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most versatile rifle

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by bennadatto, Jun 17, 2008.

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  1. bennadatto

    bennadatto Member

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    Hello all! I have been considering adding a rifle to my collection. Having owned zero rifles thus far in life, I wanted some input on what you believe would be a great all-around rifle.

    I don't see myself owning very many rifles so I'd like to get the most versatile rifle possible. Here's the criteria:

    I don't hunt, but if I had to, I'd like a rifle that could take small to medium game.
    Good for home / property defense
    Dependable
    Relatively inexpensive to purchase
    Relatively inexpensive ammo
    Accurate

    I have a couple single action handguns, so I am kinda partial to firearms of the mid to late 1800's. If you think a lever action would fit the bill I would be willing to shell out a few more dollars.

    Thanks in advance for sharing your wisdom!
     
  2. Dirtypacman

    Dirtypacman Member

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    There really is nothing more versatile then an AR. It fits your criteria that you posted although the ammo can start to get expensive.

    The majority of the AR's you will purchase are going to be deadly accurate with iron sights out of the box. You can do so much configuring to it that you will be able to make it exactly how you want it.

    Its has light recoil and a great rifle to start with in my opinion.
     
  3. H2O MAN

    H2O MAN member

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    I think you may be happier if you go with a lever action from the era you prefer ...
     
  4. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    A Marlin 1894C .357/.38 lever gun would be a possibility.

    Mine is very accurate with .38, good for small game. Buy a few boxes of hot .357, which will work well for medium game. Holds 10 rounds and shares ammo with a revolver, good for home defense.

    The Marlin is easy to clean, and simple.

    Nothing against an AR. I have one of those, too. The Marlin sounds more like what the OP is looking for, though.:)
     
  5. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    Levergun in 30/30. I can buy 'em all day for under three bills, a box of ammo at Academy costs $11/20 rounds, and it's naturally ambidextrous.

    I like the leverguns chambered in handgun rounds, but they generall cost a lot more than a 30/30 version.
     
  6. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Arguably almost any centerfire rifle in a popular cartridge below the magnum range meets those criteria.
     
  7. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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    Considering the cartridge the rifle will be using is important. The 30-.06 is considered to be the most versatile cartridge because of the wide selection of bullets and loads available. The "buy just one" concept of versatility would lead most to the '.06. Not exactly a small game load though. If you are partial to lever actions this will change the selection of cartridge considerably. No-one could complain about a Marlin 336 in 30-30 as far as affordable and dependable but the cartridge is over 100 years old and won't stretch much over 100 yds. The small game part is truly hanging me up here, how small? Usually small game is shotgun or maybe .22 material. I don't see using anything else on rabbits for example.

    Perhaps the suggestions of a Marlin chambered for center fire handgun rounds is a good one.
     
  8. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    It seems with each passing year, the .30-30 gets weaker and weaker...

    RN or FP factory ammo still has around 800 ft-lbs. left at 200 yards; the newer Hornady LE stuff tops 1000 ft-lbs. at 300 yards.

    I think that will suffice, for a general-purpose rifle.

    However, I still think the .357 offers a good combo. .38 semi-wadcutters will work fine on rabbits; hot .357 will work on deer, though not for really long shots.
     
  9. kcmarine

    kcmarine Member

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    Most versatile rifle? Easily the AR. Buy a lower, and if you can make a cartridge whose dimensions let it fit into the STANAG magazine, you can make a semi- automatic upper for it. And with some companies offering interchangeable magazine wells in their AR designs, that rule is getting thrown out of the window as well. They're accurate, and while not exactly cheap, give you many options. I could say more, but it's gonna be said by others, so I'll let them say it.
     
  10. EHCRain10

    EHCRain10 Member

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    either an AR-15 or a lever action would fit your bill, the lever action would be cheaper but the AR could run surplus ammunition
     
  11. gtmerkley

    gtmerkley member

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    HK G3 More accuret then an M4 And wont jam as much eather
     
  12. Picard

    Picard Member

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    For the defense aspect, I would personally buy a magazine fed rifle. It will allow you to reload quickly in case you ever need to and if my life depended on it, I would definitely want that option. An AR-15 sounds like it would meet all of your other criteria, except that it was made about a hundred years too late.

    Since you say that you probably won't own too many rifles, a good self-defense rifle is a must in my book. Every able-bodied American should own one.
     
  13. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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    Armed Bear, what about drop at 200 and 300 yds? Hard for a new marksman to deal with a lot of drop.
     
