Buying my first semi-automatic rifle, I ask your advice.


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James0723
May 27, 2009, 07:01 PM
I'm very inexperienced about guns. I estimate I've only fired 100 rounds from guns in my entire life. I'm very interested in them, it's just that I've never had the money to buy them before now.

I've already decided to get an AK as my first semi-automatic rifle because I've heard it's a good starter rifle being very easy to clean, strip, and maintain. However I don't want a cheap AK, I want a nice, new one with all the bells and whistles. Something like the Arsenal SLR-107FR with it's scope rail, folding stock, flash hider, and bayonet/accessory lugs would be perfect. I would also like to be able to legally use high capacity mags, and I've heard that it can only be legal with an Arsenal that has all it's parts made in the US, am I right about this?

Here are the other questions I have:

1. I've read a lot of reports on the internet about the Arsenal SLR-107FRs having issues with the sights. Can it be assumed that this problem has been taken care of since most of these reports were from a year ago?

2. How can I be sure the rifle I buy is NIB?

3. Should I worry about whatever gun store I ship the rifle to? What if they take the nice, new Arsenal parts out of the rifle and replace them with cheaper parts? How can I tell? Or am I being ridiculous to worry about this?

4. On Arsenal's website it says the SLR-107FRs are out of stock but still in production. Does this mean that all of Arsenal's distributors are out of stock of the rifle and I won't be able to find one? If so, how can I know when more are available? Why are the vast majority of the rifles on their website out of stock and not in production?

5. Ideally I'd like to get an AK-74 which fires the lighter, more lethal 5.45x39mm rounds, but all the 5.45x39mm on Arsenal's site are discontinued and out of stock, furthermore they are imports, so even if I found one would I be able to legally use the high capacity mags or no?

6. Are there any other quality AK manufacturers out there that I can buy a NIB military style AK from that are better than Arsenal and that I can legally use high capacity mags in?

I plan to have the rifle in about seven weeks. Thanks for taking the time to read my post (and hopefully answer my questions) everyone.

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Aquila
May 27, 2009, 07:05 PM
Well, NONE of these are Assault Rifles. Semi-automatic carbines is what they are. Our nomenclature will some day (soon) come back to haunt us all.

Good luck on finding ANY Arsenal within seven weeks. It's that "bad"...

H2O MAN
May 27, 2009, 07:05 PM
Assault rifles sell for many thousands of dollars and require a tax stamp.

Are you sure you wouldn't rather have a nice semi-automatic rifle that is fed by a detachable magazine?

Consider semi-auto versions of the AK, AR, M14, FAL etc... I prefer the AKM and M14 :evil:

James0723
May 27, 2009, 07:10 PM
Sorry guys. You can tell how much of a noob I am when it comes to guns, but yes, semi-automatic rifle is what I mean. I'll edit the post title.

Walkalong
May 27, 2009, 07:17 PM
Hard to go wrong with a cheap AK or AR 15. Garands can be had fairly reasonable. Mini 14's are a good all around choice. Saiga's are another option.

James0723
May 27, 2009, 07:29 PM
Hard to go wrong with a cheap AK or AR 15. Garands can be had fairly reasonable. Mini 14's are a good all around choice. Saiga's are another option

Arsenal actually has some Saigas on their home page but they say they're Russian made. Could I still use high capacity mags with these and is the quality of the imported Saigas as good as a US made Arsenal rifle?

Also their Saigas don't have a folding stock which I really want in my AK.

Maverick223
May 27, 2009, 07:57 PM
You can make a Saiga what you like when you convert it (or have someone else to do so), my S12 has a railed forearm, folding skeletonized stock, HK sights, SAW pistol grip, et cetera. A Saiga is a great AK for the money.

woof
May 27, 2009, 08:01 PM
IMO, no-one as inexperienced as you should get any semi-auto rifle, even a .22LR. Would you want your teenage daughter to learn to drive in a Ferrari?

H2O MAN
May 27, 2009, 08:10 PM
I look at it this way...
Pick your caliber and then pick your rifle.

5.56x45 = AR
7.62x39 = AKM
7.62x51 = M14 or FAL

Try before you buy:
Find someone or some place that will let you shoot a few different rifles before you go out and buy one for yourself.

