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A dumb newbie question but here goes...

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Telesway, Oct 7, 2008.

  1. Telesway

    Telesway Well-Known Member

    What's a good all-around rifle?

    From what I've gathered, it should be .308.

    Just how accurate are AR-10 rifles when compared to, say, a Remington 700 series rifle? Or a CZ550 Varmint? And do the maximum distances differ and if so, by how much? I guess they have to, otherwise snipers would use AR's, right?

    What I mean by an all-around rifle is a rifle that can take out most creatures (deer, wolves, humans, what about bears), is accurate up to a few hundred yards (atleast 300+) but possibly could be used in shorter distances as well, maybe even as a home defense gun.

    A rifle that doesn't necessarily out-perform every other rifle in a specific task but works "well enough" in just about all situations.

    An M14-type rifle perhaps? Do they still make those? Or are have they all been replaced by AR-type rifles?

    Thanks in advance!

    Edit: Does any other company except Ruger make Mini-14 style rifles?
  2. jjohnson

    jjohnson Well-Known Member

    Big Question.

    Whew! That's a lot to cover, but I'll give you a thumbnail sketch idea....

    All around rifle - jeez, that depends on what you plan to do with it, but yes, a .308 is a fair place to start. It does have enough power to take down most game in the Americas. I would want something bigger for Kodiak or Polar bears, perhaps Grizzly, because they're "dangerous big game" to many of us. Certainly a well placed shot would be lethal with one, but many of us would want even more with dangerous bears (black bears are not in this category). The different ammo types cover everything from varmint to big game class. There are many other cartridge options, but .308 is a good starting point. Ammo is cheap and plentiful, the round is accurate.

    Most of us don't often shoot past 300 yards as a practical thing. If you're a varmint hunter in Wyoming or a pronghorn hunter in Utah - yeah, maybe. But chances you'd go for a 22-250 for varmints or a .270 for pronghorn. The .308 is a good all around round.

    AR-type rifles aren't designed to optimize accuracy. They're more about firepower. They can be accurized, but most of us who hunt at longer ranges opt for bolt actions. I'd try to get 1 MOA groups from a bolt action at 100 yards, but would be happy with 2 MOA from any AR. (Roughly speaking, MOA is an inch group at 100 yards).

    I don't care for AR type firearms for home defense because I don't need a stray bullet going God Only Knows where. I prefer a 12-gauge shotgun for that. There's no arguing, though, that a .308 has enough juice to do the job.

    The M1A is a civilian sort of M14 - semiautomatic only, and some of them are very accurate and dependable. You'll see them in rifle matches, which tells you something about it. You can get a heavy barreled match gun or a shorter 'scout' version if you like, depending on your tastes and needs. There's plenty of debate to be had over whether an AR in .223 or 7.62 x 39 has enough power to do what you want. I don't want to go there, but others will. For my money, being a vet, I never liked mouseguns and would take the M14 any day even if I had to carry the ammo for it. And the Russian round wasn't made for long range accuracy. You'll find .308s plentiful enough with the tactical snipers - and that tells you something also.

    Hope this helps. This isn't at all conclusive, just one guy's opinions. I know many others won't agree.
  3. ClemY

    ClemY Well-Known Member

    IMO, a .308 makes a much better all-around rifle caliber than .223.

    That said, there are plenty of choices, based on your personal preference, from which to choose. Bolt guns, semi-autos. I tend to prefer the M-14 clones, but the AR-10s appear to be the coming thing. Remington, and a number of other makers are getting into the AR business.

    The latest Army sniper rifle is an AR-10 variant in .308.
  4. Telesway

    Telesway Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the replies!

    I found Springfield Armory makes an M14 clone by the name of M1A. http://www.springfield-armory.com/armory.php?version=41

    Is there anything else sacrificed with that platform when compared to a bolt action than accuracy/range?

    I might be off here but it seems the M1A is kind of in-between a bolt action hunting rifle and an AR-10..?
  5. Ghost Walker

    Ghost Walker Well-Known Member

    I don't feel like writing a book; but, based on my 50 year's experience with riflery, I'd suggest to you that there are numerous good reasons to select the 30-06 over a 308 caliber rifle. (Ammo, especially foreign ammo, and frequent headspace issues are the first problems I'd encourage a new shooter to stay away from.)

    Nobody ever outshot my 30-06 with a 308, either. If you want a nice rifle avoid the cast metal parts on a commercial M1-A1; and, get yourself either a DCM or Fulton Armory Garand M1 rifle. These things said: If I were learning how to shoot all over again, I'd rather do it with a 5.56x45mm cartridge.

