First Rifle


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dcal
September 3, 2008, 02:44 PM
Good afternoon folks.

In the coming months I plan on purchasing my first rifle. After having a conversation with someone about doing an appleseed I was damn near decided on a Springfield Loaded M1A1. I was speaking with the guy at my local shop and he mentioned that while the M1A1 is a fine rifle, and I should definitely own one at some point, I should reconsider the AR-15 since I'm just getting into rifles as it will be cheaper to shoot and still a hell of a lot of fun. This got me to thinking and now I'm back to undecided.

So here I am, I've narrowed it down to two platforms, and I'm wondering what are some opinions on which platform to go with? With the idea that this is my first rifle and I will likely end up owning one or more of each (and others) eventually.

AR-15
M1A1

A bolt gun is also a consideration, but I thought I'd save my decision there until I get familiar with one of these two. If there's a good "because they're good for beginners" reason to get a bolt gun, I'm all ears.

BTW, I realize a .22 is a rock solid fit for my situation. I have nothing against .22s, I shot them as a kid, and they were fun. I just want to try something different. Make no mistake I will have one in my safe at some point, but for now I'd like to stick with the two aforementioned rifles.

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IndianaBoy
September 3, 2008, 03:07 PM
Get a bolt action in 223.. or the AR.

The bolt gun is a better gun to learn fundamentals. Less incentive to 'just squeeze again' if you missed the first time.

Z-Michigan
September 3, 2008, 03:12 PM
Between those two guns, and acknowledging your statement about .22's, I would get the AR-15. Specifically, I would get a 20" AR in 5.56mm chamber (which also shoots .223 just fine), and I would seriously consider either conventional A2 sights, or a flattop that comes with a front sight and a removable carry handle. Bushmaster and Armalite are two top picks, but there are many others (such as DPMS, Stag Arms, RRA, CMMG, the list goes on). This type of rifle is great for Appleseed type shooting, fun plinking, and could be used for DCM competition if you want to.

With an AR you can also buy other uppers later on, such as a shorter 16" model, a 24" varmint model, a .22 rimfire, a 6.8 SPC or 6.5 Grendel, etc. etc. Lots of options.

A quality AR like this will probably run you between $800 and $1000 new, unless you want something really fancy. There are less expensive AR's but most are set up with shorter barrels or are lower quality than I would recommend if you can afford the $800-1000 range.

The M1A is also a great rifle, but is a lot bigger and heavier, and costs almost twice as much to shoot.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
September 3, 2008, 03:13 PM
I should reconsider the AR-15 since I'm just getting into rifles as it will be cheaper to shoot and still a hell of a lot of fun.

That's what I'd do. Good advice. Cheaper to buy, cheaper to feed, and more fun due to less recoil. Get an AR15 or better yet, Robinson XCR. A .223 rem bolt gun, as mentioned, would also be a good choice.

Stump Water
September 3, 2008, 03:24 PM
The bolt gun is a better gun to learn fundamentals. Less incentive to 'just squeeze again' if you missed the first time.

Agreed.

And a bolt gun will be a better all-around rifle. However, I don't know what "all-around" is for you. Will you be using the rifle for more than punching paper?

dcal
September 3, 2008, 03:34 PM
Thanks for the opinions guys. Sounds like the AR is what I'm going for then (Bushy post ban model for me :() I hate NJ :banghead:

Stump Water, initially no, I will be punching paper/scaring the antis with it... But in the future I'd like to get into 'yote hunting, but I'd get a purpose built AR or rem 700 for that.

Between those two guns, and acknowledging your statement about .22's, I would get the AR-15. Specifically, I would get a 20" AR in 5.56mm chamber (which also shoots .223 just fine)At the risk of sounding like a total noob, I've understood the concept that .223 and 5.56 are used interchangeably, but could you elaborate there. Are they the same round? Is one NATO and the other just consumer so the military metric is used instead of the American standard measurements?

This type of rifle is great for Appleseed type shooting, fun plinking, and could be used for DCM competition if you want to.Is it correct that you cannot have the flatop (detachable handle) for these competitions?

Z-Michigan
September 3, 2008, 04:12 PM
The 5.56mm and .223 rounds are almost the same, but not identical. And the difference is not just inch vs. metric system. 5.56mm has a longer throat in the chamber and, separately, can be loaded to a higher pressure. In general, it is always safe to shoot .223 in a 5.56mm chamber, but it can be unsafe to shoot 5.56mm in a .223 chamber. The .223 chamber may provide slightly (very slightly) better accuracy when used with .223 ammunition. Most but not all AR's are chambered for 5.56mm, but I think it's worth making sure the one you buy is. That way you can shoot any ammo, including various military surplus, without any safety or overpressure issues.

Bushmaster has an excellent, short explanation of this in their catalog if you want it from the horse's mouth.

DCM has allowed the flattop A3/A4 type uppers in competition for a year or two now. They are only allowed using a standard carry handle with A2 sights - no optics. But that would give you a more flexible option, though with a bit more cost up front.

trstafford
September 9, 2008, 01:43 AM
I agree with the bolt action. The CZ has a single set trigger which can help improve your accuracy. They are also very high quality. I definitely love mine in 7.62x39.

http://cz-usa.com/

Try one of these in .223 or 7.62x39

http://cz-usa.com/product_detail.php?id=15

funfaler
September 9, 2008, 11:30 AM
You will find both the AR and M1A rifles very nice, but two different tools designed for different jobs.

You mentioned Appleseed, and some shooting competitions.

If one is interested in getting into serious competition, you will do yourself a disservice to try to buy the "best competition rifle" right away, if you are new to shooting rifles. The reason being, you will be spending a large amount of money for rifles designed for competition, to eek out the ut most mechanical accuracy, but your skills and experience will not allow you to utilize that level of accuracy.