Devilnut
May 27, 2009, 08:13 PM
IMO, no-one as inexperienced as you should get any semi-auto rifle, even a .22LR. Would you want your teenage daughter to learn to drive in a Ferrari?

Aww BS!

Get a semi-auto if that gets you excited... If you want an AK you can find them used for not too much money- point being, start slow and shoot that sucker before you hang a bunch of "Geardo" crap on it. Get used to the platform and train with it, to evaluate what extra rail-mounted gadgets YOU might use/need before setting your weapon up that way. (No offense meant if you were kidding, Woof)

RP88
May 27, 2009, 08:27 PM
if a semi-auto is a Ferrari, then a boltie must be a manual, and all I can say is that I'm glad I didnt learn on one of those or else I would have never gotten my driver's license:neener:

I personally started on an AK rifle. In retrospect, it wasn't the best choice. The sights and ergonomics arent friendly to someone trying to develop proper stance and whatnot, and the recoil isn't good for those who havent developed very good follow-through, and the lack of accuracy isn't good for trying to gauge how good you're doing/getting. But in terms of getting your money's worth, it is a good choice, because it won't break, it comes pre-uglied up (meaning you won't freak when a new scratch appears on it), and can tolerate a lot of abuse and neglect before it even starts to become finicky. I would say get some .22 experience first, THEN an AK. Then from there, once you start getting accurate with an AK, you can decide to drop the money on a more precision-heavy platform like the AR, etc.

Maverick223
May 27, 2009, 08:31 PM
IMO, no-one as inexperienced as you should get any semi-auto rifle, even a .22LR. Would you want your teenage daughter to learn to drive in a Ferrari?I learned to shoot on a semi...wish I had a chance to learn to drive with a Ferrari. :D

elmerfudd
May 27, 2009, 09:04 PM
IMO, no-one as inexperienced as you should get any semi-auto rifle, even a .22LR. Would you want your teenage daughter to learn to drive in a Ferrari?

Tens of millions of shooters have learned to shoot with semi-auto and select fire rifles. The only really limiting factor is that very few of them are capable of anything more than mediocre accuracy.

Be that as it may, if military style rifles are what turn your crank then go get one. A good AK is still capable of about 3 MOA, (or about 3" at 100 yards). If you haven't done much shooting it will take you some time to get to that level, especially with an AK. Although AK's can deliver mediocre accuracy, most people never achieve it with them. They have sights which can be difficult to use and are fairly hold sensitive.

Dan Crocker
May 27, 2009, 09:08 PM
I'd recommend a 5.45 x 39 instead of a 7.62 x 39 just because of ammunition availability. The AK platform is a lot of fun and you'll enjoy it.
Plus, to be honest, it's an AK. Don't be afraid to get a less-expensive version than the Arsenal. I've got a super cheap ROMAK that shoots as well as my buddy's SLR-106.
As for a shop taking your Arsenal and pulling the parts, I really, really doubt that would ever happen.
As far as being US legal for hi-caps, I don't know how that works. I always thought that if it was imported and sold here, it already met US requirements...if not, you can always bring the US parts count up to 10 by replacing things like the front sight post, pistol grip, pistol grip bolt, muzzle brake, gas tube, handguard...not difficult at all. It's a very user-friendly design.

Maverick223
May 27, 2009, 10:08 PM
As far as being US legal for hi-caps, I don't know how that works. I always thought that if it was imported and sold here, it already met US requirementsI am pretty sure you are right...unless it is a sporting gun...and an Arsenal isn't.

BBstacker
May 28, 2009, 12:36 AM
I have a arsenal akm 7.62x39. I have 20 & 30 round mags for it. Some states only let you have 5, 20,or over 30 round mags. In Cal. you can,t have detachable mags.

Uncle Mike
May 28, 2009, 12:47 AM
Arsenal...hahaha loooong wait on those boys!

We have had all the Arsenal models on order for 6 months now! :banghead:

Probably the best(modern) AK out there. And the most expensive!

AKM-
A Aint... K Killin'... M Much-
A All... K Kinds (of)... M Malfunctions-
A A$$... K Kicking... M Machine-
I know... but I couldn't help it. hehehe True though. :neener:

If a shop molested my firearm.... call a cop! :cuss:
I doubt any of them would stoop that low, but hey.....
No problem with the hi cap. mags.-

Have you given any thought to a nice .22LR auto loader... lets you hone those shooting skills for meer pennies... OK, dollars now days.

