First Semi-Auto Rifle/Carbine Purchase - Need Help


December 14, 2009, 11:47 PM
Fellas and gals, I need some help. I'm looking into buying my first assault rifle, and I need some reasonably priced suggestions. Mini-14? M-4? AK?
Any advisement would be appreciated, especially is anyone has any info on Inter-Ordanance AK's. I am also hearing a rumor on Thompson Submachine reproductions around $350, if anyone can confirm, please do. Thanks for the assist.

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December 14, 2009, 11:49 PM
If you want an Assault Rifle you can definitely get one since you are in PA and they allow NFA items. Unfortunately it's not gonna be anywhere near $350. You're looking at almost $15-20,000 for an AK, Thompsons I've seen for around $5000.

If you want a semi auto rifle of an AK, Mini, etc you will see them for yeah, somewhere from $350-650

December 14, 2009, 11:51 PM
With respect, let's not let the gun-banners name our guns for us.

Unless you assault someone with it, it isn't an assault rifle. Machine guns aren't assault rifles. They are selective fire, or fully automatic.

For a first semi-automatic centerfire, an AR-15 is hard to beat.

Order a bargain bin rifle from CMMG. Great starter rifles.

December 14, 2009, 11:53 PM
Doesn't have to be $350, I just heard the Thompson reproductions were around that. I'm looking to spend a max of $700-$800, perferablly lower. :(

December 14, 2009, 11:54 PM
Good point with the label. Semi auto rifle.

Extremely Pro Gun
December 14, 2009, 11:54 PM
SIR their is no such thing as an assault rifle or assault weapon. They are semi-automatic sporting and/or self-defense firearms.

December 14, 2009, 11:56 PM
Never seen a Tommy repro south of $800.

Ohio Gun Guy
December 14, 2009, 11:57 PM
Our friends at wikipedia have the following to say: (Red Highlights by ME) :D
The term assault rifle is a translation of the German word Sturmgewehr (literally meaning "storm rifle"), "storm" used synonymous with assault. The name was coined by Adolf Hitler[1] to describe the Maschinenpistole 44, subsequently re-christened Sturmgewehr 44, the firearm generally considered the first true assault rifle that served to popularize the concept.

The translation assault rifle gradually became the common term for similar firearms sharing the same technical definition as the StG 44. In a strict definition, a firearm must have at least the following characteristics to be considered an assault rifle:[2][3][4]

It must be an individual weapon with provision to fire from the shoulder (i.e. a buttstock);
It must be capable of selective fire; It must have an intermediate-power cartridge: more power than a pistol but less than a standard rifle or battle rifle;
Its ammunition must be supplied from a detachable magazine.
Rifles that meet most of these criteria, but not all, are technically not assault rifles despite frequently being considered as such. For example, semi-automatic-only rifles that share designs with assault rifles such as the AR-15 (which the M-16 rifle is based on) are not assault rifles, as they are not capable of switching to automatic fire and thus not selective fire. Belt-fed weapons (such as the M249 SAW) or rifles with fixed magazines are likewise not assault rifles because they do not have detachable box magazines.

The term "assault rifle" is often more loosely used for commercial or political reasons to include other types of arms, particularly arms that fall under a strict definition of the battle rifle, or semi-automatic variant of military rifles such as AR-15s.

The US Army defines assault rifles as "short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachinegun and rifle cartridges

December 14, 2009, 11:58 PM
There is most certainly a such thing as an Assault Rifle.

The name was coined by the Germans with Sturmgewher 44 / stg 44

AK with a fun switch, M-16, AC-556, etc. are all Assault Rifles.

Your WASR-10 or DPMS Panther are not.

December 14, 2009, 11:59 PM
Everyone, I apologize for the term. What I should have posted is semi-auto rifle/carbine purchase. I typed faster than I thought.

Ohio Gun Guy
December 15, 2009, 12:00 AM
Now to answer your question:

Your price range is about right for an Ak type rifle (WASR). You'll need some ammo. and currently the gun itself is running about 400-450 in my area.

