with some of the high-end loads. And no, 200 yards is not an ethical shot for a novice, no matter what he's carrying.

When (not if) you start reloading, you've only got one set of dies, and your powder, primer and bullets will work in every gun you've got.

The .30-30 is clearly a better rifle, considered as a rifle. For the novice, the .357's got some advantages, I think.

--Shannon

mndfusion
June 21, 2008, 06:04 PM
A 30/06 bolt gun can be hand loaded down to .22lr power level, up to a light magnum...thats versatile.

Old School
June 22, 2008, 12:00 AM
The .357 is going to be cheaper to shoot, with .38 specials in it, and it's like shooting a big .22. Cheaper ammo + no recoil = more trigger time. More trigger time = better shooter. Dandy small game round, too.

For deer-sized game, at any range that a novice hunter and rifleman should be shooting at game with an iron-sighted (or even scoped) rifle, it'll do the business, especially with some of the high-end loads. And no, 200 yards is not an ethical shot for a novice, no matter what he's carrying.

The .30-30 is clearly a better rifle, considered as a rifle. For the novice, the .357's got some advantages, I think.

--Shannon

+1, can't be explained any better than that.

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