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First "Fun Gun"

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by h4v0c, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. h4v0c

    h4v0c Member

    Hey all, after poking my head around a bunch of forums this one seems to provide the most civilized discussions that don't always spiral into talks about which gun you want in your bug out vehicle ready to shoot zombie liberals from 500 yards out when the unavoidable collapse of this government happens.

    So anyway I recently purchased my first gun, a Glock19. It was meant to be my "in a safe by the night stand" gun while still being fun and reliable at the range. However while at the range with my friends they are always letting me test out their basic AR-15s, AK pistol and 9mm carbines.....horrible influence lol.

    So of course I caught the black rifle bug. Now I want one of my own, and while I fully expect that I will one day end up with both (don't tell my wife) I can't decide which to get first. I am hoping that I can avoid the 7.62 vs .223 religious debate if I explain what I expect to do, and the shooting style I enjoy.

    Rifle experience/opinion:

    30-06 semi-auto traditional hunting look rifle (unsure brand/model): Fun enough though the recoil was enough to ensure I don't put 100 rounds through it while out. Less "fun factor" for me and I didn't like the grip. I like pistol grips better.

    2 very similar built 16'' AR's. They both looked like your average entry level AR. One with red dot and one with just iron sites. Had a blast shooting both and for first time shooting them was pretty accurate.

    AK pistol: ok not a rifle but only experience with AK platform. Emptying a high cap mag as fast as I could pull the trigger left me with a huge grin, especially with as loud as it was and all the muzzle flash. But after that initial impression is quickly got lackluster to me. Wasn't as accurate (for me) as the AR's and the ergonomics just didn't do it for me. However this was a pistol, not a rifle AK so i don't want to rule it out.

    9mm High Point Carbine: dirt cheap with looks to match but fun as heck to shoot, very accurate and shares ammo with my Glock. At around $250 this was going to be my "fun gun", but that I starting seeing some AK's for just a "little" more, and could build an AR for yet a "littl"e more than that....you get the idea lol.

    20 gauge shotgun: what can i say, it made big holes and had the shotgun racking sound, of course it was fun.

    Shooting Style:
    Pray and spray with the AK pistol was a fun way to kill a box of ammo in 5 seconds, but honestly not what I expect to do all the time...especially since i hit the dirt more than the target. I did however have the time of my life when we set up a small target and took turns shooting one controlled shot at a time to see who could hit it first. Before you jump to a bolt action suggestion, I also have a lot of fun trying to keep tight groups with a double or triple tap. Also keep in mind all my experience has been at 50 yards or less, though I would love to find an outdoor range where I can try 100+ yards. I say the winner here is a tie between the 9mm carbine and the AR.

    Plans for the gun:
    Shooting paper and other misc targets. Highly doubtful I will ever go hunting, and as you guessed from my opening paragraph I don't think I have to worry about the government collapsing in my life time and need this to protect my home and family. I will grab my Glock before any rifle in the rare chance I experience a home break in. I'd say this is a tie, all can shoot paper. This is where I hope your longer term experience/opinions can help.

    Hard to nail this down. I'd love to say under/around $600, but I know how I am and I tend to let cost rise for higher end components. So I will say I want the best bang for my buck. Also I am willing to build it myself, but prefer the upper pre-built since most posts I read said that is a little harder for a new builder to do properly. Winner is the 9mm carbine, then the AK, then the AR

    Much less important technically speaking, but I do prefer the look of the AR platform over the traditional AK with wood accents look. I have seen some nice all black AK based guns, and would be plenty happy with them, but the AR looks has a small place in my heart. Winner is AR, then AK (in all black), then the carbine.

    Any help/opinions would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Ballistics

    Ballistics Member

    The main points I got is that you're looking for something black, for self defense, plus occasional plinking, to complement your Glock.

    Of your choices I would say the Hi-Point carbine (to share ammo and you said you liked it) or the 20 gauge shotgun.

    One step further, I would advise you to look into a Saiga 12 shotgun... it's sort of an AK platform shotgun that you can have fun with at the range, enough recoil where you won't want to put 100 rounds though it, it's black, and can be used for home defense.
  3. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    Cost may be the real issue here.

