Recreation/utility rifle… what do you say?


October 7, 2008, 01:52 AM
Here are three completely different rifles; the M1 carbine in 30 carbine, the Mini-14 in .223, and the Marlin 1894c in .357. I am looking for a multi role gun that would be very effective if the poo came in direct contact with the bladed rotor. Its use would be ranging from self defense to survival if a mad-max type apocalypse were to arise….

Actually, I am looking for a somewhat inexpensive gun with iron sights for plinking and close in range use out to about 50 yards or so. The rifle would mostly be used just for recreation, but I would like it to be a utility gun if I needed it to fit that role. I don’t have a gun that fulfills that niche yet so….

What do ya say???

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Dr. Fresh
October 7, 2008, 02:41 AM
I vote for the Marlin. If you're looking for a survival-type rifle, it's nice to have a common caliber, and .38/.357 is easy to find and cheap. .30 Carbine would be difficult to find. I've heard mixed things about the Ruger.

Mike U.
October 7, 2008, 03:49 AM
OK, since this is coming regardless of what you stipulate, let me be the first idiot-child(for once) to say: "Get an AK! Get an AR!"
There, I've done it. This now negates the need for others to come by and play the idiot.

I like your lever gun option because it gives more utility by allowing .357 and .38 Special to be run through it. Plus, lever guns are just plain fun to shoot.

October 7, 2008, 09:36 AM
Definitely go .357\.38. I have a Puma Mod it!

October 7, 2008, 09:39 AM
I have the same gun Goblin has (with the octogonal barrel)
And boy it doesn't get anymore fun than lever action

October 7, 2008, 09:43 AM
You may find my thread from a few years ago informative --->

I was looking at some very similiar options for doing basically the same thing. If you make it all the way through the thread you will see I ended up with a Marlin 1894SS (.44mag). I don't think you could go wrong with the Marlin although I would still like to have a M1 carbine. If you haven't already you may want to take a look at a Saiga in .223 as an alternative to the Mini.

CZ 527 carbines are nice but bolt guns don't seem to be as much fun as semi and lever guns for "plinking" purposes IMHO.

October 7, 2008, 10:12 AM
Of those choices, I'd say the Mini-14, because IMO the .223 is a more versatile caliber. But my own choice would be "none of the above."

October 7, 2008, 10:29 AM
I too have a Puma M-92 in .38/.357mag. You can hunt small game, deer, even black bear with the proper loads and it really kicks ass against two legged varmints. Great rifle and fun to shoot!

October 7, 2008, 12:28 PM
Loving it.


October 7, 2008, 01:47 PM


October 7, 2008, 01:52 PM
I'd think the Marlin or an AK would fit the bill. 'sides, if you don't already have an AK now would be a good time to get into one... :)

October 7, 2008, 01:58 PM
An SKS would also be an excellent Utility/SHTF rifle.

October 7, 2008, 03:28 PM
Well, my brother has an Arsenal and I have shot it alot. We are pretty close so we kind of share all of the firearms that we have. As for an AR, I don't have the cash to drop on one of those; thats why I didnt mention it in the poll. anyway, A appreciate the advice i have been getting this far.

October 7, 2008, 03:50 PM
I'm actually considering the same 3 rifles, except the lever would be a 44. If you handload, the 30 carbine has plenty of inexpensive demilled components laying around. If you don't, the 357 or the 223 are great choices. I'm personally leaning towards the Mini-14, but I did find a good deal on one.

October 7, 2008, 03:56 PM
Another vote for the Marlin. Cheap ammo and enough power for your described needs.

October 7, 2008, 03:58 PM
Honestly, I have a mini-14 already, but it is the target model and has no irons. I love shooting irons so i am picking up another gun for that. The target Mini is one fun gun to shoot and its as accurate as a Mini should be. Actually my average of sandbag bench shooting is 1.5 inch three round slow fire groups. I was leaning towards the Marlin due to the inexpensive ammo but I already have a bunch of Mini accessories so i figured that the regular ranch rifle would be worth looking at.

