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AR15 and AK47, or M1A?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Bobson, Jun 19, 2012.


Buy the AR15 and AK47, or just the M1A?

Poll closed Jul 19, 2012.
  1. Get the Colt 6920 and Arsenal SGL21-61. Simple tools for the utilatarian.

    102 vote(s)
  2. Get the M1A SOCOM. It's as simple as it is elegant.

    32 vote(s)
  1. Bobson

    Bobson Senior Member

    Aug 9, 2011
    Snohomish County, Washington
    I admit to being especially drawn to the "combat rifle" niche. Obviously, an AR15 is particularly appealing to me, because I was trained with one and the platform is familiar. However, the AK47 platform is equally appealing, for all the same reasons, plus the fact that I just enjoy shooting it more, for whatever reason.

    I find the M1A at least as appealing as the other two, if not more... but for reasons I can't really explain. Never fired one. Never handled one. No clue how to field strip it, etc.

    If I buy an AR15 (it would be the Colt 6920 without question), I must also buy an AK (an Arsenal SGL21-61). However, if I buy the M1A (likely a Springfield SOCOM), I feel I could ignore the AR/AK and be a happy camper, having adequately filled the niche with a powerhouse - in terms of caliber, function (from what I hear), aesthetics, etc, etc.

    What would you do if you were me? Buy both an AR15 and AK47 (over time), or buy an M1A and be a happy camper? How's the field-strip process of the M1A? IMO, the AR and AK are both simple, reliable, familiar machines. Is the M1A more of a "high maintenance" rifle?

    By the way, the availability of aftermarket "mods" for any of these three rifles is absolutely worthless to me - adding nothing in terms of appeal. The AK would certainly remain bone-stock, and the AR most likely would too. An EOTech, possibly, but nothing more. Same goes for the M1A.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012
  2. The-Reaver

    The-Reaver Member

    Dec 27, 2010
    I've owned all three.

    Though I like the M1A I do not regret selling it. I shoot and use the AK and AR a lot more.
  3. CGRifleman

    CGRifleman Member

    Jul 16, 2010
    I've owned an AR, a few AKs, a standard M1a and a SOCOM-16. The M1a is fun but is very overpriced in my opinion. So are the magazines. Field stripping is slightly more difficult than an AR (I've been bit by the trigger assembly a few times) but if you know anything about guns which you obviously do it's not a problem.
    Have you considered a .308 AR? That would give you the punch of a full-power battle rifle but keep the familiarity and ergonomics of an AR15. If not, the AR and AK would still be a solid choice.

    Some words on the SOCOM... it is a blast to shoot, and believe me this thing has some serious bark to it. But remember that the M14 platform was not designed to use a 16" barrel. The muzzle brake on it was put on there to create enough pressure for the gas system to cycle reliably. Never had any malfs with mine, but it's something to be aware of before you spend money on it. Also if you use anything over 150gr bullets you're risking bending your op rod. All in all I liked the gun, but I eventually sold it because given the price of .308 shells I couldn't afford to put as many rounds through it as I could with an AR or AK.
    Hope this helps!
  4. meanmrmustard

    meanmrmustard Senior Member

    Jun 14, 2011
    The AK or a Gas Piston AR

    Get the SGL. It does not have to be babied, cleaned as often, and fires a cheaper round than does the AR. Colt specifically, in my experience having owned up until last Christmas the same model you're interested in, has poor customer service. I inquired about what looked to me to be shotty staking on the gas key, got "not my problem" out of CS dude on the phone.

    I find the AK to be a superior design. Loose tolerances means reliability, gas piston action shoots cleaner than DI. Even with steel cased rounds. Eugene Stoner must've been stoned when he came up with the AR, what with blowing hot, carbon fouling rich gasses back into the chamber of the rifle. If I were you, being that you've decided to spend near or at $1000 on a Colt, I'd suggest a lesser costing model (as there isn't anything a RRA, M&P, or Stag can't do that the Colt can) and save the money on ammo, or convert the platform to gas piston. While heavier, it's cleaner and quite reliable. I do not see the DI AR as simpler, when it must be cleaned soooo much more often. IMHO.