    The AR's are great but can be genuine money pits. That's the main reason I've avoided that platform. There's almost no end of gizmos and dodads you can add, and no limit to the prices charged. You *CAN* keep it simple, with sufficient will power. But the temptations of the dark side are strong. Also, a cheap beater AR can become a real nuisance if it has been abused and has some internal problems.

    Your price cap would lead me to suggest a nice AK clone. I'd say search for a used SAR-1 Romanian or one of the nicer new builds. The pistol variants have very limited use, as you already discovered. But a nice AK can be softball accurate with iron sights out to 75 meters. And it will go all day long with the big thumpatathumpatathumpata action.
  4. jeepguy

    jeepguy Well-Known Member

    mini 14 580 tacticle good lite rifle or if you like wood take a look at the mini 14 deluxe limited with a nice circassian walnut stock and like the tacticle it has the flash hider. it will be more accurate then the ak but a little less accurate then a standard ar.
  5. bannockburn

    bannockburn Well-Known Member


    Well you can still get a new AR for around $600; pretty much bare bones with iron sights, probably a fixed stock, and one 30 round magazine. As Cosmoline alluded to in his post, the temptation to start adding all sorts of extras to the basic platform is very strong.

    A friend of mine did just that when he took a basic Olympic Arms AR (purchased new for $600), and proceded to tack on, modify, and/or replace enough parts on it to quickly make it a nearly $1200 gun. Factor in the added cost of spare magazines, lots of surplus ammo, carrying case, spotting scope, and range time, and you've got yourself some serious money tied up in just one "fun" gun.

    Beware the dark side of a Black Rifle as a Fun Gun.
  6. Gord

    Gord Well-Known Member

    A good, cheap way to get into an AR-15 would be CMMG's Bargain Bin, if they're still offering that deal. Barring that, Del-Ton sells rifle kits pretty inexpensively. You provide your own lower for those, but it's only another $100 at most and you can have the kit shipped straight to your door in the meantime. Either way, figure about $600.

    As to AKs, the best deal going right now is to convert a Saiga if you're even the least bit handy with tools. This also gives you the freedom to choose what you want to put on the gun, at least as far as furniture goes. My conversion ran me about $450 all told, and I believe the price has held fairly steady on both the guns and components, but even at $500, you're still under your budget threshold.

    The AK will be significantly cheaper in the long run, both in initial cost and ammo bills. 5.45x39 is a bit cheaper than 7.62x39, but 7.62 offers a much wider selection of factory loads (including JSP for home defense or hunting) and both calibers are significantly less costly than 5.56 is.

    If you really do just want something for pure "fun" and don't care about rifle-distance shooting, the Hi-Point is probably your best bet. It's a lot cheaper than an AR or AK, you'll have ammo commonality with your Glock and the aftermarket ATI stock makes it look and feel much, much less cheap than the factory stocks do (here's a picture from another thread right here on THR). Downside: no high-capacity magazines.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011
  7. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker Well-Known Member

    For your uses it would be hard to beat a good 18" pump action 12-ga and/or an SKS. An AK-type could be had in your price range as well.

    As for the AR-accessory-itis, I personally don't get it. A standard 16" with A2 sights or a flat-top with a low-powered scope can do a lot of what you need a rifle to do and is simple and reliable. But I'm not a "pimp my ride" kind of person, which I think puts me in the minority. Also, I've spent a lot of time on the trigger of a National Match AR with A2-pattern sights.

    Also, if you spend a lot of time at the range burning ammo, you may want to look into getting some kind of .22LR. Either a rifle or a handgun to start with, you will end up with a couple of each at some point. A Ruger 10/22 rifle and a Ruger Mk III pistol shouldn't set you back more than $500-600 combined and you will have platforms well suited to helping you improve your marksmanship and introduce new shooters on.
  8. Jaws

    Jaws Well-Known Member

    Black SGL31 in 5.45x39.