Wait out the buying madness in play right now... Ak's are selling for big dinero more than they are worth right now!

Hunt3r
May 28, 2009, 01:27 AM
If you refer to 922(r) I think that it requires that no more then 10 foreign parts can be used. It's kind of a rubbish rule, but the laws are the law for now.

The AK is great for 7.62x39. If you grew up on rock-in mags it's quite familiar. If you want a NATO caliber you can't go wrong with ARs. If you want a 30-06, join a gun club, buy a 10/22 and some .22LR, spend time going through Appleseed, and buy a Garand for 500 dollars and snap up some cheep 30-06 from the CMP, and enjoy!

If you want stripper-clip loading and the 7.62x39, SKSes do well. Beware of having to spend a weekend getting out cosmoline though. You'll never get it out of the stock, so on hot days expect to see it drip out.

Maverick223
May 28, 2009, 01:32 AM
If you refer to 922(r) I think that it requires that no more then 10 foreign parts can be used.For sporting arms...which the AK is not considered amongst.

Uncle Mike
May 28, 2009, 02:29 AM
YES- You CAN use HI CAP MAGS!!

Maverick223
May 28, 2009, 02:36 AM
YES- You CAN use HI CAP MAGS!!+1...I checked then double checked and you most certainly can!

SodiumBenzoate
May 28, 2009, 02:39 AM
"IMO, no-one as inexperienced as you should get any semi-auto rifle, even a .22LR. Would you want your teenage daughter to learn to drive in a Ferrari?"

What's the problem? As long as he can resist the impulse to dump the magazine, it's no different.

Hunt3r
May 28, 2009, 02:51 AM
Ah.

I don't really mind if they make it in America or in Russia. I just want the thing to be good and shoot straight.

armoredman
May 28, 2009, 03:04 AM
Start with the basic rifle, get the geegaws later, learn the firearm before trying to depend on extras. A good solid AK semi auto clone is a great learner rifle. With the asmmo shortage, snag what you can get, when you can get it, either caliber. 7.62x39mm is at least made here in the US, too, I don't know if the other is.
As for "lethality", any bullet can be lethal, and any bullet can miss, it's up to the shooter. I'd rather face a complete novice with a full auto AK than a competetive shooter with a 22lr.
I'd reccomend going to an Appleseed shoot if one is held in your area, or try to get with some sort of training in your area, if possible.

Travis Bickle
May 28, 2009, 03:18 AM
However I don't want a cheap AK, I want a nice, new one with all the bells and whistles.

Ever since the '89 import ban, there is no such animal. You can either have a nice new one, or one with all the bells and whistles, but you can't have both, at least not right out of the box.

Your best bet would probably buy a NIB post-ban import and then take it to a reputable gunsmith to have the requisite number of U.S. parts installed as well as all the bells and whistles (you have to have a certain number of U.S. parts on you rifle in order to legally have all the bells and whistles.) That shouldn't cost too much extra, and it will get you what you want. It's what I would do if I wanted an AK.

Wile E Coyote
May 28, 2009, 04:04 AM
Do you have a trusted reasonably experienced local person who could serve as a range buddy/mentor?
Have you shot an AK? If not, try to do so before plunking down cash for one.
Will you be blowing your whole wad on this one gun purchase, or will there be a little $ soon for other toys? If so, and you ever want to shoot for relative accuracy cheaply, then I vote bolt-action .22lr. Your knowledgeable mentor could show you how to scour gun shows, pawn shops, etc for better deals than buying new.

I see AK's as "drop em in the mud, piss on em to clean, and resume firing" kinda guns. I don't see the gains in plunking down for a creme de la creme AK, unless you are an affectionado. That's just one guy's opinion, and you know what they say about opinions.

noob_shooter
May 28, 2009, 04:40 AM
saiga 308 or 223, but the trigger sucks @ss.. needs conversion..

Waibaddayu
May 28, 2009, 04:59 AM
Get an AK from Krebs. All you can eat, baby!