    As for AK vs AR, AK is more reliable, AR is gonna trump that in accuracy. This is moot if you find a decently priced gas piston AR. That would be my second choice.
  5. eastbank

    eastbank Senior Member

    Jul 30, 2009
    i have a ar and a ak, but i just like walnut in the morning and on my rifles. eastbank.

    Attached Files:

  6. nathan

    nathan Senior Member

    Feb 4, 2003
    Just get a SGL 21 with lots of Chicom made mags without the backrib which can hurt at times. If you have the phallic syndrome the MIA platform is hard to beat. Also it will cost more to feed and surplus ammo can be hard to find. I already replaced my STG 58 with the M1 Garand for the big bore category. I ve never regretted it.
  7. MIL-DOT

    MIL-DOT member

    Jun 20, 2006
    In my opinion, whether purchasing for some future SHTF scenario, or basic home defense, and just blasting at the range, the AK is the best, most practical bang for the buck, followed by the AR, and then the M1A.
  8. Youngster

    Youngster Member

    Oct 9, 2003
    Pacific Northwest
    A Colt AR, and an Arsenal AK, are of much higher quality than Springfield's interpretation of an M-14.
  9. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

    Feb 26, 2011
    se fla i love claymores 01/sot
  10. kayak-man

    kayak-man Senior Member

    Nov 2, 2009
    PAC-NW but I'm playing on the beach in Florida for
    I'd look into a L1A1/FAL for your 7.62NATO needs, and an AK or AR for something that you can shoot without spending lots of $$$ on ammo.

    Chris "the Kayak-Man" Johnson
  11. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Oct 22, 2007
    Central PA
    For the things I do with a semi-auto carbine, I'd choose the AR and/or AK. The M1A is a fine rifle that certainly has a place in most riflemen's collection, but it isn't a "go-to" rifle for any purpose I can think of.

    Rifle marksmanship competition is hands-down AR-15 over the M14 and its clones.

    "Practical/Action" competition favors the AR, with the AK coming in second as "sort of" competitive.

    If your rifle shooting is limited to simple range plinking, it doesn't make much difference what you choose, all will get the job done. The AKs (especially a -74) will do it a lot cheaper than the M1A, and a little cheaper than an AR.

    Unfortunately, the farther you get from a dedicated purpose, the harder it is to answer the question definitively. But aside from aesthetics, if it appeals to you, I can't think of any purpose I'd go out an buy an M1A to fulfill, over the other choices.
  12. henschman

    henschman Senior Member

    Nov 13, 2010
    Oklahoma City
    I'm all for M1A's and other .30 cal battle rifles, but I don't see the purpose behind something like the SOCOM. It's not great for longer range shooting and it's not great for close quarters dynamic shooting. Also, it doesn't have the same reputation for reliability as the standard M1A. I know there are lots of people who like them, and I'm sure they are pretty fun range toys, but if you're talking about combat rifles, a SOCOM would not rank very high on my list of rifles to take into combat, regardless of the situation.

    If you want to go .30 cal, I would start with something a little more conventional, like a standard M1A. Or like someone else said, a .308 AR isn't a bad idea either.

    The AK and AR are basically two rifles for the same role... shorter ranged, intermediate power carbines. If you don't have a big gun collection, I would suggest diversifying a little more rather than buying both of those. Just pick one of the two, and then save the rest for that .30 cal battle rifle... or better yet, spend it on a couple thousand rounds and some training for that carbine. After that, your gun knowledge will be increased and you will probably have a better idea of what else you want.

