Need advice re: new gun purchase...


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Mulliga
January 20, 2004, 05:29 PM
Okay. I currently have three guns...

Marlin 795 SS - A good old-fashioned .22 plinker. I fitted it with an El Cheapo rimfire scope and an Allen sling.

Romanian SAR-1 - Common "entry-level" AK. My gas tube/FSB are straight as arrows :).

Remington 870 Express Magnum 20 ga. - I got this one from Wally World. Super-common pump shottie.

I have some money burning a hole in my pocket. I have a few options:

Buy an AR-15: They're infamous, but I'm curious as to how they actually shoot and how reliable they are. I've only handled AR-15s in store, never on the range. I'm generally tending towards Bushmaster, since their SuperLight Carbine is the only AR-15 I've held that's about 6 pounds, and that has all the mil-spec stuff (chrome-lined chamber, 4150 barrel, yada yada yada). RRA is another choice, and Olympic's prices are always tempting. Any recommendations?

Wait until the AWB sunsets, then buy an AR-15: Hey, you never know when you might need that bayonet lug :). Seriously, though, a REAL folding stock in lieu of the cheesy fixed ones would be sweet, and there's nothing like evil threaded barrels. Plus, if all goes well, the AWB will be toast in 8 months.

Buy accessories: A Red Star Arms adjustable trigger for the SAR-1, a Black Jack recoil buffer, and a 20" barrel for the 870 (original barrel was 26 inches, if I recall correctly). I'd also probably get some more mags and ammo. This is probably the cheapest option.

Buy a bolt-action rifle: Definitely looking for something with a little punch - .270/.308/30-06 calibers. I'd like to get a Browning A-Bolt, but they're pretty expensive...Recent talk on this board has focused on Savage and Remington varmint type barrels, which seems fine, except I'm not looking to be a sniper - I want to actually carry this thing around ;).

Wait until I'm 21 to get my C&R license: I'm 19 years old right now...birthday's in July. This would mean a good year and a half wait.

Wait until I'm 21 to get some handguns and a CCW permit: See above.

So there's my predicament. Any suggestions/comments? I'd like to spend 500 bucks or less, since money is tight. Yes, I know that almost no AR-15 in the world costs under 500 bucks new, so that's one major disadvantage going with the mouse gun ;).

Thanks in advance.

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j.wise
January 20, 2004, 05:43 PM
Hmmm... I would wait until Sept/Oct and buy me a new Bushie with the "pre-ban" features. If you're scared that this isn't going to happen, buy a receiver now ($200), and save the rest. IF the ban doesn't sunset, you'll have a receiver to work with (possibly a post-'04-ban receiver.)

ProCharger
January 20, 2004, 06:01 PM
I would buy now and I would buy armalite if you are wanting all the evil features after the ban. Armalite is claiming they will install flash hiders for free for anyone who has bought one of their ar's after jan. 1st in order to keep sales up while the ban gets ready to end.

Brett

Cosmoline
January 20, 2004, 06:07 PM
Whatever you buy now, save some $$ for C&R purchases. It's a whole new universe. After tasting that bug you'll have a hard time going back to an AR, let me tell you :D

CarlS
January 20, 2004, 06:20 PM
Whatever you buy now, save some $$ for C&R purchases. It's a whole new universe. After tasting that bug you'll have a hard time going back to an AR, let me tell you

I agree with this.

Personal preference - I'm not an AR fan; I never liked the M16 in all the years I toted one. I don't care for the .223 round except for four legged varmit hunting. I prefer a 30 caliber round.

Mulliga
January 20, 2004, 10:35 PM
Yeah...it's a long way away, though. I'd much rather get a few handguns (probably a Browning Buckmark and a 9mm) when I turn 21. :D

geekWithA.45
January 20, 2004, 10:50 PM
AR's are the tinkertoy rifles. Adding evil features is a snap.


Unless you plan on running around in a desert dust storm for a few weeks, you'll probably never have a problem with a quality AR, and all I can say about shooting them is happy happy fun fun!

Flipside, you already have an AK, and the experience per se isn't all that different.

If you want something punchier in the .308 range, that costs about as much as an AR, howsabout a FAL?

Mulliga
January 21, 2004, 07:40 AM
Only FAL that I've heard is really good is the DS Arms one, and that goes for over 1000 bucks - a bit high for my budget. Same goes with the Springfield/Fulton M1As.