Uncle Mike
May 28, 2009, 12:33 PM
YOU WANT AN AK THAT SHOOTS STRAIGHT....... HAHAHAHAHAHA OK......:banghead:

... just click your heels three time and say... I want my AK to shoot straight...(repeat 3 times in rapid succession)

don't we all! :neener:

Someone used 'AK' and 'good quality' in the same sentence...WHAT??

OK,OK... the best AK's right now are the Arsenal brand-

Take Wile E Coyotes advice......:D

xbox360
May 28, 2009, 12:55 PM
so called "Arsenal AK's" arnt always top of the line best check saiga forums out, some people say SAIGA's CONVERTED are way better than some over priced 1500 gun, you can convert it to look like an AK. I went with a SAIGA the price was just right at under $420 AK's WASR 10's are junk, they are liked 550$++ and they used to be under 350 just 1 year ago :( sad.. I would get a SAIGA, convert it. under 200$ to convert, the gun is way better than a AK and converting it to look like a AK is EASY. Dont pay 1000+ for some NAME BRAND decked out AK. You can do this with your Saiga for a CHEAPER PRICE

~[same with computer parts you can pay 1400 for a chip that has EXE 120fps on a game and 700 for a chip that does 117 SO 3 points more for 700$????]~.

Maverick223
May 28, 2009, 01:43 PM
and they used to be under 350 Huh, they used to be about $150...and were worth it at that time IMO...not so now.

bartp40
May 28, 2009, 02:05 PM
Boston's Gun Bible

briansmithwins
May 28, 2009, 02:41 PM
Any modern military pattern rifle will be easy to strip, clean, and kieep running generally.

I see ARs as being more accurate and more popular. Lots of guys have them and they are very easy to modify if you want to change things in the future. Both ARs I own are 1.25-1.5MOA (inches at 100 yard) rifles.

I've been using my AKs at local rifle matches for the past 18 months or so and have a couple thousand rounds thru them. They are harder to shoot well but are very rugged. Both AKs are 4MOA rifles, which gets me hits on 12" steel plate at 300 yards, if I'm doing my job.

I'd buy a rifle, magazines, ammo and get out and shoot it. Good resources are: training videos, local matches, and classes. BSW

RP88
May 28, 2009, 03:09 PM
I see the name 'Arsenal' getting thrown around alot. If you're going to drop 900-1400 bucks on your first gun, I'd say skip the AK, and grab an AR if possible. Much better ergonomics, less recoil, better sights. The only main differences between a $300 WASR and a $1200 Arsenal is cosmetic; you aren't going to gain anything in terms of accuracy or reliability.

Seriously, you're in the territory for a good AR. Even at the price of buying a pre-converted Saiga from Arsenal, you can grab a basic AR that will out-shoot the nicest AK you may ever find.

benEzra
May 28, 2009, 03:10 PM
IMO, no-one as inexperienced as you should get any semi-auto rifle, even a .22LR. Would you want your teenage daughter to learn to drive in a Ferrari?
I learned to shoot on a semiauto, my first gun was a semiauto .223, and I didn't buy my first bolt-action until I had been shooting for at least 15 years. I turned out OK.

The key to learning to shoot well will be, don't start out shooting fast. Shoot very slow, one shot at a time, and pay attention to those basics. Just as with a pistol, focus hard on the front sight, breathe in and let the breath halfway out, hold it, and squeeze the trigger slowly until the shot takes you by surprise (don't hold your breath too long; stop and take another breath if you need to). Hold the trigger back for a second before letting it reset. Don't rush the shots just because you don't have to cycle a bolt. Speed will come, but accuracy first. Take at least 5 seconds per shot, more if you need to; if you can't make yourself go slowly, load the chamber with one round at a time until you get the hang of it.

When shooting from the bench, if the rifle is wobbling, figure out a position in which you can hold it steady. If you don't have a good benchrest, shooting from prone or with your elbows braced against a bench works well. Don't expect 1" groups at 100 yards from an AK, but with decent ammunition, you should be able to manage 2" groups or better at 50 yards and 4" or better at 100, with practice.

Also, AK's don't typically benchrest as easily as some rifles; the barrel/receiver vibration resulting from the heavy gas piston being blasted off the cantilevered gas block can make the rifle jump off a hard rest, resulting in much more scatter than you'd expect, and resting on the magazine is worst of all. I get best results from a bench shooting from a soft support placed as far back under the receiver as possible (i.e., just in front of the magazine), not under the handguard or barrel.

