Need a semi-auto rifle.....


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Big D
March 4, 2012, 08:33 PM
Hey yall. I am contemplating purchasing a semi-auto rifle as I do not have a suitable defense rifle other than a .30-30, of which ammo is costly. I have about $1000 to play with, and I hope to purchase rifle, ammo, and maybe mags with that. I have found several options available to me for that price range. I have found the Olympic A1 Carbine (AR15 type) for $599, with 1000rnd case of Wolf ammo for $219. This leaves about $100-150 for mags. I have also found an IAC AK for $579, 1000rnd case of Wolf for same price ($219), and this leaves a little more dough for mags and such. I do not plan to purchase optics, as my plan for this rifle is bare bones, survival/defensive rifle. The last choice I have been eye-balling is a Norinco or Russian SKS, which would put me at about $300-500 and leave even more dough for ammo, etc.

I think it is important to note that I am also in law enforcement, hence my agency and most others carry .223/5.56 rifles and carbines, this ammunition compatibility. Any takes/opinions would be greatly appreciated.

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adelbridge
March 4, 2012, 08:51 PM
skip the SKS. AR-15's are your best option. Olympics are decent guns and work as good as anything but have no resale value. Get a Smith M&P 15. Flat top uppers are going to give you the most flexibility with accessories and you can add detachable carry handle or open sights. Wolf ammo works but focus your budget on getting more rifle with your available cash, you can always stockpile ammo later.

ourichie
March 4, 2012, 08:52 PM
I wouldnt go with an Olympic, of the AR15's, after personal use with one, i would call it bottom lower tier. If you want a good AR and dont want to fork out the $$$ for a Colt, BCM, Daniel Defense... Look into S&W, Rock River, LMT or Stag and maybe Bushmaster. These companies produce excellent weapons for the price.

Lee D
March 4, 2012, 08:55 PM
id buy a Mini14 before id EVER spend 600 on an Olympic

ourichie
March 4, 2012, 08:56 PM
id buy a Mini14 before id EVER spend 600 on an Olympic
+1 on this

Big D
March 4, 2012, 08:57 PM
What, may I ask, I so lowly and bad about an Olympic Arms? Just curious.....

Harvey/ Ga
March 4, 2012, 09:05 PM
I'd choose the AR platform over the Ak's. I've shot a Rock River mid-length carbine over the last 4 years. It has the removable upper and folding front sight. 2 stage match trigger like I had on my Colt HBAR that I shot Service Rifle with for 13 years. Haven't had any reliability problems with it. Maybe the S&W will be as good...they have a lifetime warranty!!

Passed the HBAR on to G-son to try and wear the barrel out at Camp Perry over the next few years.

kopcicle
March 4, 2012, 09:11 PM
Just better bang for the buck available . It's not the consistency or so much the quality of their product as it is the pricing for what you get . That said I owned a .45 upper for some time and had no complaints but then again this was more of a long pistol , with forearm , and stock , and 1.5x optics ...

Now the one Oly "rifle" that I tried to sort out neither I or the owner was happy . Off to GB it went and he is more than happy with the Bushmaster he now owns .

The difference is , in my opinion , the Bushmaster responded to anything we did in the way of adjustment and the Oly usually ignored us .

~kop

ourichie
March 4, 2012, 09:18 PM
I had multiple fte problems with my oly. I would run a test where i would dump 3 mags, chamber a round, let it cool then shoot it. FTE. Now I know that this isnt going to happen on a daily basis, but I need to know that it is going to function flawlessly everytime. Now i get FTE's with my Colt and my DD upper/barrel and Spikes BCG, but no where near the rate of an oly.

It all really about what you want though. If you do pick up the oly, Look into replacing the BCG with something of top quality that has been HPT and MPI inspected. Spikes, BCM, and FailZero all make excellent BCG's

arizona98tj
March 4, 2012, 11:01 PM
+1 on a Smith & Wesson M&P15. If you can get your hands on one, the Sport model is selling well and lots of folks are enjoying them. With there price, you'll have plenty left over for ammo, a cleaning kit, and some quality P-Mags (magazines).

