New predator rifle - yeah, it's an AR


December 20, 2012, 05:05 AM
I've been talking about trying a little predator hunting this winter. Maybe try to call in a couple of coyotes or fox... maybe even a lynx if I'm lucky. And, I think my wife may be getting me an electronic call for Christmas... I think.

Anyway, that discussion has forced me to look at my current selection of rifles to see if I really have something appropriate for predator hunting. I do have a Savage 24 in .222/20g. But, while I love the .222 cartridge, the pencil barreled over/under would probably not be anybody's first selection for serious predator hunting. And while I think that my Mini-14 would probably work better than the Savage, it's probably more appropriate for closer shots, or for home defense, as it isn't exactly a tack driver. Other than those two, everything else I have is 270win or larger... probably a little much for the little fur-bearers.

So, I've been keeping half an eye on the local market for the past few weeks, so I would have a pretty good idea of what was available, thinking I might buy something after the holidays if I found a good deal. I was really looking for a .204, but they are pretty scarce here, and I knew I probably wouldn't find one and would have to "settle" for a .223.

So, seeing as now is the prime time to be buying a new AR (yeah, I may be as crazy as all the panic-buyers out there right now :scrutiny:), I wandered around a few local shops at lunch today just to see what was still available. WalMart had the same half-dozen or so carbines that they've had since I started looking: a Remington R15 in 30 Rem AR, a couple of thumpers, and a couple of other units in .223/5.56. But no S&W, Colt, or other mid-grade manufacturers for the $1k price tag they all seem to have. Sportsmans Warehouse didn't have anything on sale, their racks were only about half full, and there were a LOT of customers milling around the gun counter.

A small local shop had about eight AR's left, all carbines, and they were all over $1200. They did say they had one Ruger SR556E coming in later today, and they wanted full retail for it - $1375.

Then, before I headed back to work, I happened to stop by the gun counter at the local Fred Meyers grocery/seudo-department store. While I was there, something caught my eye. It wasn't the 24-inch stainless triangular barrel. Nor was it the olive drab core surrounded by the camo furniture. But, rather, what caught my eye was the SALE tag hanging from the trigger guard. That's right... somebody out there had obviously not heard that there was a major shortage of all things AR right now. :rolleyes: Not only was there still one on the rack, it was actually on sale. Unbelievable. And after a quick sanity-check/price-check on the i-Phone, I decided that even though it was chambered in .223 instead of .204, I really couldn't pass it up.

So, my lunch hour may have went a little long today. But a brand new Remington R-15 VTR SS Varmint is now my new predator rifle. At just under $1k, it was almost $200 cheaper than Bud's was selling them for, and I don't have to pay freight to Alaska, or FFL transfer fees.

It won't stay in this configuration, but as soon as I got home I mounted a Burris E1 on it and dropped a long mag in for pictures. In reality, it may keep the E1, but it will likely never see the 30-cap mag again. Looks cool though.
(sorry for the craptacular phone picture - it's the best I could do at the time)

And, for the record, I stopped back by Sportsman's Warehouse after work to see what they had for scope mounts. All I can say is - wow - what are all these people thinking? The rack where they usually have about ... mmm ... maybe 50 or so AR's (the same rack that was about half empty at lunch) now held only TWO AR's. And I also wandered around the ammo and reloading sections where I found almost nothing that even remotely resembled .223/5.56 ammo or components. I'm glad I still have 600 or so rounds I bought a while back for the Mini. This is getting crazy.

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