I agree that if you are getting an AK as your first gun, get a good one. I would not recommend trying to convert your own Saiga if you are new to guns. Definitely get one with an optics rail, as you may wish to add a siderail optic at some point. I have a Kobra on my SAR-1 (unmagnified dot-style sight with selectable reticles) and really like it.

Uncle Mike
May 28, 2009, 07:11 PM
uhh... that is what we have been trying to tell the guy, if your a guy, if not... sorry! Girls shoot AK's too.

The money versus the accuracy of the famed Arsenal AK.... well it is bad math. :scrutiny:

For the money chips your going to sacrifice, I should think that you might get something with a bit more refinement. :D

Throwing lead down range is fun, but hitting your target with regularity and ease is jim-dandy! :D

James0723
May 28, 2009, 10:28 PM
Thanks for all the useful information everyone. After reading all the replies I think I am going to start with a .22LR rifle instead. I originally intended to get a .22 rifle anyway to hunt small game with. You see, another reason I want to buy guns now is that the crumbling economy and energy shortage have me worried, so in addition to my interest in guns I'm also getting them to prepare for a disaster type scenario where society collapses. Overall I plan to get 4 different guns. I want to get an AK to be my fighting rifle for self-defense, a .22 rifle to hunt small game, a .22 pistol, and finally a very good military-style sniper rifle for hunting large game and also self-defense.

So now I'll just plan to get the .22lr rifle first and the AK second after I get really good at shooting.

Right now I'm looking at either one of the bolt action CZ 452's or an auto-loading Thompson Center R-55 Classic. Which one do you think I should get? Are bolt action rifles always more accurate than auto-loading? Also I notice that the CZ 452's have hammer forged barrels, will this significantly increase the life of the barrel over the R-55 classic's?

@Uncle Mike

Arsenal...hahaha loooong wait on those boys!

We have had all the Arsenal models on order for 6 months now!

Wow, 6 months?! On one of Arsenal's distributors website, RSR group, I product searched for Arsenal brand and several models of Arsenal rifles came up. Should it be assumed that these are all out of stock?

@RP88

Seriously, you're in the territory for a good AR. Even at the price of buying a pre-converted Saiga from Arsenal, you can grab a basic AR that will out-shoot the nicest AK you may ever find.

I know, but I'm planning for a scenario where civilization disintegrates and I heard that the AK is the most reliable and requires a lot less cleaning. I would love to have an AR or one of the other more accurate and ergonomic fighting rifles, but in an environment where you can't just go to the gun store and buy new parts, cleaners, and such then what if the AR breaks somehow? Or has the unreliability and required maintenance of such rifles been over-stated?

Thanks for the shooting tips benEzra and everyone else for all the advice. I'm really overwhelmed at the amount of quality information I received here. I'll probably post again when I get my.22lr with more questions. Maybe I'll even save up and get a Volquartsen.

shaggy430
May 28, 2009, 11:08 PM
xbox360 wrote:
same with computer parts you can pay 1400 for a chip that has EXE 120fps on a game and 700 for a chip that does 117 SO 3 points more for 700$????

???

Maverick223
May 28, 2009, 11:14 PM
Which one do you think I should get?Not really an apples to apples...but I like the CZ, though I don't own either, the CZ is fun to shoot.
Are bolt action rifles always more accurate than auto-loading?No, but it is from the two you picked. That CZ is a very accurate .22lr, squirrels shake at the sight of it. :D
Also I notice that the CZ 452's have hammer forged barrels, will this significantly increase the life of the barrel over the R-55 classic's?A hammer forged barrel is certainly more durable, but you would be hard pressed to wear out either. I don't think it is a big factor for that particular platform, but it won't hurt anything.
Maybe I'll even save up and get a Volquartsen.That's a lot of money to spend, but it would be a way for you to get a very accurate semi, and that sounds like what you want. :)

NC-Mike
May 28, 2009, 11:29 PM
Classic Arms has YUGO M70 under-folders in stock right now for 699.00


http://www.classicarms.us/images/YUGOM70AB2.jpg

http://www.classicarms.us/



That is every bit as good as an arsenal. And it is in stock. :)

Ignition Override
May 29, 2009, 01:46 AM
James:
This might appear to be a secondary concern, but how often do you plan to go shoot?
Have you decided how much ammo at $.25(+)/round you would like to have available?