Jibs
March 4, 2012, 11:19 PM
^ I stopped at mom & pop gun store the other day to see if they sold the ruger mini-14 and if they would pricematch. He told me that they cannot keep them in stock, and they are mostly being shipped there, from buds gun shop, etc., and he was just the FFL. So I ended up getting mine at walmart. Walmart guy said they were selling quick as well. I have an inkling this may be due to the 2012 armageddon-ites and the "doomsday preppers"

Lee D
March 4, 2012, 11:28 PM
that, and all the zombie apocolypse bs

Bill_Rights
March 5, 2012, 02:13 AM
Lee D said: id buy a Mini14 before id EVER spend 600 on an OlympicBut, I would go with the Mini-30. Same price rifle and basically the cheapest ammo out there for centerfire rifle. I think the 7.62x39 mm round is inherently a better SD/HD round, being slower moving and twice as massive. But no slouch at 2400 fps. I think the Mini-30 tactical (16.1" barrel with flash hider) that I have handles quickly and smoothly - it gets a lot of admiring comments and looks at the range.

However, other posters above were noting the shortage of Mini-14s. I think Mini-30s may be even harder to reel in. This makes me think others agree with my perception of value.

Girodin
March 5, 2012, 02:32 AM
For defensive use my preference is a quality mil spec or better AR, then a decent AK. I would skip low end ARs, this includes Olympic. It has also been the lower end ARs that I see choking on steel case ammo. Having 1k of ammo isn't much use if your gun won't run it.

I'd look at an AR from someone like PSA or BCM. A PSA upper can be had for 450. A lower can be put together for 200 or less if one shops around. That leaves some money to buy some Pmags and ammo.

I'd rather have a converted Saiga than a Mini 30. The saiga is cheaper, simpler, better/cheaper magazines, and mags and parts are much more widely available. Non of this is to say there is anything wrong with the mini but I think one gets more gun dollar for dollar with the saiga.

However, other posters above were noting the shortage of Mini-14s. I think Mini-30s may be even harder to reel in. This makes me think others agree with my perception of value.

That or not as many are produced and/or stocked because they do not sale as well.

jmr40
March 5, 2012, 07:22 AM
You won't have any trouble finding a quality AR for under $1,000.

http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/36_60/products_id/18336/Bushmaster+AZ-C1516M4FT+223+16+FLAT+30RD

http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/36_787/products_id/53496/S%26W+M%26P+15OR+.223+Carbine+16%22

http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/36_793/products_id/61616/DPMS+RFA2L16+PTHR+LT16+223+COLLAPSIBLE+STOCK

http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/36_800/products_id/411545226/STAG+ARMS+SA2+Right+Hand+223+16+A3

I've had good luck with both Stag and DPMS for around $600. Either would be a far, far better choice than the Mini-14.

You can walk into most Walmarts now and buy an AR for less money than the Ruger and come out with a far better gun.

I have well under $1,000 in my Rock River with 20" target barrel and match trigger. My Stag and DPMS AR's were $650 OTD. That price included the rifle, a telescoping stock, picatinney rail, hard case, cleaning kit, flash hider, two 30 round magazines and sales tax.

A Mini-14 will be right at $600. By the time you pay for all the accessories and pay sales tax you will be just under $900. Ruger magazines alone are $30-$50 each depending on the source and capacity. You can pick up the best AR magazines made for $15 and can often find them for as little as $10 each.

I know a Stag or DPMS isn't a Colt, but they are a lot closer than a Ruger.

JimStC
March 5, 2012, 08:20 AM
I had to do a double take at post #3 regarding putting LMT in the same category as the other mentioned manufacturers. The most basic entry level AR they build is in the $1200 range with prices moving up to $2000-$3000 very quickly. I have seldom seen used ones for sale, but may be looking in the wrong places. But then again I wouldn't sell my CQB/MRP platforms either.
Not being critical but IMHO opinion LMT is in the category of Noveske, DD, etc.
Just sayin', and as alluded to above, I am biased:D.......

LAK
March 5, 2012, 08:27 AM
Saiga rifle, 7.62x39 with 16" barrel. A genuine Russian Izmash factory 100 series Kalashnikov for about $350 new.

helotaxi
March 5, 2012, 08:34 AM
Jim beat me to it re the gross mis-categorization of LMT quality.