I'd love a battle rifle, but is there a good one for under 1000 bucks? I don't want to mess around with Century and their CETMEs - I'm not comfortable with tinkering with a rifle just to get it to feed correctly! :)

modifiedbrowning
January 21, 2004, 09:22 AM
I say get the AR now, you can always add the flash hider and telescoping stock later. As far as AR prices I have seen some Olympic Arms Plinkers listed in Shotgun News by Kiesler's Wholesale for $599 I believe. The Plinker does have a cast lower, not forged. Some say cast is crap, I have no experience with them so I can't comment. The Bushy Superlight looks great, I want one for myself.

R127
January 21, 2004, 11:11 AM
AR's do shoot bullets, that is a well-established scientific fact. They can, have, will, and do shoot bullets at badguys, it's true. Thing is, compared to other available fighting rifles, AR's are underpowered and not as robust or reliable. Your SAR-1 is a better fighting rifle, if you do some heat shielding mods it's even better. If you do the finish work the Romanians didn't, it can even look pretty nice. I've used an AR-family rifle, actually 2, an FN and a Bushmaster, under field conditions. I know how to care for such a rifle. I will pass it up every single time in favor of an AK or FAL, I highly suggest you do the same. If you're worried about all these SHTF scenarios and ammo compatability, just keep 200-300rds in mags with your rifle. In short order you'll have a captured enemy weapon, or you'll be dead.

Since you have a SAR-1, I'd say get a good FAL built by somebody like ARS, AZEX or ORF. You'll have a hard-hitting, accurate, long-ranging fighting rifle with excellent durability and reliability, for the same price as an AR that goes pop! sproing! and spits out a .22cal pill to an (marginally)effective(against soft targets) range of a few hundred yards. In two years you should have all the money you need to get an SKS and a sidearm if you so desire.

aquapong
January 21, 2004, 12:00 PM
There is no bigger step in protecting you and yours than getting your CCW. Take your $500 a get a quality pistol and holster along with your ccw.

The ban will sunset in September, and you can get your assault rifle with all the bells and whistles later.

Mulliga
January 21, 2004, 05:46 PM
How do I do a heat shielding mod? I know about replacing the FCG and all, but I've never heard of a heat shielding mod. Please elaborate. :)

How about the M1A vs. FAL vs. G3 question? Where do you guys stand on that?

geekWithA.45
January 21, 2004, 06:58 PM
I'm an M1A guy, but it seems that M1A vs FAL is pretty much a push, and a matter of your "religious" persuasion, and your budget. (m1a > $1100, FAL 600-800+)

CETME/G3 types seem to trail behind a bit, though you'll find folks who swear by them.

kudu
January 21, 2004, 07:14 PM
Save some more money and get an AR10 in .308. Bigger gun, looks like an AR15 on steroids, and longer range with more punch. As someone who has been there and done that with money burning a hole in their pocket, many the time I wish I had saved just a little more and got a better gun. Pick what you want and save for it. At 19 it seems like it takes forever but have patience. If you want an AR15 get one, but get a full blown good one, learn to shoot it and then later accesorize. My two cents.

Mulliga
January 21, 2004, 07:34 PM
The AR-10 has the same gas system, though, doesn't it? Is Armalite the only place to get a new one?

R127
January 21, 2004, 10:08 PM
I'm not qualified to comment on the HK since I've never had any involvement with one. The M-14 isn't a bad design, it has some strengths and weaknesses, same as any gun. The M1A is a disapointment. Springfield just doesn't build them like they should, you can opt for a Fulton or Smith, but boy oh boy will you pay for it! Then there's the cost of mags, too. FAL's are more economical and do pretty much the same thing as an M1A, except they don't blow up if you shoot higher pressure .308win instead of the lower pressure 7.62x51mm NATO. The ability to fire both is what pushed me over the edge into FAL country. That and the $5 20rd mags... Some people say they aren't as accurate as an M1A, I don't know about that. I've shot some awfully tight groups with a DSA Medium Contour.

The AK's I've handled don't have perfect triggers, though the VEPR's seem to be very nice. Personally I am fine with them as they are. A standard AK will heat up pretty hot pretty quick, though, so that's the problem I'd throw money at to address. As far as a drop-in, off-the-shelf sollution, I don't know of one, but owning a gun is like owning a car, if you have one you ought to be able to work on it yourself, at least for most things. What I'd do is get ahold of some 3/32'" or 1/8" aluminum sheet, cut and form a heat shield to go inside my forestock, with a standoff between the barrel and the shield, and the shield and the stock. A high temp synthetic stock could be a good idea, too, and I'm exploring options for an extended forestock to better protect the hand. Whatever you can make work is good, I just feel that a little extra insulation/protection up front makes the AK a handier weapon at high rates of fire.