  14. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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    This is a down range trajectory chart for the 30-30 Winchester cartridge with the scope mounted 1.5 inches above the bore center line plus if you were using this load, its effective hunting bullet energy range with well placed shots on,
    Varmint / Predator size game, such as Bobcat, Cougar, Coyote.
    Deer size game, such as Antelope, Blacktail, Hogs, Javelina, Mule, Whitetail.
    Elk size game, such as Caribou, Black Bear, Sheep.
    Moose size game, such as Brown Bear.
    Bullet diameter .308"
    Bullet weight 150 grains
    Bullet ballistic coeffecient .210
    Bullet velocity 2,400 feet per second
    Range Bullet Drop Bullet Energy

    100 yds. 0 1348

    200 yds. -7.4" 930

    300 yds. -27.4 631

    400 yds. -65.6 446

    500 yds. -127.2 347

    The 30-30 Winchester is well beyond 100 years since its introduction and sales are still high for this cartridge. Simply put most deer are shot within a 100 yard range limit and they are found mostly in the woods where shots are limited to under 100 yards and the 30-30 Winchester cartridge in a short lever action rifle is more than adequate.

    This is from- http://www.gunnersden.com/index.htm.30-30winchester.html

    This round drops off the table and I'm not Carlos Hathcock.
     
  15. eliphalet

    eliphalet Member

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    You've been given good advice about a lever gun, IMHO.
    It would make a fine choice to fit your criteria.

    Edit:
    What caliber are your single actions? Perhaps a lever using the same bullet would be a good idea.
     
  16. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    It would be hard to find a more versatile rifle for small to smallish medium (200 lb) game, home defense, and inexpensive target shooting than the CZ 527 in 7.62x39mm. You may need to define for us what inexpensive means. Less than $400? Less than $1000? Less than $2000?

    gt, Sir, you are completely incorrect. The G3 is less accurate; the G3 is not civilian legal; the M4 is not civilian legal; and if you mean malfunction, that is arguable.
     
  17. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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    For comparison the same site lists the bullet drop energy for .308 Win at -8.0" at 300 yards for 1545 energy and the drop at 500 yards is still only -48.9 and energy at 1006.

    Thats the difference in a cartridge that didn't begin it's life as a black powder round and what I would be carrying if I planned on over 100 yds.
     
  18. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Don't zero at 100. MPBR is upwards of 200 yards, right about where the energy drops off. He said "medium game", not elk. And he said "versatile", not "magnum."

    .30-06 is also over 100 years old. Age has nothing to do with effectiveness.

    But hell, I never recommended .30-30 in the first place.:)
     
  19. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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    Whatever.:rolleyes:
     
  20. RonE

    RonE Member

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    Cheap, reliable, cheap to shoot, home defense, don't usually hunt but may need to kill some game someday and a rifle. Why not get the Mosin Nagant M-44 carbine. Usually available for around $80 including shipping. As a bonus, they make enough noise that if you miss, you will scare the devil out of a home invader.
     
  21. 556A2

    556A2 Member

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    AR-15 or Marlin 336
     
  22. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    The lever-action was THE assault rifle 100+ years ago, and it will still do nicely in a SD roll. And truth be told, there are still a heck of a lot of them riding around in the trunks of HP & sheriffs cars in the mid-west & western states.

    http://www.suarezinternational.com/leveraction.html

    A good man with a lever-gun and a pocket full of shells will never run the gun dry because he can stuff more in the loading gate between shots!

    Depending on your SA handgun calibers, and your preferance for older gun designs, I would consider one in the same caliber as your handguns, or a 30-30 as suggested.

    IMO: Your stated need for being good for small game rules out the Mosin Nagant M-44, (Too powerful) and being good for medium game rules out the AR-15 in .223 caliber. (Not powerful enough)

    rcmodel
     
  23. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Not interested in real facts?

    A 100 yard zero does make the drop look bad.

    A .308 looks lousy if it's zeroed at 100 yards, either. Common .308 hunting ammo drops about 4 inches at 200 yards, 8 inches at 250, and 15 inches at 300, from a 100 yard zero.

    That's not how you sight in a user-friendly hunting rifle, unless you won't be shooting it past 100 yards.

    No, the .30-30 Win is not a .300 Win Mag, but it's not a pistol round, either. LE ammo extends the .30-30's useful range a good deal, as well.

    Still, it's not much of a small game round, and that's what he asked for, also.
     
  24. Plink

    Plink Member

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    I second the lever gun. Especially one in the same caliber that your revolvers are. There's a reason the cowboys of old did that. I love my Marlin .44 mag. Good short range brush gun for hunting and a fun gun at the range. More than capable enough for home defense.
     
  25. wanderinwalker

    wanderinwalker Member

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    Plink beat me to the punch!

    I love my Marlin 1894 in .44 Magnum as well. It is lightweight, handy, accurate out to 100 yards, the round is powerful enough to handle deer and black bear inside 100-125 yards and reliable. Stoke it with a good .44 Special load such as a Winchester Silvertip or a Speer Gold Dot and you have an excellent home weapon.

    The biggest downside is ammo cost, in which case the .357 version would come out on top.

    (Okay, I think the "ideal" multi-role .44 load would be a 200gr at 1150-1200-fps from a 6" handgun or a 240gr at 1000-1050 fps from the same pistol. Add about 200-fps for rifle speed. Something heavier than a .44 Special but lighter than a Keith-load. It should give good terminal performance and good shooter recovery. But this is a topic for another thread... ;) )
     
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