I have one of the more expensive PSA (Palmetto State Armory) rifles (20" A3 rifle with a detachable carry handle). Built it from their rifle kit on one of their lowers. I then added one of the more expensive (and THE best) aftermarket triggers in the form of a Giessele Hi-Speed Service Rifle. Add 5 mags of your choice and it's still less than $1k. It shoots well. You can build one of their carbine kits for a good bit less and you certainly don't have to do the trigger upgrade or go to that extreme with it. That would save $280 right there.

maskedman504
March 5, 2012, 08:36 AM
I'd get a pump shotgun for the price of the SKS...ymmv.

gatorjames85
March 5, 2012, 08:52 AM
IAC AK for $579

I would avoid these. I had one that gave me fits. It finally ran right after multiple trips to the gun store and finally the factory, but that was after I fixed numerous problems myself. You're better off with a wasr or you could just wait for a good deal on an ak from a reputable builder. I found an InRange built Hungarian AMM for $600, which is a hell of a better gun than the IAC. Even it needed a little filing on the mag catch to run 100% reliably, though.

almherdfan
March 5, 2012, 08:56 AM
I have a mini-30, which I love. It's an older one that I found used for $500 OTD. I've changed the hammer & recoil springs, added recoil buffers and a flash hider. Accuracy is very good.

The downside, however, is the mini's are harder to find (new or used), magazines are harder to find (locally) and more expensive. Sometimes, it's hard to find ammo. I can get the Tula from W-M, but sometimes have to go to more then one location. Finding HP/SP is even harder, I usually have to drive up to 50 miles to find it.

I personally prefer the way the mini handles to the AR. If you like the AR, you'll have more options finding a rifle you like, in your price range. You'll have far more options regarding mags and ammo. And you can modify the AR in so many ways (although you can do alot with the mini as well).

The SKS is fine if you don't plan to modify it. Adding optics can be frustrating or expensive. They are very fun range guns and accurate enough.

Heck, your 30-30 is a fine HD rifle, you could stick with that and buy a lot of ammo (or start reloading) for 1K.

Lee D
March 5, 2012, 09:01 AM
Ruger FACTORY mini14 mags at Scheels sporting goods....27.99
id sooner spend 30 on a mag I KNOW will work and will last forever vs the ARs that can be picky as to which mags they prefer. i have Ruger mags i bought in '94 that are still as reliable as they were the day i bought em.

i own both, ARs (DD) and a couple Minis, and when the di AR (cant speak for the piston op models) is down for the day needing cleaned, the Garand design will keep on shoothing until the sun goes down. something to be said for a gun like that.

Lee D
March 5, 2012, 09:14 AM
and i wont argue the Mini 30, its a great gun that Ruger does offer 20 rd mags for....its simply a matter of ammo for me. i have several .223s and reload alotta ammo for them, so the Mini 14 is my preference.

Jeff F
March 5, 2012, 09:23 AM
i own both, ARs (DD) and a couple Minis, and when the di AR (cant speak for the piston op models) is down for the day needing cleaned, the Garand design will keep on shoothing until the sun goes down. something to be said for a gun like that.

It takes you all day to clean an AR?

Lee D
March 5, 2012, 09:28 AM
no it doesnt, but i dont bring alotta unnecessary stuff with me when i shoot. between long guns, handguns, LOTS of ammo, targets, ears eyes and binocs, i am usually loaded down. my daughters tag along and love to shoot, not watch dad clean a gun. ;) i clean when i get home.

my point was that the Mini will run dirty longer than an AR will.

Double Vision
March 5, 2012, 09:38 AM
But, I would go with the Mini-30. Same price rifle and basically the cheapest ammo out there for centerfire rifle. I think the 7.62x39 mm round is inherently a better SD/HD round, being slower moving and twice as massive. But no slouch at 2400 fps. I think the Mini-30 tactical (16.1" barrel with flash hider) that I have handles quickly and smoothly - it gets a lot of admiring comments and looks at the range.

However, other posters above were noting the shortage of Mini-14s. I think Mini-30s may be even harder to reel in. This makes me think others agree with my perception of value.

I agree. My Thirty and 14 are great rifles.
If I could get my Thirty to shoot the really cheap Russian ammo I'd be even happier.
For now it's happy with Yugo surplus.

jmr40
March 5, 2012, 09:42 AM
the Garand design will keep on shoothing until the sun goes down. something to be said for a gun like that.