    Top quality AK. Decent accuracy. Good, looks, super reliable and shoots the cheapest centerfire rifle cartridge you can buy. The rifle may be about $100 over your price, but you'll quickly save that in ammo.
  9. RonE

    RonE Well-Known Member

    A friend of mine just bought three VZ 58's which I believe are Czec AK 47's with milled receivers and a gas piston (rather than a stamped receiver and no piston). The manufacturer (remanufacturer) is Century Arms and the receivers look excellent! The rifles have a folding stock and plastic grip and fore end. The plastic is brown and looks like particle board but can easily be painted black. The folding stock allows the fun gun to be operated almost like a pistol with the stock folded or unfolded like a rifle. The guns feel better than most AK's in my opinion and they cost less than $400 each. Considering the cost of ammo for the long run and the cost of the gun in the short run, it seems to me to be what you are looking for. Good luck on your quest.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011
  10. Panzercat

    Panzercat Well-Known Member

    Since you're in the hi-point range, might as well look at a Keltec Sub2000. Ugly as sin, but it folds up like every other keltec if that's a consideration. Won't run you more than $300 street value. MMMmm, kellllltecccc.... :D

    Also, consider an old fashion lever rifle since we're in the pistol calibers. Not a black rifle, but they're tons of fun and I guarantee your friends will want to shoot off a few rounds. Rossi is a purveyor of decent quality levers at moderate prices.

    If you're looking to move away from pistol calibers, there's the Ruger Mini14 or Keltech SU16(a,b,c,ca) in the budget 5.56/223 caliber range. neither should run you more than $550 on a bad day.

    Tough decision, so best of luck!
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011
  11. epijunkie67

    epijunkie67 Well-Known Member

    +1 for the Hi Point as a nice "fun gun" that can be pressed into other service when needed. The ammo is cheaper than rifle caliber ammo. I have one and it has pretty decent ergonomics. Not a big fan of the magazine, but it's a minor quibble.

    You can get them really cheap new, even less used. I have the 9mm but if I even get another one I'd go for the .40.

    Take all the money you save by getting the High Point and start saving up for a nice quality rifle. The carbine can "scratch your itch" until you get the cash together for a good AR or quality AK, or even a nice Saiga.
  12. Jaws

    Jaws Well-Known Member

    The only thing in common between Vz58 and AK is the cartridge. Vz58 has more in common with the german K43 and Mp44 than with the AK. And yes, the AK is a gas piston rifle.:)
  13. h4v0c

    h4v0c Member

    Wow, thank you all for the opinions so far. I must say the community here is very helpful. To help clarify since some people were mentioning home defense comments, this is not the purpose for this gun. This will be purely for the once every 2-3 months at the range fun.

    As for the AR and it's "accessory-itis", oh I have no doubt I would catch it and catch it hard. Once I get into something I start with all the intentions in the world to keep it enconomical, and before I know it I am tripple my budget. Just ask my wife about the free 10g fish tank i got from my sister for fun that turned into a dual 30g, live planted setup on a 74'' 2x4 framed stand i custom made myself for it project....lol

    I am going to look some more into the AK versions and clones a lot of you mentioned, espeically since I think that other than maybe some extra mags or different sites/scope I wouldn't do much to it so I could keep the cost reasonable. I am not ruling out the AR, I just know that given time (and prob a not of it), even if I built a 600-700 budget rifle it would turn into a $1k+ one with modifications and accessories. I happen to work right up the street from Spikes though so I figure I can walk in there and see what kind of deals they have for local pickups on parts.
  14. bukijin

    bukijin Well-Known Member

  15. Andrew Wyatt

    Andrew Wyatt Well-Known Member

    16" Ar-15 with irons. trust me on this.
  16. henschman

    henschman Well-Known Member

    Just for punching paper and shooting for fun, it's hard to beat an AR. 5.56 is really cheap, and is cheap to reload if you ever get into that.

    And if you're only shooting for fun, you don't have to worry about the relative unreliability of the AR compared to gas piston designs or the differnece in ballistics, penetration, etc. compared to a .30 battle rifle. No doubt they are very fun rifles to shoot, and are a great choice for learning rifle marksmanship, since they have good iron sights, low recoil, and are relatively cheap to practice with. You can buy a .22 bolt conversion for a couple hundred bucks and you can swap it out with your regular bolt in a matter of seconds and turn your rifle into a .22 LR, for cheap plinking, practice, and critter killin, if you're into that sort of thing. Plus .22 is great for when the dead rise, because you can carry more of it. JK, lol. :D :D :D

    Whether you want to go with a 16" or full length 20" barrel is kind of up to you. The 16 is better for close quarters if you ever want to use it for home defense, and it is favored by guys who do 3-gun and other tactical competitions because it is more maneuverable. 20" gives you higher velocity and longer sight radius, making it effective at longer range and easier to shoot more accurately with iron sights. It would be a good choice if you want to get into shooting high power matches or any other sort of longer range oriented stuff. Plus that longer barrel gives the bullet more velocity, which creates more hydrostatic shock in tissue and is therefore more likely to destroy a zombie's brain with a head shot. Just FYI. haha, couldn't resist.