October 7, 2008, 04:58 PM
Get the Marlin, and get a Ruger GP-100 or S&W 686 and some speedloaders. Done deal! Oh yeah, and a Dillon SDB or Lee Pro-1000 in .38/.357! 'Cause if you don't reload, you're going to want to, and when you do reload, you're going to want to make lots to feed 'em! :cool:

Here's a little something to help you make your decision (except mine are .44s):

It's a Marlin 1894PG and a S&W 629-1 with a 6" barrel. Both are supremely useful for the role you describe, IMO. Loaded with low-power rounds, they would make fine small game rounds; medium-level rounds make a nice all-around utility gun for defense, some game use, anti-predator work, etc. And stoked to full-power there is little in the lower-48 you can't handle.

October 7, 2008, 05:53 PM

I have a Rossi 1892 in 45lc. My favorite gun. Love the levers.

October 7, 2008, 06:00 PM
The Marlin for realistic uses.

An AK-47 variant for Mad Max uses.

October 7, 2008, 07:21 PM

October 7, 2008, 07:37 PM
Another vote on the Marlin 1894C its a great utilitatian weapon. Then you can get a GP-100 to serve as a companion.

October 7, 2008, 07:43 PM
M1 Carbine(love mine) or the Mini-14(want one)

Rifleman 173
October 7, 2008, 10:48 PM
Go get an AK of some sort. Bigger bullet. Magazine reloads. More distance than a lever action or a .30 carbine. Cost is reasonable if you shop around a little bit. Probably about the same price as a .30 caliber carbine or a Ruger Mini-14. Yep, go with an AK and about 7 magazines for when SHTF.

October 7, 2008, 11:07 PM
Why no AR? You could build one with quality parts for only about $700.

October 7, 2008, 11:21 PM
I just dont have the cash for an AR, no matter how I slice the cake....
I would probably get one if I could afford it.
I am just a poor college student that doesn't make much money. It equals to about diddly squat.
if you got a free AR, I would be happy to take it off your hands. :neener:

As for the AK, the only ones i see in my price range are Century and I really don't want one of those. And... well I like all American guns especially ones that come with good warranties or customer service.

October 7, 2008, 11:26 PM
If you want an AK check out Henderson Defense Industries. They have good AKs for around $400.

I am a poor college student also. I pieced together an AR over about a year. Well worth the wait.

October 8, 2008, 12:01 AM
Get the Marlin. Lots of fun, and enough gun to do a lot with!

October 8, 2008, 12:12 AM
I voted for the Marlin.

However, if you want an AK, you could easily get a decent one. I would recommend a Saiga and converting it yourself. Other options might be a preconverted Saiga ($550 or so), a "Bulgarian SSR-85C" (which is a parts gun, but nicely finished) for around $600, or the much maligned WASR for $400 ish. The Romanian guns are not pretty but are fine otherwise, though you should inspect before purchasing for things like a canted front sight base.

It really all depends what you want. The Marlin and AK are radically different guns, but can overlap a fair bit in uses. With the AK, you can buy cheap steelcased ammo. With the Marlin, you have possibly the easiest caliber there is for reloading.

October 8, 2008, 12:31 AM
I'm thinking that the best SHTF weapon will be a wrist rocket and several hundred bags of hard ass marbles. :D

If it were me, I would probably go with the Marlin too.