A good SKS can be had for 350.00

December 15, 2009, 12:01 AM
Get a cheap AK-clone in 7.62x39 and 1,000 rounds of Brown Bear ammo for it. You won't be disappointed.

December 15, 2009, 12:03 AM
What manufacturer for the AK-Clone? Model? My knowledge base is with handguns, so this is my first venture out into the rifle category.

Ohio Gun Guy
December 15, 2009, 12:03 AM

^^^^^If your interested in the AK route....lots of good info in a current thread.

December 15, 2009, 12:07 AM
There is most certainly a such thing as an Assault Rifle.

The name was coined by the Germans with Sturmgewher 44 / stg 44

AK with a fun switch, M-16, AC-556, etc. are all Assault Rifles.

Your WASR-10 or DPMS Panther are not.

Your German is as weak as your logic.

Assault is a verb, not an adjective.

David E
December 15, 2009, 12:09 AM
Fer cryin' out loud, let's define our terms, but let's be realistic.

As has been pointed out, rifles DO exist under the name "assault rifle." An assault rifle is capable of fully automatic fire. The anti's apply this term to describe SEMI-auto rifles. They do this on purpose, of course, to fool and confuse the public.

Back to the OP's question: The current crop of Mini-14's are pretty close in price to an M-4 and offer no real advantage, other than they don't "look" as mean.

An AK can be found for less, but you need to buy your ammo in bulk online.

The only Thompson reproductions I'm aware of are made by Kahr and are nowhere near $350. Even if they were, you'd have a heavy long gun that's only good for 100 yds on a good day.

I suggest getting an M-4

December 15, 2009, 12:10 AM
OP, what do you intend to use the rifle for? Hunting? Defense? 3-Gun? Plinking? Target shooting?

I would wager that some of the cheap ak clones will indeed let you down if you want to hunt varmints. Personally I was nonplussed by the ergonomics of the AK platform. To each his own. I recommend you handle as many rifles as you can.

December 15, 2009, 12:11 AM
I would have to suggest a Double Star Ar-15 if you can swing it. Check out Buds online, I think they are $650 or so. I have an ak and they are fun but I prefer my ar.

I had an sks and sold it when I got a Saiga in 7.62x39. The Saiga was more accurate, lighter, and balanced much better for me, plus nowadays sks's are $300 and the Saiga isn't much more. Great rifle for a budget.

December 15, 2009, 12:12 AM
I'd go with an AR-15. It is a much better platform to learn proper marksmanship with due to its excellent adjustable sights, and fine accuracy. It's also like a Harley Davidson or similar in that half the fun is customizing and modifying the rifle as your budget, preferences, and needs change. Anything you want to do with it is just an upper receiver swap away. Want to hunt the biggest, most dangerous game in North America? Get a .50 Beowulf upper. Want to sit on a prairie dog colony? Get a heavy barreled varmint receiver. Deer-sized game? There's a number of uppers for that.

Bottom line, you can't go wrong with an AR-15 for your first or only rifle.

December 15, 2009, 12:47 AM
AR platform offers the most options and flexibility. get a flat top on it and you can add various optics, BUIS, a nice scope, etc. as your needs/wants change, you can swap uppers. there are good deals on uppers in the classifieds here sometimes. .223/5.56 is available everywhere and is relatively cheap.

one lower can be a dozen different rifles from .204 ruger to the .50 Beowolf.

$800 can get you one of several good brands of AR's still.

Just my opinion.


December 15, 2009, 12:51 AM
Your German is as weak as your logic.

Assault is a verb, not an adjective.

I'll ignore your insulting remark, and point out that there is, in fact, a such thing as an assault rifle. They cost quite a lot of money and are generally not in civillian hands. But hey, go on and pretend there's no such thing as an assault rifle because some senator from NY thinks your AR-15 is one.

December 15, 2009, 01:06 AM
I agree with Dark Knight...

Assault Rifle is a military term.
Assault Weapon is a political term.

December 15, 2009, 01:06 AM
Thank you!

December 15, 2009, 01:08 AM
Seems they could fairly be called "assaulted weapons" given how many attacks they endure from gun-grabbers.

Seems companies that make them like to refer to them as tactical rifles.