If you are quite sure that your next gun will shoot 7.62x39, then you might already know whether you want to shoot up about $25 per month, or more.
The temptation to fully load a large magazine in a given type of gun can easily result in two months' worth of ammo being converted to noise and smoke within just two weeks or less. Although I also have a Mini 30, SKS, two MNs and now a LE' Jungle Carbine', I normally begin a session with the .22 and as a result use up much less of any large caliber (bigger rounds/'bigger money) after leaning the .22 against a tree.

An SKS on average costs less than an AK, is considered very good value and the standard rifles hold only ten rounds.
Another benefit is that with limited exceptions, the magazine is always attached.

Maverick223
May 29, 2009, 01:55 AM
NC-M, and IO: I think he has already decided to go with a .22lr. :)

NC-Mike
May 29, 2009, 09:26 AM
NC-M, and IO: I think he has already decided to go with a .22lr.

Should have went with the 375 H&H Magnum instead. :evil:

benEzra
May 29, 2009, 12:12 PM
An SKS on average costs less than an AK, is considered very good value and the standard rifles hold only ten rounds.
Another benefit is that with limited exceptions, the magazine is always attached.
You can also use 10 (or 5) round magazines with civilian AK's.

Between my wife's Russian SKS and my AK, I much prefer the AK. There are fewer optic choices for an SKS, if you decide to go that route, and the SKS is less tolerant of lack of lubrication. (My wife's got a little dry last year, and got to the point that the bolt had to be closed by hand every other round; it wasn't dirty, just underlubricated.) The AK is also shorter, lighter, easier to store/transport if you have a folding stock model, and is less susceptible to firing pin stick.

H2O MAN
May 29, 2009, 12:29 PM
Pass on the .22lr and get yourself a high powered air rifle.

HoosierQ
May 29, 2009, 12:43 PM
Wow James...you've gotten a lot of advice...some good...some not so good.

I would agree with the .22lr solution 100% except for one thing...they do not come apart or go back together as easily as centerfire rifles, can be a lot harder to clean and as a result, you can end up with a gun that jams on you a lot. Now there is a lot you can do to prevent that but that kind of thing ends up ruining a gun-buying experience. It doesn't have to but people want their new stuff to work.

With things like AK and AR or SKSs or any other military style semiauto, they are made to take apart, clean, and put back together easily. This will make them reliable and quite frankly it's fun to do.

My buddy just bought a DPMS Sportical .556 which is basically an entry-level AR platform "fun gun" that he just loves because it is so much fun to shoot.

ARNETT44
May 29, 2009, 02:01 PM
Start with the AK, but dont expect to be accurate. For what you will pay for the Arsenel, you can get an AR . Starting with a 22 is OK but you will be looking to upgrade soon.

Uncle Mike
May 29, 2009, 06:40 PM
Wow, 6 months?! On one of Arsenal's distributors website, RSR group, I product searched for Arsenal brand and several models of Arsenal rifles came up. Should it be assumed that these are all out of stock?


These may be allocated units. :confused:

And we all know, just because it's on the web site or in the catalog does not necessarily they(the distributer) has them in stock.

Winchester md70's have been on the sites and in the catalogs of some of these distributors since last December, they are, and very limited and model specific, just now becoming available. Dang it!

We'll check with RSR-

jdub102003
May 29, 2009, 07:22 PM
I would reccomend a .22lr semi-auto the mossberg and savage models can be had for under 125$ ammo is cheap and if you don't like shooting as much as you thought u didn't waste much coin.

And if u do like shooting u could step up to the ak and sks calibers or you could even go the carbine route because they are fun to shoot and great for home defense

Maverick223
May 29, 2009, 07:29 PM
just now becoming availableTrue, I handled one the other day...my first opinion (not having shot it) is they are look and feel great and the price tag isn't half bad either. Anyways, back to the original question asked by the OP...I think the Volquartsen would be a good rimfire for you. It is accurate and semi automatic, so it sounds like what you really want. On the other hand you may want to start off with something cheap like a Marlin Model 60, also semi and accurate, just a lot less money.

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