October 8, 2008, 12:34 AM
I don't have a Mini-14, nor have fired one, but have a Mini-30, basically the same rifle, but in 7.62x39. Its accuracy leaves so much to be desired, that I wouldn't recommend any Ruger Mini unless maybe you got this tuned up barrel I saw in Shotgun news that looks like a heavy barrel, but actually serves as a compensator if I understand it right. I don't know how much that option costs though, but I'll probably sell my Mini if I don't go with that option. Also mine has feed issues. On top of that, I was told not to shoot corrosive eastern bloc surplus ammo in it, even though it's stainless, so kind of defeats the purpose of being able to shoot a lot of the cheaper surplus ammo. With the Mini-14, my understanding is that it's not safe to shoot military surplus 5.56mm munitions, and you actually have to buy commercial .223 Remington for it, another cost factor unless you're willing to risk it.
I think the suggestion to get an SKS is the best if I were you, but if you're just not interested or already have one, I guess I'd pick the lever gun. Anyone remember the Timberwolf? It was a pump action 38spl/357mag with a full length tube magazine and was available in blue or stainless. That would be good for this niche too, but I don't know how much one would cost if you could find one, or how good their quality really is, just seemed like a cool handy little carbine though.

October 8, 2008, 12:49 AM
Get an AK!
I have to agree with MikeU. Get an AK. ive got a few good reasons: ammo is readily available and pretty cheap (.25 per round), parts are EVERYWHERE, its accurate beyond 50 yards and can be scoped, 30 rd capacity (if u want to hunt just fill the mag with the max rounds allowed), 7.62x39 is a gnarly round with great stopping power if you find yourself in a "Mad Max type situation". enjoy, SS.45

October 8, 2008, 09:03 AM
The Marlin if you already have pistols in that caliber. It allows you to simplify your ammo needs, and is an excellent caliber out to 100-150 yds. in a rifle.

October 9, 2008, 03:07 AM
Thanks for your advice, I was leaning towards the marlin before I started the poll anyway, the mini was my second choice, and the m1 carbine was my third. It looks like this poll reinforced my choices...
Thanks again.
But actually, I think when it comes down to it, I will get the one that is most readily available and that I can get best deal on.
I am having a hard time finding a .357 1894c Marlin lately... Are they currently out of production until next year?

October 9, 2008, 03:09 AM
I pushed the enter button too many times, sorry..

October 9, 2008, 03:10 AM
mistake duplicate...

October 9, 2008, 03:19 AM
sorry duplicate

October 9, 2008, 04:35 AM
I have a Mini-14 and a Marlin 1894 Cowboy Ltd in .45 Colt. Last weekend I was hiking on a fairly remote trail with my wife and our two Rottweilers and it was starting to get dark. I asked myself a similar question i.e. which firearm of the numerous rifles, shotguns, pistols and revolvers that I own would I most want to have with me and I thought of the Mini-14. I could be carrying four of five 30 round magazines without any trouble, reloads are fast, it's INCREDIBLY reliable in that it's NEVER jammed or failed to fire ... EVER ... and it's easily capable of 1" groups at 50 yards in stock form. I shoot 77gr SMK HPBT bullets (reloads) and it spits them out in the x-ring with no trouble at all. The Mini-14 is stainless steel (well mine is), it's reasonably light, it can be modified to full-auto if necessary for an "end of days" scenario, .223 ammunition is everywhere, recoil is virtually zero so it's easy to make follow up shots, it's a carbine so the short overall length makes it good in the home, brush or other confined spaces, it's a gas piston system so the action stays clean, I could go on and on ...

Needless to say, I chose the Mini-14 in the poll for all the reasons given plus it's fun to shoot.

Before I forget, .223 ammunition is cheaper to reload (or buy) than .308 ammunition and that may translate into a lack of familiarity or practice with an M1A or similar due to the cost factor. I wonder how many here have an M1A that rarely gets out of the safe due to the cost of the ammuntion. Everyone needs to practice to become proficient and it's easier to practice when the ammunition costs less. Also, how easy (fast) are follow up shots with .308 semi-autos? If you're using a scope you may lose the target completely.


October 9, 2008, 05:09 PM
As for the AK, the only ones i see in my price range are Century and I really don't want one of those. And... well I like all American guns especially ones that come with good warranties or customer service.
I sold my 188-series mini-14 Ranch Rifle and kept my Century AK. The AK was a bit more accurate, magazines are far cheaper, and IMO it looks better. And you can actually buy spare parts for an AK, whereas Ruger requires you to actually mail them the rifle if you want a spare bolt, etc.

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