December 15, 2009, 01:13 AM
no "assault rifles" that's what the liberals call everything with more then a 5 round magazine. they are just rifles/carbines, any gun could be an "assault rifle" if you are use it for evil

December 15, 2009, 02:02 AM
no "assault rifles" that's what the liberals call everything with more then a 5 round magazine. they are just rifles/carbines, any gun could be an "assault rifle" if you are use it for evil

Sigh. Once again. Assault Rifle is a Military term. Assault Weapon is a political term.

There are many assault rifles.

Very few civilians have them.

There's no such thing as an assault weapon.

Liberal senators made that one up.

Think about it for a second. They didn't try to pass an "assault rifle ban" because they know the weapons millions of americans have are not assault rifles. So they started calling them "assault weapons"

December 15, 2009, 02:23 AM
oh c',mon guys. the terms have been defined, he's acknowledged such. let's help him out with his real question, semantics aside...

December 15, 2009, 02:53 AM
Okay, guys, I've fixed the title.

Please feel free to help our OP select a decent semi-auto rifle for general use, including sporting and defensive applications as needed.

December 15, 2009, 11:26 AM
Have you thought about pistol caliber carbines that match a pistol cartridge you have or are going to get? The lever-action is almost as fast as a semi-auto and fairly accurate out to 150 yds or so. You stream line your ammo purchases by consolidating caliber choices.

Grease Monkey
December 15, 2009, 12:38 PM
You might do better to define "reasonably priced". Of the choices you listed, I'd say you are looking for an AK of some kind, but you probably couldn't go wrong with any of them.

Someone mentioned a WASR, and if you can get one for $350 (I haven't seen one that low since the election), jump on it.

The AR is a great rifle, but you will pay more for it.

The Mini-14 used to be closer to the $350 range, but even they've gone up. Don't know how much it matters to you, but there's also a considerable lack of options as to what you can do with/to it compared to the AR or AK. For what it's worth, a stock or "rack grade" Mini would probably serve you just fine, tho.

December 15, 2009, 12:40 PM
Get a Mini and some factory 20 rd. mags. and don't look back.

December 15, 2009, 12:43 PM
I do like scotjute's idea. The other suggestion I have is the mini-14. I prefer it over the AR's - that's just my personal preference. People will tell you they are inaccurate. The newer models typically can do 3 MOA. Ruger a number of years ago started going with a thicker barrel and that solved the problem. It can shoot both 223 and 5.56x45 ammo (it's in the manual and I don't want to start a debate about these two). Buy the Ruger mags (yes, the are a bit pricey but work well and last). It's a good social plinker and I would trust my life to it if I had to defend myself. I've got about 2000 rounds through it and I've had no problems whatsoever.

The M1As are another favorite of mine. I think the Scout model has a good balance of accuracy and compactness. The only downside is that they are kinda pricey and ammo costs more. I guess that is also why I like the mini-14. It's like an M-14 semiauto (the name is on coincidence) in terms of controls.

Uncle Mike
December 15, 2009, 01:21 PM
General use...sporting(target), varmint(hunting), adjusting bad attitudes of the criminal type(home defense)..... the AR

Throwing lead, making noise, adjusting bad attitudes again.... the AK

December 15, 2009, 01:23 PM
You have to get what suits you and realizes your expectations. Your first purchase may not be what you eventually end up with but that is half the fun.

I tried the Minis, the ARs and the AKs. All good but it wasn't me.

The Remington 7615 is what did it for me and I have not questioned my decision. You will know when you get it right.

December 15, 2009, 01:49 PM
AK is capable for hunting too. 7.62x39 will take deer.

December 15, 2009, 01:53 PM
get a saiga in 7.62x39mm or in 5.45x39mm
340 plus transfer fees and shipping
cheapest ammo
convert ityourself
it will be your rifle
and it will be new and from ishmash facoctory
where the man still works

December 15, 2009, 01:55 PM
I forgot about the 7615 Andy.

I bought one with the pistolgrip stock and ghost ring arrangement.

I outfitted mine with a Weaver 1x5 Grand Slam,very handy and accurate to boot.