You will be better off getting a basic/standard level rifle, learn to shoot beyond its accuracy potential, then upgrade.

The answer to your debate on AR vs. M1A is quite easy, you need both, every American does.

However, if you are looking at long range shooting, 300+ yards, you will find it easier with the M1A. Now there will be a huge number of folks that will tell about how matches and military are shooting their ARs out to 500+ yards. This is true, but it is much easier to do it with the M1A, both because of design and bullet. Those that are doing it with the ARs are using special (read more expensive) rounds and are working through the handicaps of that platform. Doable, but not required for someone in your shoes.

Either way you go, you will have a nice "starter rifle".

My personal preference is that bolt guns are not any better for "starters" than semi-autos, except that they tend to be cheaper.

But then again, if you are concerned with the following: “Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.” - Thomas Jefferson

Then you really need to stick to semi-autos. And being that the M1A will give you a larger radius that you can have command of 500-600 yards, more easily and effectively, that is where I would start.

The only other bit of "free advice" I have is that ammo will be more difficult to get than the rifle, so stocking up soon is important.

This leads to the 22 issue. A 22 semi-auto, can be a great trainer for your marksmanship skills. Used very effectively at Appleseeds, to get people those foundational skills. I have witnessed many people that spend a couple of days shooting a Ruger 10/22, then stepping over to the 300-500 yard ranges and being very, very effective, with their M1A or AR15. Difficult to not have one, to allow you to get 300 rounds of shooting experience for less than $10 in ammo. For the cost of 400 rounds of 308, you can buy a 10/22, and for the cost of another 200 rounds, modify it into a very nice trainer rifle. Learning and keeping your skills sharp for little cost at all. http://appleseedproject.blogspot.com/2008/02/liberty-training-rifle.html

Good luck

gvnwst
September 9, 2008, 12:51 PM
And being that the M1A will give you a larger radius that you can have command of 500-600 yards, more easily and effectively, that is where I would start.


more easily... the ar can shoot (and be 'deadly' accurate if need be) out to 600 with much, much less recoil than the M1A. it is easer to train, cheaper to shoot, and plenty powerful for most applications. i have a SPR in 5.56. it is easy to shoot, and very accurate.

almostfree
September 9, 2008, 12:53 PM
You should consider getting a CMP M1 Garand. That would be an excellent first rifle. Ammo from them isn't bad either.

Titus
September 9, 2008, 01:05 PM
If one is interested in getting into serious competition, you will do yourself a disservice to try to buy the "best competition rifle" right away, if you are new to shooting rifles. The reason being, you will be spending a large amount of money for rifles designed for competition, to eek out the ut most mechanical accuracy, but your skills and experience will not allow you to utilize that level of accuracy.


Also, if you're not sure of bolt/semi, AR/M1A yet, you don't want to spend too much money just to figure out which one you don't like. :) Get involved with Appleseed and other events and try other folks' stuff first if you can.

Vermont
September 9, 2008, 04:45 PM
I know you say you don't want a .22 but I'm going to say this anyway.

For the price of 500 rounds of .223 (~$200) you can get 1000 rounds of .22lr AND a decent .22 rifle. Seriously...think about it.

Having said that, get what you are excited about. If you can't get excited about .22lr, then don't get one.

I got an AR 15 as my second rifle. It is fun to shoot and accurate. I'll eventually get an M1A, but for now the AR is great.

CountGlockula
September 9, 2008, 04:55 PM
dcal, have you shot any of those?

I'd HIGHLY recommend shooting a friend's rifle on your list and see for yourself. I'm also in the persuit of my first rifle and I've shot plenty. Right now, I'm leaning towards a Saiga in 7.62x39.

vicdotcom
September 9, 2008, 07:42 PM
Get the one that looks the coolest lol

j/k

But I would recommend shooting some if possible. Shoot your friends rifles, shoot cheap rifles, shoot expensive rifles, shoot different calibers etc. Now this might not be possible.

What is possible is taking your time and doing more research. The message boards is a good first place to look for opinions. Take some time to read magazine articles and reviews. Old field and streams, guns and ammo's. Library should have a good selection. This will help you narrow things down.

What do you think you have more fun with. Do you "see" yourself shooting more with a semi-auto? or a Bolt action? See yourself making 300 yard shots? How much recoil do you want to deal with? What accuray are you willing to accept.

If you dont want to do the homework and research, go out and buy a decent gun with a good resale value. If you dont like it, sell it back. You wont get what you paied for it but you can cross another rifle off the list and try another.

dcal
September 23, 2008, 03:28 PM
The answer to your debate on AR vs. M1A is quite easy, you need both, every American does.Good point, and I do intend to own both. Especially given the consideration of my sig.

dcal, have you shot any of those? I have a couple of appointments with friends set up to shoot both platforms and I won't make my final decision until I do.

Sorry for the delay on my replies folks, I moved last week and I was without an internet connection for a few days.

S4gunn
September 23, 2008, 03:42 PM
While I bought a 223 Semi-auto as my first rifle (Keltec SU-16CA before I learned about the legality of off-list Ar-15s in California), my second purchase was a Ruger 10/22.

if you do the same thing as me and start shooting weekly w/ a range club, 223 -- even the cheapest stuff - will start adding up.

As I gradually improved my skill with the 10/22, I started modifying it. This taught me quite a bit about how guns actually work and how modification of one part will affect the system as a whole. The net result was a little under a year later, I have a fairly decent 22LR target rifle.

PS. I have ended up buying an AR-15 platform though. While the parts are more expensive than a 10/22, the versatility of that platform can't be beat (well, maybe the Thompson Contender/Encore is more varied).
-g

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