    If it were me, I'd buy the AR, 10 mags, and a case or two of ammo. For training, I would start by going to an Appleseed to get a really good basis in the fundamentals, and then going to a weekend carbine course of some sort from a reputable instructor.
  13. Skribs

    Skribs Senior Member

    Oct 29, 2010
    Lakewood, Washington
    Personally, I wouldn't get the AK, just the AR. Nothing against the AK, I just prefer the AR platform and only want one platform.
  14. wojownik

    wojownik Senior Member

    May 15, 2009
    I voted for Colt AR and the SGL AK. Not that big on the Socom configuration particularly. The M1A Standard in walnut, however, is a thing of beauty.

    Still, I think you might get more usage out of the AR and AK, whether informal plinking, three gun matches, etc...
  15. tomrkba

    tomrkba Senior Member

    May 30, 2010
    AR-15 is the better choice.

    The whole "avoiding accessories" bit comes off as a bit naive or overly optimistic. Add accessories that you need for the purpose of the gun. If the purpose is self-defense, then a minimal rail is required to hold a light. I only use a hand stop and a light on my gun. I use a modular rail since static rails are annoying. I also added sling mount points, which are essential. I use a Viking Tactics sling. I use my training instead of gadgets, but some gadgets are worth having.

    Build the gun around the optic. Variable 1.0-1.1x to 8x are very versatile. Plain 1x just doesn't cut it since it makes target location and identification difficult. The EoTech and Aimpoints are good for their purpose, but a variable optic covers far more scenarios. Shooting without a variable optic is like putting a governor on a muscle car. The improvement in shooting performance over an EoTech or Aimpoint is excellent.

    AK's just have too much trouble with optics. If you decide to mount an optic on an AK, then look at the Texas Weapon Systems rail on a STAMPED receiver. Upgrade the stock and add a raised cheek rest. Trijicon has their 3x ACOG for 7.62x39mm, but most variable optics can be used.

    Ammunition selection for the AK is terrible, while there are many quality choices available for the AR-15. You get your choice of Wolf or Tula in the reasonably priced category. Brass cased defensive ammunition for the AK is very expensive. This is my primary problem with the AK platform and is the reason why I switched to the AR-15.

    If you don't like 5.56x45mm, then take a look at 300 Blackout. You get the modern platform with the upgraded power. Your standard 5.56x45mm magazines will function with 300 Blackout.

    The M1A is a whole different problem. Mounting a variable optic on that platform is an expensive challenge. The various rail systems are expensive and heavy. I think the M1A Scout is the way to go with a red dot. Also research receivers. Building a correct M1A with a good receiver is an expensive proposition. Magazines are another issue that require careful consideration.

    If you must have a gun in 7.62x51mm, then take a look at LaRue's guns. They are very, very good. I think many manufacturers of AR-10 style rifles have worked out the reliability issues at this point.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2012
  16. Ar180shooter

    Ar180shooter Member

    Nov 28, 2011
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    I've owned two Norinco M14s rifles, an AR-15, an AR-180b and two VZ-58's. I still have 1 VZ-58 and the AR-15. M14 platform rifles are great, but for my purposes (target shooting, usually 300m or less), they are just too expensive to feed and aren't as accurate as other offerings. So with this said, IMHO go for the AK and AR.
  17. Adam123

    Adam123 Member

    Nov 15, 2010
    Ar+ak > m1a
  18. ChCx2744

    ChCx2744 Senior Member

    Sep 12, 2008
    The 6920 is a top tier AR and the SGL21 is a top tier AK. Get those.
  19. a-sheepdog

    a-sheepdog Member

    Mar 2, 2008
    Houston, Texas
    I voted against the M1A simply because of the version that you chose. I would not buy the SOCOM simply because it is noisier with the brake and can not be changed. I would purchase a "Bush" Model if I were looking for another M1A. They are much sturdier than an AR, but you pay for it in weight. I guess if given a choice, I would pick an M1A Bush model and an AR-15 with the M1A being my first purchase.
  20. bri

    bri Member

    Jun 10, 2009
    Mound, MN
    Step 1 - Buy an AR and AK now.
    Step 2 - Begin saving for M1A for later purchase.

    Problem solved!

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