Ignition Override
December 15, 2009, 02:04 PM
If the OP can visit a gun show, a good Norinco SKS might be available at a decent price.
The shorter barreled "Paratrooper", or a D, possibly M series (these were designed to use AK mags) might appeal to him.

For a short stock, a recoil pad can help. These rifles can all be fitted with a brand-new rear peep sight, which reportedly improves accuracy a lot.

A gun show allows you to:
a) Compare many guns, handle what you would consider buying.
b) Avoid about $60-90 in shipping and FFL fees.
Take a bright flashlight, if not a bore light.

Ruger has been selling (for the first time) Mini 14 factory 20-rd. mags to the public since last winter.
They now also produce 20-rounders to the public for the Mini 30.

December 15, 2009, 02:18 PM
Depends what you're planning to do with the rifle.

AK pros:
Cheap. For the price of an AR you can get an AK, mags, and a case of ammo.
Reliable. Unless built by monkeys these are the standard of rifle reliability.
Ubiquitous. Easy to find parts, ammo, mags.

AK cons:
Inaccurate. Most are 4-6MOA rifle. If precision is your thing the AK aint's for you.
Optics. Not a lot of options for mounting optics on AK rifle. The commie side optic rail is your best bet there.

AR pros:
Accurate. I expect run of the mill rifles to shoot 2MOA or better.
Modular. AR rifles are like Legos. Swap barrels, receivers, whatever.
Reliable. If maintained they are perfectly reliable.
Accessories. There is more stuff made for for ARs than for Barbie. Optics, lights, bipods, bottle openers. Somebody makes it.

AR cons:
Expensive. Rifles run on the order of 2X what an AK does.
Requires minimal maintenance. If you can't be bothered to clean a gun ever, the AR probably isn't for you. Keep it wet (with lube) and it'll run a long time.

I'd rate the Mini-14 as having most of the cons of the AR and AK without the advantages. Price factory mags for the Mini-14 and you'll see what I mean.

Pistol caliber carbines are just crazy talk for a guy that doesn't own a rifle. Low power, short range, but the bulk of a rifle. I own a Uzi, and I love it for fun. It is the LAST longarm I'd grab in a social situation.


December 15, 2009, 02:43 PM
you can get a dpms sportical for under your price range. it won't have forward assist or a dust cover, but you should live without those. it should also come with a hard plastic case and 2 mags.

December 15, 2009, 03:00 PM
Let's consider that imported AK's have spotty quality, and one that shoots 2 MOA with import ammo is not common. Yes, they seem to be reliable with little to no maintence, it's what the designer knew to be a problem with the user base. He made the magazine tougher because of that.

AK's do have cheap ammo available, in 7.62 x 39 it has poor ballistics with feet of drop at 300 yards. Practicing holdover is necessary. For the money, you get what you pay for.

The AR is inherently more accurate and can be made extremely so. A budget buster doesn't have to be bought up front, 2 MOA is milspec, and many do better. It's flatter shooting in 5.56, and other calibers can be had - more every day. It takes down without tools, and cleaning doesn't mean scraping the finish off all the working parts. Many AR's get a wipe down and no patch down the bore for thousands of rounds, and are shot competitively by winners that way. There is a happy medium between Inspector General clean and thrown dirty in the closet the way many civilians do.

Between a choice of a cheap third world rifle built for that market, and an AR designed for the best educated soldier in the world (at the time,) I'd go AR.

More parts, more resources, more support, more fun.

December 15, 2009, 07:09 PM
Two of my co-workers were in your position.

They each bought one of these:

December 15, 2009, 09:14 PM
First Semi-Auto Rifle/Carbine Purchase - Need Help
He needs your help in selecting a rifle, not an English lesson. I think he got the point, and your onlu gonna give him complex. I'd try to get into an Ar-15. I like it cause I was trained on it and can shoot with iron sights easily out to 200 yards with my old eyes.

Assault Rifle Marksman
December 15, 2009, 09:51 PM
As you can see by my posts I'm new to this forum.

As for the few of you that have been helpful with this thread please ignore this message.