Heck, buy a second SAR-1 and a bunch of mags. That way you have one for yourself and one for the little lady. If you still have money left over, look into getting yourself some field gear, maybe some body armor.

Mulliga
January 21, 2004, 10:23 PM
So .308 is higher pressure than 7.62x51? I guess it's the other way around when compared with .223/5.56.

Thanks for the idea; I'll try the heat shield out. I also have some Nomex shooting gloves that'll probably come in handy.

I'm leaning toward a bolt action rifle, but the poll seems to be running away for choice #1 - people like their ARs :).

MeekandMild
January 21, 2004, 10:55 PM
Under Other there are three really cool possibilites, depending on how much money there is to spend and how easily one can break free of the semi-auto fad.

A levergun such as a Marlin in one favorite caliber ranging from 30-30 to .35 Rem to .357 to .44 magnum to 45-70 depending on what you plan to hunt.

Getting a Thompson Center Encore rifle which can then be the basis for a collection of rifle barrels ranging from weiner dog rifles to elephant rifles.

Saving up a couple hundred more bucks and get a basic Sharps rifle. The prices for Sharps go up and up so for nearly $1700 Cabelas will sell you a 45-120 Quigley Sharps.

Of course those are just MY three choices and I would understand the cosmetic seduction of wanting an Ugly Black Rifle is pretty high for someone who's never had to shoot one. :neener:

modifiedbrowning
January 22, 2004, 03:03 AM
Mulliga, I forgot to mention the Armalite AR-180B. Similar to an Ar-15 but with a different operating system, piston vs direct gas, cleaner and more reliable. The 180B is also lighter than your average AR-15, but does not have the multitude of options available. I really like my 180, check it out at www.armalite.com.

VG
January 22, 2004, 04:27 AM
Buy an AR-15: They're infamous, but I'm curious as to how they actually shoot and how reliable they are. I've only handled AR-15s in store, never on the range. I'm generally tending towards Bushmaster, since their SuperLight Carbine is the only AR-15 I've held that's about 6 pounds, and that has all the mil-spec stuff (chrome-lined chamber, 4150 barrel, yada yada yada). RRA is another choice, and Olympic's prices are always tempting. Any recommendations? Infamous where? Among Sidewalk Commandos? The M16 is the longest serving primary service rifle in American history, like it or not. What civilians park in their gun safe matters little except to people who sell them.

Why don't you sign up for a llocal CMP event? You can find the clubs and events posted at www.odcmp.com.

The Civilian Marksmanship Program gives or sells at reduced cost AR15's and M1 Garands (and M1 Carbines in the past) to affiliated clubs to support marksmanship events.

Most clubs charge about $20 for the use of a rifle, ammunition, and targets. Most events are 50 rounds, some are 80 or 100. If you are new to competition or to the rifle, they will often provide a spotter/coach for you as well.

VG
January 22, 2004, 06:34 AM
duplicate erased.

Mulliga
January 22, 2004, 09:04 AM
Infamous in that some swear by them, but when I went to the store, the LEO (who's a friend of mine now) buying guns there saw me handling a SuperLight and warned me about AR-15s.

He said when he was working with them, one of his AR-15s malfunctioned every other time (I assume a fail to feed or something like that). This is from a cop who's an avid shooter. I don't know if his experience is anomalous, but it gave me pause, which is why I'm checking around THR. :)

He said he might take the AR-180b or an SU-16, but he couldn't bring himself to use .223 anytime soon.

geekWithA.45
January 22, 2004, 09:29 AM
Malfed 50% of the time?

It's broken. I've run thousands of rounds through mine without a hitch. The only time it was ever a problem was ammo related, or the time I used thick grease to lubricate it rather than the correct stuff. (doh)

This can also happen if the gas key isn't properly staked to the bolt carrier.

Mulliga
January 22, 2004, 10:18 AM
It seems like a LOT of people like their AR-15s. Damn. Now I'm in a quandary.

Anyone know of any good 5.56 hollowpoints?

I'll see if I can raise more money. :what:

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