    But all kidding aside, the best thing you can do is to get some proper instruction in the fundamentals of rifle marksmanship. I really wish I had learned the "right" way from the start... I spent a lot of time blazing away with my buddies at the range like you described before I really knew how to put that rifle to it's best and highest use. Now you know I wouldn't lead you wrong on this... after all if you can't trust a lawyer who can you trust... but buy a rifle, ANY rifle, and bring it to an Appleseed marksmanship clinic. Bring those shooting buddies of yours, it sounds like they could benefit from it too! Seriously, you will get way more than you ever thought possible out of it, and so will they. It's $70 for the weekend, unless you're under 21, in which case it is only $5. Best money you will ever spend, I promise.
  17. h4v0c

    h4v0c Member

    henschman I think you may have won the "most helpful reply" award for this thread. Don't get me wrong, everyone has been extremely helpful regarding my original question but I never even knew about the appleseed project and there is a camp within an hour of my house, and 30 min of my mothers house. I will most definitely be signing up for one of their events. Even my wife agrees it is $70 more than well spent.

    I also like the idea of easily converting my AR to a 22 with just a couple part changes. It is options like that, that turn a slightly more expensive rifle into the more economical choice because with a couple parts it can be two or more rifles. At least that is the impression I am getting. I will need to do more research on just how "easy" and how many "couple parts" really go into that, but that is what the search feature is for.
  18. sarduy

    sarduy Well-Known Member

  19. h4v0c

    h4v0c Member

    I am pretty sure I have settled on the AR as the "first" black rifle. Between ergonomics, ability to swap out uppers for a completely different gun, and the shear number of parts/accessories for it won me over.

    I have looked at sever builds, and while the M4 clones seem to be the popular choice right now the 20'', free floating hand guard, mimimalistic look has just called out to me.

    Now here is where I want your wisdon to balance out my desire to go overboard with stuff. I haven't even ordered a stripped lower yet and I am already pricing 20'' stanless bull barrels, upgraded triggers, scopes....you get the idea. Basically I went from first fun gun specs to precision beast that in reality will probably jump over $1k fast even before optics.

    For a novice shooter who will probably only go to the range every couple months to punch paper (or metal plates or whatever) am I going over-kill. Will a 16'' standard profile barrel shoot as well as me (at least for the next year or so worth of practice) while keeping the costs (and weight) down? Or is the extra cash well spent and will actually provide a noticably more accurate and fun to shoot rifle, even for a novice?
  20. epijunkie67

    epijunkie67 Well-Known Member

    There are two ways of looking at that.

    One is; if you are only going a few times a year then don't waste a ton of money. Even a 16" rifle is going to be more accurate than you are until you get a lot of practice under your belt. Just buy something decent and shoot the heck out of it. Once you have a few thousand rounds downrange you'll have a better idea of what you REALLY want out of a rifle and you can upgrade then.

    The other camp is going to be; if you can afford a quality weapon then don't skimp. You can't be more accurate than your weapon allows. If you build a top quality weapon your skill will grow into it and you don't have to worry about upgrading later. Don't end up regretting buying a second best rifle when you can do it right the first time and be happy with the result.

    Now, both of those arguments are completely correct. You really don't have enough shooting experience to know what you do and don't like about a weapon. And you probably will be glad you bought a decent weapon to train with. You just have to decide if you're more of a camp "A" or a camp "B" person.

    If you want to save money and just get a decent 16" basic rifle then that's a great plan. If you want to get a high quality 20" tack driver then that's a great plan. Heck, if you want to get one of each that's an awesome plan!

    You'll have to decide which path suites you best.

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