I believe if I read the original post correctly he was asking for advice on which semi automatic rifle or shall I say ASSAULT RIFLE would be best to purchase on a budget less than $800. I believe he was also asking about manufacturers also. I don't think his post was about if ASSAULT RIFLE was the proper term for the rifle he is interested in. So for you that think this is some english lesson/politician rant you found the wrong post. For those of you that have been helpful thank you. Last time I checked this is a forum dealing with firearms to include ASSAULT RIFLES.

December 15, 2009, 11:22 PM
ar's and ak's are the usual suspects with the mini-14 coming in 3rd and sks 4th. I'll also suggest you take a peek at the keltec su-16, AUG clone, m1 carbine or a stubby m1a. heck, if you have a pistol you might check out the mech tech CCU's. or a ruger deerfield.

cons on all the guns: (note, many of these issues can be worked through, and all are just my opinions and have no reflection on the actual quality or accuracy of the guns.

AR's make a sproing sound and have too many snooty fanboys and "experts" that try to get you to turn a lightweight $700 rifle into a $1500+ gun with more gizmos than a leatherman.
ak: chunky, dated, and I don't like the way they fit me.
mini-14: should be lots cheaper than it is and the gas port is in an awkward place (esp for a lefty)
sks: heavy, 10 round limit, poor optics mounting capability.
su-16: should sell for WAY less than it does and seems flimsy.
AUG: expensive, bad trigger, bullpup not for everyone.
m1 carbine: ammo gettign scarce, lots of detractors hate the .30 carbine round, particularly in FMJ.
m1a: not a carbine, expensive, heavy.
deerfield: not made anymore

marlin 1894: not an autoloader. (but a pretty good carbine nevertheless)

go to a range, beg borrow or rent some guns and see what you like. guys like to show off their rifles.

December 15, 2009, 11:30 PM
I would seriously suggest that the OP buy a Ruger 10/22 and several steel-lipped 30-round magazines, a tacticool stock, and several bulk packs of .22LR...way under $400...shoot it till you're tired of shooting it...learn the feel of it and how it handles...slow and fast...what you can do with will help you see what you do and don't like about that type of weapon and shooting and give you an economical education...then go out and choose the one you could easily shoot up that same money in centerfire ammo and still be searching...

Erik M
December 15, 2009, 11:48 PM
CMMG bargain bin. Get an AR and join the EBR Club.

December 16, 2009, 02:37 AM
I forgot about the 7615 Andy.


I like them being one of the best kept secrets ever. Keeps the price down ' cause I want another one when Grice puts them on sale.. Mine is the ranch carbine with the beautiful Walnut furniture and a Trophy 1x32 T-Dot.

Uncle Mike
December 16, 2009, 02:47 AM
you can get a dpms sportical for under your price range. it won't have forward assist or a dust cover, but you should live without those. it should also come with a hard plastic case and 2 mags.

These guys are excellent for the money and fairly lightweight.

AR's make a sproing sound and have too many snooty fanboys and "experts" that try to get you to turn a lightweight $700 rifle into a $1500+ gun with more gizmos than a leatherman.

Excellent!!!!!!! This sums it up entirely, is nothing BUT truth...although I continuously poke fun at these type of customers, I'll have to say, they make us a LOT of money!

We see AR's go out the door that have more stuff bolted, pinned and glued to them than any of the most highly equipped socom units!

December 16, 2009, 05:26 AM
Briansmithwins pretty much summed it up although I do see value in pistol caliber carbines.

Back to your basic question, I think you need to at the very minimum try both the AR and AK platforms and see what feels right for you. You can rent rifles at gun ranges and in my parts, people are very friendly and are willing to let you try out their rifles. Most important thing is to actually spend some time with both platforms and make up your mind.

I myself like the traditional stocked rifles and feel they are the best handling of all. So, while I own a couple of AK47 underfolders because they can be made into a nice concealable package, my preference for an intermediate round carbine is the SKS platform. I use a butler creek stock, Hi tech rear peep sights, and have had the trigger worked over. You get total reliability and reasonable accuracy with the SKS.

The M1A is my main go to rifle, but the SKS setup like that is the perfect practice plaform for the M1A and the ammo is much cheaper to shoot.

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