A Garand may keep shooting till the sun goes down, but not the Mini. Despite what the "A Team" did on television the Mini -14 simply does not hold up to extended hard use as well as the AR. There have been several smaller countries who briefly adopted the Mini as a cheaper alternative to the AR as well as some law enforcement agencies over the years. They proved that the Mini would not hold up to hard use and it has been long ago forgotten for this use.

The rifle was designed as a cheap gun to keep in a truck or tractor for farmers to shoot coyotes and other predators. Not for battle. When they sold for 1/3 the price of an AR they made a lot of sense. Now that you can buy an AR for less money they don't make a lot of sense.

Ruger FACTORY mini14 mags at Scheels sporting goods....27.99
id sooner spend 30 on a mag I KNOW will work and will last forever vs the ARs that can be picky as to which mags they prefer. i have Ruger mags i bought in '94 that are still as reliable as they were the day i bought em.

I've never had a single malfunction with ANY AR rifle including magazine, or ammo related. None, no excuses. Can't say that about any of the Rugers I ever owned. 3-4 in 223 and one in 7.62X39. I'm still using mags a lot older than 1994 and can buy new Magpul's for around $15.

happygeek
March 5, 2012, 10:48 AM
I've shot well over 1,000 rounds through a Colt M4 on ranges without stopping to clean it (I wasn't paying for the ammo). All I did was pull the bolt carrier group before starting and oiled it down real good. It didn't give me any problems.

How many rounds are you putting downrange that you have to stop to clean your AR? Personally, when I'm shooting off duty my wallet breaks down long before I have to stop due to any issue with my rifle.

The bulk ammo store around here sells P-Mags for $15 with the window and $13 without it.

For the OP, is work issuing you magazines, mag pouches, chest rigs, etc.? If so you could save money by going the AR route and using mags and gear you have anyway.

gatorjames85
March 5, 2012, 11:02 AM
If I could get my Thirty to shoot the really cheap Russian ammo I'd be even happier.

This is a huge downside to the mini-30 in my eyes. One of the best things about a rifle in 7.62x39 is the cheap Russian ammo. The yugo stuff is cheap and high quality, but I'm not a huge fan of running corrosive through semiautos if I can avoid it. Otherwise, I would take a hard look at a Mini-30.

Lee D
March 5, 2012, 11:07 AM
i guess it depends on the ammo im using before the AR gets dirty and starts having problems. my Mini will run Tula all day long...my DDs wont. and its not that i dont know how to properly clean and lube em either...not my first rodeo. the ARs (in my experience) simply dont like crappy ammo, my Minis dont give a crap what i feed em. im not talking about a couple hundred rounds per session, i reload bulk and have shot roughly 1000 per gun per session as well.

*add what kinda ARs are you buying for less than a mini? i went down that road before and they all were problematic.

Skyshot
March 5, 2012, 03:55 PM
I like the new mini-14 for sure, groups almost as good as my AR does, but the thing I like the most is the way the rifle shoulders, I like AR's but could never warm up to the stocks availible. The mini to me is more balanced, and as the others have said, it eats anything you feed it. Not a big fan of the AK's or Saiga's. Nothing against them I just don't like the fit and finish of them.

d2wing
March 5, 2012, 07:48 PM
AR's are easy to reconfigure or upgrade if needed, for the money I get a Saiga over a Mini but the Mini is a handy little rifle.

almherdfan
March 5, 2012, 08:14 PM
I had big problems shooting the Tula from my Mini-30 before I replaced the hammer spring with a Wolffe extra power spring. Now, it's rarely a FTF.

BemidjiDweller
March 5, 2012, 08:35 PM
If it were me, I would purchase the SKS and a few thousand rounds.

speedway
March 5, 2012, 08:39 PM
Remington 870 12 gauge.

Girodin
March 5, 2012, 09:48 PM
my point was that the Mini will run dirty longer than an AR will.

Assuming agruendo that this is true, it is really a non issue. When was the last time you shot 10K through a gun without cleaning it, let alone 30K+?

Pat Rogers' BCM "filthy 14" did what 31,000+ rounds without being cleaned.

I've never been able to shoot enough steel case through my Noveske to make it choke. I'll typically put a few thousand rounds through it before I clean the bolt off and bore snake it.

*add what kinda ARs are you buying for less than a mini? i went down that road before and they all were problematic.