    If you can't get yourself out of a, 'one rifle does it all' mindset then take a look at Thompson Center Arms. A nice Encore Rifle might do it for ya!
  6. moooose102

    moooose102 Well-Known Member

    personally, if i was going to buy one rifle, and ONLY one rifle, it would be a Remington 700 30-06. that is my opinion. even though the 308, and 30-06 are ballistically equivalant. there is a larger variety of ammo for the 30-06 than any other rifle catridge. and the Remington 700 is tried and true, stone dead reliable, very accurate, nice fit/finish etc. 50 grain accelerator ammo for varmints @ 4000+fps all the way up to 220 grain moose / bear ammo. if there is one rifle that can, will, and has killed every animal in north america, this is it.
  7. Redlg155

    Redlg155 Well-Known Member

    If you are wanting to learn a bit about the M1a type rifles, try this link..


    There is a wealth of information to be learned. As for being between a bolt action and Ar10, I don't think there can be a fair comparison made. The M1a is pretty much in a class by itself with many dedicated users. Given the 1300+ price tag, the M1a is something the average shooter would definitely have to save for. You will find a mix of shooters varying from nostalgic (Vietnam Era Vets who carried the M14), Tactical shooters (M14s are still used today in our armed forces), competitors, and folks who just like the idea of owning something special.

    However, if I had to choose an ultra dependable all around rifle, I'd go with a good solid bolt action. The Savage 10fp series with the accutrigger is an excellent place to start. Now if you want to have fun...try shooting a Mosin M44 in 7.62 Russian. Ammo is cheap and specimens can still be found for under $100.00.
  8. Rifleman 173

    Rifleman 173 Well-Known Member

    Try the 7.62 X 39 fired from a Robinson XCR carbine. That would be just about the ideal shooting platform and best basic bullet. Of course, it would not be a great long range round. But it should meet 99.99% of most shooting needs around the house, out in the fields and so on.
  9. hayes1966

    hayes1966 Active Member

    A newbies answer .. I would go with a bolt action firearm for target and hunting purposes. If you intened to shoot targets at 300+ yards I suggest you buy the best optics you can.

    I agree with the previous poster on a 12 gauge as the best home defence firearm, loaded with slugs and 00 buck.
  10. fastbike

    fastbike Well-Known Member

    +1 for Hayes 1966. You can get both a Model 700 and a 12 ga Defender or Persuader for a lot less than either an AR10 or M14.
  11. aliveisalive

    aliveisalive Well-Known Member

    Only thing i have to say - if you like to shoot alot, .308 may not be the best choice.

    .223 while still getting up there is nearly half the price of .308.

    Just something to consider
  12. Telesway

    Telesway Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info everyone!

    One more rifle I'd like to ask about: the AK.

    From what I've gathered, I have four options here: the AR-10, the AK, the M1A, and the bolt action.

    The bolt action platform has the best accuracy, right? What has the second best accuracy? The M1A or the AR? I've come to understand that the AK is the least accurate of the bunch, is this correct?

    Which of them is lowest-maintenance and easiest to maintain (field strip, clean, requires the least amount of "pampering")? The AK? The bolt action?

    Is any of those four platforms particularly difficult to disassemble/maintain? The AR or the M1A the most difficult?
  13. C-grunt

    C-grunt Well-Known Member

    Truthfully, unless you are a really good shooter, I dont think you will see a huge difference accuracy wise between the AR and a bolt gun. The bolts can be more accurate, but a good AR will group 1 moa without much of a problem. The AR10 would be a great hunting, target and home defense weapon. .308 is a bit big for home defense if you live in a city as it will penetrate a lot. Proper ammo selection can lessen that dramatically though.

    The M1A is similar to the AR in the regards of what I was saying above. Its a different system, but would also make a very good all around rifle.

    A bolt would make a good hunting and competition rifle but would be lacking in the home defense role. But they tend to be vastly cheaper than an AR10 or M1A, leaving extra money for say a shotgun.

    If the hunting part is a low priority one, Id say look into a .223/5.56 rifle. Ammo is a lot cheaper and, with the heavier rounds, can easily shoot targets past 300 yards. Ive shot targets with my M16 in basic training at 500 yards with iron sights. Military M16s are not as accurate as a good civilian AR15 and the ammo is a lot better store bought too. Also the AR15 makes an excellent home defense weapon as a light weight hollowpoint or softpoint .223 will be most likely have less overpenetration in your house than a errant buckshot from a 12 guage.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2008

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