A PSA could likely be had for less than a mini 30 near the same price as a mini 14.

Any 7.62x39 rifle that wont run the various steel case ammo available is not something I would care to own.

Jeff F
March 6, 2012, 08:20 AM
I've shot well over 1,000 rounds through a Colt M4 on ranges without stopping to clean it (I wasn't paying for the ammo). All I did was pull the bolt carrier group before starting and oiled it down real good. It didn't give me any problems.

Yes, as long as you run them wet and lubed the AR's will run way dirty. There was a kid at the range a while back having problems with his AR choking. I watched him for awhile and he was getting real frustrated. I went down to my jeep and came back with a can of CLP spray. I told him to pull the bolt and spray it down good then shake it off. He got it back together and ripped of 3 30 round mag with no problem after that. I mostly use CLP for light cleaning and wipe downs but it will will work as a lube. My lube of choice is Duralube, the kind you pour in your motor. I use it everywhere oil is called for.

Jeff F
March 6, 2012, 08:30 AM
I had big problems shooting the Tula from my Mini-30 before I replaced the hammer spring with a Wolffe extra power spring. Now, it's rarely a FTF.
That could end up being an issue down the road with a broken firing pin. Mini 30's do not like that hard berden primmed ammo as it is and hitting the firing pin harder just is not the answer.Theres also some question as to weather the mildly corrosive commie 7.62 x39 is corroding the tip of the firing and causing it to break.

gatorjames85
March 6, 2012, 09:46 AM
That could end up being an issue down the road with a broken firing pin. Mini 30's do not like that hard berden primmed ammo as it is and hitting the firing pin harder just is not the answer.Theres also some question as to weather the mildly corrosive commie 7.62 x39 is corroding the tip of the firing and causing it to break.

If you're talking about ammo listed as non-corrosive(Wolf, Golden Tiger, etc.), my experience has been that it is completely non-corrosive.

Rifleman 173
March 6, 2012, 10:41 AM
For a good overall survival/personal defense rifle, go with a scoped AK that has a folding stock or a collapsing stock. Mount a simple 4 X or 4 power magnification scope on it and you should be ready to go anywhere and any time if the scope has illuminated reticles on it. You can get an AK in any of the 3 calibers: 7.62 X 39, 5.45 X 39 and in .223 caliber too.

sixgunner455
March 6, 2012, 11:04 AM
big D, I think you answered the question when you said you were in law enforcement. Go to Colt or Ruger or one of the other companies that does LE discounts, and get an AR. Use ammo from work, or whatever discount house they get their ammo from to get a case for yourself, or bite the bullet and order some. Use mags from work if they issue them, or buy a handful of Magpuls.

Carry your rifle at work, if you want and can get authorized to do so.

Jeff F
March 6, 2012, 11:09 AM
No, I was talking about the Wolf extra power hammer spring. There have been a few guys that put one in trying to get hard berden primed ammo to fire more consistently and ended up with a broken firing pin.

The corrosive I was talking about is some of the Russian surplus that is on the market, and some think it may be the cause of of some firing pin failures. Myself I think its just the berden primed ammo. No one shooting boxer primed ammo seems to be having any issues.

gatorjames85
March 6, 2012, 11:32 AM
Myself I think its just the berden primed ammo. No one shooting boxer primed ammo seems to be having any issues.

I would agree with that. I try to stick to combloc ammo in combloc guns and western ammo in western guns, mainly due to the differences in primer hardness (I know some will vehemently disagree with this position).

JustinJ
March 6, 2012, 11:54 AM
Arsenal in 5.45 is about $800. 1100 rounds is about $130. And it will run dripping wet or bone dry. "Will run for x amount of rounds if kept wet" does not impress me as just about any mechanical device will operate with enough lube.

kopcicle
March 15, 2012, 12:43 AM
Will run for x amount of rounds if kept wet

Mine just lies there ...

~kop

mac66
March 15, 2012, 10:33 AM
Sixgunner is right, the choice is a no-brainer. Go with the AR, use your LEO discount, use department ammo and mags if available. I picked up a nice S&W M&P AR just before I retired for about $700 on a LEO discount.

JustinJ
March 15, 2012, 02:41 PM
Quote:
Will run for x amount of rounds if kept wet

Mine just lies there ...

Why buy a gun if all it's gona do is just lie there?

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